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Security and Emergency Services

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication/Presentation Date



Homeland security is a nationwide effort, including all of government across federal, state, local, territorial and tribal tiers; the public and the private sector, and the whole community, with each single citizen. The overarching homeland security vision comprises safeguarding the American way of life and is embedded into the goals of the National Security Strategy that include respect for universal values at home and abroad. It thus is evident that ethical, legal, and social-or ELSI-issues are important to consider. This chapter discusses the origins and essence of ELSI and explores ELSI integration into everyday homeland security. Two defining debates are reviewed: homeland security legislation (specifically the USA Patriot Act of 2001 and the USA Freedom Act of 2015) and domestic surveillance, with related use of technology such as "drones." Subsequently, the relevance of ELSI is summarized across prevention, protection, mitigation, response, and recovery missions. After adding some examples of how ELSI are addressed in other countries' civil security policy, best practices to effectively address ELSI, as well as limitations of ELSI integration in homeland security, are discussed.

Publication Title

Foundations of Homeland Security