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Department of Homeland Security

POSTED: January 04, 2009, 12:00 am

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Secretary: Janet Napolitano
Department of Homeland Security
Washington, DC 20528

The Secretary of Homeland Security is charged with developing and coordinating a comprehensive national strategy to strengthen the United States against terrorist threats or attacks. In fulfilling this effort, the Secretary will advise the President on strengthening U.S. borders, providing for intelligence analysis and infrastructure protection, improving the use of science and technology to counter weapons of mass destruction, and creating a comprehensive response and recovery division.

Background: The Department of Homeland Security leads the unified national effort to secure America. It will prevent and deter terrorist attacks and protect against and respond to threats and hazards to the nation. The Department will ensure safe and secure borders, welcome lawful immigrants and visitors, and promote the free-flow of commerce.

Historical Note: The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was established by the Homeland Security Act of 2002, (6 U.S.C. 101 note). Pursuant to this legislation, the Department came into existence on January 24, 2003, and is administered under the supervision and direction of the Secretary of Homeland Security. It was created to do the following:

Identify and understand threats, assess vulnerabilities, determine potential impacts, and disseminate timely information to our homeland security partners and the American public;

Detect, deter, and mitigate threats to our homeland;

Safeguard our people and their freedoms, critical infrastructure, property, and the economy of our nation from acts of terrorism, natural disasters, or other emergencies;

Lead, manage, and coordinate the national response to acts of terrorism, natural disasters, or other emergencies;

Lead national, state, local and private sector efforts to restore services and rebuild communities after acts of terrorism, natural disasters, or other emergencies; and

Serve the public effectively by facilitating lawful trade, travel, and immigration.


Federal Emergency Management

The Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) is responsible for leading the effort to prepare the nation for all hazards and effectively manage federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident.

Management Directorate

The Directorate for Management is responsible for budget, appropriations, expenditure of funds, accounting and finance; procurement; human resources and personnel; information technology systems; facilities, property, equipment, and other material resources; and identification and tracking of performance measurements relating to the responsibilities of the Department.

Policy Directorate

The Policy Directorate develops and integrates policies, planning, and programs in order to better coordinate the Department’s prevention, protection, response, and recovery missions.

Preparedness Directorate

The Directorate for Preparedness bolsters our nation’s security through a multilayered system of preparedness measures based on risk assessment and management.

Science and Technology Directorate

The Directorate for Science and Technology is the primary research and development arm of the Department. The Department provides federal, state, and local officials with the technology and capabilities to protect the homeland.

Source: United States Government Manual