Does Homeland Security Really Protect US?

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In summary, the conversation discusses the effectiveness and necessity of the Department of Homeland Security in preventing terrorist attacks and activities in the United States. While there is no concrete evidence of the department's success, the absence of domestic terrorist attacks since its inception in 2001 can be seen as a positive result. However, there are criticisms of the department's high budget and lack of transparency. The conversation also brings up the issue of trusting those with higher security clearance to make decisions on behalf of the public. Overall, the effectiveness and necessity of the Department of Homeland Security remains a topic of debate.
  • #1
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Homeland... Security??

Is there any definitive evidence that the formation of the Department of Homeland Security and the many operations/rules ect. that it carries out to protect the US, has prevented or even lowered the risk of a terrorist attack or terrorist activity?

My point being that we constantly here of lowered and raised threat alerts, we see drastic changes in airport/seaport security, and an awful lot of money is being spent in the department; but is there any evidence that the program actually accomplishes what it was designed to accomplish??

I am quite certain that the increased security at ports and International airport hubs has had an impact on illegal trades and drug trafficking, but what about any tangible terroristic threats??
 
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  • #2
robertm said:
Is there any definitive evidence that the formation of the Department of Homeland Security and the many operations/rules ect. that it carries out to protect the US, has prevented or even lowered the risk of a terrorist attack or terrorist activity?

My point being that we constantly here of lowered and raised threat alerts, we see drastic changes in airport/seaport security, and an awful lot of money is being spent in the department; but is there any evidence that the program actually accomplishes what it was designed to accomplish??

I am quite certain that the increased security at ports and International airport hubs has had an impact on illegal trades and drug trafficking, but what about any tangible terroristic threats??
You'll never know that because in order to be effective they have to keep it secret.
 
  • #3
robertm said:
Is there any definitive evidence that the formation of the Department of Homeland Security and the many operations/rules ect. that it carries out to protect the US, has prevented or even lowered the risk of a terrorist attack or terrorist activity?
Except for a couple of high profile successes like the New Years' attack a few years ago, it is largely impossible to know if you prevented what didn't happen or if it just didn't happen on its own.

However, here is a list of the most recent domestic terrorist attacks:

-1993 World Trade Center Bombing
-1995 Oaklahoma City Bombing
-1996 Atlanta Olympics (the army list below doesn't consider this terrorism - I disagree)
-1997 Palestinian sniper on the Empire State Building (hadn't heard about that one)
-2001 9/11
-2001 Anthrax attacks
(I have not included attacks on US soil overseas, such as the two embassy bombings and the USS Cole)

Here's a comprehensive global list: http://www.army.mil/terrorism/read.html

Since 2001...None.

So we can say without a doubt that the domestic terrorism situation has gotten much better since 2001. But is it because of the DHS or the war on terror, or just a matter of chance? Dunno.
 
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  • #4
Evo said:
You'll never know that because in order to be effective they have to keep it secret.

I don't like the sound of that. I see why secrecy may be a necessity, but how can one be assured, without any documented proof, that the agency is cost effective or useful or makes any sense at all? No matter how small the amount, that is still my money funding the program...

I am by no means stating that the the DHS is useless, I just see no evidence to the contrary and I don't know if I can trust others with a higher security clearance to decide weather or not it is for me... it is quite the conundrum.
 
  • #5
robertm said:
I don't like the sound of that. I see why secrecy may be a necessity, but how can one be assured, without any documented proof, that the agency is cost effective or useful or makes any sense at all? No matter how small the amount, that is still my money funding the program...

I am by no means stating that the the DHS is useless, I just see no evidence to the contrary and I don't know if I can trust others with a higher security clearance to decide weather or not it is for me... it is quite the conundrum.
We the public may not see it. I work with people at the DHC and I am under non-disclosure, a fine bunch of people I work with, I must say.
 
  • #6
It is hard for me not to be so cynical. I hope you know I mean no disrespect to the individuals who work in the program, it is with the department itself that my issues stand.
 
  • #7
As Russ pointed out it is something difficult to quantify. I am a security guard and (though it certainly is not the same thing) our major priority is deterrence not catching bad guys. I'm sure that the same holds for Homeland Security. The main thing is to keep these things from happening or anyone even trying. About the best you can do is look at incidents of "terrorism" in the past and relate the numbers to those since the formation of Homeland Security. You can easily still hold the opinion though that the FBI, CIA, NSA, ect should be able to do this without the need of Homeland Security, which may be true.

I don't have the time right now but what you can do is look up the website of, and other sources on, Homeland Security to see what their mission statements and goals are then try to quantify the improvement in those areas through statistics before and after their institution. Then (in regards to their necessity above and beyond pre-existing agencies) you can look into the powers, mission statements, and goals of other agencies then compare and contrast.

Or you might get lucky and find an article that already treats the topic and just check it's accuracy.
 
  • #8
I have been totally frustrated by the fact that Homeland Security is spending mega $ billions per year and the border is still wide open.
 
  • #10
russ_watters said:
Except for a couple of high profile successes like the New Years' attack a few years ago, it is largely impossible to know if you prevented what didn't happen or if it just didn't happen on its own.

However, here is a list of the most recent domestic terrorist attacks:

-1993 World Trade Center Bombing
-1995 Oaklahoma City Bombing
-1996 Atlanta Olympics (the army list below doesn't consider this terrorism - I disagree)
-1997 Palestinian sniper on the Empire State Building (hadn't heard about that one)
-2001 9/11
-2001 Anthrax attacks
(I have not included attacks on US soil overseas, such as the two embassy bombings and the USS Cole)

Here's a comprehensive global list: http://www.army.mil/terrorism/read.html

Since 2001...None.

So we can say without a doubt that the domestic terrorism situation has gotten much better since 2001. But is it because of the DHS or the war on terror, or just a matter of chance? Dunno.

I want to stress on one point, terrorism has no religion, faith, nationality...its a global issue. It doesn't mean that some Palestinian nutjob did a criminal act, that all Palestinian people or bad and should die. If that's the case then on the other camp, all Israelii people must die as well...fortunately it is not.
Morale is terrorism again has no religion, faith or nationality...I truly believe in that.
 
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  • #11
edward said:
I have been totally frustrated by the fact that Homeland Security is spending mega $ billions per year and the border is still wide open.
That quite simply isn't part of the DHS's job description.
 
  • #12
I'm pretty sure Border Patrol has had its budget increased, and they're recruiting like crazy, but there is only so much they can do with only so many people willing to take jobs that require them to live in the middle of nowhere. That's why we had the National Guard down there for such a long time.

Quantifying what DHS does and how effective it is being is also more difficult because it's an umbrella agency. They don't have their own special agents out there arresting potential terrorists and thwarting attacks. They just supervise and coordinate the activities of ICE, Border Patrol, TSA, INS, The Secret Service, FEMA, and the Coast Guard. The FBI remains the primary specifically counterterrorism agency and it doesn't even fall under the auspices of DHS. Next to that is NSA, and abroad, it's the Armed Forces and CIA that are fighting terrorism. None of those forces or agencies are under DHS, either.
 

1. Does Homeland Security really protect the US from terrorist attacks?

The short answer is yes, but it is not a guarantee. Homeland Security plays a crucial role in protecting the country from terrorist attacks through various measures such as intelligence gathering, border security, and emergency response planning. However, due to the constantly evolving nature of terrorism, it is impossible to completely eliminate the threat.

2. How does Homeland Security protect the US from cyber attacks?

Homeland Security has a dedicated Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) that works with government and private sector partners to identify and mitigate cyber threats. CISA conducts risk assessments, provides technical assistance, and shares information and best practices to help protect critical infrastructure and networks from cyber attacks.

3. Are there any limitations to Homeland Security's ability to protect the US?

Like any government agency, Homeland Security has limitations in terms of resources and jurisdiction. They may also face challenges in identifying and preventing lone wolf attacks, which are carried out by individuals without direct connections to terrorist organizations. Additionally, the agency must balance protecting the country with protecting individual rights and privacy.

4. How has Homeland Security evolved since its creation in 2002?

Since its creation, Homeland Security has significantly expanded its scope and responsibilities. It has undergone several organizational changes and has incorporated various agencies and departments, such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). The agency has also adapted to new threats, such as cybersecurity, and has implemented new technologies and strategies to enhance national security.

5. How can citizens help in Homeland Security's efforts to protect the US?

Citizens can play an important role in Homeland Security's efforts to protect the country. Some ways to contribute include staying informed about potential threats, reporting suspicious activities, and participating in emergency preparedness and response efforts. Additionally, citizens can support the agency's initiatives and policies by following security protocols, such as airport screenings, and staying vigilant in their communities.

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