Defining Homeland Security: Analysis and Congressional Considerations [April 3, 2012] [open pdf - 289KB]
"Ten years after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the U.S. government does not have a single definition for 'homeland security.' Currently, different strategic documents and mission statements offer varying missions that are derived from different homeland security definitions. Historically, the strategic documents framing national homeland security policy have included national strategies produced by the White House and documents developed by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). […] The 2012 DHS strategic plan is the latest evolution in DHS's process of defining its mission, goals, and responsibilities. This plan, however, only addresses the department's homeland security purview and is not a document that addresses homeland security missions and responsibilities that are shared across the federal government. Varied homeland security definitions and missions may impede the development of a coherent national homeland security strategy, and may hamper the effectiveness of congressional oversight. Definitions and missions are part of strategy development. Policymakers develop strategy by identifying national interests, prioritizing goals to achieve those national interests, and arraying instruments of national power to achieve the national interests. Developing an effective homeland security strategy, however, may be complicated if the key concept of homeland security is not defined and its missions are not aligned and synchronized among different federal entities with homeland security responsibilities."
CRS Report for Congress, R42462