Today's Article
'Varied homeland
security definitions ...
may impede the
development of a
coherent national
homeland security
strategy,' states a
federal study.
The American Spark
Feds Can’t Define ‘Homeland Security’

By Cliff Montgomery - Apr. 30th, 2012

Everyone in government seems to believe that their greatest  — indeed, their most sacred  — duty is the
maintenence of ‘Homeland Security’.

The problem is that our passionate officials don’t seem to be able to agree on the actual meaning of that term...

A telling report on this subject recently was released by the Congressional Research Service (CRS). Below,
The American Spark quotes the summary from that study:

Ten years after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the U.S. government does not have a single
definition for ‘homeland security.’

“Currently, different strategic documents and mission statements offer varying missions that are derived from
different homeland security definitions.

“Historically, the strategic documents framing national homeland security policy have included national
strategies produced by the White House and documents developed by the Department of Homeland Security

“Prior to the
2010 National Security Strategy, the 2002 and 2007 National Strategies for Homeland Security
were the guiding documents produced by the White House. In 2011, the White House issued the
Strategy for Counter-terrorism

“In conjunction with these White House strategies, DHS has developed a series of evolving strategic
documents based on the two national homeland security strategies and include the 2008 Strategic Plan—One
Team, One Mission, Securing the Homeland; the 2010 Quadrennial Homeland Security Review and Bottom-
Up Review; and the 2012 Department of Homeland Security Strategic Plan.

“The 2012 DHS strategic plan is the latest evolution in DHS’s process of defining its mission, goals, and
responsibilities. This plan, however, only addresses the department’s homeland security purview and is not a
document that addresses homeland security missions and responsibilities that are shared across the federal

“Varied homeland security definitions and missions may impede the development of a coherent national
homeland security strategy, and may hamper the effectiveness of congressional oversight.

“Definitions and missions are part of strategy development. Policymakers develop strategy by identifying
national interests, prioritizing goals to achieve those national interests, and arraying instruments of national
power to achieve the national interests.

“Developing an effective homeland security strategy, however, may be complicated if the key concept of
homeland security is not defined and its missions are not aligned and synchronized among different federal
entities with homeland security responsibilities.

“This report discusses the evolution of national and DHS-specific homeland security strategic documents and
their homeland security definitions and missions, and analyzes the policy question of how varied homeland
security definitions and missions may affect the development of national homeland security strategy.

“This report, however, does not examine DHS implementation of strategy.”

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