Capabilities and Limitations of Intelligence in Homeland Security

The United States Department of Homeland Security is a federal agency designed to protect to the United States and it’s citizens against aggressions. It has a wider range of duties which include the following; aviation security, boarder control, emergency response and cyber security (Jordan et al., 2011). The department was designed to oversee and coordinate national strategy to safeguard the country against terrorism. It is also designed to provide rapid and adequate response to any future attacks. There are five major goals of the homeland security agency. These are listed as follows; prevention of terrorism and enhancing security, securing and managing the US boarders, enforcing and administering immigration laws safeguarding and securing cyberspace and ensuring resilience to disasters. The homeland security relies on intelligence designed to effect is operations. This is provided by the office of intelligence and analysis whose mission is to equip the homeland security with adequate and timely intelligent information needed to secure the home land. This paper discuses the capabilities and limitations of intelligence in homeland security.

There are several capabilities of intelligence envisaged in the homeland security. A part from the natural scrutiny of foreign government intentions, the agency is able to scrutinize terrorism plans, proliferation of nuclear and cyber threats. The FBI, which is the largest agency has intensified it’s focus to intelligence and established a solid rating within intelligence gathering. There has also been an increase in number of more developed agencies such as middle (EPIC) which is responsible for copping with drugs and drug trafficking (Ratcliffe, 2016). The joint terrorism force combats domestic terrorism threats; it is an investigative as well as intelligence centre. There are other agencies associated with monitoring security threats in various parts of the United States. The national intelligence comprises of more than 850000 well trained individuals with a substantial annual budget of about $100 millions. This enables efficient implementation and delivery of services associated with the agency. There are other intelligence networks of local and state fusion centers which liaise with DHS. This offers the department analytical and reach-back support.  The fusion centers help in preventing terrorism and security threats by providing timely and reliable information to DHS. They also assist law enforcement agencies in apprehending criminals. Effective intelligence fusion requires a clear understanding of the link between terrorism-related intelligence and non- terrorism related information. The national intelligence provides relevant and actionable intelligence in time to the entities responsible for prevention of threats. It also archives all data and intelligence for future reference.

Quite a number of limitations have been associated with the intelligence service in the homeland security. These challenges have hampered efficient delivery of security services in the DHS. With regards to the fusion centers established by the government, there are controversies among the opponents associated with such centers. Some believe that the number of fusion centers is big but ineffective. Criticism and negative perceptions have hampered the noble course of intelligence service in homeland security. They argue that employing large number of people from the neighborhood in the intelligence agency is a waste of public resources which could be channeled into other development projects (Ratcliffe, 2016). The intelligence community is challenged by adversaries who are becoming difficult to identify, locate and combat due to their sophisticated nature. The actors are replaced by criminals and ideological groups. These enemy groups are supported by a highly complicated and instantaneous communication and powerful data system that is proving difficult to bring down. The intelligence agency is faced by inability to gather sufficient and crucial information and to predict any aggressions before they occur. Continued domination of FBI in the agency has led to a never ending fragmentation of intelligence when it is needed. This is because the FBI believes it is better placed with adequate personnel than other intelligence agencies.  Of importance too, none of the agencies under the National intelligence has an all-source collection and analysis capabilities which cover both foreign and domestic intelligence.

In summary, homeland security is a function of the department of homeland security. The department is charged with the responsibility of securing the United States and it’s citizens against a threats. The department of homeland security relies on intelligence to effect it’s operations. The intelligence is provided by the department of intelligence and analysis. In homeland security, the intelligence has various capabilities and limitations. Some of the intelligence’s capabilities are as follows. The agency is able to scrutinize terrorism plans proliferation nuclear and cyber threats. The fusion centers help in disseminating information which is useful in combating terrorism and security threats. The national intelligence provides actionable intelligence to the entities responsible for preventing threats. However, the intelligence has faced a number of challenges such as; criticism and negative perception which have hampered the noble course of the agency. The actors have been replaced by criminals who use sophisticated and powerful data systems. The intelligence agency is unable to gather information and predict attacks before they occur. Critics maintain that it is a waste of money to hire a big number of people to work in the agency instead of channeling the resources to other development projects.


Jordan, A. A., Taylor Jr, W. J., Meese, M. J., & Nielsen, S. C. (2011). American national security. JHU Press.

Ratcliffe, J. H. (2016). Intelligence-led policing. Routledge.

Ratcliffe, J. H. (2016). Data mining and homeland security. In Encyclopedia of Digital Government (pp. 277-282). IGI Global.

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