Historical Timeline of Homeland Security

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Historical Timeline of Homeland Security Incidents Events Along with the Call for Improved Preparedness, Response and Recovery Needs that Lead to the Creation of NIMs and the NRF Documents.

The Homeland Security Department is a department of the federal government responsible for public security.  This department was created to respond on both natural as well as manmade incidences facing the people of United States. Its missions involve border security, antiterrorism, cyber security, immigration and customs as well as disaster management. The department of homeland security was created as a response to the September 11 terror attacks.  Many documents exist that highlights how this Department was created (Poynter Institute for Media Studies, 2001). What becomes evident is that it integrates all 22 different federal departments as well as agencies into one unified, integrated Department.  This integration has made DHS become a more effective as well as integrated Department with robust homeland security enterprise enhancing a more secure America which is well equipped to confront diverse threats. After the September 11 terrorist attacks, the Tom Ridge, the Pennsylvania Governor became the first Director in charge of Homeland Security after an appointment in the White House. This office became responsible for overseeing and coordinating a comprehensive federal strategy for purposes of safeguarding the country against terrorism, natural disaster, man-made disasters and responding to any other future attacks. After the passage of Homeland Security Act by the Congress in late 2002, the Homeland Security Department formally emerged an independent department to coordinate further and unify federal security efforts. Disaster always strikes in any community anytime, developing gradually, or striking unexpectedly without warning.  Irrespective of the scenario, the federal government’s emergency management, and preparedness agency remains part of the team of responders. The mission is always to reduce life losses,  property damage and  assisting people nationwide  to protect themselves against  hazards, irrespective of whether natural disasters or terror activities.  The department of homeland security supports the country in a risk-based, proper emergency management system which involves preparedness, protection, response, recovery as well as mitigation (Wingfield & Palmer, 2009).

The NIMs

The September 11 incident, another natural disaster like earthquakes, tornadoes and hurricanes pose threats to the country. When they occur there is a need for comprehensive, national approach to managing them. To reduce the damages of such disaster, there is always need for improved preparedness, response as well as recovery needs. For efficiency in disaster management such as that in September 11 attack, the Department of Homeland Security needed a detailed plan. NIM provides a comprehensive, federal approach to incident management which applies at all jurisdictional levels and functional disciplines. It applies across a total spectrum of probable incidents, hazards as well as impacts, irrespective of complexity, size or location.  It improves coordination as well as cooperation between public -private entities in different incident management initiatives and avails a common standard for general disaster management (Phelan, 2008). NIMS  is important since it gives a consistent framework and strategy  to enable government at Federal, State, and local, tribal the private sector, and nongovernmental actors to  function in collaboration to prepare, prevent, respond, recover, and mitigate disaster effects irrespective of complexities.

Consistent use of NIMS is important since it provides the groundwork for efficiency and effectiveness in responses, from a single agency response to a multiagency, multijurisdictional man-made or natural disaster response (Koestler-Grack, 2007). When entities integrated NIMS into planning as well as incident management structure, they can arrive at a disaster incident with little notice, but they will still know the procedures as well as protocols that govern the response and the expectations for equipment as well as personnel. Therefore in incidences such as terror attack or earthquake, NIMS can give commonality regarding preparedness and response initiatives which allows different entities to integrate easily and if the need exists, establish one command in a disaster. NIMS  has, Preparedness, Communications and Information Management, Resource Management, Command and Management and  Ongoing Management and Maintenance components which are vital in incidences whether natural or man-made.


Whether man-made disaster like the September 11, or natural incidence like an earthquake, improved preparedness, response, as well as recovery, remains vital. After the September 11 terror attack, there was needed to come up with scalable, flexible as well as adaptable concepts to align critical roles and responsibilities into a national framework. After the lesson from terror attacks and natural disasters, NRF became a necessity component in the federal Preparedness System.  The reason for this document was to strengthen resilience and security of the U S using systematic preparation for threats with the greatest risk to federal. The NRF provides the doctrine on the way the country develops, sustains, and delivers its core response capabilities prescribed in the Preparedness Goal (Koestler-Grack, 2007). The development of NRF was to provide a guide on how the entire nations respond to different types of disasters as well as emergencies.  Hence, it is devised on the scalable, flexible as well as adaptable concepts found in the federal Incident Management System for purposes of aligning vital roles as well as responsibilities nationally.  As a framework, it describes particular authorities, as well as best practices, demanded in managing incidents which range from adverse but local to large-scale terrorist incidences or adverse natural disasters. This framework explains the principles, responsibilities as well as coordinating structures critical in delivering critical capabilities demanded while responding to disaster incidents. It also describes the way response efforts interlink with others in different mission areas. NRF always remain in effect, and its elements can get implemented irrespective of time or situation. Its highlighted structures, roles as well as responsibilities can end up being partially or totally implemented in any context of hazard, significant event anticipation as well as in incident response (The United States, 2008). Selective implementation of NRF structures, as well as procedures, remain vital from the fact that it allows for scaled response, specific resources as well as capabilities delivery, and coordination appropriateness to a particular incident.


When a disaster occurs, there is always need for coordination and structures that function across the board to manageable actors respond well. Coming up with a plan that is multijurisdictional is also important. In disasters, NIMS and NRF remain as companion documents designed to enhance the Nation’s incident management as well as response capabilities. While the NIMS gives the template for purposes of managing incidents irrespective of size, scope or cause, the NRF  document gives a clear structure and practices for a federal level policy of disaster  response. Jointly, NIMS and NRF integrate all the capabilities  as well as resources of different, incident management, governmental jurisdictions, emergency response disciplines, non-governmental organizations as well as private-sector into one cohesive, coordinated as well as a seamless federal framework for disaster response.



Koestler-Grack, R. A. (2007): The Department of Homeland Security. New York: Chelsea           House.

Phelan, T. D. (2008).Incidence management and tactical response operations: Bridging the gap.    Amsterdam: Butterworth-Heinemann/Elsevier.

Poynter Institute for Media Studies (2001): September 11, 2001. Kansas City, Mo: Andrews        McMeel Pub.

The United States, (2008): [Annexes in support of the National Response framework].      Washington, D.C.: U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security.

Wingfield, W. E., & Palmer, S. B. (2009): Disaster Response. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons.

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