The Department of Homeland Security’s role in protecting the national economy
Brzozowski, Christa M.
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The national economy and the vital commercial flows that feed it are the sine quibus non of national influence, power, and security. However, new characteristics of the modern trade environment have the potential to undermine U.S. economic prosperity. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) claims that homeland security is inseparable from economic security and, as such, that the department has a role to play in supporting national economic security goals. However, DHS has yet to fully reconcile the tension between its trade enforcement and facilitation missions and clarify its role in supporting national economic competitiveness goals. After identifying and assessing several policy alternatives, this paper concludes that DHS should aggressively leverage its unique border authorities to influence a shift toward a more centralized model of government controls of imports, one informed by economy-wide strategic objectives and reliant upon standard performance measures, shared funding schemes, common information technology infrastructures, and delegated decision making on the admissibility of goods. Such an effort could provide commercially meaningful benefits to public and private stakeholders alike while maintaining security and safety requirements.
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