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The Business of Counterterrorism

Public-Private Partnerships in Homeland Security


Nathan E. Busch and Austen D. Givens

The Business of Counterterrorism focuses on the opportunities and challenges that public-private partnerships (PPPs) face in the post-9/11 world. Although these partnerships are a major topic of discussion and study among businesses and government agencies involved in homeland security efforts, they have received a much less thorough analysis by scholars. The Business of Counterterrorism identifies the essential role that PPPs are now taking in homeland security and explores the implications of this transformative shift in the field. In its discussion, it focuses on five areas in homeland security – critical infrastructure protection, cybersecurity, information sharing, security at U.S. ports of entry, and disaster recovery.
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I want to just say this about the private sector. In my mind, the government is incapable of responding to its maximum ability without private sector support.

—Hon. Tom Ridge, Former Secretary, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, August 3, 2011

April 20, 2010 had been an otherwise typical day. At 9:49 pm, however, the first of several blasts shattered the night air over the Gulf of Mexico, ultimately killing 11 workers and crippling the Deepwater Horizon oil rig.1 The explosion and subsequent oil spill eventually became the largest environmental catastrophe in U.S. history.2 Over the following months, hundreds of government and private sector actors convened around the Gulf of Mexico, summoning an unprecedented amount of equipment and technical expertise to stop the oil flow from the Gulf’s floor. BP, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the U.S. Coast Guard and other Department of Homeland Security (DHS) entities, state governments, local governments, and hundreds of businesses and public sector agencies collaborated in response to the disaster.3 BP and local officials launched initiatives enlisting local fishermen to assist in the waterborne clean-up effort.4 The federal government used privately manufactured oil dispersants in recovery operations.5 Throughout this process, the public and private sector worked closely together to restore a sense of normalcy in the Gulf.

The Deepwater Horizon incident provides a large-scale illustration of several important trends in homeland security. Although the DHS was initially created after the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attacks to...

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