Government Reorganization Post 9/11
The September 11, 2001 attack by the Al-Qaida terrorists was a great challenge to the American government than any other disaster that had occurred in the past decades. The government was threatened to an extent that any possible future attacks that had been suggested by this terrorist group had to be dealt with before it could actually be perpetrated against the American citizens. Since the days of 9/11, the nation has spent a reported $635.9 billion on homeland security and has implemented many changes, strategies and processes to better prepare our nations Security. The government had few institutions that would have coped with this disaster before it happened but thereafter, it has moved towards solving this problem by establishing several institutions and initiatives including the U.S.A. Patriot Act, the Homeland Security Act, the Department of Homeland Security, the National Incident Management System, Homeland Security Presidential Directives 5 and 8, and the Transportation Security Administration, all aimed at countering any intended attacks whether within the country or abroad. Their implementations are at local level as well as state and federal level.
The USA Patriot Act signed in October 26, 2001 as a response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks was aimed at reducing limitations to law agencies to search e-mail communications, telephone conversations and messages, and financial or medical records for purposes of gathering intelligence within the United States’ territory (United States Government Accountability Office, 2011). The Act also expanded the extent to which government law enforcers could search individuals without informing them prior to the search either at their homes , cars, or any other place which was earlier prohibited by law. The courts authority to order law enforces not to search a particular area or individual suspected to be in possession of terrorist-related materials was also minimized by the Act. The Patriot Act also gave powers to the Attorney General to either detain or incarcerate non-citizens who were suspected to be terrorists and also allowed him/her to deny such individuals from entering the U.S territory (Smith & Sanderson, 2006).
After the congress had approved the security legislation leading to the creation of Homeland Security, the department had more than 170,000 staff and a budget of approximately $40 billion allocated (Smith & Sanderson, 2006). Smith and Sanderson; (2006) indicates that this brought more than 20 federal agencies under the one umbrella including the U.S Customs Service, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Border Patrol, Customs Service, the U.S Coast Guard, and the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS). This was purposely meant to consolidate these security agencies in a way that would remove information firewalls with respect to budding terrorist threats advanced by the al-Qaeda. Although the creation of Homeland Security Department was lauded by many, critics have been quick to point out the reduced privacy and protection of government secrecy as major weakness areas that the department would present (Smith & Sanderson, 2006).
The Homeland Security Presidential Directive (HSPD) which was signed on February 28, 2003 by President Bush was aimed at managing disasters and emergencies in communities after hurricane Katrina and consequently the 9/11 attacks (Bolton, 2008). The National Incident Management System (NIMS) was established a year later purposely to provide a proactive and systematic approach to incidence management to all levels of departments and governments irrespective of course, location or complexity by responding, protecting, and mitigating them. Bornstein; (2005) points out that after the formation of NIMS; the National Integration Center was formed to ensure that workers at NIMS were adhering to best practices while informing all stakeholders on advancements in the...
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