Understanding Home Land Security

The concept of home land security is still fairly new, created in response to the terrorist attacks in the United States in 2001. Less than five years old, the Department of Home Land Security is still prominent in the news, as we work to prepare for terrorist attacks and to prevent them. Many citizens are still trying to understand the purpose of this department and how it enhances our home land security. A little understanding of this department will help you to see how it fits within our nation's government structure.

Coordination Activities

The Department of Home Land Security works with many other agencies within the United States. Officially, this department is in charge of domestic intelligence, trying to determine where attacks from within the United States may come from. Most of the people that perform these activities come from the FBI. Similarly, the Department of Home Land Security must work with the CIA to identify threats they find out about from intelligence outside the country. It's this coordination of information from two different departments to make one unified home land security response that makes this department so important. After the attacks on the United States in 2001, both the FBI and CIA were criticized for not sharing critical information and the Department of Home Land Security is intended to provide a bridge to prevent such shortcomings again.

Educating the Nation

The attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon came as a shock to people in the United States. There was nationwide panic and grief in response to the attacks. In an effort to ensure that such attacks don't paralyze the citizens of the United States or take them by surprise, the Department of Home Land Security takes steps to educate and inform people of how to prepare for emergencies and even the level of preparedness we should take. The website for the Department of Home Land Security gives tips to citizens on how to prepare for national emergencies, and particularly in its early months, Home Land Security officials made appearances on television to discuss how their new department worked.

The Advisory System

One of the most famous things to come out of the Department of Home Land Security is the use of a color coded advisory system to communicate the level of terrorist threat. While the threat level is something communicated to all citizens, the purpose of it is more for police and other local officials to determine how to best prepare for various events and perceived emergencies. Many procedures are based upon the threat level; for instance, security at government buildings and airports may be increased based on the threat level displayed. While this system has been both praised and ridiculed, it is critical to home land security. This system, just as the department itself, will evolve as time goes on and continue to work to keep our nation safe.