— Volume IX (2013) —

The Two Faces of DHS: Balancing the Department’s Responsibilities


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Jerome H. Kahan

Jerome Kahan has worked in the national security, arms control, and homeland security fields for more than forty years. Serving with the Department of State for twenty years, Mr. Kahan held positions on the Policy Planning staff, as deputy assistant secretary with the Political-Military and Intelligence Bureaus, and as politico-military counselor at the American Embassy in Turkey. He has been a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the International Institute of Strategic Studies and served for ten years as adjunct professor in the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. Mr. Kahan holds a Master’s Degree in Electrical Engineering from Columbia University, with bachelor degrees from Queens as well as Columbia College. He is currently an independent writer and analyst, having recently been a distinguished analyst at the Homeland Security Studies and Analysis Institute in Arlington, VA. Mr. Kahan may be contacted at jhkahan@cox.net.

In forming the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), many of the twenty-two entities transferred to the new Department brought with them a smorgasbord of non-homeland security responsibilities, such as processing legal immigration and enforcing immigration laws, intercepting illegal cross-border trafficking in drugs and arms, enforcing our customs regulations, and keeping our waterways safe. How DHS has operated with its “split personality” has not become a prominent issue. There remains a growing risk, however, that efforts to manage non-homeland security activities might compromise the department’s main job of protecting against terrorism and responding to terrorist attacks and natural disasters as well as accidents with national implications. It is not too late for DHS to focus squarely on this issue.

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Kahan, Jerome H.. “The Two Faces of DHS: Balancing the Department’s Responsibilities.” Homeland Security Affairs 9, Article 10 (July 2013)