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Homeland Security refers to a general term used to describe efforts made by the United States Government in protecting its borders from internal and external security threats. It is a body that is mandated with the task of preventing and minimizing terrorist attacks within the US borders. It also has the responsibility of reducing the destruction and impacts resulting from terrorist acts in the unfortunate event that they do occur. Furthermore, it coordinates efforts for a smooth recovery after any terrorist attacks have occurred.

Birth of the Homeland Security

The formation of the department of Homeland Security was sparked by the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The United States government saw an immediate need to have a body in place as part of its national strategy in protecting the American people against any future acts of terror.

The governor of Pennsylvania, Tom Ridge, was appointed as the first Director of Department of Homeland Security in the White House to oversee its formation and operations. The Congress passed the Homeland Security Act in November 2002. This event has officially signed the Homeland Security as an independent department. It became operational in March 1st the year of 2003.

The George W. Bush administration was keen to consolidate the various defence units in the country into one main department. This is because they found it to be wise with regard to coordinating various efforts, and would lead to a stronger homeland defence. With this in mind, the Homeland Act combined more than 22 departments into the Homeland departments. This included the United States National Guard, Federal Protective Service, the United States Coast Guard, Nuclear Incidence Response Team, Customs and Border Protection, Enforcement, and the United States Secret Service among many others.

Although the Homeland security was mandated with protection of the internal borders against terrorism, other departments such as FBI, CIA and other executive independent departments, such as Department of Defence, still play a huge and critical role in certain areas relating to Homeland Security; although they are not part of Homeland Security.

Evolution of the Homeland Security

The Senate unanimously appointed Secretary Michael Chertoff , and he took office as the new Director on February 15, 2005 and was mandated with a task of reorganizing the department. The phase termed as 2SR (Second Stage Review) involved more than 250 members and 18 action teams discussed on the department’s operations, structures and policies. The result was a six point agenda that was later implemented.

In October 2006, as part of its reorganization, the Senate passed the SAFE Port Act that authorized the DNDO (Domestic Nuclear Detection Office) to be transferred to FEMA for better performance and accountability. In August 2007, further re-organization was elevating the assistant secretary for intelligence to be approved at senate level. This was part of the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act.

In the year of 2010, president Barrack Obama signed an Act that transferred the FPS (Federal Protective Service) from the ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) to NPPD (National Protection and Programs Directorate) in an effort to align it with the DHS (Department of Home Land Security) role in protection of federal buildings. This act also transferred the Office of Intergovernmental Program to the DHS from the NPPD in an effort to streamline decision making.

In 2010, Janet Napolitano was appointed as the third secretary and the first woman ever to serve as the secretary of the DHS. Upon her appointment, she acknowledged that her predecessors had done the difficult part of the job of setting up the department because her job was merely management.

Despite underplaying her role, she has been able to achieve a lot by overseeing the first ever Quadrennial Homeland Security Review (QHSR) which is a document that established an incorporated strategic structure for DHS’s goals and missions. It is also during her leadership that a Bottom-Up Review re-organized the operational structure to be in line with such goals.

Since its formation, DHS has strived to form international alliances and expanded its cooperation with other federal, states, and local authorities. This enables it to effectively perform its goal of protecting the citizens of the United States against internal and external threats under the superb leadership of secretary Napolitano.

About the author: Matthew Sherwood works at the writing company as a writer. He is a blogger, essay writer, scientist, and psychologist. He gives students writing support and consulting. Nowadays, he lives in Florida with his girlfriend and a pair of turtles.

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Author: Matthew Sherwood | Created at: 18.10.2019


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