Friday, 5 November 2010
CASE 149 - Homeland security
Homeland security is an umbrella term for security efforts to protect the United States against terrorist activity. The term arose following a reorganization of many U.S. government agencies in 2003 to form the United States Department of Homeland Security after the September 11 attacks, and may be used to refer to the actions of that department, the United States Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, or the United States House of Representatives Committee on Homeland Security.
In the United States, the concept of "homeland security" extends and recombines responsibilities of several government agencies and entities, including the United States National Guard, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the United States Coast Guard, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, the United States Secret Service, the Transportation Security Administration, and Civil Air Patrol.
The George W. Bush administration consolidated many of these activities under the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS), a new cabinet department established as a result of the Homeland Security Act of 2002. However, much of the nation's homeland security activity remains outside of DHS; for example, the FBI and CIA are not part of the Department, and other executive departments such as the Department of Defense and Department of Health and Human Services play a significant role in certain aspects of homeland security. Homeland security is coordinated at the White House by the Homeland Security Council, currently headed by John Brennan.
Homeland security is officially defined by the National Strategy for Homeland Security as "a concerted national effort to prevent terrorist attacks within the United States, reduce America's vulnerability to terrorism, and minimize the damage and recover from attacks that do occur". Because the U.S. Department of Homeland Security includes the Federal Emergency Management Agency, it also has responsibility for preparedness, response, and recovery to natural disasters.
The term became prominent in the United States following the September 11, 2001 attacks; it had been used only in limited policy circles prior to these attacks. The phrase "security of the American homeland" appears in the 1998 report Catastrophic Terrorism: Elements of a National Policy by Ashton B. Carter, John M. Deutch, and Philip D. Zelikow.
Homeland security is also usually used to connote the civilian aspect of this effort; "homeland defense" refers to its military component, led chiefly by the U.S. Northern Command headquartered in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
The scope of homeland security includes:
Emergency preparedness and response (for both terrorism and natural disasters), including volunteer medical, police, emergency management, and fire personnel;
Domestic intelligence activities, largely today within the FBI;
Critical infrastructure and perimter protection;
Border security, including both land, maritime and country borders;
Transportation security, including aviation and maritime transportation;
Detection of radioactive and radiological materials;
Research on next-generation security technologies.