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The department of homeland security is the third largest department in the American government. Therefore, it requires specialized management in order to enhance its performance and assure the fulfillment of its basic role of ensuring the internal security of the American population at all times. In addition, the department has various other subdivisions, thus making synchronization of their functions for the achievement of a main goal difficult.
As a means to remedy the situation, this paper proposes the establishment of a separate department, viz. the management department and the construction of a center where the department’s team can apply the use of technology and labor to ease the management of all the sub departments at once. The aim is to create better service delivery, ease some tedious tasks such as prioritizing, and create savings on resources.
The department of homeland security is a cabinet department that the United States government established in November 2002 in response to terrorism. On September 11, 2001, terrorists from the infamous terrorist group, Al Qaeda, hijacked planes and crashed them into the twin towers of the World Trade Center and on the Pentagon in Washington (Department of Homeland Security, 2013).
Since then, the government of the United States has been on a high alert by using the department of homeland security to protect its civilian population and secure its borders within and in the areas surrounding the United States. Although the formation of the department has led to the decline of terrorist activities within and outside the United States, the department faces various challenges with one of the major ones being the management and oversight of the department.
Although the American government established the department as a single unit, it has since then subdivided into several different units each performing a different role from the other in the accomplishment of a common goal. In addition, the different departments have employed the use of thousands of people in the fulfillment of their duties, thus making management difficult although not impossible, for the cabinet, the branch of the government that formed the outfit.
In order to understand the problem and its intricacies, it is helpful to understand a government in the form of a business organization in terms of its need to generate income through the utilization of capital expenditure in the form of finances and people. Every business organization strives to make as much profit as possible while reducing its expenses with regard to the amount of money it spends on supplies, payment of recurrent bills, and salaries and wages.
In the same way, governments generate income through taxes, levies, and business transactions with multinational corporations and other governments. Proper management is an integral part of the business aspect of any government, as it ensures that the government gets enough income to provide its citizens and residents with quality services, infrastructure, security, and various other social amenities (Collins, 2001).
It also ensures that the government has the ability to participate in international trade for purposes of obtaining goods and services that it cannot provide for its citizens and residents within its borders. The management process also ensures that governmental departments receive proper funding and employees perform their tasks according to required standards regardless of the number of departments in existence.
The department of homeland security, as a branch of the government, goes through most of the same management problems by having to synchronize its various sub departments while ensuring the accomplishment of its main purpose, viz. national security. A management program is thus necessary for proper maintenance of its objectives and performance of its functions with regard to the purpose for its formation. This paper proposes the establishment of the management program and explains its significance, functions, and execution.
One of the objectives of this analysis and consequent proposal for a management department is to provide an avenue through which the department of homeland security can centrally monitor the activities of its sub departments and their employees. This aspect is important especially in the analysis of strengths and weaknesses of each sub department and subsequent proper allocation of duties.
The formation of the management department also ensures that the department does not lose its supervisory power through the allowance of employee autonomy. Although it is crucial to allow employees to maintain their autonomy, the same principle presents a risk to the department in the form of leakage of vital information and fraudulent interactions between employees and outsiders (Buckingham & Coffman, 1999).
Thirdly, the formation of the department would allow employees a simpler procedure to air their issues. Although law enforcement officers form a majority of employees at the department of homeland security and thus work under specific legal regulations, it also consists of employees with expertise in other fields such as technicians and researchers.
It is important for all the players in each of the subdivisions to have an avenue through which they can express their concerns, especially if they need more help that goes beyond the jurisdiction of their respective departments.
Another objective is for the department to have the ability to filter, supply, and accurately circulate information to the various subdivisions of the main department. The importance of this aspect lies in the need for a government department to prioritize issues based on their importance and impact.
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This move would enable the department to monitor activities in its various sub departments from a central location and determine issues that require immediate attention. For instance, it would be easier to form connections concerning threats by the same perpetrators that affect different departments.
For instance, it would be easier to connect the link between an attack that requires the attention of the United States Coast Guard and the Immigrations and Customs Enforcement department and form a single unit of personnel from the two departments to use the same resources. As opposed to dealing with the matter departmentally and using separate resources for the same goal, the former option would allow sharing of information between the two departments and save on resources for both departments.
Operating activities of the department’s subdivisions centrally would foster teamwork among the different sub departments. The department of homeland security’s sub departments includes the Federal Emergency Management department, the U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the U.S Coast guard, the Secret Service, and the Transport Security Administration.
The sub departments currently operate as autonomous entities, thus enabling the application of more focus when dealing with issues and more discretion in their operations (Covey, Roger & Merill, 1994).
Although the application of discretion and autonomy is important depending on the nature of the issues and reduces burdens on other sub departments, teamwork would enable the various units within the departments more access to information that would create new perspectives on various issues and make problem solving easier. Teamwork makes it easier for the entire department to accomplish its purpose, viz. maintenance of security within and around the country’s borders in contrast to specialized units working separately.
Solving the management challenge is important to the department as it forms part of the main reasons for the success or failure of the department in the fulfillment of its functions. Establishment of a central management department would ease the process of providing the cabinet, which is the overall supervisory body, with reliable feedback on the needs and progress of the entire homeland security body.
It would also boost accountability, as leaders of the various subdivisions of the department would have to account for their various decisions and better analyze situations before making any decisions.
Secondly, the proposed management department would reduce cases of missed opportunities and wrong assessment of situations through the interconnection of information from various divisions to form links that depict the true picture of the situation. This aspect would largely enable the divisions to make calculated and objective decisions, thus improving the overall security situation in the country.
For instance, if the September 11, 2001 bombings had occurred after the formation of the department of homeland security, factoring in the function of the proposed management department, it would have been possible for the department to detect a link between anomalies in Washington and New York. Such detection would have reduced the impact the attack had on the security of the nation and maybe prevented the attack all together.
The management center would also play a huge role in the improvement of security through the availability of information. An analysis of previous covert government operations in past years indicates that lack of adequate information has dire consequences on the outcome of security operations important for national security.
A good example of such a case is the Bay of Pigs operation by the United States against Cuba for the protection of the nation from imminent threat in 1961 (Erwin, 2013). The operation failed due to lack of sufficient information regarding the fact that Fidel Castro himself was in charge of a defense operation against it.
The management center would also greatly improve service delivery by the various divisions to Americans. The goal of the entire department of homeland security is to provide security to American citizens and residents.
Therefore, by ensuring that the relevant divisions accomplish their duties to Americans, the management department would ensure that homeland security fulfils its duties to the country. The task is different from the function of the Federal Emergency Management Department, as the management department of homeland security would have countrywide reach and work to prevent the occurrence of avoidable federal emergencies.
Another significant advantage that the creation and implementation of the management department would have for homeland security is that it would significantly improve the oversight role of the cabinet over the main department and its sub departments while maintaining the cabinet’s need to avoid unnecessary supervision.
In essence, the management department would take over part of the cabinet’s supervisory role and report to the cabinet where necessary. The importance of this move to the cabinet is that it allows the cabinet to take a step back, observe the operations of the entire homeland security department, and form policies for the remediation of any outstanding shortcomings in the department.
Additionally, the cabinet would also have more time to attend to crucial matters such as finances and policymaking. Without proper policy on issues of finances, operations at the department of homeland security and others in its category would suffer inadequate funding, crippling their performance.
One of the main methods that the management department would apply in the achievement of its purpose would be the use of technology as the main tool for communication, which is a crucial component of its operation. The invention of mobile phone communication and the Internet has enhanced communication through easing access to information and distribution of the same.
The Internet has also born the development of social media, which has enabled people to transverse international boundaries without having to cross national borders. One of the main advantages of the Internet and social media is the creation of connections between individuals in different places, which has enabled the creation and development of relationships.
Secondly, the Internet has enabled access to information on significant events around the world as they happen, thus improving the response time to the same whenever necessary.
Thirdly, people no longer rely on books as the only source of information as they can get the same directly from the source, established authors, and those with similar potential. However, as with every other technological discovery, the Internet also has its disadvantages with the main one being the possible access to private information.
Cases of cyber crime such as hacking of Internet accounts and breaking international intellectual property rights have in been on the rise in recent years. The advantages of technology and the Internet in particular often outweigh the disadvantages and it is possible for the management department to utilize such advantages. For instance, in the recent years, the United States government has applied the use of hacking to intercept and monitor information flowing inside and outside its borders for security purposes.
In 2012, the Department of Homeland Security reported on its website that there were 691 arrests, 432 indictments, and 334 prosecutions related to intellectual property rights infringements in that year (Department of Homeland Security, 2013). It also noted that the Internet has contributed greatly to the growth of incidents of small packages of counterfeit goods shipped to the country through private mail and express carriers.
According to a similar report by the Global Intellectual Property Center (2013), the department has increased surveillance on the sources of these packages and the websites involved leading to the taking down of 697 websites by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement department. According to the same report, the United States Customs and Borders Patrol reported seizures made in 2012, amounting to 22,848 (Global Intellectual Property Centre, 2013).
Although the statistics are impressive, combination of both agencies would yield better results, not necessarily by increasing seizure, but mostly by preventing the development of such illegal activity. It would be the management department’s duty to coordinate combined operations by both agencies and similar others resulting in a reduction of resource application for the benefit of the agencies and the overall department of homeland security.
Although the individual divisions would retain the ability and mandate to recruit their employees of choice, the management department would play a supervisory role concerning the duties available to the employees at any given time.
The main advantage this would have is that it would ease the need for each individual division to sort through and prioritize issues, thus making it easier to distribute tasks among their employees. The prioritization of issues by the management department would also serve to improve the quality of work each individual division handles.
Personnel, equipment and facilities
The establishment and functional operation of the management department would require the recruitment and specialized training of personnel competent in the evaluation of situations and prioritization of issues in order to make the project a success. This assertion means that the department of homeland security would have to select carefully individuals based on academic qualification and skill set. In consideration of the skill set of each individual, the management can go about the evaluation by two ways.
First, it can select individuals with expert skills in specific areas such as research and analysis or choose individuals with numerous skills, and such a combination would enable them operate different tasks in the department. The advantage with specialized employees is that they possess extensive knowledge on specific issues that could prove valuable.
However, they usually lack flexibility, which would force the department to conduct an extensive training program before employment. As a result, the operation of the department would take a considerably longer period to actualize. On the other hand, if the management chose to employ individuals with two or more skills for each of its numerous stations, it would need fewer employees, which can prove advantageous, especially in instances where resources are limited.
The only disadvantage with this strategy is that the management department would have to expect mistakes or cope with lower performance in the beginning and improvement as the project takes effect. The use of multi-skilled employees also fosters innovative ideas that would be of great use to the management department especially in complex and emergency action situations.
The department of homeland security would also have to establish a center where the department can operate from and afford the team the best quality technology available to ensure that the team’s performance remains at its best. The security function of the department of homeland security heavily relies on prevention than defense, and thus hi-tech equipment is crucial to the achievement of the management department’s goals.
Equipment that would enable the detection of threats, compile information regarding the various divisions, analyze the information, and enable the team of experts make strategic decisions based on the same. High-speed computers and reliable Internet and satellite connections would be part of the essential equipment necessary for the project.
The budget for the project would largely depend on the financial position of the department of homeland security and the order of priority it applies in the division of its funds. The current budgetary allocation for the entire department is approximately sixty one billion dollars, which is available for division among eight sub departments (Department of Homeland Security, 2013).
The Homeland Security Management Department would be the ninth sub department in the list. As a new project, the budgetary allocation would depend on the current overall position and the funds available for new projects, as it is important to recognize that the rest of the sub departments would still be operational.
The establishment of the department would ease the operation of the entire homeland security department. Therefore, it is a necessity for the improvement of the department’s performance and service delivery. Its benefits outweigh the expenses that would usually constitute its disadvantage and is thus practical and achievable.
Buckingham, M., & Coffman, C. (1999). First, Break All the Rules: What the World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently. New York, NY: Simon and Schuster.
Collins, J. (2001). Good to great: Why some companies make the leap and others don’t. London, UK: Random House Business Publishing.
Covey, S., Roger, A., & Merill, R. (1994). First Things First. New York, NY: Free Press Department of Homeland Security. (2013). Homeland security and defense structure. Retrieved from www.HomeLandSecurityResearch.com
Erwin, C. (2009). Covert Action: legislation background and possible policy questions. New York, NY: Congressional Research Service.
Global Intellectual Property Centre. (2013). United States Chamber of Commerce. 7 Sept. 2013, from www.coc.gov/gipc/