On Dec. 23rd I wrote a post about a new bill dropped by Sen. Lieberman and Sen. Collins, the National Homeland Security Academy Act of 2005. The full text of the bill is now available here on the GPO website.
Having now read through the bill, the concerns that I voiced in my previous post about private sector participation and ensuring a focus on prevention (not just response) are assuaged. And it’s clear that many of the sections of the bill are smartly conceived, such as the distance learning provisions and the National Homeland Security Education Network provision to integrate curricula and learning tools across DHS.
But I have a few concerns about the bill:
– The bill locates the Academy inside the Office of State and Local Government Coordination and Preparedness (OSLGCP) at DHS. This seems outside the scope of OSLGCP’s core mission of state and local preparedness, given the the fact that the Academy’s primary focus is the federal homeland security workforce.
– The bill envisions a resident student body of 1000 at any given time. This seems much too large. By contrast, the Army War College in Carlisle, PA enrolls only 300 resident students (and 300 non-resident students) at any given time.
– The bill makes no allowances for opening the Academy to homeland security officials of key foreign allies (something that the military service war colleges do allow for). Enrolling a limited number of foreign students could be a powerful long-term tool to enhance international trust and cooperation on homeland security.