The department of homeland security (DHS)

The Department of Homeland Security

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was established in response to the increasing number of terrorism cases and was intended to prevent their occurrence (Reese, 2012). It was founded in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in New York. The agency is obligated by law to publish a strategy document known as the Quadrennial Homeland Security Review every four years (QHSR). The document describes the department's strategy and future plans. The most recent QHSR was released in 2014, with the next one coming in 2018 at the end of four years. The 2014 QHSR identified five homeland security missions to tackle threats that may face the country. The five missions are: To improve the preparedness of relevant institutions, to offer security to the cyberspace, protect US citizens against terrorism, to ensure the borders are secured, to come up with immigration laws.

Many of the facilities that could be under threat

Many of the facilities that could be under threat in the country are privately owned and thus the private sector has a role to play in safeguarding them. These include power stations and scientific or chemical laboratories among other major installments. It is important for the sector to work in collaboration with the department to alleviate risks of attacks and handle any occurrences. The paper shall discuss how the private sector can play a role in addressing the five mission areas set out in the 2014 QHSR.

Prevent Terrorism and Enhance Security

The 2014 Quadrennial Homeland Security Report recognizes prevention of terrorist attacks as being the most important task of homeland security. The review discusses the progress made so far in combating the threat of terrorism resulting in the weakening of the capacity of terrorist groups located in countries such as Afghanistan and Pakistan. It has, however, resulted in a change in the terror threat whereby it was mainly from outside attackers to the current challenge of radicalized lone attackers acting inside the US (Department of homeland Security. 2014). These types of threats are noted to be harder to detect and counter.

The private sector can play a part in helping prevent terror attacks within the United States

The private sector can play a part in helping prevent terror attacks within the United States by coordinating with the department of homeland security and reporting incidences or behavior that may be suspicious. Private companies can teach their employees ways of spotting suspicious activity and how to report it to the relevant authorities. The private sector can embrace programs such as 'if you see something, say something', groups such as 'Business partners against terrorism' (BPAT) and the Nationwide suspicious activity reporting initiative. The companies might involve the local community in taking part in these initiatives by educating them of their importance. The businesses can also collaborate with local government and authorities. By carrying out these initiatives and being vigilant, the private sector will ensure that the DHS covers more ground in their mission than they would have otherwise.

Secure and Manage our Borders

The DHS has the task of ensuring that the United States border is protected. The aim of this is to prevent instances of drug trafficking, terrorist threats, and other threats to public safety and economic security (Department of homeland Security. 2014). The department has to monitor and patrol the vast border for any illegal entry. The department also has to ensure that it manages the legal entry of people and goods at these border points thus requiring the deployment of certain technology and staff. In the recent times there have growing enforcement by enforcement agencies to curb the illegal entrance of immigrants through the US border. The US-Mexico has over the years seen the increase in security patrols to curb the increase in immigrants wanting to make entry to the US. With the recent suggestion of constructing a wall that separates the US from Mexico it is clear that the problem of immigrants is one that ought to addressed extensively (Napolitano, 2010).

The private sector has a huge role to play in securing the nation's borders

The private sector has a huge role to play in securing the nation's borders as they facilitate most of the movement of people and cargo through the points of entry to the country. Private companies ferry goods and people through shipping companies and even airlines. These companies can be a threat to national security by smuggling people into the country that may then prove to be threats to the nation. The companies could also smuggle illegal goods or drugs causing a threat to the country's economy or the public's safety. The private sector on the other hand, however, could help the DHS in safeguarding the country's borders in various ways. Private sector organizations should ensure security on their transport vessels, ensure crew and people aboard are screened, as well as the goods being transported. The organizations should also report any suspicious activity to the relevant authorities which include the US coast guard and the customs and immigration agencies.

Enforce and Administer our Immigration Laws

The mission under study is closely tied to the second mission of securing and managing the nation's borders. It is intended to prevent illegal immigration of people into the country as well as ensuring undocumented immigrants within the country are identified. This mission is also concerned with creating a path for undocumented immigrants to earn citizenship and the creation of necessary immigration legislation (Caudle, 2012).

The private sector in the country plays a major role in this mission. The department of homeland security discourages companies from employing undocumented immigrants. This discourages immigration into the country by denying the immigrants income. The private sector should carry out adequate research on potential employees carrying out the necessary background checks on them to ensure that they don't employ people who are in the country illegally. Aside from carrying out these checks, companies can forward the details of those who they find to be in the country illegal to immigration agencies so that their case may be handled. The agency could then track down and deport the offenders of immigration laws.

Safeguard and Secure Cyberspace

The 2014 QHSR recognizes the cyberspace threat as a growing threat to the nation. Since technology is now integrated in many crucial services such as telecommunications, transportation, water, and financial services, a successful cyber attack on these services would be extremely harmful to the country. Aside from this, the interconnectivity of services and devices opens them up to potential attacks that would affect many services and lead to large scale losses if executed (Lynn, 2010). An attack that would cripple the internet would result in massive losses in the country because of the reliability on the internet to do things. Many businesses would not be able to operate with some being forced to operate using the old mechanisms of filling documents manually and communication crippled with means such as email shut down. Another cyber security threat that has emerged is the theft of personal information and the risk of identity theft by hackers.

The private sector has to ensure that they share information with the department of homeland security with regards to technology to ensure that high security standards are maintained. Since private companies develop the software and technological infrastructure used generally by the public, they have to consult with the DHS to ensure that their products are secure and resilient. Companies should ensure that people's information is safeguarded from external threats or theft. The private sector should also report any intrusion into their networks to the relevant agencies in the department. Cyber security measures should always develop over time as new threats emerge and the department has to enlist the help of technology companies to develop more sophisticated cyber security mechanisms always.

Strengthen National Preparedness and Resilience

This mission is concerned with the response to manmade and national disasters. These could include hurricanes such as hurricane Katrina or a disaster such as an oil spill which can be classified as a manmade disaster. It entails emergency response, recovery, and mitigation of effects of the disaster. Since most critical infrastructure is owned privately, it is necessary for the private sector to work together with the DHS to mitigate any disasters. Destruction of an installation such as a power supply station, hospital, or transport system would result in massive losses and would affect a large number of people. Destruction of power supply for instance by a hurricane would results in power outages in a region crippling businesses such as banks and even transportation systems.

It is important for companies, in line with DHS guidelines, to have plans to handle disasters that may arise. Companies should plan for different scenarios with the goal of services being interrupted as minimally as possible in the event of a disaster. Companies should have internal measures to prevent huge losses that may occur in such an event. This entails measures such as having backups of data at different sites other than the main office of the company ensuring that the company can continue its operations. Companies can also work with the DHS to report instances of disaster to help in prevention or to ensure adequate response to avoid casualties. Companies can also help in disaster response by providing any resources that are at their disposal that were aimed at handling such occurrences (White, 2014). They should cooperate with state, local, and federal authorities to ensure effects of a disaster are mitigated. With this kind of cooperation, it becomes easier to handle the disaster.


As discussed in this paper, the private sector can play several critical roles in helping the department of homeland security to fulfill its role. Private sector companies have various resources and an access to people at the local level as businesses are located everywhere in the nation. Companies can engage the public by encouraging them to report any suspicious activity that they may encounter. Companies also have the responsibility to support the department of homeland security by not employing immigrants who might be in the country illegally. Companies have to be willing to abide by the guidelines set out by homeland security as their success leads to everybody's safety.


Caudle, S. (2012). Homeland security: Advancing the national strategic position. Homeland Security Affairs, 8(1).

Department of homeland Security. (2014). The 2014 Quadrennial homeland security review. Retrieved from <>

Lynn, W. J. (2010). Defending a new domain: the Pentagon’s cyberstrategy. Foreign Affairs, 89(5), 97-108.

Napolitano, J. (2010). Quadrennial Homeland Security Review Report: A Strategic Framework for a Secure Homeland.

Reese, S. (2012, April). Defining homeland security: Analysis and congressional considerations. Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress.

White, R. (2014). Towards a unified homeland security strategy: An asset vulnerability model. Homeland Security Affairs, 10.

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