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Homeland Security: Historical trends - Essay Example

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Homeland Security: Historical trends Introduction The terrorist attacks on September 11th, 2001 were a major catalyst in highlighting the importance of homeland security, signifying the need to strengthen internal defenses against all possible threats. The ‘Department of Homeland Security’ (DHS) was carved out as a result of this incident and is now the third largest department under the office of the President of the United States (Sauter, 2005)…
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Homeland Security: Historical trends

Historical evolution of Homeland Security Prior to 9/11, homeland defense was the responsibility of the US military. The founders who framed the constitution regarded homeland security as a crucial obligation. In fact, it served as the basis for a ‘common defense’ mechanism that was constituted by President George Washington and tasked with protecting the nation against foreign invaders (most notably the English, French and the Spaniards) as well as native Indian tribes (Maxwell, 2008). Having fought against the English in their war for Independence, the leaders of the American republic were wary of another attempt by the empire and considered it as the greatest threat. In contrast, the US was embroiled in internal territorial conflicts with the French and Spanish. Besides disputes with France over ownership of a large swathe of land in the western United States, Spain’s occupation of the state of Florida and neighboring territories was another important reason for strong internal security (Maniscalco, 2010). Moreover, frequent conflicts with native Indians were delaying the country’s expansion into the west. ...
A lack of skilled manpower was cited as the main reason for this mishap, which raised many questions on the nation’s ability to secure its borders1. The war of 1812 taught many a lesson and prompted the US Congress to allocate more budgets for securing harbor defenses. The US Military Academy was churning some of the brightest engineers and strategists who helped improve security over the years.2 The 1861 Civil war was a pivotal moment in the history of homeland security as it highlighted the importance of technological advancement within the security apparatus (Ball, 2005). The use of rifled canons by the Union Navy surpassed all traditional beliefs and was successful in penetrating all standing fortifications. Lack of any suitable response led to the occupation of New Orleans by the Union forces and the eventual conclusion of the war in 1865 (Ball, 2005). With the war behind, a new phase of reconstruction was undertaken with a view to strengthen homeland security. The Army provided security to former slaves in the country’s south and also established courts. The growing prowess of the US Military was evident during the 1898 Spanish-American War although glaring lapses were identified at numerous locations along the west coast3. The US was also rewarded with the territories of Puerto Rico, Philippines and Guam calling the need for a comprehensive defense mechanism that extended beyond traditional boundaries and helped secure crucial sea lanes (Ward, 2006). The US entered the Second World War with the 1941 Japanese bombing of its naval base in Pearl Harbor. The US government was quick to understand the importance of ships and aircraft in homeland defense (Sauter, 2005). The irrelevance of coastal ... Read More
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