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What is Homeland Security?

A person interested in a career in government or security might wonder, “What is homeland security?” The Department of Homeland Security was formed on November 25, 2002, in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States. Today, the Department of Homeland Security employs more than 240,000 people in a wide variety of roles, all of whom have the purpose of protecting the safety of the United States, American interests and Americans.

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What Homeland Security Encompasses

The term “homeland security” is an umbrella that includes all of the national efforts for ensuring that the United States of America is safe, secure and resilient against hazards. Those hazards include terrorism, man-made events, and natural disasters. Some examples of events that fall under this umbrella include the Boston Marathon bombing on April 15, 2013, landfall of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and the anthrax attacks of 2001. Homeland security also includes cyber threats against the United States. This is because much of the nation’s infrastructure, finance and safety systems rely on the internet and computing systems for their operations.

Agencies Involved in Homeland Security

Many government agencies are involved in homeland security. They include the Coast Guard, which patrols all of the border waters of the United States. The Customs and Border Patrol also performs homeland security functions. The United States Secret Service, Capitol Police, Drug Enforcement Authority, Department of Justice, United States National Guard and each state’s highway patrol service are also agencies involved in homeland security functions.

Job Functions in Homeland Security

Protecting the interests of the United States and keeping the country and people safe is a massive task. There are many aspects to the work, and a multitude of job functions are required in order to ensure the protection of America and Americans. Some of the professionals who do work related to homeland security include border patrol agents, drug enforcement agents, park rangers, postal inspectors, federal air marshals, state troopers and K-9 drug detection agents. Some of the job functions of homeland security include detection of cyber threats and hacking, investigation of drug smuggling and detection of biological threats and attacks.

Homeland Security As a Government Function

The federal government of the United States provides all of the homeland security services through the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). According to the DHS, its establishment involved a major reorganization of the federal government, and it combined 22 cabinets or agencies into the department. The Homeland Security Act of 2002 authorized its creation. However, not all homeland security functions are performed by the DHS. The Central Intelligence Agency, Federal Bureau of Investigation, United States Department of Defense and the United States Department of Health and Human Services also perform homeland security functions. States also provide homeland security services, including the National Guard and policing.

Understanding what homeland security is could help a person decide on a career path. Knowledge of the United States Department of Homeland Security and its mission could facilitate a person’s choice of which type of career in homeland security is right for them. Knowing the answer to, “What is homeland security?” could make it easier for a person to choose a college major and take the right classes in order to get a job within this profession.

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