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What are the Different Homeland Security Agencies?

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  • Written By: G. Wiesen
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 28 August 2016
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The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in the US has a number of subcomponents and agencies that make up the entire organization. These various components can generally be categorized into three major groups: department components, secretary offices, and advisory panels and committees. Within these three subdivisions there are a number of different Homeland Security agencies, such as the Science and Technology Directorate, the Office of the Inspector General, and the US Secret Service.

Of the three subcomponents of the DHS, many are typically referred to as department components. These typically include various offices and directorates that oversee different aspects of the DHS and work to ensure national security. The Homeland Security agencies that are components of the DHS include Directorates for National Protection and Programs, Science and Technology, and Management, as well as Offices of Policy, Health Affairs, Intelligence and Analysis, and Operations Coordination and Planning. Components of the DHS also include the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office, the Transportation Security Administration, and US Customs and Border Protection.

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Other components of the DHS include the US Coast Guard, Citizenship and Immigration Services, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and the Secret Service. There are also a number of secretary offices that serve as Homeland Security agencies in overseeing other aspects of national security. These include the Privacy Office, the Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, the Office of Inspector General, the Office of Legislative Affairs, the Office of the General Counsel, and the Office of Public Affairs. The various offices that exist as Homeland Security offices are each overseen by a secretary and also include the Office of Counternarcotics Enforcement, the Office of the Executive Secretariat, the Military Adviser’s Office, and the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs.

A number of Homeland Security agencies act as advisory panels and committees both to the DHS and to other agencies within the federal government. These include the Homeland Security Advisory Council, the National Infrastructure Advisory Council, the Homeland Security Science and Technology Advisory Committee, and the Critical Infrastructure Partnership Advisory Council. There are also several interdepartmental Homeland Security agencies including the Interagency Coordinating Council on Emergency Preparedness and Individuals with Disabilities, the Task Force on New Americans, and the Department of Homeland Security Labor-Management Forum. These agencies typically work among departments and agencies within the federal government to ensure coordination for the proper execution of major national programs.

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SkyWhisperer
Post 4

@hamje32 - When I was laid off I found recruiters from US Customs and Border Protection at the unemployment office. They were almost hiring people on the spot, and from their flyers, it seemed that it paid well and there was a lot of potential for career advancement.

Of course, it was dangerous too. Some of these people get wounded or even killed in the line of fire. It comes with the territory, I suppose, but if you like a job where no two days are the same and cherish adventure, this might be the career path for you.

hamje32
Post 3

@everetra - I can tell you one agency that is very effective at what it does – ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement). I had some friends who, unfortunately, had a brutal encounter with ICE officials.

These friends of mine were well intentioned, but they were undocumented workers. A couple of years ago our city passed a harsh (in my opinion) anti illegal immigration bill, and pretty soon the guys from ICE came knocking.

They hauled off my friends to jail and within 30 days they were deported. It was an ugly experience for all and I tried to intervene, but who am I?

With all the talk about immigration these days, I am sure you can find a lot of homeland security careers working for ICE - if you enjoy that kind of thing. I couldn't do it, law or no law.

everetra
Post 2

@Mammmood - Well, a lot of these agencies already existed. Homeland security simply consolidated them. Whether that made them less or more efficient I don’t know, but I personally doubt it.

I’ve heard that agencies like the FBI and the CIA have had trouble sharing information with each other, but I don’t know if this was because of bureaucracy or a problem in getting their computers to talk to each other and share information.

FEMA existed before, too, and it’s been effective in disaster relief in my opinion. That’s the purpose of FEMA, not to act as some sinister “shadow government,” like some conspiracy theorists insist.

Mammmood
Post 1

The Office of Homeland security was created in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on the United States. While I think it was important to set up this office, I wonder if the massive bureaucracy that has been created has been good overall.

I think that as a general trend the government has been more alert to possible terrorist threats, and that has been good, but I am not convinced that all the different agencies communicate well with each other.

Each layer of bureaucracy that you add makes efficient communications all the more difficult. I think that’s true in any institution.

Personally, I believe it would have been better to enlist more help from the private sector in beefing up our national security infrastructure, rather than creating more red tape for investigators to cut through.

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