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Homeland Security Act

The Homeland Security Act establishes a Department of Homeland Security (DHS)[i].  It is headed by the Secretary of Homeland Security.  In the DHS, the Directorate for Information Analysis and Infrastructure Protection is established by the Act.  The Act consolidates the operations of twenty-two existing federal government agencies.  It helps reduce the vulnerability of the U.S. to terrorism.  The Act provides steps to minimize the damage and assist in the recovery from terrorist attacks that occur within the U.S.  The creation of the DHS was to streamline and to consolidate domestic security functions so as to respond to and prevent further terrorist attacks on American soil. The DHS endeavors to form a more proactive defense of American soil.  All functions of entities such as acting as a focal point regarding natural and man-made crises and emergency planning are transferred to the DHS.  The Act ensures that the functions of the agencies and subdivisions within the DHS that are not related directly to securing the homeland are not diminished or neglected except by a specific explicit Act of Congress.  The Act also ensures that the overall economic security of the U.S. is not diminished by efforts, activities, and programs aimed at securing the homeland.  The Act monitors connections between illegal drug trafficking and terrorism[ii].  It coordinates efforts to sever such connections and contribute to efforts to interdict illegal drug trafficking.

The Homeland Security Act abolished the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS)[iii].   The functions of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)[iv] and the Secret Service[v] were transferred to the DHS.  The DHS will depend on the Secret Service agency’s protective functions and expertise.  The Secretary of Homeland Security is authorized to have a special liaison with the private sector to promote public and private partnerships and promote technology integration for homeland security to ensure active private sector participation in homeland security.

Some of the responsibilities of the Secretary of Homeland Security are to help ensure the effectiveness of emergency response providers to terrorist attacks, to provide the federal government’s response to terrorist attacks, and to aid in the recovery from terrorist attacks[vi].

In addition to the consolidation of federal government functions, the Act authorizes federal government support in fostering the development of effective technologies necessary in combating terrorism, and it provides new powers to government officials in declaring national health emergencies, including quarantines and forced vaccination.  The Act also aims to facilitate homeland security information sharing procedures in an effort to maximize intelligence data analysis and utilization capabilities.

[i] 6 USCS § 111.

[ii] Id.

[iii] 6 USCS § 291.

[iv] 6 USCS § 313.

[v] 6 USCS § 381.

[vi] 6 USCS § 312.

Inside Homeland Security Act