I really dislike the term “homeland”—as in “homeland security.” I am sure that I am in the minority there. It feels a bit like criticizing the pledge of allegiance, or the singing of the national anthem at sporting events. People think of you as a crank. But, until recently, I never once heard this country called our homeland. I heard, land, nation, country, home. If I heard the term homeland at all, it was to refer to whatever country immigrants to the United States left behind.
It does seem like a politically effective term. It conveys a sense of specialness, of differentness, of fortress.
But I cannot avoid a feeling that the term evokes of uncomfortable nationalism (like the German “fatherland” that I associate with the Nazis (the Vaterland of the third verse of their now-banned national anthem).
I guess the Department of Defense was too busy fighting wars elsewhere to be charged with national security here.