• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • Ten Years of Homeland Security Oversight: Time for Reform

    Ten years ago today, the House created a 13-member Select Committee on Homeland Security.

    The decision seemingly made a good deal of sense. With the memory of 9/11 still fresh, President George W. Bush had begun to call for a Cabinet-level department to carry out the nation’s homeland security mission. The committee would oversee the then-Office of Homeland Security, and later the newly created Department of Homeland Security (DHS), providing guidance and crafting legislation for the U.S. homeland security enterprise.

    But all of this would be easier said than done. Or at least, it would get exceedingly more complicated just a few months later.

    On November 25, 2002, the new Select Committee on Homeland Security passed the Homeland Security Act of 2002. Among other things, the act originated the Cabinet-level department that the President had set out to create, combining 22 formerly separate government agencies into one integrated DHS.

    For Congress, this meant deciding what to do with all the committees that had overseen the formerly separate agencies. Would they all still have a say in homeland security oversight? The answer probably doesn’t come as a surprise. After all, why would each committee and its members want to give up their piece of the homeland security pie? And the problem would only get worse with time.

    And not despite warning either. In 2004, the 9/11 Commission recommended that Congress consolidate jurisdiction of homeland security into a “single, principal point of oversight and review.” Still, nothing was done.

    Today, 108 congressional committees, subcommittees, and commissions—ranging from Agriculture to Finance to Energy and Commerce—share oversight over DHS, compared to just 36 committees and subcommittees with oversight over the Department of Defense. This confusing and overly burdensome system not only impedes policy but also places conflicting and sometimes duplicative demands on DHS, inhibiting congressional guidance and ultimately progress within the overall homeland security enterprise.

    When will enough be enough? Continuing to play politics with the oversight of DHS will do nothing but hinder U.S. security. Instead, the House and Senate should work to streamline and consolidate oversight.

    It’s time that Congress show true leadership and do what is right for the nation.

    Posted in Security [slideshow_deploy]

    3 Responses to Ten Years of Homeland Security Oversight: Time for Reform

    1. and2therepublic says:

      "[I]t is not by consolidation, or concentration of powers, but by their distribution, that good government is effected."

      Thomas Jefferson – Autobiography

    2. Bobbie says:

      Time to reform (change) all of government the PEOPLES' constitutional way. Wherever government extends their existence, corruption, coercion and costs builds. This Obama government protects themselves with disrespect of and no acknowledgment to the people they vowed an oath to serve the AMERICAN WAY…

      Todays Obama's government is dangerously inefficient, insufficient, intolerant, incapable, incoherent, incompetent, inept, indecisive, indignant and indecent. There's lots of "dis"s and "un" words Obamas' govern America's government by also. Obamas lead Americans like leaders of 3rd world countries lead people… not by principle, but by mental, emotional, financial abuse and control and punishment. Look at the "affordable health care act" obama's signature achievement in total opposition of the will of the people. He refuses to witness honorable people do not compromise on principle or waste. Peoples' Americans principle stands, government wastes criminalize.

    3. Alan says:

      As always . . . en pointe Steve.

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.

    ×