How does every federal agency answer to Homeland Security, and the Homeland Security director answer directly to the President if we claim to be a nation of checks and balances with no domestic standing armies?
“How does every federal agency answer to Homeland Security, and the Homeland Security director answer directly to the President if we claim to be a nation of checks and balances with no domestic standing armies?”There are at least two fundamental misunderstandings baked into this question. First, that ‘every federal agency‡ answers to Homeland Security and second that the law enforcement agencies under that heading amount to a ‘domestic standing army.’To the first point, no, not every agency answers to Homeland Security, they instead answer to the relevant cabinet-level department. NOAA (the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) reports to the Department of Commerce. The FBI works with DHS, but reports to the Department of Justice fundamentally. These are just a couple of examples, but there are numerous other federal agencies which might coordinate with DHS but are not subservient in the way this question implies.Second, none of the various agents and officers working for these departments amount to soldiers or military personnel (at least using any conventional definition of that term). In the US, the government is strictly forbidden from using military personnel for law enforcement purposes (see the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878). This act followed a Supreme Court finding (Ex parte Milligan) which held that the use of military tribunals on civilians was unconstitutional. While it might be a fair observation that some of the tactics and equipment employed by federal (and state and local) law enforcement resembles tactics and equipment used by military personnel, the manner in which it is employed and the rules governing that use are vastly different.I don’t know if you’ll find the above convincing, as you largely seem to be assuming the only answer is that the US has fallen from democracy and the ideals outlined in the Constitution, but checks and balances survive. This can be seen most recently in the case of child separations at the US-Mexico border: a set of agencies reporting to DHS (and from there to the President and Attorney General) were compelled to restore children to their parents by court order. If checks and balances were truly broken, this would not happen.