Department of Homeland Security Missions

In this article, we will take a look at the missions of the Department of Homeland Security and what it is doing to safeguard the United States from domestic catastrophic destruction.

DHS Stands for Department of Homeland Security..

US Federal Government

As 9/11 demonstrated, the US Federal Government was ill prepared to counter the catastrophic threat posed by non-state actors. As a result, congress passed and the president signed the Homeland Security Act in November 2002, creating the Department of Homeland Security. Again most people think that the Department of Homeland Security was created to counter terrorism. It was not. While counter-terrorism is part of the department’s mission, its role in this respect is supporting the FBI. Which remains the lead federal agency responsible for counter-terrorism as designated in PDD-39. Again, the confusion stems from the conflation of terrorism with WMD attack. And as we know, WMD effects can be achieved without the use of WMD or any terrorist motive. Unfortunately, these terms continue to persist in official definitions, perpetuating the general confusion about homeland security and DHS. Consequently, we will resort to our working definition in order to cut through the confusion.

The purpose of the Department of Homeland Security may best be described as safeguarding the United States from domestic catastrophic destruction. Both the department’s mission and organization are directed towards this purpose. Just as the FBI coordinates counter-terrorism efforts of federal, state, and local agencies.

DHS coordinates the efforts of federal, state and local agencies to safeguard the nation against domestic catastrophic destruction. The combined effort is called the Homeland Security Enterprise. As explained previously, safeguarding implies that the department’s activities are directed across the four phases of catastrophe. Prevent, protect, respond, and recover. To be sure, the department today is not the same one which first stood up in January, 2003. The organization has evolved in response to both internal and external pressures to change. To make certain the department remains properly oriented to a perceived changing threat, Congress in 2007 directed the department to undergo a complete evaluation of its mission and organization every four years.

The first Quadrennial Homeland Security Review was conducted in 2010.

The 2010 QHSR was noteworthy for not only stating the current definition of homeland security, but also redefining the department’s mission sets. The most notable difference between the 2010 QHSR and proceeding homeland security strategies was the elevation of cyber security. The second QHSR in 2014 affirmed the 2010 definitions, missions and goals. The 2014 QHSR identifies five mission sets.

Department of Homeland Security Missions

The 2014 QHSR ( Quadrennial Homeland Security Review ) identifies five mission sets.

  • preventing terrorism and enhancing security.
  • securing and managing our borders.
  • enforcing and administering our immigration laws.
  • safeguarding and securing cyber space.
  • five, ensuring resilience to disasters.

Okay, I see cyber security listed as a DSH mission, but where is critical infrastructure protection? What about weapons of mass destruction? Well as it turns out, each mission has a set of associated goals. The goals associated with preventing terrorism are manage risks to critical infrastructure, and prevent the unauthorized acquisition or use of CBRN materials. There are 19 separate goals and missions, but you do not need to memorize them. All you need to remember is that the overall DHS mission is to safeguard the United States from domestic catastrophic destruction.

Main points in this article.

  1. One, the purpose of DHS is to safeguard the US from domestic catastrophic destruction.
  2. DHS is an evolving organization Congress mandated it re-evaluate its mission and organization every four years in a Quadrennial Homeland Security Review.
  3. The 2014 QHSR identifies current DHS missions and goals.
  4. The 2014 QHSR lists cyber security, critical infrastructure protection, and countering weapons of mass destruction as current DHS missions and goals.


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