This paper applies public policy concepts such as agenda setting, resource allocation, lobbying, and campaign rhetoric to the field of homeland security. The analysis examines the allocation of resources among the U.S. federal government’s five broad homeland security priorities during the fiscal years of 2012-2017. An overemphasis on border security has led to a disproportionate allocation of resources among these various priorities. The uneven distribution is the summation of electoral ambitions, campaign contributions, and corporate lobbying. This analysis highlights the negative consequences that are a direct result of an unbalanced allotment, cumulating in a slow and uncoordinated federal response to both the COVID-19 pandemic and a series of domestic terrorist attacks. The article concludes with a series of reforms that can be implemented by policy makers in order to ensure that resources are distributed more evenly in the future.

Keywords: Agenda Setting, Border Security, Resource Allocation, Homeland Security Priorities, COVID-19, Domestic Counterterrorism, Reforms, Policy Making Process, Capitol Siege, Capitol Insurrection, Michigan Kidnapping Plot

Publication Date

May 2021



Persistent Identifier


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 License.