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Evolution of Homeland Security Essay

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American Safety after 9/11

The September 11, 2001, coordinated attacks on America’s twin towers that claimed almost 3000 lives changed America’s security and safety measures taken to secure Americans. The attack, being the first foreign attack on Americans since the 1941 Pearl Harbor by Japan, caught the security apparatus unaware thus revealing the various loopholes in the national security system. However, the lessons learnt from the terrorist attack on America’s soil have been applied to improve safety within the borders with far-reaching implications on enhancing safety. The key changes made in the US to promote safety of Americans are extensively discussed in the next sections.

According to Green (2014, p.3), after the attack, the Department of Homeland Security was created by the Bush administration. The department merged up to 22 agencies within the security department to enhance security. According to the statistics from the department, deportations of foreign nationals who were threats to national security have almost doubled since 2002 (Green 3). Terrorists, in most cases, reside in the country illegally without any valid travel documents and are always on the lookout for a security breach to stage an attack. Some of the terrorists get into the country with fake travel documents to spy and draw plans for attacks.

The formation of the Department of Homeland Security and its role in enforcing compliance with immigration laws have immensely improved America’s safety. Suspected terrorists who were illegally residing in America have either been prosecuted within the country or deported to face prosecutions in their homelands. The Department of Homeland Security also established the Secure Communities program to check the immigration status of those booked in jails for all types of crimes (Green 4). Several instances of undocumented persons have been discovered, registered for deportation proceedings, and persons threatening national security deported.

It is also noted that all the security apparatus have concentrated on dismantling terrorist formations in America since the 9/11 attack. Stricter visa controls that have been adopted for all commercial airlines, ports and borders have made it much harder for terrorists to get into the country. The intelligence on impending and planned attacked are also shared among various agencies to enhance response and take measures to neutralize the threats (Green 3). However, it is also noted a few loopholes that still exist. The government seems to assume that Muslim extremists commit all terrorist activities. That warnings to the government about the evolving nature of attacks that are now more frequently committed by white supremacists have not been taken seriously (Green 4). The position is inaccurate since security checks have been randomized and are usually conducted on all citizens irrespective of their race or religion. Terrorist suspects, both white and black, Muslims and non-Muslims have been apprehended, some serving their terms in prison while others deported as a result of the increased checks.

Terrorism may sometimes be hard to prevent as no society is entirely crime free. Thus, it is essential that disaster communication and response are also top-notch to minimize the loss of lives in the event of an emergency. As noted by Cindy (2014), the 9/11 attack transformed how agencies handle communications and disaster response. National emergency response agencies have improved coordinated communications in response to emergencies with redundancy features so that communications are not knocked out. The communications are also linked to hospitals for real-time support on triage services and casualty admittance when an emergency occurs. Coordinated communication is important in evacuating individuals from attack scenes and preventing commotions in hospitals by coordinating the transfer of patients from the scene to hospitals (Cindy). Response to emergencies has improved since the attack, and more organized victim evacuation programs have been devised. The agencies tasked with the disaster responses have also been equipped with modern equipment and personnel with anticipation for all possible emergency scenarios. Alongside, the Emergency Medical System (EMS) and Office of Emergency Management (OEM) have also been beefed up with the capacity to handle the most massive scale of the disaster.

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The funding for the disaster management agencies all come from the federal government through Homeland security, thus showing cooperation in improving American safety. As time moves away from the 9/11 attack, the federal government has not developed complacency but continued to support state governments in setting up local emergency response units (Cindy). The government also divulges all the necessary information on disaster preparedness and impending security threats, including issuing travel advisories. The disaster management agencies regularly do public training on disaster management and response with the result of making citizens aware of their role and responsibilities in a disaster scene (Cindy). Other than saving the lives of others, making citizens aware of appropriate response procedure also helps in minimizing casualties in emergencies.

The creation of the National Counterterrorism Centre has further enhanced the government’s ability to detect and prevent terrorist activities. Since its inception, 87 out of 104 terror threats have been stopped (David). Moreover, it has become much harder to carry out extensive and sophisticated attacks due to the support that the center has offered to security intelligence agencies. Policies on homeland security have also been formulated by the Congress that seeks to guide security officials on terrorism avoidance. A critical legislation passed is the Aviation and Transportation Security Act, which made it a requirement for blue-uniformed security agents to be present at all airports instead of the previous private guards (David). The security agents are tasked with carrying out thorough searches and vetting of travel documents of all foreigners entering the American soil.

Additionally, the USA Patriot Act made several amendments on anti-money laundering and Bank Secrecy Act in a bid of making them much tougher for terrorists to fund their activities (David). Cutting sources of funding for terrorists to support their activities is a critical step in suffocating their operations, thus stemming the vice. In his publication, David (2018) explains that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, though enacted to protect the citizens, has led to information privacy issues by lowering the bar for the government to gain access to private information. However, it is factual that giving the government power to carry out surveillance practices is vital in discovering terrorist plans before they are executed. The duty of the government to provide security to its citizens overrides the need to keep certain information private since security is a matter of public interest. Thus, it is commendable that the Act enables the government to gather information and act on them appropriately, a practice that have prevented several attack plans in good time.

As such, America has become much safer after the 9/11 attack. Key lessons taken from the attack have been converted into policies to enhance national security and response to disasters. Border controls that did not receive much attention before 9/11 have been enhanced coupled with more stringent immigration laws which have reduced foreign attack threats. Still more need to be done to rid America of terrorism, but the steps are already taken and offer a lot of promise of a much safer society moving into the future.

The importance of homeland security cannot be underscored since it affects every facet of American life. Policymakers should prioritize legislation related to homeland security particularly legislation intending to combat terrorism. In the past, the United States has experienced the adverse effects of terrorism with the September 11 attack being the most significant. This attack resulted in not only the destruction of property but also in the deaths of innocent civilians. The United States government should prioritize legislation on immigration enforcement and those related to emergency response. Planning activities are conducted by an emergency manager involved in the formulation of policies related to the development of prevention, response, mitigation, and recovery strategies.

Works Cited

  1. Cindy, Otis. “9/11 Attacks Changed American Security.” 2017.
  2. David, Inserra. “Here’s How Safe We Are 17 Years After 9/11.” 2018.
  3. Green, Matthew. ‘How 9/11 changed America: Four major lasting impacts.’ KQED News (2014).

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Evolution of Homeland Security Essay. (2022, December 27). Edubirdie. Retrieved May 24, 2023, from
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