DEPARMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY: SECURING AMERICA
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is charged with the responsibility of preventing terrorism, securing the country’s borders and enforcing various immigration laws in existence (Reese, 2013). This mandate is especially important because it directly influences the nation’s social responsiveness, economic prosperity and many other important facets of the economy. The DHS has always had to review its strategic plans in order to address various security and policy issues aimed at making the country much safer. Just like any other federal department, the DHS has to ensure that it remains relevant in the increasingly advanced threats, which face the country. The Quadrennial Homeland Security Review (QHSR) is an integral component in ensuring that the DHS not only achieves its mandates but also implements its obligation in an efficient manner.
The current State of Departmental-level DHS Strategic Planning
Strategic planning within the DHS is a multi-stakeholder initiative, which involves individuals from both the government and other ‘outside’ parties. For instance, the general public is allowed to engage the DHS over various online platforms where people can contribute their views regarding the manner in which they would like to see various issues addressed. In this regard, the concerned stakeholders within the federal government hope that they will be able to create a system that can respond to emerging threats faster and in an efficient manner.
The DHS’s mission statement underscores the importance of honor and integrity in safeguarding the American people, the homeland itself and the broad set of values that define America. In order to achieve this mandate, the DHS has had to come up with updated strategic plans over the years in order to ensure that it is able to deal with emerging threats and security lapses that could endanger the department’s mission, or render it dysfunctional. For example, the security of the cyberspace has been facing various challenges over the recent past. As part of keeping up with such challenges, the DHS has had to redefine its mandates and tactics in order to keep up with the new cyber based threats. However, it must be noted that securing the Internet and cyberspace is just but a single component within the entire security and obligation structure within the DHS in ensuring that America is safe.
The Quadrennial Homeland Security Review (QHSR) is a capstone-like strategy document for the DHS (Department of Homeland Security, 2018). It gives critical outlines regarding the prevailing security statues within in the country and the performance of other important stakeholders with the DHS. The document is developed after every four years in which security related proposals contained therein are presented to congress for further deliberations and many other suggestions, which are integral in guaranteeing the security of Americans. The four-year cycle makes it possible for the DHS to develop the most responsive measures bordering on its mission in a timely and efficient manner (Department of Homeland Security, 2018).This ensures that the department is able to deal with emerging threats and a fast, efficient and effective manner.
Evolution of Department-Level Homeland Security Strategic Planning
Strategic planning within the DHS has witnessed large-scale changes over the years. There has been a relative increase in the number of stakeholders in making critical national security decisions. For instance, the DHS has developed a public portal where Americans can contribute their opinions in regard to the manner in which they would like the subject of national security addressed.
However, the case of large-scale multi-sectorial and public participation in making critical decisions within the DHS has not been the case over the department’s history. Just like many other sensitive and security related federal departments, the DHS, sometimes, behaves and engages in various covert operations. This is partially because of the department’s sensitivity, which directly influenced the very manner which decision and other daily decisions are implemented within the department. Therefore, looking at the operational evolutions within the DHS, one could comfortably argue that the department has not only become more open but also increased public participation in its routine activities.
The Future of Homeland Security Strategic Planning
The future of strategic planning within the DHS will mostly be informed by emerging threats in the cyberspace world, the need for integrated communication systems for enhanced security and a more inclusive decision making paradigm – especially from the public and the American population in general. In retrospect, advancements in technology, surveillance, and tighter border control strategies and the need for every American to participate in this noble exercise will play an integral role in making the country. Safer. A clear, articulate and clever coordination of these factors will influence America’s security in the future. However, America’s enemies are also expected to become more ‘innovative’ in a destructive way which will pose a challenge the DHS’ security rubric and relevant strategic plans.
Strategic planning plays an important role in ensuring the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is effective and delivers on its mandate. The DHS has the mission of securing America’s border and preventing terrorism, while upholding the country’s revered values such as integrity and honor. The Quadrennial Homeland Security review presents security proposals after every four years to the congress. This ensures that the country is able to respond to various security issues fast. The DHS has greatly evolved over the recent past, with a stronger embrace for utilizing technology and creating a more inclusive platform. This has made the department more effective.
Department of Homeland Security. (2018, July). Quadrennial Homeland Security Review (QHSR). Retrieved July 10, 2018, from Homeland Security: https://www.dhs.gov/quadrennial-homeland-security-review
Reese, S. (2013, June). Defining Homeland Security: Federation of American Scientists. Retrieved July 2018, from Defining Homeland Security: Federation of American Scientists: https://fas.org/sgp/crs/homesec/R42462.pdf
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