The Department of Homeland Security Essay

Introduction The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) became operational on January 24, 2003 60 days after the Senate passed the Homeland Security Act of 2002 into law. The Department of Homeland Security is the third largest cabinet department, only after the Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs. The Homeland Security Act of 2002, Public Law 107-296 was enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress. The Department of Homeland Security is an executive department of the United States within the meaning of title 5, United States Code. MISSION

The primary mission of the Department is to (a) prevent terrorist attacks within the United States; (b) reduce the vulnerability of the United States to terrorism; (c) minimize the damage, and assist in the recovery, from terrorist attacks that do occur within the United States; (d) 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; (e) 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; (f) ensure that the overall economic security of the United States is not diminished by efforts, activities, and programs aimed at securing the homeland; and (g) monitor connections between illegal drug trafficking and terrorism, coordinate efforts to sever such connections, and otherwise contribute to efforts to interdict illegal drug trafficking (DHS. gov) HISTORY The former President George W. Bush directed Homeland Security Advisor Tom Ridge to study the federal government as a whole to determine if the current structure allows us to meet the threats of today while anticipating the unknown threats of tomorrow. After careful study of the current structure – coupled with the experience gained since September 11 and new information we have learned about our enemies while fighting a war – the President concluded that our nation needs a more unified homeland security structure.

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The President – using the maximum legal authority available to him – created the Office of Homeland Security and the Homeland Security Council in the weeks following the attack on America as an immediate step to secure the homeland. (Bush, 2002) On March 1 2003, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), Coast Guard, The Customs Service, and the United States Secret Service were transferred from their existing agencies along with 17 other agencies to the new department. The agencies all work as separate entities, responsible to different authorities all of which are appointed by DHS. The Department of Homeland Security organizational structure has four divisions. • Border and Transportation Security • Emergency Preparedness and Response Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear Countermeasures Information Analysis and Infrastructure Protection [pic] The common goal of all agencies, is to work in the civilian aspect to protect the United States, securing our nation’s borders and transportation systems. They administer who and what enters our native soil and work to prevent the ingress of terrorists and the instruments of terrorism while ensuring the prompt flow of justifiable interchange. Its stated goal is to prepare for, prevent, and respond to domestic emergencies, particularly terrorism. Because the Department of Homeland Security is a composed of many agencies it is vital that they adhere to all federal guidelines.

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), the National Environment Policy Act, the No FEAR Act, the Information Quality Standards and the Homeland Security Web Content Inventory and Public Schedule are all regulations that govern how the Department of Homeland Security operates. FOIA is used to ensure that DHS is in compliance with privacy issues. DHS have a privacy office that is responsible for evaluating proposed and existing Department technologies, programs, regulations, and legislation for potential privacy impacts. They use compliance documentation tools to identify and reduce privacy impacts: • Privacy Office Official Guidance’s ensure the safeguarding of personally identifiable information (PII) • Privacy Impact Assessments (PIAs) assess how PII is collected, used, disseminated, and maintained. Find them here, listed by date of issuance. Systems of Records Notices (SORNs) are required for every system of records that collects PII. Find them here, listed in numerical order. The National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 is used to ensure that during DHS decision process that must consider the environmental, social, economic, and technical factors of all proposed actions. DHS has several environmental impact assessments which can be found on their website www. dhs. gov. The No FEAR Act is to ensure that DHS is treating their employees fair. All federal agencies must post a quarterly statistical report for all complaints file pertaining to equal opportunity to a public website. Currently, DHS post a quarterly statistical report for the entire department.

The Homeland Security Web Content Inventory and Public Schedule is use to ensure Section 207(f)(2) of the E-Government Act of 2002 requires federal agencies to develop an inventory of information to be published on their Web sites, establish a schedule for publishing information, make those schedules available for public comment, and post the schedules and priorities on the Web site. SUMMARY The Department of Homeland Security was established because of the terrorist attack on September 11, 2001. The focus was to combine all of the agencies that were related to the security of the United States and develop one essential agency. This agency would be responsible for preventing future terrors attacks by warning the President and other officials of the possible threat to the United States.


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