Homeland Security

The US Intelligence Community’s role is to provide timely and significant information to policymakers and law enforcers to foster stable national security. For mission accomplishment, the data goes through the ‘intelligence cycle.’ The intelligence cycle involves gathering, processing, analyzing, and distributing intelligence, enabling the smooth running of activities in the Intelligence Community. The cycle begins with the consumer of intelligence who calls for information prompting the relevant agency to collect data. The gathered data is then processed and analyzed, and feedback relayed to the consumer and analysts within the intelligence community for information sharing. The consumer can ask for more help when the provided intelligence is inadequate if necessary (Federal Of American Scientists, 1996).

The US intelligence comprises of several organizations that work either independently or jointly to collect data relevant to conduct national and foreign security affairs. The information gathered enables the President and other law enforcement bodies to perform their duties. The intelligence information is used for overcoming cyber threats, terrorism, nuclear proliferation, and global warming effects. The Office of Department National Intelligence is the legal advisor to the President and heads the Intelligence Community. The Director of National Intelligence integrates domestic and military intelligence to ensure homeland security.  The Central Intelligence Agency is an independent organization that protects senior US officials. The Defense Intelligence Agency provides information for military planning and the acquisition of weapon systems. The Department of Energy promotes homeland security curbing energy, environmental and nuclear changes through scientific and technological research (The University of New Mexico, 2020).

The Department of Homeland Security merges law enforcement and intelligence data to thwart threats within US boundaries. Air force Intelligence provides intelligence obtained from the air, space, and cyberspace. On the other hand, Army Intelligence offers tactical plans and programs for the US army to perform military operations. The Coast Guard Intelligence ensures maritime safety, security, and stewardship for the accomplishment of national objectives. The Department of Treasury’s task is advising policymakers on financial, economic, tax, and trade matters. The Department of Justice uses intelligence to foster a peaceful and democratic world. The National Security Agencies protect the US from electronic threats. The Federal Bureau of Investigation serves as intelligence and law enforcement to oversee, understand, and manage risks before they happen (The Office of Director National Intelligence, n.d.). All of the highlighted intelligence organizations, among others, work with a standard mission of ensuring the safety of American Citizens.

The cases of terrorism threats have majorly increased, forcing national and domestic securities to place more efforts to curb the risks. The US government utilizes intelligence and law enforcement to thwart crime and violence. The separation of tasks played intelligence and law enforcement agencies creates a weak spot to enhance security. Intelligence agencies’ role was to prevent attacks by gathering information on threats without prosecution of offenders. On the other hand, law enforcement operated ‘at home,’ they only investigated, arrested, and punished lawbreakers when events happened. Intelligence agencies and law enforcement worked under different sets of policies creating a wall that paves the way for attack occurrence. However, changes have occurred that permits the government to utilize data of people within US boundaries and for intelligence to operate at home. The domestic agencies also face challenges in detecting threats posed by a small number on a more significant population (Jackson et al., 2009).

The Information Sharing Environment implementation serves to bridge the information gap between local, tribal, federal, and state operations in collecting and analyzing information to combat attacks. From the 9/11 commission reports, a reformed future intelligence that fostered the Unity of Efforts has led to the National Counter-Terrorism Center’s development. The amendment of the law has improvised and strengthened knowledge sharing, law enforcement, and homeland security information in counteracting threats (Brown, 2017). However, the Information Sharing Environment’s implementation faces problems of inconsistency at the national and local levels in sharing data, creating gaps in tactical counterterrorism capabilities. According to Brown 2017, the collaboration between US special operation forces and New York Police Department Intelligence can form a stable structure that can influence a productive information sharing environment. Reforms on Congress that ensure local agencies give ISE feedback and that field activities are represented could also break the gaps in the council.

The US is appropriately structured and equipped with resources to offer quality homeland security to citizens through a public-private partnership. Public-private partnerships play a crucial role in managing emerging disasters such as fire outbreaks, floods, and earthquakes. For instance, the private has worked in conjunction with the government during the 2001 terror attacks, The Deepwater Horizon oil sager, and Hurricane Katrina.  The US government also contracts private companies to design specialized products needed for security purposes and IT facilities to track and communicate with encryption. The private sector also takes control of some critical national infrastructure to help the Department of Homeland Security coordinate and analyze information for risk mitigation. Private-public partnerships also aid the National Cyber Security Alliance to curb cybersecurity threats. For instance, Google played a significant role in notifying the FBI of China hacking into some state officials’ email accounts in June 2011(Busch & Givens, 2012).

Before the 9/11 scandal US, the Federal Bureau of Investigation entirely focused on state enemies; however, due to the advancement of terrorist techniques, a change had to be implemented. The success of the attack could be linked to the difference in operation between intelligence and law enforcement, the development of multiple intelligence-focused organizations increasing bureaucratization, and issues involving civil liberties protection. The fundamental components for implementing a sufficient domestic intelligence capability include information sharing, oversight, and a collaborative organizational mechanism. Although several reforms were made on the FBI to eliminate the internal intelligence gap utterly, an independent domestic intelligence agency should be established. According to Burch, 2007, a separate local intelligence would place a thorough effort on controlling domestic affairs and reduce competition between intelligence and law enforcers for resources. The internal agency can also conveniently conduct undercover work and recruit personnel. Implementation of a local intelligence agency that works with the FBI will increase the chances of successfully curbing homegrown terrorism and better protecting civil rights.

Due to advancements in technology and the production of the weapon of mass destruction in many countries that pose national threats, the FBI developed a Counterproliferation Center (CPC) in 2011. The Counterproliferation Center avert terrorist from acquiring critical technologies and weapons of mass destruction by leveraging intelligence and law enforcement. FBI combats the growth and spread of weapons by restricting the sale of the arms, theft, or hampering access to US technology used by state enemies. The FBI may use diplomatic approaches to curb threats or apply force. The Bureau partners with other intelligence agencies such as the Department of Homeland Security to identify, counterbalance, and disrupt proliferation networks that threaten the United States (FBI, 2016). However, the FBI can only investigate counterproliferation issues under the mandate of criminal jurisdiction. For instance, if a case’s responsibility is handed to another investigative agency, then the FBI cannot interfere. CPC also coordinates and trains other entities ensuring that investigators have the required knowledge and skills to counter threats.

Apart from preventing terrorism, the FBI has taken a federal law role in the 21st century. The Bureau encompasses a wide range of national security issues such as white-collar crimes, public corruption, and civil rights violations. Executive branch directives dictate the policies and priorities of the FBI. FBI also conducts operations that curb threats other from countries’ spy endeavors. For instance, the FBI investigated the 2016 presidential election following the allegations of interference from foreign spies. The FBI took charge to investigate the claims that Russia corrupted the polls. FBI has been accused of misusing public information though the Bureau insists that those are allegations intended to reduce its investigative duties. For example, civil liberties have accused the FBI of violating Muslim communities’ First and Fourteenth Amendment rights through sting operations (Laub, 2017).

The FBI operates by conducting thorough investigations on people to identify criminals and see them through the justice system. The effort to enhance studies gives the Bureau the authority to examine everybody’s lives since it significant in determining terrorist threats. Even without jurisdiction monitoring, the Bureau can follow up with an individual’s activities throughout the day. An individual’s interactions, religious events, business transactions, and communications made by an individual can be surveilled when the FBI wants to (Berman, 2014). To some extent, the FBI operations violate the rights of freedom of association, expression, and religious beliefs. According to Berman, 2014, the adoption of administrative law strategies to carry out investigations could help safeguard civil liberties. Formation of a risk management literature that takes a regulatory approach to terror threats by treating it as a health or environmental safety risk, serves best to protect human rights.


Berman, E. (2014). Regulating Domestic Intelligence Collection. https://scholarlycommons.law.wlu.edu/wlulr


Burch, J. (2007, June). A domestic intelligence agency for the United States? A comparative analysis of domestic intelligence agencies and their implications for Homeland Security. HOMELAND SECURITY AFFAIRS. https://www.hsaj.org/articles/147

Busch, N. E., & Givens, A. D. (2012, October). Public-private partnerships in Homeland Security: Opportunities and challenges. HOMELAND SECURITY AFFAIRS. https://www.hsaj.org/articles/233

FBI. (2016, May 6). FBI Counterproliferation center. Federal Bureau of Investigation. https://www.fbi.gov/about/leadership-and-structure/national-security-branch/fbi-counterproliferation-center

Federal Of American Scientists. (1996, February). An overview of the intelligence community. Federation Of American Scientists – Science for a safer, more informed world. https://fas.org/irp/offdocs/int023.html

Jackson, B. A., Schaefer, A. G., Noricks, D., Goldsmith, B. W., & Lester, G. (2009). The challenge of domestic intelligence in a free society: A multidisciplinary look at the creation of a U.S. domestic counterterrorism intelligence agency. Rand Corporation.

Laub, Z. (2017, June 21). What is the FBI’s role in national security? Council on Foreign Relations. https://www.cfr.org/backgrounder/fbis-role-national-security

The Office of Director National Intelligence. (n.d.). Members of the IC. Home. https://www.dni.gov/index.php/what-we-do/members-of-the-ic

The University Of New Mexico. (2020, April 30). The U.S. intelligence community. National Security Studies Program | The University of New Mexico. https://nssp.unm.edu/ic-info/index.html

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