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15501007_sWhat is homeland security? simple question , many different answers. Ask 20 people involved in homeland security to define it and you get 20 different answers. This is the situation in each country dealing with the issue.

In Israel the situation is much the same. At least three government offices deal with the issue with no real , precise limits on the responsibilities.

In the U.S the lack of a clear definition is a source for problems.

The Congressional Research Service (CRS) on Thursday issued its second warning in a month that the lack of a statutory definition of homeland security threatens the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) ability to properly manage and prioritize its varied responsibilities.

“The absence of clear definition and concept of homeland security affects DHS’s ability to prioritize and manage the department’s missions,” said CRS analyst Shawn Reese during a hearing of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs that examined DHS management ten years after the department’s creation. “The absence of an agreed upon comprehensive definition and concept of homeland security … affects how DHS, and the federal government, prioritize homeland security missions,” said Reese.

“Many argue, in an ideal scenario, there would be a clear and comprehensive definition and concept of homeland security, and a consensus about it; as well as prioritized missions, goals and activities that emit from this comprehensive definition,” Reese told the lawmakers, stressing that “Policymakers could then use a process to incorporate feedback and respond to new facts and situations as they develop.”

But, Reese candidly told the committee, “more than ten years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, policymakers continue to grapple with a comprehensive definition and concept of homeland security.”

“For example,” he said, “the US government does not have a single definition for ‘homeland security.’ Currently, different strategic documents and mission statements offer varying missions that are derived from different homeland security definitions. Of course, over time it is expected that definitions and concepts change and evolve in response to changing conditions. The question is what is the comprehensive definition of homeland security today. This is more than an issue of what words describe ‘homeland security,’ it is instead an issue of how policymakers understand what homeland security is and how it is accomplished.”