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Homeland defense and security.

Defending the homeland has been a historical role of the United States military since colonial militias took up arms to defend settlements in Massachusetts in 1637. In 1789, the U.S. Constitution dictated that the Federal Government would "provide for the common defense." This role has evolved, as reflected in the lexicon of contemporary interagency policy. Currently, homeland security and homeland defense are related but different missions. Most in the American security community recognize this distinction as the difference between "law enforcement and warfighting." (1) Federal agencies and organizations further clarify this distinction in their strategies and charters. U.S. Northern Command (USNORTHCOM), the new Department of Defense (DOD) combatant command based in Colorado Springs, Colorado, explains:

Homeland security is the prevention, preemption, and deterrence of, and defense against, aggression targeted at U.S. territory, sovereignty, domestic population, and infrastructure as well as the management of the consequences of such aggression and other domestic emergencies. (2)

DOD recognizes that other agencies lead homeland security efforts, and the Defense Department will support them when appropriate. Homeland security encompasses all levels of government and organizational support--local, state, and Federal. The Federal Emergency Management Agency, under the supervision of the Department of Homeland Security, leads the U.S. Government response to an extreme situation, whether natural disaster or terrorist attack. First responders, which include police, firefighters, and ambulance personnel, may work with Federal emergency staff from several agencies. The National Strategy for Homeland Security recognizes:

Indeed, the closest relationship the average citizen has with government is at the local level. State and local levels of government have primary responsibility for funding, preparing, and operating the emergency services that would respond in the event of a terrorist attack. Local units are the first to respond, and the last to leave the scene. All disasters are ultimately local events. (3)

Homeland defense, according to USNORTHCOM, is "the protection of U.S. territory, domestic population and critical infrastructure against military attacks emanating from outside the United States." (4) As a military organization, USNORTHCOM's operations within the United States are governed by law, notably the 1878 Posse Comitatus Act. This law states that "it shall not be lawful to employ any part of the Army of the United States ... for the purpose of executing the laws, except in such cases and under such circumstances as such employment of said force may be expressly authorized by the Constitution or by any act of Congress." (5) USNORTHCOM's missions are thus limited to military homeland defense and civil support to lead Federal agencies. (6)

The U.S. Government is still in the process of refining and defining the missions of homeland security and defense. Although recent issues of Joint Force Quarterly have articles addressing aspects of these homeland missions, this issue's Forum is dedicated to a more in-depth examination of their individual frameworks. The Forum begins with an interview of Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense Paul McHale, who explains the reality and nuances of the new homeland defense mission and organizations dedicated to executing it. Colonel Donald Thompson analyzes the possible roles and challenges of DOD's support role in civilian emergency preparedness response. Lieutenant Generals Joseph Inge and Eric Findley discuss U.S.-Canada cooperation in North American defense issues post-9/11. Lastly, Major General Rick Lynch and Lieutenant Colonel Phillip Janzen consider the evolution of NATO's strategic mission, demonstrated by its role in Iraq.

Recent national events have brought the importance of homeland security and defense to the forefront of national political attention. This JFQ Forum hopes to address the growing interest in the complex nature of the homeland security and defense missions by providing readers with informed and varied opinions on the evolving nature of this topic.


(1) Paul McHale, JFQ interview, October 6, 2005.

(2) U.S. Northern Command, "Homeland Defense," available at < cfm?fuseaction=s.homeland>.

(3) Office of Homeland Security, National Strategy for Homeland Security, available at <www.>.


(5) Army National Guard, "Constitutional Charter of the Guard," available at <www.arng.>, October 9, 2005.

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Title Annotation:JFQ FORUM
Author:Krause, M.E.
Publication:Joint Force Quarterly
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 1, 2006
Previous Article:From the editor.
Next Article:An interview with assistant Secretary of Defense for homeland defense.

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