Thursday, December 3, 2015

History of The Department of Homeland Security

The history of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was brought to fruition in the aftermath of September 11, 2001.  Within days of that horrific event, Pennsylvania Governor, Tom Ridge was chosen to be the first Director of the newly created Office of Homeland Security (Department of Homeland Security, September 24, 2015).  The commission of this new office was to supervise and contribute to a national strategy to secure the country against threats of terrorism, as well as to assist in safeguarding against any attacks in the future.  The President, by amalgamating the various departments and offices that were already in existence into a unified bureau whose job it is to protect the country, created a single structure whose sole enterprise it was to ensure that the country was protected against threats, both now and in the future (Bush, June 2002). 

In February of 2010, Congress issued an assessment of the Department of Homeland Security and its strategies and policies.  This document, called the Quadrennial Homeland Security Review (QHSR), expended on the vision for what the Department of Homeland Security was to be, its mission areas and its goals and objectives.  It is a type of roadmap for the agencies within the Department of Homeland Security to follow.  Published every four years, the objective of the QHSR is to communicate recommendations for national strategy and policies to be adopted by the Department of Homeland Security and its partners, as well as by the private sector (Nelson, Rick, February 04, 2010).
When disaster strikes, be it either natural or man-made, it is the responsibility of the federal government’s Department of Homeland Security to step in and help.  However, the resources that this agency, by itself, is able to provide are finite and cannot provide aid for all who are affected.  This is why the National Response Framework (NRF) was developed, to coordinate the efforts of the various agencies and departments whose mission it is to help when there is an emergency.  The NRF has been created to be a guide which all emergency responders can follow in order to respond to the needs of all of those who have been affected by a disaster (FEMA, n.d.).
As a sister "framework" to the NRF, the National Incident Management System (NIMS) is a national look at incident management that can be applied across all levels of government.  NIMS integrates project management, analysis, development and change management into a single, common standard that can be used in all incidents, or hazards regardless of its location, complexity or size (Sys-tem-a'-tion, 2015).  Working alongside the NRF, the two frameworks merge the capabilities and resources of the various agencies and the private sector into a single, adhesive, harmonious, and smooth plan for incident response (Department of Homeland Security, n.d.).
The Homeland Security Presidential Directive 7 (HSPD 7), is the national policy which the departments and agencies of the Federal government utilize to identify and calculate risk to critical infrastructures and other key assets and safeguard them from attack (Department of Homeland Security, December 17, 2003).  Under this directive, the Secretary of Homeland Security has placed certain agnate procedures, processes and protocols which will unify the Federal infrastructure and risk management exercises, both within and across divisions (Department of Homeland Security, December 17, 2003).
As part of the HSPD 7, the National Infrastructure Protection Plan (NIPP) is a guide for communities to use in their efforts to minimize and manage risks from both natural and technological threats to the country's critical infrastructure.  This alliance between both governmental and private sector entities requires a proactive, inclusive and flexible collusion in order to make the infrastructure more secure and expansive.  The National Infrastructure Protection Plan is centered on risk management as the groundwork upon which the basis for critical infrastructure security and resilience is laid, and it continues to promote partnerships as the instruments through which risks are managed (Department of Homeland Security, 2013).
The nation’s critical infrastructure includes all of the resources that are critical for the safety and security of the United States.  Critical Infrastructure and Key Resources, CIKR, refers to the public health and safety resources, telecommunication and transportation systems, national monuments, power grid and water filtration plants as well as other vital governmental facilities which are vital to the country's way of life.  The CIKR is an important part of the national approach to incident management and is divided into 17 categories which offer services to assist the individual areas within the U.S. Government, as well as the economy and society (FEMA, 2008).   It is the alliance between the government and the private sector which creates an idiosyncratic relationship which lies at the heart of the National Infrastructure Protection Plan and amalgamates everything into a succinct and unitary plan (Department of Homeland Security, November 19, 2009).
Working in conjunction with HSPD 7 and the other directives and frameworks set up by the National Response Framework and the National Incident Management System, Homeland Security Presidential Directive 9 (HSPD 9) establishes national policies defending the nation's food systems and agriculture from the feasible danger of terrorist attacks.  This directive sets out to identify critical infrastructure and key resources to establish protection, develop early warning signals to recognize possible threats, mitigate possible areas of susceptibility as well as create better ways of inspecting suspect products and reinforcing response and recovery methods.  It is the responsibility of the various appropriate agencies and departments to monitor and augment systems to detect disease, pest or poisons; track specific items and ensure that all laboratory networks are integrated and use standard diagnostic procedures to communicate between themselves (Office of the Press Secretary, February 03, 2004).
            Each one of the preceding documents is a part of the foundation that has been laid down to protect the citizens of the United States through the creation of the Department of Homeland Security.  In theory, the creation of a homogenous system through the unification of various and separate identities and departments allows for a smoother flow of information, a reduction of duplicate efforts and a faster response time.  With access internally to what was formally separate and unique departments, the Department of Homeland Security has the opportunity to now assess threats, develop strategies, manage and mitigate resultant scenarios far more effectively than any entity before.   

Bush, George W., President. (June 2002).  Department of Homeland Security, The.  Retrieved from
Department of Homeland Security. (November 19, 2009). CIKR. Retrieved from
Department of Homeland Security. (September 24, 2015). Creation of the department of homeland security. Department Creation. Retrieved from
Department of Homeland Security. (December 17, 2003). Homeland security presidential directive 7: critical infrastructure identification, prioritization, and protection.  Retrieved from
Department of Homeland Security. (n.d.). NIMS: frequently asked questions. Retrieved from
Department of Homeland Security. (2013). NIPP 2013 Partnering for Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience.  Retrieved from
FEMA. (2008). Critical Infrastructure and Key Resources Support Annex.  Retrieved from
FEMA. (n.d.). National Response Framework. Retrieved from
Nelson, Rick (February 04, 2010). First Quadrennial Homeland Security Review, The. Taken from
Office of the Press Secretary. (February 03, 2004). Homeland Security Presidential Directive / HSPD-9. Subject: Defense of United States Agriculture and Food. Retrieved from
Sys-tem-a'-tion. (2015). Four Functional Disciplines Needed on All Projects. Retrieved from

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