United States Department of Homeland Security

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    Saddling Posterity with Debt

“We believe–or we act as if we believed–that although an individual father cannot alienate the labor of his son, the aggregate body of fathers may alienate the labor of all their sons, of their posterity, in the aggregate, and oblige them to pay for all the enterprises, just or unjust, profitable or ruinous, into which our vices, our passions or our personal interests may lead us. But I trust that this proposition needs only to be looked at by an American to be seen in its true point of view, and that we shall all consider ourselves unauthorized to saddle posterity with our debts, and morally bound to pay them ourselves; and consequently within what may be deemed the period of a generation, or the life of the majority.”

~Thomas Jefferson to John Wayles Eppes, 1813

US Debt Clock


United States Department of Homeland Security


United States Department of Homeland Security


Department of Homeland Security: History


“…Department of Homeland Security – $42.7billion+$2.8billion from the Recovery Act

The Department of Homeland Security budget focuses on safeguarding transportation systems, strengthening border security and immigration services and increasing research and development for cybersecurity.

Department of Homeland Security

Major Department of Homeland Security Expenses


  • 15 new Visual Intermodal Protection Response teams to increase in random force protection capability – $50,000,000
  • DHS and DoT Planning and modernization of freight infrastructure linking coastal and inland ports to highway and rail networks – $25,000,000

Cybersecurity and Technology R&D

  • Increase resilience and security of private and public sector cyber infrastructure – $355,000,000
  • Ongoing support and improvement of surveillance technologies to detect biological threats – $36,000,000

Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Services

  • Expansion of exit pilot and key land points of entry and general border secutiry priorities – $45,000,000
  • Support of existing Customs and Border Protections – $368,000,000
  • Expansion of electronic employment verification system, E-Verify, that hlps US employers to comply with immigration laws – $110,000,000

State Homeland Security Activities

  • Addition of state and local level intelligence analysts – $260,000,000



“…Department of Homeland Security

The missions of the Department of Homeland Security are to prevent and disrupt terrorist attacks; protect the American people, our critical infrastructure, and key resources; and respond to and recover from incidents that do occur. The third largest Cabinet department, DHS was established by the Homeland Security Act of 2002, largely in response to the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. The new department consolidated 22 executive branch agencies, including the U.S. Customs Service, the U.S. Coast Guard, the U.S. Secret Service, the Transportation Security Administration, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

DHS employs 216,000 people in its mission to patrol borders, protect travelers and our transportation infrastructure, enforce immigration laws, and respond to disasters and emergencies. The agency also promotes preparedness and emergency prevention among citizens. Policy is coordinated by the Homeland Security Council at the White House, in cooperation with other defense and intelligence agencies, and led by the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security.



United States Department of Homeland Security

“…The United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is a Cabinet department of the United States federal government with the primary responsibilities of protecting the territory of the U.S. from terrorist attacks and responding to natural disasters.

Whereas the Department of Defense is charged with military actions abroad, the Department of Homeland Security works in the civilian sphere to protect the United States within, at, and outside its borders. Its stated goal is to prepare for, prevent, and respond to domestic emergencies, particularly terrorism.[3] On March 1, 2003, DHS absorbed the Immigration and Naturalization Service and assumed its duties. In doing so, it divided the enforcement and services functions into two separate and new agencies: Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Citizenship and Immigration Services. Additionally, the border enforcement functions of the INS, the U.S. Customs Service, and the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service were consolidated into a new agency under DHS: U.S. Customs and Border Protection. The Federal Protective Service falls under the National Protection and Programs Directorate.

With more than 200,000 employees, DHS is the third largest Cabinet department, after the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs.[4] Homeland security policy is coordinated at the White House by the Homeland Security Council. Other agencies with significant homeland security responsibilities include the Departments of Health and Human Services, Justice, and Energy.

The creation of DHS constituted the biggest government reorganization in American history, and the most substantial reorganization of federal agencies since the National Security Act of 1947, which placed the different military departments under a secretary of defense and created the National Security Council and Central Intelligence Agency. DHS also constitutes the most diverse merger of federal functions and responsibilities, incorporating 22 government agencies into a single organization.[5]




Organizational chart showing the chain of command among the top-level officials in the Department of Homeland Security, as of July 17, 2008.

The Department of Homeland Security is headed by the Secretary of Homeland Security with the assistance of the Deputy Secretary. The Department contains the components listed below.[6] Not all subcomponents are listed; see the linked articles for more details.


  • United States Citizenship and Immigration Services – Processes citizenship, residency, and asylum requests from foreigners
  • U.S. Customs and Border Protection – Staff border checkpoints, collect tariffs, and patrol the border
  • U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement – Long-term investigations of border violations
  • Transportation Security Administration – Responsible for aviation security (domestic and international, most notably conducting passenger screenings at airports), as well as land and water transportation security
  • United States Coast Guard – Maritime security, national defense, maritime mobility, and protection of natural resources (assigned to Department of the Navy during times of war or at the president’s direction)
  • Federal Emergency Management Agency – Disaster preparedness, response, and recovery
  • United States Secret Service – Protective services for important officials and protection of the U.S. currency

(Passports for U.S. Citizens are issued by the United States Department of State, not the Department of Homeland Security.)

Advisory groups:

  • Homeland Security Advisory Council – State and local government, first responders, private sector, and academics
  • National Infrastructure Advisory Council – Advises on security of public and private information systems
  • Homeland Security Science and Technology Advisory Committee – Advise the Under Secretary for Science and Technology.
  • Critical Infrastructure Partnership Advisory Council – Coordinate infrastructure protection with private sector and other levels of government
  • Interagency Coordinating Council on Emergency Preparedness and Individuals with Disabilities
  • Task Force on New Americans – “An inter-agency effort to help immigrants learn English, embrace the common core of American civic culture, and become fully American.”

Other components:

  • Domestic Nuclear Detection Office – Develop nuclear threat detection capabilities at all levels of government and in the private sector
  • Federal Law Enforcement Training Center – Interagency law enforcement training facility
  • National Protection and Programs Directorate – risk-reduction, encompassing both physical and virtual threats and their associated human elements
    • Federal Protective Service – Federal law enforcement and security for federal buildings, properties, assets, and federal government interests
    • National Communications System
  • Directorate for Science and Technology – Research and development
  • Directorate for Management – Responsible for internal budgets, accounting, performance monitoring, and human resources
  • Office of Policy – Long-range policy planning and coordination
    • Office of Immigration Statistics
  • Office of Health Affairs – Medical preparedness
  • Office of Intelligence and Analysis – Identify and assess threats based on intelligence from various agencies
  • Office of Operations Coordination – Monitor domestic security situation on a daily basis, coordinate activities with state and local authorities and private sector infrastructure
  • Office of the Secretary includes the Privacy Office, Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, Office of Inspector General, Citizenship and Immigration Services Ombudsman, Office of Legislative Affairs, Office of the General Counsel, Office of Public Affairs, Office of Counternarcotics Enforcement (CNE), Office of the Executive Secretariat (ESEC), and the Military Advisor’s Office.
  • National Cyber Security Center
  • …”


In response to the September 11 attacks, President George W. Bush announced the establishment of the Office of Homeland Security (OHS) to coordinate “homeland security” efforts. The office was headed by former Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge, who assumed the title of Assistant to the President for Homeland Security. The official announcement stated:

The mission of the Office will be to develop and coordinate the implementation of a comprehensive national strategy to secure the United States from terrorist threats or attacks. The Office will coordinate the executive branch’s efforts to detect, prepare for, prevent, protect against, respond to, and recover from terrorist attacks within the United States.[10]

Ridge began his duties as OHS director on October 8, 2001.

The Department of Homeland Security was established on November 25, 2002, by the Homeland Security Act of 2002. It was intended to consolidate U.S. executive branch organizations related to “homeland security” into a single Cabinet agency. The following 22 agencies were incorporated into the new department:[11]

  • Customs Service – Treasury
  • Coast Guard – Transportation
  • Secret Service – Treasury
  • United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (formerly Immigration and Naturalization Service) – Justice
  • United States Border Patrol (formerly Immigration and Naturalization Service) – Justice
  • U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (formerly Immigration and Naturalization Service) – Justice
  • United States Federal Protective Service – General Services Administration
  • Transportation Security Administration – Transportation
  • Federal Law Enforcement Training Center – Treasury
  • Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service – Agriculture
  • Office for Domestic Preparedness – Justice
  • Federal Emergency Management Agency
  • Strategic National Stockpile and the National Disaster Medical System – HHS
  • Nuclear Incident Response Team – Energy
  • Domestic Emergency Support Teams – Justice
  • National Domestic Preparedness Office – FBI
  • CBRN Countermeasures Programs – Energy
  • Environmental Measurements Laboratory – Energy
  • National BW Defense Analysis Center – Defense
  • Plum Island Animal Disease Center – Agriculture
  • Federal Computer Incident Response Center – GSA
  • National Communications System – Defense
  • National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD) (formerly the National Infrastructure Protection Center) – FBI
  • Energy Security and Assurance Program – Energy

Prior to the signing of the bill, controversy about its adoption centered on whether the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Central Intelligence Agency should be incorporated in part or in whole (neither were included). The bill itself was also controversial for the presence of unrelated “riders”, as well as for eliminating certain union-friendly civil service and labor protections for department employees. Without these protections, employees could be expeditiously reassigned or dismissed on grounds of security, incompetence or insubordination, and DHS would not be required to notify their union representatives.

The plan stripped 180,000 government employees of their union rights.[12] In 2002, Bush officials argued that the September 11 attacks made the proposed elimination of employee protections imperative.[13]

Congress ultimately passed the Homeland Security Act of 2002 without the union-friendly measures, and President Bush signed the bill into law on November 25, 2002. It was the largest U.S. government reorganization in the 50 years since the United States Department of Defense was created.

Tom Ridge was named secretary on January 24, 2003 and began naming his chief deputies. DHS officially began operations on January 24, 2003, but most of the department’s component agencies were not transferred into the new Department until March 1.[10]

After establishing the basic structure of DHS and working to integrate its components and get the department functioning, Ridge announced his resignation on November 30, 2004, following the re-election of President Bush. Bush initially nominated former New York City Police Department commissioner Bernard Kerik as his successor, but on December 10, Kerik withdrew his nomination, citing personal reasons and saying it “would not be in the best interests” of the country for him to pursue the post. On January 11, 2005, President Bush nominated federal judge Michael Chertoff to succeed Ridge. Chertoff was confirmed on February 15, 2005, by a vote of 98–0 in the U.S. Senate. He was sworn in the same day.[10]

In February 2005, DHS and the Office of Personnel Management issued rules relating to employee pay and discipline for a new personnel system named MaxHR. The Washington Post said that the rules would allow DHS “to override any provision in a union contract by issuing a department-wide directive” and would make it “difficult, if not impossible, for unions to negotiate over arrangements for staffing, deployments, technology and other workplace matters.”[13]

In August 2005, U.S. District Judge Rosemary M. Collyer blocked the plan on the grounds that it did not ensure collective-bargaining rights for DHS employees.[13]

A federal appeals court ruled against DHS in 2006; pending a final resolution to the litigation, Congress’s fiscal year 2008 appropriations bill for DHS provided no funding for the proposed new personnel system.[13] DHS announced in early 2007 that it was retooling its pay and performance system and retiring the name “MaxHR”.[10]

In a February 2008 court filing, DHS said that it would no longer pursue the new rules, and that it would abide by the existing civil service labor-management procedures. A federal court issued an order closing the case.[13]


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United States Department of Agriculture

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United States Department of Homeland Security

United States Department of Housing and Urban Development

United States Department of Interior

United States Department of Justice

United States Department of Labor

United States Department of State

United States Department of Transportation

United States Department of The Treasury

United States Department of Veteran Affairs

United States Office of Management and Budget

United States Office of Personnel Management

United States Social Security Administration

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