Last Updated 06 Jul 2020

Impacts of the Department of Homeland Security

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The formation of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) followed the recommendations from commissions like Gilmore1 and Hart-Rudman. These commissions examined the state of American domestic protection against mass-casualty and terrorism for many years before the 11th September attacks.

The evident observations in the reports outlined America's obvious vulnerability and recommended for the formation of a sound system that will be responsible for defending American citizen and providing emergency response services (Lewis, 2014). As a result, the DHS was created and granted the authority for domestic protection of the lives of American citizens against the acts of terrorism among other functions. Since then, the role of the DHS has impacted the lives of American citizens in different ways, both positively and negatively.

The DHS has resulted in certain positive aspects concerning its role of domestic protection against terrorist activities and response and recovery for emergency situations. For instance, Americans have developed a sense of security with the knowledge that DHS is doing everything possible to keep them safe from harm. Employees from the department are distributed around the world to diffuse threats before they pose danger to people. Consequently, the department has heightened and advanced security measures at the airports and other ports of entry into the U.S. to ensure the safety of everyone (Lewis, 2014).

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The advancement of technology has shifted the attention of terrorists from the real world to the virtual world. In response, the DHS has enhanced its vigilance in the cyberspace to monitor and provide constant surveillance and protection to personal and financial information of American citizens, government divisions, and other organizations. It also protects the country's secrets, public and private systems, and keep Americans safe in the online platform (Von Solms & Van Niekerk, 2013). Furthermore, the DHS significantly helps communities through providing a rapid response after disasters and mitigating their effects as well as implementing mechanisms for disaster prevention, management, and swift recovery efforts (Kettl, 2013).

Despite the positive efforts in providing homeland security, there are certain negative impacts that the DHS has on the lives of people. Very many people have concerns that the department focus is entirely on external threats rather than internal terrorist threats within the American borders. In addition, the constant surveillance and protection on the digital platform have reduced the privacy of the people's online information. As a result, people feel that they are not as safe and secure as they ought to be (Von Solms ; Van Niekerk, 2013).

Moreover, the department needs many employees for sufficient protection of the American citizens in its efforts to fulfil its mission. The high number of employees have featured in the news headlines for misconduct, especially during natural disasters where they have led to more harm than helping to save and protect lives. For instance, the failure of DHS in 2005 to effectively respond to the Hurricane Katrina situation (Kettl, 2013). In addition, there have been cases where the handling of immigrants by DHS personnel has spurred controversy throughout the country. There are reported instances where fighting illegal immigrants have caused family separation through deportation and extensive processing.

To conclude, when it comes to security concerns, ensuring effective protection may subject the lives of other people to undesired treatment and inconveniences. Despite the process, the ultimate goal is for the common good. Although there are negative impacts that the DHS have had on the lives of people, its roles have significantly incomparable positive impacts on ensuring safety and security of the American people.

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