Research Paper: Birth and Evolution of Homeland Security

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Homeland Security

The Birth and Evolution of Homeland Security

Homeland Security was brought to the forefront of political discourse in the wake of 9/11. Beginning as the Office of Homeland Security (OHS) in 2001, with Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge acting as Assistant to the President for Homeland Security, the OHS was given the mission of defending "the homeland" against terrorist attack by coordinating those forces within the executive branch of the government which had a role responding to terrorism. A year later, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was formed in accordance with the 2002 Homeland Security Act and incorporated into itself 22 different government agencies. As Peter Andreas notes, the Department of Homeland Security represents "the most significant reorganization of the federal government since the early years of the Cold War."

This paper will examine the birth and evolution of Homeland Security.

9/11 served as the catalyst for Homeland Security and more than ten years later, the DHS represents one of the most prominent federal law enforcement agencies. Its creation, however, was fraught with controversy. First, the Homeland Security Act discussed incorporating both the FBI and the CIA along with the other 22 agencies. This discussion was not supported and both agencies remain autonomous from DHS. The Act also was a blow to union rights for governmental employees. As long as union services were provided to DHS employees, terminating their employment would be more difficult. At the inception of the DHS, nearly 200,000 government workers lost their union rights for the sole reason that, according to the Bush Administration, "terrorist attacks required changes that would give more discretion to managers and permit quicker deployment o workers without notifying their union representatives."

This line of reasoning was debated in court and in 2005 a U.S. District Judge blocked the DHS initiative. The DHS initially appealed this decision but in 2008 abandoned its objective and case was closed, curtailing one of the department's earliest attempts to battle with labor union securities. The DHS has continued to grow, however, although its evolution has not been seen by critics as one that is particularly salutary.

The DHS has continually sought to reorganize itself in the face of its overwhelming bureaucracy, government waste, and inefficiency. In 2005, when Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans, the DHS has been in the middle of one such reorganization, a project that included the role of FEMA. When the Hurricane struck, the federal agency was unable to respond in an adequate fashion and received a good deal of criticism after the event.

In spite of reports showing that DHS employee morale is among the lowest of governmental agencies, Homeland Security has attempted to make itself more constructive, efficient, and valuable. It has initiated fusion centers, which are meant to share information between government agencies like the CIA, FBI and U.S.… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Cite This Research Paper:

APA Format

Birth and Evolution of Homeland Security.  (2013, March 1).  Retrieved November 21, 2019, from

MLA Format

"Birth and Evolution of Homeland Security."  1 March 2013.  Web.  21 November 2019. <>.

Chicago Format

"Birth and Evolution of Homeland Security."  March 1, 2013.  Accessed November 21, 2019.