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Introduction

The ultimate aim of strategic planning is to increase the organization’s efficiency and effectiveness by enhancing present and future operations (Koteen1991). It offers a framework for organization management’s vision about the future. The strategic planning process determines the manner in which the organization will be transformed to make use of the available opportunities to improve on its performance (Koteen1991). Through this process, goals and objectives are established, together with the strategies for attaining them (Lan & Rainey 1992). In addition, a strategic plan incorporates an approach for measuring success (Migliore 1990).  This essay offers a detailed strategic plan for Texas homeland security agency. The essay will analyze the eight basic elements of a strategic plan; vision statement, mission statement, core values, critical issues, goals, strategies, objectives, and a method for measuring success.

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Homeland Security in Texas incorporates both tactical and strategic efforts, which give the state the ability to prepare, protect, respond, and prevent hazards. In this case, hazards refer to all forms of disasters such as, catastrophic events, terrorist and criminal attacks, and natural disasters. Therefore, Homeland Security is concerned with all activities that are directed towards preventing criminal and terrorist attacks, gathering intelligence and examining threats, minimizing vulnerability, guarding critical infrastructure, and organizing effective responses to all hazards within Texas.

Vision Statement

Texas Homeland Security agency is charged with the responsibilities of preventing all forms of terrorism, protecting critical infrastructures together with key resources, combating criminal responses, counter and recover from disasters, and strengthen the foundation of homeland security to attain lasting success. This will be realized while protecting and respecting the rights of the citizens as provided by the Constitution.

Mission Statement

Texas homeland security has a mission to unify national efforts in an aim to ensure security within Texas. The agency will deter and prevent terrorism, protect and respond to hazards within Texas. In addition, the agency has a mission to ensure security of the borders, receive lawful visitors and immigrants, and support free-flow of trade.

Core Values

The core values that inform and determine decision making provide detailed criteria that oversees the actions of the policy makers and the workers, while performing their duties. One of the core values is to protect public rights and liberties. The agency will defend and protect the freedoms of the citizens. Its actions and strategies will be consistent with the citizen’s rights and liberties as stipulated in the Rule of Law. In its duties to improve security and prevent terrorism, the agency will be cautious in upholding confidentiality and ensuring privacy to the citizens. Texas homeland security is basically committed to enhancing security, while protecting civil rights and liberties. The agency also seeks to become a unified, proficient, and service-oriented organization, where all the functions will be coordinated to ensure security of the state against all forms of threats, and identify effective responses to disasters. The other core value of the organization is to enhance coalitions and partnerships with other organizations in combating terrorist activities. The agency seeks to enhance both vertical and horizontal partnerships to help identify needs, share information, provide services, and support best practices (NAPA 1986).

Critical Issues

Texas is a unique and very important state, estimated to have $ 1 trillion state products. It is also one of the most populous cities in the country, estimated to have a diverse population of about 24 million people. This state has been ranked as the best in the nation with regard to international commerce, and globally as the sixth. Besides, Texas is considered as the country’s epicenter for petrochemicals and energy, and for high technology exporting. It is also has a number of military installations. Its uniqueness and complexity makes it susceptible to effects of terrorist and criminal attacks, natural disasters, and catastrophic events. Texas Homeland Security aligns and groups the functions of homeland security into six critical aspects: domestic counterterrorism, protecting critical infrastructure, border and transportation security, defense against catastrophic terrorism, intelligence and warning, and emergency preparedness and response. All these issues aim at preventing terrorism, minimizing vulnerability of the state, and reducing the impact, while promoting recovery efforts from the attacks that take place.  

Domestic Counterterrorism

While greater emphasis is directed towards investigating and prosecuting criminal activity within Texas. More effort will be directed towards ensuring the safety of the state by preventing domestic terrorism. Legal strategies, both modern and traditional will be applied to detect, prevent, and prosecute terrorists within Texas. The organization will keep track of individuals highly associated with criminal activities, identify sources of terrorism, as well as the organizations that fund such activities. Apparently, violent domestic gangs contribute significantly to the criminal activities and terror attacks within the state. Most of these gangs are created in prisons, and it has been noted that over 13 000 people within Texas prison system have been confirmed to be members of the prison gangs. The prison gangs act as middle men between criminal street gangs and cartels, responsible for selling prohibited products on the streets. Tax is collected on illegal drug sales and used to facilitate other transactions within their areas of operation. Members of the gang earn income through various criminal activities such as, alien smuggling, extortion, robbery, weapons and drug trafficking, kidnapping, contract murders, and auto theft. It is therefore important that effort is directed towards dealing with such gangs to ensure the security of the state.

Protecting Critical Infrastructure and Key Resources

The present society depends on the networks of infrastructure to facilitate the daily processes. Both physical networks, like transportation and energy systems, and virtual networks, like the internet, play significant roles in facilitating modern day’s operations. Damage to the critical infrastructure as a result of terrorist activities may affect the entire systems, hence generating significant losses to the entire nation. Texas has a significant amount of critical infrastructure and resources that are susceptible to terrorism activities and natural disasters. Enhancing the protection of the critical infrastructure and key resources will greatly help in making the nation more secure, and minimize vulnerability to other hazards such as, organized crimes, computer hackers, and natural disasters. Texas Homeland Security will seek to bar terrorists from inflicting enduring harm to the state by ensuring the safety of the resources, systems, and functions that are very important to national security, economy, public health and safety, governance, and national morale.

Border and Transportation Security

Texas Gulf Coast consists of both shallow and deep water ports, along with the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, bordered by highway transportation corridors and interconnecting rail that are very significant when it comes to national defense. Increasing destructive and mobility potential of present terrorism requires that better approaches and systems are devised in order to deal with such activities, and ensure the border and transportation security (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration 1996). The number of people entering Texas illegally presents a major challenge to homeland security. However, despite the fact that some people cross the borders for legal reasons, such as searching for employment opportunities, a significant proportion of the illegal entrants enter with the aim of introducing illegal drugs, conducting murders and kidnapping, enforcing gang and cartel disciplines, among many other forms of crimes. One of the biggest threats closely connected to illegal entry is the threat of criminal aliens, who commit crimes such as robbery, illegal drug distribution, theft, rape, murder and kidnapping, which are serious crimes (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration 1996). It is therefore important to ensure border security.

Defense against Catastrophic Terrorism

Apparently, technology, material, and the expertise required to come up with the most deadly weapons, including radiological, biological, nuclear and chemical weapons, are spreading uncontrollably. If such deadly weapons hand into the hands of terrorists, it is very likely that terrorism activities will be rampant (NAPA 1986). We can take the example of the September 11 attacks that resulted in numerous deaths and destructions. However, taking into account the fact that technology is improving day by day, which therefore means that more advanced weapons are being produced that could result in far more devastating consequences compared to the previous once, it is important to ensure radiological, biological, nuclear and chemical detection techniques, and response capabilities are spread throughout the state.

Intelligence and Warning

Terrorism activities are intense when they occur as a surprise. This is because terrorists have the potential to generate massive destructions, since the target group is unprepared. On the contrary, if terrorism takes place when expected, there is a high probability that authorities will preempt terrorists and furthermore, less severe damages will occur. The organization will therefore take all the necessary steps to prevent unexpected terrorist attacks. An intelligence and warning system will be put in place to help detect acts of terrorism before they take place, so that effective preemptive, protective and preventive actions are taken.

Emergency Preparedness and Response

This basically entails adequate preparation in an aim to reduce the damage, and effective recovery measures, despite the prevention strategies that have employed. Effective response to natural disasters as well as man-made disasters such as terror attack is grounded on adequate preparedness. It is therefore important to have a comprehensive system that will help coordinate all response measures effectively and quickly. In addition, it is important to plan, train, exercise and equip all response units to ensure emergency issues are properly dealt with. However, there are some emergency response systems that are already in place, for instance, emergency management officials, emergency medical providers, police officers, public works personnel, and firefighters. Furthermore, multiple plans are already in place to govern the response measures in case of an emergency. However, most of these plans are ineffective as they cannot provide necessary actions with regard to crisis management. The organization therefore seeks to ensure that all response organizations and personnel are properly trained, exercised, and equipped to provide effective response to all disasters.

Goals, Strategic Objectives, and the Strategies for Attaining the Identified Goals

Texas Homeland Security strategic plan outlines strategic goals, objectives and strategies for attaining the identified goals in an aim to support the homeland security strategy of the state. Texas homeland security has identified three main goals that are considered as the foundation of the state’s strategic plan. These goals are based on three main pillars, prevent, protect, and prepare to respond and recover. These goals include:

  • Prevent terrorism and criminal enterprises from operating effectively in Texas
  • Reduce the state’s vulnerability to natural disasters, catastrophic events, as well as terror and criminal attacks
  • Prepare to reduce damage through quick decisive response, and rapidly recover from natural disasters and terror and criminal attacks.

These goals side with and cover the highest priority goals of the nation, which include prevention, response, recovery, and protection. The goals also go in line with and incorporate the policies and priorities and national preparedness as required by the Department of Homeland Security. They account for the increased threat generated by domestic and international terrorists, increased convergence of crime and terrorism, and the increase of the consequences and frequency of natural disasters. Therefore, this strategic plan is structured to attain Texas unique homeland security needs. The plan incorporates the size, geographic features, economic diversity, sea borders and lengthy land, demographics, and location of the state.  

These goals have been designed to enhance collaboration with the private organizations to help combine efforts towards attaining a safe and secure state. However, to accomplish homeland security goals and objectives of Texas, it is important that capabilities and skills within the commercial sector are integrated with the capabilities, resources and authorities within the public sector. In addition, active support should be attained from the community service organizations, academia, business, industry, and individual citizens on every stage of the prevention, response, protection, and recovery. Attaining high levels of operational effectiveness in the identified critical areas will help ensure the attainment of the identified goals and strategic objectives. However, it is important to note that attaining operational effectiveness entails all aspects of a capability, such as procedures, funding, communications, policies, training, equipment and technology, planning, infrastructure, regulations, and personnel.

Goal 1: Prevent terrorism and criminal enterprises from operating effectively in Texas

Preventing terrorist activities within Texas is the first priority as far as homeland security is concerned. Acts of terrorism represent a very dangerous threat to the safety of the citizens and of the entire economy. Similarly, criminal activities present a daily threat to the security and safety of the citizens. Therefore, preventing the spread, growth, and success of such criminal and terrorist activities is a priority of homeland security. The organization recognizes the fact that the best approach that could be applied to prevent citizens from the effects of such activities is by preventing them from taking place. Prevention incorporates all aspects aimed at detecting violent criminals and terrorists, discouraging their activities, preventing access to support structures, impeding attacks and assaults before occurring (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration 1996). Basically, the preventive efforts will focus on a robust, intelligence, and integrated investigative capability. The intelligence and information are very important in determining when, how, and where to apply the available resources effectively in an aim to disrupt criminal and terrorist activities. Various objectives have been outlined to help ensure this goal is attained.

Objective 1:  Enhance and support statewide intelligence capability that minimizes threat of terrorism and criminal activities.

Criminal and terrorist activities that pose threats to Texas have acquired unprecedented agility levels and are becoming easily adaptive. Terrorists are nowadays applying modern technologies and techniques in an aim to stay ahead of legal authorities. It is, therefore, necessary for the homeland security bodies to be able to detect crime and terror indicators and the upcoming patterns, along with the unfolding trends to enable them disrupt terrorist and criminal activities.

Strategies

Various strategies will be applied to help attain this objective. These include:

  • Establishing and make use of Texas Fusion Center Policy Council to help manage and improve statewide intelligence capability, so as to incorporate identification and prioritization of threats, management and development of requirements, distributed analytical production, collection, and product dissemination.
  • Expanding and improving multi-agency, multiple jurisdictional fusion capabilities all over the state.
  • Make use of the Texas Fusion Center, as well as other fusions centers located regionally to combine intelligence and information agencies related to homeland security, disciplines and jurisdictions within Texas.
  • Join up the homeland security community, for instance, agriculture health services, private sector, and other stakeholders of critical infrastructure, as consumers and collectors of intelligence.
  • Make sure local law enforcement organizations within Texas have adequate access to all vital homeland security information systems within Texas.

Objective 2: Ensure there is a robust investigative capability that will be applied to deal with criminal and terrorist activities.

Investigations related to counterterrorism are integrated through Joint Terrorism Task Forces in Texas. These forces offer helpful structure for coordinating investigations, as they pool resources of analysts and investigators from the local, state and federal agencies in an aim to aggress terrorism activities jointly. The Joint Terrorism Task Forces aims at creating awareness throughout Texas with the capacity to address all forms of terrorism thoroughly and quickly, and employ preventive measures to avoid terror-related activities from occurring. Continued efforts, regarding criminal and terror attacks integrated investigations, shall be directed towards major threats facing the state.

Strategies

  • Develop and improve integrated, multiple agency counterterrorism and counter crime investigative capabilities to help deal with all forms of terrorist activities and crimes, such as drug trafficking, money laundering, human trafficking, extortion, and weapon smuggling within the state.
  • Establish and make use of information technology capability to manage crucial information and check poor control of dangerous devices or substances, as well as the acquisition of perilous components and materials terrorists can use in making explosive weapons. The system should be able to quickly alert officials in case acquisitions or losses are made.
  • Expand and improve human sources networks that could help generate relevant and detailed information regarding suspected or known criminal activities and terrorist organizations that provide any form of support to acts of terrorism.

Objective 3: Prevent criminal and terrorist activities from exploiting international borders such as land, sea and air, in Texas.

Security of the borders is critical as much as the prevention of terrorism and combating crime. Transnational gangs and Mexican cartels bring in huge quantities of drugs to the nation through the Texas border. In addition, illegal immigrants are often guided into the United States through various human smuggling passages, established by terrorists and criminals (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration 1996). It is therefore obvious that organizations supporting terrorist activities will make use of such skilled smugglers to gain access to terrorists within Texas borders. Establishing and supporting partnerships between the state and local law enforcement agencies will help in addressing the issue of border security in a great deal. The state will also continue supporting integrated multi-agency criminal and terrorism investigative initiatives to minimize crimes.

Strategies

  • Enhance state and local patrols around the border region to help improve security, especially between the entry points.
  • Strengthen multi-agency investigations and operations to deal with criminal activities within the border region of Texas.
  • Incorporate technology to the greatest level to help in monitoring border security, especially in remote regions.

Goal 2: Reduce the state’s vulnerability to natural disasters, catastrophic events, as well as terror and criminal attacks

Reducing vulnerability is an outcome of the strategies applied in preventing unplanned disastrous events and attacks. Prevention incorporates all efforts aimed at minimizing susceptibility by preventing an attack or event from taking place. They include strategies to examine, safeguard and secure people and physical sites, while taking the necessary measures to prevent attacks from occurring. A number of objectives have been outlined to facilitate the process of attaining this goal.

Objective 1: Minimize vulnerability levels of Texas’s critical infrastructure and key resources.

Majority of the critical infrastructure and key resource sites within Texas are owner by private individuals, who have employed personal security forces. To ensure the security of these sites, it is, therefore, very important that partnerships are enhanced among the private and public sector to ensure that private security forces, governmental assets, individual citizens, and the commercial security measures cooperate in all aspects aimed at protecting critical infrastructure and key resources. This entails sharing vital information, exercising and training, communications interoperability, joint funding, and joint private-public planning (Rainey 1983). It is important to first identify, revise, and frequently validate Texas’ critical infrastructure and key resources data. This will take place through a systematic approach that aims at leveraging partnerships between the private and public sectors. The Department of Homeland Security provides the Vulnerability Identification Self-Assessment Tool, which will be applied to carry out multiple dimensional analyses of vulnerabilities, threats and consequences. Data obtained is then stored in a secure database operated by the Texas Fusions Center. The Texas Fusion Center maintains a centralized database with all the necessary information regarding the critical infrastructure and key resources. Texas homeland security is also charged with the responsibility of protecting cyber infrastructure. Texas Department of Information Resources develops, maintains, and updates a cyber security plan for the state to ensure detection, cyber response and protection capabilities.

Strategies

  • Strengthen and improve the capacity to detect, update, and validate data regarding critical infrastructure and key resources within Texas with the private sector, state, federal, and local partners.
  • Update and maintain Texas’s critical infrastructure and key resources information database, and increase accessibility to the database by federal, state, and local law enforcement bodies.
  • Support and improve the integrated program that is applied to review and prioritize critical infrastructure and key resources vulnerability to all forms of threats.
  • Administer adequate training is provided to workers, managers, and nearby people in both the private and public sectors to improve their ability of detecting and reporting events that may generate terrorist activities as far as critical infrastructure and key resources are concerned.
  • Ensure any suspicious threat and activity regarding critical infrastructure and key resources is reported and addressed appropriately through the intelligence structures within the state.
  • Support and improve cyber security program that seeks to protect state and local information technology systems from breach and attack.

Objective 2: Minimize risks resulting from Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and Explosives (CBRNE) disasters

Healthcare workers, recovery workers, and other authorities should be adequately prepared to identify, approve, counter, and recover from chemical, nuclear, or biological attack, outbreak of infectious diseases, or other emergencies or threats related to public health. Chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and explosives have the potential of generating enormous destruction, which has to be therefore prevented. Texas homeland security lays greater focus on emergencies related to public health because rapid response and early detection will protect people from adverse health outcomes and death.

Strategies

  • Develop the statewide network applied to monitor biological occurrences by examining available gaps, enhancing the Bio Watch programs, and carrying out network tests on a regular basis.
  • Ensure accurate inspection, control, and detection of biological, chemical, and radiological material within Texas.
  • Ensure adequate analytical and laboratory capacity for chemical or biological incidents that contain adverse impacts on animals, crops and people.

Objective 3: Make use of the mitigation programs to minimize threats resulting from natural disasters

Hazards can be mitigated by eliminating or reducing long-term risks, generated by hazards, as well as their impacts. It entails building disaster resilience and resistance into communities. Disaster resilience refers to rapid adaptability, while disaster resistance enhances the ability of systems and structures to endure the impacts of an incident. Basically, mitigation efforts are aimed at decreasing the impact of an incident. Texas will evaluate the risks from all forms of threats using the statewide planning scenarios, to help establish the most likely disasters and their likely impacts.

Strategies

  • Ensure agencies and jurisdictions establish hazard mitigation plans and are fully implemented
  • Improve the system applied in updating mitigation strategies of the state, based on the assessments of vulnerability across all agencies and jurisdictions.
  • Improve annual statewide process of assessing hazard vulnerability levels
  • Ensure commercial and private stakeholders are incorporated into the hazard mitigation plan of the agency

Goal 3: Prepare to reduce damage through quick decisive response, and rapidly recover from natural disasters, terror and criminal attacks.

Despite the fact that significant efforts and resources have been dedicated towards the prevention of terrorist and criminal activities, as well as to the protection of the critical infrastructures and key resources, it is important to note that not all disasters can actually be prevented. It is, therefore, important that the state continues to build on its response and recovery approaches and techniques. To deal with the outcomes of a disaster calls for unified efforts, including multiple disciplines and jurisdictions, such as, firefighting, recovery workers, citizen volunteers, health and safety professionals, emergency management, public works, and law enforcement (Rainey 1983). Response and recovery efforts are basically concerned with minimizing the number of deaths in case a disaster occurs, and quickly return life to normality during the process of recovery. Texas homeland security response and recovery efforts will develop the significant success that has been attained to date. Number of objectives will guide the attainment of this goal.

Objective 1: Attain Statewide Communication Interoperability

Communications interoperability refers to the ability of the service and safety agencies to talk across and within jurisdictions and agencies through communication related systems. Effective response to emergency occurrences requires coordinated efforts from all the stakeholders drawn from multiple jurisdictions and agencies. It is important to maintain direct communications among the emergency responders through the communication systems to exchange information. Direct information has to be available to enable emergency responders to carry out their responsibilities adequately.

Strategies

  • Develop and support the network of communication systems within the state
  • Ensure all communication system acquisitions in the future are interoperable, and conform to the Statewide Communication Interoperability Plan.
  • Ensure the availability of redundant communications capabilities in case a disaster occurs

Objective 2: Exploit response capabilities by intensifying mutual aid network and statewide regional response

The state has 24 planning regions that are further grouped into bigger regions basing on the similarity in interests. These constitute the geographical areas for executing multi-region, regional and country-wide mutual aid agreements, addressing critical issues such as preparedness, prevention, response and recovery. In addition, it is important that inter-jurisdictional and local emergency management plans are revised and aligned with the homeland security stipulations.

Strategies

  • Ensure regular, periodic appraisal and update of the mutual aid agreements within Texas in an aim to upgrade and expand interoperable, cooperative, integrated emergency response among statewide jurisdictions.
  • Carry out periodic assessment of local, regional and state emergency plans in an aim to ensure they comply with the planning standards of the state, and address all types of hazards.
  • Integrate corporations and citizens into the volunteer plan.

Objective 3: Harmonize training regarding homeland security training across all disciplines, jurisdictions and agencies.

It is important to work as a team in case an emergency occurs to ensure efforts are coordinated. This will be effectively attained when all the concerned stakeholders are exercised and trained as a team. The training strategy aims at integrating tailored and common training for leaders and first responders at all levels, as well as those within the private sector (Meyer 1979). Texas will adhere to the national standards provided regarding emergency preparedness and response.

Strategies

  • Provide adequate training about homeland security to key stakeholders and all first responders throughout the state.
  • Ensure homeland security is available and successfully completed by leaders, responsible for homeland security throughout the state.
  • Assess training requirements for homeland security routinely, and update strategies for implementation in order to tackle weaknesses.
  • Ensure emergency preparedness and response training courses incorporate the requirements of the vulnerable populations.

Method for Measuring Success

Texas Homeland Security will have to review and update its strategic plan on a regular basis to ensure it works towards accomplishing the outlined goals, and is in line with the homeland security guidelines. The objectives will be reviewed on an annual basis to ensure they work towards reducing criminal and terrorism activities within the state. However, it is very important to come up with a method that will be applied in determining whether, or not the outlined goals have been attained. A number of objectives have been outlined that will guide the attainment of the outlined goals. Basically, that will be success of the strategic plan will be determined by assessing whether the strategies have been successfully implemented, since it is through successful application of the strategies that the objectives will be realized, which will at the end guide the attainment of the goals of the strategic plan. However, Texas homeland security initiatives will be trailed in a statewide performance measurement scheme in aim to determine progress and implement necessary actions required to accomplish the identified goals. Key performance indicators will be standardized across the state so that growth is evaluated in all the jurisdictions. Similarly, performance indicators will be designed to give explanations behind the unique needs and characteristics of all the locales and regions within Texas. Performance will be determined in terms of frequency, cost and quantity.

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