Not a day goes by in Washington or elsewhere in this country when there is not some headline or piece in the media decrying all of the problems that bemoan the Department of Homeland Security. In truth, those problem go beyond the federal department and are shared by other public and private sector players that work in the ‘homeland arena’ as well. There is no doubt that the problems that all of these people work are complex and prolific. In fact, all of the issues and problems they are contending with are frustrating and – in many cases – outright terrifying. But for everything going wrong that we document time and again, there are a number of things that are going right.

At the heart of what is right in homeland security is the people.

Across this country and around the world, there are people working every moment of every day to preserve and protect our homeland. From border crossings, airport terminals and Coast Guard cutters, to police/fire stations, office buildings and operations centers, there are men and women who have stepped forward and taken jobs and responsibilities that few Americans know of, appreciate or for that matter, even acknowledge. None of these jobs are glamorous and many of them can be downright tedious, but they are done to preserve the very way of life we all too often forget was born of sacrifice, principle and an ideal instilled by our Creator and forged by our Nation’s founders.

Their service, along with those of our men and women in military uniform around the globe, should be remembered and acknowledged as well. Caught up in the race that is our daily life, we often forget to take a moment to appreciate what all of these people do. If you do take that moment, you will note how truly impressive it is what they do to make you and your family safe and secure every day. That is a gift that is often hard to remember, especially after the TSA screener at the airport opens up your luggage for all to see and makes you throw out your tube of toothpaste because you folded the end over so it can fit in the one quart bag. However, it’s one that we should all take a moment to appreciate.

We don’t do that enough in this country.

We are quick to mock what many of them do as a joke. We are even faster to hurl names and accusations at them for what job was done or was not done to our satisfaction.

None of the people working in these jobs is perfect or has performed perfectly. The fact is that none of them ever will be either but each of these people deserves to hear a simple word from us for what they do to serve us and the homeland.


Rich Cooper blogs primarily on emergency preparedness and response, management issues related to the Department of Homeland Security, and the private sector’s role in homeland security. Read More