The US homeland security department was formed as a strategy to beef up homeland security following the enactment of the Homeland security Act of 2002. This was in reaction to the increased terrorist attacks around the world and particularly because of the devastating September 11 terrorist attacks in 2001. The department of Homeland security is charged with the economies responsibility of mobilizing the nation for prevention of further terrorist attacks. This it does by providing a care unifying point for numerous organizations that ran parallel to ensuring sufficient homeland security. (Kemp, 2003).
Notably, the DHS responsibilities are exceedingly important as well as challenging. The men and women in this department rise daily to protect the citizens of America form visions terrorist attack. They must therefore be guided by a clear framework to direct flier actions and this is provided in the department vision and mission statement. For instance, the vision reads preserving out freedom, protecting America …we secure our homeland.
The mission on the other hand reads “we will lead the unified national efforts to secure America. We will prevent and deter terrorist attacks and protect against and respond to threats and hazards to the nation. We will ensure safe and secure borders, welcome lawful immigrants and visitors and promote the free flow of commerce (www.dhs.gov.) These strongly started missions provide a strong foundation and framework for building on the daily operations of this department.
The department of Homeland security comprises of five directors namely, The directors of National protection and programs, The directorate of science and technology, The directorate of management, The office of policy and the office of health Affairs.
The directorate of National Protection and programs is charged with the task of developing and implementing risk reduction approaches by putting in place an integrated and comprehensive view of cubing risk elements both physical and virtual. If feel that this arm plays a crucial role since prevention is better than cure. Risk reduction approach goes a long way to facilitating reduced terrorist attacks.
The directorate of science and Technology primarily provides the federal and state officials with the technology and capabilities they may require to stay a head in the plight against terrorism. This is a very important function of the department because seen as it is, the terrorist techniques get sophisticate by the day and with the directorate R&D efforts, advanced technology to match or even surpass that of the terrorist gangs helps to reduce numerous attacks by detecting them early or reducing the magnitude of their effects. This I feel is very crucial to be department’s mission.
The directing for management is equally important. This is because it ensures that the budget is properly appropriated, adequate to fund the operations of the department which no doubt must be very costly. These funds must be well managed and this is the function of the directorate of managements. Additionally, other components such as the human resource, expenditure of funds, IT systems management, procurement of necessary materials and so on fall under the roles of this directorate.
These functions although not directly connected to the actual capturing of terrorists contribute to the smooth running of the department. This is especially true when it comes to the human resource. I believe it is one of the most important functions of this department which entails the right people for the job. E.g. highly qualified, possess integrity, innovative as well as patriotic.
The division of office of policy is just as pertinent as the other in the DHS. Although not well known to many, its main function is to formulate and coordinate policies within the department of homeland security. I believe that the division in the DHS is crucial component in that it provides a focused centralized long range blue prints to the protection of the United States and its people. (Howard, James & Moore, 2005).
Also in line with the five directorates of the department of homeland security is the office of Health Affairs. Much cannot be said about this department but of importance is the role it plays providing medical activities in instances where having medical background preparation may be called for. Generally, this act to ensure that staff is well prepared to face challenges of a medical nature such as diseases like SARS, Bird flu and the rest which pose homeland insecurity.
The US department of homeland security works in conjunction with the independent organizations such as the US coast guard which is a branch of the military whose duty is basically to conduct search and rescue mission as well as provide security assistance of a marine nature. This organization is the smallest of all but none the less vital in ensuring maximum possible security to the American citizens, the environment us economy or any other security interest falling in the region meantime. This organization seems most logical because it is impossible for the DHS to work alone in providing security to the whole of American.
Not only that, division of labour or rather specialization ensures that the experts do their part to give maximum contribution to the security of America. Beside since both organization have same mission where necessary at all times. The other independent body that worked with the US department of security is the secret service. This department has dual roles form providing security to correct retires of visiting leaders and conducting criminal investigations of a sensitive nature say money laundry, identity theft, computer based attacks and so on.
Contrary to what most people believe, not the agency is misplaced in working with homeland security, I feel that its pretense is crucial to beefing security within American not only to the ‘who is who’ and their families but even the citizens of American. This is because most terrorist attacks are funded from outside sources to internally based allies. Tracking suspicious transfers could head the agency to exposing such suspicious transaction and ultimately lead to the crime that is not so far apart form terrorism or terrorist. When the US secret service curbs these problems, they in part also curb problems and threats of terrorism.
The five directorates are further made up smaller operate under the umbrella of the directorates. For instance under the NPP directorates we have the offices of cyber security and communications, infrastructure protection (OIP) office of intergovernmental programs (IGP) office of Risk management and Analysis (RMA) and US Visit.
These sub-divisions under the NNP directorate expand the breath of jurisdiction and duties of the department of homeland security. In terms increasing preparedness for unexpected attacks, reassurance to the nation providing decision makers will information that is relevant and accurate when it is needed, developing integrated approach to homeland security right form grassroots, and so on.
In my opinion, the department of homeland security is well organized, in a logical way of least. The organization hierarchy is very clearly displayed in the deportment organization chart with the security at the top of the chart. In support to this claim, the department has tried to be very comprehensive with almost all areas affecting security considered, for example, the legal aspects, health, financial management, technological, intelligence, citizenship, public affairs and policy and so on.
Additionally, the department appoints commissioners and directors form other agencies such as the citizenship and migration services, customs and border protection, transport security, secret service, coast guard, federal emergency management Agency (FEMA) and immigration and customs enforcements. (https://training.fema.gov/hiedu/aemrc/booksdownload/fem/) This only goes to show how well thought out the organization of the agency is. The inclusion of the afore mentioned agencies ensures that no loopholes are left uncovered i.e. right from detection of potential threats, prevention tacking of insecurity and swift and efficient disaster management in case of terrorist attacks or natural disaster strike.
However, it is not hard to notice that one important agency is absent in the DHS organization i.e. the federal bureau of investigation. It is alarming because these two should be closely interlinked because seen as it is they share comm. interest i.e. fighting crime, protection and conducting criminal investigations. If they could work directly with the departments of Homeland security then perhaps the expertise on fighting insecurity and terrorist attack would be greater.
Department of Homeland Security. About the Department of Homeland Security
Retrieved on October 27, 2007 from World Wide Web: https://www.dhs.gov/
FEMA. Introduction to Emergency Management Textbook, FEMA Higher Education Project. Retrieved on October 27, 2007 from World Wide Web:
Howard, R.D., James J. & Moore J. C. (2005). Homeland Security and Terrorism: Readings and Interpretations. New York: McGraw-Hill Professional.
Kemp R.L. (2003). Homeland Security: Best Practices for Local Government
International City/County Management Association.