Homeland security

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For the United States Cabinet department, see United States Department of Homeland Security. For the NBC television movie, see Homeland Security (film).

Homeland security is an American umbrella term for "the concerted national effort to ensure a homeland that is safe, secure, and resilient against terrorism and other hazards where American interests, aspirations, and ways of life can thrive to the national effort to prevent terrorist attacks within the United States, reduce the vulnerability of the U.S. to terrorism, and minimize the damage from attacks that do occur." [1]

The term came about following a reorganization of many U.S. government agencies in 2003 to form the United States Department of Homeland Security after the September 11 attacks, and may be used to refer to the actions of that department, the United States Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, or the United States House of Representatives Committee on Homeland Security.

Homeland defense (HD) is the protection of U.S. territory, sovereignty, domestic population, and critical infrastructure against external threats and aggression. (Definition will be incorporated into JP 3-26[1] upon its approval).[2] Not to be confused with AD.

In the United States[edit]

In the United States, the concept of "Homeland Security" extends and recombines responsibilities of government agencies and entities. According to Homeland security research, the U.S. federal Homeland Security and Homeland Defense includes 187 federal agencies and departments,[2] including the United States National Guard, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the United States Coast Guard, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, the United States Secret Service, the Transportation Security Administration, the 14 agencies that constitute the U.S. intelligence community and Civil Air Patrol. Although many businesses now operate in the area of homeland security, it is overwhelmingly a government function.[3]

The George W. Bush administration consolidated many of these activities under the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS), a new cabinet department established as a result of the Homeland Security Act of 2002. However, much of the nation's homeland security activity remains outside of DHS; for example, the FBI and CIA are not part of the Department, and other executive departments such as the Department of Defense and Department of Health and Human Services play a significant role in certain aspects of homeland security. Homeland security is coordinated at the White House by the Homeland Security Council, currently headed by John Brennan.

Homeland security is officially defined by the National Strategy for Homeland Security as "a concerted national effort to prevent terrorist attacks within the United States, reduce America's vulnerability to terrorism, and minimize the damage and recover from attacks that do occur".[4] Because the U.S. Department of Homeland Security includes the Federal Emergency Management Agency, it also has responsibility for preparedness, response, and recovery to natural disasters.

According to the U.S. Office of Management and Budget[5] and Homeland Security Research Corporation, DHS Homeland security funding constitutes only 20-21% of the consolidated U.S. Homeland Security - Homeland Defense funding,[6] while approximately 40% of the DHS budget funds civil, non-security activities, such as the U.S. coast guard search and rescue operations and customs functions. The U.S. Homeland Security is the world's largest Homeland counter terror organization, having 40% of the global FY 2010 homeland security funding.[7]

The term became prominent in the United States following the September 11, 2001 attacks; it had been used only in limited policy circles prior to these attacks. The phrase "security of the American homeland" appears in the 1998 report Catastrophic Terrorism: Elements of a National Policy by Ashton B. Carter, John M. Deutch, and Philip D. Zelikow.

Homeland security is also usually used to connote the civilian aspect of this effort; "homeland defense" refers to its military component, led chiefly by the U.S. Northern Command headquartered in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

The scope of homeland security includes:

  • Emergency preparedness and response (for both terrorism and natural disasters), including volunteer medical, police, emergency management, and fire personnel;
  • Domestic and International intelligence activities, largely today within the FBI;
  • Critical infrastructure and perimeter protection;
  • Investigation of people making and distributing child pornography;
  • Border security, including both land, maritime and country borders;
  • Transportation security, including aviation and maritime transportation;
  • Biodefense;
  • Detection of radioactive and radiological materials;
  • Research on next-generation security technologies.


Conflicts exist between bodies of international law (ratified by the United States or not) and those applied under "homeland security". One example is the notion of an unlawful combatant.[8] The United States government has created a new status that addresses prisoners captured by a military force who do not conform with the conditions of the Convention. While the United States has only been a signatory to portions of the Geneva Conventions,[9] much international law is based upon it.

As a field of study[edit]

Shortly after the September 11 attacks, Homeland security also took off as an up-and-coming academic field with a number of schools in the United States offering certificate and degree programs in Homeland Security. The field is often studied alongside Emergency Management due to their identical nature and purposes. With the relatively sudden growth of the field, the quality of the programs vary greatly from one to another along with their respective accreditation statuses (or lack thereof). In a partial effort to combat these variations, the International Association of Emergency Managers offers a scholarship program with the aim of nurturing, promoting and developing disaster preparedness and resistance by furthering the education of students studying the fields of emergency management, disaster management or related programs such as Homeland Security.[10]

See also[edit]

U.S. specific:


  1. ^ Defining Homeland Security: Analysis and Congressional Considerations, 08 January 2013, pp.8,.
  2. ^ HomeLandSecurityResearch.com: Homeland Security and Defense Structure
  3. ^ Dale Jones and Austen Givens (2010). O'Leary, Rosemary; Van Slyke, David; Kim, Soonhee, ed. Public Administration: The Central Discipline in Homeland Security in The Future of Public Administration Around the World: The Minnowbrook Perspective. Georgetown University Press. pp. 67–78. 
  4. ^ The National Strategy For Homeland Security
  5. ^ U.S. Office of Management and Budget. Analytical Perspectives, Budget of the United States Government, Fiscal Year 2011. ISBN 978-0-16-084798-1
  6. ^ Homeland Security Research Corporation. U.S. HLS-HLD Markets – 2011-2014
  7. ^ Homeland Security Research Corporation. Global Homeland Security, Homeland Defense & Intelligence Markets Outlook - 2009-2018
  8. ^ Human Rights Brief: A Legal Resource for the International Human Rights Community http://www.wcl.american.edu/hrbrief/09/3guantanamo.cfm
  9. ^ List of parties to the Geneva Conventions
  10. ^ "IAEM Scholarship Program". IAEM.com. Retrieved 2014-12-24. 

Further reading[edit]

  • United States. Committee on Homeland Security of the House of Representatives. (2008). Compilation of homeland security presidential directives (HSPD) [110th Congress, 2nd Session. Committee Print 110-B]. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office.

External links[edit]