Discuss the relative importances of the five strategic goals of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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According to the website for the Department of Homeland Security, DHS has five “core missions.”  These are:

  • Preventing terrorism and enhancing security.
  • Securing and managing our borders.
  • Enforcing and administering our immigration laws.
  • Safeguarding and securing cyberspace.
  • Ensuring resilience to disasters.

There is no objective way to determine which of these should be more important.  The question can be looked at in at least two different ways.

First, we can say that DHS should place most importance on the goals where failure would have the most catastrophic consequences, particularly in the short term.  If we look at things in this way, we would say that the first and last goals are the most important.  Terrorist attacks and disasters have the most catastrophic consequences.  They can kill thousands of people and/or destroy huge amounts of property.  These facts would make them the most important of the goals.

Second, we can say that DHS should place most importance on those goals which are most important to everyday life in the United States.  If this is what DHS should do, then the middle three goals are more important.  These are the sorts of goals which can be relevant on a day-to-day basis.  Terrorist attacks occur very rarely and disasters somewhat less rarely.  Immigration and cybersecurity, however, have impacts on us every day.  From this point of view, those goals should be given more importance by DHS.


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