Terror, Security, and Money: Balancing the Risks, Benefits, and Costs of Homeland Security

Terror, Security, and Money: Balancing the Risks, Benefits, and Costs of Homeland Security

by John Mueller, Mark G. Stewart
     
 

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In seeking to evaluate the efficacy of post-9/11 homeland security expenses—which have risen by more than a trillion dollars, not including war costs—the common query has been, "Are we safer?" This, however, is the wrong question. Of course we are "safer"—the posting of a single security guard at one building's entrance enhances

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Overview

In seeking to evaluate the efficacy of post-9/11 homeland security expenses—which have risen by more than a trillion dollars, not including war costs—the common query has been, "Are we safer?" This, however, is the wrong question. Of course we are "safer"—the posting of a single security guard at one building's entrance enhances safety. The correct question is, "Are any gains in security worth the funds expended?"

In this engaging, readable book, John Mueller and Mark Stewart apply risk and cost-benefit evaluation techniques to answer this very question. This analytical approach has been used throughout the world for decades by regulators, academics, and businesses—but, as a recent National Academy of Science study suggests, it has never been capably applied by the people administering homeland security funds. Given the limited risk terrorism presents, expenses meant to lower it have for the most part simply not been worth it. For example, to be considered cost-effective, increased American homeland security expenditures would have had each year to have foiled up to 1,667 attacks roughly like the one intended on Times Square in 2010—more than four a day. Cataloging the mistakes that the US has made—and continues to make—in managing homeland security programs, Terror, Security, and Money has the potential to redirect our efforts toward a more productive and far more cost-effective course.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Our political and media systems often seem paralyzed or even deranged by the prospect of terrorism. Very few people can talk rationally about the threat, the possible defenses, and what we gain and lose through increased security measures. John Mueller and Mark Stewart are notable exceptions. If you wonder whether airport security really makes sense, or how much is "enough" in protecting against attacks, consider the calm and convincing case they lay out in this book."—James Fallows, The Atlantic

"Just when you thought that nothing more could be said about the war on terror, John Mueller and Mark Stewart offer a brilliant new analysis and call to action, filled with insight, intelligence, and sharp writing. It's one of the rare books for which one can say that every politician and informed citizen should read it."—Steven Pinker, Harvard College Professor of Psychology, Harvard University, and author of The Better Angels of our Nature

"Terror, Security, and Money is enlightening, hard-hitting, and packed with common sense. Mueller and Stewart's evenhanded analysis of homeland security's costs and benefits is essential reading for anyone concerned whether our massively expensive security regime is worth the price."—Bruce Schneier

"Overall, Mueller and Stewart have moved the ball forward quite a bit. Their assumptions are reasonable, their analysis cautions..." — Political Science Quarterly

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780199795765
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date:
10/07/2011
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
280
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.20(h) x 0.70(d)

Meet the Author

John Mueller is Woody Hayes Chair of National Security Studies, and Professor of Political Science at Ohio State University. He is the author of Atomic Obsession (OUP 2009).

Mark G. Stewart is Professor of Civil Engineering and Director of the Centre for Infrastructure Performance and Reliability at the University of Newcastle in Australia.

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