Should Biden disband Homeland Security?

It doesn’t have any certain definition or mission. According to Wikipedia, it encompasses " In the United States, the concept of “Homeland Security” extends and recombines responsibilities of government agencies and entities. According to Homeland security research, the U.S. federal Homeland Security and Homeland Defense include 187 federal agencies and departments. That’s a lot of bureaucracy and paperwork.

Should the various agencies work more closely together? Yes. But do they need a central agency overseeing all the rest? I don’t believe so. FEMA doesn’t need to contact the Secret Service very often, do they? I’m happy to be proven wrong, and of course, any movement in this direction would be instantly painted by the GOP as making America “less safe.” So will he do it? No, and politically it would be a very risky move. But he ought to consider the idea.

A lot of what went wrong pre- and during 9/11 was organizations that didn’t talk to each other, and had no inter-agency means of coordination. DHS was an attempt to put an umbrella over the whole alphabet soup so agencies that needed to talk were not prohibited by either law or bureaucracy from doing so. Where “talking” refers to both day-of execution of response actions, and years-prior planning of responses, sharing of intel and insight, developing technical and bureaucratic means of interoperability, etc.

I’m not going to argue that DHS as currently constituted was the ideal way to do that. Lots of agencies within DHS continue to operate silo-ed much as before. That’s an example of insufficient consolidation, not excessive consolidation.

Is your goal to alter the internal security/public safety enterprise for better performance, lower cost, or less opportunity to be suborned into an authoritarian police state implementation vehicle? Depending on your goals the answers will be very different.

The PATRIOT Act was (and remains) an abomination. The fact somebody / some organization had written that legislation years or decades previously and pulled it off a handy shelf late on the afternoon of 9/11 ought to send chills down the spine of every real American.

But although the label “DHS” began with that Act, the agencies that comprise it have much longer pedigrees. We can reform the dangers inherent in the Act with or without reforming DHS. And merely rearranging the deck chairs of DHS’s constituent parts will do nothing to rid America of the excesses enabled by the baldly mis-named PATRIOT Act.

So what’s your actual goal? I’m sincerely asking you, and rhetorically asking everyone else who’ll post next. Not as a challenge to an argument, but as a prelude to a plan.

My hope is to ensure and maintain good communication and cooperation between agencies where needed without red tape. We can keep the PATRIOT name if that helps politically, but let the agencies keep their individuality and let each have their head. Streamline it and make it less likely to be suborned, as you suggested. It just strikes me as a prime candidate for fat-cutting in the government.

I was thinking the same thing. I don’t think disbanding DHS is a good idea because it was created to address a real and important need. But the PATRIOT Act should be amended and DHS could be improved.

It’s not central to the question of whether it should be disbanded, but can the President disband it unilaterally? Bush initiated it, but then there was Congressional legislation.

Yes, but my gnawing fear is that he does it and then somehow something happens and the Repugnant Party comes all unglued and it causes them to win the next election and next thing you know we have Ron “Huey Long” DeSantis as El Jefe Presidente.

There are certainly problems with the Department of Homeland Security. The label itself, or the mere list of agencies it comprises, are not among them.

It must have taken a lot of that to create the agency, and it would again take a lot to redistribute it.

Reorganization can sound good from a 20,000 feet perspective, but I am skeptical that reorgs often do what’s intended at a detail level. This proposal would probably be an unpopular move and is not what I think Biden should spend political capital on.

Everyone I know who’s worked there, either directly or as a contractor, has described it as a shitshow filled with other departments’ rejects who were easier to send there than do something about. HQ level, not the component departments. I don’t know how you fix that, assuming that’s even true.

Shut it down, and end the Patriot Act while you are at it.

I find the name somewhat offensive and reminiscent of Nazi propaganda and jingoism. Out of touch with the multinationalism I feel appropriate today. And an offensive reminder of the horrendous and inexcusable Patriot Act.

I’ve worked in the federal government my entire career, and that has very much been my impression.

I always thought it one of the most amusing contradictions with Republicans’ purported desire for smaller government. “Let’s create a whole new Department!”