9/11: The Day That Shook The World

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Perhaps, 9/11 will remain to be the most defining experience of the recent history; it is a type of moment where a majority of the people will witness once in their lifetime. Any person over thirty years of age can clearly explain where they were on September 11th, 2001 when a coordinated series of attacks killed at least three thousand people (Green, 2017). During that day, terrorists had hijacked two planes and used them to execute the deadliest attack in the US history. Since that day, the security industry has significantly changed to ensure that a similar terrorist attack does not happen.

First, stakeholders use every anniversary in September to assess the progress made in the quest for making air travel much safer than it was three decades ago. These actions are essential even as the United States spend billions of dollars in securing airports and planes from terrorist attacks. Additionally, it is evident that more needs to be done to achieve this objective. The United States through the legislature started by coming up with the transportation security administration act (TSA) whose main purpose was and remains to ensure that no one will ever commandeer a plane and turn it into a deadly missile against the American people. Since the implementation of this act, experts posit that the odds of another similar attack are remote. However, it is unquestionable that terrorists adapt and the possibility of a threat shifting to another area is likely to be high. For instance, they could change their focus to less guided areas, check in lobbies, arrival areas and checkpoint entrances as experienced in various locations. To this end, it is important to look back and explore what happened and what has been done so far to avoid it from happening.

Protecting the Aircraft

Before 9/11, planes were considered as a haven to both crew members and passengers. However, this assumption served as a fertile ground for the attack by terrorists. Since then, airport authorities have taken specific steps to ensure that such an assumption does not play any part in risking the life of the pilot and the crew on board. First, the authorities have managed to ensure that the cockpit remains sealed throughout the journey. Currently, pilots remain behind locked and impregnable doors throughout the journey. Although exemptions such as restroom breaks are allowed, flight attendants are well-trained to ensure that they stay securely locked during this period. Second, all airlines beefed up the security of their planes by incorporating air marshals. Before the 9/11 incident, only a small number of air marshals were actively involved, especially, when an airline was transporting valuable goods or high profile individuals (Green, 2017). Since then, air marshals are mandatory regardless of the nature of individuals on board. In addition, pilots have also begun a program that allows them to carry guns in the cockpit but with the proper training. There are suggestions to consider double doors to protect pilots while in the cockpit fully.

Separating Travelers

Although this strategy was met with rejection and fear of invading people’s privacy, its major aim was to achieve better intelligence and reliable pre-screening of the unknown travelers. The program was aimed at separating those travelers that would require more scrutiny through background checks. Even though a large number of individuals have submitted their information for TSA to carry out their background checks, others are still reluctant to do so due to the fear of their privacy. Luckily, custom and border protection have managed to achieve this objective without invading travelers’ privacy. Most airlines are targeting to raise the number of people who willingly submit information about their backgrounds. They are also considering coming up with more ways that collect this information based on enrollees’ preferences.

Professionalizing the Screener Workforce

Before 9/11, airport screeners consisted of poorly-trained individuals hired by minimum wage contractors. After the incident, they became scapegoats for the attack. This practice was based on the apparent ease with which hijackers used to board planes with high-risk materials. Therefore, airlines considered changing this tradition as their first strategy for fighting terrorists. Particularly, the government through TSA took charge of this role. The attackers used existing loopholes at that time to evade all traps set by the airport security checkers. For instance, they understood that box cutters were legally allowed into the plane despite the scanners flagging them as dangerous materials. Currently, there are more than forty thousand screeners who serve as federal employees.

Although the job is tedious and difficult to carry out as covert tests continue to indicate screeners miss weapons at exceedingly high rates, they are trained to withstand these challenges. Doubling of training and re-training are among the most common strategies employed by airlines and the federal organization to beef up security. Furthermore, airlines are pushing for the privatization of this workforce. Indeed, this move would boost efficiency in these areas to a large extent.

Technology Upgrade

Lastly, airlines across the globe have significantly upgraded their technology after the 9/11 incident. Before then, airlines focused on improving the quality of the flight deck and efficiency of the planes but overlooked the security of the flight and the crew members. However, the 9/11 attack prompted airlines to focus on all aspects that risk the safety of its passengers (Green, 2017). Today, airlines have boosted their security check, especially in luggage both in domestic and international flights. These changes have seen the introduction of mini-van sized machines that detect explosives and other dangerous items. Safer body detection machines have also been introduced to ensure that safety and health concerns are covered as well. There are suggestions that airlines should come up with devices that detect liquid explosives and other materials that are not currently detectable.

Risk Management

 Notably, the main purpose of risk management is the identification of potential problems before the occurrence of the actual risk. Usually, this practice is important in making sure that risk-handling practices are planned before they are needed. They mitigate adverse implications that may hinder the achievement of an organization’s objectives. Risk management is a forward-looking process and continuous as well and is vital for businesses and technical processes. They address various issues that affect the achievement of a businesses’ critical objectives. Effective risk management comprises the early identification of risk and collaboration with all stakeholders. Usually, strong leadership skills play crucial roles throughout the risk management process as they help in establishing a free and open environment that encourages discussion of the risk.

Asset and risk prioritization are essential components of risk management. First, prioritization of asset and risks help an organization to create a risk assessment policy which defines what these firms should do and how risk should be mitigated. Prioritization is also vital in identifying consistent risk assessment processes that should be undertaken by an organization. For instance, prioritization helps an organization to accurately select components and assets based on their value and the importance. Besides, it is unquestionable that assets do not have similar levels of risk and benefit. Lastly, prioritization helps in defining risk assessment objectives and goals in business. This alignment is also vital in arranging objectives, and so, prioritizing on critical assets and systems in an organization. Therefore, budget and the limitations facing an organization should be used to prioritize assets and the risks that may face it.

In conclusion, high-risk industries should not be avoided by investors. Conversely, they must be encouraged as they provide significantly high and rapid returns to investors. However, investors should be careful, hence should carry out extensive research regarding a business venture to avoid any surprises. Constant vigilance is highly encouraged whereby investors are encouraged to monitor and evaluate their investments and risk factors as well (Nash & Kensler, 2018). Moreover, common sense recognizes that every process is faced with certain risks that mostly threaten its priorities. Fortunately, they can be avoided using various measures. For instance, fires are a common source of death and destruction. Therefore, it is expected that organizations should install adequate fire control measures such as fire detectors and extinguishers to avoid this damage. Similarly, risk management is essential to all businesses as this process helps in averting potential risks that could destroy an organization’s priorities (Nash & Kensler, 2018). No process is immune to risk, and hence firms should come up with the right risk management policies to avoid potential damage or destruction.


Nash, C., & Kensler, C. (2018). 1. INTRODUCTION. Retrieved from http://www.fao.org/docrep/t8166e/t8166e02.htm

Green, M. (2017). How 9/11 Changed America: Four Major Lasting Impacts (with Lesson Plan). Retrieved from https://www.kqed.org/lowdown/14066/13-years-later-four-major-lasting-impacts-of-911

December 12, 2023
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