HLSC 710-DISCUSSION 6
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The response must be no more than 200 words in length and contain at least two scholarly citations in APA format. Any references listed must be no more than five years old. Texts, articles, presentations, the Bible, blogs, and videos are all acceptable sources.
T. A. Johnson (2015). Cybersecurity is the process of defending vital facilities against cyberattacks and cyberwar. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL. ISBN 9781482239225.
J. Pichtel (2016). Terrorism and the proliferation of WMDs (2nd ed.). CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL. ISBN: 9781498738989.
Chemical agents have a lengthy history, dating all the way back to the Egyptians, Babylonians, Indians, and Chinese, and these agents are capable of murdering large numbers of people with a single deployment (Pichtel, 2016). Chemical warfare has advanced significantly since that time, to the point where scientists have developed “bioanalytical procedures for chemical warfare (CW) chemicals and their biological markers of exposure” (Black, 2010, p. 1207). This essentially means that we have advanced to the point where scientists and doctors must consider ways to counter them, diagnose and investigate the origins of the chemical attack, and monitor those who work in areas undergoing demilitarization or engaging in other activities that may involve chemical agents (Black, 2010).
On the issue of homeland security, it is critical to remember that, as a result of modern scientific and technological disciplines, the possibility of chemical agent usage is more likely than ever before (Pitschmann, 2014, p. 1761). This is primarily because “there is widespread acceptance of the development of non-lethal chemical weapons at a higher technological level” (Pitschmann, 2014, p. 1761), and these new threats blur the lines between chemistry and biology, making them just as life-altering as their lethal predecessors. In other words, while these sophisticated chemical weapons are not always lethal, they have long-term detrimental impacts on the people targeted.
Chemical Agent That Is the Most Dangerous
This doctorate candidate believes that the most hazardous chemical agent is sarin gas. The opinion is based on the following adverse effects that those exposed to the nerve agent experienced. At low levels of exposure, symptoms may include eye discomfort, bronchospasms, and excessive drooling, as well as excessive sweating (Lee, 2003). Labored breathing, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting occur at an intermediate degree of exposure (Lee, 2003). Convulsions, loss of consciousness, paralysis, apnea, and even death may occur at a high amount of exposure (Lee, 2003). While it is clear that any of the chemical agents discussed by Pichtel could cause enormous suffering to the targeted populations, the author of this discussion board believes that sarin gas, particularly in the aftermath of the 1995 Tokyo subway attack that resulted in over a dozen deaths, was and continues to be a horrible way to die.
Homeland Security and Explosive Hazards
Explosive hazards provide a persistent threat to national security, owing to the fact that “many firms manufacture, transport, and employ low and high explosives in daily operations” (Pichtel, 2016, p. 197), which does not include the US military. Another factor that contributes to the threat to homeland security being a legitimate issue is the simplicity with which one can obtain the components necessary to construct an explosive device, with many of the components being common, daily products or handmade in nature (Pichtel, 2016). While an explosion is defined as “the rapid expansion of matter into a larger volume” (Pichtel, 2016, p. 198), it is also necessary to consider the consequences for human life. Similar to chemical agents, explosions, whether nuclear, mechanical, or chemical in nature, have the potential to kill a large number of people with a single detonation.
The history of explosives is not dissimilar to that of chemical agents. The Chinese, Hindus, and Arabs are credited with discovering saltpeter and inventing black powder (Pichtel, 2016). Throughout history, explosives have progressed from black powder through lead, ammonium picrate, picric acid, and tetryl trinitrotoluene (TNT), to mention a few (Pichtel, 2016). Recently, improvised explosive devices (IEDs) have been a major source of concern, particularly in Afghanistan and Iraq. While Americans became familiar with the term IED primarily as a result of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF), similar devices were all too common on the home front as well. A case in point is the 2013 Boston Marathon, during which two young men of Chechen heritage detonated two IEDs among the crowds (National Police Foundation, 2014). Due to the simplicity with which these materials can be obtained, their broad availability, and the information available to anyone seeking to cause harm with these devices, the use of explosive devices is a confirmed concern in all facets of homeland security.
The Deadliest Explosive Hazard
This PhD candidate believes that the most dangerous explosive hazard is that posed by an IED. This assessment is mostly based on IEDs placed downrange while Fort Campbell forces were in theater in Iraq and Afghanistan. Another explanation for this opinion, which is equally skewed, is the long-term repercussions of IED attacks on military personnel. To substantiate the opinion expressed here, research on British troops indicates that 50% of troops have general concerns about IEDs, 33% have personally witnessed IED explosions, and 25% have had to deliver first aid to people injured by an IED (Jones et al., 2014). Additionally, while those engaged in combat and those assigned to counter-IED threat roles were exposed to more IEDs than other troops and personnel, it is critical to note that more than 18% of personnel who witnessed IED attacks had a higher prevalence of common mental disorders and more than 7.5 percent had a higher prevalence of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) (Jones et al., 2014).
Industrial Chemicals That Are Toxic and Homeland Security
Toxic Industrial Chemicals (TICs) also pose a significant threat to homeland security. The primary reason for this is that they are extremely common and are used in institutions countrywide on a daily basis (Pichtel, 2016). Among these hazardous chemicals include anhydrous ammonia, fertilizer compounds, chlorine, diesel fuel, sulfuric acid, and a variety of other flammable liquids (Pichtel, 2016). Recent history demonstrates how simple chemicals can cause large amounts of harm and death, as seen by Timothy McVeigh’s 1995 attack in Oklahoma City. That day, he chose to bomb with a truckload of ammonium nitrate, a common fertilizer, and gasoline oil (Office of the Inspector General, 1995). When the truck full of these materials was detonated, the Velocity of Detonation (VOD) was estimated to be 13,000 feet per second (Office of the Inspector General, 1995). Speaking to the lethality of such ‘bombs,’ 168 people were killed that day and the federal building was destroyed (History.com Editors, 2021).
The lesson this week is reminiscent of conversations about Fortress Campbell (Fort Campbell) I used to have with a former Army pilot. In the Lord, we find our mighty fortress and this is affirmed in the following verses: “Since you are my rock and my fortress, for the sake of your name lead and guide me. Free me from the trap that is set for me, for you are my refuge. Into your hands I commit my spirit; redeem me, O Lord, the God of truth. I hate those who cling to worthless idols; I trust in the Lord” (NIV Holy Bible, 2010, Psalm 31:3-5).
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