The U.S. Department of Homeland Security, or DHS, is a government agency tasked with ensuring the safety and security of the United States. It was created as a temporary office soon after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, and Congress made it an official cabinet department in 2002. The creation of the DHS unified various government offices involved with managing the borders, preventing attacks on the United States and responding to natural or human-made disasters.

Missions of the DHS

The Department of Homeland security lists five major missions on its website: preventing terrorism, safeguarding cyberspace, securing the borders, enforcing immigration laws and ensuring "resilience to disasters." These missions are implemented through sub-organizations such as Customs, Immigration and the Transportation Security Administration. The Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, is also part of the DHS, as are the U.S. Coast Guard and Secret Service .

About the Author

Evan Centanni specializes in world cultures and human geography. He grew up in Oregon, but has since lived in two other countries and traveled to many more. Centanni is editor of Political Geography Now at He holds a Bachelor of Arts in international studies and linguistics from the University of Oregon.