Argue that the Department of Homeland security protects America from internal and external dangers.
Argue that the Department of Homeland Security Protects America from Internal and External Dangers.
Homeland security is a security department formed after the September 11 attacks on U.S soil by terrorists. Initially, this term had been only used by a few in limited policy circles. This is seen in the 1998 report Catastrophic Terrorism: Elements of a national policy by Aston B. Carter, John M. Deutch, and Philip D. Zelikow. However, it was not until November 25, 2002, that many us government agencies reorganized and came under one umbrella which became known as the United States department of homeland security which encompassed both natural disasters and man-made events. Its activities are coordinated at the white house by the Homeland Security Council which is currently headed by John Brennan (Shenon 2-4).
Homeland security also covers internal security whereby it aims at protecting the U.S from within. Like any other agency the DHS has a goal that is to prepare for, prevent and respond to domestic emergencies, particularly terrorism. Its ability to protect us is seen in its various components that include the transport security administration responsible for local and international aviation particularly at the airport where they screen passengers as well as in water and land transportation security. Its presence is also felt in buses, mass transit systems. Highways as well as ports. The federal emergency management agency is another branch of homeland security that deals with disaster management. A case it dealt with an internal danger was when they responded to the dumping of toxic waste in Niagara Falls, New York. The National protection and programs directorate is a component of the DHS which protects America from internal and external danger mainly by eliminating threats to the Nations critical physical and cyber infrastructure. It protects and also strengthens the reliability and interoperability of the state’s communication capabilities. The NPPD makes sure that the nation’s critical infrastructure and resources are not used against its citizens or institutions. Further, its personnel conduct criminal investigations and provide regular training to its officers.
Every time one connects to the internet there is always a threat to our personal details, and that is why DHS also concerns itself with protecting Americas cyberspace.This has recently become an important homeland security mission owing to the many cyber-attacks in the country, and this is because the United States is a very digital nation where the national security, infrastructure, economy and public safety have been successfully built on the foundation of the internet. It is, therefore, crucial to protect this vital cyberspace. The DHS do this by working with all departments and sharing information that is critical in furthering the country’s cyber security. In 2004, the DHS agents developed a system that blocks malicious people from accessing government’ executive branch. This program was known as EINSTEIN 2 which also automatically disabled any attempted intrusions.IN partnership with the antivirus companies, the computer readiness team have measures that stop possible threats from reaching both public and private sector partners. Within the homeland security, there is the national cybersecurity and communications integrations sector that is a 24-hour watch and warning center that maintains the state cyber and communications common operational picture. The citizens are also given cyber security awareness tips whereby they are made aware of the threats and steps to take to increase their online safety (Flynn 23).
The Department of Homeland Security is also tasked with protecting America’s physical and social infrastructure. This is done by working with the communities, businesses and the local government to enhance safety and resilience of the nation’s critical infrastructure. This facilities includes those that supply our communities with goods and services like fuel, water, transport, and communication. The department safeguards all this through collaborative public-private partnership and industry from all perspectives. The events of the Sep 11 2001 led to a rapid expansion of protection efforts to the critical infrastructure. Dr. Ted G Lewis in his textbook Critical Infrastructure Protection in Homeland Security: Defending a Networked Nation provides the necessary tools to assess the vulnerability of the critical infrastructures. The department hence uses all tools and useful training to its officials to help them manage all risks to their networks, assets, and systems. Recently there has been no attack on these infrastructures for every critical one of them have been protected like the protection of nuclear material and power. In May 2007, the DHS finished its sector-specific plans that involved coordinating and dealing with a critical event that may affect the country. This increased reliance on interlinked capabilities and hence eliminating potential vulnerabilities in the critical infrastructure. This is because now the department cannot only warn of the impending attack but system failures within.
It is also a duty of the homeland security to protect America borders from the illegal movement of drugs, contraband, weapons and also illegal immigrants. This is while welcoming all legitimate businesses and travelers. Agriculture specialists are also deployed at the border checkpoints to protect the United States from the introduction of pests or disease from other sources. The CBP (U.S Customs and Border Protection) is the agency tasked by the DHS for this work. It is one of the largest law enforcement agency in America. The 1, 969 miles Mexico-United States border is the most defended border with 18,516 agents assigned to it, and this is because of the drugs that originate from Mexico. However the DHS has also given border patrol agents federal arrest authority countrywide and not just at the borders, and this shows its effort to strengthen its security not only at the border but all over the country. The border patrols incorporate technology in its surveillance like the use of video monitors and night visions scope and unmanned aerial vehicles. In this way terrorists are discouraged from illegally entering America’s soil. Traffic checks are then conducted on the main highways to arrest those who may have evaded detection at the border. The United States immigration and customs enforcement are also a component of the Department of Homeland Security, which deals with the internal and external threat by enforcing laws, governing trade, customs and immigration. It identifies the illegal immigrants and apprehends them, detains them and deport them to their respective countries. On its top priorities is the arrest of the aliens that pose or may pose a threat to national security (Flynn 52).
On November 25, 2002, Congress successfully passed the Homeland Security Act that called for a reorganization of immigration functions under DHS. This was to involve educated personnel too to make this a successful agency and hence eliminated the uncoordinated legal advice among agencies and rampant corruption. As a result, stringent measures were introduced, and there was the strengthening of identification verification for land and sea travel to the United States. This has helped to stop dangerous people from entering U.s like terrorists who are a significant risk to public safety. However, this has not blocked the legal immigrants like refugees. The DHS has ensured that immigration benefits are only granted to people who do not pose a threat to national security. This has been attained through Unite States Citizenship and Immigration services (USCIS).
The department of homeland security highest priority has always been protecting the American people from terrorist threats. This is both from within and external attacks as there have arisen terrorists from within the nation and that is why the security officers are becoming keener on refugees who are believed to be the chief inside terrorists. This has also been made evident by the more recent France terrorist attack whereby the terrorists were people disguised as refugees from Syria. In late 2014 the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) hosted discussions aimed at improving its security operations and empowering the DHS components to execute efficiently their operations and make a safer and threat free America.DHS also has developed counter-IED and thus reducing the risk of explosive attacks. The agents are trained to prepare for, respond to and maximize the ability to recover from the threats posed by terrorists. Through the Recovery Act and annual preparations, there has been the accelerated deployment of new technologies to detect threats. This includes Explosive Detection system, bottled liquid scanners among others. There is also the Bio watch under DHS, which is a nationwide bio-surveillance system that detects the intentional release of aerosolized biological agents (Irwin 14).
Creed, Patrick and Newman Rick. Firefight: Inside the Battle to Save the Pentagon on 9/11. 2008. New York: Presidio Press. Print
Flynn, Steven. Edge of Disaster. 2007. New York: CFR Publishers. Print
Shenon, Phillip. The 9/11 Commission Report. 2008. New York: Grand Central Publishing. Print
Sherman, Irwin. Twelve Diseases That Changed Our World. 2008. Washington D.C: ASM Press. Print