Reforming the National Security Apparatus

Steven Hurst

in Assessing the George W. Bush Presidency

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print November 2009 | ISBN: 9780748627400
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748671946 | DOI:
Reforming the National Security Apparatus

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Before the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, the United States's homeland defence policy focused on threats from state, rather than from non-state, actors. In December 2000, the Gilmore Commission reported that ‘the organisation of the Federal Government's programs for combating terrorism is fragmented, uncoordinated, and politically unaccountable’. Despite that warning, the administration of George W. Bush paid little attention to the terrorist threat before September 11. Since that date, in contrast, the Bush administration engaged in the biggest governmental reorganisation in half a century in an effort better to protect the United States from terrorist attack. According to one official involved in homeland security, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the centrepiece of Bush's organisational reforms, is ‘so dysfunctional, and so destructive to agency functions, that it should be dismantled’. This chapter assesses the Bush administration's efforts to improve homeland security by transforming the homeland security bureaucracy. It also discusses the politics of homeland security and the organisational challenges faced by the Bush administration in trying to reform homeland security.

Keywords: George W. Bush; United States; homeland security; terrorism; Department of Homeland Security; bureaucracy; politics; reform

Chapter.  5554 words. 

Subjects: US Politics

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