Publisher's Message

by Martin Masiuk
By Martin (Marty) Masiuk,

Two of the articles in this issue of DomPrep Journal focus on separate but interrelated aspects of infrastructure protection – more specifically, on the protection of “critical” infrastructure, the generic term used to encompass the major physical components of a modern industrialized society. If any of those components – the levees surrounding and theoretically protecting New Orleans provide a recent devastating example – is destroyed or put out of commission for an extended period of time the damage done, both human and economic, is immediate, huge, and long-lasting. Dr. Bilal Ayyub leads off the coverage with a Special Report on a major critical-infrastructure study project being carried out, under his leadership, at the University of Maryland’s Center for Technology and Systems Management. Completion of that project, which is sponsored by the Maryland Emergency Management Agency, could have profound implications for all of Maryland’s sister states, and for first responders throughout the country. Editor in Chief James D. Hessman follows with an update on the many positive steps forward that have been taken since 9/11, along with a summary of some but by no means all of the many extremely difficult tasks that lie ahead – and that must be faced not only by the nation’s elected leaders at all levels of government, but also the American people themselves. No nation, no business, no human organization of any type can protect all of its people and/or all of its property and other physical assets all of the time. But as a nation the United States obviously can do – and must do – much better in protecting its vital infrastructure than it was doing before the 9/11 attacks and has been doing in recent years. That was and is the well-considered verdict not only of the 9/11 Commission but also of numerous Congressional hearings and reports and most reasonably objective media editorials and commentaries. Several difficult truths must be faced, therefore. The first is that future terrorist attacks are not only possible but almost inevitable. The second is that more and greater efforts must be made not just by those in uniform, and first responders, and the nation’s elected leaders, but by all Americans. The third is that to completely rid the world of the cancer of terrorism will take years, will require the expenditure of hundreds of billions of dollars, the use of advanced technology, and cooperation with all of the other free nations of the world. It also will take patience, endurance, fortitude, and the ability to deal with continuing frustration and occasional defeats. Not all of the preceding should be considered bad news, it should be emphasized. The lessons learned and technologies developed to fight international terrorism will be equally useful – for years and maybe centuries to come – in helping mitigate the consequences of natural disasters. The same lessons and technologies will save untold hundreds of thousands of lives, and perhaps millions. And the end result, after thousands of years of wars among nations, may be, and should be, a true peace throughout the world among all men of good will.