The journal Homeland Security Affairs has a new issue now online, which contains several interesting articles, including one on the subject of teaching homeland security that I’ll write about later in the week.
One article that I found very valuable in the new issue was “â€˜Whoâ€™s in Charge?â€™ New Challenges in Homeland Defense and Homeland Security,” by Lt. Col. Thomas Goss. Goss surveys efforts by DOD, DHS, and DOJ to clarify the distinction between “homeland defense” and “homeland security” and developing a means to address issues that fall at the “seam” between the two areas:
In the middle is a â€œseamâ€ of ambiguity, where threats are neither clearly national security threats (requiring a military [DOD] response capability) nor clearly law enforcement threats (requiring a non-military response capability from the Department of Homeland Security [DHS], the Department of Justice [DOJ], or other agency). Along this â€œseamâ€ are threats such as transnational terrorist groups who challenge the delineation of responsibility between DOD and DHS, DOJ, or other agencies, because it is difficult to label them as either a national security threat or a law enforcement threat. Determining whether a particular adversary is one or the other will depend on the circumstances at the time and who is most capable to lead the nationâ€™s efforts. Because of the nature of this spectrum, a coordinated, integrated, and coherent national effort is essential in securing the U.S. against all threats.
Goss offers up maritime security as a prototypical “seam” issue, one where the boundary between state-centric threats and criminal threats is ambiguous and unclear. He discusses the organizational, legal, and contextual variables that determine whether DOD or DHS would be a lead agency in a given scenario, and he concludes by surveying DOD’s responsibilities within homeland defense. Overall, an interesting piece that helps to clarifythe often-fuzzy distinction between homeland security and homeland defense.