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Department of Homeland Security

In the wake of 9/11, President George W. Bush undertook one of the most sweeping reorganization of the nation’s intelligence and law enforcement capacities, creating the cabinet-level Department of Homeland Security (DHS). By bringing together a number of different departments, the hope was that coordination of information and services could prevent another massive attack on the homeland. Department of Homeland SecurityPresident Bush named former Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge as the first Office of Homeland Security director in October 2001, moving to director of the agency upon its formal establishment in November 2002.

The Department of Homeland Security gathered together agencies from the departments of Agriculture, Energy, Justice, Defense, the FBI, Transportation, Heath & Human Services and the Treasury, some 22 agencies in total. The U.S. Coast Guard, the Customs Service, the Secret Service and the INS were all moved to the DHS in 2002.

The Department of Homeland Security is the third-largest Cabinet department in the United States government, with more than 200,000 employees. Its stated goal is to prepare for, prevent, and respond to domestic emergencies, especially, but not limited to terrorism. However, the agency has been greatly criticized for excessive bureaucracy and waste. Additionally the DHS ranks near the bottom of government agencies in terms of both employee and consumer satisfaction.

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