The term “homeland security” is relatively new and relates only to the domestic politics of the United States. However, this concept has been especially influential in the last couple of decades. Considering the extent of domestic terrorism in the nation, the interest to and media coverage of the issues surrounding homeland security have experienced a resurgence. In the year 2021, the need to safeguard a homeland against the emerging dangers looming everywhere has taken a different meaning. The purpose of this discussion board post is to examine the notion of security by defining homeland security and its mission, as well as evaluating its effectiveness.
Defining Homeland Security
In order to start an actual discussion, it is crucial to define homeland security. There can be a variety of different ways to describe the concept based on the assumptions of what it ought to focus on or emphasize. Therefore, it is impossible to encompass the entirety of actors, policies, and initiatives behind homeland security in a single term. It is important to look at homeland security from different perspectives. For instance, it can be defined as a well-structured and highly-organized national effort to prevent terrorist activity in the country and reduce America’s vulnerability to such attacks. At the same time, homeland security can be referred to as a system aimed at protecting the nation from natural hazards. In short, it can be defined as a concentrated effort of local and federal authorities to prevent incidents, which can potentially threaten the safety of the nation’s safety or the country’s sovereignty.
The Mission of Homeland Security
In terms of homeland security’s overall mission, it is identified on the Department’s official web-site. U.S. Department of Homeland Security (2019) states that it has a wide range of responsibilities and duties with a collective goal of securing the nation from all the threats it faces. From cybersecurity to biodefense, homeland security encompasses all the collective efforts to ensure the country’s citizens are at peace. Through a culture of relentless resilience, U.S. Department of Homeland Security (2019) is “raising security baselines across the world, addressing systemic risks, and building redundancies for critical lifelines that enable our prosperity and way of life” (para. 3). In addition, professionals working in the field forge partnerships to ensure public and private sectors’ cooperation in an effort for such coordinated efforts to destroy the adversaries.
The Effectiveness of Homeland Security
As for evaluating the effectiveness of homeland security, it is first important to review U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s performance reports. It is evident that, despite the highly-publicized failures of the nation’s security agencies, the United States remain relatively safe and manages to respond effectively to domestic hazards of all kinds. The percentage of the Department’s measures and initiatives that remained at the same level or improved over the last year has risen from 66 to 78 percent (U.S. Department of Homeland Security, 2020). In addition, the measures met almost 60 percent of their targets in 2019 (U.S. Department of Homeland Security). Moreover, the Department is committed to improving its efficiency by investing in a culture of transparency and fiscal discipline. Nevertheless, it is apparent that homeland security agencies are somewhat incompetent to deal with shootings and other instances of domestic terrorism. No matter the administration in office, the Department lacks strategic action plans to address these issues and prevent them.
The Part I Am Most Interested in
While I do not consider myself a homeland security expert by any means, I believe myself to be well-versed in the issues facing the safety of Americans nowadays. I am the most interested in the internal agencies of the United States tasked with addressing the rising danger posed by the weapons of mass destruction. I have watched many documentaries on the topic and grew more concerned with the ability of nuclear, chemical, and other types of weapons of harming millions of people at once. Although the U.S. itself engaged in the utilization of such weaponry, the 21st century political and socio-economic environment contributes to the development of terrorism. In the future, I would like to learn even more about the response capabilities a global leader such as the United States can develop to coordinate efforts and prevent attacks. I find the work of the Department in investigating the prior attacks and using forensic evidence to prevent any follow-on operations quite fascinating.
The Change Is Needed
Although the concept of homeland security is not necessarily a bad one, the organizations tasked with ensuring public safety are often the problem and worsen the situation instead of providing any actual help. Thus, the corruption within the Department discovered a year ago, which resulted in one of its officials resigning, is a serious concern. The Department should not be “a Pretorian guard acting in the whims of a Roman emperor” (Harris & Miroff, 2020, para. 1). It should be more efficient as an independent body, and not a police force exclusively used by the office of the president, which is an actual threat to civil liberties. Psalm 127 states that “Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchmen stand hard in vain.” From the Christian standpoint, unless people have the best intentions at heart and use power in accordance to the Lord’s will, their efforts are useless and even harmful.
To summarize, homeland security is not a recent concept although the term itself is new. Each nation, including the United States, has faced and continues to encounter threats to its sovereignty and the safety of its people. Thus, it is important to assess the effectiveness of the institutions tasked with ensuring the security of a homeland. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is in need of a change in order to address the abuse of presidential power and corruption.
Harris, S., & Miroff, N. (2020). DHS official whose office compiled ‘intelligence reports’ on journalists and protesters has been removed from his job. The Washington Post. Web.
U.S. Department of Homeland Security (2019). Mission. DHS. Web.
U.S. Department of Homeland Security (2020). FY 2019-2021 annual performance report. Web.