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Preserve and Uphold the Nation's Prosperity and Economic Security

America’s prosperity and economic security are integral to DHS’s homeland security operations, which affect international trade, national transportation systems, maritime activities and resources, and financial systems.

Busy traffic at a US port of entryIn many ways, these pre-DHS legacy functions are just as much a part of DHS’s culture as its counterterrorism, border security, immigration, cybersecurity, and emergency management responsibilities. Similarly, many DHS activities that advance this important element of homeland security affect the American public just as much as DHS’s core security functions. Accordingly, DHS continues to advance these critical operations while exploring new opportunities to better serve the American public.

The Department of Homeland Security's prosperity and economic security responsibilities focus on four goals:

Enforce U.S. Trade Laws and Facilitate Lawful International Trade and Travel

International trade law enforcement has an important nexus to homeland security based on the inherent relationship between the U.S. border and cross-border trade. The United States is confronted with anticompetitive trade practices, duty evasion, counterfeited goods, and intellectual property theft, which deprives the United States from substantial lawful revenue and harms American businesses, our economic advantage, and individual consumers. Protecting American trade interests is only becoming more complex as the globalized marketplace flourishes and e-commerce rapidly expands its market share as an ever-increasing percentage of traditional streams of commerce. International trade frequently involves online markets with extensive, worldwide supply chains that require modernized trade enforcement practices to prevent products of forced labor, counterfeit and dangerous goods, and imports linked to anticompetitive practices from entering the United States. Rather than allowing other countries to reap benefits at the cost of the American people, we will protect American fair trade interests and fully enforce international trade agreements and corresponding laws within the United States.

DHS is enhancing its trade enforcement, security, and facilitation capabilities to enable legitimate trade, contribute to American economic prosperity, and protect against risks to public health and safety.  Additionally, DHS is modernizing existing partnerships with members of the international trade community and expanding existing safeguards and practices that prevent the importation of illicit and dangerous goods, products made with forced labor, and intellectual property law violations. By leveraging partner agency and industry intelligence, DHS is strengthening the global trade network and increasing supply chain security to ensure that goods entering the United States are safe for American consumption and consistent with our values.

CBP officer inspects shipping containers

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Safeguard the U.S. Transportation System

The American economy and way of life rely on a robust transportation system with seamless security measures that enable safe travel. For this reason, the transportation system remains a noteworthy target for terrorists intent on inflicting mass casualties. In particular, terrorist organizations remain focused on commercial aviation with new tactics, techniques, and weapons. DHS is aggressively pursuing innovative technologies for detection and strengthening identity verification for travelers within the United States through biometric and biographic techniques and technologies. Additionally, DHS is collaborating with international partners to increase safety and security standards for international air travel.

Beyond air transit, DHS continues to strengthen security measures at other transportation hubs, including seaports, railways, other forms of mass transit, as well as pipelines in close coordination with federal, state, local, and tribal governments and private sector partners.

DHS officer patrols a train platform

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Maintain U.S. Waterways and Maritime Resources

The accessibility of U.S. waterways and vitality of marine ecosystems enable economic activities across the United States to flourish. Communities across the United States are heavily dependent on maritime trade routes, marine resources and fisheries, and maritime tourism. DHS’s expansive mission supports these economic interests by enforcing regulations to protect the marine environment, managing maritime safety programs and standards, maintaining aids to navigation, conducting maritime search and rescue, providing ice breaking services, and conducting maritime defense operations. These important initiatives keep the U.S. maritime jurisdiction—including the coastal environment, ports, Exclusive Economic Zone, and beyond—clean, safe, and secure against maritime threats.

Coast Guard cutter in a harbor

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Safeguard U.S. Financial Systems

Economic prosperity depends on global trust in the U.S. dollar and reliable financial institutions and payment systems as critical enablers of global commerce. Although the digitization of financial systems has streamlined commerce and benefited the global economy, it has also exposed financial transactions to new attack vectors. Meanwhile, digital currencies present new challenges for DHS to prevent counterfeiting. These new challenges impose constraints on DHS that require it to either expand its workforce to keep pace with the threat environment or prioritize law enforcement investigations that counter the most significant criminal threats, while partnering with other law enforcement agencies under their related authorities.

US currency being inspected

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Last Published Date: November 3, 2021

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