Department of Homeland Security and Drug Enforcement Agency
Government agencies are formed and utilized to oversee and administer certain functions within a government. Two government agencies that are well-known in the United States are the Department of Homeland Security and the Drug Enforcement Adminstration .
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the most recently formed agency, was created in response to the September 11th attacks in New York. It is the third largest Cabinet department and is coordinated at the White House by the Homeland Security Council.
The Department of Homeland Security’s prime responsibility to protect the United States from terrorist attacks and to respond to natural disasters. The Department of Homeland Security operates within the civilian sphere to protect within, at, and outside the borders of the United States. Prior to 9/11, homeland security was spread over 40 agencies and had 2,000 separate Congressional appropriations accounts. In March 2001, Texas Representative Mac Thornberry proposed a bill that would create a National Homeland Security Agency incorporating the administration and functions of Customs, Border, Patrol, and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) into a single agency. Though hearings were held in regards to the bill, no further Congressional action was taken on the matter (Borja).
The Department of Homeland Security, as it is known today, was formed eleven days after 9/11 when President Bush announced that he was going to create the Office of Homeland Security and appointed Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge as the agency’s director. DHS became operational on January 24, 2003, 60 days after the Homeland Security Act was passed. On March 1, 2003, DHS absorbed Immigration and Naturalization Services and split the agency into Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Citizenship and Immigration Services; furthermore, U.S. Customs and the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services were combined to form U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Overall, DHS incorporates 22 government agencies. The major agencies of DHS are the TSA, Customs and Border Protection, Citizenship and Immigration Services, ICE, FEMA, the U.S. Secret Service, and the U.S. Coast Guard (Borja).
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) was formed on July 1, 1973 and is headquartered in Arlington, VA. Former drug enforcement related agencies are the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs and the Office of Drug Abuse Law Enforcement. The parent agency of the DEA is the U.S. Department of Justice. The DEA is the lead agency for domestic enforcement under the Controlled Substances Act. The DEA’s primary goal is to combat drug smuggling and use within the U.S. The DEA shares jurisdiction with the FBI and ICE and shares communications systems with the Department of Defense. DEA divisions include an Aviation Division located in Fort Worth, TX; Mobile Enforcement Teams (MET) that are designed to target and dismantle drug trafficking and urban violence with the cooperation of local authorities. The MET focuses their effort in rural and smaller urban communities that are “deficient in law enforcement resources.” The DEA’s Foreign-deployed Advisory and Support Team (FAST) has one team stationed in Afghanistan conducting Counter Narcotics, Counter Terrorism, and Direct Action missions. Four other teams are located in Quantico, VA. FAST was originally created to conduct missions in Afghanistan but evolved into the global action arm of the U.S. Department of Justice and the DEA (DEA History).
Borja, Elizabeth. “Brief Documentary History of the Department of Homeland Security
2001-2008.” Department of Homeland Security History Office. 2008. Print.
“DEA History.” Drug Enforcement Adminstration. 3 February 2011. Web.
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