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The role of everyday citizens in homeland security

ASK THIS | September 06, 2006

Instead of just fueling public fears, the government could actually strengthen public resilience, writes James Forest, who teaches terrorism studies at West Point. Last in a series about homeland security.

By James JF Forest

Q. How can everyday citizens contribute to homeland security?

Q. Does the average American know enough about security threats and their own responsibilities to make informed decisions about their potential contributions to homeland security?

Q. What can/should persons/families do, in terms of vigilance, preparation, and response?

Q. Is our government doing enough to promote national resilience?

The current threat to America requires greater engagement with the public, as the necessary eyes and ears of the nation’s homeland security infrastructure. However, to be effective the public must be equipped with the knowledge of where and why specific locations and activities may be a terrorist target, what is being done to protect those targets, and how they can help.

Instead of “fueling the fear” -- that is, giving an already troubled nation new reasons to “duct tape themselves inside their homes” -- the government must do more to educate the general public on what each of us can do to reduce the vulnerabilities we share as a nation. Previous examples of nations who have endured long terror campaigns (including Israel, Spain and the United Kingdom) demonstrate that a well-informed public is a vital part of developing their ability to withstand any kind of terror attack or other catastrophic event.

Improving out nation’s resilience requires attention to developing social capital. A year before 9/11, Robert Putnam’s bestselling book, Bowling Alone launched a national debate about how Americans are investing increasingly less time and effort on building and maintaining their social networks. His research indicated that Americans have become increasingly disconnected from family, friends, and neighbors, and that compared to fifty years ago, we belong to fewer organizations that meet, know our neighbors less, meet with friends less frequently, and even socialize with our families less often. Many of these trends, he argues, are a result of changes in work, family structure, age, suburban life, television, computers, women's roles and other factors.

Indeed, it is ironic that while the Islamic extremist movement is driven largely by social network connections, the same patterns of personal interaction and trust-building have eroded in many Western civilizations. This is unfortunate, given that social networks have been shown to be important for providing assistance and information relevant to managing traumatic stress -- including stress associated with attacks like we endured on 9/11. In essence, volunteering to support local emergency responders, disaster relief, and community safety can help build the social networks that strengthen public resilience. Thus, community members should be encouraged to join programs like the Community Emergency Response Training (CERT) and other Citizen Corps-sponsored efforts, as well as state or local initiatives of a similar nature.

Active Citizenship Rebirth By Youth Service Military & Local Community
Posted by Peter Jesella - Job-Phlebotomist. Role: Concerned Citizen for Energy Conservation Corps, HR-2206-1979, volunter service mandatory registration at 17, "A National Service Act".
09/08/2006, 05:30 AM

Active Citizenship Rebirth By Youth Service Military & Local Community
Dear Military Supporter, I am classified a Vietnam-Era Vet
In 72 was to be drafted out of college, but joined the Air Force
But in 1973 Experienced the Edges of the Yom Kippur War

In 1979-83 due to the above, I asked Congress, and the
Carter, later Reagan White House Staff to support HR 1730
Universal registration but Voluntary Military & Community Service

Principle WAKE-Up-CALL was youth registration at 17, encourage one-year
Discussion with friends, students, family as to future role as a voting-age
Citizen. At 18 indicate interest:--yes, no, maybe, or hell no--towards
Volunteering for military or community service. This choice could be
Delayed to age 23 for more education, maturity, and consideration.

My passion was a nation-wide community-based Youth Energy Efficiency
Corps to Counterbalance a future U.S. war in the Persian Gulf,
2 years later the Oil Tanker War 81-87 occurred, one of three so far.

On & Off for 26 years especially since 9/11/02 I have asked Government,
Democrats, Republicans, Media, Business, Non-Profits,
Lobbyist, Academic Professors, Pentagon, and Think Tanks, etc.
Feedback has been next to ZERO. I wonder Why!!!

Please Consider This Solution for many Issues…..
More detailed info in my blog, & photo page.
Take care; support the troops, Democracy, and Participatory Citizenship.

Best Bush Administration Response,
January 21, 2003, -- To Nov 28, 2002 Letter & Info
To my Participatory Citizenship System outline
Contacted over 400 officials, but got less than 20 replies.
None from the Pentagon, except in the 80’s per President Reagan’s request.
Asa Hutchinson Administrator, U.S. Dept. of Justice,
Next, 1st Undersecretary for Border and Transportation Security,
Currently candidate for Governor in Arkansas.

----- Thank you for your thoughtful letter regarding national community service.
Like you, I believe the future of a free, democratic society depends on the
willingness of people to devote some part of their time to serving the interests
of the community as a whole.

During a long career in politics and government, I have been impressed by the number of Americans I have met who, without any thought of reward, have contributed their time and talents to community service. It is important to do everything we can to maintain that spirit

As you requested, I am forwarding your letter and accompanying documentation to our policy staff for their review. I commend you for devoting so much of your time to the cause of participatory citizenship and wish you well in your continuing efforts. -----
2nd Best Reply, President Bush’s White House Staff
December 16, 2002
H. Christopher Bartolomucci,
Associate Counsel to the President

On behalf of Counsel to the President Alberto R. Gonzales, thank you for your letter dated November 28, 2002, regarding the Selective Service System and a Participatory Citizenship System. We appreciate receiving your thoughts on this matter and will give your views appropriate consideration.

Thanks again for your letter.
Book Description--Service Without Guns—Democracy’s Rebirth _________________________________________________
Perspectives on SERVICE WITHOUT GUNS –
Courtesy of ...
From Prof. Charles Moskos, Military Sociologist:

Civilian national service seems to be an idea whose time will never come. SERVICE WITHOUT GUNS will change that.

By drawing parallels between military and civilian service, this book abounds in fresh insights. The great strength of Don Eberly and Reuven Gal is placing youth service whether international, national, or local -- in a cross-national perspective.

SERVICE WITHOUT GUNS shows how service by young people can, to name a few, reduce tensions between hostile cultures, meet the needs of the aged and handicapped, reduce crime, improve education, and better the natural environment. In the manner that military conscription became a dominant reality in the 20th century, civilian youth service can become the model of the 21st century.
From Bryant Wieneke, Peace Corps Writers group:

This thoughtful and well-researched book.... Describe[s] the 20th century phenomena of declines in conscription-based armies, humanitarian missions performed by military organizations, and other linkages between military and non-military service. Their view is that the time has come for national youth service to gain prominence independent of military organizations.

Ascribing the conception framework to William James in 1906, a long list of successful national youth service initiatives is presented, including American versions (Civilian Conservation Corps in 1933, Peace Corps in 1960, AmeriCorps in 1993) and comprehensive efforts in Germany, Israel, and Nigeria...

The authors provide additional insights into service-learning and the impact of national youth service, providing ideas on practical measures to advance non-military service.

Another chapter with relevance deals with the role of national youth service in community reconstruction and intercultural understanding.

SERVICE WITHOUT GUNS is a book with a purpose. It provides information on successful non-military service initiatives and demonstrates the positive effects of these initiatives.

Most importantly, the book provides a how-to guide for anyone who wants to make the world a better place through peaceful means, enhancing understanding among peoples while providing valuable services to societies around the world. It is a dream worth pursuing.
From Ali Raza Khan, Youth Employment Services representative in Pakistan and founder and director of the Pakistan National Youth Service:

With heaps of experience, knowledge and conviction, the writers have presented to us in great detail about the concept of youth service, its impact and future of national youth service.

I always felt that the most important thing missing in our current developmental agendas is a comprehension of the significance of the concept of youth service.

In recent years it is very evident that we have been able to increase education and knowledge at all levels of the society but what scares me is that despite of all these accomplishments we have not been able to develop feelings and learn care for others.

Education or knowledge without feelings is nothing.

This book is filled with examples from the field how this powerful concept of youth service has developed feelings and care for others in the society.

Being the founder of Service program in Pakistan, I can tell you from my experience that this idea of service has brought sea change in the lives of many hard-to-reach and at-risk children and young people.

I have seen them transforming from passive citizens to waiting to citizens in action. I have seen how service has changed their way of thinking and behaviors.

I think it is a high time for us to stop treating young people as empty vessels into which we pour our wisdom but we should treat them as the most promising resources available to us in promoting self-development, family development and community development.

I congratulate the entire team involved in writing this book SERVICE WITHOUT GUNS because I think they have claim on this title more than anyone else because they have over so many years pioneered and demonstrated the vitality and strength of youth service in practice.
From John Braithwaite, Australian National University:

"William James was a truly great scholar. And SERVICE WITHOUT GUNS is a great contribution as well. National service is such an important policy debate, so well argued. I hope it has the effect on the national youth service policy debate that it deserves, and on international youth service too."
By Donald J. Eberly and Reuven Gal
With a guest chapter by Michael Sherraden

---Buy a Copy, Look it Over, Donate to
Local Library, High School, Favorite Politician---

Published in 2006 on the Internet at ...
Available from
Prices: $5.00 for download
Order soft cover book at $13.70 plus postage,
ISBN: 1-4116-7283-6
Order hardcover book at $25.00 plus postage,
ISBN 978-1-4116-8080-7
Hi! From Peterview.
After looking this over if you think this is a topic worth sharing please-please post as bulletin or blog it so your myspace friends might think it over also. ...

Mr. Eberly’s first proposal was a National Service for Peace in 1957, this book covers both some of the history, what works, the fifteen nations, especially Canada, Germany, Israel, Nigeria, United States, that have various examples of Youth Service Systems, and the need to make it universal but voluntary, all in 200 pages of both easy reading and detailed descriptions.

Back in 1982 I had a passionate and thoughtful dialogue with Mr. Eberly on the future of this national policy. I find it sad that we both look today at keeping this dream alive, with only thousands not millions of thoughtful supporters.

Maybe myspace can provide a new means of sharing this dream for participatory democracy, participatory citizenship here in the U.S. and every other nation that claims to be a democracy.

After 26 years interest in this subject, a Nation-wide Community Based Youth Service System, including a Youth Energy Efficiency Corps as an alternative to a future U.S.
war in the Persian Gulf
sent to every member of Congress in 1980 and
Carter White House Staff, & Reagan White House-
--I have learned that Politicians will only see this as a real bill for debate in the Congress if-if you give them lots of money, and fact-finding vacations to Hawaii.
If the public is aware of this idea, the media is talking about this idea, and the voters might care about this idea. --

If the VOTERS make it KNOWN that they care, then it will move up the priorities list in the Congressional debate over what new LAWS will keep America great, and make it better for every U.S. citizen.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
Please take a few minutes to look this over,
think about it,
and post as a bulletin, blog, short comment
for others to learn about this idea, policy, history.
Reuven Gal is the founder and chairman of the Carmel Institute for Social Studies in Israel and the former Deputy Head of the Israeli National Security Council;

Donald Eberly is the Honorary President of the International Association for National Youth Service and the founding director (1966) of the National Service Secretariat in the USA; and

Michael Sherraden is George Warren Brown Professor of Social Work and head of the Global Service Institute at Washington University in St. Louis, USA.
_________________________________ ...-Take Care-
Thank you for making it this far,
To A Better-Safer-Healthier Tomorrow.
For info on the International Association for
National Youth Service,
either google IANYS
or copy this link into your address window, ...
Additional info on current events in the U.S. government programs see; ... ...

For info service/learning check out ... ...

Also there is nation wide Senior Corps program, to find out what is happening in your state, check out this website, ...

For info on Senior Corps check out pdf file, ...
That all folks, and probably way to much for most people, more info in my blog, at ....

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