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Creation of the Department of Homeland Security
Despite the organization of homeland defense through the the Department of Defense, the National Security Council, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the FBI and CIA, border patrol and customs, and first responders, the terrorist attack of September 11th, 2001 exposed a total lack of coordination amongst them. The Homeland Security Act of 2002 represents the largest government reorganization since creation of the Department of Defense. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) created a cabinet-level position with membership on the NSC and drew a bright line between external defense under DOD and internal threats under DHS.
Per the DHS website, the department is organized into multiple directorates and offices (see organization chart), some of which—such as the Offices of Inspector General, Public Affairs, Legislative Affairs, and General Counsel—are common to almost any government agecy. The divisions relevant to national security are listed below. (Each hyperlinked name will display the organization chart of the division; the chart reveals the functions that fall within the purview of that division.)
  • The Directorate for National Protection and Programs works on risk-reduction. Reducing risk requires an integrated approach that encompasses both physical and virtual threats and their associated human elements.
  • The Directorate for Science and Technology is the primary research and development arm of the DHS. It provides federal, state and local officials with the technology and capabilities needed to protect the nation.
  • The Directorate for Management is responsible for budgets and appropriations, expenditure of funds, accounting and finance, procurement; human resources, information technology systems, facilities and equipment, and the identification and tracking of performance measurements.
  • The Office of Policy provides a centralized, coordinated focus on DHS-wide, long-range planning to protect the United States.
  • The Office of Health Affairs coordinates all DHS medical activities to ensure appropriate preparation for and response to incidents having medical significance.
  • The Office of Intelligence and Analysis is responsible for using information and intelligence from multiple sources to identify and assess current and future threats to the United States.
  • The Office of Operations Coordination is responsible for monitoring the security of the United States on a daily basis and coordinating activities with governors, Homeland Security Advisors, law enforcement partners, and critical infrastructure operators in all 50 states and more than 50 major urban areas nationwide.
  • The Federal Law Enforcement Training Center provides ongoing training to law enforcement professionals to help them fulfill their responsibilities safely and proficiently.
  • The Domestic Nuclear Detection Office works to enhance the nuclear detection efforts of federal, state, territorial, tribal, and local governments, and the private sector and to ensure a coordinated response to such threats.
  • The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) protects the nation's transportation systems to ensure freedom of movement for people and commerce.
  • United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is responsible for protecting our nationís borders in order to prevent terrorists and weapons from entering the United States, while facilitating the flow of legitimate trade and travel.
  • United States Citizenship and Immigration Services is responsible for the administration of immigration and naturalization adjudication functions and establishing immigration services policies and priorities.
  • United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the largest investigative arm of DHS, is responsible for identifying and shutting down vulnerabilities in the nationís border, economic, transportation and infrastructure security.
  • The United States Coast Guard protects the public, the environment, and U.S. economic interests in the nationís ports and waterways, along the coast, on international waters, or in any maritime region as required to support national security.
  • The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) prepares the nation for hazards, manages federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident, and administers the National Flood Insurance Program.
  • The United States Secret Service protects the President and other high-level officials and investigates counterfeiting and other financial crimes, including financial institution fraud, identity theft, computer fraud; and computer-based attacks on our nationís financial, banking, and telecommunications infrastructure.
  • The Office of Counter Narcotics Enforcement responsible for coordinating efforts to monitor and combat connections between illegal drug trafficking and terrorism.
Student Activities and Assessment Tools
  • Have the students research news reports and editorials discussing the effectiveness of this new organization One essay that students could discuss is “Homeland Insecurity: What are the feds doing about domestic terrorism? Not enough” by Fred Kaplan. How well do students feel the Department of Homeland Security is working. Is the effort at protecting the U.S. better coordinated than it used to be? What shortcomings still exist?