This paper will explore published articles discussing missions, tasks, operations, and areas of responsibility for homeland security and homeland defense. The similarities between the two will be highlighted and discussed as well as providing a definition for homeland security. I will also use the 2017 National Security Strategy’s key principles to make my own suggestion for a new Counter-Terrorism Strategy.
After the tragic events on September 11th, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and its key mission set, stems from the determination and resiliency of the people across the U.S. Their mission is very simple, "The vision of homeland security is to ensure a homeland that is safe, secure, and resilient against terrorism and other hazards" (DHS, 2019). The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is comprised of six key missions that make up the department and ultimately fulfill the main mission of safeguarding the homeland. Counter-terrorism is one of the more famously known mission sets out of them all. In the times we live in today, terrorism has become a top priority of DHS; because of its potential magnitude it poses a great threat to our nation’s security and its citizen’s safety. The other missions of the department include securing the borders, cyber security, natural disaster response, security of the economy (critical infrastructure), and promote the department to further strengthen it. Cybersecurity has become another top priority of Homeland Security as it has become crucial for the preservation of critical infrastructure in the U.S. With major advancements in technology over recent years and new techniques being employed, puts our cyber security at risk more than ever. Over the years, large numbers of commercially produced network software has created a vulnerability in critical infrastructure that cyber-attacks can easily target. One such cyber-attack completely took out Kiev’s (capital of Ukraine) electrical grid back in December of 2016 (BBC, 2017). Both Homeland Defense and Homeland Security have partnered with multiple agencies, 22 to be exact, and make up the Security Enterprise to assure that cybersecurity is treated as a top priority. They collect and exchange multiple data sources across a network where each entity can access the collected data. This improves the interaction between each agency and furthers the communication among them in order to ensure that the security of our nation always comes first. One major agency is the United States- Citizenship and Immigration Services Department (U.S. Department of Homeland Security, 2019). They monitor citizenship and grant citizenship to immigrants all across the United States. The United States Customs and Border Patrol is also part of the Homeland Security branch. They protect citizens of the United States from people trying to illegally cross our borders. The Department of Transportation of Security Administration (TSA) is another integral part of homeland security protecting us from terrorist attacks by screening individuals and transported goods. The Department of Homeland Security also works in conjunction with the United States military to mitigate threats against the American homeland. The two departments often have missions that bisect one another. The department of Homeland Security is responsible for areas exacting Department of Defense action to protect and mitigate. The Department of Defense is an asset with resources and capabilities at the ready (U.S. Department of Homeland Security, 2019). Their leadership is always eager to support operations and efforts in order to protect our nation’s interests and way of life.
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Homeland Defense is the protection of U.S. sovereignty, territory, domestic population, and critical defense infrastructure against external threats and aggression, or other threats as directed by the President (U.S. Department of Defense, 2019). Homeland Defense sets strategies to protect us from threats and “is responsible for providing the military forces needed to deter war and protect the security of our country” (U.S. Department of Defense, 1994). Their mission is to protect against any and all man-made, natural disasters, or emergencies. The key difference between the Department of Homeland Defense and the Department of Homeland Security is that Homeland Defense is proactive and works abroad. “Should deterrence fail, DOD requires a defense that is proactive, externally focused, and conducted in depth beginning at the source of the threat” (Goss, 2006). Homeland Defense brings together all the governmental branches and requires them all to work like a well-oiled machine. The Department of Defense is a tool that Homeland Security has under their belt. They feature resources with many capabilities and willing leadership to assist in operations and efforts. Without a doubt the unification of the teams creates strong bonds for America’s sake (U.S. Department of Defense, 2003).
Shared responsibilities between Homeland Security and Homeland Defense are perceivably obvious. It is a team effort in order to stop attacks such as hi-jackings and bombings. While Homeland Security is primarily concerned with homeland issues, it is not excluding from working with Homeland Defense on preventing attacks abroad as well. Intelligence of an imminent attack on U.S. soil that was gathered from overseas with the help of Homeland Defense would be meaningless if it did not work with Homeland Security agencies back in the states. The safety of the United States falls on everyone involved and not just on a single entity which is what makes it a shared reasonability between both departments. DHS is a combined effort of Federal, State, Local entities who prevent and defeat any aggressors against the United States. These two have the same goals to protect the American people and stop terroristic threats the only difference can be the areas of operation however they both work side by side to achieve the same goal and that is freedom and a safer America (DeMaso, 2004, p. 14).
When looking at Homeland Security and Homeland Defense operations and mechanisms, we must also investigate the strategy behind it. The current National Security Strategy can be defined as, “The art of developing, applying, and coordinating the instruments of national power” (Koerth-Baker 2018). To be an effective strategy it must incorporate all aspects of the data being processed. The methodology the United States uses to counter terrorism is always changing and adapting, as well as the definitions for terms that describe this strategy. To fight terrorism, we must first understand the mission areas to construct a new effective strategy. The Strategic National Risk Assessment (SNRA) focuses on five mission areas comprised of “prevention, protection, mitigation, response and recovery.” To begin with, strategy must incorporate a desired end result. Using the “Ends, ways, means Paradigm,” we can create courses of action that bring the nation closer to achieving its critical mission to protect. Moving forward, the United States will be continuously growing and adapting new measures for National Security Strategy that will seek to protect our Nation from hazards, shifting toward more practical types of threats like cyber warfare and technology. The military strategy looks at the ends, ways and means of the desired direction. In the future we can mutually agree that a National Security Strategy will be comprised of entities that preform independently and collaboratively to secure the United States from harm. It will be focused on the hierarchy of objectives that achieve the desired result of the government, just as previous designs have, but will differ in expansion and scope. Threats evolve as technology further advances. By assessing the current terror threats and hazards, we can come up with a comprehensive National Strategy to place into effect in the near future. This Strategy will have to address threats including, natural disasters and cyber warfare. Regarding Homeland security threats, focus should be shifting towards cyber-attacks. This is often overlooked because of old thinking, but it will be the warfare of the future and should be included when coming up with a new strategy (Gibbs 2018). The new strategy should have an objective of defending the United States from cyber-attacks as its main focal point. It should look at the possible outcomes, the “way,” and will use the supplies, “means,” to achieve its desired result of countering cyber terrorism in the homeland.
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In conclusion, the United States policy and strategy must flow in order for homeland security to be effective in mitigating threats and hazards both foreign and domestic. Homeland defense and homeland security work unitedly to effectively achieve its overarching mission of defending the United States inside and outside of our borders. Also, National Strategy will always be evolving based on new intelligence data collected and the ever-changing world, but the mission to protect the United States Homeland will everlastingly be the main objective.
- Home. (n.d.). Retrieved October 27, 2019, from https://policy.defense.gov/OUSDP-Offices/ASD-for-Homeland-Defense-Global-Security/Homeland-Defense-Integration-DSCA/faqs/#Section1.
- (n.d.). Retrieved October 27, 2019, from https://govinfo.library.unt.edu/npr/library/status/mission/mdod.htm.
- Mission. (2019, July 3). Retrieved October 27, 2019, from https://www.dhs.gov/mission.
- Goss, T. (2015, January 16). "Who's in Charge?" New Challenges in Homeland Defense and Homeland Security. Retrieved from https://www.hsaj.org/articles/173.
- Ukraine power cut 'was cyber-attack'. (2017, January 11). Retrieved October 27, 2019, from https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-38573074.
- DeMaso, W. C. (2004, April). The Relationship Between Homeland Defense and Homeland Security: U.S. Northern Command’s Rubik’s Cube. Retrieved January 25, 2019, from https://apps.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a426512.pdf.
- Koerth-Baker, M. (2018, October 26). Only 6 Percent Of U.S. Terrorists Act Alone, But They Are Prolific. Retrieved from https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/pipe-bomb-lone-wolf-terrorism/.
- Gibbs, J. C. (2018). Domestic Terrorism. Handbook of Security Science, 1-18. Retrieved from https://link.springer.com/referenceworkentry/10.1007%2F978-3-319-51761-2_6-1.
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