Speak Outs
Speak Out
How does national security affect you at the local level?

In his first weeks in office, President Barack Obama has begun to address national security issues here and abroad. By signing an executive order to close the Guantanamo Bay detention center and pledging to end combat operations in Iraq in the next year and increasing combat forces in Afghanistan, the president’s actions have been viewed as a significant departure from security policies of the Bush administration.

"What you have seen in the first week is rapid change and a resetting of our global agenda," said White House press secretary Robert Gibbs in a press conference. "The president believes we can't afford to continue what we are doing. We can't afford to slow down."

President Obama’s policy doesn’t stop with the wars and Guantanamo Bay; they extend to domestic national security issues. With the appointment of Janet Napolitano as Secretary of Homeland Security, the department has begun to focus on threats to the nation’s public transportation systems and the infrastructure. Additionally, rather than conducting sweeping crackdowns on illegal immigrants, the department has centered its illegal immigration approach on identifying those illegal immigrants with violent criminal records who may be threats to national security.

National security, local impact

Whether you drive, take the bus or public transportation to school, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)  is concerned with making sure that you get there safely, minimizing threats to personal and public safety. Since her appointment, Secretary Napolitano has stated that she will shift the focus of securing the nation’s mass-transit security to the bus and rail lines that crisscross the country.

Currently, 75 percent of the nation’s rail and bus systems are not up to the security guidelines set by Homeland Security, reports USA Today. In contrast, 96 percent of the airlines are complying with the stricter guidelines the agency set after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. "We've done an awful lot in the aviation world," Napolitano said. "We could pay more attention" to surface transportation security.

By first assessing the state of the nation’s infrastructure — public transportation lines and interstate highway systems — and finding security lags such as unsecured rail lines and public transportation stations with inadequate police presence, Napolitano has pledged to address these issues.  According to policy established by Napolitano, the heart of bolstering the nation’s infrastructure security will be intelligence sharing with state and local law enforcement. By having vital information accessible to state and local fire, police and public transportation departments, the Department of Homeland Security will be able to quickly assess and neutralize threats rapidly. Simply put, if a DHS discovers a threat, local and state law enforcement will be able to respond quickly and assist the department.

In addition to information sharing, the DHS has been in the process of integrating local and state governments in the procedures and policy-making of the department. By having an open dialogue between agencies and requiring local and state law enforcement to be trained in standard DHS procedure, Napolitano pledges to ensure that all levels of law enforcement are using a similar method of handling national security threats. "One of my top priorities is to unify this department and to create a common culture," she said in a statement. "I look forward to receiving the information and to working with the offices and agencies involved to make DHS a more effective and a more efficient department."

Immigration issues go local

Border security and immigration are other aspects of national security that have a direct impact on local communities. When the DHS was created, and the Immigration, Customs and Enforcement (ICE) agency, was made a part of DHS, the primary focus of immigration officials was to go after fugitive illegal immigrants, ones with violent criminal records, or people involved in cross-border organized crime. As the years progressed, ICE began arresting and deporting fewer and fewer illegal immigrants with criminal records or ties to organized crime. In addition to this, a policy shift in ICE allowed them to be able to target companies hiring high numbers of illegal immigrants, leading to large sweeps in which several hundred illegal immigrants – many without any previous criminal record - would be arrested and deported according to the New York Times.

Napolitano said that she will get back to the primary mission of ICE and shift the focus from large sweeps to apprehension of criminals and terrorist suspects. In order to do this, DHS will expand cooperation with local authorities, working with local and state law enforcement agencies to identify potential suspects. The department will also attempt to speed up the process in which the individuals are processed and deported. DHS has proposed training local agencies so they can participate in the investigation and arrest of illegal immigrants deemed threats to national security. Balancing the economy and safety: Iraq and Afghanistan

In addition to national security efforts throughout the country, he Obama administration is also working to minimize the local impact of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The cost of the war in Iraq, estimated at $12 billion a month, comes from tax dollars collected from you and every taxpaying U.S. citizen. These costs, coupled with the faltering economy, have made reducing troop numbers in Iraq, ending military operations in the Middle Eastern country not only an issue of security but of economics.

President Obama has pledged to reduce the number of troops in Iraq by “substantial numbers” within the year, up to one brigade — 1,500 to 4,000 soldiers — a month. He says that the Iraq is ready to take on its own security: "In conversations I have had with the joint chiefs, with commanders on the ground, I think we have a sense, now that the Iraqis just had a very significant election with no significant violence, we are in a position to put more responsibility on the Iraqis," Obama said a New York Times interview.

The reduction of troops in Iraq is considered by the Obama administration as an issue foreign policy and economic importance. ABC News reports that the Iraq War costs $12 billion per month. Because of the increased stability in Iraq, the president says this expense can be reduced and that money could go towards domestic problems, helping with the economic issues the nation currently faces.

Afghanistan, however, will not see a reduction of combat operations, as the administration considers this war to be vital to reducing security threats for Americans at home and overseas.  Having begun a comprehensive review of combat operations, the administration has said that it is considering increasing the number of soldiers on the ground in Afghanistan from 38,000 to 60,000 in the next 18 months, according to a New York Times report.

The president has stated that stability and the reduction of threats to the American people was essential. "Obviously, our efforts to continue to go after extremist organizations that would do harm to the homeland is uppermost on our minds," Obama said, in a Joint Chiefs of Staff meeting.

The human rights dilemma: Guantanamo Bay

One of the most controversial national security issues the new administration faced was the fate of the Guantanamo Bay detention center (for more information, read the Speak Out) and other foreign prisons the U.S. operates in order to hold suspected terrorists. These prisons have drawn criticism from many domestically and abroad for keeping prisoners without formal charges for indefinite periods of time.  The prisons bring up the issue of how to balance the need to apprehend, hold and interrogate suspected terrorists while upholding human rights for prisoners.

In his first days in office, President Obama signed an executive order that will close Guantanamo Bay and other foreign prisons in the next year. The order also calls for all 245 detainees currently being held to be transferred to federal prisons, released or prosecuted, ending the indefinite imprisonment of those being held without being confronted with formal charges. In addition to the eventual closing of prison facilities, the president ordered immediate end to coercive interrogation techniques, considered by many human rights groups to be a forms of torture. The Central Intelligence Agency will now have to use the same interrogation techniques as the military, which are in line with international guidelines. Critics argue, however, that these methods should be available in extreme cases, in which a suspect’s cooperation is necessary to thwart a possible threat to the safety of Americans.

What do you think?

How do you think integrating local police and fire departments into federal policy will help address national security threats? Should Homeland Security change immigration policy to apprehending fugitives and possible terrorists? What do you think about withdrawing troops from Iraq and increasing troop numbers in Afghanistan - how should the administration balance threats to our security with economic issues? Join the discussion and let us know what you think!
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Comments
10/14/2012
Yorktown
ChrisW
Mr. G
I believe that local police and fire departments should be integrated into the federal policy therefore they will know what to do when a national crisis does happen. During 9/11 many officers lost their lives because they just tried to save as many people as possible, but if maybe they were trained they could have saved a lot more people and could have kept their life as well. I also feel that the federal government should also crack down on illegal immigrants or immigrants that look suspicious because this will help make not only our country a safer place, but also our community. To be affective on national security the U.S. needs to make everyone on level terms and train everyone so that the people protecting us will know what to do if there is another crisis like 9/11.

12/10/2009

Justin
Litchfield High School, Litchfield/CT
Honestly, the only place most americans feel the effects of homeland security is when they are at the airport having their suitcase thumbed through. Though homeland security was suppost to be this hige thing after 9/11, we only see it as an inconvenience not a safety measure. Increacing local security may lower crime rate, but i dont believe that it will be by as much as Obama is hoping. One of Obamas best friends and neighbors well into their 20's was arrested for being a domestic terrorist. He blew up buildings! i dont understand how we allowed Obama to be Elected with such a backgrounds as this.

9/18/2009

Luke
Washs, Waynesboro Pa
I think that local security is very important. It protects local communities and keeps people safe. I dont think though that it will help the country as a whole. I think thst national and homeland security is the key to keeping the united states a safe place to reside. i dont think that using local agencies will keep the country safer. In the future though i hope that new techniques will be used in local security that will also help with national security.

9/10/2009

stephanie
a philip randolph campus high school, ny,ny
i believe having security in an area is the best way to keep you safe. They inform and help you stay away from trouble.when people are scared of a crisis, national security helps them feel safe and under control. Security is a good way to keep where you live in a positive state of mind and live freely without worries because you know they are there to help.

5/28/2009

Joe
Trinity, Washington, Pa
The most major impact of national security to me on the local level is airports. When i was little, the security was far less extreme. However, now, you have to plan for about an hour and a half in advance to safely get through security to catch your flight. I remember a small airport in Wyoming that i flew threw that had a sign saying if you're a half hour early, you may be too late.

5/28/2009

Brianna
Trinity , Washington, PA
I travel a lot. I have to go through security. It is difficult and frustrating.

5/11/2009

Duane
THS, Wash/PA
If we use local agencies to help with national security, and send out most of the officers what will happen if a domestic event occurs with terrorists on the inside. We will be in a whole lot of trouble, so i believe that it will be better if we keep everyone where they are.

5/1/2009

Joe
Trinity, Washington PA
Mostly national security affects me at the local level when i go to the airport. I am more likely to be searched, I can't have metal in the soles of my shoes, and I cannot carry a box-opener. Increased security at airports most affects me.

4/2/2009

Joe
Trinity, PA
Mostly national security affects me when i go to the airport and with all the amped up security features.

3/11/2009

ALDA Q.
NEHS, PHILA,PA
In my opinion i think it will be pointless to pull out the soldiers out of Iraq. If they do decide to do that then all this time we have been fighting for nothing. Pulling out troops will cause more problems. I also believe that using local law enforcement as our front line for security may be a good idea.

3/6/2009

Joe
GAHS, PA
I believe pulling troops out of Iraq would be pointless. This would make the war completely pointless. Our efforts in Iraq are not yet complete and they must be complete to fully end this war. Pulling our troops out will cause more conflict which will create a bigger problem for America in the future. I also believe that using local law enforcement as our frontline for security may be a good idea. Local and state police should be able to deal with major attacks within all of the country. If a terrorist attack occurs within our boarders our local government should be able to handle this. This all depends on how good the local law enforcement reacts to training.

3/6/2009

Katie E
GAHS, Greencastle, PA
I do think that using local agencies will help with national security. However, I do not think having trained local law enforcement will help us with foreign policy. They are contained to issues in a certain “perimeter” they can not help with issues we face in other countries. If our local law enforcement is trained to handle a variety of situations within the states however, we can feel safer. Also by training all law enforcement for the same situations, if something were to happen in a neighboring state, any station could respond. For me personally if I feel safe in my home town I feel that our nation is safe. There are no “alerts” in the surrounding area.

3/6/2009

Kristin
GAHS, Greencastle, PA
I believe that our nation’s security is an important issue that we need to focus on. The government can not afford another national crisis such as September 11th or any other terrorist attack. In my small town, I personally feel safe, and at the current point in time, I also feel safe on a national level. Yes, crimes occur everyday every where around the world, but nothing too major has occurred recently to have US citizens paranoid about being attacked. Local law enforcers do their job the best they can, as do government officials whose job is to protect the citizens of the nation. I’m not sure if local enforcement could impact our nation security, but any small contribution could help. The longer the nation goes without being attacked, the more confidence citizens will have in local and federal law enforcers. Concerning the Iraq issues, I believe that slowly taking the troops out may work, or will hopefully work out to everyone’s benefit. Obama is hoping that the troops will be out of Iraq by the summer of 2010, this may cause conflict with other nations or it may work smoothly for the citizens, the soldiers, and the president. No one can predict the future, so all we can do is be as cautious as we can be.

2/26/2009

Temen Z
Nimitz, Irving/TX
I believe, after some intensive research, that national security does not affect me on the local level. However, because of my proximity to Dallas, which is a hot spot for potential terrorist activity, it definitely makes me wonder if there will ever be a dirty bomb that goes off near me. Or maybe that is my paranoia. My mother tells me I'm safe, and I believe her.

2/26/2009

Brooke
Nimitz High School, Irving, TX
I feel that using local law enforcement as a whole to help with national security will be helpful because they have a smaller area to focus on than the national government. Because of this, the local government can commit more of their time to securing our borders and improving flaws in our foreign policy.

2/26/2009

Morgan M.
Nimitz High School, Irving, TX
Would you pull a fireman out of a burning house right before he was about to save an entrapped child? Exactly. So why exactly is pulling troops from Iraq a good idea? Using our local law enforcement to be our front lines of national security is an uneasy alternative for our safety. Local law was created to insure the safety of our town and homes. Training them to defend our country is a good idea- but not to use them as our only frontier. They should be used in events of national emergency- such as another 9/11. I am not saying that there is any impending doom threatening our country, but we should be prepared for such acts. There is comfort in knowing that my home and city are secure, while at the same time my country and lifestyle are secure due to efforts overseas.

2/20/2009

Martin S
Stroudsburg Junior High School, Stroudsburg, PA
I think integrating local police and fire departments will help address nation security threats very much because we will be able to have a greater amount of people on the job that will be able to help. I think anyone that is an illegal immigrant should be given the right and chance to become a citizen, but possible terrorists should be apprehended. I think the withdrawal of our troops from Iraq is a great idea and increasing them in Afghanistan is good as well since most of our combat is going on there right now. This will help our unstable economy and give us more hope for a brighter future.

2/20/2009

Shawn
SJHS, Stroudsburg PA
It will make dealing with the threats easier and much faster. Having them integrated and trained in the same protocol really helps in communication and it saves a lot of time. I think the DHS should only start apprehending immigrants with past histories of violence and organized crime. I think Iraq no longer needs our help and that they can do without most of our troops. I also think we should increase troop’s numbers in Afghanistan so we can combat our most current threats. Doing this will also balance our current economic problem.

2/20/2009

Will
Stroudsburg Junior High School, Pennsylvania
By integrating the police and fire departments it will be easier for people and law enforcement to know if people in these divisions are a threat to that town, state, or community. I think that these agencies that are apprehending supposed terrorists should have significant evidence before they actually press charges on these people and ruin their lives. I think this is a good idea for the most part because according to the media Iraq now has a functioning police force and army that can control themselves and th people in Iraq.

2/20/2009

Timmy
Stroudsburg Jr. High, Stroudsburg Pennsylvania
As a United States citizen, I am worried. As of now, 75% of rail roads and buses are not up to security guidelines set by Homeland Security. I will never take a bus any more just for the fact that they are not secure at all. Also illegal immigrants with criminal records are roaming the United States. The ICE has been arresting and deporting fewer and fewer illegal immigrants with criminal records and links to organized crime. I think that our security around the U.S has to get better, because if rail roads and buses aren’t a safe place to travel transportation around the U.S may falter. Also if illegal immigrants with criminal records are roaming around then no one is safe.

2/20/2009

Maegan M.
Stroudsburg Junior High School, Stroudsburg, PA
I think that national security affects us in many different ways on many different levels. First off, I do think that questioning the local police and fire departments will help them help eliminate terrorism. I think that because the police are trained to arrest criminals, and a terrorist is defiantly a criminal. I also think that the Department of Homeland Security should look closer to see if there are people that threaten the lives of others, such as fugitives. If people come to the United States illegally, they should have to go through all of the things that you have to go through to become a legal citizen. As for taking troops out of Iraq and putting them into Afghanistan, I think that is somewhat of a good idea. I think it is a good idea because it would get the troops out of Iraq and that may stop all of the controversy with them. But if you put them if Afghanistan, they still have a chance of being killed; so they should just stay where they are, and fight for our country.

2/20/2009

Hannah C.
Stroudsburg Jr. High, Pennsylvania
National Security affects me at a local level in many ways. I think that local police and fire departments into federal policy will help to address national security threats because as they have stricter rules and begin to be secure in the way things are done people will realize that there can always be a possible situation where a terrorist attack can occur. Yes, I do think Homeland Security should change immigration policy to apprehend fugitives and possible terrorists because it’ll make citizens feel safe that something is being done to create a secure environment. Also, not all immigrants are entering the U.S. to hurt others, but to have a better and more successful life which shouldn’t be a problem for Homeland Security. Withdrawing troops from Iraq and adding troops to Afghanistan is a brilliant idea because now that Iraq seems to have a better hold on their government it’s time to move a step closer to ending the war and defeating Afghanistan, so all troops can come home. The administration should balance threats to our security with economic issues by simply having procedures on what to do if a possible attack is coming and keeping track of those who seem to have terrorist ties.

2/20/2009

Nikolas
SJHS, Pennsylvania
Cooperation between local, state, and Federal agencies is vital to the overall safety of the public. I think that a uniform technique and method of conducting operations will help to smooth out the dilemmas that may have aroused when the different agencies were not unified, and I feel that the new Obama administration will help to ensure the new unification of our defense agencies. I think that the ICE should only apprehend any illegal immigrants. When it comes to them having a criminal record, then the police should charge them with their crimes. Chasing terrorists is not part of their jobs. I believe that the Obama administration should withdraw troops from both Afghanistan and Iraq. The entire reason for extremists fighting us is because of our presence in their holy land. Increasing troops anywhere will not help in any way. This would also give our government billions of more dollars to spend on our economic crisis, our infrastructure, and our debt problems.

2/20/2009

Josh
SJHS, Pennsylvania
I think integrating local police and fire departments into federal policy would make things safe and reduce security threats. I think it would be best if Homeland Security change their immigration policy to apprehending fugitives and possible terrorists because if they do that, there is more of a chance of actually catching terrorists and fugitives instead of arresting every illegal immigrant. I think threats to our security and economic issues go hand in hand , so if we were to balance out those problems we would have a better chance of solving and getting rid of these problems.

2/20/2009

Francisco g
Stroudsburg junior high school , Pensylvannia
I believe that if that concept of police and fire department coming in effect with the policy will help tremendously. Police are trained to notice things quickly, even transit authority. The more security can prevent a lot of things even though its possible the possibility is not likely. Immigrants can do many thing because the government doesn’t have information on them. We should be more strict on that policy. The troops that are in those countries can be used else where. If there are still fire fights that go on just keep troops in Iraq. We have been losing many troops towards the beginning of war but now things are still bad but the conditions have lowered. If the threats are balanced with economic issues they have nothing to do with each other.

2/20/2009

Zach S.
Stroudsburg Junior High School, Stroudsburg, PA
I think that intergrating local police and fire departments into federal policy will help address national security because then the local police could help more if there was a terrorist threat. I also think that Homeland Security’s focus on apprehending criminals and possible terrorists is more important than just trying to find any illegal immigrants. Withdrawing troops for Iraq and increasing troops in Afghanistan is good because not must is being accomplished in Iraq now so I think its time the military moved. The administration should balance threats to our security with the economic issues by making use of what we currently have and not spend more money.

2/20/2009

Yianni
Stroudsburg Junior HIgh , Stroudsburg, PA
National Security affects me at the local level for several reasons. Several examples are 75% of the rail and bus systems are not up to the security guidelines set by Homeland Security. Also 96 percent of airlines are complying with stricter guidelines the agency set after September 11, 2001.Border security and immigration are other aspects of national security that have a direct impact on local communities. Immigration is one of the biggest issues in the United States. There is not that great of border patrol and immigrants still sneak in.

2/20/2009

Luara H
Stroudsburg Junior High School, Stroudsburg Pennsylvania
I think that the changes in national security are going to be beneficial to our country as a whole, and to the individual safety of the United States’ citizens. The increased communication in the Department of Homeland Security will make the efforts of local police and fire departments more effective. If local, state, and national systems are working in a consistent and communicative manner, law enforcement will be a much easier task. I also agree with the fact that when dealing with illegal immigrants the priority should be to remove possible fugitives from our country due to the undeniable threat they pose to citizens. However, just because the priority should be getting dangerous illegal immigrants out of the country does not mean that the other illegal immigrants should be ignored and allowed a free stay in our country, if caught they should also be penalized. The fact that troops are being moved out of Iraq is a positive decision because our country needs to let Iraq get on it’s own feet, we cannot do everything for them. The detention centers being shut down is a positive and negative thing. In some extreme cases, I believe that they are needed when the country’s safety is at risk.

2/20/2009

Kevin S.
Stroudsburg JHS, Pennsylvania
I believe that integrating local police and fire departments into federal policy will help with the national security threats. If we were to integrate them both, then there would be fewer threats because the terrorists would feel as though the national security would be strong and they wouldn’t want to put them at risk for being deported or facing criminal charges. I think that Homeland Security should change the immigration policy because if it were working or effective, we wouldn’t be facing the problems we have now. If the immigration policy were to be update or changed completely, it would be the change we would need for this country. My concerns about withdrawing troops from Iraq completely, the Iraqis will go backwards instead of heading forward. I believe that we should reduce the amount of troops, but still have some troops stay in Iraq. I am completely for increasing the number of troops in Afghanistan because I feel as though they were the main problem with the September 11th terrorist attacks and that we haven’t paid too much attention to them as a country. The administration should balance the threats by putting the money that we wouldn’t be using in Iraq with the money we need to maintain a stable economy and let this country grow as a whole.

2/20/2009

Kaila D.
Stroudsburg JHs, Stroudsburg, PA
Integrating local police and fire departments into federal policy will help address national security threats simply by having more protection, security and will most likely reduce or stop the problem. Homeland Security should change the policy, because the process will be sped up and they will have more cooperation from the training of local agencies. Also, the DHS will work with more local authorities to identify suspects. This process will most likely be more effective. I agree with taking some troops out of Iraq, but I’m not so sure about the significant numbers, the numbers might be too high. However, I do think it’s time to let Iraq take some more of their own responsibility and deal with it themselves. By outing more troops in Afghanistan, it may balance out the threats made, but I don’t know how many troops we can afford to put there now, even if we were to take them from Iraq, especially with our increasing debt numbers

2/20/2009

james
stroudsburg jr. high, Stroudsburg, pennsylvania
Integrating local police and fire departments into federal policy will help address national security threats because, it will gain the power of our nation and it helps put our nation on watch because, the more federal policies we have will help us be more aware of threats going on. I don’t think homeland security should change their immigration policy because; if the homeland security thinks that some people are terrorist that’s there guess and the people shouldn’t be judge. I don’t think that we should put troops in Afghanistan because first of all it’s not our fight. Also I think that we should pull troops out of both places because it’s ruining our government.

2/20/2009

Trevor I
GAHS, Greencastle Pennsylvania
I think integrating our security on a local level is very important. The more people we have for each job makes it that much easier to secure our cities and in return make our country more secure. It would also help us out of this economic crisis that we are in. There would be thousands of jobs created by increasing our security at a local level. It would decrease our unemployment rate and stimulate our economy in a positive way.

2/20/2009

Grant M
GAHS, Greencastle PA
Martin S... can you explain how integrating the fire department and police force will help anything in regards to national security moreso than it already is? Is there a problem with our current system that we do not have enough people on the job when an incident occurs? All  think this would do is make state payrolls higher for paying the fireman and make our tax dollars rise... Also Martin don't you think more illegal immigrants will cross into the US if they're given a "fair chance at citizenship"? Why do they deserve this chance? they are entering the country illegally...Don't we already apprehend possible terrorists Martin? Don't you think it would make the situation worse to allow illegal immigrants in and give them a chance at citizenship? how exactly do you plan on seeking out these possible terrorists Martin? Finally Martin how does sending more troops to Afganistan help our unstable economy?

2/19/2009

Jennifer
Nimitz High School, Irving
How it would affect me at the local level would make me feel safer. It would make me feel safer if I knew that the police or “Law Enforcement” did their jobs better to make the community safe and have less terrorist attacks anywhere in the United States. Also by making sure all the public transportation was working well and safe to get on without worrying if something will happen today. It gives me a sense of security that I will not be attacked by someone riding on the bus one day. I also think that it would make anyone have a sense of security if they knew that it was safe all the time.

2/19/2009

Ashley R. Pd. 2
Northeast High School, Philadelphia Pa
I think combining local law enforcement with national security is a good idea. It opens more jobs and gives local law enforcement agencies the chance to move up the latter and work with national security. Using local law enforcement will benefit us in the long run. I think by handling foreign policy now will help because in the long run we will not have to deal with it.

2/18/2009

Laura
Nimitz High School, Irving, TX
Law Enforcement: I don't think that combining local police and fire departments will help with the issue of national security. It would definitely help make cities or counties safer, but having the police station and the fire station on walkie-talkies to each other is not going to help with threats from terrorists; it's a good plan to keep a city or metroplex safe, but not practical when it comes to protecting the country as a whole. Guantanamo Bay: If our country believes in due process of law, a speedy trial, not being arrested or held without proof, and no cruel or unusual punishment, then why is it ok for us to openly administer these principles in our prisons? You can't say one thing and then do the complete opposite. The law is in place for everyone, including criminals. Whether they deserve it or not is a different Speak Out altogether. The War: Why is everyone in such an uproar about ending the war when the troops are pretty much just being transfered to somewhere else? Yes, we're trying to end the war in Iraq, which many agree has gone on for too long, but we're also increasing troops in Afghanistan! I'd say the biggest advantage is the 12 billion a month we'll save. But as for the troops, they could very well be relocated to another front. I feel like one cancels out the other. Immigrants: It's impossible to locate and evacuate every illegal immigrant, so if we want to focus on something, I guess the best idea would be to find the dangerous ones.

2/18/2009

Javier M.
Nimitz, Irving, Tx
Local and national agencies working together would definitely soothe the minds of many Americans in the way of security. Both of them working towards a single goal, using all the resources available instead of a partial few, could slow criminal activity all around. The borders would be more secure, and terrorists would have a much harder time moving next door. Fear would not be alleviated, however. Due to the raise in security, the people not soothed will look on with a renewed paranoia; after all, if the situation was bad enough to warrant this situation, what could come next? The long run is what I am looking at here. There is a large possibility that doing this might turn the entire country into a fear soaked nation, despite being secure to the point of the loss of liberties. This is a complex system, and it is unknown what might happen... perdition, we may end up inviting the terrorists to try harder.

2/18/2009

Lora M.
Nimitz High School, Irving, TX
Using local law enforcement for security will help to raise national security in the long run. When local departments are in charge of city safety, then the country at large will be safer. Working together on small things, to make one big thing happen is exactly what Obama is trying to do. In the long run, this will help our country to handle national security and foreign policy by knowing how to work together.

2/18/2009

Amanda S.
Nimitz High School, Irving, Texas
I am not quite sure what to think about Barack Obama taking our local forces and making them into national security. Will it be beneficial to our country as a unit? It might be, but then again it might just be a waist of money. We already have a national guard that we use as national security in times of need. Maybe, though, it might just be beneficial to our entire country. This might just help us out to become a safer country. My opinion on this entire operation though, is to not only concentrate on our countries safety, but also where we stand economically. The questions our president needs to ask him self is not only how safe is our nation, but how is this plan going to effect us even more during our economic crisis? I am not so sure how well this plan will work out, or of how well though out this plan was.

2/18/2009

Javier G
Chester W. Nimitz High School, Irving, Texas
I believe that having local fire and police departments synced up with national agencies such as FBI,CIA,NSA, will be greatly beneficial. If all the associations are on the same page, communicating will be easier, and more efficient. I consider the issue of immigration both a local and national concern. Not only is it effecting The United States as a whole, it is effecting me in Texas. If our nation is secure how then can our state, or even our community be secure. The better a local agency can communicate with a national agency, the better our nation can be protected.

2/18/2009

Aleigha
Nimitz, Irving, Tx
Safety is a key part of a happy country. Not only do people need to feel safe on a national level, they also need to feel as secure as possible on the local level. Stepping up law enforcement on a local level will ensure our citizens' safety. When people feel safe locally, they will have more faith in our nation. Stepping up law enforcement will reduce crime locally and nationally. When there is less crime in our nation, we can focus more on protecting our nation from other threats. With the citizens safe, we can come together and help protect our nation.

2/18/2009

Jose
Nimitz High , Irving TX
I believe that Irving is not a target for terrorism, but I think that these really make us feel secure, I know sometimes it looks like the Goverment exaggerates with the terrorism laws, but that is how we need to act in these days.

2/18/2009

Javier G
Chester W. Nimitz High School, Irving, Texas
I believe that having local fire and police departments synced up with national agencies such as FBI,CIA,NSA, will be greatly beneficial. If all the associations are on the same page, communicating will be easier, and more efficient. I consider the issue of immigration both a local and national concern. Not only is it effecting The United States as a whole, it is effecting me in Texas. If our nation is secure how then can our state, or even our community be secure. The better a local agency can communicate with a national agency, the better our nation can be protected.

2/18/2009

Dung
Nimitz High School, Irving, TX
Incorporating local agencies with national security will strengthen our nation as a whole. With our focus at the local level, we can train officers and firefighters to be more aware and more prepared. Plans for evacuation and/or plans for rescue will be quicker – more efficient. Local security can alleviate crime rate, thus influencing the national quality of life. With the safety of cities secured, the country itself will feel safer. I think in the end, what matters the most is how the citizens feel. With cooperation of local agencies with national security, the citizens will have a sense of empowerment and alertness. Although danger from external forces will not dissolve, citizens will be ready.

2/18/2009

Javier M.
Nimitz, Irving, Tx
Local and national agencies working together would certainly smooth the minds of many American citizens in the way of security. Both of them heading towards the same goal, using all of their combined resources instead of a partial few, would provide a dramatic increase in protecting our borders and our people. Terrorists would will find its a tougher time moving in now than it was. Fear will not be diminished, however. The ones not soothed by this new security will have only grown a new paranoia; after all, if the situation was bad enough to warrant this, how far can it go? This, in the long run, evolve into a security system that protects at the cost of liberties. The movements of national governments is a complex system, where few can predict the consequences of today... who knows, the entire thing might entice the terrorists to try harder.

2/18/2009

Javier G
Chester W. Nimitz High School, Irving, Texas
I believe that having local fire and police departments synced up with national agencies such as FBI,CIA,NSA, will be greatly beneficial. If all the associations are on the same page, communicating will be easier, and more efficient. I consider the issue of immigration both a local and national concern. Not only is it effecting The United States as a whole, it is effecting me in Texas. If our nation is secure how then can our state, or even our community be secure. The better a local agency can communicate with a national agency, the better our nation can be protected.

2/18/2009

Celeste M.
Nimitz, Irving, TX
By federalizing local police and fire departments, they'll be granted more funding than they currently have. Due to the lack of funds, these departments have had to make cut backs on the amount of hard working people they employ, so if they were eligible to receive federal funds in addition to local funds, then there could be more police and fire fighters employed and that would make the streets safer.

2/18/2009

Anna S.
Nimitz, Irving TX
If we tighten homeland security on the terrorist front, it will have a double effect. There may be more terrorists caught and fewer actual threats, but this can also lead to more false arrests. False arrests lead to angry people and angry people like to take out their anger on the object causing said anger. Like the US.

2/18/2009

Samantha
Nimitz HS, Irving/TX
Having local security will be good because that means that everybody will work together and will know how everything is being handled; and won't be worried if they don't know what is going on. Because if everyone is on the same page then they can work together to protect the community and the U.S.

2/18/2009

HaninM,,PD5
NEHS, Philadelphia,PA
Using local agencies will be chaotic lots of citizens are suspicious and racist, they would put innocent people in danger or will make the agencies stalk and track people down. It has happened before and could still go on. Unless the national security doesn't violate anyone than it may improve the the countries safety issue. It might help by improving blighted areas and reduce illegal business but than people will always be smarter and go around the police. I mean there hasn't been any big improvements over the years.In fact I believe everything has gone worse due to the economy. Unfortunately people are still dying, illegal equipment is still around and manages to continue. Amongst the innocent eventually becomes a criminal to survive.

2/18/2009

Jeremy D.
Nimitz High School, Irving, TX
Using local agencies will help locally but not nationally. Local agencies can not keep any national threat away. They can help keep or cities and counties safer but not our nation from serious threats. I do not think that it will help our country handle national security and foreign policy issues at all. Local agencies do not have any impact on our foreign policies. They are two totally different aspects to our nation.

2/17/2009

Danh D.
Nimitz High School, Irving, TX
National security is such a thoroughly discussed issue in such a chaotic and hazardous society. President Obama's emphasis on local security can prove to be very beneficial to help mitigate the threats that dwell in our country. Some people say that to solve a problem, you have to get to the root of it. Obviously, the root is at the local level. By having local agencies countrywide reduce the levels of crime and raise security, it would be impossible for anything to escalate from local and onward. In the long run, people will practice precautionary security measures, promoting a safer environment. As safe as the country would be, local measures still would not help from outer forces, but it is a start.

2/17/2009

Kat
Corry High, Corry,PA
Using local agencies will most likely increase security, but is it reall what we need? Most Americans might feel threatened by this action. It sounds like a dictatorship to me. Does it mean that busses will be video taped, passports will be installed with a tracking unit? If America decides to become an isolationist again then I will most certainly not support this.

2/17/2009

Noel A.
Nimitz HS, Irving,TX
National security does not affect me in a local level, but national security is an issue that cannot be taken lightly in a world that is very unstable and chaotic. Nowadays, extremists do not care about what city they hit as long as they cause turbulence in people's lives. This is why I believe it is a great idea to let local agencies join the fight in protecting our entire country. Local agencies will help with national security issues because every American will get quick responses in emergency situations instead of waiting for a national representative from a broader security task force. Using local agencies will help handle national security issues by speeding up the emergency responses to towns big and small, and it will help handle foreign policy issues by having a broader range of opinions of what the country should do in emergency situations.

2/17/2009

Marcos
Nimitz High School, Irving, Tx
The true question of this matter doesn't lie in whether the new combination of local and national law enforcement will increase national security. Asking that is like asking if sending more guns to the Middle East will help us win the war, or if increasing domestic production will help the economy, or if transforming into a younger Brad Pitt would get me a date (the answer to all four being yes.) The root of all these matters lies, not in the cause and effect equation, but rather in the implications of sparking these catalysts. If the government were to work efficiently with all levels sharing, communicating, and maybe even having a big government picnic; the nation would definitely enjoy a heightened sense of security, but it wouldn't come without the price of a tighter government grip around our lives. Whether or not America should support this new marriage between all law enforcement levels is a very delicate issue hinging on where exactly the line is drawn between liberty and safety. Because Americans are so variable in their stance on an acceptable sacrifice of both values, this issue has the possibility of being both a beneficial act protecting our unalienable or a perverted ideal resulting in the loss of the very freedom's we aim to protect. With a government that is continually becoming more centralized and involved in our day to day lives it is nearly, if not equally as important, to monitor its domestic actions as it is to monitor foreign threats. If the government were to repeat the trend shown with the ICE-DHS union (an instance where the government strayed from its initially declared goal of only deporting illegal aliens with criminal records) this increase in power could result in the government taking similar liberties in turn, taking our liberty. Now in all likelihood, this one act will not result in the catastrophic desecration of the Union, but it does serve as a reminder, that in this post 9/11 society, we must be wary of not only ensuring our physical security but also the safety of our rights.

2/17/2009

Lizeth
Nimitz, Irving/Tx
Having the local agencies working together with national security will make our country safer. By having local agencies reduce the quantity of delinquency and raise awareness throughout our country will help us with our national security. This will help us in the long run by providing a safer place for us to live.

2/17/2009

Colin S.
Nimitz, Irving, Texas
Security is a big issue that the country needs to take into account. There have been many threats in the country in the past. If we increase the levels of security at the local level, we can reduce the risks of any thing going at a larger scale. Practicing security measures now will help in the future, helping us avoid any more threats.

2/17/2009

Ali M.
Nimitz, Irving, TX
The national security of the usa is already at a fair level, but can be improved a lot. A good way to improve it would be improving it where we are now: in the cities, locally. Local security is something that the country does not emphasize enough and doing so can help reinforce the level and reliability of security in the country.

2/16/2009

Lisbeth
Nimitz, Irving, Texas
By having local agencies helping national security any loose ends in our security system will be tightly bonded. Whatever we know that is happening “nationally” is somewhere happening “locally” too, therefore local law enforcement should be on the same page as the national agenda as far as what to do and how to fix it. This will really help the country in the long run to be able to discover any flaws in the way we are secured at a local level, making it clearer as what we need to do to fix any flaws at the national level. This will make our country stronger and better able to help other countries that are not.

2/16/2009

Jessica P
Nimitz High School, Irving, Texas
By combining local agencies and national security the United States of America will become a much safer country. Unifying the security to not only the national level, but local level. This will broaden the scope of what is going on in the world increasing the awareness for Americans. In the long run America will be known as a secure country. A country full of unity can withstand terrorism and dominate.

2/16/2009

R.A.
Northeast High School, Philadelphia,Pa
Well, I think that the new step that the president has taken to secure our nation will help prolong a safer and more secure nations, definitely. I also beleive that by him using local agencies the people of those communities will fell more protected in that they are actively combating the high crime rates in those cities, for example Philadelphia is one of those communities, and the people here will greatly appreciate more attention to the violence being taken place daily. Regarding the foriegn policy issues, I will have to disagree with president's tactics. We should be more focused on our nation and make it our primary task. my point is yes we should help other nations with their problems but not intervene to the extreme like we did in Iraq, it's just going to cause more problems that we dont need to focus on right now. In conclusion I think hes making ground breaking steps in helping our country become the best nation that everyone used to look up to and respect. There's only good things to come for us. And I'm glad that my generation is a part of it.

2/14/2009

Maxine
Nimitz High School, Irving, TX
Using local agencies in conjuction with national security is one of the brightest security policies yet. By making 100% sure that every member of law enforcement is on the exact same page ensures the highest standard of safety we could possibly reach. In the matter of foreign issues, the United States will now be a country with a united front. It isn't a battle of 50 states vs. terrorism, or thousands of U.S. cities vs. terrorism it is The United States vs. terrorism. By coming together, we can fight it.

2/13/2009

Delanee
Nimitz, Irving, TX
Incorporating local police and fire departments in on what federal policy is doing will increase the security because it puts all divisions on the same project, using the same tactics. If they are not working all for the same goal, they are unable to complete the tasks underway to the best of their ability. Which inevitably weakens our security. As for immigration, why send those back who are working to better their lives and helping our work force by taking jobs many Americans wouldn't? We should focus on those that pose a threat to our families and friends. The troops in Iraq have done there jobs and are now looking to turn it over to the Iraqi government. With the withdrawal of troops in Iraq we can focus on and send more money to Afghanistan, where there is still fighting going on and it is not secure. By properly distributing money and getting everyone on the same page to work towards the same destination, we should be able to apply these things to the correction of our security and economy.

2/13/2009

Stephanie
Nimitz HS., Irving/TX
Using local agencies to help our national security will make this country safer. Also joining the national and the local security together will keep American citizens alarm and well notified on what is going on in our country. America will also be a harder country to attack making America safer and more aware.

2/13/2009

Nury
Nimitz, Irving,Tx.
Local law enforcement will help the national security. People will feel very safe if they know that all the local authorities will be watching out for any thing suspicious. It will be help in the long run because if any terrorist act happens the local authorities and citizens will be ready to act.

2/13/2009

John L. pd 5
Northeast High, Philadelphia, PA
I do believe that using local agencies to help with national security will make the country safer because I believe that we need all the help we can get. With the economy the way it is now, crime rates have increased dramatically, and without the help of local agencies, these crimes can eventually lead to the importation of illegal weapons. Having local agencies trained and used as front line in national security would also be a good idea. If local agencies are well trained, then it would give other countries the message that our country is well secured and might have them thinking twice before being a threat to us.

2/12/2009

Alaria
Nimitz, Irving, TX
If the local and the national government are on the same page and working together it will keep the people even more safe from terrorism. The more law enforcement we have handling our security the better. This will help us in the long run because it will be harder for terrorist and illegal immigrants to enter our borders. Our country will become a harder place to infiltrate and attack.

2/12/2009

EkeemT
University City High School, Philadelphia, PA
I think using local agencies to help with the national security will make the country safer. Because I think making the country safer should be the first priority and everything should come next ,so they should use the local agencies to help the nation.

2/11/2009

Mario
Nimitz HS, Irving TX
In most cases I would say that the issue of national security is on a broader scale and my mid size town of Irving doesn't seem to be on any terrorist hot lists. This however, is a new age and we see that anyone can become a target. I think using local forces like police make for a more personal and sometimes easrier way to prepare in case of an emergency if anything it can make us more aware and we can be on alert for any lurking danger.

2/11/2009

Channin H
University City HS, Philadelphia, PA
I think it is good because alot of places are in need of national security. And to make sure everyone is safe and informed about whats going on around some places.

2/11/2009

Christina
uchs, philly
I think that the national security is going to help us cause then it going to let police do there job better.

2/10/2009

Taylor C.
Nimitz High School, Irving, Texas
The National Security affect us locally by providing safer grounds for Americans. They have prepared to make local improvements including safer transportation, deporting immigrants with criminal records, reducing the number of troops in Iraq, and closing Guantanamo Bay. These decisions made by National Security will impact Americans all over the country.

2/9/2009

Haug, B 5th
NEHS, Phila
I dont think it is even a tiny bit of a good idea. There is a reason there are seperate securities. You have grocery store security, are you going to put him in the force too? We have lost enough local officers and soldiers, to risk putting others in even greater danger. Putting too much on one officer or one person is too great of a risk, and posting this out to the world is only a welcome for more attacks.

2/8/2009

Alaria W.
Nimitz, Irving, TX
I think that starting national security at the local level will make the country safer because it will reach people who wouldn't know what to do in case of a crisis. It wouls also make sure the everyone is well informed and on the same page. In the long run this will make for a better, safer, smarter American.

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