questions to answer

Type of paper:




Format or citation style:


Pages: 4

Deadline: 32hrs

This assignment is a take-home essay assignment of two questions, 2 pages each, to demonstrate your knowledge and assimilation of the course objectives. You may use the required texts and readings from this course or you can use relevant sources.  

1) Explain and discuss the specific roles and responsibilities of the two overarching strategies, homeland security and homeland defense,  that guide the planning of the nation’s defense.

2) Discuss and provide information on the mission of three of the key organizations that are critical to the support of Homeland Defense.  

Scoring Rubric: 

A copy of the complete scoring rubric for this assignment is attached. The following is a synopsis of that rubric.
Area of Evaluation

Maximum Points

Focus/Thesis 20

Content/Subject Knowledge 20

Critical Thinking Skills 20

Organization of Ideas/Format 20

Writing Conventions  20


Length: 2 pages each question, double-spaced, 1″ margins, 12 pitch type in Times New Roman font. 
Sources: All sources must be cited.

Citations/References: You must use the APA 6th edition for this assignment. 

Student’s name





The United States has been a victim of devastating terror attacks, with the 9/11 attack marking a change in the general handling of the nation’s security. United States has been engaged in endless conflicts both at home and abroad. There is always a risk of terror attack and that informed the need of having Department of Homeland security (DHS) and the U.S, NORTHCOM (DOD).  The DOD assists the DHS in its mandate of protecting the homeland. Owing to the intertwining of the two departments, there is need for distinguishing the roles each plays and also tackle the difference between security and defense. The efficiency of these departments, impacts positively to the general security of the United States. This paper seeks to explain the roles of the two departments and the purpose they serve; it will also define homeland security and homeland defense.

Homeland defense

            The primary definition of homeland defense is “the protection of United States sovereignty, territory, domestic population, and critical infrastructure against external threats and aggression or other threats as directed by the President.” (, 2018). It falls in both the national security and the mission of the Department of Defense. Homeland defense is also in the custody of the U.S Northern Command (USNORTHCOM).  This department was created in October 2002 to serve as a command center for the Department of Defense. USNORTHCOM undertakes missions that before were handled by other DOD organizations; this has played a big role in improving unity of command which crucial for the achievement of missions’ plans.

Formed in 1957, North America Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) is also under North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) also falls under USNORTHCOM.   The pact between the USA and Canada led to the formation of North America defense (Trudgen, 2016).  The cordial relationship between the two nations contributes to reinforcing of the ability of NORTHCOM in performing its mandated duty of homeland defense. NORAD has a webbing of radar sites which run through Canada. The two nations have an agreement to share intelligence to secure North America from attack by the Russians.

Homeland security

            The national strategy for Homeland security defines homeland security as a combined effort to avert terror attacks within the borders of the United States, minimize susceptibility of America to terror attacks and reduce the damage that might occur in case of an attack.  The department of Homeland security was established on 25th November 2001 in response to the 9/11 attack. DHS is made up of fourteen organizations (Lewis, 2014) which include United States Customs and Border Protection, (CBP) which is charge of protecting the Canada and Mexico borders together with all ports of entry, United States Coast Guard (USCG ) maintains security at the coast in the Gulf, Pacific and Atlantic, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is in charge of emergency preparedness, Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) focuses on training all these agencies and other others not mentioned in the federal government, United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Transport Security Administration (TSA), and United States Secret Service (USSS) tasked with protecting the president and money. These agencies are independent in the execution of their mandate. However, the liaise with DOD at NORTHCOM hence maintaining crucial communication between Defense and Security.

The Overlap

            The terms homeland security and Homeland defense are frequently used interchangeably. However, they are different. How does one agency know when and when not to intervene? Some agencies have clear cut roles while others do not. There is always a seam of ambiguity in the roles mandated. In some instances, the threats are not definite and hence becomes hard to distinguish whether it affects the national security or law enforcement. In case of a threat that can be handled by either DOD or DHS, who is entitled to handle it? For instance, a foreign terrorist group like Al-Qaeda operates in different borders. If Al -Qaeda begin their operations in the American soil, the DOD can only be involved through civil support, DHS has a mandate to handle such a scenario. However, the challenge comes in cases where the terrorist cell sneaks into the country, if the DOD was in their pursuit do they hand over the mandate to the DHS (White, 2016). Cases involving chemical, biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Explosives are dedicated to the DOD as they are well equipped and have the relevant expertise in handling such. Though it can be argued that they are just helping the local agencies, such scenarios are their preserve, and they even train on how to handle them within the borders.

            When it comes to the war on drugs that falls in law enforcement issues. The DOD is only allowed to get involved if it is supporting on the civil side. In cases of a homegrown terrorist, these are people who have been recruited while on the US soil into terrorist cells, the DHS in partnership with the FBI and other local agencies handle that.

            Irrespective of the situation, intelligence collected is supposed to be shared across the multiple agencies. Any agency that has information that might lead to the accomplishment of another agency’s security maintenance mission it is mandated to share it for the good of the nation.

Critical infrastructure

There are16 critical infrastructures which are categorized as highly volatile and their destruction could throw the country into disarray either economically, health wise or any combination thereof. The list includes Chemical, Commercial Facilities, Communications, Critical Manufacturing, Dams, Defense Industrial Base, Emergency Services, Energy, Financial Services, Food and Agriculture, Government Facilities, Healthcare and Public Health, Information Technology, Nuclear Reactors Materials and Waste, Transportation, and Water and Wastewater Systems.

 Homeland security defends and protects these critical infrastructures to maintain safety and ease the life of American citizens. In a scenario where any one of them is compromised, people might be able to live normally, but the strain will be felt in the society. However, with the American way of life, losing any two critical infrastructures like the energy sector and water will cause lots of panics and can many fatalities can ensue as even simple things like oxygen machines and ventilators will stop working. People will die of dehydration due to lack of clean water. For an advanced and free society to survive, such sectors need to be fully functional


As illustrated in this paper, Home security and home defense overlap and most of the time leads to duplication of roles among the different agencies. What stands out however, is the fact that homeland security is challenging and quite complicated. The agencies involved have to corporate to ensure smooth operation and ensure the stability and security of the great America.


Lewis, T. G. (2014). Critical infrastructure protection in homeland security: defending a networked nation. John Wiley & Sons.

Trudgen, M. (2016). The key to the Canada–United States relationship: homeland and continental defence in American strategic culture. Canadian Foreign Policy Journal22(2), 184-198.

White, J. R. (2016). Terrorism and homeland security. Cengage Learning.,2018

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