The Impact of the DHS in Protecting the Homeland and Changes that Would Improve the DHS Ability to Protect America
The department of homeland security was created after the September 11 attack with the primary role of protecting the U.S territories from terrorist attacks. The Department of Homeland Security is also responsible for responding to any terrorist attack or any man-made accidents and natural disaster in the United States and its territories.
The first Quadrennial Homeland Security Review (QHSR) outlines the high-level, national strategic priorities for the security of the nation. The DHS later issued the Bottom-Up Review (BUR) which was a follow-up report which reviewed how the DHS structure relates to the QHSR’s long term, national objectives. The QHSR and BUR outlines the responsibilities of the DHS in providing security in the United States (Nakaya, 2005).
There are many other groups dealing with terrorism, this gives the DHS another responsibility of closing the gaps between different government agencies (Howard James and Joanne, 2006)
The creation of homeland has improved the security in the United States significantly, however, some critics do not agree with the idea of screening everyone in the airport and following a strict watch list. Though this is meant to prevent any terrorist from entering the boarders of America, some people feel that it infringes their personal freedom. There is tight security at the boarders of the United States. The homeland does its work of ensuring that the “homeland is safe, secure, and resilient against terrorism and other hazards” as stated in its mission statement (Yim, 2004).
The DHS tries to manage the boarders, enforce the immigration laws, and protect infrastructure and cyber networks while providing support to national and economic security. Security is has been a very controversy issue, this is because some people feel that there should not be to much screening, however, the DHS and other security agencies would be held responsible terrorist attacked the nation.
There are concerns by the American people on the amount of money spent by the DHS. The DHS officials believe that they should not leave any opportunity for the terrorists to take advantage and attack the nation. According to the Homeland Security Secretary, Michael Chertoff the department serves many masters and it becomes hard for the department to do its job given the inconsistent positions of its masters (Bastiat, 1950).
Changes that Would Improve the DHS Ability to Protect America
The DHS needs to improve the management of its own operations. It is crucial for the department to recruit highly qualified people to fill up the jobs in the department. The main problem facing the department is a very high rate of turnover and low morale. This is usually due to the high profile mistakes the department makes. It becomes hard for the department to attract new talents. It is necessary to ensure that such high profile mistakes are avoided. This will significantly improve the image of the department.
An example of a high profile mistake made by some parts of the department is the staging of a phony news conference by FEMA because the reporters were notified too late and no real reporter showed up. The DHS should also discard functions which are not central to its main objective. This will help the department to deliver quality services without too much pressure on its budget (Kamien, 2006).
To improve the department’s ability to protect the American people, it would be necessary to reduce the size of the DHS. Since its creation in 2002, the department merged two agencies with about 200,000 employees. Some parts of the department such as FEMA should be removed to improve the stability and cohesion of the department. To improve the performance of the department, it would be necessary to construct a headquarters complex for the department; this will help the department get on its feet. This will help the DHS in the work of ensuring security to the people of the U.S from a central position.