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Definition: Homeland Security, Department of from The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

US government department created in 2002, as a response to the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks on New York City and Washington, DC. It brings together 22 formerly disparate domestic agencies, including the Coast Guards, the Secret Service, the US Customs Service, and the Immigration and Naturalization Service, into one department to protect the USA against threats to its security and coordinate its response. It is organized into four directorates: Border and Transportation Security, Emergency Preparedness and Response, Science and Technology, and Information Analysis and Infrastructure Protection. Its most recent secretary, John F Kelly was replaced by acting secretary Elaine Duke in July 2017.

Summary Article: Transportation Security Administration
From The SAGE International Encyclopedia of Travel and Tourism

A U.S. agency, created following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, that is charged with developing policies to ensure the safety of U.S. air traffic and other forms of traffic. The mission of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is to protect the transportation systems of the United States, while ensuring freedom of movement for people and commerce. Airport security and preventing aircraft hijacking are important concerns of the TSA.

The public face of the Transportation Security Administration is seen in the form of uniformed screeners at airports as part of airport security. Screeners examine both passengers, through a rigorous screening process including X-rays, and luggage, through larger screening machines. Screeners and some of their administrative procedures, including the list of banned items (which has included items such as fingernail clippers and knitting needles), have been subject to criticism. Overall, Americans and other foreign travelers have accepted increased security measures, as expressed by the TSA, as part of the post-9/11 world.

The TSA is also concerned with threats—such as shoulder-fired missiles—at and around airports and the profiling or screening of passengers, sometimes using computers and information technologies. The policies and actions of the Transportation Security Administration have been and will continue to be subject to executive, legislative, and judicial scrutiny.

Note: Adapted from

  • Transportation Security Administration (2005). In Samuels, R. J. (Ed.), Encyclopedia of United States National Security (Vol. 2, pp. 734-735). SAGE Thousand Oaks CA.

See also Airline Travel; Airports; Airports in the United States; Baggage; Body Scanners in Airports; Customs and Immigration; Hijacking; National Transportation Safety Board

Copyright © 2017 by SAGE Publications, Inc.

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