The "homeland" security mission of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is paradoxical: Its mission space is uniquely focused on the domestic consequences of security threats, but these threats may be international in origin, organization, and implementation. The DHS is responsible for the domestic security implications of threats to the United States posed, in part, through the global networks of which the United States is a part. While the security of the U.S. air transportation network could be increased if it were isolated from connections to the larger international network, doing so would be a highly destructive step for the entire fabric of global commerce and the free movement of people.
Instead, the U.S. government, led by DHS, is taking a leadership role in the process of protecting the global networks in which the United States participates. These numerous networks are both real (e.g., civil air transport, international ocean shipping, postal services, international air freight) and virtual (the Internet, international financial payments system), and they have become vital elements of the U.S. economy and civil society.
Export Control Challenges Associated with Securing the Homeland found that outdated regulations are not uniquely responsible for the problems that export controls post to DHS, although they are certainly an integral part of the picture. This report also explains that the source of these problems lies within a policy process that has yet to take into account the unique mission of DHS relative to export controls. Export Control Challenges Associated with Securing the Homeland explains the need by the Department of Defense and State to recognize the international nature of DHS's vital statutory mission, the need to further develop internal processes at DHS to meet export control requirements and implement export control policies, as well as the need to reform the export control interagency process in ways that enable DHS to work through the U.S. export control process to cooperate with its foreign counterparts.