5 Books for Homeland Security Majors

Homeland SecurityHomeland Security covers a range of fields designed to protect infrastructure, gather and analyze intelligence and maintain order during a crisis. These include the air marshals, border control agents and cyber security specialists. To stay abreast of possible threats and understand the reasoning behind past and future attacks, homeland security specialists should read a variety of books and publications. This list of recommended books provides those interested in a homeland security degree an insight into the challenges that the country faces, according to the Center for Homeland Defense and Security.

The Age of the Unthinkable

“The Age of the Unthinkable” explores the premise that the concepts that gave rise to America now endanger its citizens and future. The book demonstrates how seemingly innocuous ideas like global capitalism can cause unintended consequences, such as increasing the divide between the rich and poor. The author Joshua Ramo also focuses on how policy strategies can go awry and fail. Believing that traditional circles of power have been replaced, Ramo draws on history, economics, the science of networks and complexity theory to propose a new hypothesis of how to understand a dangerous and unpredictable world.

The 9/11 Commission Report

Issued July 22, 2004, the “9/11 Commission Report” is the official document covering the key events preceding the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. The report was the result of months of inquiries and intensive investigations conducted by the bipartisan commission. The report is a comprehensive and alarming review of al-Qaida’s strategy and the nation’s unfortunate intelligence failures. The report also recommends a variety of measures to prevent further attacks. Free from politics, the document notes that although future attacks are inevitable, a coordinated effort may prevent the event or offer a more efficient and effective response.

Cybersecurity and Cyberwar: What Everyone Needs to Know

Coined in the early-1980s, the term cyberspace described a network of computers only available in the realm of science fiction. Today, all aspects of modern life are communicated and stored via the Internet. As more commerce, government and personal data are transmitted over the Web, the need for cyber security grows. Written by best-selling author P.W. Singer, in collaboration with Internet security expert Allan Friedman, this book outlines key questions about Internet security, why it matters and how we can protect ourselves from an increasing number of cyber threats.

The Edge of Disaster

Written by Stephen Flynn, “The Edge of Disaster” explores the country’s current state of denial and unpreparedness for the next natural disaster or terrorist attack. While these events are inevitable, the author states that the U.S. government has learned very little from the attacks on 9/11 and the catastrophe of Hurricane Katrina. Flynn describes the nation’s vulnerabilities in the areas of maritime, infrastructure and transportation security as well as our health care systems and where we build our homes. He also outlines possible courses of action that will enable the country to withstand the next disaster.

Thinking Like a Terrorist

After hitting a multidecade high in 2003, terrorist attacks tripled a year later and doubled again in 2005. In “Thinking Like a Terrorist,” former FBI agent Mike German contends that the reason why the war on terrorism is failing is the inability to understand what the terrorists want and how they intend to achieve those goals. German writes that while most terrorist groups have well-documented plans, the government’s actions are guided by misconceptions and misunderstandings. His belief is that we should take them at their word. Once the terrorists are understood, our counterterrorism strategies will be more effective.

Related Resource: 5 Characteristics of Law Enforcement Agents

While not all-inclusive, this list provides a fundamental overview of the roles and challenges faced by homeland security specialists.