United States Department of Homeland Security

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United States Department of Homeland Security
United States Department of Homeland Security
- DHS -
United States Department of Homeland Security

Seal of the United States Department of Homeland Security - DHS -

Set up: November 25, 2002
Seat: Nebraska Avenue Complex
Washington, DC
Supervisory authority: Seal of the President of the United States.svg President of the United States
minister Chad Wolf (acting, since November 2019)
Deputy vacant
Household: 2014 fiscal year: $ 59,959,337,000
Employees: 229,000 (as of 2018)
Homepage: dhs.gov

The United States Department of Homeland Security (also: Department of Homeland Security , English United States Department of Homeland Security [DHS]) is a in 2002 under impression of the terrorist attacks on 11 September 2001 created the Ministry of the United States .

Opening of the new headquarters of the ministry in April 2019

The main task of the department, based in Washington, DC ( Nebraska Avenue Complex ), is to protect the American people and the state territory from terrorist and other threats. This makes it comparable to the Home Office of other countries, while the United States Department of the Interior is only responsible for the administration of federally owned land such as national parks .


Predecessor institutions

The department took on 22 existing federal agencies, including the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). FEMA was founded by US President Jimmy Carter in 1979 for national emergencies. At that time it was merged from several small agencies to form a federal authority and today it has 2,600 employees within the ministry.

Another forerunner institution was the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). It is a main command of the US Army for pioneer and civil engineering and has national and global structures.


The department was created as one of the responses to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and is the third largest federal agency with over 200,000 employees after the United States Department of Defense and the Pension Organization. Some previously independent institutions were merged into it, such as the security controls at airports, the customs authorities , the coast guard and the Federal Emergency Management Agency . Contrary to original plans, however, the FBI and the CIA were not subordinate to him. The first minister was Tom Ridge (October 2001 to February 1, 2005, see below ).


National Operations Center (NOC) , coordination point of the Ministry of Homeland Security

The seat of the authority is the Nebraska Avenue Complex . Another office is in the Ronald Reagan Building in the Federal Triangle . In the White House, there is the Homeland Security Council for political coordination , formerly headed by John O. Brennan as Presidential Advisor for Internal Security. Other significant agencies under the responsibility of the Department of Homeland Security include the United States Departments of Health , Justice, and Energy .

After the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of Veterans Affairs, the Ministry of Internal Security is the third largest by employees. However, the budget is significantly smaller than that of the two largest ministries and is around half of the budget of the Ministry of Agriculture .

Legal basis

In May 2007, George W. Bush signed the National Security Presidential Directive 51 (NSPD 51), also known as the Homeland Security Presidential Directive 20 (HSPD 20), a presidential directive on national security that should be met in the event of a national disaster, emergency, or attack The enduring constitutional government is to ensure that the US President entrusts himself with the management of the entire federal government and coordinates the cooperation between the executive , the legislature and the judiciary .


Subordinate authorities

Advisory bodies

Ministry bodies

Homeland Security Advisory System (warning levels)

In order to fulfill its task of “anticipating, anticipating and averting” threats, the ministry used a five-level, color-based Homeland Security Advisory System until April 27, 2011 to indicate the assumed threat situation: green, blue, yellow, orange , Red. A similar scale has been used by the US military since the Cold War to indicate the state of defense of the armed forces. He became known as DefCon .

Threat condition Alert level meaning
Low low level (green) very low risk of terrorist attack
Guarded cautious step (blue) low risk of terrorist attack
Elevated increased level (yellow) significant risk of a terrorist attack
High high level (orange) high risk of a terrorist attack
Severe serious level (red) very high risk of a terrorist attack

The Homeland Security Advisory System has been criticized by Michael Moore in his film " Fahrenheit 9/11 " , among others , because by raising the security level it enables the government to divert media attention to itself and to certain other events. For example, at the 2004 Democratic Party Congress in Boston, ahead of the presidential election, the alert was raised because "evidence of attacks" had arrived. The same did not happen at the Republican election convention that year in New York .

Another point of criticism is that objective criteria for the warning levels have never been published. To this end, security experts question the warning system because the warning notices are far too imprecise. The police force is increased when the alert level rises, but they only receive vague information such as "possible attacks on the railway network". From a logical point of view, however, it is possible at any time for attacks to be carried out on railways.

On April 26, 2011, the Homeland Security Advisory System was replaced by the two-tier National Terrorism Advisory System . It only differentiates between “current alerts” and “expired alerts”.

List of ministers

# image Surname Term of office in the cabinet of
1 Tom Ridge.jpg Thomas Joseph Ridge January 24, 2003–1. February 2005 George W. Bush
- James M. Loy.jpg James Milton Loy
February 1, 2005–15. February 2005
2 Michael Chertoff, official DHS photo portrait, 2007.jpg Michael B. Chertoff February 15, 2005-20. January 2009
3 Janet Napolitano official portrait.jpg Janet A. Napolitano January 20, 2009–6. September 2013 Barack Obama
- Rand Beers official portrait.jpg Rand Beers
September 6, 2013–23. December 2013
4th Jeh Johnson official portrait.jpg Jeh Charles Johnson December 23, 2013–20. January 2017
5 John Kelly official Transition portrait.jpg John Francis Kelly January 20, 2017–31. July 2017 Donald Trump
- Elaine Duke.jpg Elaine Costanzo Duke
July 31, 2017 to December 6, 2017
6th Kirstjen Nielsen 2018.jpg Kirstjen Nielsen December 6, 2017 to April 7, 2019
Kevin McAleenan official photo.jpg
Kevin McAleenan


April 7, 2019 to October 2019
Chad Wolf official portrait 2017 (cropped) .jpg
Chad Wolf


since November 1, 2019

Web links

Commons : United States Department of Homeland Security  - collection of images, videos, and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. DHS 2014 Budget-in-Brief, page 3 ff. Information on page 3/4 in thousands of dollars. ( Memento of the original from October 21, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. (PDF; 3.9 MB) @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.dhs.gov
  2. https://www.dhs.gov/secretary
  3. <Source for the official translation> The Mission of the United States in Germany ( Memento of the original from 23 August 2011 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link has been inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. , accessed June 9, 2015 @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / german.germany.usembassy.gov
  4. Department of Homeland Security - USA . at kooperation-international.de, accessed on June 9, 2015
  5. Trump's Home Security Minister surprisingly throws down . on Spiegel Online , accessed October 12, 2019
  6. ^ National Security and Homeland Security Presidential Directive , White House press release , May 9, 2007
  7. Upon the declaration of war or when the President directs, the Coast Guard shall operate as a service in the Navy, and shall so continue until the President, by Executive order, transfers the Coast Guard back to the Department of Homeland Security. - To German: "In the event of a declaration of war or an order from the President to do so, the Coast Guard shall be subordinate to the Navy until the President decides that it is again under the Department of Homeland Security." Legal text on the Cornell Law School website , accessed on 6 April 2007.
  8. Google News (Agence France-Presse) , accessed January 12, 2012
  9. ^ National Terrorism Advisory System. Retrieved April 18, 2014 .
  10. washingtonpost.com October 11, 2019: McAleenan, acting Homeland Security secretary, stepping down
  11. zeit.de: Donald Trump changes home security minister
  12. ^ Deutsche Welle (www.dw.com): Homeland Security: Another New US Minister | DW | 11/02/2019. Retrieved March 13, 2020 (German).