Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

December 12, 2005

9/11 PDP Grades: Why Johnny can’t read

Filed under: DHS News,Organizational Issues — by Christian Beckner on December 12, 2005

FCW takes a look today at the roots of the “failing grades” handed out by the 9/11 Public Discourse Project last week. Are these a function of technology? Culture? Leadership? Policies? Resources? All or some of the above?

And how do we measure the contributions of each of these to effectiveness?

The article also tackles the classic dilemma of “tactics vs. strategy.” Does DHS need a comprehensive strategic before taking action in an area? Or does the urgency of the threat necessitate rapid (and likely suboptimal) action? Many of the issues that DHS has struggled with in the last three years can be boiled down to this key dilemma. For example:

Creating plans and an architecture for interoperable communications is an important long-term goal for DHS, [DHS spokeswoman Valerie] Smith said. Meanwhile, DHS is providing grants to state and local first responders to buy equipment they can use now.

But some emergency preparedness experts say that approach is misguided. Instead of postponing strategic plans, the government should create strategic plans and comprehensively assess and fix vulnerabilities accordingly, said Mark Ghilarducci, vice president at James Lee Witt Associates, an emergency management consulting firm.

The full article is here.

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