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Department of Homeland Security Challenges Thesis


The purpose of this research study is to investigate national intelligence challenges that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will continue to face in the future. A quasi-experimental design methodology will be used. Findings will be based on the analysis of research data.

While the department has been lauded for its impressive management of security matters within the US borders, there are still important milestones that need to be addressed as a matter of urgency. Worse still, homeland security is highly likely to confront additional security challenges in the future based on the current national problems.

Major homeland security operations have already been implemented by the concerned department. Nevertheless, the emerging weaknesses and gaps should be addressed as priority areas because they will definitely affect national peace with the passage of time.

As the national population continues to grow coupled with the changing social fabric and global metrics, the national intelligence challenges are also expanding by the day.


The General Accounting Office in the United States of America has generated more than 1000 reports regarding the state, performance and challenges facing homeland security. Expanding programs and offices, establishing new sub-departments, deploying the necessary workforce and devising better operational plans are some of the functions of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that are yet to be fully executed.

As it stands now, DHS is struggling at the policy-making level bearing in mind that its efforts are not properly guided (Puyvelde 2013, 140). In other words, the existing homeland security framework is quite weak and lacks focus.

For instance, the guiding principles when it comes to disaster response are still below par compared to the dynamic nature of security issues facing the nation. It is against this backdrop that this research proposal seeks to investigate the national intelligence challenges that DHS may continue to deal with in the coming decades.

Research question

This research proposal explores the statement problem by attempting to answer the following research question: Which national intelligence challenges will the Department of Homeland Security continue to face in the future?

Studying the above research question and coming up with concrete solutions is indeed the main value of this proposal. It can be recalled that national security affects every other domain from the local to national levels (Agrell 2012, 120). If security and associated intelligence parameters are poorly handled, even a leading country across the world can be brought into its knees.

The federal screening workforce that is currently deployed by DHS is most likely ill-equipped through resources and/or capacity building and training. Hence, carrying out this research proposal will assist in establishing some of the core pressing needs of DHS in the management of intelligence and security affairs (Omand 2012, 154).

Purpose statement

This research proposal seeks to investigate future intelligence challenges that DHS may eventually grapple with if not addressed at the moment. It is appears that the input of the local, state and federal government personnel and security agencies should not be ignored (Omand 2012, 154).

The focus of all these organs is to promote security; this proposal essay intends to provide a succinct investigation of aspects that are highly likely to hinder the performance of intelligence organs across the nation. The proposal will also offer some background information regarding retrogressive and progressive factors that influence intelligence gathering and overall security management.

From this purpose statement, this research proposal will be in a position to create a useful correlation between the past and current intelligence gathering mechanisms and consequently extrapolate or project the effectiveness of the future intelligence system in the United States.

Literature Review

The Government Accounting Office (GAO) has been in the frontline in reporting the progress of DHS, other security organs and intelligence efficiencies required towards effective management of security affairs (Hymans 2006, 461). Even though such reporting mechanisms are highly needed as part of appraisals, it is crucial to note that DHS cannot perform or improve its effectiveness through mere criticism.

We may not refute the reality that DHS has done its part ever since it was established after the September 11 US bombings. The domestic security enterprise is quite vast, complex and cumbersome to manage. Leading and coordinating the current security structure is a core challenge that has not been masterminded by DHS.

According to a retrospective study executed by Warner (2012, 149), the coordinating efforts and leadership capabilities of DHS have been surpassed by the marauding challenges.

Nevertheless, the key stakeholders in intelligence services concur that DHS has played a more conclusive role in leading other security organs. In spite of this positive contribution, effective partnerships are almost non-existent when it comes to national security intelligence.

Satisfying the mission and vision goals of DHS demand more than just simple partnerships. Are the existing partnerships yielding any positive outcomes? Are duplicate roles being played by different partners?

How is the architecture of sharing and utilizing the available intelligence information? Unless such questions are practically addressed, DHS will continue to suffocate itself amidst the rising territorial challenges (Moran 2011, 681)

Theoretical Framework/Approach

There are existing gaps in literature in regards to the state of national intelligence service in the United States. A critical review of literature reveals that both classical and contemporary studies concentrate mostly in socio-political theories without keenly revising intelligence and security aspects.

For the past few decades, it is evident that the interests of the US foreign policy have captured major headlines at the expense of addressing national security intelligence. In fact, before the formation of DHS, there was minimal redress given to national intelligence. This study will assist in filling the eminent gaps in literature by applying a number if models, theory and frameworks as discussed in this section.

To begin with, this study will employ Social Learning Theory in order to investigate the social context of the contemporary American society with respect to the importance attached to national security intelligence. Through this theoretical mode, this research study will be able to delve into the outcomes of DHS performance on matters related to security (May, Jochim and Sapotichne 2011, 291).

This implies that the study will largely use observation to research, articulate, compare and contrast the existing body of literature and various schools of thought. Through this theoretical model, the study will relate human interaction with the environment and how the latter has jeopardized national intelligence over the past few decades.

Behavior change in the management of security affairs is perhaps required in order to reverse the current trends. This theoretical framework will also highlight crucial aspects such as motivation, retention and attention that are much-needed in bolstering national security.

Since this research study will be exploratory, theoretical frameworks will be fundamental. An exploratory study of this nature will assist in eliminating or deterring any preconceived notions about national security intelligence.

Although there is some amount of knowledge that is freely available in public, this research study will be keen to avoid in assumptions. Hence, the validity of the findings and conclusions made in the research paper will be tested using valid theories. Models of reality are indeed prudent in this type of analytical research study.

Examining the challenges faced by DHS will only be testable using theoretical frameworks. Generalizations, interpretations, research designs and hypotheses will be employed in this study. In addition, the theoretical framework used must be supported or substantiated by past research studies. Descriptive theories that will be used in the study will be tested for validity using descriptive research studies.

Besides, this study will employ correlation research. The latter will be tested using explanatory theories (Friedman 2011, 84). This study will specifically use the Sternberg’s intelligence theory in order to point out individuals or state organs that must act proactively to improve intelligence system in the United States.

The hypothesis to be tested

Poor gathering and utilization of intelligence data will continue to impede the performance of DHS in the future.

Research Design/Methodology

The hypothesis will be tested by analyzing the sample statistical data on security and intelligence in the United States. This analysis will then be used to extrapolate the possible reality in the future (Honig 2007, 710). Quasi-experimental studies will be vital as important sources of data to be used in the research study.

Besides, national intelligence data from scholarly sources and authoritative publications will be integrated in the study. However, the main limitation of the study will be lack of primary data from the field because it will use past and present data from other sources (Champion 2005, 1700).

Generalization of issues will also be a likely limitation that will eventually lead to bias. The case studies to be used in the study will be sourced from reliable sources such as peer reviewed journals and primary reference materials. Since this research study will not be purely empirical in nature, sampling procedures and sampling plan will not be deemed necessary.


Agrell, Wilhelm. 2012. “The Next 100 Years? Reflections on the Future of Intelligence.”Intelligence and National Security 27, no. 1 (June): 118-132.

Champion, Christopher. 2005. “The Revamped FISA: Striking a Better Balance between the Government’s Need to protect itself and the fourth amendment.” Vanderbilt Law Review 58, no. 5 (October):1671-1703.

Friedman, Benjamin. 2011. “Managing Fear: The Politics of Homeland Security.” Political Science Quarterly 126, no. 1(May): 77-110.

Honig, Or Arthur. 2007. “A new direction for theory-building in intelligence studies.” International Journal of Intelligence and Counter Intelligence 20, no. 4 (August): 699- 716.

Hymans, Jacques. 2006. “Theories of nuclear proliferation: The state of the field.” Nonproliferation Review 13, no. 3 (May): 455-465.

May, Peter, Ashley Jochim, and Joshua Sapotichne. 2011. “Constructing Homeland Security: An Anemic Policy Regime.” Policy Studies Journal 39, no. 2 (May): 285-307.

Moran, Christopher, 2011. “Intelligence and the Media: The press, government secrecy and the ‘Buster’ Crabb Affair.” Intelligence and National Security 26, no. 5 (October): 676-700.

Omand, David. 2012. “Into the Future: A Comment on Agrell and Warner.” Intelligence and National Security 27, no. 1(November): 154-156.

Puyvelde, Damien. 2013. “Intelligence Accountability and the role of public interest groups in the United States.” Intelligence and National Security 28, no. 2 (May): 139-158.

Warner, Michael. 2012. “Reflections on Technology and Intelligence Systems.” Intelligence and National Security 27, no. 1 (July): 133-153.

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IvyPanda. "Department of Homeland Security Challenges." June 23, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/department-of-homeland-security-challenges/.


IvyPanda. 2019. "Department of Homeland Security Challenges." June 23, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/department-of-homeland-security-challenges/.


IvyPanda. (2019) 'Department of Homeland Security Challenges'. 23 June.

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