Fiscal uncertainty, budget cuts, and a “do more with less” approach are among the many challenges in today’s security environment. Renewing an agency’s commitment to cooperative security strategic planning is more crucial than ever—it cuts redundancy and unnecessary complexity and generates balance and enhanced capability in security operations. The fluid nature of today’s ideologically motivated violence will not fade despite budget cuts, and detection and response responsibilities entrusted to the security community will not diminish as a result of reduced resources. Stewards of homeland security, such as federal, state, and local government; public and private sectors; and academia, share a responsibility to break down barriers among one another with the intent to share expertise and align capabilities to deter terrorism and terrorism-related crime; collaboratively innovate as threats evolve; and operate in concert to build local, comprehensive, and flexible security programs that strengthen and integrate homeland security strategies into daily practices.
A fruitful starting point to cooperative security is recognizing why certain threats and challenges cannot be resolved solely through law enforcement’s efforts. Terrorism is a prime and urgent example. Terrorists’ using social media as a communications strategy and recruiting tool for homegrown, self-radicalizing individuals poses an unprecedented threat to communities worldwide. Recent examples at home and aboard have illustrated that lone-actor terrorists living within our communities have successfully operated under the radar of law enforcement. Successors will very likely be inspired to do the same. This deliberate strategy requires a constant focus by law enforcement on the upward trajectory of unpredictable violent extremism and the financial reality of sustaining extensive security measures over long periods of time.