creation of the Homeland Security Department amounted to the largest
overhaul of the federal government in more than 50 years. This
monumental task was aimed at consolidating much of the government's
domestic anti-terrorism and protective services to ensure better
coordination, development and deployment.
passed the Homeland Security Act creating the department in November
2002. The move came some five months after President Bush urged
the government to undertake "dramatic reform"
to meet the terrorist threat in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001
attacks in New York, Virginia and Pennsylvania.
to the president's National Homeland Security Strategy published in July 2002,
the new department's main objectives are to guard the nation's borders, prevent
domestic terrorist attacks, create a national defense strategy, and reduce damage
from natural disasters and terrorist acts.
new department employs some 180,000 federal workers from 22 existing federal agencies
to perform a variety of security-related duties -- from agricultural research
to port safeguarding to disaster assistance. The administration has one year to
complete the mammoth task of melding together the various federal agencies into
a single department.
Bush officially inaugurated the department on Jan. 24 with former Pennsylvania
Gov. Tom Ridge at its helm. Ridge had previously served as Mr. Bush's domestic
security adviser, having opened the White House's first-ever Homeland Security
Office on Sept. 21, 2001.
new department will consist of four sub-agencies: border and transportation security,
emergency preparedness, technology and intelligence. The Coast Guard and Secret
Service, two agencies transferred in from the Transportation and Treasury Departments,
respectively, will now operate within the Homeland Security Department, but will
function independent of its subdivisions. The Department now includes a fifth
agency, management, which oversees budget, human resources, and other personnel
also effectively consolidates the Transportation Security Administration, formerly
part of the Transportation Department; parts of the Customs Service, formerly
of the Treasury Department; the Immigration and Naturalization Service and parts
of the FBI, formerly of the Justice Department; and the Federal Emergency Management
Agency, among others.
department will not include the FBI or the CIA -- two intelligence agencies that
drew harsh criticism from Congress and others in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks.
However, it will collect and analyze information gathered by the FBI, CIA, and
other U.S. intelligence agencies related to domestic security.
number of the component agencies will be transferred into the new department on
March 1. The act says the department should be fully consolidated by Sept. 30.
the Homeland Security Act, the new department's responsibilities include:
& Transportation Security
Border and Transportation Security directorate brings together the government's
border security and transportation agencies, comprising some 156,169 employees
with an estimated budget of $18 billion.
division's top priority is to manage and guard the nation's borders and transportation
systems, including those inside U.S. territories overseas. The BTS consolidates
several of the largest federal agencies, such as the INS and its Border Patrol
force; the law enforcement units of the Customs Service; and the Transportation
Security Administration. These agencies officially transferred to the Homeland
Security Department on March 1, 2003.
Justice Department's Office of Domestic Preparedness, which coordinates with local
and state emergency response agencies in crisis situations, also joins the Border
and Transportation Security division.
Coast Guard, formerly of the Department of Transportation, will act independently
within the Homeland Security Department, reporting directly to the secretary.
The Coast Guard will coordinate and work closely with the Border and Transportation
Security directorate, since their missions to guard ports, transportation infrastructure
and U.S. borders overlap.
June, the U.S. Agriculture Department's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
-- which regulates and protects the nation's food supply and agricultural imports
-- is scheduled to move over to the department in an effort to better coordinate
a national defense policy.
the department is expected to absorb the Federal Protective Service of the General
Services Administration, which manages security for federal government buildings,
a task coinciding with the department's overarching mission to safeguard the nation
and its infrastructure.
Homeland Security Act effectively disbands the INS as it existed under the Justice
Department, separating its immigration, naturalization, and visa services into
one agency separate from another that houses its border security and law enforcement
units. Under the act, the Homeland Security secretary has the authority to grant
or deny visas for U.S. immigration.
Preparedness & Response
Emergency Preparedness and Response division oversees domestic disaster preparedness
training and provides federal support for recovery from terrorist acts and natural
directorate is responsible for ensuring a high standard of readiness among the
nation's emergency response teams and for formulating a federal emergency response
plan for natural disasters, attacks and hazards.
division integrates the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the FBI's National
Domestic Preparedness Office and the Energy Department's Nuclear Incident Response
team, among others.
numerous groups have developed disparate federal response plans; the EPR seeks
to streamline the myriad plans into one "all-hazards" plan for the country.
also coordinates with state, local, and public safety organizations to develop
a comprehensive national crisis management system to respond to terrorist attacks
and natural catastrophes. In case of a national emergency, the EPR has authority
to command federal response teams as they work with teams on the local and state
to Mr. Bush's 2004 budget, the EPR division has roughly $6 billion with which
to work. Approximately 5,300 employees are expected serve under the EPR.
Biological, Radiological, & Nuclear Countermeasures
division, officially known as the Science and Technology directorate, will head
national efforts to prepare for and respond to terrorist threats involving weapons
of mass destruction and develop plans to guard the U.S. against such catastrophic
The group is charged with establishing a national emergency
strategy and guidelines for state and local governments as well as chemical, biological,
radiological and nuclear attack response teams. The guidelines aim to synchronize
the myriad emergency strategies currently in place into a single response procedure.
addition, the division is responsible for developing diagnostics, vaccines, antibodies,
antidotes and other countermeasures designed to mitigate the nation’s vulnerabilities
to WMD attacks.
division incorporates the government's scientific research organizations, including
the Department of Energy's Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and the Plum
Island Animal Disease Center of the USDA, in order to consolidate federal science
and technology research agencies and better coordinate their work related to domestic
Plum Island Animal Disease Center, located off of Long Island, New York, works
to protect the U.S. food market from highly infectious foreign animal diseases,
such as foot-and-mouth disease, and is the only place in the U.S. where such diseases
are studied. The Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, which started as a nuclear
weapons design facility in 1952 at the University of California, develops advanced
defense technologies and conducts research in energy, environment, biosciences,
and basic sciences as related to international and national security.
third research institution, the National Bioweapons Defense Analysis Center, will
be created specifically for the Homeland Security Department, set up with some
$420 million previously earmarked for the U.S. Defense Department.
branch employs some 598 agents with the requested budget of $803 million.
Analysis & Infrastructure Protection
division is responsible for collecting and analyzing information and intelligence
data relevant to domestic security obtained from multiple organizations, such
as the CIA, FBI, National Security Agency, Defense Intelligence Agency, and the
Justice Department's Drug Enforcement Agency, among others.
directorate has two main units: Threat Analysis and Warning and Critical Infrastructure
division centralizes all information relevant to domestic security in an attempt
to resolve some of the errors made in intelligence-gathering and analysis before
the Sept. 11 terror attacks.
agencies reshuffled into the Homeland Security Department will seek to collectively
assess information, identify threats, communicate appropriate response actions
and coordinate with other federal, state, and local officials.
Threat Analysis and Warning unit is charged with compiling information from disparate
intelligence resources to identify and assess current and potential threats against
the U.S., evaluate the nation's vulnerability against those threats, and to issue
appropriate warnings and recommend preventative, or protective, actions.
Critical Infrastructure Protection will also evaluate domestic security information,
specifically items dealing with the nation's internal systems.
unit will oversee protection of the nation’s food markets, water systems,
health and sanitation systems, emergency services, energy (electrical, nuclear,
gas and oil, pipelines, dams), transportation (air, road, rail, ports, waterways),
information and telecommunications, and banking and finance infrastructure. It
will also guard U.S. energy, transportation, chemical, defense industries, postal
and shipping systems, and national monuments and icons.
in this unit are expected to develop a policy to protect these high-risk targets
and mitigate damage and potentially catastrophic consequences.
a requested budget of $829 million, this sub-division brings together some 976
employees from the Commerce Department's Critical Infrastructure Assurance Office,
the General Services Administration's Federal Computer Incident Response Center,
the Defense Department's National Communications System, the FBI’s National
Infrastructure Protection Center, and the Energy Department's National Infrastructure
Simulation and Analysis Center and Energy and Security Assurance Program.
CIAO, FCIRC, and NIPC focus on security for computer, Internet, and information
technologies; the NISAC (operated by Sandia National Laboratories and Los Alamos
National Laboratory in New Mexico) oversees the development of technology to protect
energy infrastructures; and the NCS provides analysis for communications during
Provisions For Domestic Security:
Secret Service, like the Coast Guard, stands apart from the four main directorates
and reports directly to the secretary. The Bush administration's 2004 budget earmarked
around $1.3 billion for the Secret Service, which has some 6,111 agents.
Bush administration requested roughly $6.8 billion for the Coast Guard, the largest
unit of the Homeland Security Department with 43,639 members.
secretary must also appoint a senior counter-narcotics officer to coordinate narcotics
interdiction efforts with other federal agencies, and to track and sever links
between terrorism and illegal drug trafficking, which the Bush administration
believes funds terrorist organizations.
department is also responsible for the Homeland Security Advisory System, which
issues warnings based on terrorist threats, activities and potential attacks.
Homeland Security Act explicitly forbids creating the controversial, and heavily
criticized, Citizen Corps program called Operation TIPS (Terrorism Information
and Information System), which critics said would have enabled the department
to act as a domestic intelligence agency.
the American Civil Liberties Union praised Congress for rejecting the TIPS provision
and the proposed national identification card system, the civil rights group warned
the legislation contained several serious setbacks to civil liberties protections,
such as the right to privacy and obstructing the public’s access to information.
Laura W. Murphy,
director of the ACLU's Washington office, criticized the bill for permitting the
department to withhold "critical infrastructure" information from public
scrutiny. The bill exempts infrastructure information deemed particularly sensitive
to national security from the Freedom of Information Act and, Murphy notes, “goes
so far as to impose criminal penalties for government officials who disclose this
a result, officials who blow the whistle on threats to public health (uranium
stockpiling or tainted blood) or private sector incompetence (poor maintenance
of railroad tracks or computer networks) could become criminals," the ACLU
said in a press statement released on Nov. 13, 2002.
Center for Democracy and Technology, a free-speech and technology advocacy group
based in Washington, D.C., says the legislation greatly "undermin[es] privacy
online" through the Cyber-Security Enhancement Act (CSEA). This provision
enables government officials to obtain citizens' electronic information (like
e-mail, voice mail messages, phone records, and Internet transactions) from telecommunication
companies in case of "an immediate threat to a national-security interest."
Telecommunication companies traditionally have refused to turn over client information
unless government authorities have court-approved warrants.
hackers found guilty of engineering cyber-attacks could receive a maximum life
sentence, the CSEA provision says.
to the legislation, the Homeland Security Department is not directly involved
in the Defense Department's Total Awareness Information office headed by John
Poindexter, the former national security adviser under President Reagan who was
indicted and later pardoned for his role in the Iran-Contra deals. Nevertheless,
the act grants the department access to intelligence obtained by the TIA office,
which critics, such as New York Times columnist William Safire, deride as characteristic
of "Big Brotherism." Congress also moved to limit the TIA, removing
much of the budget for the new agency in its appropriations bill.
act has also sparked protests over its indemnification provision that restricts
citizens from filing class-action lawsuits against government contractors, such
as vaccine-manufacturer Eli Lily and Co.
provision is intended to offer incentives to companies involved in creating vaccines
to fight potential terrorist weapons like anthrax and smallpox, and to protect
them from the high costs of liability.
Features Of Homeland Security Act:
legislation won accolades from civil liberties groups like the ACLU for establishing
a civil rights watchdog for the whole department and a privacy ombudsman to oversee
the department's intelligence division.
large part of the Homeland Security Act includes provisions designed to improve
the training, management and work environment for federal employees. The act requires
each federal agency to designate a chief human capital officer who will help develop
better employee incentives and human resources policies, such as training programs
and more competitive hiring, promotion and compensation policies. The management
directorate is responsible for such matters.
the act devotes such attention to improving government management of agencies,
such as the CIA and FBI, critics charge the legislation strips certain employees
fact, the act states that all agencies transferred to the Homeland Security Department
will be covered by the federal civil service labor-management relations law, unless
the employees or agency is primarily involved in intelligence, counterintelligence,
or investigative work directly related to terrorism investigation, as a large
number of department employees are.
--The Treasury Department's Bureau of Alcohol,
Tobacco and Firearms is transferred to the Justice Department.
legislation tightens restrictions on possession of explosive materials and toughens
penalties for illegal possession of explosives.
The act outlines several new provisions related to the Transportation Security
Administration. It says the TSA can now train pilots on how to carry and use firearms
to defend aircraft, crew and passengers if necessary against terrorists or criminals.
The act also says that only U.S. citizens and nationals will be employed as airport
screeners -- excluding those who immigrated to the U.S.