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Criminal Justice Essay on Impetus of DHS

Impetus of DHS


Before the 9/11 terrorist attack, the United States had come face to face with a series of attacks that led to the loss of many lives and left thousands maimed. The first significant act of terror occurred in April 19th 1995. However, the FBI managed to act swiftly and bring the attackers to book. A similar attack had occurred just two years earlier when the World Trade Center experienced the evil plans of terrorists. However, the events did not impact the American psyche and the political repercussions that followed the 9/11 attacks. After the attacks, the US moved in to immediately establish the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

Impetus of the DHS

There is a long held belief that the 9/11 attacks had the greatest bearing on the establishment of the Department of Homeland Security, and further helped in raising awareness on terrorism. One of the main reasons for this was the pressure from the public regarding the state of security of the United States of America. People felt that the government needed to swing swiftly into action so as to secure them from the dangers of terrorist attacks. The Bombing in the city of Oklahoma and the 1993 attacks on the World Trade Center did not raise an alarm to the government (The FBI Federal Bureau of Investigation, 2008). The government was left with no option but to accept the will of the people. The terrorist group exposed the nation’s vulnerability and citizens were not ready to take anything less than action targeted at combating the state of affairs.

In order to respond to the outcry of the people, the Bush administration moved in to first put in place measures aimed at establishing the preparedness of the country in dealing with acts of terror. In October of the same year, the President decreed the formation of a White House Staff charged with overseeing the activities of Homeland Security. The President bestowed on the department, all the powers to take any action that would help in securing the nation from the threats of terror attacks (Bellavita, 2008). The extent of the 9/11 attacks could not have been rewarded in any other way other than making sure that there was a program for monitoring the country’s security part from the normal security apparatus. It was clear that terrorism was indeed a new challenge in the US and required special attention. The lives of several American citizens and property worth billions of Dollars too were lost. Today, such a loss has never been experienced and this gives enough reasons for the establishment of the Department of Homeland Security.

The Oklahoma City and 1993 World Trade Center bombings did not cause a lot of public concern as experienced after the 9/11 attacks. The truth is that it became apparent to the government that the terrorists were not targeting at scaring the nation but were determined to cause destruction and suffering to the American people (Bellavita, 2008). The failure of the government to acts after the two terrorist attacks of Oklahoma and the World Trade Center in 1993 could not be linked to the fact that damages were not intense. Each of these attacks led to successful arrests and conclusive investigations that resulted into the prevention of more attacks. The government must have felt in control before the 9/11 attacks hit America. After the attacks, the citizens realized that the threat was not about to end soon. They took the two earlier attacks as normal acts of violence without considering the form that the attacks were assuming. There were no sharp reactions from the political class and that was the reason behind the government’s failure to take precautions in averting the situation.

There came a time when the government could not take responsibility for failing to act upon the Oklahoma City and 1993 World Trade Center (The FBI Federal Bureau of Investigation, n.d). The irrefutable investigations conducted by the FBI exposed a series of evidences and if the government would have acted upon them, the 9/11 attacks could have been prevented.

The objectives of the Department of Homeland Security are ‘’prevention, protection and response’ (Miller, 2003). If these goals were earlier on in place, the two attacks could have not occurred. Preventive measures could have been implemented to help in averting the occurrence. The terrorists had all the time to hire vehicles, lead their explosives and drive along the streets of the United States. The traffic police and other security apparatus could have reduced the chances of the materialization of the attacks. Today, the measures that have been put in place by the DHS have made it challenging to terror groups to undertake their activities without being noticed and many attempts have been watered down or completely prevented. If these precautions were in place during the Oklahoma City and the 1993 World Trade Center bombings, the damages experienced would have been very dismal or even prevented all together.

Protection and response are other critical areas of the DHS’ operations, even though security agencies responded, this only occurred after the attacks and none would authoritatively make the assertion that enough was done to prevent the attacks. Protective measures were not adequate and that might have been the reason behind the recurrence of the attacks.


The fight against acts of terror should entirely be the responsibility of the government or the DHS. Every person should play a role in combating this threat. It may require critical monitoring of the activities of our neighbors and taking the necessary actions. The United States and other world economies have had their share of terrorism and this has taught many to be very careful. Every country should consider terrorism as a threat to peace across the globe and take the necessary measures that may involve the establishment of departments aimed at attacking this menace like the DHS.



Bellavita, C. (2008). Changing homeland security: What is homeland security?.Homeland Security Affairs4(2), 1-30.

Miller, Steven E. 2003. “After the 9/11 Disaster: Washington’s Struggle to Improve Homeland Security.” AxessStockholm, Sweden no. 2 : 8-11.

The FBI Federal Bureau of Investigation. 2008. First Strike: Global Terror in America. Retrieved on January 17, 2014 from:

The FBI Federal Bureau of Investigation.n.d. Terror Hits Home: The Oklahoma City Bombing. Retrieved on January 17,2014 from:


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