The key operational entities within DHS were transferred to the new Department three years ago today on March 1, 2003. Which means that DHS has now been in existence for more than twice as long as the period of time between 9/11 and its creation.
The Department has made substantial progress in the past year in a number of areas – increasing risk-based grants, strengthening intelligence, building up nuclear and biological detection capabilities, and completing a number of key objectives from DHS’s first two years. But’s it’s also unquestionably had serious bouts of the “terrible twos”, most notably the DHS response to Hurricane Katrina (with the exception of the Coast Guard). Hopefully this coming year will bring rapid progress on many of DHS’s key near-term challenges – disaster response, border security, chemical plant security, etc. – and also see steady efforts to strengthen core capabilities consistent with a long-term vision for the Department. Our security demands no less.