The President of the United States has directed by executive order, that an office be established in order to provide protection against the threat or attack of the homeland by those organizations that have been identified as terrorist organization. This office will focus on homeland security and homeland defense and its mission, task, duties, required resources, and clear defined of roles and responsibilities. After the attacks on 9/11, The Presidents of the United States issued Executive Order 13228 of October 8, 2001 establishing the Office of Homeland Security and the Homeland Security Council.
The federal government needed to define the responsibilities of various federal agencies in order to ensure the intent of Congress was met and the needs of properly securing the homeland was addressed. One would need to first review the mission statement of the Department of Homeland Security, which states; The vision of homeland security is to ensure a homeland that is safe, secure, and resilient against terrorism and other hazards (www.dhs.gov). With every mission and the need to be successful at all cost, the use of intelligence is critical to this cause. The objective of this paper is to provide an examination of the important role that intelligence plays related to homeland security, the various elements that comprises the intelligence community, how they are carried out on both the domestic and international front, and those issues that support these efforts and serve as impediments in carrying out their responsibilities. Prior to September 11, 2001, the role of intelligence in the defense of the homeland was disorganized to say the least. The many federal agencies were focused on their mission and did not provide any intelligence sharing capability with each other to include those state and local law enforcement agencies. The American people were skeptical of the federal government after 9/11, as one would be concerned that the most powerful nation on this planet could not and did not have sufficient intelligence to not only predict this attack, but could not prevent it. Howcould the security apparatus of the United States allow known terrorist to board those aircraft on that dark day even when they had been identified and placed on a watch list? The Federal Aviation Administration was charged with screening passengers for travel, and did not have access to other federal agency’s database. The Department of Homeland Security and the Homeland Security Advisory Council in its Intelligence and Information Sharing Initiative of 2005 stated; Important intelligence that my forewarn of a future attack may be derived from information collected by State, tribal, and local government personnel through crime control and other routine activities and /or by people living and working in our local communities (Homeland Security Advisory Council 2005). The important role that intelligence plays inrelation to homeland security is that we must make every effort to understand what our enemies are doing and how they plan to penetrate the defenses of the homeland? There must be amplesurveillance of those who are identified as threats, and ensure they are not surveilling themselves the nation’s sites to include critical infrastructures. This information must be reviewed, analyzed and shared with those agencies charged with the defense of the homeland. Perhaps, the most important element of any defense is the availability of well analyzed intelligence from the many agencies that comprise the intelligence community. The information provided by these agencies serve an important facet for course of action development, selection, and decision making by government leaders. The intelligence community is a group of agencies that operate separately and together in order to protect the security of the United States. One element that supports the intelligence process is the use of fusion centers, which are designed to become a center of information gathered from the various intelligence databases and shared. The Director of National Intelligence manages and coordinates all intelligence activities and leads more than sixteen intelligence agencies and serves as the principal advisor on all intelligence matters to the President of the United States and the National Security Council. The National Counterterrorism Center is responsible for counterterrorism intelligence analysis, The National Counter Proliferation Center is responsible for strategic planning regarding the proliferation of Weapons of mass destruction. The National Intelligence Council conducts long range strategic planning and analysis using all sources of intelligence, the Office of Intelligence and Analysis provides intelligence support to all homeland security missions and ensure that threat analysis is conducted, to include the collection, and dissemination of all information. These many elements are critical to the defense of the homeland. Almost every citizen in the United States understand the need to provide security in the homeland first, but few really care about the dynamics associated with this important task. The gathering of intelligence at home and aboard can be the most complexed operation as the threat has not decreased and the enemy whether within the confines of the United States or international have also developed techniques, tactics and procedures that do not make the monitoring of these individuals easy. One would ask if the threat is changing? Yes. The passing of the Patriot Act in 2001 immediately after the terrorist act of September 11 has allowed federal investigators the opportunity to utilize processes that have been used in the past regarding the organized crime. Then Joe Biden the senator from Delaware during the debates prior to this lawbeing enacted said; the FBI could get a wiretap to investigate the mafia, but they could not get one to investigate terrorist (Congressional Record 2001). This law also allowed federal investigators to conduct operations against suspected terrorist without their knowledge, and prior to this law, those suspected would be tipped off and would either discard potential evidence or leave the country. The Patriot Act has not allowed the government to operate without some oversight and accountability, but has allowed the government to monitor financial records that indicate those may be plotting to do harm to this country. The use of intelligence on the international front has proven difficult in some cases. The Department of Homeland Security has expanded its operation to Europe and many believe the United States is attempting to influence their own immigration laws, but the United States is merely exercising its reach and strengthening international challenges as well. During research for this paper, I was able to locate an article in The New York Times which report; an estimated two thousand Homeland Security employees are now deployed to 70 countries around the world (Nixon 2017). This task is more than just intelligence gathering, but monitoring the sky for potential drug smuggling, interviewing travelers at overseas airports, and there have been documented cases where Department of Homeland Security officials have recommended that those identified as potential terrorist be denied boarding on flights to the United States. The threat from overseas is real as and we must not forget the hatred for Americans in those foreign countries. As with any initiative, there has been criticism from lawmakers regarding the enormous cost associated with this mission and have asked for a review to determine the feasibility of its continuance. Efforts to ensure the security of the homeland come at a cost. While efforts have been made to improve how we utilize and share intelligence, there are issues that have supported these efforts and also some that have impeded this progress. The enactment of the Patriot Act provided the government with measures designed to utilize every facet of intelligence gathering and information, but also there were limits. The intelligence community was faced with technology restrictions as seen after the San Bernardino California terrorist attack as the government had sought assistance from the manufacturer of the cell phone that was confiscated by the FBI, which could have produced actionable intelligence. The challenge of accessing the database of the phone proved difficult, as Apple refused to assist by creating software to allow access to the phone and continued to stress the need to protect the privacy of its customers. Was this refusal a lack of patriotism? No, it was the support of the Constitution. The Freedom Act of 2014, enabled the government to obtain designated phone records of suspected individuals in a more targeted fashion. Nevertheless, as we critique the current capability of the homeland security enterprise to adequately identify and adequately address future challenges. When the Department of Homeland Security was created after September 11, 2001, little was known regarding the capability of this department. It was clearly understood the dynamic mission The vision of homeland security is to ensure a homeland that is safe, secure, and resilient against terrorism and other hazards (www.dhs.gov). But one would beg to differ when it comes to what entity is responsible for what. Thomas Goss writes in an article titled Who’s in Charge? New Challenges in Defense and Homeland Security and writes It is crucial to understand the distinction between the role DOD plays with respect to national security and the role DHS as the lead agency for homeland security (Goss 2006). The citizens of the United States continue to envision the next major catastrophic events and often wondered the government is doing enough and prepared. Over the past seventeen years, we have witnessed this transformation as to how we manage and mitigate homeland security challenges. The Department of Homeland Security has developed process and plans to focus on aviation security, which has required the screening of all passengers that travel outside and within the United States. This process has also faced criticism regarding the many databases that are currently in use and work is ongoing to develop and deploy common database used by all to include fusions centers and our aviation security partners. There must always be a focus on intelligence sharing with partners at all levels of government so all issues are addressed in the most timely manner possible. The capability to manage border security and enforce current immigration requirements is a constant headline in the media. There must be a continue vigilance on identifying those who are suspected of committing crimes in their own country and seek refuge in the United States. Is the Department of Homeland Security doing enough to prevent the entry of individuals who are not patience with theimmigration process? I would think so, with the constant attention, lawmakers have stressed the importance of funding additional officers and improving current facilities to support the large influx of individuals who seek legal entry into this country. Attention should also be focused on the securing of our ports of entry to ensure commercial can flow freely and trade continue. Over the past two hurricane seasons, the Department of Homeland Security has been faced with the challenges of providing support to state and local governments, as they prepare and recovery from those natural disasters. This past year, we witness the challenges of providing basic support to the island of Puerto Rico as the Federal Emergency Management Agency was criticized for it slow response during Hurricane Maria and citizens questioned how could United States citizens be treated in such a manner? The Department of Homeland Security have made strides in the right direction regarding it preparations and it response plans to ensure the necessary resources are available to all affected by these events. The Department of Homeland Security has made measurable efforts in combating cyberterrorism by focusing on the protecting of its networks and the education of its partners in this areas and the investment must continue at a pace that reflects our steadfast commitment. We have focused on all the tangible issues with homeland security, but the involvement by the public which is the key to adequatepolicing in the many cities. The future is closer than we think and through the most intense and collective attention by all will make this nation safe. The homeland security focus is perhaps the most complex of any government organization except the Department of Defense. There is constant competition for resources, information, and interest that must be equally address in order to ensure the security of the United States is in no way jeopardized. In defining enterprise, the Quadrennial of Homeland Security ReviewReport of 2010 states; The term enterprise refers to the collective efforts and shared responsibilities of Federal, State, local, tribal, territorial, nongovernment, and private-sector partners, and to maintain critical homeland security capabilities (DHS 2010 ). As this country continue to focus on the defense of the homeland, there will always be some acceptable level of risk that will occur, but should be mitigated and minimized at every opportunity. Risk management is not designed to solve all the problems associated with homeland security, but serve as a management tool designed to ensure all the organizations across the enterprises are aware of this practice and it is not the sole contribution to the decision making process. The nation must also address the need to protect is critical infrastructure, which is vast and difficult to protect. There is a continued need to address the many aging bridges and tunnel, which are making these softer targets of opportunities. As people are continuing to operate in a more technical environment, the need to ensure that our networks are safe from intrusions by those individuals within and outside the United States. In my opinion, I believe this country is headed in a direction that is measurable by the actions of its policies. The responsibility of the Department of Homeland Security is clear in its mission statement, but this country was founded on the principle of treating people fair and equal. Finally, intelligence has played the most pivotal role in the defense of his county with its many capabilities and limitation, we have remained safe and secure. Those elements that comprise the Intelligence Community must be reviewed periodically to ensure there is relevant to the mission, and provided the necessary course and speed corrections as required. The defense of the homeland should continue to stretch beyond the borders; however we should continue to lean on the provisions of the Patriot Act as we address the threats at home. With every initiative comes with those matters that impede the mission, however we must continue to address, mitigate, and manage those things. We must always remember that in order for this nation to survive the turmoil that are faced, let us not forget; We the People.ReferencesDepartment of Homeland Security. (2018, November 11). Our Mission. Retrieved from missionDepartment of Homeland Security. (2010, December 1). DHS RISK LEXICON 2010 EDITION. Retrieved from T. (2006). “Who’s in charge?” new challenges in homeland defense and homeland security. Homeland Security Affairs, 2(1) Retrieved from Security Advisory Council, U. S. D. of H. S. (2005). Intelligence and Information Sharing Initiative. Homeland Security Intelligence and Information Fusion.Library of Congress, U. S. C. (2001, October 25). USA Patriot Act of 2001. Retrieved from 10990Nixon, R. (2017, December 26). Homeland Security Goes Aboard, Not Everyone is Grateful. The New York Times.