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Planning for Terrorists Week 4 discussion 2

Terrorists would generally prefer to attack critical targets, several of which exist in nearly any city or county. You, as a lieutenant in your local police agency, have been assigned to your county-wide fusion center. The captain who oversees the unit informs you that your first task is to help identify all critical targets in your city or county. Using your city or county as the area you are reporting on, answer these questions: 

  • What structures in your county or city do you feel should be listed as critical targets? Why? What makes them a target?
  • Might local politics come into play when developing this list, especially if someone’s business is (or is not) included? If so, how will you deal with it?
  • What should your fusion center do once your list is compiled?


Peak, K. (2012). Policing America: Challenges and best practices (7th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education

The structures that can be listed as critical targets in my country are telecommunications, electrical power grids, subways. gas and oil pipelines, transportation, banking and finance, emergency services and water and supply. The reasons as to why they are critical targets are because of the technological advancements. Computers and connectivity has made these structures a target for terrorists since they have increased vulnerability to attack by criminals as well as terrorist. As stated by Brown et al. (2005) “The new paradigm must account for an adversary’s ability to collect information about an infrastructure system and use that information to identify weak spots in the system’s architecture” (p.103). There we never be enough in the budget for defending infrastructures.

Local politics might come into play when developing this list since the White Paper has tasked organization within the government to establish systems to protect their systems. The military strength would deter future enemies whether nations, groups or individuals from launching a direct attack but most likely would result in an attack that is nontraditional against a country’s infrastructure.

Fusion Centers collect and share information with local, state and federal law enforcement, and increasingly, with the military and the private sector. Although information sharing is legitimate and often necessary for law enforcement, the Fusion Centers are operating with little oversight at a time when new technology, government powers and zeal in the “war on terrorism” are combining to threaten our privacy at an unprecedented level and turn America into a surveillance society (Pearson Education, n.d.).

New institutions like fusion centers must be planned in a public, open manner, and their implications for privacy and other key values carefully thought out and debated. And like any powerful institution in a democracy, they must be constructed in a carefully bounded and limited manner with sufficient checks and balances to prevent abuse. Since no two fusion centers are alike, it is difficult to make generalized statements about them. Clearly not all fusion centers are engaging in improper intelligence activities and not all fusion center operations raise civil liberties or privacy concerns (Peak, 2012).

“Sunshine laws” in the United States require that our governments, federal to local, conduct their affairs with transparency to the public” (Brown,, Carlyle,  Salmeron, & Woo, 2005, p. 120). Web sites have been redesigned to reduce information that could harm our infrastructure. One way to prevent this is  by appointing a independent “red team” (Brown et al,.2005).

They can analyze the content of the website. This way if there is any harmful information then it can be eliminated. As stated in Brown et al, (2005) “We cannot depend on standard reliability analyses to protect us adequately because we cannot assume that attacks occur randomly” (p.121).


Brown, G. G., Carlyle, W. M., Salmeron, J., & Woo, K. (2005). [PDF] Analyzing the Vulnerability of Critical Infrastru… Retrieved from faculty.nps.edu/gbrown/…/DefendingCIBrownEtAlTutorialDraft.pdf – Similar

Peak, K. (2012).Policing America: Challenges and best practices (7th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education

Pearson Education.(n.d.).Challenges to law enforcement [Learning module]. Retrieved from http://media.pearsoncmg.com/ph/chet/chet_criminal_justice_1/assets/review/Challenges/index.html

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