No nation is home alone: understanding the international dimension of homeland security through global transportation security programs
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Terrorist actors focus on the global transportation system to introduce threats and target attacks. As the lead department for securing the transportation system into the United States, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) works both domestically and internationally to implement programs and foreign assistance activities to secure the global transportation network. This thesis examines DHS’ international role by analyzing programs and policies implemented by its three largest global transportation agencies: the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency, the Transportation Security Administration, and the U.S. Coast Guard. Due to the breadth of DHS programs and activities, their stated goals and objectives, and their legal mandates, this thesis determines that a U.S. foreign assistance framework provides minimal insight into DHS’ international footprint. Instead, this research developed a simple model for understanding the primary components of DHS’ international mission space and identified operations, policy, outreach and engagement, and training and technical assistance as core concepts in DHS’ international mission. Using this model, DHS can pursue the additional recommendations developed in this thesis—applying systems theory as a basis for an international transportation security strategy as well as pursuing direct funding for its international transportation programs and activities as a fully integrated department—within the traditional U.S. foreign policy and national security institutions.
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