Assessing Measures Designed to Protect the Homeland


John Mueller is Woody Hayes Chair of Security Studies, Mershon Center, and Professor of Political Science at Ohio State University.


Some general parameters are proposed for evaluating homeland security measures that seek to make potential targets notably less vulnerable to terrorist attack, and these are then applied to specific policy considerations. Since the number of targets is essentially unlimited, since the probability that any given target will be attacked is near zero, since the number and competence of terrorists is limited, since target-selection is effectively a near-random process, and since a terrorist is free to redirect attention from a protected target to an unprotected one of more or less equal consequence, protection seems to be sensible only in a limited number of instances.