Created in the wake of the greatest tragedy to occur on U.S. soil, the Department of Homeland Security was handed a sweeping mandate: make America safer. It would encompass intelligence and law enforcement agencies, oversee natural disasters, commercial aviation, immigration, cybersecurity, and terrorism, among others. From 2009-2013, Janet Napolitano ran DHS and oversaw 22 federal agencies with 230,000 employees.
In How Safe Are We?, Napolitano not only answers the titular question, but grapples with how these security efforts have changed our country and society. Where are the failures that leave us vulnerable and what has our 1 trillion dollar investment yielded over the last 15 years? And why haven't we had another massive terrorist attack in the U.S. since September 11th, 2001?
Napolitano pulls no punches, reckoning with the critics who call it Frankenstein's Monster of government run amok, and taking a hard look at the challenges we'll be facing in the future. But ultimately, she argues that the huge, multifaceted department is vital to our nation's security. An agency that's one part terrorism prevention, one part intelligence agency, one large helping law enforcement and public safety, and a dash of disaster recovery make for an odd recipe in the protocol-driven, tradition-bound Washington D.C. culture. But, she says, it has made us more safe, secure, and resilient.