Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

March 16, 2006

National security and homeland security

Filed under: General Homeland Security — by Christian Beckner on March 16, 2006

The White House released an update to the National Security Strategy of the United States of America today, a revision of the strategy document released in 2002 notable for its emphasis on the doctrine of pre-emption.

I’ve just read through it, and I’m disappointed by the minimal attention to “homeland security” in it. The last chapter of the report makes a passing mention of the decision to create DHS, and there are references to counter-WMD efforts, disaster response capabilities, and public health challenges, but primarily in the international context: not in terms of our efforts and capabilities at home.

There’s nothing in the strategy about border security. Nothing about travel security or cargo security. Nothing about critical infrastructure protection. Nothing about emergency response capabilities at home. Nothing about domestic law enforcement and intelligence, other than a passing mention of the Patriot Act.

I understand the fact that this strategy is an NSC document, and that homeland security and national security operate on parallel tracks at the White House, through the Homeland Security Council and NSC respectively. And I’m well-versed in the National Strategy for Homeland Security issued by the White House in 2003.

But bureaucratic and institutional issues aside, isn’t homeland security a very critical – arguably the most critical – element of national security? And after four years of reflection, shouldn’t more thought have been given to integrating homeland security into the national security framework that this strategy articulates? While there may be solid reasons for institutional separation, there’s no good reason for there to be a conceptual or strategic schism at the water’s edge between the concepts of national security and homeland security. Hopefully future strategy documents will break down these conceptual barriers and think about homeland security in a more meaningful way.

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Comment by Brian Duffy

March 16, 2006 @ 1:19 pm

The first step in resolving the problem you highlighted is to dissolve the Homeland Security Council. At that level there should only be a National Security Council. There can not be a division between homeland and national security. Whether the issue is overseas, on the border or in Kansas City, it is all national security.


Pingback by The War Room » Blog Archive » NSS Update

March 17, 2006 @ 10:07 am

[…] Christian Beckner at Homeland Security Watch has some initial thoughts. […]


Comment by William R. Cumming

March 17, 2006 @ 10:19 am

The National Strategy for Homeland Security was issued in July 2002.


Comment by William R. Cumming

March 17, 2006 @ 10:32 am

Brian Duffy’s comment above identifies a huge issue. I have not been able to find any published analysis of the decision to create a Homeland Security Council in addition to the National Security Council.
The National Security Act of 1947 created the NSC and required that the President and the Council integrate foreign affairs, military affairs, and domestic affairs so as to protect the National Security of the United States. It is interesting to note that the current administration opposed former Senator Fritz Holling’s bill to add the Attorney General as a permanent member of the National Security Council. That bill came within one or two votes of passage in the Senate. So far since the Act became law only two AG’s have been made Ex Officio members of the NSC, Bobby Kennedy and Ed Meese. Steve Hadley the current Advisor to the President for National Security Affairs is a lawyer but it seems that a nation that prides itself on the rule of law would include the AG as a formal member of the National Security Counsel.
In contrast to Executiv Orders (pursuant to EO 11030) not all NSPDs or HSPDs are reviewed formally by the Department of Justice but only on a as requested basis.

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