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DHS Progress


The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is a significant institution in the USA that is responsible for national security and protection from possible threats. The Department of Homeland Security is an executive department, created according to the act in 1949 and performing defense operations. The DHS protects the country and its sovereignty from aggression and external threats; it collaborates with international partners, departments, agencies, and United States Government. One should say that the existence of such organization is justified, as the terrorism rate keeps constantly increasing. The mission of the DHS is to prevent terrorism, manage borders, enhance security, ensure disaster resilience, secure cyberspace, and administer immigration laws. Such a variety of tasks proves that the DHS is multifunctional and vital for American society. Consequently, this term paper intends to study the progress of the DHS and its connection to American security, describe the peculiarities of cyber attacks, and the strategies of the government and the DHS, related to this problem solution.

How the DHS Has Changed from Its Inception in 2001

Homeland security is a prior activity of policy of any state. It touches the territory protection, domestic population, and infrastructure. The government and security foundations are responsible for homeland defense. Congress authorizes organizing, provides arming, disciplining and common defense of the U.S., realigns and reorganizes the US Armed Forces according to the section 8 of the U.S. Constitution, chapter 15, article I. Moreover, the United States Code (USC), National Security Act of 1947 codified at Title 50 regulated the defense in the U.S. (Collins, 2012). The main strategy of the DHS is the struggle against weapons of mass destruction. Consequently, DHS are responsible for dealing with biological, radiological, nuclear, and chemical threats.


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The protection of DHS is based on active defensive measures (that will help to avoid threats), its information, necessary infrastructure, its bases and communication with an adversary. The protection should be based not only on active measures, but on passive defensive measures. The main strategy of Homeland Defense includes such aspects as defense of the U.S. territory from direct attacks, and providing assistance to domestic civil authorities (Collins, 2012).

At the State level, the DHS should control weapons of mass destruction, and provide an assessment of hazards; they should also provide regionally life-saving capabilities, such as decontamination, rescue, search and emergency medical treatment. This strategy is accompanied by priority missions like preventing terroristic attacks, supporting law enforcement, countering air and maritime threats, preparing for domestic biological, chemical, nuclear and radiological incidents, developing procedures and plans for ensuring a defense.

The main objectives of the DHS are the following: (1) to identify the threat putting homeland defense in danger, (2) restore capabilities and readiness after any incident or attack, (3) conduct actions for avoiding this threat, (4) provide recovery of the military force, (5) ensure homeland is secure, (6) deny an adversary’s access to nation’s sovereign territorial seas, territory and airspace, (7) ensure access to information and cyberspace, (8) defeat any attack if deterrence fails, (9) deter aggression, (10) protect critical infrastructure and domestic population (The DHS, 2015).

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Multiple documents and special considerations regulate homeland defense policy. They support operations, rules of engagement, rules for the use of force and create military information and intelligence activities.

One can distinguish the following key foundations of homeland security: the Department of Homeland Security, Federal Enforcement Homeland Security Foundation, and Homeland Security Foundation of America. The Department of Homeland Security is the most influential one, as it has many functions that are related to providing security and terrorism prevention. Federal Enforcement Homeland Security Foundation is a private partnership that assists Federal Law Enforcement Agents. Homeland Security Foundation of America is a non-profit organization that provides hometown security. However, comparing with these organizations, the DHS has more tasks and possibilities for its fulfillment (The DHS, 2015).

It is necessary to say that the DHS has changed from its inception in 2001 to what it is today. The DHS was created as a response to a national crisis, provoked by the lack of defense. Changes of the DHS refer to increasing the number of employees, approximately, 222,000 employees (The DHS, 2015). Moreover, the DHS has improved its list of recommendations, making it more practical and available. One should mention that the DHS has provided transportation security that has the progress in the area of aviation. In addition, this foundation has suggested various programs, necessary for transportation system’s security (Collins, 2012).

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Another achievement of the DHS is intelligence and information sharing. This step facilitates the exchange of terrorism with international partners, meaning that the DHS deals with the global links. Information sharing is a must to inform the public about possible threats. Another innovation of the DHS refers to protecting cyber networks and critical infrastructure, meaning that this foundation uses the innovative technologies for a multitude of programs. Moreover, the DHS provides training and learning, relying upon such aspects as efficacy, practicality, and value. 

The DHS has progressed in securing U.S. borders, emergency preparedness and response. Moreover, this foundation supports critical infrastructure through the Buffer Zone Protection, Transit Security, and Port Security programs. The progress in securing borders includes the following achievements: preventing and ensuring the integrity of national borders. Prevention presupposes improving reliability of personal identification documents, reducing fraud, and strengthening security. As to ensuring the integrity of national borders, this function includes a complex massive effort of using law enforcement as a defense. Another achievement of the DNS is related to its emergence preparedness and response to Hurricanes Rita and Katrina (The DHS, 2015).

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Despite such progress, the DNS needs improvements, as there are many challenges to overcome. One cannot say that the department protects the community in a full measure, as the level of terrorism keeps increasing. It means that the DNS demands constant changes and innovations.

Transformation of the Relationships between the DHS and Other Law Enforcement and Intelligence Agencies

The role of intelligence and counterterrorism activities is significant among federal agencies. First of all, they are the driving forces of development of positive intelligence. Secondly, intelligence and counterterrorism activities are preventive measures against terrorism and violation of security. One cannot say that federal agencies are successful in achieving the counterterrorism capability in full measure. One can explain this with the emergence of new terroristic groups and strengthening international terrorism that is difficult for rooting out. As a result, federal agencies should collaborate with other organizations when it comes to terrorism attacks and decreasing security. Moreover, federal agencies should establish the relationship with the DHS that has more capabilities and influence (Collins, 2012).

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The relationships between the DHS and other law enforcement and intelligence agencies have transformed over the years. First of all, they have improved, becoming more collaborative and favorable due to the necessity to work together to protect American people using the common goals. Secondly, the DHS and law enouncement and intelligence agencies have advanced many shared goals. Moreover, one should say that their collaboration helped USA to become more secure and stronger after the terrorist attacks of September 11th. The support of the Congress, the work of the DHS and law enforcement and intelligence agencies are the basis for homeland security.

Partnership of the DHS with other agencies encourages defending against evolving threats, better mitigating, and strengthening homeland security. One should say that the primary role belongs to the DHS, as it has the founding principles of protecting Americans from the threats and terrorism. In addition, homeland security mission depends on many agencies and departments that can contribute to its fulfillment. One can refer to the nation’s armed forces and the Central Intelligence Agency. For example, the nation’s armed forces defend the U.A. homeland security against al-Qaeda’s capabilities, attacking the United States. The strong presence of the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation proves the existence of transformations and improvements in the relationships between the organizations responsible for the security. It is evident that all these profit and non-profit organizations should become partners, as they have the common objectives related to security. Moreover, the complex of the preventive measures will bring better outcomes. Terrorism is a complicated crime that demands interference of organizations of the different kinds. The DHS does a lot to provide security but it needs the support and help.

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The Structure of the DHS

One can distinguish factors that influence the development of cyber attacks: the advent of new technologies, collaboration of cyber criminals, and unawareness of consumers.

Cyber crimes are accompanied by many different factors. They are the following: denial of service, malicious insiders, malicious code, stolen devices, trojans, worms, and viruses. The history of cybercrime is very diverse. One can distinguish the following key cyber stacks: Titan Rain, Moonlight Maze, the Estonian cyber war, and presidential-level Espionage (Vacca, 2011).

The current structure of the DHS is complicated. The DHS consists of the following components: Office Operations Coordination, Office of Health Affairs, Office of Intelligence and Analysis, Domestic Nuclear Detection Office, U.S. Custom & Border Protection, Science and Technology Directorate, U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services, National Protection and Programs Directorate, U.S. Coast Guard, Federal Emergence Management Agency, U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement, U.S. Secret Service, Office of Police and Transportation Security Administration.

Other agencies providing homeland security have less complicated structure. For example, Federal Enforcement Homeland Security Foundation consists of Emergency Funding, Financial Support and Scholarships, Community Outreach and Education, and Information Networking. It is evident that the names of departments of Federal Enforcement Homeland Security Foundation are different from those in the DHS, but all their functions are related to homeland security and protection from internal and external threats.

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It is evident that the current structure of the DHS demands improvements and changes. The necessity is related to the frequent cyber attacks and high rate of terrorism. First of all, all components of the DHS should be divided into two directions: protection against cyber attacks and defense against terrorism. Secondly, it is crucial to make the departments of the DHS narrowly specialized to make it more efficient. Thirdly, one should implement institutions of the DHS responsible for cyber attacks and terrorism preventive measures. These changes are necessary to shorten the terrorism and cyber crime rates, reinforce the protection, and make the defense policy more effective.

The Characteristics of Homeland Security

The USA is the country of immigrants. Consequently, the border security and immigration issues are the key dilemmas of homeland security. The problem is that illegal immigration is increasing, putting homeland security under the threat. It is evident that the USA needs reforms, discouraging undocumented immigration, enabling orderly legal immigration process, and safe. Congress is responsible for finding bipartisan, compassionate, and sensible solutions to the immigration problems. It is evident that one cannot ban immigration but one should make it legal and safe. Consequently, one should solve immigration issues according to the Immigration Modernization Act, Economic Opportunity, and Border Security.

The main threats to the USA are increased capability for cyberspace operations against the United States Department of Defense and Government. Moreover, homegrown violent extremists, ongoing illegal immigration, ongoing nation threats, nations’ critical infrastructures, continued traditional threats from nation-states, transnational criminal organizations, and a continued desire of transnational terrorists are serious threats that demand immediate solutions.

One can distinguish the following characteristics of homeland security that should be addressed in the nearest future: safety against terrorism and cyber attacks, response to the illegal immigration, and prevention of transportation issues. To provide safety against terrorism and cyber attacks, one should involve state and local authorities, organize counterterrorism operations, and promote intelligence-led policing. To solve the problem of illegal immigration, one should adopt a realistic, honest, and fair approach to immigration enforcement, control more illegal border crossings and unlawful presence. To address the transportation issues, one should restructure the Transportation Security Administration, and improve aviation security policy and regulations.

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The Roadblocks Preventing the DHS

It is evident that issues in homeland security are related to intensive cyber attacks and terrorism. However, there are also other issues, like lack of agreement between the organizations in achieving the common compromises about safety. Moreover, there should be the collaboration of government with the organization when it comes to homeland security. It is obligatory to address not only external, but also internal threats. One should not forget that terrorism and cyber attacks can be initiated by citizens of the USA. As a result, it is a ‘must’ to coordinate procedures and synchronize efforts for providing national defense. As there are many issues in homeland security, it becomes evident that there are roadblocks preventing the DHS addressing top security concerns. First of all, this is the lack of costs. The DHS has the necessity of money but there is no increase. Secondly, there is no equal treatment of the organization. Consequently, some of them have more priorities. For example, the Administration pays more attention to cyber security despite the DHS needs costs for airport and transportation security. Another roadblock of the DHS is the contradiction with the government. Despite the DHS’s changes and innovations, the government continues to criticize it, naming their security risk-based. The third roadblock of the DHS is the emergence of many profit and non-profit organizations dealing with security. It is evident that there should be concordance in their actions.

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The Role of Cyber Terrorism in the USA

In the present time, the U.S government pays a lot of attention to terrorism and involves all safety organizations to root it out. However, the results are not very successful. Consequently, these failures only reinforce the activity of cyber terrorists against the USA. The problem is that the U.S government deals not only with external but also internal terrorism. As a result, the attempts of the government are related to the significant diminution of freedoms of citizens. It is evident that such way of terrorism suppression only encourages terrorists to attack and makes Americans the victims of the governmental U.S. policy concerning terrorism. Measures of the government are related to the restriction of freedom of speech of Americans, implementation homeland security laws crushing dissent, and spying on all Americans. One should say that such preventive measures can only activate internal terrorism (Smith, 2013).

OPM cyber attack is supposed to be one of the largest cyber threats. First of all, the hackers have compromised the personal information of 4.2 million current and former federal employees. Chinese hackers were accused in this cyber attack. Not without a reason, the American government refers OPM cyber attack the largest theft of government data. Consequently, the response to this behavior should touch the Chinese government. The reason of the vulnerability of Office of Management Personnel is the breach in cyber security. The attack was really severe, as the data referred to the American government (Qiu, 2015). Chinese cyber attacks are frequent in the USA, as earlier hackers have downloaded from 10 to 20 terabytes of data related to the defense. Consequently, the Defense Department has lost 24,000 sensitive files.

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In conclusion, it is important to mention that the DHS has progressed in its policy related to the security. Without a doubt, it does not mean that it is enough due to the increased threat of cyber attacks and terrorism. The DHS has changed from its inception in 2001, establishing the collaboration with the government and other foundations. The structure of the DHS is complex, but it needs changes, making it more oriented on cyber security and terrorism prevention.

The transformation of the relationships between the DHS and other law enforcement and intelligence agencies is evident, but it is necessary to make these relationships more strategic. They should be united with the common objective of safety. Suppression of terrorism should result in the decreasing of attacks, but not in diminution of freedoms. 

Moreover, prevention of terrorism should not deter Americans from free speech, privacy or confidentiality. Suppressing terrorists, the US government should not suppress Americans. Consequently, it is recommended to establish international relationships with the countries tend to terrorism and providing Americans with the rights for speech and freedom.



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