C.I.A. Confidential

The Etymology of “Homeland Security”

A search for the origin of the term “homeland security,” which has emerged almost from nowhere since last September, leads to the little-known Institute for Homeland Security, formed in the Northern Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C., in October 1999.  

News reports have credited the term to Defense Panel member Richard L. Armitage, former CIA officer and now deputy director of state, who has demurred.  On a webpage no longer available, however, the institute’s homeland security analyst, John Wohlfarth, credited the term to a report entitled “Transforming Defense: National Security in the 21st Century,” submitted by the National Defense Panel in 1997.  That report actually uses a slightly different phrasing: “security of the homeland.”  But even if the NDP report is the original source, the phrase “homeland security” was little seen outside of the institute before September 11.  

Just what is the Institute for Homeland Security?  Its mission, according to www.homelandsecurity.org, is “To provide executive education and public awareness of the challenges to homeland security in the 21st century.”  A “nonprofit public-service research organization examining a new set of national security challenges,” it produces workshops, programs for executive-level policymakers, a weekly homeland-security newsletter,...

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