What Is the Purpose of the Department of Homeland Security?

by Jennifer D. Melville

The Department of Homeland Security protects American citizens by working with local and national law enforcement agencies to find and eradicate threats to American peace and prosperity.

History

Before September 11, 2001, there were more than 40 federal agencies handling the security of the American homeland. President George W. Bush established the Department of Homeland Security on September 22, 2001.

Function

The Department of Homeland Security was established to oversee and coordinate the defense of the American homeland. It was meant to safeguard the country from terrorism and prevent future terrorist attacks on American soil.

Types

According to the Department of Homeland Security mission statement, the department has five main types of responsibilities. These include guarding against terrorism, securing America's borders, enforcing immigration laws, improving their readiness for response to and recovery from disasters and maturing and unifying the department.

Significance

According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Strategic Plan for the fiscal years 2008-2013, the main vision of the department is to create "a secure America, a confident public, and a strong and resilient society and economy."

Considerations

The Department of Homeland Security webpage provides a Homeland Security Advisory System to let citizens know how pertinent a terrorist attack might be. Green means there is a low risk, blue means there is a guarded risk, yellow means there is an elevated risk, orange means there is a high risk and red means that there is a severe attack. If the National Threat meter is yellow, for example, it means there is a significant risk of terrorist attacks.

Photo Credits

  • Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Beverly