From Nero's time to the present, the firefighter's primary mission has been to put out the fire. When weapons of mass destruction are added to the matrix, that mission becomes much more difficult and, not incidentally, much more lethal as well.
When the nation's armed services and law-enforcement agencies pool their resources and personnel the result is almost always more missions accomplished, more effectively, and at lower cost to U.S. taxpayers.
Establishment, at the national level, of a new ICS (Incident Command System) protocol gives first responders the opportunity not to change their crime-scene priorities, but to keep them in better balance.
Emergency Management Assistance Compacts between neighboring states represent a major step forward along the path to regional security. The next step could and perhaps should be the establishment of a national domestic constabulary.
Local and regional hazmat teams now serve at the forward edge of the homeland-defense forces responding to incidents involving the use or potential presence of toxic agents. How are these front-line heroes trained - and who trains them?
The world has changed significantly since 9/11 - and become much more dangerous. To provide for the common defense the United States also has to change - its laws, its policies, and maybe the U.S. Constitution as well.
The terrorist threat is everywhere: on land, in the air, and not only at sea but underwater as well. Navy/Coast Guard swimmer defense teams will help to restore the balance - but it could be a very close race.
The FBI's Hostage Rescue Team was born in controversy and criticism but is now considered one of the most capable, mobile, and flexible federal counterterrorism resources available to states and cities throughout the country.
The hazards faced on the job by law-enforcement officers are difficult enough. Additional dangers often await them, though, in post-incident investigations, in uninformed media reports, and in U.S. courtrooms across the country.