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Homeland Security - Essay Example

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Homeland Security

The suddenness of the attacks on September 11, 2001, and the manner in which America was caught off guard, would shape our perception of the war on terror and frame America's response. Previous wars had unfolded methodically in the public's eye, such as the extended debate that preceded the Civil War. However, the War on Terror had no such incubation period to give the American public time to orient themselves to the new face of war. America was thrust into war "without any troops or plans in place to confront this particular enemy. Just as important, it occurred in a context of public indifference to or ignorance of the threat posed by terrorists" (Callahan, Dubnick, and Olshfski 555). The US had made few, if any, plans to deal with a terrorist arrack on US soil, and the discussion of terrorism was largely restricted to the law enforcement, investigators, and prosecutors that had confronted domestic terrorism such as the Unabomber and the attack on the Murrah Federal Building (Callahan, Dubnick, and Olshfski 555). The Congress took aggressive action and on October 4, 2001 introduced HR 3026 "To establish an Office of Homeland Security within the Executive Office of the President to lead, oversee, and coordinate a comprehensive national homeland security strategy to safeguard the Nation" (HR 3026). On November 25, 2002 George Bush signed into law PL 107-296, the Homeland Security Act of 2002, which established the Department of Homeland Security (Gressle CRS-2, CRS-6). ...
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) would consolidate intelligence efforts, provide for broad powers of investigation, and limit specific legal standards in regards to terrorism.
The Homeland Security Act and the formation of the DHS gave the government sweeping new powers to patrol the US borders and took a more liberal approach toward domestic surveillance. The DHS was formed to consolidate intelligence and investigations when "The establishment of the Department of Homeland Security brought under one authority 22 federal entities with vital roles to play in protecting our Nation and preventing terrorist attacks within the United States (The National Security Strategy). Border patrol and customs has been especially challenged with 500 million people crossing our borders each year, and 21,000 containers entering the US through 350 commercial ports of entry every day (Bodenheimer). Bender reports that, "The Secure Border Initiative, costing more than $2 billion this year alone, is a major effort to increase Customs and Border Protection personnel, introduce detection technologies, and construct a fence along the border with Mexico". The DHS has also placed specific priority on the increased use of 'tamper-evident' containers, biometric identification technology, and radiation, chemical, and biological threat detection equipment (Bodenheimer). In addition, there has been an increased level of domestic intelligence activity designed to weed out suspected terrorist cells. Marrin describes these increased efforts as:
Additional controversial domestic intelligence programs include the Justice Department's proposed Operation TIPS for public reporting of suspicious activity, the modification of ...Show more

Summary

In the paper “Homeland Security” the author analyzes the implementation of the Homeland Security Act and the Department of Homeland Security to minimize vulnerability to future attacks, and make contingency plans to deal with and recover from an attack should one occur. …
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