The establishment of the agency was necessitated by the horrific events of September 11, 2001. This event led to changes in the way the United States of America views security. Initial the Americans generally view terrorism as a problem outside their homeland (Weiss, 2005). After the attack on New York City and Washington, it was very clear to the Americans that they were not exceptional to terrorists’ attacks (Weiss, 2005). The agency of Homeland security was then quickly created by the then President George Bush. He charged the Urgency with developing and coordinating the implementation of comprehensive national strategy to secure the United States form the terrorists’ threats and attacks (Weiss, 2005).
The Department was then established with the major aim of preventing terrorism attacks within the United States. This would reduce the vulnerability of the America to terrorism and minimize the damages and recoveries from all kinds of attacks that do occur. The department leverages resources within federal, state and local governments (Weiss, 2005). It coordinates the transition of multiple agencies and programs into a single integrated agency focused on protecting the people of America and their homeland (Weiss, 2005). More than 87,000 different governmental jurisdictions at all the levels have homeland security responsibilities. The comprehensive national strategy seeks to develop a complimentary system connecting all levels of government without duplicating effort (Weiss, 2005).
Roles of Homeland Security Agency
The first National Strategy for Homeland Security was published by the Office of homeland Security on July 16, 2002. The strategic identified various roles and challenges facing the United State in providing security to its homeland. The strategy clearly outlines the objectives of the Agency and presents a roadmap for achieving them. It gives responsibilities to various Federal agencies stressing on the urgency in preventing further attack (Weiss, 2005).
The objectives outlined in the strategy include prevention of terrorists’ attacks within the United State, reducing Americas Vulnerability to terrorism, and minimize the damage while recovering from the attacks that may occur (Weiss, 2005). Its objective area include intelligence and warning, border and transportation security, domestic counterterrorism, protecting critical infrastructure, defending against catastrophic terrorism and emergency preparedness and response (Weiss, 2005).
Its relationship with other agencies
Homeland security is a multiple-partner effort in which the Department of Defense (DOD) ordinarily supports one or more federal agencies (Weiss, 2005). Homeland defense is the protection of the US territory, domestic population and critical infrastructure against military attacks emanating from the outside the United States. DoD is generally the primary Federal Agency in Homeland Defense with support from other organizations. Although Homeland Security and Homeland Defense are separate missions with different Federal command and control structures, they both need and utilize the Special Operation Forces (Weiss, 2005).
The Agency works through a number of its departments and in conjunction with other Agencies. The departments include the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection, the Bureau Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the US Secrete Service which was formally under the Department of the Treasury.
Bureau of Customs and Border Protection is the principle agency responsible for the security of the national borders. Its primary mission is to interdict illicit cross boarder traffic while efficiently processing the flow of legitimate or low-risk traffic across the border (Weiss, 2005). It enforces more than 400 laws and regulations on behalf of other federal agencies, including those that relates to terror financing. It works closely with other agencies whose statutes and regulations it enforces at the border like the Department of treasury and state (Weiss, 2005).
Bureau Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE): This is the main investigative branch of the DHS. It is composed of the investigative components of the Legacy US Customs Service (Customs), the legacy U.S. Immigration and Neutralization Services, the Federal Protective Service and the Federal Air Marshals. The Financial investigation is carried out by the Financial Investigation Division (FID) (Weiss, 2005). The Division carries out investigations on financial crimes and work closely with the financial community. It helps the country to identify and address its vulnerabilities in the financial infrastructure.
The ICE maintains strong relationship with other U.S agencies involved in financing investigations including the FBI, Internet Revenue Service, Secrete Services, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the State Department and Others. The ICE is thus responsible for maintaining significant relationships with foreign governments and International organizations (Weiss, 2005).
U.S. Secret Service: The Service was initially a small counterfeiting force in the Treasury Agency. The Service’s roles in combating terrorism and financial crime are manifold, extending to anti-terrorist financing (Weiss, 2005). It accomplishes this task by participating in relevant interagency task forces and its own investigations of financial crimes. It may also do it indirectly through its activities and operations in unrelated areas. Its Protective and security duties might for instant uncover terrorist financing arrangements behind potential assaults. It may also participate in examining the identity theft and disclose the use of credit cards by terrorist cells. This department still works closely with the Treasury Agency (Weiss, 2005).
Tools for conducting its mission
In establishing the DHS, the Congress provided its secretary with robust access to information, placing affirmative information sharing obligations on all the Federal Agencies. Its security-related intelligence production and dissemination is widely supported. This support is received from DOD Intelligence, Counterintelligence, and law enforcement organizations. The support give it access to the necessary tools needed (the DOD Role in Homeland Security, 2003). Such tools include; intelligence community products, investigative information from law enforcement agencies, vulnerability and incident reporting from industry, and open source information (the DOD Role in Homeland Security, 2003). The secretary of Defense for Intelligence is responsible for ensuring the Agency receives the warning, intelligence and the counter intelligence support it needs (the DOD Role in Homeland Security, 2003).
Justice Department implications of available counterterrorism tools
Noting the complex and the privacy nature of the agency, a number of justice issues such as liberty, privacy and security have arisen. The federal court should therefore come in to strike the balance between privacy and local civil liberties and the national security (Jack et al, 2006). Even the homeland security intelligence officials at the federal level need to be provided with more guidance on how to decide on what to do with the information they collect. Much attention should be given to the kind of information about the American citizens to be released (Jack et al, 2006).
A question therefore arises on whether the federal officials can keep the information in government database, for how long and on what basis? The federal court must strive and enforce proper guidelines in cases where constitutional or statutory standards apply. It should also put pressure on the executive branch to secure clear guidelines when such standards do not apply. The federal court must continue to assess whether the relaxed intelligence procedures of the war on terrorism are striking the correct balance between liberty and security (Jack et al, 2006).
Coordination with emergency responders to minimize casualties
It is good to note that much of the tasks of the Agency are performed by the police department. However, the police departments in most states are short staffed and have found it increasingly difficult to recruit and retain qualified personnel to perform traditional tasks. There is compelling need for federal government to play a larger role in contributing to the development of local police capabilities (Jack et al, 2006).
US war on terrorism should improve in its involvement of the local police departments and the state law enforcement agencies. This requires a complete and well coordinated national strategy with proper police personnel policies and state and local intelligence activities (Jack et al, 2006). To beep up the intelligence capabilities, states and local enforcement agencies should be uniquely positioned to augment federal intelligence capabilities. This can be very effective noting their presence in nearly every American Community and their knowledge of local individuals and groups. The department is even already using intelligence to combat crime (Jack et al, 2006). Such measures will reduce the casualties as the victims are reached faster.
The effective integration of the vast supply of state and local counterterrorism resources into a coordinated national strategy will require that a number of issues be addressed. These include issues patterning to police personnel policies (Jack et al, 2006). This requires strategic planning support from federal authorities and a workforce planning model for local police urgencies. The state and local intelligence activities also need to be provided with more resources. Much training also needs to be done to the local counterterrorism personnel (Jack et al, 2006).
The Agency must therefore establish a doctrine to shape the state and local intelligence activities. Since most of the state and local agencies participate in counterterrorism intelligence activities through the JTTFs the doctrine can better be developed by setting up a taskforce (Jack et al, 2006).