How can one determine if emotional intelligence of Homeland Security workers is impacting the safety of the country?
The best Homeland Security workers will have both smarts and emotional intelligence. These are people who can see things before they happen, and are able to use what they know to predict what is going to happen, and hopefully stop bad things from happening.
Yes, I believe the emotional intelligence of Homeland Security workers impacts the safety of a country. First, a Homeland Security worker will perform better in their role as front line protectors of the country by their ability to read the emotions of individuals they're called on to inspect and question. Their emotional intelligence acumen will help them identify threats that those without that acumen may not recognize. It doesn't mean they will get it right every time; however, their success ratio will be much better. This can only help the nation they have a duty to help protect.
In addition, the emotional intelligence of a Homeland Security worker involves controlling their own emotions. They must know how to respond optimally, both verbally and action-wise, to the individual before them undergoing inspection and questioning. They must show the appropriate emotions as professionals, as they interact with individuals who may pose threats to the country. Their demeanor, professionalism, and ability to contain their emotions - whether surprise, anger, or something else - will help them handle situations properly.
Emotional intelligence also includes the ability to read people--their actions, their behavior, their covered emotions. I think that emotional intelligence is one of the most difficult skills to find in a person you wish to hire. Yes, they must be able to work well with others, de-escalate situations, make quick decisions about people based on their behavior, and read correctly the openness or furtiveness of people. However, I think that finding that combination of skills and the rare ability to see through to the other person's hidden motives or to find a way to figure that out, is rare indeed. Most official personnel tend to follow directives or official policy which I don't think allows for the instincts developed over time which trip that "gut feeling". One only has to look at the Minnesota agent who tried to alert agency directors about the one suspicious man taking flying lessons who turned out to be part of the 9/11 group of conspirators. So, my answer to your question is yes, I do believe that emotional intelligence does affect our security, and the determination of measurement so far is incidental with no true system in place to correctly make that measurement.
Unfortunately, I believe that most breakdowns in emotional intelligence can't be detected until its too late. Obviously there is an intense screening process for those that enter high security fields, and it is impossible to predict what factors will cause a persons psyche or morals to break down to the point that there is a breach in national security.
Emotional Intelligence consists on your ability to interact and understand others as well as your capacity to problem solve and diffuse negative situations or conflicts. While there is adequate training given to Homeland Security workers, emotional intelligence is actually a skill that is either innate, or learned and practiced with consistency.
It is quite possible that a disgruntled employee, or one which is prone to rash judgements, labeling, or is unable to analyze people and situations, will certainly pose a threat to the security of our country. After all, we have seen first hand what happens when assumptions are made about other people based only on their racial profiling.
Hence, suppose that a HS worker is met by someone who appears suspicious. If this worker does not remove his prejudices and assumptions from the situation, he is likely to be rude, sarcastic, or boisterous. This can certainly affect our safety because, whether he is faced by a terrorist or not, the image of dignity and respect of the agency would become jaded; that is a very bad thing considering that Homeland Security is like our immediate immune system.
It is very hard to determine if the emotional intelligence of these workers is having an actual impact on the safety of the country. This is because we cannot know what factors are preventing attacks and (in the event of an attack) what factors allowed it to happen. However, it makes sense that these workers' emotional intelligence will have an impact on the country's safety. The more emotional intelligence they have, the more likely they are to understand when a person is behaving in a way that indicates that they might be planning an attack.