Department of Homeland Security

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The Establishment of the Department of Homeland Security as Established by the Homeland Security Act of 2002 An Analysis and Report

Zachary Stackhouse
Political Science 101: Introduction
October 24, 2011


On September 11th, 2001, The United States of America and the rest of the world stared and watched as the first and then second tower of the World Trade Center in New York came under attack by terrorists. At 8:46 am, American Airlines Flight 11 crashed into the North Tower. At 9:03 am, the South Tower was struck by another airliner. These were the first two of four terrorist attacks to occur on the fateful September day. At 9:37 am, the third plane would fly into the Pentagon. At 10:03 am, the final terrorist attack was thwarted as passenger of United Airlines Flight 93 took back control of their plane and crashed the plane into a field in Pennsylvania. This was the last of the terrorist attacks but nowhere near the end of the horror.

To stem the tide of future terrorist attacks on American at home and abroad, President George Bush took immediate steps to ensuring that our country would be secure once again. These steps would mark the start of the global war on terror and would be the foundation for what would later become known as the Department of Homeland Security. As political scientists, we are asked to evaluate a decision made by politicians. This analysis may establish that state-centered theory provides a strong explanation of the establishment of the Department of Homeland Security and the Homeland Security Act of 2002. In this analysis, it will be shown how this policy stemmed from the issues of the Global War on Terror and will follow its passage from President Bush’s original ideas to the final legislation that was signed into law on November 25, 2002. After the reader is given a background introduction into the topic the of Department of Homeland Security, the reader will then be given a basic lesson on state-centered theory and the hypotheses of state-centered theory that will be tested by this legislation and policy. Background

Following the attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, President Bush moved quickly to establish the Office of Homeland Security and on October 8, 2001, it was done by executive order. The mission of this office to be run by Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge as President Bush stated in a speech before Congress nine days after the attacks, “He will lead, oversee, and coordinate a comprehensive national strategy to safeguard our country against terrorism, and respond to any attacks that may come”. This new office would serve to coordinate the activity between all government agencies that had functions relating to the defense of the continental United States. On October 12, 2001, the legislative options to strengthen homeland security went before a hearing in front of the Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs. There, many defense and political experts such as Senator Robert Bennet (R-Utah), Representative Jane Harman (D-California), former Representative Lee Hamilton (D-Indiana), General (Retired) Barry McCaffrey, and General (Retired) Charles Boyd began to advocate for a the establishment of a Department of Homeland Security with a cabinet position as opposed to and assistant to the President. This changed the ideology of legislation regarding this policy

Strength started building up for the founding of a new Department of Homeland Security. President Bush got behind it as well. As Maxwell writes, “Bush initially opposed the move, contending it was unnecessary. As legislation to create the new department picked up momentum, Bush reversed his position…” The legislation had so much backing behind it that 118 members of the House of Representatives got behind the bill as cosponsors in addition to the sponsorship of Representative Richard Armey. The Homeland Security Act of 2002 which established the Department of Homeland Security passed...
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