It is difficult to imagine a public issue more salient than homeland security. Whether you have waited in lines at airport security checkpoints, listened to recorded announcements about color coded terror alerts, or faced tough questioning by immigration officials about your passport when crossing the border, you have been affected by homeland security policies and laws. But what does “homeland security” really mean? And what actions does the government take to make sure the United States is “secure?” This course provides you with insight into these questions and others as you explore some of the most relevant issues related to homeland security policy and administration.
Homeland security is a modern term spawned by the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Since the widespread usage of the term in 2002, there has been, and will continue to be, disagreement about how to define it. The federal government has defined 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” (Homeland Security Council, 2007, p. 3). A broader definition of homeland security would include other disasters as well, such as hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, and pandemics. These disasters are just as likely as terrorist attacks to cause widespread destruction.
The United States has a national homeland security system. The national homeland security system includes a variety of agencies and organizations from all levels of government that work together to achieve homeland security. Under the national homeland security system, there are mission areas that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and other agencies are responsible for carrying out.*
The DHS and its various constituent agencies or departments, such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), formulate policies, laws, and directives to achieve each of the mission areas. In this course, you become familiar with the homeland security mission areas and their application to a variety of disasters and hazards; the roles of homeland security agencies and officials; and the policies, laws, and directives aimed at achieving the mission areas. You also explore several key issues that affect homeland security mission areas and the degree to which they are effectively carried out. These issues include but are not limited to threat assessment and funding, contingency planning, information sharing and communication, and technology.
One of the most controversial issues you look at is homeland security funding. The federal government continues to be plagued by controversies related to the allocation of federal homeland security preparedness grant assistance to state and local governments. Some argue that geographic areas that are heavily populated, such as New York City, should receive more funding than areas that are sparsely populated such as Wyoming. Others argue that the security of heavily populated areas is no more important than sparsely populated areas. You explore these arguments in this course and consider how the federal government might best allocate funds. You also consider how state and local leaders should best use the funds to prevent and protect against disasters in specific geographic areas.
Another issue you explore, and one that also is paramount to achieving homeland security, is information sharing and communication. You might be surprised to know that information sharing and communication between and among federal, state, and local governments and agencies prior to the 9/11 terrorist attacks was lacking. As a result, response and recovery efforts immediately following the 9/11 terrorist attacks were hindered. Since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, information sharing and communication between and among federal, state, and local governments has improved, but work in this area needs to continue.
In addition to looking at communication and information sharing, you also consider technological advancements that have brought about major changes in how government agencies function. While most people agree that technology is important to achieve homeland security, some worry about the extent to which new technological practices such as data mining infringe upon civil liberties. Data mining is used to sift through and analyze large amounts of information about people to find potential terrorists and discover potential terrorist plots. Undoubtedly, there are many ethical and legal issues related to the use of technological practices to prevent terrorism. A key question is how to balance the need for security and the preservation of constitutional civil liberties.
Homeland security is an evolving field. Policies, laws, directives, and issues related to homeland security will continue to change. While it is important to be prepared for changes, it is equally important to take some time to reflect on current policies, laws, and directives and their effectiveness. In the last week of the course, you take a moment to reflect on the effectiveness of the policies, laws, and directives covered in the course and answer the question, “Are we safer?”
Finally, you apply what you have learned in each week’s readings and through completion of each assignment to a Final Project in which you develop a homeland security plan for the state or region in which you reside.
Impact of Homeland Security
The advent and rapid growth of the national homeland security program since the beginning of the 21st century has brought major changes—political, social, and economic—to the United States. Major legislation and executive orders early in the first term of President George W. Bush resulted in the most significant reorganization of the federal government since the National Security Act of 1947, including the merger of 22 legacy agencies into a new, single Department of Homeland Security. Hundreds of billions of dollars in federal homeland security grants have been passed through to state and local governments. The modern threat of terrorism and the new emphasis on community and citizen preparedness and resiliency are reminiscent of civil defense measures or programs implemented in response to the threat of nuclear attack during the Cold War. Lessons learned, or not, from that era continue to influence the evolution of homeland security policies and programs today.
To prepare for this Discussion:
Review the Course Introduction located above in BOLD. Keep this overview in mind as you work through each week of the course.
Review Chapter 2 of your course text, Introduction to Homeland Security. Reflect on the authors’ assessment of the evolution from civil defense to all-hazards emergency management to the modern homeland security system in the United States.
Review the article “Civil Defense and Homeland Security: A Short History of National Preparedness Efforts.” Focus on how government organizations, priorities, and policies have changed from the days of civil defense until now. Pay special attention to how the modern homeland security program compares with earlier programs in breadth and scope.
Think of two ways in which homeland security has affected government organizations and policies.
With these thoughts in mind:
Post by Day 4 a brief description of what currently is referred to as homeland security. Then explain two ways in which homeland security has affected government organizations and policies. Be specific.
Be sure to support your postings and responses with specific references to the Learning Resources
One and a half page with at least two reference….
It is important that you cover all the topics identified in the assignment. Covering the topic does not mean mentioning the topic BUT presenting an explanation from the context of ethics and the readings for this class
To get maximum points you need to follow the requirements listed for this assignments 1) look at the page limits 2) review and follow APA rules 3) create subheadings to identify the key sections you are presenting and 4) Free from typographical and sentence construction errors.
REMEMBER IN APA FORMAT JOURNAL TITLES AND VOLUME NUMBERS ARE ITALICIZED.
MULTIPLE USE OF INTEXT CITATION
Course Introduction (located on the left navigation bar)
Course Text: Bullock, J. A. , Haddow, G. D. & Coppola, D. P. (2013).Introduction to homeland security(5th ed.). Waltham, MA: Elsevier Inc.
Chapter 2, “Historic Overview of the Terrorist Threat”
Online Article: Bellavita, C. (2008). Changing homeland security: What is homeland security? Homeland Security Affairs, IV(2), 1–30. Retrieved from http://www.hsaj.org/?fullarticle=4.2.1
Online Article: Homeland Security National Preparedness Task Force. (2006). Civil defense and homeland security: A short history of national preparedness efforts. Retrieved from
Video: Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2009). Current issues in homeland security: History and evolution of homeland security. Baltimore: Author.