After the 9/11/2001 attacks on the US, President George Bush proposed the formation of the Office of Homeland Security (OHS). The key missions of the Office would be to defend the borders of the country, to enhance critical infrastructure protection, and to improve the management capacity of the nation, especially in matters related to the use of nuclear weapons by terrorists (Mitchell & Pate, 2003). In November 2002, the Homeland Security Act was passed by Congress, and it led to the establishment of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). In relation to the federal government, the DHS is an independent, cabinet level department. It is charged with the responsibility of coordinating and unifying the national efforts on homeland security, and it integrated 22 different federal departments and agencies into a single department (Mitchell & Pate, 2003).
Each of the 22 federal agencies and departments making up the DHS has its own role to play to ensure that the DHS meets its goals. The DHS has six major goals which are: domestic counterterrorism, defending against catastrophic threats, emergency preparedness and response, protection of key infrastructure and assets, security of borders and transportation systems, and intelligence and warning (Mitchell & Pate, 2003). The agencies and departments are grouped into four broad categories depending on the closeness of their responsibilities. The four broad departments are the department of Border and Transportation Security, the department of Emergency Preparedness and Response, the department of Science and Technology in Support of Homeland Security, and the department of Information Analysis and Infrastructure Protection (Mitchell & Pate, 2003).
The department of Border and Transportation Security is made up of agencies such as the Coast Guard and the Customs Service (Mitchell & Pate, 2003). It protects the borders of the country, the territorial waters, and the transportation systems. It has a centralized system of information-sharing and well-managed databases that help in tracking and monitoring border control and transportation management (Mitchell & Pate, 2003). Outside the DHS, the department manages the visa system, while it tracks all aspects of commerce originating from outside the country.
The department of Emergency Preparedness and Response is made up of the Federal Emergency Management Agency and several Human and Services agencies (Mitchell & Pate, 2003). It creates emergency plans to be used by the federal, state, and local governments in the country. In addition, the department manages the assistance by the federal government to first-responders during domestic disasters (Mitchell & Pate, 2003).
The department of Science and Technology in Support of Homeland Security is made up of agencies such as the National Biological Weapons Defence Centre, also called the Departments of Defence, Agriculture, Energy, and Health and Human Services (Mitchell & Pate, 2003). It is responsible for the research, testing and development of technological and scientific objectives such as of matters related to biological, chemical, radiological and nuclear weapons. In addition, the department protects the country from attacks by weapons of mass destruction (Mitchell & Pate, 2003). It also tests the various levels of governments for their response plans to attacks.
The department of Information Analysis and Infrastructure Protection is made up of departments and agencies such as the National Communication system of the Department of Defence, the Critical Infrastructure Assurance of the Department of Commerce, and the National Infrastructure Protection Simulation and Analysis Centre of the Department of Energy (Mitchell & Pate, 2003). It coordinates the sharing of information and the analysis of intelligence between the FBI and the CIA. In addition, the department evaluate weaknesses in infrastructure such as agriculture, health systems, banking and finance, food and water systems, and emergency services (Mitchell & Pate, 2003).
The DHS is an independent cabinet level security. It is made up of twenty two federal departments and agencies. Increase efficiency and effectiveness in meeting its six key points, the twenty two departments are grouped into four broad departments depending on the closeness of the nature of their responsibilities. The department Border and Transportation Security protects US borders, territorial waters and transport systems. The department of Emergency Preparedness and Response formulates emergency response plans for use by all levels of government. The department of Science and Technology in Support of Homeland Security coordinates and integrates all matters of science and technology. The department of Information Analysis and Infrastructure Protection coordinates information sharing with the CIA and the FBI, while it also evaluates various infrastructures for weaknesses.