Homeland Security Issues


The Intelligence Community is the body entrusted with the national security of the United States. The community is led by the Director of National Intelligence. The community is a combination of about seventeen agencies who either work together or independently. Infact, the organization is so large that it is impossible to tell the exact number of people who work with the community (Priest & Arkin, 2010). The reason why there are so many agencies and people working for the community is because security is a very sensitive issue in our country. There are many states in our country and each one of them needs protection.

The agencies also protect the Americans who are working and living in other countries. They collect information regarding activities that may pose a threat to the United States. These activities include terrorism and drugs among others. The disadvantage of having such a secretive organization with so many people is that some of the agencies may be doing the same work. This may end up hindering the work that the government tries to do in counterterrorism efforts. The agencies are too complex and it is not sure who has been entrusted with their coordination. The agencies may not share information and this contributes to their ineffectiveness. They need to share information so that they can fulfill their warning function.

The National Security Council was established in 1947. Its mandate is to advise the president on domestic and foreign policies regarding national security. The Intelligence Oversight Board ensures that all the sensitive security information abides by the law. The President’s Intelligence Advisory Board reviews the performance of the intelligence agencies. The senate select committee was created in 1976 after the United States intelligence agencies were accused of misconduct. The Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Armed Services, Foreign Relations and the Foreign Affairs Committee had the mandate of authorizing intelligence programs and overseeing the agencies’ activities.  In 2007, the House created an advisory Select Intelligence Oversight Panel. This panel is made up of members of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the Committee on Appropriations (CIA, 2009).

The Office of Homeland Security is charged with preventing terror attacks within the country, reducing the country’s susceptibility to terror attacks and if the attacks do occur, the office should minimize the time taken to recover from those attacks. There are two organizations and four directorates in the Department of Homeland Security. The directorates are the Border and Transportation Security, Emergency Preparedness and Response, information Analysis and Information Protection and the Science and Technology Directorate. The Coast Guard and the Secret Service are also in the DHS (Wilmeth, 2009).

With so many agencies, some of which do the same work, it is imperative that each agency knows its responsibility in case the country is attacked. There may be a lot of bureaucracy so there should be a clear chain of command. Another disadvantage is that there is so much money being spent. Infact, it is not possible to estimate the budget that the department uses. There is no one who can be said to be truly in charge of the Intelligence Community. This is a drawback especially when coordination is needed. On the other hand, there are advantages of the Intelligence Community organization. For instance, the citizens are re-assured that the government is concerned about their protection. Since 9/11, many people have lived in constant fear of terrorist attacks. However, with the new laws and regulations implemented the people feel safer. The terrorist threats have also reduced. There are tough policies dealing with the prevention of terror attacks and tough measures to deal with any one who is found guilty of terrorism.



CIA. (2009). Intelligence Oversight. Retrieved 1 October 2010, from, https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/additional-publications/the-work-of-a-nation/intelligence-oversight/index.html

Priest, D. & Arkin, M. W. (2010). A Hidden World, Growing Beyond Control. Retrieved 1 October 2010, from


Wilmeth, J. L. (2009). United States Military Intelligence Support to Homeland Security. Retrieved 1 October 2010, from http://www.dtic.mil/cgi-bin/GetTRDoc?Location=U2&doc=GetTRDoc.pdf&AD=ADA429706

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