The Intense Homeland Security Debate that Technology Gave Rise To

Sarah Elzeini
June 22, 2021

Cutting edge technology has driven us towards a new era of capabilities to secure 21st Century America, bringing forth new methods of protection with stronger cybersecurity, biometric, and artificial intelligence capabilities, but with these strides into advancement come added risk and threats in our digital world. Great capabilities are not always used in just and fair ways. At times technology has been weaponized and the cyber space its battlegrounds.

Inwardly facing, technology has brought out an intense debate where we find ourselves in domestic conversation of data usage and information and the tension between security and liberty.

Outwardly facing, we find ourselves in a world where there is an upsurge of powerful superpowers and non-state actors not always using technology for good and moving away from the global technology market which is governed by international rule of law.

The SolarWinds cyberattack makes clear that our cyber defenses need strengthened. After the White House’s review of what caused SolarWinds, they found there were significant gaps in modernization and in technology of cybersecurity across the federal government.

Companies in the United States that are part of the nation’s critical infrastructure have been digitally attacked in recent years and we have witnessed this first-hand with the Colonial Pipeline cyberattack.  

No longer should the government bare alone the responsibility of protecting the country but the private sector must as well. The private sector is playing an increasing role in protecting their company, to protect the greater good of the nation. Their engagement in public-private partnership is also critical to provide speed and efficiency to advance the government’s practice and policies forward. Technology is introducing new threats and vulnerabilities into systems at a breakneck pace. It is vital that we renew our promise to the nation to work collaboratively, inwardly and outwardly, to protect the homeland.

This Forum comes on the heels of the 20th anniversary of 9/11, where we will explore how threats have evolved in those intervening years, and among the issues how technology and the Homeland Security enterprise has evolved to combat those threats. The Forum provides multiple perspectives with a united endeavor to protect the United States and strengthen our Homeland Security in light of a constantly evolving threat landscape that we face today.

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Sarah Elzeini
Head of Strategic Partnerships and Communications, Homeland Security Enterprise Forum (HSEF)