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You are an action officer in your local jurisdiction’s Office of Homeland Security. This is a recently created office. As a medium-size jurisdiction, the city manager’s office has dual-responsibilities in many of the leadership and management positions. This is often referred to as being dual-hatted. The chief of police has been assigned as the director of the Office of Homeland Security for the city. She has no prior experience or knowledge of the legal basis of homeland security and has asked you to provide a formal information report on the topic. The chief intends to share this report with other office managers, city department heads, the city manager, and the elected officials of the city (mayor and city council).

Assignment Guidelines

Information Paper

Develop an information paper from the following: Security Act
Identify at least 2 areas that are publicly controversial.
Establish a position of support or nonsupport of the area under consideration.

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Sample Answer

Here is an information paper on the legal basis of homeland security:

The legal basis of homeland security is complex and evolving. The primary legal authority for homeland security is the Homeland Security Act of 2002 (HSA). The HSA created the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and gave it a broad mandate to prevent terrorist attacks, protect the country from natural disasters, and respond to man-made disasters.

The HSA also authorized DHS to take a number of specific actions, including:

  • Improving border security
  • Enhancing transportation security
  • Protecting critical infrastructure
  • Enforcing immigration laws
  • Preparing for and responding to natural disasters
  • Countering terrorism

Full Answer Section

The HSA has been controversial in some areas. For example, the law has been criticized for its broad definition of terrorism, which some argue gives DHS too much power. The law has also been criticized for its creation of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), which some argue has been ineffective in improving airline security.

Despite the controversy, the HSA remains the primary legal authority for homeland security. The law has been amended several times since it was passed, and it is likely to continue to evolve in the years to come.

Here are two areas of the HSA that are publicly controversial:

  • The definition of terrorism: The HSA defines terrorism as “activities that involve the use of force or violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives.” This definition has been criticized by some who argue that it is too broad and could be used to target legitimate political dissent.
  • The creation of the Transportation Security Administration: The TSA is a federal agency responsible for security at airports and other transportation systems. The TSA has been criticized for its use of invasive security measures, such as full-body scanners and pat-downs.

I support the HSA’s broad definition of terrorism. I believe that this definition is necessary to give DHS the flexibility it needs to prevent and respond to terrorist attacks. I also support the creation of the TSA. I believe that the TSA plays an important role in protecting the nation’s transportation systems from terrorist attacks.

However, I also believe that the HSA needs to be amended to address some of the concerns that have been raised about it. For example, the law should be amended to clarify the definition of terrorism and to limit the TSA’s use of invasive security measures.

I believe that the HSA is an important piece of legislation that has helped to make the nation safer. However, the law needs to be amended to address some of the concerns that have been raised about it.

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