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WASHINGTON DC 24 Jan 2013 Department of Homeland Security 10 years old

The United States Department of Homeland Security came into being on 24 Jan 2003. In the era of budget cutting a decade later, t

January 24, 2013 - NULL

WASHINGTON DC 24 Jan 2013 Department of Homeland Security 10 years old

The United States Department of Homeland Security came into being on 24 Jan 2003. In the era of budget cutting a decade later, the anniversary invites the question of whether the department is worth the tens of billions of dollars spent annually to run it. Regardless of the verdict, and though it is on Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul's hit list, the department seems here to stay: Rep. Paul's is given very long odds of winning the presidency.

The Los Angeles Times asked the question in Aug 2011

WASHINGTON DC 24 Jan 2013 Department of Homeland Security 10 years old

The United States Department of Homeland Security came into being on 24 Jan 2003. In the era of budget cutting a decade later, the anniversary invites the question of whether the department is worth the tens of billions of dollars spent annually to run it. Regardless of the verdict, and though it is on Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul's hit list, the department seems here to stay: Rep. Paul's is given very long odds of winning the presidency.

The Los Angeles Times asked the question in Aug 2011, reporting that federal and state governments are spending about US $75 billion a year on domestic security. The report noted that, like the monolithic military-industrial complex installed during the Cold War, the vast network of Homeland Security spyware and high-tech screening and other paraphernalia is here to stay. The newspaper adds that with almost no lawmaker willing to render the US less prepared for a terrorist attack, the department is one of those least likely to fall victim to budget cuts.

Cable network CNN sees a different picture, noting that the department's budget was largely immune to cuts during the first years of the recession but it is now flattening out as Congress looks for ways to cut expenses.

The cost-cutting could come in the form of more oversight. In a 2006 report cited by USA Today, the House of Representatives Committee on Government Reform slammed Homeland Security for waste, ineffectiveness and lack of contract oversight. The growing number of department contracts "has not been accompanied by responsible, competent contract management," the committee's report stated. It cited 32 contracts, worth US $34.3 billion and issued during the past three years, for "waste, abuse or mismanagement."

Rep. Paul wants to eliminate many cabinet level departments, including Homeland Security, the Department of Education, the Department of Energy, the Department of Commerce, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Interstate Commerce Commission and the Internal Revenue Service.

President George W. Bush created a homeland security predecessor in the aftermath of the Sep 11 attacks in 2001 to coordinate counterterrorism efforts by federal, state, and local agencies. The birthing of the full cabinet-level department took a year as Republicans and Democrats in Congress hammered out the details. The result was a department that merged 22 agencies responsible for domestic security and emergency preparedness, including the Customs Service and Border Patrol (now U.S. Customs and Border Protection), the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), the Secret Service, and the Coast Guard. Fox News described the effort in 2002 as the most grandiose federal reorganization since the Defense Department's birth in 1947. (WRITTEN Jan 2012)

RELATED READING:
Is Homeland Security spending paying off? (LA Times 28 Aug 2011)
http://articles.latimes.com/2011/aug/28/nation/la-na-911-homeland-money-20110828

Homeland Security feeling budget pinch (CNN 17 Jan 2012)
http://security.blogs.cnn.com/2012/01/17/security-feeling-the-budget-pinch/

Critics slam Homeland Security contracts (USA Today 10 Sep 2006)
http://www.usatoday.com/money/industries/2006-09-10-security-contracts-criticized_x.htm

Department of Homeland Security (Encyclopedia Britannica)
http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/872639/United-States-Department-of-Homeland-Security?source=ONTHISDAYk

Senate Passes Homeland Security Bill (Fox News 20 Nov 2002)
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,70820,00.html#ixzz1kVg9xxsz

Obama moves to simplify visa process (Economist 21 Jan 2012
http://www.economist.com/blogs/gulliver/2012/01/entering-america

Date written/update: 2013-01-24