Outlining the role of the Department of Homeland Security depicts how this agency was able to coordinate multi agency work to achieve one common goal,; to protect American citizens. The DHS has played a valued role in protecting our nation against terrorism while engaging in a joint agency task force to avoid any deficiencies or miscommunication that might allow terrorists the openings to attack us. The Department of Homeland Security made counterterrorism its first and ultimate goal by “detecting explosives in public spaces and transportation networks, helping protect critical infrastructure and cyber networks from attack, detecting agents of biological warfare, and building information-sharing partnerships with state and local law enforcement that can enable law enforcement to mitigate threats” (dhs.gov, 2012).
Prior September 11 attacks, United States’ citizens thought of terrorism as another act of extreme violence that police work had to deal with without having to engage too many resources or departments within our intelligence community. After Bin Laden declared war against our values, freedom, peace, and liberties, terrorism became a priority on the agenda of our politicians who knew, through experience , how dangerous it is to tolerate terror even if it is thousands of miles away. The creation of the Department of Homeland Security was a result of the deficiencies and mistakes that did not prevent the multiple attacks that targeted the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and the White House .“The President proposes to create a new Department of Homeland Security, the most significant transformation of the U. S. government in over half century, by largely transforming and realigning the current confusing patchwork of government activities into a single department, whose primary mission is to protect our homeland” (Falk & Morgenstern, 2009, p. 27).
The suffering and tragedies we observed prior to the terrorist attacks on 9/11 caused a new era that put security at the top of the agenda of every politician. They had no other options than supporting pro-security bills like the USA PATRIOT Act. “President George W. Bush is joined by House and Senate representatives as he signs H.R. 3199, USA Patriot Improvement and Reauthorization Act of 2005, Thursday, March 9, 2006 in the East Room of the White House” (archives.gov).
The Department of Homeland Security and other government agencies needed this kind of act to smoothly do its job in an aggressive way while maintaining most of our values. More security measures are as essential to our freedom as the values that our founders created to make us the greatest nation on earth. The cooperation of the DHS with multi agencies’ anti-terrorism units, especially the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), was a clear message that this threat is beyond a single military or intelligence capacity.
Eliminating Al-Qaeda and its cells has been a successful t, resulting in the killing of Osama Bin Laden and aborting many attempts to murder our citizens and to destroy our infrastructures. The Department of Homeland Security was specifically a result of the terrorist attacks of 9/11. The Department of Homeland Security states, “Protecting the American people from terrorist threats is the founding purpose of the Department and our highest priority. The Department ‘s efforts to battle terrorism, include detecting explosives in public spaces and transportation networks, helping protect critical infrastructure and cyber networks from attack, detecting agents of biological warfare, and building information-sharing partnerships with state and local law enforcement that can enable law enforcement to mitigate threats” (DHS.gov).
On September 11, 2011, the United States observed the solemn tenth anniversary of the worst terrorist attacks in the history of our nation. A joint effort that engages the Department of Homeland Security and other anti-terrorism agencies was needed to foil any future terrorist threats. This multi-agency collaboration allows better and quicker responses to the daily threats that originate worldwide and target our security and freedom. The attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon left us in a situation that required us to be clinical, harsh, and aggressive while maintaining our values, freedom, and liberties.
Our country continues to show the leadership, strength, and exemplary leadership when protecting civil liberties and maintaining justice for its citizens. We can be proud to say that even though we were attacked and badly damaged, we have still kept the core values of our Constitution. First, if families stop going to the mall fearing the “use of random violence” that can destroy their lives, securing America is our government’s primary Constitutional responsibility (Christopher, pp. 182, 2004). Our children cannot just watch planes crash into our symbols; our nation’s youth must believe that America is secure. Since the creation of the Department of Homeland Security, our families feel more secure when going to the mall, traveling, or going to schools.
The attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon left us in a situation that required us to be clinical, harsh, and aggressive while maintaining our values, freedom, and liberties. President George W. Bush’s administration enacted dramatic changes to protect the safety and security of our country. “Almost immediately following the terrorist attacks, the president created by executive order the Office of Homeland Security within the White House.” (Bullock, 2009, p.13). As the leader of the free world, we decided to respond firmly and unilaterally to the terrorists’ message while keeping our freedom and liberties intact.
Our leaders opted to be more alert, strong, and ready to face the dangers around us. The creation of the DHS and other counter-terrorism components in our intelligence community were among the new anti-terrorism methods to protect our nation and the world. President George W. Bush’s administration enacted dramatic changes to protect the safety and security of our country. Protecting civil liberties is important; however, we must prioritize the need to keep our families safe. Osama Bin Laden ‘s message was clear: “To kill Americans and their allies—civilian and military—is an individual duty for every Muslim.” (Terrorismfiles.org, 2012). There is no God, ideology, or motive that can justify targeting innocent citizens .To achieve the most productive results from anti-terrorism tactics, multi-governmental consultation and coordination are essential to conduct effective counter-terrorism activities.
By responding proactively to such barbaric events, our country, as well as other Western nations, came to realize that it was vulnerable to a dedicated terrorist attack. Old methods had to be reviewed and some abandoned, replaced by diligent, cooperative police work. New surveillance methods were needed for the emerging cyber world that terrorists began to exploit. No longer could a nation rely solely on its massive military might when confronting small cell operatives using common chemicals, cell phones, and computers to wreak havoc with IEDs in urban centers where the public is most vulnerable.
Reflect on what President Obama’s anti-terror personnel have accomplished recently when killing Al-Qaeda’s founder Osama Bin Laden, more effort should be made to prevent any retaliation that can affect the lives of our citizens. The DHS branches of antiterrorism engage its effort toward the foiling of any terrorist threats against our homeland using the diligent and unified police work shared with intelligence communities to crush Al Qaeda.
Protecting our aviation represent one of the primary goals of the antiterrorism units of the DHS. The Federal Air Marshal, Securing Flight Program, Redress Control Numbers, and the Airline Security Screening are some of the primary goals since the September 11 terrorist attack that used planes to attack the World Trade Center. Another goal of the DHS is to secure America against any chemical threat. The Ammonium Nitrate Security Program and the Critical Infrastructure security are some of the chemical security priorities.
The Department of Homeland Security also focuses on fraud and counterfeiting that engages the work of the Secret Service to prevent fraud. Information sharing is one of the main priorities that include other agencies in antiterrorism response activities to protect our homeland. The National Terrorism Advisory System, as well as the Protected Critical Infrastructure Information (PCII) Program, consists of two major programs interacting with multi-government agencies to shield us from terrorism. Protecting our infrastructure is a key antiterrorism tool that protects our water supplies, electricity, and communications from any attack. The U.S. Coast Guard, as well as other law enforcement branches, works hard to secure our ports and airports from any breach that can put in danger our security. Nuclear Security is one of the branches that protects our nation form attacks on nuclear facilities by using Layered Nuclear Defense, Nuclear Detection Equipment Performance, and the Nuclear Security Capabilities Development (DHS.gov, 2012).
I suggest more engagement of the Department of Homeland Security in foiling and halting terrorist threats. Closer cooperation with other agencies like the FBI can be helpful to better respond and eliminate any terrorist activities in our homeland. I would love to hear more positive news of the DHS antiterrorism units’ successes rather than FEMA and ICE deficiencies. More effort should be made by DHS officials to make sure people understand the importance of its mission to maintain safety and security instead of attacking screening procedures at airports. More collaboration and multiagency work create safer communities with more liberties and more security. Engaging more agencies in antiterrorism objectives must be a priority rather than an ambition. I believe that the Department of Homeland Security has been doing a great job and must be supported to continue its mandate to protect our country.