What Does 'Homeland Security' Mean? Don't Ask the Government.

Federal bureaucrats must believe Humpty Dumpty thought too small when he said a word "means just what I choose it to mean," since they've gone bigger with the phrase, "homeland security." At least, that's what the Congressional Research Service found when it went to assess just what the various and sundry government agencies that have been assigned, or taken upon themselves, the responsibility for defending and upholding just that mean when they throw the words around. The definition of "homeland security," it appears, is in the eye of the beholder.

The CRS author, Shawn Reese, is too diplomatic — and career-minded — to phrase it that way, of course. In the report, Defining Homeland Security: Analysis and Congressional Considerations (PDF), which has been made available by Secrecy News, he points to the causes of apparent mission creep in the booming homeland security sort-of industry:

The proliferation of responsibilities entitled “homeland security activities” is due to a couple of factors. One factor is that homeland security developed from the pre-9/11 concept of law enforcement and emergency management. Another factor is the continuously evolving definition of “homeland security.” Some degree of evolution of the homeland security concept is expected. Policymakers respond to events and crises like terrorist attacks and natural disasters by using and adjusting strategies, plans, and operations. These strategies, plans, and operations also evolve to reflect changing priorities. The definition of homeland security evolves in accordance with the evolution of these strategies, plans, and operations.

There is a downside to all of this continuing evolution, of course, specifically, "[v]aried homeland security definitions and missions may impede the development of a coherent national homeland security strategy, and may hamper the effectiveness of congressional oversight."

The CRS report goes on to point out that some agencies' definitions of "homeland security" encompass natural disasters, while others include borders and immigration, and maritime stuff gets stuck in there, too. Why such a mishmash of issues? Well, as the CRS suggests in a none-too-subtle hint, the various shoehorned topics all "call for substantial funding." The result, the report suggests, is that "[t]he competing and varied definitions in these documents may indicate that there is no succinct homeland security concept."

Confusion reigns amongst federal bureaucrats? You don't say!

The report's breakdown of various official "homeland security" definitions can be seen below.

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  • Pro Libertate||

    Homeland Security means never having to say you're sorry when your fist is a foot up someone's orifice.

  • Cliché Bandit||

    ahem ....

    "Fuck You!, That's why!"

    Thank you.

  • John||

    An all hazards bitches. Prevent, protect, respond, mitigate, recover. Welcome to my world. And you people wonder why I avoid my job and post on Hit and Run.

    The root of the problem is that they take a law enforcement approach but the senior law enforcement agency is this little outfit known as the Department of Justice. You may have heard of them. And if it is not law enforcement and a no shit invasion, there is the Department of Defense. So DHS is not lead on much of anything beyond busting illegal aliens and handing out FEMA grants. If you are looking for funding and to be important, that is a big problem. Their solution thus far has been to torture the definition of "Homeland Security" to include pretty much anything but that.

  • ||

    I'm glad we pay you to goldbrick, and I mean it. We could be paying some guy there to do his job, and imagine how much more horrible that would be for us.

  • John||

    True. I generally try to stay out of my clients' way. I just make sure they are not doing anything illegal and let them waste money and engage in pointless projects to their little hearts' content. They love me for it.

  • LTC(ret) John||

    Homeland Security = whatever will get moar money and moar power.

  • Aresen||

    This.

    Plus I fear it will come to mean what Comité de salut public meant in France in 1793.

  • John||

    Only if we ever get a real dose of the mob. The only reason the committee was able to do what it did was because the mob had gotten so violent that people demanded the government control it. Robespierre was actually a moderate when he started. He just wanted to keep the radicals from doing what he thought was worse. It didn't work out that way. Once you start killing it is hard to stop.

    But they were really sorry for all of that. They executed Robespierre and renamed the Place de Revolution the Place de Concord (Peace) as an offer of good faith.

  • Aresen||

    "Only if we ever get a real dose of the mob"

    Read the comments on Huffington Post lately? Alternatively, on some of the badgelicker websites?

    Look at the reaction to Newtown and tell me there is no danger of the mob. Or, for that matter, the reaction to 9/11.

    One WMD attack and you can kiss what miniscule parts of your Bill of Rights are left goodbye.

  • John||

    I know. IT is still a hard line to cross. God knows they are walking up to it and fantasizing about crossing it. But they haven't yet thank God.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Homeland Security means that, no matter how many guns it has, any bureaucracy can still end up the butt of endless jokes.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    Homeland Security means whatever the guy who is asking for funding says it means.

  • GILMORE||

    . Policymakers respond to events and crises like terrorist attacks and natural disasters by using and adjusting strategies, plans, and operations. These strategies, plans, and operations also evolve to reflect changing priorities. The definition of homeland security evolves in accordance with the evolution of these strategies, plans, and operations

    "See, its a Thing. And that Thing does Something. And that Something produces Results. When there are No Results, its because the Thing became Something Else. And that's when we know we need more Money"

  • The Late P Brooks||

    "Sometimes the monster is in the closet. Sometimes the monster is hiding under the bed. Sometimes the monster disguises itself as a pile of clothes thrown over the back of a chair. Sometimes the monster IS RIGHT BEHIND YOU!"

  • waaminn||

    I always thought it should have been named Homeland Jokeurity!

    www.Cyber-Anon.tk

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