Political Science Sample Paper On United States Homeland Security Act Of 2002
The famous United States Homeland Security Act was passed in 2002 during the reign of George Bush. The President had seen the need of initiating security reforms especially after the 911 attack on the United States. A number of sectors were affected as a result of these reforms, including the aviation industry, where screening mechanisms became a major concern for the government. Because of the looming need, the Transportation Security System was launched, and emerged to be the largest setup established by the U.S government since WWII. Nonetheless, there was every reason to conclude that these initiatives emanated from the 911 attack.
It has been argued that the attack remains the trigger of the security reforms, which hatched the United States Homeland Security Act. Additionally, the other security threats like Anthrax attacks further made it irresistible for the Bush administration to pursue homeland security legislative reforms. The input of the public health system was also viewed to be essential as the country faced the realities of bioterrorism. There was need for response units in order to handle related cases. The aim of enacting the United States Homeland Security Act was to create and empower internal response mechanisms towards terror threats.
The department of Homeland security was charged with the responsibility of ensuring that Americans are safe from terror attacks, minimize the susceptibility of the nation to terrorism, and improve response services to lessen terror-related damage. In other words, the act was solely based on the need to act proactively during security threats, for the safety of Americans. It was therefore inevitable for the government to put in place measures to augment security in every State. For this reason, the Bush administration has been credited for putting in place measures and strategies, which enhanced coordination among concerned institutions in dealing with security issues.
It is worth noting that the implementation of the United States Homeland Security Act was implemented collectively. This was mainly through consolidated activities done by various institutions for a common course. Prior to the formulation of the act, the country’s emergency issues were handled by Federal Emergency Management Agency, FEMA as the leading player. Upon enactment, there was need to absorb FEMA in the system while maintaining its emergency and preparedness role. The act also comprised of various spheres, including but not limited to protection of the country’s infrastructure, information analysis, and atomic countermeasures. It was necessary to absorb FEMA in the Act because of the previous role it had played in addressing disaster related issues. With its well-defined roles, FEMA has remained relevant and its functioning does not in any way conflict with that of Homeland Security. Above all, the two aim at safeguarding the United States. It has been argued that FEMA became a major pillar of the Homeland Security in augmenting municipal preparedness against terror threats.
It is worth noting that the implementation of any legislative reform is never instant. The implementation of the Homeland Security Act began slowly in 2003 because of the changes and rearrangements, which were required for effectiveness. It was necessary for the federal government to carry out changes, stepwise in order to allow a gradual shift in disaster management. While the implementation widely focused on public entities, it is important to underscore the fact private sectors were also involved in the process.
Nonetheless, the implementation of the Act has faced a number of challenges since its enactment. For instance, political issues in the United States have hampered the process. Additionally, cases of over-centralization have been seen to have negative influence on the process. Since they are interlaced, these factors have become obstacles in realizing the full potential of the Homeland Security Act in the country, even though it was adopted more than a decade ago. For instance, the nation is strongly centralized as most of the influence is tapped from Washington. While is necessary in speaking in one voice, it undermines the realization of better communities to deal with insecurity in the country. It has also undermined full implementation if the Act, exposing Americans to terror threats. Even though a lot of progress has been made, the Act is yet to be implemented fully, because of existing obstacles and areas that need to be addressed by stakeholders.
More than ten years down the line, the enactment of the Homeland Security in the U.S. has remained significant. Throughout this period, the country has witnessed an array of measures to counter security threats and ensure that the safety of Americans is guaranteed. More resources have been allocated to states to empower them in dealing with disasters, and preventing their occurrences. Though every American may agree that there has been success, several issues have been witnessed, which question the efficiency of Homeland Security in the country. A good example was the 2005 failure by most government organs to respond effectively to Hurricane Katrina, triggering the debate for a better methodology. While Homeland Security is supposed to focus on all forms of disasters, the government appears to have put a lot of emphasis on terror, leaving Americans vulnerable to the effects of other forms of disasters that may strike at any time.
It is also clear that Homeland Security has received support from both Bush and Obama’s administration. This is because there have been no strong efforts to do away with the policy. On the other hand, numerous changes have been tabled aimed at improving the security in the country. To better Homeland Security, its audit is necessary in order to identify its shortcomings since most of the proposed strategies have not had quantifiable impact on the policy for years. There is also need for collective responsibility in order to achieve a common goal. Politicians have to show the political will of driving the agenda of Homeland Security together with citizens. The public should also be made aware of the role of Homeland Security, since other people see it as an intrusion to one’s privacy and violation of some rights. Above all, Americans ought to focus on the positive side of the policy, though it may have a few shortcomings.
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