Tag Archives: terrorism

How Safe Are We? Janet Napolitano on Homeland Security

A lot has changed since the attacks of September 11, 2001. The Department of Homeland Security was created to safeguard the country against terrorism and other threats. As the former head of the agency, Janet Napolitano says we are now safer in many ways. She says it would be nearly impossible for someone to orchestrate another 9/11 style attack using planes as weapons. But, there are other threats to the homeland today, some of which are not getting the attention she believes they deserve.

In a recent talk at UC Berkeley’s Goldman School of Public Policy, Napolitano spoke about her time at DHS, and her new book, “How Safe Are We?: Homeland Security Since 9/11.” She says there are three main risks to the safety of Americans: climate change, cyber-attacks, and gun violence. Napolitano says while climate change might not seem like a priority for DHS, it is increasing threats from deadly storms, drought, wildfires and rising sea levels in the US. And, it’s contributing to drought and devastation around the world which can create environments where extremism can take hold.

Napolitano says while there are several serious threats that need to be addressed, the main focus of the current administration – the southern border – is not one of them. As the former governor of Arizona, Napolitano is well-versed in border issues. She agrees that there are problems that need to be addressed, but disagrees with the methods President Trump has proposed. She advocates for increasing technology between ports of entry, and beefing up security at the ports to combat human and drug trafficking. As for the increase of migrants coming from Central America, Napolitano says it’s a crisis we can get through, but not something we can stop with the harsh treatment of asylum-seekers. She points to Colombia as an example of how the US can help restore public institutions in countries like Honduras and El Salvador, and remove the motivation for people to flee.

After her talk, Napolitano takes questions from students and moderator Orville Thomas on everything from how social media companies can combat hate speech, to whether President Trump has reached out for advice.

Watch — How Safe Are We? Janet Napolitano Discusses Homeland Security Since 9/11

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Constructions of Terrorism

8232With the carnage in Brussels and San Bernardino still fresh, the threat of terrorism is palpable. UC Santa Barbara hosted the inaugural conference of a long-term, multidisciplinary project to study global terrorism in December 2015. This remarkable gathering of some of the country’s leading experts on terrorism approach the subject from diverse perspectives but they were generally in agreement that that government leaders and the public should be wary of overreacting to terrorist acts in ways that strengthen terrorism.

The conference was organized by the UCSB-based Orfalea Center for Global & International Studies and TRENDS Research & Advisory, a think tank based in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

The eight programs debate and discuss how terrorism and acts of terrorism are understood and explained. By investigating how understandings of terrorism are constructed the conference organizers hope to contribute to the development of more effective strategies for countering the extremist ideas that lead to the acts labeled as terrorism.

Get a thoughtful and in-depth look at terrorism and how we understand and explain it.

Watch Constructions of Terrorism presented by the Orfalea Center for Global and International Studies.

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