Homeland security, an umbrella term for counter-terrorism, counter-espionage and the like has a distinctly American feel. Here I mean the concept, rather than the specific "Department for Homeland Security".

Is there a term with the same meaning that's used in the UK?

  • I don't think we have an equivalent term in the UK. – TrevorD Mar 20 '17 at 15:54
  • 1
    See this article: Does Homeland Security Exist Outside the United States?: "Homeland security is a uniquely American concept." (3rd result on searching 'UK "homeland security"'). – TrevorD Mar 20 '17 at 15:57
  • @TrevorD I don't agree with that article. The concept exists in the UK, even if it isn't organised in the same way. – Gremlin Mar 20 '17 at 16:11
  • 1
    @WS2 - this isn't correct at all. Homeland security is more than border, it includes police, intelligence, etc. – Gremlin Mar 20 '17 at 17:33
  • 1
    It's funny that people think homeland security sounds American. As an older American, when I first heard this recent coinage it sounded distinctly unAmerican because "homeland" wasn't a term typically used in the US. It actually sounded more like a Russian term because it had a long history of use there. For that matter, I moved to Washington DC around the time of the cold war and was shocked to discover that the biggest pharmacy chain was People's Drugs. Maybe it was started by a Mr.. People, but it took a while for the "Russian" flavor to not seem out of place in the US capital. – fixer1234 Mar 20 '17 at 20:21

The UK phrase that most closely resembles Homeland Security is Civil Defence.

The term covers rather more than Homeland Security, covering protection of the civilian population in times of war as well as counterterrorism, intelligence and other protection. The term is most associated with the Cold War era, when it covered nuclear attack alerts and shelters, as well as emergency provision for continuation of government.

  • 1
    My understanding of UK Civil Defence is that it is internal defense by trained civilians. That is very difference from the US Homeland Security, which is a huge professional organisation covering law enforcement, border control, and much more. – TrevorD Mar 20 '17 at 23:59
  • From the site you linked, the UK concept of civil defence is largely indistinguishable from the US concept of civil defense, which is about civilian reaction to a military or terrorist attack, and only one component of homeland security. – choster Mar 21 '17 at 0:58
  • Didn't Civil Defence emerge from the wartime Home Guard - i.e. "Dad's Army". Perhaps that's the answer to the OP's question - "Dad's Army"! – WS2 Mar 21 '17 at 7:40
  • @WS2, No the Civil Defence Service was created in 1935, five years before the Local Defence Volunteers (who later were called the Home Guard) were raised. – Sarriesfan May 18 '17 at 22:59

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.