An Examination of State Level Homeland Security Organizations
Type of DegreeDissertation
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The requirement for homeland security within the United States became apparent following the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. Prior to the attacks, neither the federal nor state governments were organized or prepared to combat the emerging terrorist threat. The national debate that ensued involved a variety of complex issues. The federal reorganization for homeland security has been a controversial topic of significant discussion, but in comparison, the state level reorganizations for homeland security have received little attention from political analysts and public officials. The purpose of this exploratory research was to examine the state level homeland security organizations that have been created in the past six years. The researcher used a mail survey to the homeland security directors in the 50 states, and 70% of the serving homeland security directors provided input. As a result, we now know that states have reorganized in a variety of ways to manage critical issues relating to homeland security, and these organizations are becoming more institutionalized. Additionally, we have found that collaboration in the homeland security shared power environment is flourishing, and a host of formal networked organizations have been created at the state level to address the most complex issues that are not easily solved by one organization. The research findings reveal that the majority of states have merged the homeland security and emergency management functions, or the same manager was responsible for both organizations. A significant majority of the respondents reported that merger is preferable due to improved coordination and unity of effort. The research also reveals that formal networked organizations are now prevalent and extremely important in the homeland security environment at the state level. These collaborative organizations have enjoyed an extremely high success rate, and the majority of serving homeland security directors report that none of their networks had been disbanded. In most instances, the initially established organizations continue to serve their intended purpose. The final portion of this research explores the lessons that have been learned with regard to collaboration and the networked organizations that have been created to foster or encourage collaboration in the shared power environment. The lessons that have been documented could be used as the foundation for additional case study research of existing networked organizations. They also provide excellent insights regarding networked organizations that could be useful in other areas throughout the public sector.