Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

April 4, 2006

WaPo ridicules “abstruse” DHS testimony

Filed under: DHS News — by Christian Beckner on April 4, 2006

The Washington Post mocks the written testimony of National Capital Region director Thomas Lockwood before the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee. From the story:

In a town famous for its bureaucratese and organizational mumbo jumbo, the written testimony of the Washington area’s homeland security official last week stands out for its abstruseness.

For example, “We recognized upfront that to gain synergy among the various stakeholders and jurisdictions involved in HLS planning, it was key to have agreed upon Guiding Principles to guide the overall framework.” That was from Thomas J. Lockwood, the Department of Homeland Security’s director for national capital region coordination.

Lockwood and other local preparedness officials were called on the carpet by a Senate panel annoyed that there is still no comprehensive strategic plan to protect the region. The report was due last September. It may be ready in August. Or it may not.

So if you’re a Homeland Security official who hasn’t finished his homework, what do you hand in to a bunch of impatient senators? The resulting document will be studied by awestruck Pentagon generals and private-sector management consultants for years to come.

To wit: “The NCR leadership and homeland security partners have made significant progress since last July,” Lockwood wrote. “We have developed the framework of the 2005 Update to the NCR-HLS Strategic Plan, which includes the Mission, Vision, Guiding Principles, Strategic Goals, Objectives, and Initiatives.

“By studying gap analyses and self-assessments, we have agreed to designate 16 of the 45 initiatives as ‘priority,’ granting them primary status as we have approached the 2006 HLS grant cycle. In the coming months we plan to invest in maturing the 45 initiatives, focusing on the development of performance measures and timelines to ensure the effective implementation of these initiatives.”

I follow homeland security very closely (and I’m a management consultant of sorts), and I really don’t have a clue what he’s talking about. But this isn’t simply abstruseness; it’s b.s., covering up for the Office of National Capital Region Coordination’s general irrelevance. It’s probably time to dissolve this office, and make the region’s leaders organize among themselves, without a federally-funded umbrella organization, to compete for UASI and related grant funds in the same way that other major metropolitan areas now do.

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Comment by William R. Cumming

April 5, 2006 @ 1:20 am

The NCR position was created in the Homeland Security Act of 2002 (November 25, 2002). The Administration is paying the price for undermining the Council of Governments (COG) system and the A-95 system in years past. On top of that a non-functional DC government (being polite since I really think it is corrupt) and the next “Big One” will really be a disaster. Effective regional planning died in the Metro Area in the 80’s on the basis that it undermined the incompetent governors and local political system. Now that it is gone cannot be rebuilt with current approach. That is top-down and Uncle Sam knows best.


Comment by Brian Duffy

April 5, 2006 @ 12:12 pm

Spot on, I could not agree more.

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