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Homeland Security

In 2003, due to the response of the US government to protect its borders in the wake of the September 11 attacks (2001), it reorganized several government agencies to form the United States Department of Homeland Security which protects the infrastructure of the US against external threats and aggression.

The Department of Homeland Security includes, the National Guard, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the US Coast Guard, US Customs and Border Protection, US Immigration Services, US Secret Service, Transportation Security Administration, US intelligence community and Civil Air Patrol as well as several other minor government agencies.

It should also be remembered that Homeland Security does not exist just about terrorism, but also for emergency preparedness and emergency recovery to natural disasters, such as tornadoes, flooding and storms. It you think about the fairly recent Hurricane 'Sandy' and the amount of effort that was put into preparing for the storm in the form of evacuating people and providing them with information to rescue operations and the inevitable and un-enviable job of co-ordinating clean up in the aftermath, including liaison with aid agencies (American Red Cross), it all came under the umbrella of Homeland Security.

When you think of Homeland Security, it may be that the first thing that comes to mind is the threat of terrorism, especially in the form of air travel. But the US has four main borders, North, South, East and West. To the East and the West are major oceans that are patrolled from the sky as well as the coast. To the North is Canada, with several border crossings that need constant vigilance, as people who may be a threat to the US, may enter Canada, and then travel through to the US. To the South is Mexico. Here the border is closely monitored, the problem here is on a par with the problem that the UK has with the border crossing with Calais, there are many very determined people, who will risk their lives and that of their families to enter seeking a better standard of living, even as an illegal immigrant. But the Mexico/US border has another problem in the form of drug smuggling and drug cartels, who work relentlessly to make their fortunes by putting hard drugs on the streets of the US.

It should also be noted that the concept and the scope of the Homeland Security has become so vast that many universities are offering a four year degree course in Homeland Security. It’s come a long way in 11 years.

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