The United States Department of Homeland Security is a security department under the United States federal government. This department bases its foundation after the September 11 terrorist attacks. In response to the terrorist attacks, the then president of the United States, President George W. Bush declared the setting up of the office of homeland security. This office was mandated with the responsibility of providing protection to the citizens of the United States of America, the nation’s territories together with its protectorates. The jurisdiction of the department focuses on terrorist attacks, human based accidents and natural disasters. In terms of structure, the department is led by the secretary of homeland security who is aided by the deputy secretary. Components of the department include agencies such as the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, advisory groups such as the homeland security advisory group and law enforcement and training centers. The department runs on an expensive budget with it being allocated a budget of $98.8 billion during the financial year 2011 (Homeland security and terrorism, 2005).
Although there has not been any major security breech leading to the loss of lives, security breeches have been recorded an investigated in the airports and even the white house. One major security breech that led to the setting up new strategies is the Lockheed Martin cyber attack. According to a report by the homeland security, hackers were able to execute an attack on Lockheed Martin that serves as a major defense contractor and that contains very sensitive information. However, the attack was not completely successful since the sensitive information held by the company remained safe. This and other such like cyber security attacks and breeches led to the establishment of the National Cyber Security Division which serves under the office of the cyber security and communications within the United States department of homeland security (Conference on international law challenges, 2005).
The result of this security breech was the establishment of the National Cyber Security Division in the effort of strengthening its homeland security policies and strategies. The strategies of the homeland security were now strengthened to include the building and maintenance of an efficient and effective response system with regards to cyber attacks. This also included an implementation of a cyber-risk management program aimed at defending critical information and infrastructure from attack. Before this, the homeland security primarily focused on physical threats, however, after the establishment of the cyber security division, the activities of the department were now stretched to those of cyber attacks. With this respect the department was now able to protect cyber infrastructure from attack (Heppard, & Green, 2007).
This initiative has over the years proven to be quite effective but not to its entirety. The division has proven its effectiveness through the mitigation of various acts of espionage and national security breeches. The division reports that over the years it has been able to respond dutifully in the mitigation of the practice of gaining access to secret and classified information by unauthorized personnel. This has resulted in a complete change in U.S. homeland security in that the department is now able to make it harder for persons with ulterior motives from accessing classified information that could be later used to assist in attacking the United States and its protectorates. However, other security breeches such as the Massive TSA Security Breach of 2009 continue to plague the division.
Conference on international law challenges: Homeland security and combating terrorism. (January 01, 2005).
Homeland security and terrorism. (January 01, 2005)
Heppard, K. A., & Green, S. G. (January 01, 2007). The evolving role of the Department of Defense in homeland and transportation security. Handbook of Transportation Policy and Administration, 579-593.