Achieving Greater Homeland Security: Who Should Pay, and How?

Charlotte Kirschner, Alice Levy, Joseph J. Cordes


The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 in the United States have broadened the public sector’s role in providing “protective goods and services” to include homeland security in addition to national security and public safety (e.g. police and fire protection). Although it is acknowledged that the federal government has a clear responsibility for taking the lead in shaping homeland security policies, the provision of greater homeland security involves significant participation by state and local governments, and the private sector, in addition to the national government.

This paper briefly summarizes why private markets are likely to under-invest in homeland security, leading to a need for public action. It provides an overview of both the range of budgetary and non-budgetary tools used by the United States (U.S.) federal government to “finance” the provision of homeland security, and the budgetary and non-budgetary cost of these federal actions. The paper also identifies and discusses some of the principle challenges faced in ensuring federal homeland security dollars are “well-spent.” While the analysis focuses on the United States, the tools of government employed are applicable to all sovereign nations.

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