The Emergence of the Department of Homeland Security

In the wake of the 9/11 tragedy, our nation's leaders began to realize the full extent of potential threats to our national security that exist both internally and abroad. This newfound realization has resulted in the prioritization of security measures that are designed to circumvent catastrophic events of this magnitude. In order to avoid future lapses of national security and combine the resources and communication protocols of various agencies, the Department of Homeland Security was created. The need for one U.S. government agency that could oversee the administration of the many independent intelligence gathering entities was apparent in the post 9/11 aftermath. Vital information that was gathered through various investigative sources was deemed inconsequential of its own merit. Putting this information into the overall scope of events that led up to the catastrophe of 9/11, it was apparent that the disaster might have been avoided had some organization been able to put all the warning signs together into one cohesive picture. In order for that to become a feasible reality by which we could avoid future tragedies, intelligence sharing and unilateral cooperation would be necessary. The creation of the Department of Homeland Security was announced on September 20th, shortly after 9/11. Pennsylvania governor Tom Ridge was appointed as director and was charged with the task of coordinating the nation's intelligence gathering agencies and the overall efforts to prevent future terrorist attacks. Since that time, a great deal of changes to our nation's intelligence community have taken place. New positions have been created for the management of intelligence resources. Additional U.S. intelligence agents have been trained and are currently working in the field. Intelligence gathering and reporting methods have been updated to reflect the growing need for inter-agency cooperation. In addition to creating new positions in intelligence and in the IT, human resources and administrative sections of the Department of Homeland Security, local and national law enforcement and emergency management personnel have been trained in emergency preparedness procedures designed for large scale events such as those of September 11th. Hopefully, the creation of the Department of Homeland Security will ensure that we are never again faced with such a devastating loss of life.