Homeland Security

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Homeland Security
Ken Taylor

The term homeland security is a uniquely American term that came to fore right after the attacks of September 11, 2001. The events were known as one of the most daring attacks on United States soil. Despite its involvement in many wars there have been only a few isolated incidents of attacks on United States. The country has been relatively safe and out of harm’s way, except for a few domestic problems from so called “homegrown terrorists”. However, all that would change after the September 11 attacks. Almost instantly, the sense of security that many Americans had was gone. The reaction by the United States government was almost instant and the concept of homeland security was born. This spawned a new government agency that is now known as the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The concept of homeland security is based upon the concept of preventing and reducing terrorists attacks on United States as well as minimizing the damage if and when there is a terrorist attack. This essay will focus on the concept of homeland security and the agency tasked to implement it was well as discuss issues surrounding the concept. Ever since September 11, 2011 the attitude toward terrorism prevention has taken a radical turn. One of those responses is the Patriot Act of 2011. It made a drastic reorganization of the government by bringing together many government agencies such as FEMA, Office of Domestic Preparedness and others under the DHS. The DHS’s objectives are the following: preventing terrorist attacks, reducing United States vulnerability to terrorism, and minimizing the effects of damage should an attack occur (Prante & Bohara, 2008). The Office of Homeland Security was created 11 days after the September 11 attacks. It was first located at the White House, its function was to oversee a comprehensive national strategy to protect the U.S. against terrorism and respond to any future attacks. A year later in November 2002, congress passed the Homeland Security Act. The Department of Homeland Security officially became a standalone, cabinet level department (Kemp, 2012). The new department integrated all or part of 22 different Federal departments into a single unified agency. Since the time of its inception the nation has seen the implementation of two national warnings systems. In relation to homeland security, the United States has seen the emergence of various emergency and disaster related citizen support groups, which are designed to serve law enforcement agencies and first-responders at all levels of the government. There has also been more information posted on the internet for the consumption of citizens in general. This information has become more sophisticated and tailored to the needs of improving homeland security. Because of the popularity of social media, it has also been used by the Federal government to help and inform citizens on how to prepare for disasters and emergencies. One of the key elements of homeland security is a national warning system (Flynn, 2011). To improve coordination and communication between all levels of government and the public, the Homeland Security Presidential Directive 3 was signed by the President in March 2, 2002. This created the Homeland Security Advisory System (HSAS) (Kemp, 2012). This was created to serve as a simple and efficient structure to for communication to disseminate information with regard to any possible attack aimed at the government or its citizens. In 2011, it was replaced by the National Terrorism Advisory System (NTAS). As a country the United States has many federal alert systems. These are tailored for each sector of society such as agriculture, transportation, defense, and weather. These systems deliver a specific set of information in various emergency situations. The HSAS provided a coordinated national framework that allowed government and citizens to communicate the nature as well as degree of...
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