In this week’s activity, you have explored the Web sites of the DHS Science and Technology Directorate and FEMA’s Building Science Branch. Although you are reading and learning about subordinate functions of these agencies, critical thinkers are compelled to consider what is not found on the written page. This is especially true as we are considering the ethical implications for use of technologies to provide defense and security.
For your assignment then, choose either DHS or FEMA as the agency you will explore; next choose 1 of the subordinate divisions for your selected agency. (Example: DHS; Chemical and Biological Division.) Examine your selected division’s roles, responsibilities, and capabilities for contributing to the security of the nation.
You will assume the role of inspector general, specializing in investigations but not necessarily technology. You have been assigned to provide a thorough and honest assessment of the selected division’s use of technology. You will draft a report in the format of your choice, addressed to the Chief of either DHS’ Science and Technology Directorate or FEMA’s Building Science Branch.
- Address the following in 4–6 pages:
- What is your selected division’s mission? Explain in detail.
- Identify, describe, and explain 3–5 of the technologies commonly employed by this entity.
- What is the stated purpose of the technologies?
- What are the technologies actually used for?
- Evaluate the merits and disadvantages of each technology. Explain.
- Is the division using the technologies well or poorly? Explain in detail.
- Provide well-defended arguments regarding each technology.
- What current technologies are being developed?
- Be sure to reference all sources using APA style.
In your examination, you should research beyond the agency’s and/or division’s official Web site and find at least 3 other credible resources such as testimony before Congress, U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) Reports, Congressional Research Service documents, academic journal articles, or thought pieces by legitimate persons (not anonymous bloggers, for example) challenging or supporting your selected office’s mission, or operations, etc..
As you look for these sources, you may also consider materials that reference the government, FEMA, or DHS without mentioning your division specifically. Just make the connection for the reader as to which elements from your sources apply to your examination and why. (For example, if a critic argues a certain type of technology is misused by the government, you might include or refute his perspectives after connecting them to the division you are exploring.) In some way—either woven into your entire report or addressed separately at some point—comment on the ethical considerations of the technologies under review. You do not have to take a side or make any type of judgment, rather offer your observations as something the DHS or FEMA and the selected division’s chief should keep in mind, and explain why.