Going back to the attempted Northwest Airlines bombing in December 2009 by Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, he was traveling on a multi-year, multiple-entry tourist visa issued to him in June 2008 (Garcia & Wasen, 2010). Thus, he was able to attain his U.S. visa legally even though if one was to look at his background, there will be "red flags" already pertaining to his terrorist leanings. It seems though that the State Department, the embassies, consulates and missions charged with the issuance of various visas to foreigners do not have the resources and capabilities to conduct proper and thorough screening. In this regard then, it is critical to have better systems, processes, and procedures in place that can better vet and investigate foreigners seeking visas to enter the United States. "The Enhanced Border Security and Visa Entry Reform Act of 2002 aimed to improve the visa issuance process abroad as well as immigration inspections at the border. It expressly required the development of an interoperable electronic data system to share information relevant to alien admissibility and removability and the implementation of an integrated entry-exit data system. (Garcia & Wasen, 2010)" The law is already in effect but better measures are required to strengthen the implementation thereto whereby the screening of legal visitors and immigrants will be stringent enough as to be able to identify any potential terrorist that want to enter the country.
After looking at the legal immigration side, it is then important to ensure that the U.S. borders from north and south to the eastern and western coasts are well protected and policed to prevent the entry of terrorists illegally. Auspiciously, this has been well planned in the various security strategies of the United States and several departments and agencies are in the lead to prevent any hostile entity from entering the country. But illegal immigration still remains a major threat to the nation because of the sheer size of the U.S. border. In this regard, the community level anti and counter-terrorism measures will prove invaluable because the grassroots level will provide the early warning system whenever unknown persons are in the community. This is not to insinuate having a "big brother" mentality of xenophobic tendencies by merely enabling the community to be able to determine if those in their communities are desirables or not without stepping on individual rights and liberties. This may be easier said than done because of the often conflicting nature of security and liberty but with due diligence, it will be possible to find a viable plan in doing so.
After looking at the various aspects of how homeland security further evolved since the 9-11 events, it is apparent that there are enough measures being done (with several wins on the matter) to ensure that the nation can defend itself and the home-front from terrorist attacks. The strategies developed are not only confined at the strategic level but goes all the way to the tactical and operational levels that see the community being involved in the fight against terrorism. This then brings about the question as to whether the nation is winning against the fight against terrorism especially on the home-front, history has provided the answer thereto. Consequently, for as long as there are those who have the will and wherewithal to wage terrorism on the United States, the cycle will go on and the only recourse for the American nation and its people is to not let their guard down otherwise terrorism will have another major victory similar to the 9-11 events.
Crowley, P.J. (2008). "Homeland security and the upcoming transition: What the next administration should do to make us safe at home." Harvard Law & Policy Review, 2: 289-312. Retrieved July 21, 2011 from http://www.hlpronline.com/Crowley_HLPR.pdf
Garcia, M.J. & Wasen, R.E. (2010, January 12). "Immigration: Terrorist grounds for exclusion, and removal of aliens." Congressional Research Service (CRS) Report for Congress 7-5700. Retrieved July 21, 2011 from http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/homesec/RL32564.pdf
National security strategy 2010. (2010, May). Retrieved July 21, 2011 from http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/rss_viewer/national_security_strategy.pdf
U.S. Department of Homeland Security. (2009, May 4). Brief documentary history of the Department of Homeland Security 2001 -- 2008. Retrieved July 21, 2011 from http://www.dhs.gov/xlibrary/assets/brief_documentary_history_of_dhs_2001_2008.pdf
U.S. Department of Homeland Security. (2008, September 24). One team, one mission, securing our homeland: U.S. Department of Homeland security strategic plan fiscal years 2008 -- 2013. Retrieved July 21, 2011 from http://www.dhs.gov/xlibrary/assets/DHS_StratPlan_FINAL_spread.pdf