The Intelligence Role in Homeland Security Activities

Background on the Role of Intelligence in Homeland Security

Since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the need for closer cooperation between various institutions of security increased significantly. In particular, there has been a special focus on how information is collected, analyzed, and distributed in the process of protecting the homeland from threats posed by terrorists and other sources of insecurity (Logan, 2010). In fact, it has become difficult to make a distinction between external or foreign intelligence and domestic intelligence (Masse & Rollins, 2011).

Duties of the Director of the National Intelligence

It is imperative to review the duties of the Director of National Intelligence as they relate to disseminating information/intelligence to the states, counties, and local units of government officials via the DHS. Specifically, the DNI is established under the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act 2004 to perform three major roles that include:

  • being one of the principal advisors to the US President, the Homeland Security Council as well as the National Security Council on matters of intelligence;
  • being the head of the 16-member Intelligence Community;
  • directing and presiding over all the tasks of the National Intelligence Program.

Federal entities comprising the intelligence community

The US Intelligence Community brings together 17 separate government agencies with the aim of conducting intelligence tasks together and separately. The purpose of the community is to ensure that they comprehensively conduct adequate national security activities as well as foreign relations. The federal entities include:

  • The Director of National Intelligence, whose purposes have been described above.
  • The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is an independent body responsible for collecting intelligence information both on local and foreign grounds and advising the president.
  • The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is responsible for carrying out investigations and collecting information about crime, including terrorism, civil, white-collar, violence and theft, cybercrime, counterintelligence, and organized crime (Masse & Rollins, 2011).
  • The national geospatial-intelligence Agency (NGA) provides timely, accurate, and relevant intelligence collected through geospatial technologies with the aim of ensuring national security.
  • The National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) is responsible for monitoring weapons of mass destruction, developing military data for targets and damages of bombs and tracking of international criminals, such as terrorists, drug traffickers, and organizers of crimes.
  • The National Security Agency (NSA) is considered to collect, process, analyze, and disseminate intelligence signals and data for counterintelligence and foreign intelligence with the aim of supporting national security.
  • The National Air and Space Intelligence Center (NASIC) is responsible for analyzing data on foreign airspace and aerospace forces and weapons with the aim of determining their capacities to carry out military work, vulnerability, and intended actions.
  • The US Coast Guard is responsible for providing security at the maritime ends, seaports, at sea, and other marine areas around the world.

Information sharing environment

There is the relative importance of local, state, national, and private levels. In addition, there is an increase in the rate of awareness of law enforcement using the information to protect the country at all levels of governance. Moreover, a new field known as Homeland Security Intelligence (HSINT) has emerged, and its importance has increased significantly over the last ten decades (Bullock, Haddow & Coppola, 2011). Thus, it is important to attach intelligence service and its function to the homeland security at the state and local level. HSINT includes both the national and the state collection of intelligence. It includes human intelligence that is collected at the border level through security personnel. In addition, it must include state and local security systems to collect information inside the borders (Hulnick, 2010).

Importance of government

The government is the overall player in providing security at the international, federal, state, and local levels.

  • The government is the main source of funding for all the 17 elements of the National Intelligence Community.
  • It is responsible for coordinating the activities of these elements in order to ensure that they work hand in hand, though separately, for the common goal of providing security.

To develop a better understanding of the role of government intelligence in homeland security, it is important to understand the dimensions of intelligence in depth. Noteworthy, the dimensions of intelligence have four major components. Homeland security intelligence is the core dimension within the structure. It is closely associated with three other components that make up the structure (Logan, 2010).

Available funding

  • The government is the main source of funding for all the agencies and units involved in providing homeland security.
  • The Department of Homeland Security provides the government with information on the funding requirements used in the national budgeting for the security system.
  • The DHS is responsible for funding the state and local fusion center operations through the Homeland Security Grant Program (Hulnick, 2010). This program is administered by FEMA.
  • It is the role of FEMA to provide the annual funds in the form of grants to the state and municipalities to help them build strong and effective methods for responding to security threats.

Challenges and concerns

A number of issues affect the complete sharing of information between the stakeholders of the homeland security initiatives.

  • Local funding is sometimes the term information sharing a number of meanings depending on each institution.
  • Secondly, the process and responsibility for controlling information dissemination are not effective due to the different missions, visions, and purposes of the members of the Intelligence Community (Bullock, Haddow & Coppola, 2011).

For additional information

Bullock, J., Haddow, G., & Coppola, D. P. (2011). Homeland Security: The Essentials. Washington, DC: Butterworth-Heinemann. Web.

Hulnick, A. S. (2010). Keeping Us Safe: Secret Intelligence and Homeland Security. New York: Greenwood Publishing Group. Web.

Logan, K. G. (2010). Homeland security and intelligence. New York: Praeger security international. Web.

Masse, T., & Rollins, J. (2011). Information and Intelligence (including Terrorism) Fusion Centers. New York: Nova Publishers Inc. Web.