20 Jun 2022


Homeland Security and Homeland Defense

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According to Snow, (2015), Safety, security, and justice are among the major concerns of the citizens in any country. It is due to a shortfall of these three factors will lead to poverty and underdevelopment in the nation. It is the duty of the federal government to ensure that the state of national security is at its highest levels. Within the USA, there are a variety of federal agencies and departments that have the mandate for developing policies and regulations that oversee national security. These include the DOD, DHS, White House National Security Council, The Federal Bureau of Investigations and The Central Intelligence Agency.

Since the birth of the nation, the armed forces have been involved in relentless efforts in providing homeland defense (Lowenberg, 2003). However, following September 11, 2001, terror attacks, there was a need to ensure such acts did not happen again on the USA soil. This saw the formation of the Homeland Security Agency by Congress on November 19, 2002.Homeland Defense and Homeland Security are mostly used interchangeably, but there is a divergent, definitional dissimilarity between the two especially in terms of their primary missions, tasks, duties, responsibilities and operations. Nevertheless, they have some shared responsibilities in overseeing national security is provided for all USA citizens (Goss, 2006).

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The Homeland Defense ensures that the USA is secure through their successful execution of its military strategies. The primary responsibilities and duties of the Homeland Defense are safeguarding the mother country through military undertakings abroad and implementing homeland defense and public support duties and backing up disaster readiness preparation activities. The Homeland Defense is also responsible for all the national threats that come from hostile and any potentially hostile nation-states The Homeland Defense also has neither the responsibility to ensure there is no fighting insurrection against the government (Goss, 2006).

Homeland security main responsibilities are focused on terrorism in the USA. This is contained in its three key concepts which are security, resilience and customs and exchange. The terrorist can range from foreigners who are acting on their own or behalf of other nations or US citizens. Homeland security has the duty to ensure that any narco-terrorists or international criminal rings whose inspirations and approaches are more of unlawful rather than radical or philosophical are contained. The Homeland Defense has little it can do in case of such threats.

Following the September 11, 2001, attacks, the homeland defense and homeland security have been working together so as to protect the USA citizens from any other such calamities. It is the duty of homeland security to ensure that the USA citizens are not causalities of terror attacks; however, in the case of attacks that involve weapons of mass destruction, homeland defense is usually involved so as to mitigate the fears of the people. The homeland security also provided information to homeland defense regarding terrorist cells that might have other connections to hostile nations of which it is the responsibility of the latter to ensure they destroy any international threats.

Homeland security is a national effort by the government towards the prevention and mitigation of any social threat or trend that can in anyway affect the long-term stability of the USA citizens. So as to ensure this is achievable, there is a combined and collaborative effort by the instruments of power in protecting the sovereignty and critical infrastructure against terrorism.

The backbone of the nation's security, health and economy lie with its critical infrastructure. For most Americans, this can be defined as the power used in their houses, the water they drink, the shopping stores, transportation means and other aspects of the economy that help them in maintain their day to day lives. The USA is made up of 16 critical infrastructures include; transportation , water and waste water systems, ICT sector, nuclear reactors, constituents and surplus, government facilities and civic health sector. Other critical infrastructures include; financial services, food and agriculture, emergency services, energy, chemical, communications, commercial, critical manufacturing, dams and industrial defense sector.

The protection of the critical infrastructure should be a shared responsibility between the local, federal, individual citizens, private companies, and government security agencies. Homeland Security and Homeland Defense facilitate information sharing between them and the different sectors so that they can get a complete assessment of data that they will use in supporting the critical infrastructure (Jena & Richard 2001). This is through the identification of susceptibilities, sector-specific background statistics and other types of terrorist accomplishments that might become fruitful in taking advantage of these vulnerabilities.

Despite the need to protect the critical infrastructure from any form of threat, the departments given the responsibilities have been inadequate due to some reasons. First is the complexity of infrastructure: the critical infrastructure in the USA ranges from non-tangible such as the cyber security to roads, ports, and bridges (Jena and Richard 2001). As such, no one method is efficient in offering protection to all the types of infrastructure. There is also some infrastructure that has no risk as a result of disasters or terrorism yet the departments have continued to offer the equal weight and distribution of funds. This means that there is some critical infrastructure that needs a lot of weight and resources thus they might end up receiving little attention and funds.

According to Auerswald et al. (2005), the process of lawmaking in the USA offers a challenge towards the protection of critical infrastructure. The Congress does not have any risk assessment tools in place that help them in coming up with means of mitigating risk; rather, they rely on their perceptions. This is most of the times biased as a result of political and personal gain leading to the creation of failed policies. A good example is seen in the case of cargo security whereby the Congress came up with 100% maritime security mandate to protect ports from a nuclear bomb. However, the Congress had not carried out any assessment on whether this was necessary and politics drove the debate.

So as to take care of the vulnerabilities that have been identified, there is need to differentiate the more threatened infrastructure from those that are less threatened. This will allow in preventing the financial losses that are directed to low-risk infrastructure. An example is seen in the case of the energy sector. This should be given more finances because in case a terror attack hits the electrical utilities, this can be catastrophic to the nation. Others like the transportation sector might require fewer resources because of the diverse means of transport in the country in case one is affected.


Auerswald, P., Branscomb, L. M., La Porte, T. M., Michel-Kerjan, E., & Michel-Kerjan, E. R. (2005). The challenge of protecting critical infrastructure. Issues in Science and Technology , 22 (1), 77-83.

Jena Baker McNeill and Richard Weitz (2010, April 27).Homeland Security. “How to Fix Homeland Security Critical-Infrastructure Protection Plans .” Retrieved From http://www.heritage.org/homeland-security/report/how-fix-homeland-security-critical-infrastructure-protection-plans-guide

Lowenberg T J n d (2003).The role of the National Guard in homeland defense and homeland security National Guard Association of the United States U S Department of Defense Retrieved From http://www.ngaus.org/sites/default/files/pdf/primer%20fin.pdf

Goss, T. (2006). “Who’s in Charge?" New Challenges in Homeland Defense and Homeland Security. Homeland Security Affairs , 2 (1).

Snow, D. (2015). Thinking about National Security: Strategy, Policy, and Issues . Routledge.

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StudyBounty. (2023, September 16). Homeland Security and Homeland Defense.


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