The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) today (March 1) is marking the 20th Anniversary of the department’s creation. Following the September 11 attacks, President George W. Bush established DHS by signing the Homeland Security Act of 2002. On March 1, 2003, 22 agencies unified under a single department with a common mission: to safeguard the American people. The youngest but third largest cabinet department, DHS’s mission spans across terrorism prevention, law enforcement, border and maritime security and immigration services, transportation security, emergency response and recovery, protective services, cybersecurity, and more.
“Today we are more fit for purpose than at any point in the history of the Department, as we face the threats of today and plan for the threats of tomorrow,” said Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas. “The DHS workforce is made up of heroic public servants who make meaningful contributions to the safety and security of their communities each and every day. This dedication is at the core of all we do and all we have accomplished. It is the honor of my life to lead this Department and to champion the extraordinary people who will continue to deliver on our mission for years to come.”
The department is holding a special ceremony at the DHS Headquarters at the St. Elizabeths Campus in Washington, D.C., to honor the workforce and to recognize the 32,000 plank holders who joined DHS on its first day and continue to serve the Department today. The ceremony will include special remarks by Mayorkas, recorded messages from former Secretary Tom Ridge and former President George W. Bush, and a conversation with individuals across the department who have served since its inception. The event will be livestreamed at noon on DHS.gov/Live.
Over the past 20 years, the threat landscape has evolved. While we continue to face the threat of international terrorism, new threats and challenges have emerged, including increasing incidents of targeted violence, cyberattacks and natural disasters, as well as the unprecedented level of migration in the hemisphere. The 260,000 dedicated public servants of DHS use their skills and expertise to meet the challenges of today’s world and prepare for the threats of tomorrow with expertise, innovation, and unflinching dedication to the mission.
Today, DHS’s agencies and offices work collaboratively to protect the American public in the air by securing air travel; on land by securing the border, responding to natural disasters, protecting critical infrastructure, and administering our nation’s legal immigration system; at sea by protecting our coastline and waterways; and in cyberspace by bolstering America’s cyber defense and investigating cybercrime. To learn more, visit: DHS.gov/TodayDHSWill.
The celebration will then continue throughout the year as DHS will mark DHS@20 with a series of regional anniversary events and workforce awards ceremonies.