The modern concept of U.S. homeland security has existed since 9/11, with the formation of a cabinet-level department devoted to this issue and a refocusing of national policy and resources to deal with the dangers of terrorism and national disasters that threaten the security and well being of the nation. However, there has never been an agreed definition of the meaning of the term “homeland security.”

This article discusses the evolution of homeland security and the many factors affecting development of an official definition. It demonstrates that this concept is part of the broader realm of national security and related to emergency management and homeland defense. The analysis can support homeland security curriculum development and stimulate classroom discussions. It can also be helpful to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officials, other government officials working in this area, and nongovernmental experts and research organizations with security interests.


Jerome H. Kahan

Jerome Kahan has been in the national security, arms control, and homeland security fields for over 40 years. He is currently an independent writer and analyst, having recently been a Distinguished Analyst at the Homeland Security Studies and Analysis Institute in Arlington, VA. At the Institute, Mr. Kahan ran projects on national preparedness, a homeland security university, new insights on homeland security, risk reduction for homeland security program planning, and community resilience. Serving with the Department of State for 20 years, Mr. Kahan held positions on the Policy Planning Staff, as Deputy Assistant Secretary with the Political-Military and Intelligence Bureaus, and as Politico-Military Counselor at the American Embassy in Turkey. In addition to his recent position with the Institute, he has also worked for other non-governmental organizations, including Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution, Group Leader with the Center for Naval Analyses, and Policy Advisor with Systems Planning and Analysis. Mr. Kahan has written and/or contributed to a number of books, published articles in a variety of journals, taught at the Air Force Academy, and served for ten years as an Adjunct Professor in the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. Mr. Kahan holds a Masters Degree in Electrical Engineering from Columbia University, with Bachelor’s Degrees from Queens as well as Columbia College.

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What’s in a Name? The Meaning of Homeland Security

Suggested Citation

Kahan, J. H. (2013). What's in a name? The meaning of homeland security. Journal of Homeland Security Education, 2, 1-18, https://jsire.org/whats-in-a-name-the-meaning-of-homeland-security