Department of Homeland Security, Intelligence Reform Act of 2004

Bush signs Homeland Security Appropriations Act 2004. Department of Homeland Security, Intelligence Reform Act of 2004
George W. Bush signs the Homeland Security Appropriations Act of 2004. Has the Department of Homeland Security met strategic goals and objectives based on the Intelligence Reform Act of 2004? Has the DHS successfully provided national security? (Photo: Public Domain)

The Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 led to a significant transformation of the U.S. government. The Act covers government agencies involved in ensuring national security, especially the Department of Homeland Security. There were changes in the roles and responsibilities of these agencies. However, the Act has its roots in 1970. The Huston Plan was a 1970 proposal for the integration of the CIA, FBI, NSA and DIA into a single government agency. It was only after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks that a similar kind of integration happened. In essence, the Intelligence Reform & Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 led the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to establish a cooperative network of government agencies for national security.

The Department of Homeland Security has met its strategic goals and objectives from the provisions of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004. Effective changes show that the DHS has successfully provided national security.

Creation of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)

The creation of the Department of Homeland Security, along with the Intelligence Reform & Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004, transformed the U.S. government. These changes are most significant in law enforcement and intelligence agencies. For instance, law enforcement agencies were given new tasks and responsibilities in securing the borders. These agencies include the Coast Guard and Customs and Border Protection.

Before the Department of Homeland Security was created, these agencies already had responsibilities in enforcing laws at the borders. Upon the creation of the Department of Homeland Security, they gained new responsibilities with focus on national security. For example, the Coast Guard gained the additional responsibility of ensuring that U.S. coastlines and borders near waters are impermeable to outsiders. Under the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004, the US Customs and Border Protection also shifted from enforcing laws for border protection, to greater emphasis on preventing the entry of suspected terrorists.

The Department of Homeland Security and a Unified Security Network

A strategic goal of the Department of Homeland Security is to establish a unified network of government agencies for national security. To meet this strategic goal, the DHS facilitated the creation of a community of government agencies for securing the nation. In this unified network, agencies like the FBI, CIA and the Coast Guard, among others, cooperate to create a synergy. The DHS is part of the Intelligence Community, which achieves synergy via sharing of information and coordination of activities. Thus, the Department of Homeland Security has succeeded in fulfilling this strategic goal for national security based on the provisions of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004.

Weaknesses of the Department of Homeland Security

The Department of Homeland Security’s weakness is the inability to consistently implement national security policies nationwide through state agencies. States laws vary and state agencies have different agenda, structures, cultures, and programs. These variations make it difficult for the Department of Homeland Security to consistently implement policies and programs nationwide. State agencies accept and comply with the national security directives from the DHS. However, the final outcomes still differ from state to state. The overall aims of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 have been achieved, but the Department of Homeland Security has not yet maximized its potential because of this consistency issue.

The Department of Homeland Security: Success in Providing National Security

The Department of Homeland Security addresses national security threats to the United States. The DHS has met its strategic goals and objectives based on the provisions of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004. The agency has achieved considerable effectiveness. However, the expected benefits are not yet maximized. Thus, the Department of Homeland Security is successful in providing national security through reforms. Still, improvement is needed for maximum performance, especially in ensuring consistent results across all states.

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