Homeland Security: The Department of Defense's Role [Updated May 14, 2003]   [open pdf - 48KB]

Efforts to involve Department of Defense (DOD) more closely with federal, state and local agencies in their homeland security activities have emerged with the heightened concern about large-scale terrorism. While the DOD leadership is ready and willing to play a supporting role in these efforts, it wishes to maintain overseas military operations as the Department's primary focus, and avoid an inadvertent drain of fiscal, materiel, and personnel resources to the homeland security mission. Exactly how the DOD and a new Department of Homeland Security will establish and maintain coordination and cooperation remains to be seen. The intelligence collection and analysis capabilities within the Department of Defense are a substantial portion of the United States' national intelligence assets. They include the National Security Agency, the National Reconnaissance Office, the National Imagery and Mapping Agency, the Defense Intelligence Agency, and the intelligence and security branches of the individual armed services. The DOD, with its active duty and reserve forces, and the potential of federalizing National Guard units, has the largest and most diversified personnel assets in the Federal Government. As was demonstrated in the months after the September 2001 terrorist attacks, they can be used in a variety of security roles. The Department of Defense remains the greatest federal repository of resources for responding to a chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear (CBRN) incident.

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CRS Report for Congress, RL31615
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