Homeland security has become a significant part of the American republic security sector especially in this age of industrialization. The country has come up with national policies that have national security as its priority. The federal government has the responsibility to protect the community from villain activities propagated both physically or through the internet, through what is generally referred to cyber security. This has become an utmost priority especially after the Bomb attacks, in September 11, 2001 (Gibbon, 2005). It also caters for how the government is supposed to handle emergency situations like the case of hurricane Katrina that was experienced in the north coast. This natural disaster brought to the lime light that the federal government was not adequately prepared to handle emergencies. The department is also meant to deal with crime both the simple forms and the well organized types. The major aims of the department of homeland security is to reduce chances of terrorism attacks being carried out on the American soil and to minimize the effects in case of the attacks and chart the way forward after such attacks.
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When this department was first created its sole purpose was to deal with terrorism crimes. This in my opinion was the first major lack of fore sight as the officials responsible for this department should have thought about other occurrences that could also be fatal to the well being of the American citizen. This could have led to early planning for disasters like the Hurricane Katrina. The natural disaster could be handled more effectively. However this was rectified. The national Responsive Framework, a public document has written down guidelines on how to handle such conditions that provide a national threat to the American individual. These include dealing with weapons, of mass destruction, chemical attacks, biological attacks, and tragedies that are weather related (Walker, 2004).
However opinion polls conducted every year have shown that the American people are slowly losing faith in the homeland security unit. The problems facing the DHS bring out that the USA might not be safer than what it was security wise, at the occurrence of the September 11 attacks. The department works in collaboration with the air transport, road transport, shipping industry etc. the distrust is both in the areas of the top leaders being unable to lead a successful operation on the occurrence of such emergency attacks and the ability of individual officers being able to effectively deal with the American citizens. Americans who have been living outside the United States for some time have claimed to being treated like third class citizens upon their return. The officials are often being found guilty of majoring in the minors. Especially those in the shipment department they tend to concentrate on the agencies that the mall shipments that majorly consist of personal belongings. Meanwhile tones of illegal shipment keep coming through into the country. Americans have a right provided by the constitution to have good health and happiness. These small shipments are made of mainly drugs and other commodities that may be a cheaper in other countries. The Americans are left with the impression that their rights are being violated.
Any two organizations that are carrying out almost similar functions stand in the eventuality of finding their functions overlapping. Before this unit was created the department its function were carried out by the immigration department, customs and border protection department, the federal law enforcement, national cyber security centre, and a host of other such departments. Previously the organization structure did no include the directors, assistant directors and secretaries housed by the department of DHS (Walker, 2004). There has been a smorgasbord of lines of bureaucracy that has led to continuous contrast in interest. This contrast is also experienced between the DHS and the intelligence agencies like the FBI. I would be of the opinion that the DHS should let these agencies deal with the intelligence parts of their Investigation. This is bound to reduce intra agency conflicts. The area of cyber security is also affected by this. The DHS has this as one of this primary functions. For the specific responsibility of military cyber security this is under the responsibility of the NSA. I am of the opinion that all the cyber space security responsibility should be delegated to the NSA since they are the experts in this.
Another conflict area is between the FEMA a segment of DHS and the department of health and human services. FEMA has been found to be weak and not properly coordinated to respond to disasters arising from natural causes, excerpts drawn from how the handled hurricane Katrina disaster. It was found through a report titled ‘disasters are local’ prepared by government accountability office, that the department plan that outlines the planning, execution, monitoring and coordination of activities in case of a disaster. This was especially with regard to how the people involved in the disasters were handled. To solve this problem DHS could be better of leaving expert organizations, like the department of health and human services do what they do best.
The DHS investigators have also been accused to have been filled with prejudice on the ground of race and this has had a hand in altering the face of evidence. This is especially where blacks are involved. In the early 1980s the under representation of black people had been linked to the increase in the number of crimes committed by the black people. According to Gibbons, this is seen as battle between liberalists and conservatisms. Statistics show that about 75% of all the prisoners in jails in America are black (p. 124). Research has also shown however the black people do not feel the DHS as properly and fairly dealing with whit crimes as they deal with black crimes, or those crimes that are also called black crimes. Blacks there for do not see themselves being a target of the DHS. Police are more likely to treat men as suspects a compared to women especially where the case is related to robbery. This is also the same case when it comes to looking at street crimes.
With the rapid growth of technology the DHS could do better with additional funding. The DHS has been accused of making decisions that are disjointed majorly because of its bureaucracy issues with regard to making decisions that relate to its funding and research work. Just like any organization the success of DHS would be directly proportional to how satisfied the employees are with their working conditions. Having a work force of about 200,000 people might be a challenge especially when it comes to issues concerning motivation. Most of these workers work on the front line and have to face the frustrations of the people they closely work to. I would suggest improvement of international arrival processes and focus should be paid to human resource development issues like training, reward and recognition.
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The DHS cannot avoid the business world. It is about time they started appreciating the opinions held by the stake holders in the business sector. This is especially in the area of transport. The input of the stake holders will make sure the DHS processes do not put the industry at a venerable position. The transport issues need the DHS working with them in order to have the infrastructure protected against national disasters. The consultancy done should be upgraded to an international level especially when there is the movement of international passengers and suspects. This will not, only reduce the cost, but improve security. The USA could work with international organizations in setting standard audit procedures and can be a method to reduce wastefulness such as continuous screening of luggage going through many points before reaching the final destination.
With these suggestions seriously considered the achievements of the DHS can be more than what it has accomplished in the 8 years of its existence. These will enable the ordinary American person to feel more secured. Achievement of the national security mission, vision, goals and objectives could be a reality.
Gibbon,S. (2005). Race, Crime, and Justice: A Reader. New York: Bantam Books.
walker, S. (2004) The Color of Justice. Chicago: McGraw Hill.