What is the Purpose of Homeland Security

What is the Purpose of Homeland Security

The Department of Homeland Security was formed as a result of the 9/11 attacks. This following OpinionFront article will go into more depth about its role and purpose.
OpinionFront Staff
Last Updated: Mar 22, 2018
Millions of people all over the world watched on in utter disbelief as the Twin Towers that stood as a landmark in the skyline of New York City, succumbed to the September 11 terrorist attacks. This act of terrorism brought to light that even the most invincible nation was not immune to the conspiracies of terrorists.
A need of sprucing up the security services was desperately felt in the US. The result was the passing of the Homeland Security Act of 2002. It was under the aegis of this Act that the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was formed under the Government of President George W. Bush. This Department aims at streamlining and coordinating the efforts of various agencies and departments that are responsible for maintaining the safety of the country and its citizens. The working of the department is coordinated by the Homeland Security Council at the White House.
In the following sections of this OpinionFront article, we will cover the purpose of homeland security and the committees and agencies within the same
Agencies Within Homeland Security
The various entities within the purview of the Department of Homeland Security are:
  • Directorate for Science and Technology
  • Federal Law Enforcement Training Center
  • Office of Infrastructure Protection
  • Office of Intelligence and Analysis
  • US Secret Service
  • United States National Guard
  • United States Coast Guard
  • United States Citizenship and Immigration Services
  • Federal Emergency Management Agency
  • US Immigration and Customs Enforcement
  • Customs and Border Protection
  • United States Secret Service
  • Transportation Security Administration
  • Civil Air Patrol

Despite including a majority of the federal entities entrusted with the responsibility of protecting the country from terrorist attacks, a lot of security work falls outside the aegis of this department. It is so because the FBI, the CIA, the Department of Defense and the Department of Health and Human Services are not part of the DHS.
Committees and Working Groups of DHS
Homeland Security Advisory Council
This council comprises leaders from academia, the private sector, state and local government, and public safety agencies who advise the DHS Secretary on matters of homeland security.
The DHS Data Privacy and Integrity Advisory Committee
This committee advises the DHS Secretary and the DHS Privacy Officer on issues that are related to DHS operations that affect individual privacy and other data that is collected by the department.
Critical Infrastructure Sector Partnership
This is another infrastructure-protection system within the DHS that helps the local, state, federal, and tribal governments, as well as the owners and operators of key infrastructure and resources to share information.
Other than these 3, there is also the Homeland Security Watch committee that figures under the DHS.
Advantages of Homeland Security
The inclusion of bodies like the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Department of Health and Human Services may not seem to fall in line with the agenda of just fighting the threat for the safety of the US. This is because although the DHS was established in the wake of the September 11 attacks, it also works to improve the preparedness and recovery efforts in response to natural disasters. The use of homeland security can be discussed under the following heads:
Information Sharing and Analysis
The DHS collects and analyzes various information about the susceptibility of the country to any attack, whether foreign or indigenous. It then shares this information with the American public and other federal agencies. Much of this task involves periodic assessment of the infrastructure and systems critical for the safety of the nation. Based upon the severity of the threat level, the DHS has designated 5 colors to the different levels of threat. Green color represents the least threat level. The threat level progressively increases from green, blue, yellow, orange, and then to red, which is the highest level of threat.
Prevention and Protection
According to its analysis of the threat level, the DHS is responsible for ensuring the prevention and protection of the nation against such threats. The threats include terrorism, natural disasters, or any other emergency. In this effort, it ensures border security, regulates immigration, and maintains infrastructure security.
Preparedness and Response
It is the responsibility of the DHS to make certain that the nation is prepared in case of any terrorist attack or natural disaster. In the wake of such incidents, the department provides a swift and coordinated response and rescue efforts.
To achieve its aims, the DHS runs a number of activities and programs like the Homeland Security Information Network to share and analyze the information it collects, and the National Incident Management System and National Infrastructure Protection Plan to ensure preparedness and response to any emergency. The importance of Homeland Security does not end here. It organizes a number of training and exercise schedule, committees and working groups, and issues publication to disseminate information concerning national security.
Homeland Security is made up of dedicated individuals who take up different job profiles and work relentlessly to ensure a peaceful life among its citizens.