The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is a division of the United States government that was first created in response to the terrorist attacks that took place on September 11th, 2001. The DHS’s main goal is to ensure the safety of the US homeland against any kind of terrorist attack, natural disaster, and even man-made accidents. Unlike the US military, the DHS enlists civilians to work together as a team to protect its citizens against attack. There are over 200,000 people working for the DHS today. It was first instituted by then-President George W. Bush and remains functional today. Tom Ridge was the first secretary of DHS, and it was first put into motion in the year 2003.
This cabinet of our government is integral in ensuring the safety of all United States citizens and makes sure that they are prepared for any potential disasters. In addition, the DHS protects our borders and works with other agencies to ensure the US remains a powerful force in world matters including those of nuclear and bio security. A large part of what the Department of Homeland Security does is to ensure that citizens remain vigilant and report any suspicious or potential terrorist acts to them in order to prevent another tragedy. Agents of the DHS help to coordinate investigations, work with attorneys to prosecute potential terrorists or other threats to the US, and work with other federal and state agencies to assist in cleaning up various disasters. An example of a “man-made disaster” in which the DHS assisted in the investigation was the infamous BP oil spill that occurred off the Gulf Coast.
Aside from the DHS itself, several different branches of the US military and other governmental institutions are now considered to be a part of the DHS family. These include the US Coast Guard, the TSA, FEMA, US Customs and Border Protection, the US Secret Service, and the Federal Protective Service, to name a few. Each of these institutions work together to make sure that all citizens are not only protected, but that everyone living within the US border is legal and obeying the laws of the land. The terror alert system is an example of something the DHS created to alert citizens of potential danger from terrorists. This system works on a color-coded scale with green being the least amount of threat level, and red being the most dangerous level. These levels are raised or lowered based on current information that the DHS receives from a number of sources. Cyber-security is also implemented within the realm of the DHS, so that agents can monitor suspicious activity online. These procedures have been implemented in order to analyze “chatter” that can be found online and through phone conversations and emails of potential terrorists planning any kind of attack on US soil.
The DHS has over 200,000 employees, and there are many different positions within that institution. The major types of careers within the DHS include cyber security investigations and enforcement, acquisitions, border patrol, law enforcement, and others. All applicants must be screened for drug use, must be a US citizen, and have to be able to pass a security clearance test. In addition, some positions require people to submit their personal financial information to the DHS on an annual basis. Not all applicants must have a degree, but degrees in criminal justice, law enforcement, and law in general are helpful. Many members of the military opt to become a DHS team member upon their retirement. Currently, Secretary Janet Napolitano is the head of the DHS, making her the third person to hold the position, and the first woman to be the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.
- The Whitehouse: DHS
- Careers at the DHS
- Janet Napolitano
- Ready.gov (a division of the DHS)
- US Customs and Border Protection
- The TSA
- Current Events & The DHS
- Proposal to Create the DHS
- The Newest US Terror Alert System
- DHS/FEMA Grants
- Homeland Security News
- DHS & US Coast Guard
- Links to Key Organizations
- ICE Homeland Security Investigations
- Homeland Security Today
- Homeland Security Standards Database
- Homeland Security Leadership
- CHDS (US Navy Division)
- The EPA & DHS
- Biometrics & US Border Safety
- Standards Panel
- Tom Ridge Biography
- US Border Patrol Overview
- Strengthening Homeland Security Since 9/11