By Amil Imani:
Since the advent of a terrorist attack generated the creation of DHS, its mission has been shaped to address the circumstances and environment that brought it into existence: Terrorism 
The formation of the DHS was a typical paradigm of how Washington responds to a crisis. In the wake of 9/11, the burden was on Congress and the Bush administration to “do something.” Homeland Security is a massive enterprise that should be reevaluated with respect to its original intent.
Shortly after October 2001, President George W. Bush, arguably, in an attempt to preempt action from Congress, created the office of Homeland Security, designed to coordinate with other agencies to prevent domestic terrorist attacks. In 2002, the Bush administration sponsored its own proposal along these lines, and on November 19, 2002, Congress passed the Homeland Security Act of 2002. 
Subsequently, the Homeland Security Act of 2002 reassigned the functions, applicable funding, and most of the personnel of 22 agencies and offices to the new Department of Homeland Security (DHS) created by this act. 
By design, the original idea of DHS was to combine all disparate intelligence agencies that in the past had their own unique missions and were separated by a legal wall. This was more in evidence and a legacy of the previous administration under the direction of Jamie Gorelick, a Clinton appointee. As the new Bush administration discovered when they first attempted to combine these agencies and arrive at a decision in terms of national security, it remains difficult to this day to find that desired coordination between departments using similar computer systems or interactive guidance. 
DHS was created to do intelligence work, in an environment that was already full of intelligence agencies. Another responsibility of DHS was to support and develop state and local law enforcement intelligence “infusion centers.” 
I believe FEMA is the organization that should oversee natural disasters: Floods, earthquakes, volcanoes, wildfires and any other “act of God.” As a support system, individuals could, with proper cross-training, run shelters until the Red Cross is in place. This would also allow for experts on terrorism and counterterrorism to locate the possible ‘lone wolf’ in the crowd. 
TSA, CBP and the Coast Guard could oversee tracking terrorism activities. Intelligence would be shared not only within the agency but also with the CIA. One could realistically include foreign agencies like MI5/MI6, the Mossad and any other foreign intelligence agency we fully trust.
The primary responsibility of DHS should then be protecting the nation from foreign and domestic attacks and terrorism. Otherwise, we continue to duplicate efforts from other agencies. The New York Police Dept. has one of the top elite terrorism units of any city police force. DHS should incorporate efforts with this unit and work with other local agencies. There are too many managers and not enough boots on the ground watching behavior and profiling individuals. We need to eliminate the politically correct mindset within the agency.
What’s most likely to happen? Natural disasters are always going to happen and thanks to NOAA we can have advanced warning. A terrorist event needs to be treated as a completely different event that we may or may not have an advanced knowledge.
In my opinion, if DHS is not adequately addressing terrorism, it should be dismantled as a redundant Intel/counter terrorism organization and revert to FEMA.
- The Homeland Security. (n.d.). Our Mission.
- Raphael Perl. (2014). The Department of Homeland Security: Background and Challenges. National Academy of Sciences.
- Jamie Gorelick’s wall. (April 15, 2004). By – The Washington Times. Retrieved from
- Investigative Report Criticizes Counterterrorism Reporting, Waste at State & Local Intelligence Fusion Centers. U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs. The Permanent Subcommittee On Investigations. (October 3, 2012)
- Federal Emergency Management Agency. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.fema.gov/
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