National Security

Americas Most Relevant Concern

COMM 205 - 502 (Group 3)

This flyer was authored by the following (in Subject Order):

TJ Titone, Raegan Peck, Gena Gillispie, Alma Turgeon, and Ryan Dietzius.

The Growing Threat of Terrorism in the US

Think back to 9/11. Think about all of the panic and madness that went along with it. You wouldn’t want that to all happen again. I know I wouldn’t. According to an article from PBS, 2014 was the biggest year for terrorism [3]. Global terrorism is on the rise and the US is danger of being the next victim. This section will provide you with how terrorism has been rising, the threat on the US, and why we should be concerned.
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Terrorism has been growing over the years. As you can see from these graphs above from the Global Terrorism Index, terrorism has been increasing since 2000 and sprung up even more in the recent years [1]. The top graph is deaths from terrorism and the bottom graph is number of terrorist attacks. There is a correlation in graphs when major events happen, such as how the numbers on both graphs begin to skyrocket when the Syrian civil war breaks out. So now we ask ourselves what helps them grow? Many organizations are funded by countries that support them and from things such as smuggling crude oil. The money they receive helps them obtain new weaponry and technology and improves their budget for their attacks. Terrorism is continuing to grow substantially and is posing a major global threat.

An example of a major terrorist organization who is threatening the US is ISIS. If you don't know who ISIS is, it stands for Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. ISIS emerged from Al-Qaeda and is currently the largest terrorist organization in the world. They receive the majority of their money from smuggling oil as well as from supports in the region and worldwide. They are perhaps most famous recently for their attacks in Paris which killed 130 consisting of a bombing and shootings. As you probably don't know, ISIS has also made threats recently on the US. According to the Huffington Post, a video shared by ISIS said as we struck France in the center of its abode in Paris, then we swear that we will strike America at its center in Washington” [2]. Also, in this video below from released by ISIS shows a suicide bomber getting ready to bomb Time Square in New York City [4] (second video when you visit the cite).

So why should we be concerned about these threats? We should be concerned for obvious reasons: We all obviously don’t want to die or see our loved ones die, and we don't want that kind of terror on our soil. Most people don’t seem to care though. I know I don’t go about my day thinking about possible terrorist attacks. But we do need to be concerned. We don’t want another 9/11 type attack and everything else associated with it. I know this can be frightening, but don't start feeling to venerable because according to an ABC News article, “security is ramping up across the country. There is a heavy police presence in Times Square. U.S. Park Police have also increased patrols to protect ‘treasured icons’” [5]. So our country is taking action on the threats, but our people aren't educated on the situation. We don't want to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. So we must be aware.

To summarize, this section provided you with how terrorism has been rising, the threat on the US, and why we should be concerned. The threat of terrorism is here and it is evident that the US will most likely be the next victim of a major terrorist attack. We are in danger of another 9/11 and we must be aware threat before its too late for our great nation. May God bless America.

Works Cited

[1] "Global Terrorism Index 2015." Vision of Humanity. Institute for Economics and Peace, 1 Nov. 2015. Web. 3 Dec. 2015. <>

[2] "Islamic State Threatens to Attack Washington." The World Post. The Huffington Post, 16 Nov. 2015. Web. 2 Dec. 2015. <>

[3] Costa-Roberts, Daniel. "4 Surprising Facts from the 2015 Global Terrorism Index." PBS Newshour. PBS, 23 Nov. 2015. Web. 23 Nov. 2015. <>

[4] Prince, Sam. "WATCH: ISIS Threatens NYC With Suicide Bomber in New Video." 18 Nov. 2015. Web. 2 Dec. 2015. <>

[5] Thomas, Pierre. "ISIS Threatens to Attack Washington in New Video." ABC News. ABC News Network, 16 Nov. 2015. Web. 2 Dec. 2015. <>

Social Media

Social media is a common tool in today's world. As many people use it as a way to keep in touch with friends and make contacts, it can also be used as a weapon. Social media is something that is extremely powerful. Sensitive information is being spread quickly over social media and terrorists are using it to their advantage. Social media poses as a threat to national security on a worldly and national level but we can use it could also be used as a tool.

Social media has been used as a way for terrorists groups to communicate.

Forbes quotes President Obama in saying that “ social media and the internet are the primary ways in which terrorist organizations communicate”. Forbes also claims that companies such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, etc. have helped Al-Qaeda and Isis fund-raise, recruit, indoctrinate and train new terrorists. Al-Qaeda terrorists used social media to distribute material anonymously and to meet in "dark spaces". Isis has also used social media to create hype for their terroristic actions by uploading direct videos of them in action. When Isis showed the beheading of the American journalist, it created an roar on social media. Financial Times claims “Isis has succeeded in creating hype with over 700,000 twitter accounts discussing the terrorist group”. Isis even mastered not making their videos too graphically violent so that their videos would not be taken down but rather capitalizing on the western freedom of expression. Below is a graph showing Isis's recent spike in social media posts per month.

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For more information on how terrorists use social media:

Social Media has also been used as a way to also create american uproar. Sunday Leader claims that “hostile social media user groups can propagate extremist ideologies among target groups such as youths to radicalize and mobilize them”. Ideas will explode and statements will be misinterpreted and lead to completely false facts about current events on US soil. Very few people will take time to fact check. Whether justified or not, many people will post on social media out of anger and create an uproar. People will bandwagon onto ideas shared on social media and something small will turn into something huge and begin a riot. Examples of this was the Ferguson and Baltimore riots. Mass destruction was caused because of social media outrage. Social media has made our society a lot less civil.

Social media's role in the Baltimore riot

Works Cited

Carmon, Yigal, and Steven Stalinsky. "Terrorist Use Of U.S. Social Media Is A National Security Threat." Forbes. Forbes Magazine. 3 Dec. 2015. Print.

Dodamgoda, Dinesh. "Social Media Threat Or Opportunity?" Social Media Threat Or Opportunity? The Sunday Leader. Web. 3 Dec. 2015.

Hannigan, Robert. "The Web Is a Terrorist’s Command-and-control Network of Choice -" Financial Times. 3 Nov. 2013. Web. 3 Dec. 2015.

"National Security and Science of Networks." War 2.0. Web. 3 Dec. 2015.

"Social Media's Role in the Baltimore Riot." YouTube. YouTube. Web. 8 Dec. 2015.

Global Relations

The United States, as a nation, must interact with the world. The formation of allies and other global relations is important to keep our economy running. However, sometimes these relations can be stressed by different situations and threaten our national security. There are currently two countries that are in questionable positions with America, Russia and China.

Russia and America are currently treating each other in almost the same way as during the Cold War. There has been secrecy and questionable choices made by both sides. Even though they regard each other as friends, it's more that they just acknowledge the others presence. The Huffington Post quotes the United States Air Force Secretary saying "I do consider Russia to be the biggest threat." This shows that there is concern for the actions that Russia could take.One of the biggest concerns is the nuclear threat from Russia that has not subsided since the Cold War. America and Russia own the most nuclear weapons in the world. Both countries are prepared at any time to fire those weapons if they feel threatened. This creates tensions, knowing that there is a possibility of that kind of an attack. The recent issues involving the Ukraine and the Crimean Peninsula have added to the distrust between America and Russia. This incident showed that Russia was willing to take actions that the United States disagree with. Despite these disagreements the evolution of a common enemy in ISIS has prompted collaboration. Putin has agreed to help the U.S. and other nations in defeating this threat.

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China is the other country with a struggling relationship toward the United States. China is in a position to overtake America as a world power. Their economy has been growing significantly along with their large population. The political power they already possess has made America wary of their actions. The South China Sea is a place where the relationship between the U.S. and China is strained the most. China has laid claimed to areas of this region that are international waters or belong to some of our other allies. They have moved into the area by creating islands and establishing military posts. They pose a threat to our allies and are pushing boundaries of international law. If America tests these claims that China has laid, China may take military action against them. On the other hand, if America backs off and allows China to do this it gives China more political power. Whatever action takes place, it makes a statement for the rest of the world.

These types of situations are complex and it is hard to see what solution would be best. However the first approach should be to have peaceful delegations. Each country should try to see the position of the other while also explaining their own requests. All countries rely somewhat on each other to keep their economies running, so it is important to maintain relationships. The main objective should always be to avoid war.

Map of South China Sea

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Works Cited

Cleveland, Mary. 'Dead Empires: How China May Overtake The U.S.'. The Huffington Post. N.p., 2015. Web. 1 Dec. 2015.

Pickrell, Ryan. 'The Tipping Point: Has The U.S.-China Relationship Passed The Point Of No Return?'. The National Interest. N.p., 2015. Web. 1 Dec. 2015.

The Huffington Post,. 'Air Force Head Considers Russia 'Biggest Threat' To U.S. National Security'. N.p., 2015. Web. 1 Dec. 2015.

VOA (Voice of America),. 'Putin: US-Russia Ties Key To Global Solutions'. N.p., 2015. Web. 1 Dec. 2015.

Border Security

The U.S./Mexico border security has been a huge issue since the 1980s which was when we started treating “effectively all border incursions as equal threats to the homeland.” [4] When we began having this mindset, it became harder for even citizens of the U.S. to be accepting of immigrants who were maybe here looking for a job, not having ill intentions like the smaller percent of people who were smuggling drugs or even taking part in human trafficking.

Ever since then, the U.S. has been adamant about spending on border security, which includes increased fence coverage and an extremely significant increase in the amount of agents since the 1980s; there are nearly 20,000 border patrol agents today.

The chart below [5], depicts the significant volume of immigrants the U.S. has had to apprehend just at the border, starting around the 1990s where millions of immigrants were apprehended per year with about 9,000 agents in 2005, to more recent years where there are over double the amount of agents with fewer apprehensions spread amongst themselves. [5]

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Despite this increase in fence and agent security, we are still at risk because of the violence that occurs at and near the border. In El Paso, a threat written to police by a drug cartel was found that read “Plata or Plomo” which is Spanish for “Silver or Lead” (this is shown in the photograph below). [2] Essentially, this was a threat to border agents that if they didn’t accept the cartel’s bribe/threat to cross the border without having their vehicles checked, they would be assassinated. As you can see in the picture, the cartels used a mannequin to depict a beheading and hanging of what was supposed to be an American businessman. Cartels, sadly, "practice" this with actual human beings and leave their bodies hanging along highways in Mexico. This is something that no one in the U.S. should have to witness or fall prey to, so something needs to be done about this.
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In addition to violence at the border, another issue I will mention before proposing solutions is the presence of "anchor babies". These are children that are born in the United States without legalized parents that qualify for taxpayer benefits in the U.S. [3] This happens because the child then has birthright citizenship. This was highlighted as an issue within the past year when drug lord "El Chapo" made public his intentions to have his pregnant girlfriend give birth in California so that he would essentially have the right to stay on U.S. territory. Not only do anchor babies bring dangerous and, sometimes, at-risk families into the U.S. at the border, but they also cost the U.S. taxpayers billions of dollars per year with free public schooling, food stamps, and welfare generally available to the families of these "anchor babies".

Possible Solutions

In 2011, Mexico reached an all time high of homicides with 23,000 in the year. [1] After the legalization of marijuana in the United States, this number dropped significantly to 15,649 in 2014. Because most violence and danger at the border is due to drug cartels trying to cross under the radar, it is very likely that this drop in murders was due to the drop in demand for illegal drugs, resulting from legalization. So, without a doubt, it is extremely likely that marijuana will become legal in the 50 states in the near future. With this in mind, why not embrace this and create a trade between Mexico and the U.S. (with legal, tested drugs) that will not only create a billion dollar industry for both countries (in my opinion) but will help Americans feel safe about consuming tested marijuana (no more illegal drugs without any regulation) and can potentially eliminate the threat the U.S. faces at the border.
For further reading, the article below shows some of the benefits, at the border and in law enforcement in both the U.S. and Mexico, that have resulted from the legalization of marijuana in the U.S.
As for anchor babies, I encourage you to support policy that allows birthright citizenship to children that have at least one parent who is at least a permanent resident. This ensures that the family with the child is here on a more permanent basis with good intentions, not just to take advantage of our public help system. This can potentially decrease the amount of illegal immigration within the U.S. and can save billions of taxpayer dollars from going to people who are not citizens.
So in summary, I talked about

  • The amount of resources that the U.S. has invested in border security
  • The danger we still face at the border despite the amount of resources we've invested
  • Anchor babies
  • A potential trade agreement to help eliminate the threat of cartels at the border
  • A potential policy that would give birthright citizenship to children born in the U.S. with at least one parent who is at least a permanent resident

Works Cited

[1] Grillo, Ioan. "U.S. Legalization of Marijuana Has Hit Mexican Cartels' Cross-Border Trade." Time.

Time, 08 Apr. 2015. Web. 02 Dec. 2015.

[2] Hastings, Deborah. "Chilling Cartel-like Warnings with Hanging Mannequins Found on Texas Billboards."

NY Daily News. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 Dec. 2015.

[3] Hirby, James. "Why Is It That Illegal Aliens Get Free Food Stamps, Health Insurance and Pay No Taxes?"

The Law Dictionary. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 Dec. 2015.

[4] Rosenblum, Todd. "The Truth about Border Security (Opinion) -" CNN.

Cable News Network, n.d. Web. 02 Dec. 2015.

[5] "WOLA's Border Fact Check." WOLA's Border Fact Check. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Dec. 2015.

Cyber Security

This last portion is to discuss why the current status of the United States Cyber capability plays into the most important issue facing us today, National Security. We receive thousands of threats every day and the system we have is unable to combat them. This has caused millions of people, department of defense employees and thousands in the private sector to become at risk. The longer we wait the more information will get into the wrong hands. Our lack of federal cyber security is the scariest problem facing our country today and has repercussions discussed in all of the previous sections. This section is going to explain the many holes within our cyber security, recent threats and breaches in the federal system, and the need to solidifying this area of national security to preserve our future as Americans.

The cyber network is suffering from many gaps and mismanagement technicalities that prevents us from protecting our assets. These gaps allow the intruders to gain material only meant for us. According to Allen Hamilton, “In 2014 alone, there were tens of thousands of cyber break-ins effecting the private and public sectors. 67,168 being federal intrusions, a 1,121% increase in cyber break ins, where top security clearance files of workers were breached.” Some of the issues in the cyber network are no brainers to fix but for some reason they still exist. Issues like; Non rigid procedures to help protect national security databases, a lack of oversight of independent Information Technology contractors, and the response time to breaches is slow. The U.S. Accountability Office made a statement regarding certain sections and their vulnerability. “Our biggest areas of weakness include the Security Management Agency, Configuration Management, and Access Controls Agency.”For more information on the gap in the federal cyber division, follow this link...

There have been many recent breaches to our federal systems from other nations like China and Russia. Additionally, there is also a hacking group that undermines our capability within the cyber defense department. To start, China the most prevalent, breached a federal database and stole over 21 million department of defense employees’ personal information to include Social Security Numbers, job designations and information, and training guidelines. After the breach, the agency in charge did not react and try to recover lost information but went to shut down mode locking out all outside access. Completely debilitating the system that millions used to secure their most valuable information and security. Before this incident, Russia breached the White House Computer Network and disrupted many federal services and gained sensitive national information. According to the Washington Post, a member of the House Intelligence Committee stated, “It is clear that a substantial improvement in our cyber databases and defenses is perilously overdue.” The last example derives from the hacktivist group Anonymous. Who makes verbal threats that they will compromise certain companies/government systems well in advance. This just shows how vulnerable our current system and tactics are and how we are incapacitated to changing our cyber infrastructure.

Cyber-attacks will continue and will only grow as this technology gets stronger which poses huge concerns to Americans’ in the future. In an article by Defense One, “Threats facing the United States are now complex and dynamic, more so than at any other time in history.” Federal cyber programs are severely understaffed which is part of the reason why we become debilitated whenever we are breached. Some things of concern for the future include our Military communication network that control broad communication and weapon guidance systems. We are able to communicate to soldiers abroad with the cyber network directing satellites. Also, our smart weapon technology that is able to be precision guided by global positioning is based on the satellite network and the federal cyber network. If we want our way of life to survive in the coming generations we need to become active in this growing technology. This is why American National Security within the cyber network is of the utmost pertinence.

Works Cited

Cyber In-Security: Closing the Federal Talent Gap. Booz Allen, n.d. Web. 2 Dec. 2015. < talent-gap>.

Cybersecurity. U.S. Governmnent Accountability Office, n.d. Web. 2 Dec. 2015. <>.

Nakashima, Ellen. Chinese breach data of 4 million federal workers. The Washington Post, n.d. Web. 2 Dec. 2015. < hackers-breach-federal-governments-personnel-office/2015/06/04/889c0e52-0af7-11e5- 95fd- d580f1c5d44e_story.html>.

Grossman, Elaine M. Top Six Strategic Threats to Worry About in Today’s Global Headlines . N.p., n.d. Web. 2 Dec. 2015. < strategic-threats-worry-about-todays-global-headlines/92000/>.

Solving The Threats To National Security

To help prevent a terrorist attack in the US we must first all spread awareness. These are serious threats that we all must make known. If we can spread the word, more people will want to take again in increasing security across the country. Also, we must vote. People don't seem to vote as much nowadays as they used to. We want our country's foreign affairs based off of what the general populace wants and not just what our nation's leaders want. This is what voting could fix for us. Maybe what our leaders are doing might not be on the same side you believe. We as citizens have the right to vote and it is our duty as citizens. If we can get the word out and get laws passed, we can help prevent possible terror in our great nation.

There is very little you can do to regulate social media. Telegraph claims that twitter suspended over 1 thousand accounts linking to Isis in attempt to regulate. Isis still got videos of their terroristic crimes through. The Washington Post reports that official places such as the White House will not allow staffers to access social media from computers or cellphones. This is to prevent staffers from downloading malware or uploading sensitive material. To try solve this problem, we must look at how we can use social media as a tool. US is in process of developing a secure internal network inspired by social media that allows analysts to weigh in on breaking news across several different agencies. We can also use data that social media gives us to predict events such as political protests to terrorist attacks the same way we analyze and predict the stock market. The government can also use social media to gauge the public opinion and identify threats to national security. The government can also use social media to get its word out during chaos.

To improve our global relations we need to better understand the positions of other countries. We should try to understand their culture in order to better understand their policies. Once this has been done the delegations between our countries can take on new perspective. It is important to keep these delegations peaceful and not step over any cultural boundaries. Everyone wants to avoid war, and the best way to do that is to have meetings to peacefully discuss any problematic situations that occur.

To help reduce violence and crime at our U.S./Mexico border, we should create a trade between our two countries for marijuana. This would not only keep our borders safe, but it would save thousands of lives and create a high grossing industry (that both countries would benefit from) in the process. To reduce the amount of money that taxpayers spend on anchor babies and families that are here illegally, we should support policy that allows these children to have birthright citizenship and rights only if they have at least one parent who is at least a permanent resident of the U.S.

To combat the cyber gap within our federal system there needs to be more recruiting to the department of defense cyber sector and signing bonuses. Second, there needs to be standard protocol to react to cyber attacks and a way to track those that breach information systems. Last, the government needs to partner with private corporations to bolster the present system with more cutting edge and advanced systems. Cutting down on the number of cyber attacks on federal systems should be number one on the agenda.

Works Cited

Nakamura, David. "For the National Security and Social Media Communities, a Delicate Relationship Persists." The Washington Post 2 Nov. 2013. Print.

Reporters, Telegraph. "How Terrorists Are Using Social Media." The Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group. Web. 3 Dec. 2015.

Executive Summary

The US is in serious danger of another terrorist attack. Global terrorism has been on the rise since 2000 and has increased substantially since 2012. Terrorist organizations are more powerful than ever and have more money than ever. This allows them to carry out larger scale, more harmful attacks. For example, ISIS is the largest terrorist organization and showed its power with its recent attacks on Paris. ISIS has also threatened the US. They say that Washington D.C. faces the same fate that Paris did as well as showed a video of a possible Time Square suicide bombing. The threat is real and it is here. Our lives are in serious danger and we must take action because our country's fate lies in our hands as citizens and our abilities to spread awareness and vote. United we stand to protect this great nation we call home and divided we fall.

Social media poses as a real threat, but a we can try to fix this problem and use social media as a tool. Social media poses as a threat to national security by aiding terrorist groups by allowing them to communicate and put fear in civilians. It also aids in firing up the American public on national affairs and scandals. In contrast to these facts, the government can use social media as a tool for inspiration for new programs and as a tool to analyze data.

America's relations with Russia and China could become national security problems at any time. Russia's nuclear threat has been straining our relationship for years, even though at the current time we are allies against terrorism. China continues to push boundaries with America by claiming land that is not theirs. It is possible that military action could occur depending on how the situation plays out. These relationships with Russia and China are important for the global economy and political hierarchy. It is pertinent that we maintain them as peaceful relations for our national security.

America still faces danger when it comes to border security, despite the amount of resources we've invested over the past couple of decades. Illegal immigration, drug smuggling, and the presence of anchor babies are some of the major problems we face today. Hand in hand with America's inevitable legalization of marijuana in the upcoming decades, the United States should propose a legal trade agreement for marijuana with Mexico so that both of our countries can benefit from the high earning industry and become safer. In addition, we should support national policy that suggests that anchor babies should be given birthright citizenship and rights if they have at least one parent who is at least a permanent resident of the United States.

Cyber Security is a very new and vulnerable area of national security that can't be overlooked. National cyber abilities are the forefront to the future of American national Security and we should not turn a blind eye because of its importance to keeping sensitive information. Our security in the cyber network contains vast amounts of government information about our enemies foreign and domestic. In order to protect national security, the cyber field should not be second on America's to do list.