Theoretical and Conceptual Knowledge of the Department of Homeland Security


Security threats that the world faces today are varied. They range from cyber crimes to terrorist attacks. We are also constantly faced with catastrophic man made and natural disasters. It is in the light of these occurrences that the department of homeland security was formed. The department was formed in 2002 as one of the measures to counter terrorism. Since its formation, several issues have arisen regarding its leadership and policy. This essay analyses the functions of homeland security and the policies governing its formation and operations.

The major purpose of the department of homeland security is to improve and safeguard United States’ security. To do this, it works has been vested with the power to monitor border movement, customs and immigration. It is also involved in emergency response to man made and natural calamities. Finally, it also monitors cyber security and possibilities of terror activities.

The department has a unique leadership structure. It is headed by homeland security secretary appointed president of the United States of America. The deputy falls under the department secretary and on top of the different agencies that form the Department of Homeland Security. Divisions of the Homeland Security come next. This department is highly funded by the federal government. The department has faced several criticisms regarding its operations and policies.

Its leadership has been blamed for transparency issues relating to the department. It has also been a subject of criticism because of its ineffectiveness that comes from the bureaucratic nature of operations. Many people view it as a waste of public resources. Audits of the department have revealed a lot of wastage and flaws that are within the department. Fragmented oversight by the congress has made management of the department a challenge. According to Annenberg Public Policy Center the number of committees rose from 86 committees in 2004 to 104 in 2010. All these committees claim their jurisdiction to oversee the activities of homeland security. This oversight should be compressed to a few oversight bodies to reduce the effectiveness of the department from bureaucratic constraints.

The department has also been blamed for intrusion into personal space. Their operations require snooping into people and business. “Government Accountability Office” abbreviate GAO cited that the data mining tool ADVISE used by Homeland Security could lead to erroneous implication of individuals with such practices as terrorism or fraud with severe consequences. The fusion centers have been blamed for gathering and sharing private information with authorities without consent from the victims.

As a conclusion, urgent measures are needed to streamline and address the issues facing the department of homeland security. However, in the face of modern security threats, we cannot downplay the importance of the Department of Homeland Security’s activities. It is through their intelligence initiatives that different threats to national security have been averted.