Department of Homeland Security
Department of Homeland Security or DHS; the executive department of the federal government charged with protecting the security of the American homeland as its main responsibility. Its primary missions are preventing terrorist attacks within the United States, reducing the vulnerability of the United States to terrorism, and minimizing the damage from potential attacks and natural disasters.
Established in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks; the department unifies formerly dispersed nonmilitary government agencies that are responsible for many functions related to American security. DHS was created by the Department of Homeland Security Act of 2002, and is an outgrowth of the Office of Homeland Security established by President George W. Bush after Sept. 11, 2001.
Department of Homeland Security Essay Example
Strong congressional support for a new federal department that would unify diverse and overlapping security functions of the federal government led to a White House proposal for the DHS in June, 2002, and the legislation was passed late the same year. Twenty-two agencies that were formerly in the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Energy, Health and Human Services, Justice, Transportation, and Treasury or in independent bodies were combined and reorganized in the new department.
Among the agencies with functions relating to homeland security that were not included in DHS were the FBI, CIA, and NSA. The creation of DHS involved the largest restructuring of the executive branch of the federal government since the Defense Department was established. The affected agencies were transferred to the new department beginning in March 2003. DHS is the third largest executive department in the federal government. The primary mission of the
Department is to prevent terrorist attacks within the United States; reduce the vulnerability of the United States to terrorism; minimize the damage, and assist in the recovery, from terrorist attacks that do occur within the United States; carry out all functions of entities transferred to the Department, including by acting as a focal point regarding natural and manmade crises and emergency planning; ensure that the functions of the agencies and subdivisions within the Department that are not related directly to securing the homeland are not diminished or neglected except by a specific explicit Act of Congress; ensure that the overall economic security of the United States is not diminished by efforts, activities, and programs aimed at securing the homeland; and monitor connections between illegal drug trafficking and terrorism, coordinate efforts to sever such connections, and otherwise contribute to efforts to interdict illegal drug trafficking (Kemp 29). II. Some of the Major Agencies in DHS A.
Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is one of the largest federal law enforcement agencies, consisting of Border Patrol agents, CBP air and marine agents, and CBP officers and agriculture specialists, together with the nation’s largest law enforcement canine program. United states Border Patrol has been around since 1904 enforcing and regulating laws under the immigration and Nationality Act. U. S. Border patrol is now under the Department of Homeland Security, which was created as a response to the attacks of September 11, 2001 (Kemp 30). Over the years, their jurisdiction and missions have changed to better protect the safety of this nation. Although border patrol is a need for any nation, their extensive acceptations to constitutional laws can often be taken advantage of.
The mission of the CBP is to prevent terrorists and terrorist weapons from entering the United States; CBP is responsible for protecting U. S. borders, while simultaneously facilitating the flow of legitimate trade and travel. CBP protects nearly 7,000 miles of border with Canada and Mexico and 95,000 miles of shoreline (Kemp 30). B. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is the largest investigative arm of DHS with more than 20,000 employees worldwide. ICE is responsible for identifying and shutting down vulnerabilities both in the nation’s borders and in economic, transportation, and infrastructure security. ICE employees’ work in offices nationally and around the world.
The following four main branches of ICE work with other law enforcement and intelligence entities: The Office of Investigations, The Office of Detention and Removal Operations, The Federal Protective Service, The Office of Intelligence (Lee 1091). C. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) protects the nation’s transportation systems. Agents also inspect air carrier operations to the United States, assess security of airports overseas, fly air marshal missions, and train overseas security personnel. The organization was charged with developing policies to protect U. S. transportation, especially in airport security and the prevention of aircraft hijacking.
Among the types of TSA employees are Transportation Security Officers, Federal Air Marshals, Transportation Security Inspectors, National Explosives Detection Canine Teams, and Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response Teams (Flynn 131). D. The Coast Guard protects the public, the environment, and U. S. economic interests in the nation’s ports, on its waterways, along the coast, on international waters, or in any maritime region as required to support national security. The Coast Guard has always played key roles in the protection of the U. S. homeland and has been entrusted with five fundamental missions: Maritime Security, National Defense, Maritime Safety, Protection of Natural Resources, and Maritime Mobility (Coast 15).
The maritime security goals of the Coast Guard include reducing America’s vulnerability to terrorism by preventing waterborne terrorist attacks; securing maritime borders by halting the flow of illegal aliens and contraband; preventing violations of our exclusive economic zone; and suppressing maritime violations of federal law. III. Conclusion Homeland security Act of 2002 is still a work in progress and we as a nation are still working through many important issues that touch on who we are as a nation. Many of us are impacted by it, without really realizing it. What was created by the act has snaked its way into all aspects of our lives, creating a sense of order and restricting some freedom. One of the true benefits of homeland security is that America gains strength through the process of debating answers, solutions and options.