The Department of Homeland Security at the time of its inception or creation along with the Homeland Security Act of 2002 which made the establishment of this entity possible was the largest government reorganization in over 50 years. The Department of Homeland Security is one of the largest departments of the executive branch of the federal government. It coordinates intelligence between federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies, with a merger of 22 federal agencies and departments. The Department of Homeland Security was designed with a priority and a purpose to bring the majority of domestic security functions under one roof, to ensure the security and protection of the infrastructure and stability of the United States inside and out.
The entity known today as The Department of Homeland Security was originally formed as response to the terrorist attacks that took place on September 11, 2001. President George W. Bush signed into law the Homeland Security Act of 2002 on November 19, 2002 which allowed the creation of this department. With the merger of the 22 federal agencies and departments that establish the foundation of The Department of Homeland Security, it employs 188,000 employees and sports an annual budget of 50 to 60 billion dollars since the entity was officially established in January of 2003. (Lewis, 2006). The primary mission of The Department of Homeland Security is to prevent terrorist attacks within the United States and reduce the vulnerability of the United States to terrorism, and minimize damage and assist in the recovery from terrorist attacks that occur in the United States. Along with the primary mission of the Department of Homeland Security comes the role of the Department of Homeland Security, which is protecting the territory of the U.S. and outside the borders from acts of terrorism, natural catastrophic disasters and other emergency events. DHS further reduces America’s vulnerability to terrorism, protecting critical infrastructures, property and the economy, and further reducing damage and recovery from attacks that do take place. DHS works in the civilian realms as well, to protect the United States (Radvanovsky, 2006).
With the creation of an entity like The Department of Homeland Security, which is responsible for the overall protection the United States and its homeland; many law enforcement agencies would come underneath the wing or jurisdiction of the Department of Homeland Security and many Law enforcement agencies did, some pre-existing and some created with the inception of the department. The pre-existing departments that came underneath the wing or jurisdiction of the department were; Immigration and Naturalization (INS), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Transportation Security Administration (TSA), U.S. Customs, Border Patrol, Secret Service and Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA). (Radvanovsky, 2006).
Then with the creation or establishment of this entity known as the Department of Homeland Security, came some new law enforcement agencies and divisions such as information and infrastructure protection division, which was designed as a clearinghouse for any data connected to terrorism or any other potential threats on American soil. The border and transportation security division, this law enforcement agency or division was designed to monitor all borders and immigration checkpoints, and improve security on all forms of transportation in the country. The chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear countermeasure division; this law enforcement agency or division was designed as an attempt to ensure that nuclear and other high risk facilities are secure and also to plan how to respond to terrorist attacks using weapons of mass destruction (Oliver, 2006). Each one of these agencies or divisions have helped improved counter-terrorism actions and aided in many ways to the national security of the United States by continually improving in the areas of intelligence, tactics and cooperation at all levels to ensure the safety of the nation.
The Department of Homeland Security provides assistance to law enforcement agencies at all levels, by Congress enacting legislation and appropriating funds to initiate programs to help with things like terrorism and counter-terrorism training, disaster and relief efforts and funding in the way of terrorist attacks; or a natural disaster either one. The Department also provides funds and assistance to help with critical urban infrastructure areas to help fix and sustain structures like ports and rail ways so there are fewer chances for serious collateral damage in the wake of terrorist attack or natural disaster. (Lewis, 2006). The Department also aids law enforcement agencies with assistance in funding for more advanced weapons and protective gear for when officers are in the field. The Department also helps fight for legislation that can aid law enforcement in their efforts to be able to do their job more effectively.
The Department appropriates funds for law enforcement agencies in the way of technical and electronic equipment to enhance communication to improve the effectiveness of a response effort in the way of a terrorist attack or natural disaster, and help law enforcement agencies utilize and expand their internet technology, to expand their intelligence network to be better prepared for all levels of attack and all forms of natural disaster when they happen. Overall the Department of Homeland Security assists law enforcement at the state and local levels in every way possible, which includes providing a coordinated, comprehensive federal response and mounts a swift and effective recovery effort. The Department assumes primary responsibility for ensuring that emergency response professionals are prepared for any situation. And aiding and assisting in all efforts in the wake of a terrorist attack or natural disaster on American soil. (Radvanovsky, 2006).
In Conclusion the Department of Homeland Security since its inception has brought the unity of America’s best policing agencies, divisions and securities under one roof with the common goal of protecting the homeland soil and ensuring the stability of national security. The Department has implemented very important operations and has had many accomplishments to its credit such as developing strategic and operational plans to aid in the strengthening of America’s national security. The Department has also worked very hard in its collaborative efforts to achieve important goals and milestones that have continued to strengthen the nation’s security at home and abroad. But along with its many accomplished goals that have aided in its effectiveness, the Department of Homeland Security is still very much a ripe and maturing agency and though the department has made mounds of progress since it was created, it still remains high risk with many weaknesses such as; management challenges in the department, lacking of a long-term recovering structure to assist state and local governments, lack of cooperation with state and local law enforcement agencies and many divisions and differences among the ideologies of the many employees of the department which at times make the efforts of the department in effective and lacking results in the way of the departments goals.
Overall the Department of Homeland security is still very much a work in progress strong and thriving in many areas and weak and lacking in many other areas just like any other entity or agency ever created. Once all kinks and problems are worked out the more effective the agency or entity will probably become. And overtime with the right management, cooperation and continued improvements on collaborative efforts with state and local law enforcement agencies the Department of Homeland Security may prove to be the most stable and united joint policing and emergency preparedness agency ever known and America’s strongest defense against terrorism and various other disasters that could occur in America’s unforeseen future when that time comes.