Improving Collaboration and Cooperation of DHS

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Improving Collaboration and Cooperation of DHS

The Homeland security Department in US was created by the federal legislation that was passed in 2002 (Department of Safety, 2016). Homeland Security (2015) explains the mission of Homeland Security which is preventing terrorism in United States, minimizing the damage from natural disasters and potential risk, and reducing terrorism vulnerabilities. The Federal Legislation performed the largest reorganization since World War II by creating the DHS. This involved transfer of all or parts of 22 federal agencies to DHS which was the new department. According to the Department of Safety (2016), the agencies Homeland Security include; US Border Patrol and US Immigration, US Customs Service, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Naturalization Service, US Border Patrol and US Immigration, US Customs Service, Federal Emergency Management Agency, US Secret Service and US Coast Guard. The Homeland Security continues to improve Inter-agency Corporation and communication among Federal, State, Local, NGO, and Private Sectors.

Department of Homeland Security Agencies

United States Secret Service (USSS)

Wise (2002) explains that the United States Secret Service (USSS) is one of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security agencies in America that concentrates on federal law enforcement. This security service has two distinct responsibilities. The first responsibility is protection which entails in safeguarding the safety of former and current national leaders and their families such as presidential candidates, past and present presidents, vice presidents and visiting heads. The second responsibility is financial crimes where they cover the missions like investigation of and prevention of counterfeit U.S. currency, investigating major frauds and U.S. treasury securities. 

According to Kaiser (2016), the initial responsibility of security service was investigation of counterfeiting US currency that was rampant after the Civil War in US. It then evolved into first domestic counter intelligence and intelligence where it attained two primary missions; physical protection of designated protectees and investigation of financial crimes. Its primary investigative mission is safeguarding financial systems and United States payments from crimes like electronic funds transfers, false identification documents, telecommunications and communication fraud, financial institution fraud and laundering which are associated with the agency’s core values.

United States Coast Guard

The United States Coast Guard is a law enforcement agency investigating threats against and provides protective services to the United State, president, vice president and their families. It is also responsible in investigating crimes against the U.S. monetary system for example the crime of counterfeiting U.S. currency. Waugh (2003) states that the initial responsibility of Secret Service’s is the investigation of the US currency which later evolved in to United States’ first counterintelligence and domestic intelligence. Its primary investigative mission is safeguarding financial systems and United States payments from crimes like computer and telecommunications fraud, money laundering, electronic funds transfers, advance free fraud, access device fraud, false identification documents and computer and telecommunications fraud

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) was formed by Presidential Reorganization Plan No. 3 of 1978 and was implemented by two executive orders (Kaiser, 2016). The primary purpose of the agency is coordinating disaster response. The state’s governor where the disaster occurred declares a state of emergency creating a formal request to the president that the federal government and FEMA respond to the disaster. 

Transportation Security Administration (TSA)

Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is a homeland security department agency that contains the security of travelling publics in United States. This agency is concerned with air travel and employs mobile teams of dog handlers, armed Federal Air Marshals on planes and screening officers in airports (Wise, 2002). With the state’s regional and local partners, the TSA oversees security for ports, pipelines, buses, mass transit systems, highways and railroads.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)

According to Wise (2002), the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is a federal law enforcement agency in America responsible for identifying, dismantling and investigating vulnerabilities regarding the infrastructure security, nation’s boundaries, transportation and economic. It is composed of two components Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). The Homeland Security Investigations include International Operations Division, Intelligence Division, Domestic Operations Division, National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center, Mission Support and National Security Investigations Division.

The Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) investigates a variety of issues that are a threat to the national security like human trafficking, human smuggling, human rights violations, arm trafficking, drug trafficking and art theft. The intelligence office is a subcomponent of HIS that employs Intelligence Research Specialists and special agents in facilitating HSI’s tactical and strategic intelligence demands.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)

Conferring to Waugh (2003), the CBP forms the largest federal law enforcement agency in DHS. This agency is charged with enforcing U.S. regulations, including immigration, customs and trade, and collecting import duties. Its primary mission is prevention of terrorist weapons and terrorist attack from entering the country. It has authority to search inbound and outbound shipments and uses targeting in carrying its mission in a certain area. 

United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)

Waugh (2002) defines USCIS as a DHS component performing many administrative functions that was previously carried out by United States Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS). It works with the priority of eliminating immigration case backlogs, promoting national security and improving customer services. This agency is charged with processing asylum, immigrant visa petitions and naturalization petition.

Strategies of DHS

Information sharing

The responsibilities of DHS include coordination and information sharing related to domestic terrorism threats department and other federal agencies, private sector, local and state government, and other entities (Homeland Security, 2015). In accomplishing its mission, DHS must access, receive, and analyze intelligence information, law enforcement information, and other vulnerability, threat and incident information from non-federal and federal sources. The department must also share information externally and internally with agencies and law enforcement on things like passengers and goods inbound to the United States and persons who are suspected or known terrorist and criminals. 

The success of the strategy of Homeland Security depends on all government levels and private levels ability to communicate and cooperate effectively with each other. Activities that are hampered by ineffective collaboration, technological impediments, and organizational fragmentation blunt the collective efforts of the nation in minimizing or preventing terrorist attacks. Therefore, there exist gaps, overlaps and duplication in the DHS department due to ineffective information sharing, cultural challenges, human capital needs, institutional rivalries, human capital needs, fragmented missions and absence of a central policy focal point.

After the post-9/11 threat environment, the federal officials requires a “trusted partnership” among local, state and federal agencies to “make information sharing integrated, interconnected, effective and as automatic as possible in order to ensure our national security” (Kaiser, 2016). In the support of this mission, the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) administers more than a dozen information-sharing systems that are connected to Homeland Security. In addition, numerous non-governmental, commercial and governmental organizations provide officials with homeland security databases, updates and alerts that support preparedness efforts. The 9/11 terrorist attacks generated the need for better information sharing among emergency management, law enforcement and intelligence agencies. Information sharing is one strategy that facilitates awareness and preparedness. 

Ineffective Collaboration

This is one of the principal impediments in DHS department while integrating and sharing information to minimize and prevent terrorist attacks. The private sector and the government sector should work closely in analyzing, integrating and appropriate dissemination of useful information to the relevant stakeholders as way of combating terrorism and making the county more secure. There is need to take a control approach and a federally centralized command to collaboration. 

The federal government will ensure that its technology is up to the task. Increasing collaboration means federal communication systems will interoperate with other federal agencies’ systems, as well as local and state systems. The Department of Homeland Security should plan on having substantial upgrading on its strategy network while improving its emergency response capabilities. Additionally, the DHS should establish a federally centralized control and command that will improve interagency collaboration. The DHS strategy will include

Dynamic Application Capability

Each agency uses different tools to operate every task but these agencies should work together. One central system may be required in a control and command environment but it should support mass collaboration and applications between thousands of different communication technologies enterprise. The United State should always be prepared to mitigate risks and minimize catastrophe even with the inability of predicting the attack of next disaster. It is important to have an effective communication across all government levels. The DHS can improve inter-agency communication, save money and improve infrastructure by avoiding the triplicate and duplicate systems. If an incidence occurs at local level, there is need to take leadership at national level from both technological and policy perspective. The silos that are frequently present at the agencies will be broken by federally centralized control and command strategy to improve collaboration. 

Site Telephony and Video Integration

The DHS agencies should have dedicated network that will handle inbound calls for help as efficient and quick as possible. The calls should integrate everything from the concerns of citizens to the FBI enquires. This dedicated network will be built on a carrier-grade switch which can be repurposed for VoIP and wireless with the ability to handle millions of data and voice calls. This will replace the basic telephony used in the agencies. An IP PBX should be appropriate for the large agencies like U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) that can handle at least 50,000 calls an hour. The site telephony should be deployed in a pinch and interoperated with local and state emergency Services IP Networks (ESInets). 

The agencies should also have a communication system that will handle all content forms especially video calling. Police car-mounted cameras and body cameras are prevalent tools which should be incorporated in all agencies. Surveillance footages can later be used by FBI or other agencies to identify terrorists or bombers

One Central Engine

The agencies in their cooperation and collaboration should have a central engine. This is the important section of a successful network strategy that will drive interagency collaboration. This network should be shared among the agencies to ensure communication and collaboration across organizational barriers however, the system should be flexible to help all the agencies to have the essential tools that they require. This central engine should have a core technology that is application focused and scalable with controls that are focused on roles and agencies. This single centralized system should also serve as a central data hub that will bring all sources of data including social media in to a central position increasing the possibility of reporting and analytics. The advantage of the system is that it will allow centralized control while providing flexibility and scale.


Department of Safety,. (2016). Homeland Security and Emmergency Management. New Hampshire Department Of Safety. Retrieved from

Homeland Security,. (2015). Collaboration at the Department of Homeland Security. Homeland Security. Retrieved from

Kaiser, F. (2016). CRS Report for Congress Prepared for Members and Committees of Congress Interagency Collaborative Arrangements and Activities: Types, Rationales, Considerations. Congressional Research Service. Retrieved from

Waugh Jr, W. L. (2003). Terrorism, homeland security and the national emergency management network. Public Organization Review, 3(4), 373-385.

Wise, C. R. (2002). Organizing for homeland security. Public Administration Review, 62(2), 131-144.

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