Both the National Strategy for Homeland Security and the Homeland Security Act of 2002 called for the mobilization of the United States to secure its homeland from terrorist attacks. Therefore, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was set up to provide a unifying foundation for the national network of organizations and institutions having the mission of securing the homeland. With more than 180,000 employees, the DHS developed its own strategic plan to carry out its mission to coordinate its efforts with those of relevant U.S. agencies and departments. Collectively their purpose is to ensure that critical resources such as financial and banking institutions, dams, and government facilities are adequately protected from terrorist attacks. The DHS also assesses the ongoing need for improved protection of critical infrastructures.
Tom Ridge, a former Pennsylvania governor and congressman, was sworn in as the first Office of Homeland Security Advisor on October 8, 2001. He served until February 2005 after submitting his resignation on November 30, 2004.
On December 2, 2004, President George W. Bush selected former New York police commissioner Bernard Kerik as Ridge’s successor. Kerik had helped direct New York City’s emergency response to the September 11 attacks. Citing personal reasons, Kerik withdrew his nomination later the same month. In January 2005 President Bush appointed federal judge Michael Chertoff to lead the DHS, and he was sworn in on February 15, 2005.
In May 2005, Homeland Security Inspector General Richard Skinner said that the U.S. Homeland Security network that shares critical classified information with intelligence and law enforcement agencies was created too fast to ensure that it can protect this critical information from crackers. According to Skinner, the DHS could not prove that the network’s security standards and policies were adequately in place.
In Brief. U.S. Homeland Security’s IT Comes Under Question. The Globe and Mail, May 12, 2005, p. B8; Koring, P. Ridge Quits U.S. Post. The Globe and Mail, December 1, 2004, p. A1; Office of the Press Secretary. December 17, 2003 Homeland Security Presidential Directive/Hspd-7. [Online, December 17, 2003.] Office of the Press Secretary Website. http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/ 2003/12/20031217-5.htm; U.S. Department of Homeland; Security (DHS). DHS Organization. [Online, 2004.] DHS Website. http://www.dhs.gov/dhspublic/theme_home1.jsp; Riechmann, D. Bush Picks Ex-Police Officer as Homeland Security Chief. The Globe and Mail, December 3, 2004, p. A 20; Williams, P. Bush Nominates Judge to Head Homeland Security. [Online, January 11, 2005] MSNBC Website. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6812230/.