GovExec has a great new profile story of new DHS intelligence chief Charlie Allen, a legendary veteran of the intelligence community. Allen has taken on the challenge of what has been one of the least desirable jobs in all of Washington, and seems to be shaking things up for the positive. Key paragraphs from the story:
Only weeks into his new job at DHS, Allen already is getting down to business. He has reorganized his staff and fired off a memo to DHS Deputy Secretary Michael Jackson requesting more and better facilities and resources.
Allen also has ordered up a new enterprise architecture so departments can more easily share information, and started drawing up a strategic plan to remake his division. The plan, he says, will include specific deliverables, timelines and performance metrics (unlike Secretary Michael Chertoff’s overhaul plans for DHS, announced in July). The first draft is due in a month.
Allen also has convened a new Homeland Security Intelligence Council, comprising the top intelligence officials from each DHS division, which will meet regularly to resolve thorny information-sharing problems and will keep the department’s far-flung components – such as the Transportation Security Administration, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the Coast Guard – from forgetting the front office’s intelligence needs.
This is great stuff, and remedies my concerns in this previous post. If Allen is successful, this will fix by most accounts the greatest shortcoming of DHS’ short history: their failure to develop a robust department-wide intelligence capability, as Congress had intended in the Homeland Security Act of 2002. There will be a lot of slogging ahead to get to that point, and battles to be waged in the interagency process, but Allen definitely sounds like the right man for the job.