Born this catastrophic event signaled a transition in

Born out of tragedy, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was
established just eleven short days after the September 11th, 2011 terrorist
attacks that brought down the World Trade Center in New York City (“Creation of
the Department of Homeland Security”, 2017). These terrorist attacks also
precipitated a significant increase in the level of social vulnerability
present within the American population as well, which helped to establish the
fact that there is a definitive correlation between social vulnerability and
the creation and functionality of the Department of Homeland Security. In
analyzing the sequence of events that took place immediately following the
attacks, it is clear that this catastrophic event signaled a transition in the
way that Americans regarded their safety and sparked a political transformation
that has escalated the importance of the country’s security and, consequently,
the role of the Department of Homeland Security.

Thus now, more than ever before, the classic debate of whether a
nation or society should adopt heightened security measures at the cost of an
individual’s previously enjoyed privacy has surfaced as the primary topic
regarding potential solutions for the issue of national security in the United
States. This topic is important in addressing the study of diversity issues
because it analyzes how social vulnerability is inherently linked with the
issue of national security by analyzing the functions and public opinion of the
Department of Homeland Security. This paper will seek to do this by outlining
the definition of social vulnerability before establishing its relationship to
the Department of Homeland Security, then making inferences from the facts that
are outlined in that process.

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DISCUSSION

 

The term ‘social vulnerability’ is a measure of a population’s
ability to anticipate, withstand, and recover from certain national tragedies.
Based on this definition, an assumption that one could intuitively make is that
an increase in social vulnerability is more than likely correlated with an
increased importance placed upon the establishment of the Department of
Homeland Security and other similar measures to increase national security.
This is an intuitive suggestion to make because, if a population is less
tolerant to national hazards or tragedies, they will become more likely to
advocate for stronger national security measures. In many ways, the September
11th terrorist attacks signify the ‘tipping point’ in American politics and
among the population, which precipitated the manifestation of the Department of
Homeland Security. Thus, it can be said that this specific terrorist attack
increased social vulnerability and corroborates the core thesis in this paper
that social vulnerability is intuitively correlated with the creation of the
Department of Homeland Security.

These claims are evidenced by the fact that there had been
ruminations within the political sphere and in the public about whether a
governmental agency that functions similar to the Department of Homeland
Security should be established. The idea of creating such a department gained
momentum throughout the 90’s primarily due to increasing concerns about the
safety of American citizens and the lack of any organization with the sole
mission to preserving this safety. Terrorist attacks that had occurred during
the 90’s served as a catalyst for this proposition as well. Also, the
recognition of a worldwide environment where individual actors and entities
that were not associated with sovereign countries could pose a significant
threat to the safety of the American public became a catalyst as well (Perl,
2017).

 

The fact that the Department of Homeland Security was then
established by the Bush administration a mere eleven days after the September 11th
attacks is even greater evidence to suggest that there is a direct relationship
between social vulnerability and the establishment of the Department of
Homeland Security. The irony of the Department of Homeland Security’s position
in America is that, the more effective they are at fulfilling their intended
purpose, the more the public will naturally try to curb the organization’s
influence. Since it has already been established that terrorist attacks
generally increase the social vulnerability of a given population and social
vulnerability is positively correlated with the erection of agencies such as
the Department of Homeland Security, it is logical to reason that a decrease in
social vulnerability would lead to a pushback against these measures. Thus, if
the Department of Security is effective in their efforts to prevent terrorist
attacks from occurring, one can expect social vulnerability to gradually
decrease. Potential evidence of this phenomenon can be found in the backlash
that the agency has seen against some of its agencies.

One example can be found in the fact that the Department of
Homeland Security has recently had to attempt to fight efforts by legislators,
the president, and the American public alike to restrict and minimize its
authority or power to perform its designated functions effectively. One of the
primary catalysts for this movement has come from widespread scrutiny of the
‘TSA’ and their practices. The TSA, which is an acronym for the Transportation
Security Administration, is an entity that exists under the umbrella of the
Department of Homeland Security. While they were considered to be a great
necessity during the early 2000’s after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, they soon
became the subject of criticism from sources all over that leveled charges
against the organization, claiming that they were not only incompetent but
obtrusive in their actions. The ‘ramping up’ of the TSA’s responsibilities
following 9/11 was quickly curbed by these reports and now, many of the
preventive measures that were taken before, have been reduced in an effort to
satiate the public outcry against some of these practices that made individuals
feel that they were violated or ‘targeted’ at the airport for being oriented in
a certain manner (Edwards, 2017).

CONCLUSION

 

When analyzing social vulnerability in its entirety, it becomes
apparent that its importance and correlation with the Department of Homeland
Security is apparent. Not only is the connection between the two variables
intuitive, there is a wealth of evidence in existence to back up this
conclusion as well. The sharp spike in social concern, measurable as social
vulnerability, following the September 11th attacks is one major example of how
the two are inherently linked with one another. The fact that there has been
recent pushback against agencies such as the TSA, which were originally given
heightened authority following the September 11th attacks also yields evidence
that there is a negative correlation between the two variables as well. Thus, through
studying the fluctuations in the level of social vulnerability present in a
given population, social scientists may be able to make accurate predictions
about impending legislation or governmental actions that could be put in place
in response. Creating such a predictive model could yield far greater insight
into the inner workings of other sovereign nations if this correlation proves
to be true in other countries as well. Therefore, this is a topic that should
be explored in greater depth by qualified professionals and researchers in the
future.