Washington DC, US Capitol buildingWhat is included in the “Homeland Security” definition? Many countries face that question. Israel, like many other countries, has not yet decided on a solid definition. The existence of overlapping and varying definitions of the term “homeland security” is the best evidence for this somewhat confusing situation.

A new report by the US congress tries to put things in order:

“Ten years after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the U.S. government does not have a single definition for ‘homeland security.’ [Instead,] different strategic documents and mission statements offer varying missions that are derived from different homeland security definitions.”The report says.

Most official definitions of homeland security include terrorism prevention. Many but not all encompass disaster response. Most do not include border security, or maritime security, or immigration matters, or general resilience, though some do.

“An absence of consensus about the inclusion of these policy areas may result in unintended consequences for national homeland security operations,” The report says.  “For example, not including maritime security in the homeland security definition may result in policymakers, Congress, and stakeholders not adequately addressing maritime homeland security threats, or more specifically being able to prioritize federal investments in border versus intelligence activities.”

“The competing and varied definitions in these documents may indicate that there is no succinct homeland security concept. Without a succinct homeland security concept, policymakers and entities with homeland security responsibilities may not successfully coordinate or focus on the highest prioritized or most necessary activities.”