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The United States Department of Homeland Security

One of the recent and most significant cabinet departments created by the United States government is the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The department was created during the term of former U. S. President George W. Bush in 2001, mainly as a response to the September 11 terrorist attacks in the same year. It is mainly composed of 22 government organizations that include, among others, the U. S. Coast Guard, U. S. Secret Service, The Federal Protective Service, The U. S. Customs Service, which were all incorporated into a single department (Department of Homeland Security, 2009).

According to the website of the DHS, its main vision is “a secure America, a confident public and a strong and resilient society and economy” (Department of Homeland Security, 2009). On the other hand its mission mainly to secure the U. S. from terrorist attacks, protect the country’s borders, and respond to hazards (Department of Homeland Security, 2009). Although the department’s mission and vision are straightforward and understandable, there are certain issues surrounding them that need to be addressed. One of the major issues that stem from the DHS’s mission and vision is the classification and description of a terrorist threat.

Although it points out that terrorists are those who disrupt the country’s peace and order, it fails to specifically identify what constitutes terrorism. For example, since most of today’s terrorists are based in the Middle East, the Arab-Americans or immigrants from that area face the potential threat of being discriminated simply because of their nationality. Since the DHS is composed of multiple agencies from other government agencies, there is a possibility of overlapping of duties and failure to define the responsibilities of every government body involved.

In short, as far as its mission and vision is concerned, there are simply vague and ambiguous terms and principles used to the point that it is hard to define a national threat or a terrorist, among others.


Department of Homeland Security. (2009). One Team, One Mission, Securing Our Homeland: U. S. Department of Homeland Security Strategic Plan Fiscal Years 2008-2013. Retrieved February 11, 2009 from http://www. dhs. gov/xlibrary/assets/DHS_StratPlan_FINAL_spread. pdf. Department of Homeland Security. (2009). About the Department. Retrieved February 11, 2009 from http://www. dhs. gov/xabout/.

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