The September 2001 terrorist attacks created a high demand for national homeland security policy and action, exactly the result when there have been other major disasters. There are many reasons for the centralization of policy and state and local acceptance of the centralization. However, there is also room for a rebalancing of interests, with a constant push and pull upwards and downwards between the homeland security role and authority of the federal government and that of state and local governments. This article examines the contemporary homeland security federalism and intergovernmental experience. It starts with presenting the underlying basics of federalism and intergovernmental relations for any main policy arena. It then turns to the importance of the national interest in policy centralization and the significant role of focusing events in homeland security’s intergovernmental relations. It next discusses opportunistic federalism and homeland security. The article concludes with factors that buffer federal control—state and local direct interests, implementation of federal policies, and the influence of growing public fiscal austerity.
©2012 Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co. KG, Berlin/Boston