Homeland Security essay

The policy framework of Homeland Security involves to a great extent a strong foundation in federalism and the activities related to the intergovernmental relations. During the periods after the tragic events of September 11, 2001, the government of the United States introduced one of the largest reorganization activities ever since the enactment of National Security Act of 1947. The creation of the Department of Homeland Security integrated twenty-two separate organizations.

The Department has been entrusted with the responsibility of preventing, protecting against, responding to and recovering from the terrorist activities in the United States. Besides, the development of a national preparedness system has been regarded as another field of action of the Department of Homeland Security. The security of the American soil, following the terrible events of September 11, 2001, has been proved to be at stake, and not immune from the evil or cold blooded enemies capable of perpetrating mass murder and terror.

Irrespective of the fact that the threat to America is posed from the Al-Qaeda however, it is not confined to the terrorist activities or to suicide hijackings of commercial aircrafts. The threat has become visible to have a broader spectrum, especially, when on October 4, it is found that a life-threatening biological agent anthrax-is being distributed through the US mail.

In view of this, securing of American homeland has become a challenge of monumental scale and complexity and felt the necessity of bringing out the first ever National Strategy for Homeland Security, with a view to mobilizing and organizing the Nation to secure the US homeland from terrorist activities. This mission warranted a coordinated and concentrated effort from the entire society ranging from federal government to state and local governments, the private sectors as well the American citizens. The National Strategy for Homeland Security will assist our Nation for the work in several modes.

It entails direction to the federal government departments and agencies that have a role in homeland security. (The National Strategy for Homeland Security) Ever since the incidence of 9/11, Americans in every generation has experienced the anxiety that there is possibility of being attacked in their homes. The appropriate balance of security; economic growth; cooperation among federal, state, and local government; and protection of civil liberties have increasingly been recognized to be the safeguards in initiating an attack on terrorism.

(Sauter; Carafano, 2005) To the military Homeland Security and Homeland Defense are two different and separate ideas. The homeland security to them implies the prevention and defense against aggression targeted at US territory, sovereignty, domestic population and infrastructure along with management of the consequences of such aggression and other domestic emergencies. (Keeter, 2004) Homeland Security is defined to be a focused national effort to dissuade terrorist attacks within the territory of United States along with reduction of vulnerability of America to terrorism and minimization of the damage and recovery from attacks that do occur.

The approach to homeland security relied upon the formula of shared responsibility and collaborative effort with the Congress, State and local government. The National Strategy for Homeland Security has its applicability not to just the Department of Homeland Security, but also to the Nation as a whole. The Homeland security is visualized to be an increasingly complex mission. It is associated with efforts both at home and abroad.

It warrants a range of government and private sector capabilities and it necessitated coordinated and concentrated effort from many actors those are not alternatively necessitated to function collaboratively and for whom security is not always a primary mission. The strategy focused on three objectives such as prevention of terrorist attacks within the United States, reduction of America’s vulnerability to terrorism and minimizes the damage and recovers from attacks that do occur.

The war against terrorism is based on the same core American strengths and characteristics such as innovation, determination and commitment to the democratic tenets of freedom and equality that guided to its victory in World War II and the Cold War. (The National Strategy for Homeland Security) The national strategy for Homeland Security is concentrated on generating immediate outcomes. Therefore, the first principle behind the strategy is to take responsibility and accountability. The creation of the Department of Homeland Security is to clarify the lines of responsibility for homeland security in the executive branch.

The second principle is to mobilize the entire society. It acknowledges the crucial role of all concerned in securing the homeland. The third principle is the management of risk and allocation of resources rationally. Seeking opportunity out of adversity is the fourth principle. Fifthly, the strategy of Homeland Security is based on fostering flexibility. Sixthly, it relies upon measurement of preparedness. It warrants accountability from every government body responsible for homeland security initiatives. The eighth principle is sustaining efforts over the long term.

Finally it relies upon constrain government spending. It impels for the government reorganization, legal reforms, essential regulation, incentives, cost sharing arrangements with state and local governments, cooperative arrangements with the private sector and the organized involvement of citizens. (The National Strategy for Homeland Security) The National Strategy for Homeland Security emphasizes on the principle that intelligence and information analysis are inseparable but acts as an integral component of our National effort to safeguard against and reduce the vulnerability to terrorism.

The strategy identifies four interrelated but separate categories of intelligence and information analysis. Firstly, it involves tactical threat analysis that implies actionable intelligence felt crucial for prevention of the acts of terrorism. In time analysis and dissemination of information relating to terrorists and their current and potential activities permit the government to take immediate and near-term action to disrupt and dissuade terrorist acts and to entail useful warning to specific targets.

Secondly, it is essential to have a strategic analysis of the enemy. The intelligence agencies involved are required to have clear comprehension of the organizations that may entail terrorist attacks. The information relating to identification, financial and political sources of support, motivation, goals current and future capabilities and vulnerabilities of such organizations go a long way in helping the agency preventing and preempting future attacks. (Intelligence and Warning)

The evaluation of vulnerability magnitude is taken to be an integral part of the intelligence. This facilitates the planners to pose the outcomes of the possible terrorist attacks against particular facilities or different sectors of the economy or government. The next step in the intelligence sector is to map out the terrorist threats and capabilities against a particular facility and sector-wise vulnerabilities. It also emphasizes upon the tactical preventive action. Analysis is required to be turned into action that dissuades terrorists from carrying out their plots.

The United States has at its disposal numerous tools that permit for the disruption of terrorist acts in the United States and the detention of the terrorist themselves. It also lays stress on warning and protective action. The importance of defensive action in reduction of the potential effectiveness of an attack by prompting relevant sectors to implement security and incident management plans. Additionally, defensive action functions as a restraint to terrorists focusing on the potential effectiveness of their plans.

Warnings educate the citizens to take appropriate actions to meet the threat, inclusive of up-gradation and effectiveness of their plans. (Intelligence and Warning) The nation necessitates a Homeland Security Advisory System to entail a comprehensive and effective mode of dissemination of information with regard to the vulnerability of terrorist acts to Federal, State and local authorities and to the American people. Such a system would entail warnings in the form of a set of graduated ‘Threat Conditions’ that would indicate the risk of the terrorist threat in a graduated manner.

This facilitates initiation of measures of the Federal Departments following different set of standards at different conditions. The Homeland Security Advisory system indicates about five Threat Conditions to be recognized by a description and the corresponding color. The green color signifies low risk; the blue color signifies guarded; the yellow color signifies elevated risk, while the orange and red indicates high and severe risk of terrorist activities. (Homeland Security Presidential Directive-3) Assignment of threat conditions involves integration of various considerations.

Such integration is based upon the qualitative assessment rather than quantitative assessment. Irrespective of concentrated efforts there is not surety that at any given Threat Condition, a terrorist attack will not occur. The most significant factor is the quality of the threat information itself. The assessment of threat information is generally made on the basis of the degree of credibility of the threat information, the degree of corroboration of the threat information, the degree of the threat specific or imminent and the potential outcome of the threat.

(Homeland Security Presidential Directive-3) Protection of critical infrastructure and key assets is considered to be a formidable challenge. Such protection necessitates more than just resources. The federal government can adopt a broad range of measures to assist the state, local and private sector entities to better safeguard the assets and infrastructure they regulate. (Protecting Critical Infrastructures and Key Assets)

Ever since the attacks of September 11, 2001, the federal government has enhanced the homeland security missions of many departments and agencies that multiplied the allocation of federal funds devoted to homeland security, enacted new legislation to generate a new department and strengthen transportation security and law enforcement activities, leveraged relationships with state and local governments and the private sector and initiated to establish a structure for planning the national strategy and the transition necessitated for executing the new Department of Homeland Security.

(United States General Accounting office, 2002) The attack on terrorism has made the physical security for federal facilities vulnerable. The Interagency Security Committee is setup with the responsibility of coordinating federal agencies protection efforts generating developing standards and overseeing implementation. It has been recommended that the Department of Homeland Security should instruct the Interagency Security Committee to devise an action plan that identifies resource needs, goals and time frames for meeting its responsibilities and proposes strategies for addressing the challenges that it confronts.(United States Government Accountability office, 2004)


Homeland Security Presidential Directive-3. Office of the press secretary. Retrieved 14 February, 2007 from http://www. whitehouse. gov/news/releases/2002/03/print/20020312-5. html Intelligence and Warning. Retrieved 14 February, 2007 from http://www. whitehouse. gov/homeland/book/sect3. pdf Keeter, Hunter. (2004) The U. S. Homeland Security Forces. Gareth Stevens. Protecting Critical Infrastructures and Key Assets. Retrieved 14 February, 2007 from http://www. whitehouse. gov/homeland/book/sect3-3. pdf

The National Strategy for Homeland Security. Retrieved 14 February, 2007 from http://www. whitehouse. gov/homeland/book/sect2. pdf United States General Accounting office. (December, 2002) Homeland Security: Management Challenges facing Federal Leadership. DIANE. United States Government Accountability office. (November, 2004) Further Action Needed to Coordinate Federal Agencies’ Facility Protection Effort and promote Key practices. DIANE. Sauter, Mark A; Carafano, James Jay. (2005) Homeland Security: A Complete Guide to Understanding, Preventing, and Surviving Terrorism. McGraw-Hill Professional.