Subject: OMB Proposal
Findings and conclusion: There are a number of different arguments in favor of bringing the Department of Homeland Security within the National Intelligence Program. Many of the aims of the DHS are in line with those of NIP (Department of Homeland Security, n.d.; The White House, 2012) and it is arguable that it would be cheaper to have them combined within a single budget. It could also improve the flow of information (White, 2014). However, the DHS covers a number of areas of intelligence that are not provided for by the NIP. It focuses upon scientific intelligence related to the prevention of natural disasters and is dedicated to stopping illegal immigration (Department of Homeland Security, n.d.; The White House, 2012). DHS agents also have duties that do not strictly fall within the remit of gathering intelligence, for example they have powers of arrest (White, 2014). Therefore, the function of the DHS is sufficiently different from that which is covered for by the budget of the NIP for it to require falling under the control of a separate management. It is not advisable for it to be brought under the control of the Director of National Intelligence.
The OMB has proposed including the various intelligence activities in the Department of Homeland Security within the National Intelligence Program and bringing it under the management of the Director of National Intelligence. The definition of national intelligence in the IRTPA and the increasing integration of Homeland Security elements into a national system for countering terrorists and other international criminal organizations have been used to justify this proposal. Homeland Security is defined as protecting the nation against internal threats (Bellavita, 2008). National intelligence can be defined as all intelligence, irrespective of its source and whether it derives from within or outside the country, that relates to multiple United States Government agencies and entails threats to the nation, its interests, its property, its people, the proliferation, utilization or development or nuclear weaponry or any other matter that has a bearing upon homeland or national security (Director of National Intelligence, 2004). It is arguable that homeland security fits within this bracket, making it a component of national intelligence and meaning that it would be suited to appearing under the National Intelligence Program.
Argument for the Move
The idea of placing the activities of the Department of Homeland Security within the National Intelligence Program has been around for a considerable length of time but gained strength after 9/11. The idea is that it will increase communication and allow intelligence to be pooled together with a greater degree of ease (White, 2014). It is also arguable that it would be cheaper to have one department in charge of these two functions in order to cut costs.
Some of the activities of the Department of Homeland Security are directly in line with the areas that are provided for by the National Intelligence Program Budget (The White House, 2012). This means that it would be logical for the department to be placed within this program, as otherwise, there would be two budgets for the same activities. An example of this is enhancing the nation’s cyberspace defenses. Both the Department of Homeland Security and the National Intelligence Program are dedicated to eliminating threats to the U.S. Internet and increasing the levels of cyber-security that are currently in existence.
Both the Department of Homeland Security and the National Intelligence Program are also dedicated to counterterrorist measures (Department of Homeland Security, n.d.; The White House, 2012). It is clear that there is a great deal of overlap and that there is some grounds for the Department of Homeland Security to come under the National Intelligence Program. However, there are still a number of different areas in which the department would not benefit from coming under this program, which will be explored throughout the subsequent sections of this memorandum.
Potential to Compromise Homeland Security Enforcement
However, some of the responsibilities that are involved in the Department of Homeland Security do not fit under the umbrella of national intelligence and might be compromised by the department being placed within this program. Whilst intelligence solely refers to gathering information, some agents within the Department of Homeland Security also have the powers of arrest (White, 2014). This enables them to enforce homeland security as well as checking whether or not it is being upheld. It is arguable that being part of a larger program that is dedicated to gathering intelligence might compromise the ability of the DHS to fulfill this function.
The Department of Homeland Security is responsible for safeguarding against natural disasters as well as terrorist attacks and human threats (Department of Homeland Security, n.d.). It could be argued that the type of intelligence that is required for this purpose is more scientific in its nature than that which is associated with the National Intelligence Program, which mainly funds activities that are aimed at countering terrorism and protecting the economy (The White House, 2012). This is another way in which placing the Department of Homeland Security under the National Intelligence Program could compromise its activities.
Securing the Border
The Department of Homeland Security is also responsible for securing the U.S. border and enforcing immigration laws (Department of Homeland Security, n.d.), which is an area that does not specifically fall under the remit of the National Intelligence Program (The White House, 2012). Whilst it is true that placing it under this program may allow for a greater degree of coordination between efforts to keep out illegal immigrants and efforts to keep foreign criminals and terrorists at bay, the fact that the National Intelligence Program has no designation to protect the border means that placing the Department of Homeland Security under it may result in a greater number of unwanted immigrants entering the nation.
- Bellavita, C. (2008). Changing Homeland Security: What is Homeland Security? Homeland Security Affairs, 4 (2), 1-30.
- Department of Homeland Security (n.d.). Mission. Retrieved from http://www.dhs.gov/mission
- Director of National Intelligence (2004). Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004. Retrieved from http://www.dni.gov
- The White House (2012). National Intelligence Program. Retrieved from http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/factsheet_department_intelligence
- White, J. (2014). Terrorism and Homeland Security. Belmont, CA: Cengage Learning.