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It is of paramount significance that the operations of al Qaeda are understood. This is will make it possible for the authorities to make the necessary plans to counteract their operations. The Homeland Security management System has come up with a cycle consisting of four steps which makes it possible to counteract terrorism by putting up measures to prevent a terror activity and, in case it takes place, what steps are to be undertaken to avoid a similar occurrence. According to the Homeland Security Presidential Directive -8 which was issued in 2003 the homeland security should focus on the National Preparedness Guidelines (NPG). In order to ensure that all the stakeholders are being effective in the fight against terrorism, a new Homeland Security Management System has been put in place. The new management involves four phases (check the appendix –diagram 1) which are aimed at continually and mutually reinforcing a cycle of activity (Bush, 2007, par. 8). The four phases are explained as below and are meant to counter the loopholes which the terrorists can use by training and preparing all the stakeholders involved.

Guidance

For the nation to effectively fight terrorism there will be a need for guidance to given from those who better understand how terrorism should be fought. Bush (2007) argues that the first phase encompasses the overarching homeland security guidance. Furthermore he writes that this phase is meant to ensure that all the directives are duly followed in a clarified manner to ensure that there is effectiveness in the fight against terrorism. This will involve at times the training of the stakeholders (Bush, 2007, par. 8). Well guided efforts are likely to bear fruits as they will be more effective.

Planning

Planning is an essential part of any project if the expected results have to be achieved. Apart from just guiding the efforts aimed at fighting terrorism, planning the fight is significant to ensure that the battle is won. According to Bush (2007), planning is positioned in the second phase. Bush (2007) indicates that this is aimed at making the homeland management system a dynamic system that is quite effective in executing its plans. At this the directives are to be translated into a way that will make the execution of the policies a possible process. All the stakeholders are informed on the planning issues (Bush, 2007, par. 9). This therefore will induce cooperation among the members who are involved in the fight against terrorism.

The execution

The planned efforts are to be executed in an orderly manner. This stage is as important as the ones already covered above and as such should be given due attention. Bush (2007) lists execution as the third stage of the whole cycle. This phase involves the execution of the plans which were strategized to thwart strike attempts. This can be in form of an actual occurrence or in the form of an exercise prepared in order to prepare the stakeholder on how to respond in case of a similar event (Bush, 2007, par. 9).  Executing the efforts which have planned is quite important as it helps to make the war against terrorism quite effective because it reveals the weak areas which ought to be worked on.

Assessment and evaluation

After the planned efforts have been executed, it becomes possible to make an evaluation which will make it possible for further recommendations to be made. According to Bush (2007), this forms the forth phase. This stage, as Bush (2007) argues, involves a continuous assessment and evaluation of exercises and operations. This stage is meant to measure the effectiveness of the plans with respect to response given to a testing exercise or an actual occurrence (Bush, 2007, par. 10). This therefore means that the homeland security management system is a dynamic project which keeps on changing with respect to changes and dynamism manifested by terrorism. 

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