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Homeland Security of the USA

The theme of this work is Homeland Security of the USA at the present stage. This topic is relevant and discussed by many scholars, as well as in the press, due to the fact that over the past 10 years the homeland security of the country has become the focus of the U.S. government.

First of all, in this paper it is said that internal security is part of the National Strategy of the U.S. Security. But U.S. policy in the field of national security for decades has been focused primary on external security based on military force, while the concept of “homeland security” was not so strong in the American politics and in the American law. And the terrorist attacks in September 2001 dramatically changed the attitude of the U.S. government and leadership to the domestic sphere of life.

The problem of homeland security of the USA in the 21 century has got the new meaning and importance. If before the U.S. security strategy dealt only with external threats, and now the U.S. national security recognizes the importance of internal problems and threats. After the events of the 2001 the questions of the homeland security have become of the main importance in the U.S. government. That is why in 2002 the U.S. government adopted the first in the history of America “National Strategy for Homeland Security.” It did not break the existing system of national security, but created a new additional system of internal security on the principles of rigid centralization of management and involvement to solve internal problems of all the forces of the nation: federal, state, municipalities, private sector and citizens. This allowed to quickly enhance homeland security without reducing the overall level of national security and the impact of the country in the world. (The United States Commission on National Security/21st Century 2001)

The paper considers the main aspects of the homeland security of the USA, introduced after the tragic events of the 2001by the Bush administration. It is spoken about the new strategy and the new legislative framework, including the important “U.S. Patriotic Act”. After considering the main aspects of the new strategy proposed by the George Bush administration, it is noted that the new Obama administration supports the basic principles of the country’s security, and continues the strategy.

The essence and objectives of American politics to ensure national and homeland security United States is the most powerful country today, which has a tremendous, sometimes even a decisive influence on the international affairs. Document that describe the major direction of U.S. foreign policy in the analyzed period of time is “National Security Strategy of the United States”, which is approved annually by Congress. Since 1947 the United States Laws on National Security did not provide the separation of national security on internal (homeland) and external. During the Cold War violent confrontations in the military and ideological foreign policy priority areas identified and the politico-military approach to national security issues in the U.S. Therefore, U.S. national security strategy in all years of the Cold War concerned only external security, virtually without affecting the domestic sphere.

But in the 21 century the situation has changes cardinally: the tragic events of 11 September 2001 forced the U.S. administration to face the problems of homeland security. The war against terrorists was declared a long-term challenge of global importance. The United States Commission on National Security/21st Century 2001)

In 2002 the government adopted the first in the history of America “National Strategy for Homeland Security.” And then for the first time in American history appeared and began officially used the term “homeland security” to mean concerted national efforts:

  • to prevent terrorist acts within the United States,
  • reduce America’s vulnerability to terrorism,
  • to minimize the damage and eliminate the consequences of possible terrorist attacks. ( National Strategy for Homeland Security, 2002, p. 2)

In the U.S. in a short period of time was created the legal framework of internal security. A crucial role in the legal U.S. homeland security belongs to “the U.S. Patriot Act”, which was passed by Congress and approved by U.S. President George W. Bush on Oct. 26, 2001, that is, just six weeks after the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001. This law immediately became the legal basis for fundamental changes in U.S. policy in the field of internal security. At the very title of the law is clearly seen its ideological burden. In the new law are corrected, augmented and refined the new provisions of criminal law and other applicable federal laws. Particularly are widened articles of the criminal law of the United States (Title 18 USC), relating to security in all kinds of transport, ports, communication systems and computer networks. (Homeland Security Council, 2002)

In the “ Patriot Act”, where for the first time in U.S. law terrorism is divided into international and domestic. According to it, terrorism (both international and domestic) is the activity that primarily involve acts that threaten human life. As it can be seen, in the U.S. terrorism is a threat to human life and society, that is why the fight against terrorism is the task of the whole society. So it is said that active population is an invaluable resource of the country, both in peacetime and in wartime; citizens voluntary participation strengthens the coordination and effectiveness of overall efforts to detect, prevent and combat terrorist acts. (Lichtblau, 2008)

The American administration emphasizes the criminal nature of modern terrorism, sharply increases penalties for terrorist crimes and expands the punitive measures of the federal government in the fight against terrorism as part of organized crime. For example, in Article 808 of the Law is greatly expanded the list of terrorist acts in the category of “federal crimes”, which according to the U.S. criminal law requires more severe punishment of criminals. It is necessary to stress the large number of legislative innovations, which greatly expand the powers of U.S. law enforcement and dramatically tight the existing rules of conduct of citizens. These innovations have caused the American public a serious suspicion and public criticism: for example, the first negative reaction caused a significant increase in possibilities of various forms of electronic surveillance. (Bill of Rights Defense Committee)

An important feature of American law in the sphere of security is that all U.S. laws are the laws of direct action, which significantly increases their overall efficiency and efficiency of their use in law enforcement. In the U.S. was formed a slender interconnected system of basic regulations in the field of homeland security. And it is important that in the U.S., along with the rigidity of legal rules adopted in recent years and the expansion of police powers, is provided strict legislation enforcement by the public and Congress.

In 2002 in the United States was created the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), with the total number to 170 thousand employees. The purpose of its creation was the consolidation of all executive agencies related to national security in a single government agency. It was the most ambitious reform of the structure of the U.S. federal government since the creation of the Department of Defense in 1947. The reason for the reorganization were the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. (Perl, 2004)

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was finally formed on 1 March 2003, when it began its actual performance; it consists of 22 subsidiary offices and employs about 180,000 employees. It includes more than 80 different organizations, which previously existed independently or belonged to other ministries and departments. Among them are:

  • the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA),
  • United States Citizenship and Immigration Services ,
  • U.S. Customs and Border Protection,
  • United States Coast Guard,
  • United States Secret Service,
  • Advisory groups and numerous offices. (Department of Homeland Security)

Initially the new Department was headed by former Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge, who was the first Director of the Office of Homeland Security, and since January 2003 was the first Secretary of the Department.

The main objective of the Office is the interaction and cooperation with all departments and agencies, organizations and local authorities in the field of security and coordination of their activities. The mission of the Department is the formation and change of the U.S. National security strategy according to the challenges and threats to the state. (Department of Homeland Security)

The National Strategy for Homeland Security

The Bush administration has developed a special program, which is a National Strategy for Homeland Security, in 2002. This strategy focused on the following six areas: security, communications, counter-terrorism efforts within the country, the protection of strategic objects of infrastructure, the tactics in the event of natural disasters, as well as providing fully trained in emergency situations. Moreover, the Bush administration has developed special programs to improve security in cyberspace, political institutions and economy. (Perl, 2004)

All these actions of the administration of George W. Bush showed unprecedented centralization of management to focus the federal executive authorities, state governments, municipalities, local governments, the private sector and society to ensure homeland security. (Lichtblau, 2008)

The administration of George W. Bush stated that America in the face of terrorism was first confronted with a serious challenge to its security. In this regard, the strategic objectives of homeland security in the United States are the following:

  • Preventing acts of terrorism on U.S. territory;
  • Reducing the vulnerability of the country from terrorist attacks;
  • Minimizing damage and eliminating the consequences of possible terrorist attacks. (Lichtblau, 2008)

National strategy to combat terrorism requires a national effort. In this case, state governments and municipalities play an important role in homeland security. It is these bodies are closest to the people and they are primarily responsible for financing, training and organization of emergency response to terrorist acts. It is important to mention that the private sector is a key partner in ensuring internal security, as the principal supplier of goods and services nationwide, and owns 85% of socio-economic infrastructure of the country. In its hands are information resources, information systems, production of medicines, instruments detect, monitor and other equipment, on which the security level.

A characteristic feature of the National Strategy for Homeland Security is that it is completely and specifically focused on prevention of terrorist activities in the country. Of the six specified activities of state and society in this area, three directions are aimed at preventing terrorist acts:

  • reconnaissance and warning of terrorist actions,
  • border security and transportation,
  • counter-terrorism measures inside the country.

Two of the specified activities are called to reduce the vulnerability of U.S. territory from intrusion and terrorist activity: protection of the critical infrastructure and critical facilities, protection from the threats of catastrophic nature. The last one direction is to prevent emergency situations and liquidation of their consequences. (Perl, 2004)

It is believed that for effective implementation of early preventive protective actions is necessary, above all, to create a system of detection and prevention, which would open the terrorist attacks before their implementation. The task of creating a new system of collecting, analyzing and sharing information about terrorist threats has received priority attention. As showed the work of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks in the United States, several U.S. agencies possessed information about possible terrorist attacks on U.S. territory, however, the existing system of information exchange did not allow the country’s leaders make the right conclusions from this information and take up the necessary preventive measures to events on Sept. 11, 2001. (Perl, 2004)

According to the “National Strategy for Homeland Security” the homeland security of the United States is organized in four basic elements: legislation, advances in science and technology, modern information technologies and international cooperation. The combination of these four fundamental factors makes it possible to assess the real level of internal security and to determine the extent of necessary public expenditure in this area.

So, the new “National Security Strategy” formulates As the “National Strategy for Homeland Security” states: “The United States, through a concerted national effort that galvanizes the strengths and capabilities of Federal, State, local, and Tribal governments; the private and non-profit sectors; and regions, communities, and individual citizens — along with our partners in the international community — will work to achieve a secure Homeland that sustains our way of life as a free, prosperous, and welcoming America”. (Homeland Security Council, 2007).

Conclusion

United States, being the main player in the international arena and having an enormous influence on world political and economic processes, at the beginning of the 21st century face with the need to ensure their own national security. After the events of September 11, 2001 ther U.S. national security system is undergoing radical changes under the influence of both external and internal factors. It is made a radical revision of the hierarchy of threats to American society, also changes the view of the relationship between internal and external components of the security of the state and its various aspects (economic, political, military, news, etc.). One example of this process is the creation of a new “ National Strategy for Homeland Security”, as well as the formation of the Department of Homeland Security, which is gradually becoming one of the leading agencies in the executive branch. Changes to the national security system affect a variety of spheres of American society: from air travel to the Internet.

After the events of the 2001 the Bush administration has started a new strategy, more focused on the internal security of the country. This strategy is continued by Obama administration, who also considers the issues of internal security as part of a broader security strategy. One of the basic principles of the new U.S. security strategy is to solve the internal problems of the country, as “the most important thing – that the U.S. must be strong in the country to be strong abroad.” (Baker, 2010)

 

References:

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Committee on Homeland Security. (2008). Homeland Security Act of 2002
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