According to the Department of Defense (DoD), Homeland Security is an agency of “a concerted national effort to prevent terrorist attacks within the United States, reduce America’s vulnerability to terrorism, and minimize the damage and recover from attacks that do occur.” In addition, Homeland Security is the lead Federal agency for homeland security. In addition, its responsibilities extend beyond terrorism to preventing, preparing for, responding to, and recovering from a wide range of major domestic disasters and other emergencies.
The primary mission of the Department of Homeland Security
The primary mission of the Department of Homeland Security to prevent terrorist attacks within the United States. Homeland security consists of all military activities aimed at preparing for, protecting against, or managing the consequences of attacks on American soil, including the CONUS and US territories and possessions. All actions to safeguard the populace and its property, critical infrastructure, the government and the military, its installations, and deploying forces make up its activities.
The DoD warranted the following Homeland security activities:
- “DoD] maintains and employs the armed forces to:
- Support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.
- Ensure, by timely and effective military action, the security of the United States, its territories, and areas vital to its interests.
- Uphold and advance the national policies and interests of the United States.
- Safeguard the internal security of the United States” (Richard, 1987, pp. 17-18).
Homeland defense, on the other hand, is the protection of US sovereignty, territory, domestic population, and critical defense infrastructure against external threats and aggression, or other threats as directed by the President. However, the DoD is also responsible for homeland defense. Homeland Defense includes missions such as domestic air defense. The Department proposed that threats planned or inspired by “external” actors may materialize internally but “external threats” do not limit where or how attacks could be planned and executed. The Department conducts homeland defense missions whenever the President authorizes military actions, as an exercise of his constitutional authority as the Commander in Chief.
It was mandatory that a secure homeland is the nation’s priority and is fundamental to the successful execution of its military strategy. As such, the U.S. military will continue to play a vital role in securing the homeland through military missions overseas and by executing homeland defense and civil support missions through the Department of Homeland Security and Homeland Defense.
It has been stated that the Department of Homeland Security is a mixed national effort that has 3 main missions: to prevent terrorist attacks within the United States, reduce America’s vulnerability to terrorism and minimize the damage and recover from those attacks. In contrast, the Department of Homeland Defense protects the United States sovereignty, territory, domestic population, and critical infrastructure against external threats and aggression.
While Homeland Defense ensures the integrity and security of the United States by detecting, deterring, preventing, and defeating threats and aggression against the United States as early and as far from its borders as possible to minimize their effects on our society and interest, the Homeland Security’s operation is to reduce the vulnerabilities and minimizing the damage. As such, both agencies work within the same realm in the end and that is to protect the United States from terrorism.
It is believed that the increasing commercialization of space makes it feasible for state and non-state actors alike to acquire reconnaissance and surveillance services sp that military leaders expect those opposed to US interests to confront the nation at home and abroad and even possibly in both places at once, with asymmetrical responses to traditional strengths (John, 2002 p. ii.) Therefore, the Department of Homeland Security was created to reduce our nation’s vulnerability to terrorism, and thwart further attacks within its borders. With the premise that no defense is invulnerable, DHS is also prepared to rapidly respond and recover from attack using the “all-hazards” model and DHS directs these same resources to respond to all national disasters, both natural and man-made.
White , Richard. (1987) The United States Department of Homeland Security by CW productions.
Peters, John. (2002). Understanding Homeland Security. RAND publication, Preparing the U.S. Army for Homeland Security: Concepts, Issues and Options.