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Issue 6:
National Security

Who protects the United States and at what cost? What concerns Americans most about safety?

What is the department of Homeland Security?

Created in response to the 9/11 attacks,
the Department of Homeland Security
is charged with protecting Americans
from terrorism.

Sources: #1 #2

The DHS has made significant contributions since being established in November, 2002.

  • DHS has managed several natural disasters and ongoing relief efforts, including: the BP oil spill in the Gulf, deadly tornados in Joplin, MO and Tuscaloosa, AL.

  • Announced a new U.S.-Mexico border initiative investing resources and personnel to cut off flow of weapons and funding to Mexican drug cartels. Aims to prevent violence and demand for illegal drugs in U.S.

  • Concluded cyberspace policy review. DHS conducted research to create a plan for improved cybersecurity protection and policy.

  • Concluded Surface Transportation Security Assessment. DHS conducted research on how to improve security for surface transportation (mass transit, rails and highways).

Sources: #1

How much do we spend on national security?

The United States has spent more than $7.6T on defense and homeland security since the attacks of 9/11, and $1.4T on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Homeland security spending has increased by 301% since 2001.

Sources: #1

How has spending increased?

Percent Change in Spending

Defense spending accounted for about 20% of total federal spending in 2011.

Sources: #1

How does America’s military budget compare to other countries?

The U.S. spent more on defense in 2011 than did the countries with the next 13 highest defense budgets combined.

Sources: #1 #2 #3

Do Americans feel safe?

A 2010 study polled Americans about the government and reducing the threat of terrorism:

“Why has there not been an attack since 2001 in the U.S.?”

“Mostly because America has been lucky”

“Mostly because the government is doing a good job protecting the country.”

“America is a difficult target for terrorists.”

Sources: #1 #2

What are the top policy priorities for Americans?

Jan 2007  Jan 2011  Jan 2012

Percentage Polled Who Consider an Issue
to be a “President’s Top Priority”
Sources: #1

Differences between the two
candidates on National Security:

Sources: #1 #2 #3 #4 #5 #6 #7 #8 #9 #10 #11