3 Reasons to Kill the Dept. of Homeland Security

It's unnecessary, ineffective, and expensive. And that's just for starters.

Sunday, November 25, 2012 marks the 10th anniversary of the creation of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which pulled together nearly two dozen federal agencies and departments under the control of new, single entity. Its responsibilities include running the US Border Patrol, the Plum Island Animal Disease Center, and FEMA. 

DHS is the third biggest cabinet agency, but are we better off because of its existence?

Here are three reasons to get rid of DHS.

1. It’s unnecessary. In the months immediately following September 11 attacks in 2001, President George W. Bush initially resisted calls to create a new high-level bureaucracy that would be laid on top of current activities. He was right to recognize that coordinating existing agencies would have been smarter and better. Unfortunately, he caved in to pressure to create a massive new department.

2. It’s ineffective. To read the titles of Government Accountability Office (GAO) analyses of Homeland Security is to be reminded constantly that DHS is never quite on top of its game. Recent reports include “DHS Requires More Disciplined Investment Management to Help Meet Mission Needs,” “DHS Needs Better Project Information and Coordination Among Four Overlapping Grant Programs,” and “Agriculture Inspection Program Has Made Some Improvements, But Management Challenges Persist.”

3. It’s expensive. Last year, Homeland Security spent a whopping $60 billion, a figure that will doubtlessly increase in coming years. The construction of its new headquarters – the single-largest projectever undertaken by The General Services Administration – will cost at least $4 billion and is already years behind on schedule since breaking ground in 2009. 

Since it’s the holiday season, here’s a bonus reason to get rid of the Department of Homeland Security: It also runs the Transportation Security Administration, whose nasty reputation for manhandling innocent travelers is only slightly more annoying than its massive and undeserved growth in personnel and cost over the past decade.

About 2.30 minutes.

Produced by Meredith Bragg and Nick Gillespie, who also narrates.

Reason on DHS and TSA.

Bonus link: Glenn Instapundit Reynolds foresaw all this a decade ago.

Scroll below for downloadable versions and subscribe to Reason TV's YouTube channel to receive automatic notifications when new videos go live.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    I don't remember reason calling for the abolishment of DHS when it was helmed by a straight, white male.

  • LTC(ret) John||

    Patriarchist heteronormativism!

  • LiberTarHeel||

    I'm glad to see Reason called out as the racist, sexist organ of the radical right that it's propaganda pieces prove it to be. Thank you for reading their articles so closely, and for exposing the hidden agendas therein!

  • MWG||

    New here?

  • fish||

    You miserable bastard.....I bet you hate Thanksgiving too?!?!


  • Fist of Etiquette||

    I do. I really do.

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    I remember Reason opposing the idea of its creation. What more do you want?

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    I want people like you to stop coming here just to boast about your memory. That's what more I do want.

  • LTC(ret) John||

    Or leave it in place and kill the TSA, FBI, ATFE and everything that surrounds it. If anyone objects, just point out the overlap and duplication and snidely ask why they are opposed to efficient gobermint?

  • Ted S.||

    The term "homeland", especially when used by thosej scoundrels who use "patriotism" as a last refuge, makes me queasy.

  • LTC(ret) John||

    They are not using it as a last refuge, more like first.

  • RBS||

    I know, why don't they just come out and call it the Fatherland.

  • LTC(ret) John||

    Fatherland is too partriarchal.

  • Pound. Head. On. Desk.||

    Fat-Her-Land is anti-obese women.

  • LTC(ret) John||

    nicely done - womyn everywhere applaud!

  • Whiterun Guard||

    What about the ones with only one, or even no, hands?

    You freaking bi-brachialist pig!

  • LTC(ret) John||


    Congratulations, you are hereby awarded the Order of Marcotte, with crossed forceps.

  • Whiterun Guard||

    On a similar subject, Liberia actually has a one legged soccer team (informally referred to as "the flamingos").

    The goalie has two legs but only one arm.

    They went to the world championships (somewhere in Scandinavia) last year and won.

    This is actually all true.

  • LTC(ret) John||

    (Team) pictures or it didn't happen. You know the rulez.

  • Whiterun Guard||

    All right, here you go:


    And (sorry this is from 2007, but I'm sure there's 2011 footage around):


  • Translucent Chum||

    Were they pirates?

  • Whiterun Guard||

    Wrong coast of Africa!

  • Almanian.||

    Ted - TSA is a..."final solution" of sorts. Nothing to worry about...

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    I realize that this is quibble, but I grow weary of "Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel" and "Violence is the last resort of the incompetent". Both quotes are used casually by all and sundry, but a little too often by intellectual lightweights who want to establish that their shallow cosmopolitanism or well-protected pacifism is morally superior.

    Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel because loyalty to his society would only occur to him in the last extreme. Violence is the last resort of the incompetent because the competent use it sooner, when it might accomplish something.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    Well, basically, the Department of Homeland Security is essentially an Interior Ministry. Why the U.S. would have such a function in its government should be open to question.

  • LTC(ret) John||

    All the cool (European) countries have one!

  • Whiterun Guard||

    Haha, poor Austria.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    We could get rid of the TSA and replace them with coin operated Psychic booths and realize no discernible decrease in effectiveness.

  • ||

    But who will fondle small children until they cry? Dislodge a dying nonagerian cancer patient's colostomy bag so she is soiled and distressed? Your plan, sir, would massively decrease its effectiveness in bullying and upsetting peaceful law-abiding citizens

  • Ted S.||

    Won't somebody please think of the children?

  • The Late P Brooks||

    But who will fondle small children until they cry?

    Now you want to put the Priesthood on the sidelines?

    You heartless monster.

  • np||

    Egypt protesters attack Mursi's party offices

    Protesters stormed the headquarters of the Muslim Brotherhood's party in Alexandria on Friday, throwing chairs and books into the street and setting them alight, after the Egyptian president granted himself sweeping new powers.

    Supporters of President Mohamed Mursi and opponents also threw stones at each other near a mosque in the city, Egypt's second largest, a witness said.
  • Mike M.||

    HAHAHAHAHAHA!! Meet the new Middle East dictator, same as the old Middle East dictator, only worse. Enjoy your "Arab Spring" everybody.

  • LTC(ret) John||

    Morsi I, MB Dynasty. Has a bit of a ring to it.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    The schadenfreude is delicious! Can devout Muslims shed salty ham tears?

  • Lewisite||

    "The schadenfreude is delicious! Can devout Muslims shed salty ham tears?"

    Sandy hummus tears, with goat urine.

  • XM||

    So we no longer have dictators who sort of used to meet us half way on some things. They're all just bad now.

    Is Obama's big stick made of cotton and foam better than Ron Paul's straight non intervensionism?

  • Lord Humungus||

    Up here by the lakeshore, the wind is blowing furiously. I'm reading a newspaper - a rarity - and wonder and the stupidity of the opinion columnists, mostly discussing why the GOP lost and the wonders of big government and why people just love it.

    They're living in a dream: Where is the money going to come from to pay for these trillions of $$$ of largesse? Even their beloved Obamacare, Social Security and Medicare won't be able to stand to the reality. There's a storm brewing outside and (almost) everyone is trying to ignore it.

  • LTC(ret) John||

    C'mon - that one is easy. THE EVUL RICH will simply be asked to pay a little more and all will be well!

  • Almanian.||

    I've been saying it for some time now, and for me the election results (and ongoing related nonsense in fed and state gummints across the country) confirm it:

    it's just a matter of time before we visit Rome et al on the trash heap of history. Not tomorrow...but not in decades, either.

    Was a great experiment while it lasted, 'murca! kthxbai

  • Whiterun Guard||

    We got like 15 years, I imagine. Just enough time for me to become the Robert Duvall character instead of the Viggo Mortensen character :(

  • Sevo||

    LH, your paper would have to go a ways to beet this daily score:

    1) Chron turns over part of the front page to scare-squad press release:
    "Unsafe cosmetics face few limits"

    2) Protest at Walmart hours by those who don't work there:
    "Black Friday early for shoppers, protests"
    ..."30 activists ... Most were not employees of the company.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    THE EVUL RICH will simply be asked to pay a little more and all will be well!

    THEIR FAIR SHARE!!!!!!!!

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Somebody linked to Little Nicky Kristof's column in yesterday's legalization post.

    Holy shit, what a distillation of pure, industrial strength stupid.

    America is a third world country, and we should confiscate the wealth of the One Per Cent and spend it on infrastructure and Moar Kopz!

    Also, everything should be under central control because distributed networks (and self-insurance) are undemocratic.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    Of course, there was the initial idiocy of talking about the electrical grid as infrastructure ignored by our "obsession with free enterprise". The electrical grid is privately owned by regulated utilities.

  • Len Bias||

    "Public libraries closing branches and cutting hours? Well, buy your own books and magazines!"

    Oh, the humanity!

    I also liked he how recoiled in horror at the thought of cutting funding to public broadcasting. We would just be lost as a society without it.

    But, seriously, California has some of the highest tax rates in the country, and things are falling apart here. I like it better when lefties admit they want higher taxes for their own sake, it's a more honest argument.

  • ||


  • LTC(ret) John||


  • fish||

    Dude! You are on a roll this a.m.!


  • Whiterun Guard||

    3 reasons to kill morning links on their Xth anniversary!

    1. First!
    2. Sarc's daily fail links

  • LTC(ret) John||

    THAT'S NOT FUNNY! Somebody make the scary man stop posting.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    We just need to find a way for everyone to get first comment. You know, like Communism.

  • Whiterun Guard||

    You know, if there were no names on any of the comments, it wouldn't matter who was first.

  • LTC(ret) John||

    And the Last Shall Be Fist, and the Fist Shall Be Last.

    So it is written, so let it be DONE!

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Some pigs are more first than others.

  • Whiterun Guard||

    If we cut up the morning links into tiny little morning links we can all carry a piece of it with us at all times.

    Won't that be great?

  • Archduke Pantsfan||

    Plus PM Links are clearly the superior links

  • Whiterun Guard||

    Blasphemy. PM Links are an abomination!

  • Archduke Pantsfan||

    They are a sweet aroma

  • AuH2O||

    PM links are unsullied by the dominion of the East Coast!

  • sarcasmic||

    Some consider my Daily Fails to be a community service!

  • Whiterun Guard||

    I know I do. I was just pandering to the crowd that bitches about your links, since they're more vocal and I wanted to seem cool :(

  • sarcasmic||

    Hopefully by January you will no longer see my Daily Fails because I'll have a real job!

  • Archduke Pantsfan||

    You read it so we don't have to

  • ||

    I'm just sitting here at work wondering who thought it would be a good idea to deploy an upgrade not only on a Friday, but on a Friday following a major holiday.

    I work with some real smart folks, lemme tell ya.

  • Whiterun Guard||

    Probably secret Canadians. Or just idiots.

    Or both.

    Yeah, probably both.

  • Archduke Pantsfan||

    That's a very narrow overlap on the venn diagram

  • sarcasmic||

    Probably someone who figured that most people would use vacation time to get a four day weekend.

  • Ayn Random Variation||

    Because all of the big bosses are on vacation or "working' from home, so they won't have to deal with the mess.

    I know how they think.

  • Rich||

  • VG Zaytsev||

    No matter how many superlatives one chooses to use, it is difficult to accurately depict the sheer magnitude of this development. When complete, the DHS campus will comprise 4.5 million square feet of work space and 1.5 million square feet of structured parking. It is the largest construction project in the Washington metropolitan area since the Pentagon was built during World War II.

    And the best part is that it's built on the site of an abandoned mental health hospital and a total of 51 of the 62 buildings that contribute to its historic character will be modernized and reused.

  • Generic Stranger||


  • Sevo||

    2-link limit means this nugget from the Chrn has to go separately
    3) "Cap-and-trade market seems fraud-proof"
    Ha and ha.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    "Cap-and-trade market seems fraud-proof"

    Wait, what?

  • Lewisite||

    "Cap-and-trade fraud seems market-proof"

    Much better now...

  • The Late P Brooks||

    The Capitalist oppression of America continues apace.

    Among customers, a source of controversy was the earlier opening time.

    "They shouldn't do this anymore -- it's horrible," said Kayla Edwell, 45, of Pittsburgh. "Let people spend time with their families."

    Edwell was there along with her mother to do Christmas shopping, in the market for Xbox games and remote-control cars.

    "As long as people come, they'll do this, and it's hard not to come if you can get some good prices," her mother, Shirley Edwell, said.

    "I am a viktim of teh vast kkkorporate mind control conspiracy."

  • Whiterun Guard||

    If only there was some way to order virtually everything you can think of via an electronic means of communications.

    Nukes. Orbits. Yada yada yada.

  • Almanian.||


    Mrs. Almanian and I were just fawning over teh internetz shopping. I got a couple last minute things from teh Amazon (lowest price + free shipping!) and she ordered Omaha steaks for my best friend and his wife.

    Easy peasy while we're watching DIY network deciding what to do to our house next.

  • Whiterun Guard||

    Exactly. I consider progress to be defined as an increase in the number of things I can do without wearing pants.

  • Ted S.||

    You're watching the DIY channel? What kind of monster are you?

    (Well, more likely I'd guess you're just whipped by Mrs. Almanian. My mom likes the DIY and HGTV crap.)

  • The Late P Brooks||

    This is truly insightful. Whatever they pay this guy, it's not enough.

    “Amazon is just passing the sales tax on to the consumer, it's not like they're eating that 5-10 percent,” Michael Brim, founder and CEO of the Black Friday deals watch site BFAds.net, writes via e-mail. "This won't affect their ability to price-match.”

  • Sevo||

    Amazing! The customers pay the tax? I was assured the company just took it out of the profits.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    Not just profits, but VAST WINDFALL profits.

  • Lincoln||

    So. . . does this remind anyone else of the drug war and the DEA? They have accomplished none of their stated goals and are costing us huge fortunes every year. Make no mistake these agencies exist for a reason, just not their stated purposes.

  • Ted S.||

    Reminiscent not so much of the War on Drugs, but of Big Government in general.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    They have accomplished none of their stated goals and are costing us huge fortunes every year.

    The only meaningful measure of "success" in government programs is ever-increasing budgets and expansion of size and power.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Link fail; NBC.com apparently doesn't like my computer. I didn't think it was even going to let me capture the quote. Whatever (via Google News):

    "The World Bank did a great service to society by issuing this report," said Michael Mann, a climate researcher at Pennsylvania State University and the author of " The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars " (Columbia University Press, 2012).

    Climate deniers often claim that solutions to global warming are part of a "global socialist agenda," Mann told LiveScience.

    "The fact that the World Bank — an entity committed to free market capitalism — has weighed in on the threat of climate change and the urgency of acting to combat it, puts the nail in the coffin of that claim," he said.

    Michael Mann: wrong about climate change, wrong about the World Bank.

  • Voros McCracken||

    "The fact that the World Bank — an entity committed to free market capitalism"

    Wait, what?

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Duh, it's got Bank in it's name so it has be uber capitalist.

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    The intellectual Left has spent so many decades of mental contortion pretending that the awful history of Communist atrocities is a series of unconnected coincidences that they now have few connections to reality. Hence their ability to come out with howlers like this, and be honestly baffled when sane people laugh.

  • Ted S.||

    Government-funded organization performs "study" saying we need more government. Shocker.

    (I've never understood why business-funded science is automatically suspect, but government-funded science is automatically virtuous and beyond reproach.)

  • iggy||

    Also, notice how no one ever gives a legitimate plan for combating climate change? It's always 'guys, let's do SOMETHING?!'

    There's literally no way to stop climate change without devastating economic growth to a degree that would eternally impoverish billions of people.

  • Generic Stranger||

    That's the point. They also know that telling people that would get them strung up on lamp posts. So they keep their solutions deliberately vague.

  • ||

    I wish I had a toddler so I could get him or her this for Xmas.

  • Ted S.||

    I can haz stoopid.

    Sorry, I never got the "I can has cheezburger" meme or why it's supposed to be funny. And the page tried to load a whole bunch of elements before it tried loading the image that's the point of the page. Next time link directly to the picture.

    On the bright side, at least you didn't link to a slideshow list.

  • Rhywun||

    If you have cats, it never gets old.

  • ||


  • curmudgeon||

    Kill a useless, expensive, ineffective government program?? Are you insane. Where would it end if we started down this path?

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    Well, there IS precedent. I'm told they finally did away with the mohair price support program….

  • CE||

    But how do you know it's not just ineffective because it hasn't been adequately funded (like the one-trillion-dollars-per-year perpetual stimulus)?

  • BMFPitt||

    The construction of its new headquarters – the single-largest project ever undertaken by The General Services Administration – will cost at least $4 billion and is already years behind on schedule since breaking ground in 2009.

    I wonder what the Pentagon would cost if they built it today.

  • LifeStrategies||

    What happened to the right against unreasonable search without a warrant?

    Government has gone wild, if not actually insane. Worse it's paying for all this with taxes on you and your wealth, your money, and your children's money! see: http://www.lifestrategies.net/money

    Am I a radical because I think government should be accountable to the people? Isn't that the way the US constitution was set up?

  • St.julian||

    TSA was born in typical Washinton fashion. Rather than solve a problem, congress and the administration(s) throw money at I'll conceived notions. Say for example the border fence or the criminalization of all airline passengers.

Click here to follow Reason on Instagram


Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Video Game Nation: How gaming is making America freer – and more fun.
  • Matt Welch: How the left turned against free speech.
  • Nothing Left to Cut? Congress can’t live within their means.
  • And much more.