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Homeland Security
Florida International University
Homeland security is a department in the United States whose tasks entails public
security. Other responsibilities include; immigration, customs, antiterrorism, border security,
cybersecurity, and disaster management and prevention. It was created as a result of the attacks
that took place on September 11, 2001.
Department of Homeland Security (DHS) since it was established has experienced lots of
criticism in its authoritative capacities hence causing managerial issues in the departments. In
2002, the Congress passed a Security Act that stripped off the rights of its employees which
emphasized on their protection. The Act lacked union-friendly measures which were a great deal.
In 2005, under the office of personnel management, it introduced a new personnel system
(Caruson & MacManus, 2006). They contained rules that would make it difficult for the unions
that represented the employees to negotiate any matters that related to the employee. These were
staffing, deployment, and other matters. Even though the system was blocked by the district
judge, it would have denied them the collective bargaining rights.
The department also launched a disaster preparedness response. This was to educate the
citizens on how to go about emergencies such as natural and manmade disasters. One of the
measures they emphasized on the citizens was ensuring that they had homemade bunkers which
they could make with duct tape and plastic sheets (Caruson & MacManus, 2006). However, they
were highly criticized because the price of the duct tapes skyrocketed in an exaggerated manner
which made them be perceived as opportunists.
These cases show the various challenges they have faced with time. They have received
heightened criticism due to excessive bureaucracy, lack of transparency, especially in
expenditure. DHS has also wasted lost lots of money in failed contracts and fraud. There has also
been a misuse of credit cards by their employees in purchasing unusable items which end up
“getting lost”. Anonymous investigation also shows they have used unknown and outdated
computer systems which contain the top-secret database with weak passwords.
The security of a nation is vital to the achievement of sustainable economic, social and
political goals. This is why many countries have prioritized the security of their countries by
having specialized security departments to deal with the defense. The homeland security
department is no exception. This department has evolved over the years and it plays a significant
role in securing the America citizens.
History of Department of Homeland Security
It has been about six years since the inception of this security department. Many things
have been said about the existence of this department. The homeland security department saw a
merging of more than twenty security agencies of the federal government. This was after the
terrorist attack in American that left the security of the Americans as question a well as the
efficiency of other states security departments to keep the country safe (Ellis, 2014). This merger
was a sign of strength as this now meant that the department of homeland security was superior
in terms of resources and policy making. Over the years, this department has evolved and has
worked together with other security agencies to keep Americans safe.
Purpose of Department of Homeland Security
Unlike other defense agencies in America, the department of homeland security
specializes in keeping the American borders safe, in detecting criminal activities and coming up
with strategies to stop criminal attacks. This department is also tasked with dealing with
cybercrimes that have become very prevalent in various parts of the world. Policy formulation is
also another duty of the homeland security department. Sensitizing the Americans on the need to
stay safe in times of war and other external threats is also another duty of this department.
Context of Homeland Security
Unlike other federal and defense agencies, the homeland security department works in
conjunction with the citizens as well as with other security departments to formulate policies and
to work towards ensuring the security of the Americans is upheld. This department focuses more
on working with citizens to get information on ongoing, pending and incoming criminal
activities. This way, this department is able to deal with criminal activities and to achieve their
goals as a department.
Evolution of department of Homeland Security
Over the years, this department has evolved greatly. All this has been in a bid to ensure
that the security agencies in the US are strengthened and that the Americans are safe. To start
with, there was the department of national security agency, the federal emergency management
agency among other federal departments that were tasked with upholding security in the United
States. The bureaucracy, the corruption, the inefficiency, the lack of accountability and the
increased security threats in the US prompted the creation of the homeland security department.
Unlike other security agencies, this department was supposed to work closely with the citizens in
terms of securing the nation (United States, Dodaro & United States., 2014).
The role of this department has changed over the years since its inception. The homeland
security department act provides for the roles of this department and at the same time defines the
role of every official in terms of achieving national security. While the credibility of former
security agencies had been undermined by the citizens, the credibility of this department has
been upheld over the years and this explains the success of this department.
The role that the homeland security department plays cannot be overlooked. This is
because unlike other departments, this department has been able to deliver tangible results to the
people of America. The evolution and the rebranding of this department have also played a major
role in the attainment of internal security.
Literature Review
There have been several issues that are going on at the Department of Homeland Security
(DHS). With the increase in the number of attacks against countries around the world, the
leadership of most of these countries has come up with ways of protecting its citizens and
sovereignty. Some have created special departments like DHS that are tasked with coming up
with ways of protecting the security of the country (Martin, 2016). Various authors have
analyzed how the Department of Homeland security is handling these issues as it seeks to deal
with matters to do with the security of the country. Since it was formed six years ago, there have
been many questions about the role of this security department and how effective it has been or it
is. The department has evolved over time to become better and more effective than it was when it
first became operational.
In most countries where departments like Department of Homeland Security exist, the
attacks have been reduced and they are safer than they were before. In the United States, DHS is
tasked with the major role of ensuring the security of American citizens. Before the DHS was
formed, there existed close to twenty security agencies that were tasked with the responsibility of
ensuring the security of the American citizens which later on were merged together.
Bullock, Haddow, & Coppola, (2017) note that this new department was in a far much
better position to handle any security threats that face the country especially after the 9/11
terrorist attack that led to most Americans questioning how safe they were in their own country.
The merger that led to the formation of the Department of Homeland Security was meant to
restore the belief of the citizens in the ability of their government to protect them.
Department of Homeland Security has played a big role in the creation of policies that have
made it possible for the government to protect its citizens. In the entire time that the department
has been in existence, the department has been able to become stronger and collaborate with
other government agencies to make America safer for its citizens (Brown, 2015).
This literature review seeks to analyze what the Department of Homeland Security can do
in the changing times to make it more equipped to handle modern forms of security threats.
Security attacks are now more sophisticated than ever and the use of old methods to handle them
will not work. Organizers of the attacks keep on coming up with new ways of ensuring that they
do not get detected and the kind of attack they will launch will cause more damage. Issues of
radicalizations have turned citizens against their own countries and most of the attacks are
masterminded by people who are citizens of the countries they plan to attack. It is therefore very
important for the department to always be on the lookout and prevent these attacks even before
they happen.
Purpose of Department of Homeland Security
According to Bullock, Haddow, & Coppola (2017), after the 9/11 terrorist attacks on
American soil that led to a lot of damages, deaths, and injuries, most American citizens started
doubting how secure they were in their own country. As a response to the attacks, Congress
created the Department of Homeland Security in order to give the citizens an assurance that they
were working towards ensuring their security. The department was formed as a merger of several
agencies and its main goal was to improve security coordination and communication on the
domestic level (Bullock, Haddow, & Coppola, 2017). When they talk about the essentials of
homeland security, they insist that there are some things that must be present in order for the
department to be effective otherwise, the department would not operate as it should.
Bullock, Haddow, & Coppola, (2017), also notes that the department of homeland
security specializes in the protection of the American citizens through the creation of security
policies, the detection of criminal activities, and the creation of strategies to stop criminal
attacks. The department also deals with ensuring the security of borders, dealing with the ever
increasing and changing cybersecurity attacks and the sensitization of the public on how to
protect themselves while staying safe in times of war or any other attacks or threats aimed at the
country. Brown (2015) in his article promoting resiliency to address fear and terrorism
challenges in the xxi century in the European journal also places an emphasis on how important
it is for citizens to be resilient in the face of possible terrorist attacks. The war on terrorism
cannot be won if the citizens do not work together with the security agencies that are created by
the government.
In order to be successful, the department works in conjunction with the citizens and any
other agencies in the quest to protect the security of the American citizens (Brown, 2015). This
makes it possible for the department to create policies that are effective in the protection of
citizens. Since it works more with citizens, it is possible for the department to collect information
regarding ongoing, upcoming and pending criminal activities that threaten their security. This
information is then used to prevent or apprehend the people behind the planning and execution of
the attacks. Since its formation, the department has undergone several changes to make it better
at ensuring the security of American citizens. It is also strengthened by the act that states what its
role should be and the roles of each staff member in ensuring the security of the citizens (Brown,
2015). The fact that the department has been effective in its main role of ensuring the security of
the American citizens, its credibility has been upheld making it one of the most successful
departments in the country. Despite its success, the department has faced criticism from the
public due to heightened bureaucracy and lack of transparency on how it spends the funds that it
is allocated.
Bureaucracy at DHS
Since the department of homeland security was created from a merger of different
departments, there have been problems that have risen from this merger.
Martin (2016)
discusses some of the agencies that are under the department of homeland security such as
Citizenship and Immigration Services, the Coast Guard, customs and border protection, the
Domestic Nuclear Detection Office, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Federal
Law Enforcement Training Center, Immigration And Customs Enforcement, the National Cyber
Security Center, Secret Service and Transportation Security Administration among others. There
are also several staff members such as directors, secretaries, undersecretaries and others who
work within the department. The department is also expected to coordinate with other external
agencies like the Federal Bureau of Investigations, Central Intelligence Authority, Drug
Enforcement Agency and Health and Human Services among others in order to be successful in
the quest to protect the American citizens (Martin, 2016).
Each of these agencies has their own issues which make it for them to work together
seamlessly. The department also reports to more than 100 committees and subcommittees a
large number of them also oversee things like small businesses and aging and are not a better
position to over matters to do homeland security. According to McKay (2017), politics also
affect the way various departments are run in the United States. It is easy to overlook the
oversight problems, but the truth of the matter is excessive oversight can interfere with the work
of the department of the homeland as it seeks to protect American citizens McKay (2017). The
delays experienced when proposals have to go through multiple committees before they can be
approved can also interfere with the effectiveness of the department especially if it’s waiting for
authorization before it can handle an urgent security issue.
Lack of Financial Accountability
Lewis (2014) note that the department of homeland security receives funding from the
federal government to run its activities. There have been claims that the department has not been
transparent in how it spends the funds that it is allocated. As of September 2008, it was
estimated that the department had spent close to $15 billion of failed contracts Lewis (2014).
Some of the employees of the department have also misused credit cards belonging to the
department for purchases that are not in any way relevant or related to ensuring the security of
the American citizens. The department has also not been transparent enough regarding its
expenditure and this has led to questions and criticism for the citizens. There is also money that
has been lost in various cases of fraud where money has been misused or lost in failed contracts.
Kahan (2014) writes that the department is expected to be more honest with how it uses
the funds that are allocated to it. Its staff is also discouraged from making any purchases of
things that will not aid in the fight against terrorism and terrorist attacks. The people in charge
should learn to create and stick to a budget that will be agreed upon. Bullock, Haddow, &
Coppola, (2017) in their article Homeland Security state that it is important for the state to
provide all that is needed to facilitate the running of the department so that it can be essential and
be successful in its mandated role. In the event that the department does not get the required
support, it might not be possible for its staff to handle the changes in terrorist’s attacks that are
now more dangerous than ever. It is important for countries to put in place measures that will
enable it to deal with the ever-changing terrorist organizations such as ISIS and many others.
Reduce bureaucracy
The formation of the department was as a result of a merger of more than 20 other
departments each of which was initially independent but now was rendered obsolete. This study
identified bureaucracy to be one of the major issues that are facing DHS which is brought about
by the fact that the department is supervised by over 100 committees and subcommittees most of
which oversees other small business matters and are therefore not in a position to effectively
supervise the workings of the departments (Kettl, 2013).
This study recommends that the number of committees and subcommittees that oversee
the workings of the department of homeland security be reduced to an acceptable number. The
number of committees and subcommittees that the department reports to should also be reduced.
This will reduce greatly how many meetings and the process of answering the same questions
over and over again from the different committees and subcommittees which will free the time
spent in meetings to be spent on more important matters relating to the department.
reduction in the number of committees will also reduce the delays currently experienced by the
department as it waits for requests to go through multiple committees before they can be
approved especially regarding urgent security matters.
The study also recommends that the oversight body that is in charge of the agency should
not interfere beyond the acceptable levels with the employees of the agency. The employees are
expected to be free from any political accountability regardless of what their political affiliations
are and so members of the various political parties in the oversight committee should not expect
the employees to bend the rules. The employees of the agency should perform their duties as its
expected of them and not make decisions based on political affiliations. Department of homeland
security is an independent agency and any political interference should not be allowed.
Lack of financial accountability
The study also found out that the department of homeland security has not been
accountable with the funds it has been allocated by the federal government. Claims of lack of
transparency in its spending have plagued the department for a long time giving it a negative
name. The study also found out that as at September 2008, $15 billion had been spent on
contracts that had failed, some employees misused the credit cards for the department to make
purchases of things that were not relevant and several cases of fraud within the department have
also been reported.
The study recommends that the department should only be given money based on its
budget that has been approved by the relevant body. Any and all contracts should not be
awarded unless they have been scrutinized and the contractors found to be in a position to deliver
before they can be awarded the contracts. The companies to be awarded contracts should also
show proof of their ability to do the job as will be expected of them. Contractors should also be
paid in stages until they complete the job assigned to them. Any purchases to be made should be
approved by the highest accounts office in the department and employees should be discouraged
from making purchases without authorization. It is also recommended that random checks
should be made on the accounts of the department in order to make it possible to detect and
prevent cases of fraud before they occur. The study also recommends the internal checks on
matters to do with finances should be strengthened within the department of homeland security
and a policy of how any expenditure will be handled should be implemented (Francis, 2016).
The research uncovered that although the Department of Homeland Security plays a
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