Both the National Strategy for
Homeland Security and the Homeland
Security Act of 2002
called for the mobilization of the United States to secure its homeland from
terrorist attacks. Therefore, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was set
up to provide a unifying foundation for the national network of organizations
and institutions having the mission of securing the homeland. With more than
180,000 employees, the DHS developed its own strategic plan to carry out its
mission to coordinate its efforts with those of relevant U.S. agencies and
departments. Collectively their purpose is to ensure that critical resources
such as financial and banking institutions, dams, and government facilities are
adequately protected from terrorist attacks. The DHS also assesses the ongoing
need for improved protection of critical infrastructures.
Tom Ridge, a former Pennsylvania governor and congressman,
was sworn in as the first Office of Homeland Security Advisor on October 8,
2001. He served until February 2005 after submitting his resignation on
November 30, 2004.
On December 2, 2004, President George W. Bush selected
former New York police commissioner Bernard Kerik as RidgeÂ’s successor. Kerik
had helped direct New York CityÂ’s emergency response to the September 11
attacks. Citing personal reasons, Kerik withdrew his nomination later the same
month. In January 2005 President Bush appointed federal judge Michael Chertoff
to lead the DHS, and he was sworn in on February 15, 2005.
In May 2005, Homeland Security Inspector General Richard
Skinner said that the U.S. Homeland Security network that shares critical
classified information with intelligence and law enforcement agencies was
created too fast to ensure that it can protect this critical information from
crackers. According to Skinner, the DHS could not prove that the networkÂ’s
security standards and policies were adequately in place.
Homeland Security Act of 2002; Homeland Security Information Sharing Act of
2002; Homeland Security Strategy Act of 2001.
In Brief. U.S. Homeland SecurityÂ’s IT Comes Under Question. The Globe and Mail, May 12, 2005, p.
B8; Koring, P. Ridge Quits U.S. Post. The
Globe and Mail, December 1, 2004, p. A1; Office of the Press Secretary.
December 17, 2003 Homeland Security Presidential Directive/Hspd-7. [Online,
December 17, 2003.] Office of the Press Secretary Website.
2003/12/20031217-5.htm; U.S. Department of Homeland; Security (DHS). DHS
Organization. [Online, 2004.] DHS Website. http://www.dhs.gov/dhspublic/theme_home1.jsp;
Riechmann, D. Bush Picks Ex-Police Officer as Homeland Security Chief. The Globe and Mail, December 3, 2004,
p. A 20; Williams, P. Bush Nominates Judge to Head Homeland Security. [Online,
January 11, 2005] MSNBC Website. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6812230/.