Homeland Security operates under the Homeland Security Act of 2002 (HSA). This act was enacted following a series of terrorist attacks that Al-Qaeda conducted on September 11, 2001, in various locations in the United States. The terrorist coordinated four separate attacks affecting New York City, Pennsylvania, and Washington, DC. The attack led to deaths of approximately 3000 people (Baggett, & Simpkins, 2018). Nearly 6000 people were severely injured in these terrorist attacks. Nevertheless, the terrorist attack led to the destruction of properties valued at $10 billion. As a result, the United States Congress had to put measures to prevent future attacks, as well as help in recovery from the aftermath of the terrorist attacks. The two most significant acts at the time of the attack were the Patriot Act of 2001 and the HSA in 2002 (Baggett, & Simpkins, 2018).
Before the creation of the HSA, the United States was not ready for such emergencies; neither did it have a streamlined security agency that could respond swiftly to emergencies such as terror attacks and natural catastrophes. The security of the country was spread out across various military departments and federal agencies. Therefore, there was a need to create a department that would have supreme authority and items of power to closely monitor and control investigations that could lead to useful information to curb any terrorist attacks as well as assist in case of catastrophic events. Thus, the HSA was established in 2002 by the United States Congress under the leadership of President George W. Bush (Baggett, & Simpkins, 2018).
The main objective of the HSA during its enactment was to counteract further terrorist activities in the United States as well as support those affected by the attack. The 9/11 attack proved that the United States was vulnerable to any terrorist attack. Therefore, the government had to create the act to prevent and minimize the exposure of the country to such terrorist attacks. Nevertheless, the government of the United States must stop damage to property caused by terrorist attacks. Therefore, the HSA aimed at creating a particular unit that would ensure all the citizens live freely without fear of any external attacks or damages to their properties.
The HSA led to the establishment and approval of the United States Department of Homeland Security. The act empowers the administration of DHS to control, investigate, and manage any useful information that aids in preventing terrorist attacks. Under the DHS are several other bodies, including the Federal Emergency Management Agency, TSA, US Secret Service, and US Coast Guard (Radvanovsky & McDougall, 2018). Its Secretary and Deputy Secretary heads the US Department of Homeland Security. The Chief of Staff assists the Deputy Secretary in matters of recruitment and flow of information. The Executive Secretary and Military Advisor coordinate the activities within the Department of Homeland Security. The DHS has various sections, all working together to support the DHS to achieve the objectives of the body.
The Transport Security Administration cooperates and works closely with the DHS. This cooperation has been successful in assisting the Homeland Security to have information at the right time and be prepared for any emergencies that include terrorist attacks or natural disasters. The Department of Homeland Security also works together with the US Coast Guards in collaboration with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to monitor and protect the country's borders from any chemical, biological, and nuclear threats (Radvanovsky & McDougall, 2018). Homeland Security has helped advise the president on security concerns of the country. For example, Homeland Security played an essential role in briefing President Trump on the current conditions of the hurricane disaster. They were on the frontline in rescue missions during the hurricane disaster.
The commercial aviation industry in the United States was profoundly affected by the September 9/11 attack. The series of the terrorist attacks were severe in this industry to the point that commercial aviation was on a standstill for some time. Thus, it was necessary to amend existing laws as well as put in place stringent measures to improve aviation security. As a result, the Aviation and Transportation Security Act of 2001 was reviewed (Ortmeier, 2017). The move was to increase security standards and measures through shifting responsibilities from the Federal Aviation Administration to the TSA. The obligations and mandates of the TSA were passed on to the DHS after the act passed in 2002.
During its formation, the Transport Security Administration was dealing with the security of the aviation industry concerning the 9/11 terrorist attack (Ortmeier, 2017). Thus, with the transfer of responsibilities and cooperation with the Department of Homeland Security, the two bodies have had an immense impact on the protection and security in the aviation industry. There have been several measures on international and national levels to reduce the chances and effects of terrorist attacks and other natural disasters. The collaboration has led to an increase in information share that improves efficiency in handling emergencies. The department has passed regulations stipulating rules and standards applicable to the aviation industry to enhance safety and security in the industry. The process involves the use of sophisticated metal detectors at various checkpoints by the TSA (Ortmeier, 2017). The main aim is to protect the security, health, and safety of citizens, as well as goods and property from any terrorist activities. Aviation security now employs advanced imaging technology and adequate surveillance mechanisms to counter any terrorist threats.
The TSA and the DHS have authority over all commercial planes, passenger, and luggage screening at various checkpoints across the United States (McElreath et al., 2017). They are also responsible for the deployment of highly-trained security officers, including the armed air marshals. Thus, the collaboration has been useful in achieving the primary goal of protecting passengers, aviation staff and properties against any terrorist threat.
To conclude, the Department of Homeland Security has helped respond to emergencies in case of terrorist attacks or natural disasters. It works closely with the Transportation Security Administration to ensure the safety of the citizens in the aviation industry. They also work together to ensure the safety of the country at the border. Thus, the Homeland Security Act serves as the most significant milestone in creating a safe environment for United States citizens.
Baggett, R. K., & Simpkins, B. K. (2018). Homeland security and critical infrastructure protection. ABC-CLIO.
McElreath, D. H., Doss, D. A., Nations, R., Van Slyke, J., & Wigginton Jr, M. (2017). Introduction to homeland security. CRC Press.
Ortmeier, P. J. (2017). Introduction to security. Pearson.
Radvanovsky, R. S., & McDougall, A. (2018). Critical infrastructure: homeland security and emergency preparedness. CRC Press.
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