The History of Homeland Security

This self-study course considers the emergence, development, and implications of the modern homeland security enterprise. Users will be asked to consider what “homeland security” is, as well as challenged to critically assess many popular notions about the homeland security enterprise. The course primarily focuses on the U.S. experience with homeland security, but it situates the discipline within broader international forces—in particular globalization—that are shaping the operating environment and threats with which homeland security practitioners must contend.

The course begins with a strategic overview of the United States’ approach to the issues of public safety that are now grouped under the term “homeland security,” which represent threats to civilians that do not stem directly from actual or potential military action by foreign nation-states. The course then provides a strategic overview of globalization and how it has challenged the government’s approach to security issues and shaped the contours of the modern threat environment. With that background, the course shifts to consider the emergence of the modern homeland security framework through a review of the searing lessons of the 9/11 attacks and the creation of the Department of Homeland Security that resulted. The course concludes with a series of modules examining the key threats to homeland security that have resulted in the enterprise’s principal mission areas: natural disasters and emergency management; migration management and border security; critical infrastructure and cybersecurity; infectious disease and public health; terrorism; and transnational organized crime. The course concludes with a discussion about the possible futures for homeland security.

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