The Federal government has implemented a massive security/surveillance apparatus in the years since 9/11 under the guise of homeland security, but a new report indicates that the government doesn’t know what “homeland security” actually means.
A report out Tuesday from the Congressional Research Office details how 30 Federal entities handling everything from social security to agriculture are receiving Homeland Security funding because the government has no clear designation as to what constitutes spending to secure the homeland.
From the report:
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). Prior to the 2010 National Security Strategy, the 2002 and 2007 National Strategies for Homeland Security were the guiding documents produced by the White House. In 2011, the White House issued the National Strategy for Counterterrorism.
In conjunction with these White House strategies, DHS has developed a series of evolving strategic documents based on the two national homeland security strategies and include the 2008 Strategic Plan—One Team, One Mission, Securing the Homeland; the 2010 Quadrennial Homeland Security Review and Bottom-Up Review; and the 2012 Department of Homeland Security Strategic Plan. 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. Currently, the Department of Homeland Security is developing the 2014 Quadrennial Homeland Security Review, which is due late 2013 or early 2014.
Translation: The government designates whatever it wants to as homeland security spending. According to the report, the actual Department of Homeland Security receives only about 52 percent of the money spent on “homeland security.” The rest is split up among 30 other Federal agencies, leading to a notion that “funding is driving priorities rather than priorities driving the funding,” according to the report.