By Nagib Ramli, Research Associate, Asia Pacific Aerospace and Defense Practice, Frost & Sullivan
Since Sept. 11, homeland security has spurred the impetus toward creating a single agency responsible for all matters related to upholding a nation's security. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in the United States was established approximately two years after the terrorist attacks. The major problem identified by the DHS was that overlapping agencies that had been developed over decades and were not working cohesively. Thus, the solution was to unify the independent agencies under the DHS.
The United Kingdom restructured its Home Office to strengthen its ability to combat terrorism. Similarly, Australia does not have a Department of Homeland Security, but has improvised the legal and legislative framework and strengthened the powers of law enforcement agencies.
The United States have the necessary resources to establish a dedicated Department of Homeland Security. For Asia Pacific countries, a dedicated DHS would involve significant financial cost to integrate and separate existing agencies and departments. Some countries, particularly in the Southeast Asian region along the straits of Malacca, have established an agreement towards a joint effort ensuring border and maritime security.
Faced with terrorist threats, pressure is on governments and the relevant agencies and institutions to implement tighter and more effective security solutions at airports, seaports and land borders across Asia Pacific. However, the complex political and cultural mix in different countries means they face different threats. This has affected the methods of security companies attempting to penetrate the homeland security market in the Asia Pacific region.Homeland Security: A Global Perspective
The events that occurred in the United States on Sept. 11, 2001, will long be etched in the minds of individuals around the world. Images of the gaping hole at 0the Pentagon and the destruction of New York's World Trade Center towers were catalysts in increasing awareness about homeland defense. Demand was high for the government to prevent this type of catastrophe from recurring. The federal and state governments responded swiftly to these events and the subsequent demand for heightened protection and deterrence.
On Oct. 8, 2001, President George W. Bush established the Office of Homeland Security by executive order, appointing Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge as director of the newly created office. Responsible for coordinating a national strategy to detect, prevent, and respond to threats against the country, Ridge's job includes ensuring maximum cooperation and coordination between the numerous federal agencies who handle various aspects of homeland defense. In a move that highlights the new emphasis placed on homeland defense after 9/11, spending for the fiscal year of 2003 was sharply increased from the fiscal year 2002 budget numbers by more than 50 percent.
The tragedy of 9/11 shocked nations around the globe. Many people lost their lives and even more grieved for their loved ones. Feelings of uncertainty and insecurity naturally followed the aftermath of the event. Many feared the impact of 9/11 towards the national security of a country, and also the economic crisis that would ensue affecting the entire global community.Global War on Terrorism
The Global War on Terrorism (GWOT) was a campaign initiated by the United States under President Bush. Followed by many countries around the world, its includes various military, political, legal, and personal actions taken to curb the spread of terrorism.
In the Asia Pacific region, Australia, India, South Korea, Japan, and Singapore have contributed or provided military assistance to the U.S.-led GWOT campaign.Asia Pacific Homeland Security Market Trends
Each country in the Asia Pacific region has its own international disputes, which directly and indirectly contribute to the instability of the region. The military demarcation line (MDL) within the four kilometer-wide Demilitarized Zone has separated the North and South Korean peninsula since 1953. In southern Thailand, a series of violence in predominantly Muslim southern provinces prompted temporary border closures and controls with Malaysia in 2005, in order to curb terrorist activities. Other regional instabilities include the Sri Lanka's Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam; the Burma, Laos and China border disputes; Bangladesh's Jamaatul Mujahedin Bangladesh; and illegal cross-border activities and smuggling at the Papua New Guinea-Indonesia borders.
In general, there is public support for government initiatives to increase the security infrastructure. Japan experience several terrorist attacks, including poisonous gas released on subways. Therefore, the Japanese are supportive of government plans to protect their homeland and enhance security to increase trade.
Technological advancement in Asia Pacific varies across different countries, and it is difficult to measure without looking specifically into a country. China and Vietnam are building new infrastructure, so they are adopting and accepting new technology. They are easier to penetrate than Japan.