What Is Homeland Security?



As a result of some very public embarrassments covered extensively by the 24-hour news media, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has come under increased political pressure. At a recent press conference, the secretary of the DHS warned citizens of emerging threats and suggested that Americans stage mock evacuations of homes, offices, towns, and cities to better prepare themselves in case of a terrorist attack. What resulted in the following days was a sense of panic among the public, chaotic scenes of people fleeing buildings, and massive traffic jams as millions of citizens stage practice evacuations simultaneously. Immediately afterward, reporters, pundits, and comedians hit the television airwaves to critique and satirize these seemingly foolish statements and the concern they caused. To make matters worse, two days later, the General Accounting Office (GAO) released a comprehensive report that revealed various managerial and operational failures that have occurred within the DHS in the past six months. The report cited serious transitional and integration difficulties, highlighted by the absence of information sharing between segments within the organization. In addition, it was revealed that three months earlier, the DHS raised the Threat Level from “Elevated” to “High” based on unsubstantiated intelligence.


Terrorist Attack Critical Infrastructure Homeland Security Federal Emergency Management Agency National Guard 
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© John B. Noftsinger, Jr., Kenneth F. Newbold, Jr., and Jack K. Wheeler 2007

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