What is it that DHS does?

Blog Post
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is the cabinet level agency of the US Government, created by President Bush with the primary responsibility of protecting the United States and its territories and protectorates from terrorist attacks, man-made accidents and natural disasters. In FY 2011 it had a budget of $98.8 billion.
President George W. Bush had all of the best intentions when he took elements of the following US Departments and folded them into DHS: Treasury, Justice, GSA, Transportation, Agriculture, Health and Human Services, FBI Office of Domestic Preparedness (DOJ), Energy, Defense (National Biological Warfare Defense Analysis Center), etc.
To protect us from (principally Islamic terrorists) we now have the following entities working for DHS:
  • US Customs and Border Protection
  • US Immigration and Customs Enforcement
  • US Citizen and Immigration Services
  • US Coast Guard
  • US Secret Service
  • Directorate of National Protection and Programs (used to be Federal Protective Service – essentially security guards)
  • Transportation Security Administration
  • Federal Emergency Management Agency
  • DHS Directorate of Science and Technology
Secret Service
Why is the US Secret Service lumped into DHS? I still can’t figure that one out. They used to be part of the Department of the Treasury. Yes, Secret Service agents do conduct investigations related to counterfeit currency and credit card/access device fraud when they’re not guarding somebody. Their job hasn’t changed.

Is Sec. Janet Nepalitano, actor
 Paul Giamatti’s mother?
Speculation runs rampant.

In the present administration it means that they report to a fat lesbian from Arizona instead of to SECTRES who carried the word to IRS to target and then attack the president’s political enemies. It’s not precisely a field of leadership that inspires confidence.

But is their responsibility to protect the US from terrorist attack, man-made accidents and natural disasters? No. That’s not what they do. I guess you could stretch it and say that if a terrorist attacks the President that they’d fall on a grenade for him, but  — selling the usefulness of having Secret Service under the DHS juggernaught is thin.
US Coast Guard
How many terrorists has the US Coast Guard apprehended? Is that really what they do? Of course, they have a law enforcement mission and seize drugs. They have a ‘revenue cutter’ role that dovetails with US Customs, but it’s not what they do most of the time. Maritime safety and maritime navigation in US territory accounts for the bulk of their budget.
Before they were DHS, they came under the Department of Transportation because maritime safety and navigation had primarily to do with transportation. Now they hunt terrorists for a living? Really? Maybe the manmade natural disasters (oil spills) come under their oversight and that’s why they’re in DHS. Or maybe it’s empire building?
Maybe if they worked for the Department of Transportation, they’d be nicer. TSA has had a rocky run under DHS. Nobody likes them. And they just scrapped all of the full body scanners at airports – or so I’ve been told. I don’t know that they’ve foiled a single terrorist attack, but they have made travel very miserable. It doesn’t have to be like that, but they’re prohibited from targeting Muslims, who have been the only people who want to blow up or hijack airplanes since DB Cooper (not a Muslim) did it 50 years ago.
When moments count, FEMA takes weeks or months if they show up to a disaster at all. If any agency actually belongs inside DHS, it’s FEMA.

8 thoughts on “What is it that DHS does?

  1. Would it be wrong to put the Coast Guard under the Navy?

    TSA is useless. In my world, air travel is too expensive. This is due to (not despite) government intervention.

    FEMA is put to shame at every disaster…by the Red Cross with its unpaid volunteers.

    P.S. I'm trying to get one of those full body scanners for the office…can't be too safe…

  2. The Coast Guard does a great job, and works its ass off. But they ain't the Navy and were not designed to be.

  3. The Coast Guard …under the Navy? Are you INSANE. That makes perfect sense. It will never happen. They both run ships, they have similar missions, it would mean a savings of billions of dollars a year. BUT their uniforms are a slightly different shade of blue and the eagles on their caps look a little different.

  4. The US Marine Corps falls under the Department of the Navy. I've always wondered why the Coast Guard couldn't as well.

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