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In the larger United States of America, security organizations at existing at the Federal, State, and local ranks meet to evaluate vulnerabilities, identify and propose corrective measure, and work out contingency plans.  Owing to the huge number of organizations involved and the vastness of the United States land area, the process of planning is complex and laborious. This critical stage involves activities such as collecting, sorting, analyzing, and presenting large volumes of assorted information that range from airport designs to chemical formulae. Prudent planning also entails having to coordinate a wide spectrum of organizations – public and private, national and local – all having varied backgrounds, fields of specialization and expectations.  

Consequently, it is only by working closely together can the organizations guarantee that all loopholes open to terrorists get identified and tightly sealed. The significant magnitude of acts of terrorism, natural disasters, and other serious crimes continue to shape the evolution of the crucial concept of Homeland Security in the US. The national Strategy, defines security as an effort to avert acts of terrorism within the borders of the United States, reduce the US’s susceptibility to terrorism, and lessen the damage as well as recovering from attacks that happen (Howard et al, 2006). This is undoubtedly an uphill task for the homeland security, and in order to deliver on its responsibilities, it has to adopt comprehensive, strategic planning models which blend with various implementation approaches. These models and the best approaches form the literature of this research paper.

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The overriding and urgent assignment of the homeland security department is to spearhead the collective national effort of securing the nation and preserving its freedom. However, its charter also incorporates the preparedness for and response to every disaster and hazard. These foundations explain why the principal strategic plan aims at protecting the natives of the United States from dangerous people. The perceived dangerous people enter the country via vulnerable country border areas like ports, on land, in the air, and at sea. Therefore, to minimize the probability of terrorists infiltrating the United States, the Homeland security has in the past, is currently, and plans to strengthen border security and achieve effective border control in the future. The homeland security rides on the principle that threats are controllable if the security system interdicts them well before they enter the national borders. The borders must be secure, smart, strong, and effective in the process of enhancing legitimate travel, migration as well in the growth of commerce. Terrorists and other dangerous people would find it easy to enter the United States if the immigration laws were lax and passive. The homeland security department is aware of this potential legitimate threat, and that is why it plans to enforce the existing immigration laws. In order to achieve this feat, it plans to upgrade the efficiency of the structures for processing the arrival of visitors and immigrants, but with no intentions of compromising security or human dignity.

The department also plans on increasing apprehension tactics for workers and employers contravening immigration laws. The core values that will guide the administration of immigration laws is integrity, respect, and efficiency, while upholding human dignity. In combating dangeros people entering or residing in the US, the Homeland security intends to strengthen the vetting of workers and travelers. It targets to improve the mobility and security of travelers while at the same time increasing its focus on individuals regarded as “high-risk”. The approach the department intends to adopt will be extensive data use, screening, using fraud-resistant credentials, and the application of biometric tools. In my view, this makes up the best approach to fighting off potential terrorists and frauds because the law catches up with them before they unleash their menace – the public has protection. The exercise should, however, carry on while honoring and upholding the core values that distinguish America from others, and not attract hatred, contempt, and resentment from the international community.

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The department of Homeland security is apprehensive of the impacts the consumption of or exposure to harmful products might bring to the united state’s population. This insight led them to adopting a security model to protect the nation from the consumption and exposure to dangerous goods. In this model, the department aims at guarding the public against the risk of radiological and nuclear attacks from within and without the US. Such attacks could be perpetrated from the air, sea, or land.  The approach the department plans to adopt is deploying and commissioning security systems and intelligence facilities, domestically and abroad, in order to uncover and prevent nuclear offensives in the country. By investing its maximum efforts in the establishment of a nationally integrated bio-defense Architecture, the Homeland security department plans at preventing, detecting, and protecting the US against biological attacks. The approaches it plans to use involve prioritizing and focusing efforts, biological detectors, forensics, bio-surveillance, and other systems. In this model, the department incorporates the strategy of preparing the individuals, families, as well as the communities such that they respond hastily and effectively to biological attacks. The inclusion of the public in this security planning model, I would say, is extremely noble as it would reduce casualties and minimize the eventual consequences of a biological attack. Although chemical and explosive assaults are no common in the United States, the homeland security department does not want to take any chances. It has a model for detecting chemical and explosive attacks on the American soil. During trading activities with other nations, unlawful goods such as illegal drugs, and other illicit materials, or activities might enter the country. The DHS coalesces with other foreign governments, agencies, and industry with an aim of sharing information, besides intelligence that will guide America through its path to safety. This is evident in the way America and the Mexican government are jointly combating the proliferation of drug cartels in Mexico.

The people, communities’, and indeed the nation’s economy flows from the countries strategic and critical infrastructure and other key areas. Their devoted protection against potential vulnerabilities is, therefore, extremely crucial. Some of these key resources and critical infrastructure are in the hands of the public sector while others are private entities. The DHS must, therefore, establish and bolster mutually warm relationships with the concerned stakeholders in order to safeguard this critical infrastructure and chief resources against dangerous threats and serious atttacks. Terrorist may deliberately direct their attacks to communication facilities, especially government communications. In such cases, government operations get thwarted, and its business come to a halt. The DHS is aware of this potential risk and it, therefore, integrates the protection of government facilities, personnel, national leader, and the overall nation’s communication grid against an array of potential threats and emergencies. This will ensure the continuity of government operations and response, incase an attack occurs. The DHS also aims at improving cyber security by mitigating the existing vulnerabilities before malevolent individuals exploit them and destroy the country’s critical infrastructures. Critical infrastructure encompasses the transport sector. In its strategic plans, the DHS aims at improving the security and resilience of both local, as well as, inter-modal transport sectors including passenger aviation, air cargo, transit, rail, highways, maritime, and pipeline transport modes. The approach the DHS plans to follow is an integrated systems approach, which entails establishing and fostering domestic and foreign partnerships. This step  lays a foundation for a good platform from which intelligence information can be shared in order to avert risks and threats to the transport sector.

Every time a disaster strikes, either natural or man-made, it is the general public who are usually on the receiving end. Many regions like New Orleans, Midwest, and Northeast US are prone to the natural calamity of flooding. The outcomes of September 11 and hurricane Katrina changed the operations of the DHS (Bullock, et al, 2008). It resorted to being more proactive, as well as, creating preparedness in Americans. The DHS intends to empower the American population and the government at all levels so that preparedness increases capability and readiness to respond accordingly to adverse incidents. This gesture will develop a culture of preparedness and minimize loss of life and property during attacks and natural catastrophes. In the aftermath of an unavoidable calamity or attack, emergences, and disasters, the DHS plans to empower all Americans to respond effectively and cope with the recovery stage. It pledges to work with its partners in the process of restoration of services and building communities in the wake of disasters, emergences and incidents.

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America faces numerous security threats in its day-to-day life. There are many security organizations that operate in the US, in the assessment and mitigation of perceived potential threats, and protect the American population. The Department of Homeland security is one of those organizations, and its primary duty is to secure America against those individuals, or groups of individuals, who seek to interrupt the otherwise smooth life of the American people. In addition to this, the department coordinates and integrates centralized activities across organizations that are distinct, both in their operations and missions (D'Arcy, & Brookings Institution, 2006). In order to achieve this, it develops strategic planning models and suggests the best approaches to apply the models successfully. The main themes of the models are freedom and security of the American people from external terrorist attacks, protection from harmful goods, security of the key resources and critical infrastructure, cracking down on illicit goods and materials, and most importantly, the empowerment of the American people to be prepared and respond to emergencies accordingly.

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