Background- Following the terrorist attacks of September 11th in the US; the federal government established the Department of Homeland Security to enhance the protection of Americans from external threats. This department comprised 22 federal agencies that were initially concerned with national security in the US.
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The department was established to consolidate and harmonize the security apparatus to enable the country to adequately respond to terrorism, disasters, and other forms of external aggression on time. The President of the US has also issued various presidential directives that have created non-codified authorities to boost the security of the US. Below are some of the non-codified authorities:
- Presidential Policy Directive (PPD) 1 of 13th February 2009 titled ‘Organization of the National Security Council System’.
- PPD 8 of 30th, March 2009 titled ‘National Preparedness’.
- PPD 21 of 12th, February 2013 titled ‘Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience’.
- National Security Strategy.
- National Strategy for Homeland Security.
PPD 1- It is dated 13th February 2009 and authored by the President of the United States (POTUS) under the title ‘Organization of the National Security Council System’.
It is the first in a series of presidential documents that explain how the POTUS should communicate matters of national security. In the directive, President Obama gives a break down of the National Security Council system as shown below:
- The National Security Council (NSC).
- The NSC committee.
- The NSC deputies committee.
- Inter-agency policy committees.
This directive together with the Presidential Study Directives (PSD) replaced all other instruments previously used for communicating presidential decisions on security issues. The PSD on its part helps the NSC system with up-to-date information on terrorism activities and how to deal with them.
PPD 8– It is dated 30th, March 2009 and authored by the POTUS under the title ‘National Preparedness’. The directive aims at having systematic preparation mechanisms for various types of threats that have adverse security risks to the citizens of the US. PPD 8 aims to achieve its goal by enhancing the resilience and security of the US. Threats that are of major interest under this directive include cyber terrorism, natural disasters, terrorism, and other types of pandemics or emergencies.
The directive is all-inclusive in that it calls upon everyone to play a role in the preparation for threats to national security. However, the federal government plays the primary role of guiding all other state and non-state organizations in the consolidation of efforts to prepare for disasters. The following are the components of the directive:
- National preparedness goal.
- National preparedness system.
- Building and sustaining preparedness.
- National preparedness report.
- Roles and responsibility.
PPD 21 – It is dated 12th, February 2013 and authored by the POTUS under the title ‘Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience’. This directive is closely related to PPD 8 in that it deals with the infrastructure for the preparedness of threats to national security. The directive aims to achieve the following:
- Enhance the cooperation between State, Local, Tribal, and Territorial (SLTT) organs in the preparation for threats to national security. The cooperation is aided by the National Incident Management System (NIMS) which was established under a presidential directive to Homeland Security known as the Homeland Security Presidential Directive 5 (HSPD-5) in 2008. NIMS responds to various incidents such as floods, terrorism attacks, man-made, and natural disasters or calamities.
- Refine and clarify the responsibilities, roles, and functions related to the infrastructure of the federal government to respond to security threats.
- Enhance the collaboration and coordination of various agencies in building capacities for the sustainability of systems for dealing with threats to national security.
The directive has three strategic imperatives:
- To advance national security through the collaboration of various governmental and non-governmental entities in the preparation for and response to security threats.
- To enhance the sharing of security-related information within key departments of the federal government.
- To establish an analysis and integration function.
National Security Strategy- According to Jones, the strategy is based on the following pillars:
- A clear understanding of the US’s strategic involvement with partners; that is, the need to acknowledge the fact that the current international system is characterized by diversity and changes in technology.
- Comprehensive engagement in meeting global challenges including environmental and national security.
- Promotion of a sustainable international order where the respect for human rights and dignity are of central concern.
- Strengthening national capabilities to deal with the increased threat to national security.
- Stabilization of Iraq by withdrawing all US troops and promoting democratic governance in the country.
- Change US foreign policy by reducing the use of military actions against nations believed to be supportive of terrorists and use diplomacy to bring everyone on board.
- Revise the US Patriotic Act to make sure that the US government does not continue to infringe on people’s civil liberties.
- Strengthening the economy of the country to recover from the effects of the 2008 global financial crisis.
For Additional Information
Jones J.L. (2010). The President’s 2010 National Security Strategy FPC Briefing. Web.
The POTUS. (2009). Presidential Policy Directive- 1. Web.
The POTUS. (2011). Presidential Policy Directive PPD- 8. Web.
The POTUS. (2013). Presidential Policy Directive- Critical Infrastructure, Security and Resilience. Web.