Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

May 31, 2006

More thoughts on the homeland security grant decisions

Filed under: Budgets and Spending,Risk Assessment,State and Local HLS — by Christian Beckner on May 31, 2006

Following up from my earlier number-crunching posts, I’ve now reflected a bit more on the allocations, and read the transcript from the press conference and the official DHS information bulletin on the grant decisions.

Overall, I think the Department did a solid job in making these decisions, and I take them at their word when they say that this process was free from political influence. Some states and cities did receive significant cuts to their funding, but that could turn out to be a good thing in some cases, forcing cities and states to be more strategic and better prepared for this grant process, rather than simply expecting a handout each year. But I do have a few concerns about the way that the process was being managed this year:

1. The risk of a free-rider problem. 60 Minutes reported a couple of months ago that New York City has spent close to $1 billion of its own (non-federal) money on homeland security since 9/11. As a result, it is probably the most well-protected large city in the world today, and accordingly falls lower on the scale of “need” than many other U.S. cities. Thus, perhaps, the 40% cut to its UASI funding today. Meanwhile, many cities and states that have spent very little of their own money – and therefore have a high “need” factor – are receiving increases in funding.

Is that fair? And doesn’t it create a risk of a kind of homeland security welfare dependency, and weaken the incentives for cities and states to put up their own money for homeland security activities?

One solution to this problem would be to shift at least a portion of these grants to “matching funds,” which would require cities and/or states to put up their own funds on a 1:1 basis as a way to signal whether they take the threat of terrorism seriously.

2. Data quality. At today’s press conference, Under Secretary Foresman said the following:

Let’s make sure that the data sets that inform our decision processes — whether it’s data sets that come from state and local government, that come from the FBI, DHS, the intelligence community — let’s make sure we’ve got the right accurate data sets because you all have heard discussions about local communities that have said, well, gosh, you didn’t give me credit for this, or you counted this and that’s not the case any more. So we really want to focus on data quality.

That sounds good in theory…but as I’ve said before, with this kind of analysis, it’s easy to become bedazzled by the data and pay insufficient attention to the subjective, gut-level reality about threats. And it’s difficult to model the symbolic hold that New York City and Washington, DC have on terrorist groups, which is why, contrary to Gertrude Stein, a skyscraper isn’t a skyscraper isn’t a skyscraper.

3. The information-sharing cudgel. The most interesting statement from the press conference today is this one by Under Secretary Foresman:

There have been states in metropolitan areas that didn’t have full visibility on the number of “terrorism-related investigations” that were precipitated by anything from tangible information to someone simply videotaping a building, and it gets labeled as that. And I guess, what I’m offering to you is, we’re getting better visibility on data of that category. And if a local police department two years ago got a report of a suspicious person videotaping a nuclear power plant, that is important information that we need at the federal level because it might be part of a larger pattern. But two years ago, they may not have passed it up the chain. What’s better today is we’ve got better information sharing, and when you get better information sharing, you get better risk analysis.

And in many ways, this incentivizes the fact that state and local governments need to be collaborating with their federal partners on what’s going on in their community. And we need to be collaborating with them on what’s going on so that we’re creating that full picture. And, frankly, the full picture has not been there in the past. I guess, in many ways there’s an incentive for better information sharing in grant dollars.

Foresman is essentially saying that the quality and quantity of threat reporting up the chain played a role in these grant decisions, and is telling cities and states that they need to play in the sandbox on info-sharing if they want homeland security funding. This is not a bad strategy in theory, but it should be applied cautiously for now, given that DHS still faces challenges in sharing information with them.

This could perhaps be a key reason why NYC saw its funding cut so drastically: it has freely admitted that it doesn’t have the luxury of time to become overly dependent on DHS and the FBI for its threat investigation and analysis. Perhaps a lower level of threat reporting by the NYPD to the federal government led to a perception that the threat had diminished in NYC.

The main risk that I see with pursuing this kind of approach derives from the subjectivity of people’s perception of the terrorist threat. Something that would be commonplace in a large U.S. city – a foreign-looking guy loitering near a major building – could conceivably trigger a call to the local FBI office in a small town somewhere. If DHS is relying on the number of threat reports as a metric for grant determinations, then that’s likely to be an imprecise choice.


Overall, I think the Department of Homeland Security did a solid job with the grant allocation process this year, but it still has some explaining to do about a few of its decisions, in particular, (a) why all cities in Florida received plus-ups and (b) why low-threat states like Nebraska, North Dakota, Vermont, and Missouri received relatively large allocations this year.

UASI grants: winners and losers

Filed under: Budgets and Spending,State and Local HLS — by Christian Beckner on May 31, 2006

The Washington Post reported on the UASI grant decisions this afternoon with a story headlined “DHS to Slash Anti-Terror Funds for NY, District”:

The two cities attacked on Sept. 11, 2001, will receive far less antiterrorism money under plans unveiled today by the Department of Homeland Security, which has designated more money for many smaller cities throughout the country.

Washington and New York will receive 40 percent less in urban grant money compared to last year, with Washington dropping from $77 million to $46 million and New York falling from $207 million to $124 million, DHS officials said. The combined total means that the two areas bear almost the entire brunt of a $120 million cut in the overall budget for the program, the statistics show.

This last sentence is not exactly true. The chart below provides a comparison of UASI grant awards in FY 2005 and FY 2006 (click here to enlarge):

It’s difficult to spot any clear trends in these funding changes – the increases and decreases seem fairly evenly distributed between regions of the country, big vs. small cities, and red states vs. blue states. My sense is that the differences are primarily a function of the quality of cities’ and regions’ funding applications. Those cities that showed clear plans and demonstrable needs received plus-ups. Those cities that didn’t received cuts. Also, the fact that certain cities already have made critical one-time capital investments may have played a role, and led DHS to believe that baseline security could be maintained even with a reduction in funding.

Update (5/31): Upon closer examination, one clear trend: the state of Florida made out very well. Does this indicate that hurricane preparedness now has a much larger role in these grant decisions? Sec. Chertoff hinted at this possibility back in January:

Well, this program is tied to risk of terror, so we’re — within the terms of the program. But the kinds of capabilities that we are considering to be appropriate as needs-based funding are capabilities that would certainly do double duty in the case of catastrophes. So, for example, capabilities to evacuate people would obviously have relevance in a terrorism case with a certain kind of attack, but would also have relevance in a natural disaster of a certain kind.

…but on the flipside of this argument, funding was cut for Houston, New Orleans, and Baton Rouge.

State homeland security grants: crunching the numbers

Filed under: Budgets and Spending,State and Local HLS — by Christian Beckner on May 31, 2006

I’ve been analyzing the funding totals provided by DHS for state homeland security grants (see my previous post), after inputing them into a spreadsheet. It’s possible to draw some interesting inferences from the data, assuming it’s correct, given the fact that the numbers in DHS’s tables , when added up, do not produce the same totals that they list in their press release – a discrepancy that DHS will hopefully rectify.

That said, it is possible to do some analysis of the numbers. For example, the State Homeland Security Grant Program (SHSGP) and the Law Enforcement Terrorism Prevention Program (LETPP) are the two key base funding programs for all states. By law, the 50 states, DC, and Puerto Rico all receive a minimum of 0.75% of this total, and three terrorities each receive another 0.25%. That accounts for 39.75% of the funds available for these grant programs – but what about the other 60.25%?

In previous years DHS distributed this balance of funds strictly on the basis of states’ populations. Not any more. If you net out the “mandatory minimums” that each state receives from the SHSGP and LETPP programs, you can determine how much DHS decided to give each state on a discretionary basis – and then weigh these totals on a per capita basis. If you add in the UASI funds that each state receives on a per capita basis to this total, you can get a pretty reliable proxy of what DHS thinks each state’s grant needs are, based on both threat and vulnerability. After following this methodology, that ranking is as follows:

FY 2006 Discretionary Homeland Security Grant Funding, Per Capita

(please credit to Homeland Security Watch if citing this analysis)

Ranking State Funding Per Capita
1 District of Columbia $85.39
2 New York $9.08
3 Nebraska $8.09
4 Illinois $6.48
5 Vermont $6.26
6 California $6.07
7 Missouri $6.07
8 North Dakota $5.93
9 Nevada $5.47
10 Massachusetts $5.21
11 Florida $5.11
12 New Jersey $5.07
13 Louisiana $4.94
14 Hawaii $4.44
15 Georgia $4.04
16 Kentucky $3.96
17 Delaware $3.89
18 Washington $3.86
19 Michigan $3.84
20 Texas $3.46
21 West Virginia $3.43
22 Oklahoma $3.36
23 Pennsylvania $3.33
24 Idaho $3.30
25 Wisconsin $3.03
26 Maryland $3.01
27 Oregon $2.91
28 Ohio $2.84
29 Colorado $2.83
30 North Carolina $2.59
31 Kansas $2.45
32 Indiana $2.14
33 Iowa $2.07
34 Arizona $2.03
35 Connecticut $1.76
36 South Carolina $1.72
37 Alabama $1.64
38 Wyoming $1.31
39 Alaska $1.23
40 Minnesota $1.12
41 Virginia $1.09
42 Montana $0.97
43 Tennessee $0.94
44 South Dakota $0.93
45 Maine $0.57
46 Rhode Island $0.54
47 New Mexico $0.51
48 New Hampshire $0.47
49 Mississippi $0.41
50 Utah $0.39
51 Arkansas $0.37
52 Puerto Rico $0.15

One very important limitation of this analysis: the DC statistic includes UASI funding for the National Capital Region, which is also distributed to the Virginia and Maryland suburbs, so its per capita total in the chart is overstated, and the VA and MD rankings appear lower than they are in reality.

Overall, I think this ranking confirms fairly closely to a solid assessment of threat and vulnerability, with a few notable exceptions at the top. Nebraska, Vermont, Missouri, and North Dakota received unexpected high levels of discretionary funding on a per capita basis – something that the Department will hopefully explain. Perhaps the quality of grant applications is an important factor in these results; if states provided solid spending plans tied to real vulnerabilities, then they may have received more discretionary funds than other states.

DHS releases FY 2006 grant information

Filed under: Budgets and Spending,State and Local HLS — by Christian Beckner on May 31, 2006

Below are links to summary charts with information on the FY 2006 Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) program and the FY 2006 Homeland Security Grant Program (HSGP):

FY06 UASI Allocations
FY06 HSGP Allocations

Here’s the full UASI allocation list:

Urban Area Allocation
AZ – Phoenix Area* $3,920,000
CA – Anaheim/Santa Ana Area $11,980,000
CA – Bay Area $28,320,000
CA – Los Angeles/Long Beach Area $80,610,000
CA – Sacramento Area* $7,390,000
CA – San Diego Area* $7,990,000
CO – Denver Area $4,380,000
DC – National Capital Region $46,470,000
FL – Ft. Lauderdale Area $9,980,000
FL – Jacksonville Area $9,270,000
FL – Miami Area $15,980,000
FL – Orlando Area $9,440,000
FL – Tampa Area* $8,800,000
GA – Atlanta Area $18,660,000
HI – Honolulu Area $4,760,000
IL – Chicago Area $52,260,000
IN – Indianapolis Area $4,370,000
KY – Louisville Area* $8,520,000
LA – Baton Rouge Area* $3,740,000
LA – New Orleans Area $4,690,000
MA – Boston Area $18,210,000
MD – Baltimore $9,670,000
MI – Detroit $18,630,000
MN – Twin Cities Area $4,310,000
MO – Kansas City Area $9,240,000
MO – St. Louis Area $9,200,000
NC – Charlotte Area $8,970,000
NE – Omaha Area* $8,330,000
NJ – Jersey City/Newark Area $34,330,000
NV – Las Vegas Area* $7,750,000
NY – Buffalo Area* $3,710,000
NY – New York City $124,450,000
OH – Cincinnati Area $4,660,000
OH – Cleveland Area $4,730,000
OH – Columbus Area $4,320,000
OH – Toledo Area* $3,850,000
OK – Oklahoma City Area* $4,102,000
OR – Portland Area $9,360,000
PA – Philadelphia Area $19,520,000
PA – Pittsburgh Area $4,870,000
TN – Memphis Area $4,200,000
TX – Dallas/Fort Worth/Arlington Area $13,830,000
TX – Houston Area $16,670,000
TX – San Antonio Area $4,460,000
WA – Seattle Area $9,150,000
WI – Milwaukee Area $8,570,000

*Sustainment Urban Area

At first glance, this list is certain to generate some controversy. For example, why did Seattle get less money than its much smaller neighbor to the south, Portland, Oregon? And why did cities like Omaha, Jacksonville, Louisville, and Kansas City all get more funding than Las Vegas? Why did the DC region take such a huge hit, from $77.5 million last year down to $46.47 million? I know that part of the answer to these questions is that “some cities are now better prepared,” but still, I’m curious as to the thinking behind these decisions.

Update (5/31): Here’s the DHS press release on the announcement.

Decision day for state homeland security grants

Filed under: Budgets and Spending,State and Local HLS — by Christian Beckner on May 31, 2006

From the AP:

In the annual competition for counterterror funding, the Homeland Security Department wants the 46 cities receiving money this year to consider the other side of the coin: The aid means the government thinks they are terror targets.

Major urban areas will find out Wednesday how much they will share of a $740 million anti-terror grant. Three of them _ Memphis, Tenn., and Orlando and Fort Lauderdale, Fla. _ qualified for the list of eligible cities this year after being passed over in 2005.

Eleven others may be booted in 2007 based on a new Homeland Security formula the department says is based largely on intelligence and law enforcement data about terror threats and the possible consequences in each city.

….Money is scarce. The $740 million for cities is down from $855 million Congress provided for the cities’ counterterror efforts last year.

Since today’s high-risk city might be deemed more secure tomorrow, Henke held out hope for other urban areas seeking future terror funding.

“That information is ever-changing,” Henke said of the department’s threat analysis. “Therefore, that list is a fluid list. Just because you’re on it one year doesn’t mean you’ll be on it the next.”

The news about the grant allocations is supposed to be announced in the middle of the day; I’ll post an update then.

TSA issues Registered Traveler business model

Filed under: Aviation Security — by Christian Beckner on May 31, 2006

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) released Version 1.0 of its Registered Traveler Business Model late last week on the Fedbizopps page for the Registered Traveler RFI. The document defines the key players in the Registered Traveler system, their relationships to each other, and the business processes, data flows, and transactions that would underlie the system. An interesting document that deserves close study by those who are interested in this program.

Fence proposals: the view from the border

Filed under: Border Security — by Christian Beckner on May 31, 2006

The Brownsville (TX) Herald published a very solid, comprehensive piece on the border fence proposals today, one that gives fair weight to all sides of this issue and contains a number of data points regarding the potential costs of a border fence. And it looks at the impact that a fence could have on a city like Brownsville:

Brownsville’s fence would be vastly different from San Diego’s, said professor Anthony Zavaleta of the University of Texas at Brownsville and Texas Southmost College. It would not separate countries but communities, loved ones, businesses, neighbors.

As the most powerful nation on Earth, the United States should be dealing with immigration in a constructive way, Zavaleta said. Ideally, we should be taking the lead in what will become one of the biggest issues of the 21st century, he said. Instead, he said, “I’m afraid that we’re not setting a very good example.”

A 176-mile line of fencing between Brownsville and Laredo would cut through back yards, farmland, parks and downtown. Brownsville’s border, unlike San Diego’s, is integrated into city life. People live right on the border, go to parks on the border or work farmland there.

Hope Park, near downtown’s Gateway International Bridge, is about 50 yards from the river. The proposed fence would stand inside it.

Building a border fence will be a complex, difficult process, and there needs to be sensitivity to local concerns as these initiatives move forward. But I’m still convinced that it is a necessity for large stretches of the border, for reasons primarily related to the entry of terrorists, and because it would be more cost effective than alternative approaches.

Overall, a good story, and worth reading in full.

May 30, 2006

DHS update on interoperable communications

Filed under: State and Local HLS,Technology for HLS — by Christian Beckner on May 30, 2006

A presentation on the DHS “Interoperable Communications Technical Assistance Program” delivered at a conference last week is now available online at this link, in Powerpoint format. It provides a solid overview of the Department’s progress in supporting investment in interoperable communications at the state and local level, and it offers the statistic that out of the $5.6 billion in homeland security grant funds spent on equipment, $1.8 billion has gone for interoperable communications – a very substantial investment of funds by the Department over the last three years.

Court strikes down US-EU PNR agreement

Filed under: Aviation Security,International HLS,Privacy and Security — by Christian Beckner on May 30, 2006

The European Court of Justice struck down the 2004 agreement between the European Commission and US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) on the sharing of aviation passenger name records (PNRs) for people traveling to the United States, following a lawsuit by the European Parliament. The court’s full decision is available here, and it is summarized in this press release from the court. The court’s key finding:

The Court found that Article 95 EC, read in conjunction with Article 25 of the directive, cannot justify Community competence to conclude the Agreement with the United States that is at issue. This agreement relates to the same transfer of data as the decision on adequacy and therefore to data processing operations which are excluded from the scope of the directive.

…and on that basis, it reached the following decision:

1. Annuls Council Decision 2004/496/EC of 17 May 2004 on the conclusion of an Agreement between the European Community and the United States of America on the processing and transfer of PNR data by Air Carriers to the United States Department of Homeland Security, Bureau of Customs and Border Protection and Commission Decision 2004/535/EC of 14 May 2004 on the adequate protection of personal data contained in the Passenger Name Record of air passengers transferred to the United States Bureau of Customs and Border Protection;

2. Preserves the effect of Decision 2004/535 until 30 September 2006, but not beyond the date upon which that Agreement comes to an end.

The ruling is summarized in this BBC story. Commentary on the ruling can be found at the EU Law Blog, the Practical Nomad, and this triumphalist press release from the ACLU, which argues that “decision strikes another blow at the administration’s over-reaching passenger screening proposals.” But the website Statewatch disagrees with this interpretation of the ruling, arguing:

The treaty conclusion and Commission decision have clearly been annulled because (following the opinion of the Advocate-General, see below) their subject-matter fell outside the scope of the data protection directive, as they concerned essentially the processing of data by law enforcement authorities. The other pleas by the EP [European Parliament], in particular the privacy plea, are therefore not considered at all (the Advocate-General had considered them for the sake of argument, but rejected them). The EP has therefore won a “pyrrhic” victory, as the agreement will now be replaced either by national agreements, or by a third pillar agreement with the US. Either way the EP has no power over approval of the treaty/treaties or even the power to bring legal proceedings against them. The press may describe this as a victory for the EP or for privacy but they will be mistaken.

I agree with this interpretation. This decision is above all a judgment on the EU’s byzantine character, and only secondarily about the issues at stake. The result is that all parties are going to have to work hard to develop a new agreement or set of agreements in the next few months. This advance notification is a critical layer of our travel security system, so it’s essential that the US and EU find ways to work this out, in a way that provides consistent and enforceable privacy protection but eschews fearmongering and hyperlegalism. And I think at some point the US and EU need to think about developing a common set of agreed principles for privacy and security issues, to move away from the painstaking case-by-case basis on which these issues are negotiated today.

Dave Barry’s tips for the 2006 hurricane season

Filed under: Humor — by Christian Beckner on May 30, 2006

From yesterday’s Miami Herald:

The 2006 hurricane season is here, and if you’re a resident of Florida, you know what that means: It means you have the IQ of bean dip. If you had any working brain cells, by now you’d have moved to some less risky place, such as Iraq. This is especially true after last hurricane season, which was so bad that we went all the way through the alphabet of official names and had to refer to the last batch of hurricanes by making primitive grunting sounds.

Read the whole thing.

DHS chief human capital officer resigns

Filed under: DHS News,Organizational Issues — by Christian Beckner on May 30, 2006

From the Washington Post’s Federal Diary column today:

K. Gregg Prillaman, who has more than 30 years of experience in personnel and management issues, had been tapped to oversee an ambitious revision of pay scales and workplace rules at Homeland Security, which has about 185,000 employees.

His departure is another jolt to the department, which has been coping with turnover in its senior executive ranks. “I was surprised by his resignation,” said Michael Jackson , deputy secretary for Homeland Security. “He had done some good work for us. He just made a decision to make a change, and that was his call.”

Department spokesman Larry Orluskie said Prillaman had no comment on his resignation. “We will pass on the opportunity at this time to do an interview,” Orluskie said.

The article goes on to summarize some of the personnel-related challenges facing DHS at the moment, such as the ongoing DHS lawsuit with federal unions over personnel policies, and the cutting of funds from personnel-related programs such as MaxHR, which was raided to the tune of $15m during the floor amendments on the DHS appropriations bill in the House last Friday. Prillaman had only been on the job for nine months, which suggests that he was frustrated with his ability to move DHS forward on these issues. If that’s the case, then this resignation should serve as a warning sign that these issues require very serious advocacy and attention at the top levels of the Administration.

May 27, 2006

National Academies report looks at chemical security

Filed under: Infrastructure Protection,Technology for HLS — by Christian Beckner on May 27, 2006

The National Academies Press has released a new report (available online) on the issue of chemical security, entitled “Terrorism and the Chemical Infrastructure: Protecting People and Reducing Vulnerabilities”. The executive summary notes that this report was requested by the Department of Homeland Security “to assist the department in characterizing and mitigating the vulnerabilities faced by the nation from its critical infrastructure.”

The report offers these six top-level findings:

  1. Toxic, flammable, and explosive materials present the greatest risk of catastrophic incident. In the absence of specific threat information, it will be most appropriate to invest in mitigation and preparedness for general classes of vulnerabilities.
  2. By analogy with past accidents involving the chemical industry, it is possible that a single terrorist incident involving the chemical infrastructure could result in catastrophic loss of life or injuries.
  3. The economic effects of a single terrorist incident involving the chemical infrastructure could be significant, but multiple terrorist events would be required to achieve nationally catastrophic economic consequences.
  4. Multiple attacks on the chemical infrastructure may not be immediately recognized as such. Prompt recognition and communication that an incident is an actual case of terrorism and may be part of a series of attacks offers the best opportunity to take actions that may limit the consequences of such attacks.
  5. Near-term benefits can be obtained from research efforts directed toward enhancing emergency preparedness, emergency response, and disaster recovery.
  6. Public response is significant in determining the consequences of attack on the chemical infrastructure.

It then uses these findings as the basis for a set of recommendations on R&D that could improve the country’s prevention, mitigation, and response capabilities for chemical security. Notably, it takes a positive view toward the use of inherently-safer technologies, arguing that their adoption be achieved in many cases cost-effectively, and suggesting a federal R&D role for “pre-competitive” research in areas where the adoption of IST’s is problematic today, given the fact that companies lack the natural incentives to perform this type of research.

There are a lot of other informative sections of the report, including detailed scenario analyses of specific chemical security threats and an interesting chapter on risk management. I hope that DHS and Congress study this report carefully, and place a high priority on integrating its recommendations into its chemical security strategies and legislative initiatives, in a way that serves to depoliticize the issue and finally create the basis for smart, effective security in the sector.

9/11 conspiracists: get over it

Filed under: Terrorist Threats & Attacks — by Christian Beckner on May 27, 2006

William Arkin has a very candid and important post on his Early Warning blog today:

Every day, I receive a half dozen e-mails and a score or more comments from 9/11 rejectionists. The 9/11 cover-up, according to these correspondents, is that the U.S. government was complicit, even responsible for the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

Like those who often write to tell me that the Pentagon, the FBI and/or the intelligence agencies are following them, that they are mind control victims whose lives have been ruined by directed energy weapons in space or the transmitters implanted in their teeth, I have a special place for this mass of correspondence. It is called delete.

So, when the headline crossed my desktop on Monday that “Over 70 million American Adults Support New 9/11 Investigation,” I admit that I fell for it and clicked on the link.

The tale is depressing. The 9/11 truth seekers, that self-declared movement who now count in their membership a number of high profile celebrities, turn out to be exactly what I thought they were: predatory and devious, seekers of polarization and not light, abusive of the political system, contemptuous of anything that even resembles the “truth.”

He goes on to discuss a missive from some new group called 911truth.org, whose press release states that there is “mounting evidence for U.S. government involvement in 9/11.”

In a word, bullshit. I think it’s appalling, egotistical, and naive all at the same time for anyone to believe these conspiratorial myths. And the fact that so many people apparently believe at least part of this narrative probably weakens our ability to develop effective and well-vetted tools for preventing the next terrorist attack.

CBP, FEMA, and CFO nominees confirmed

Filed under: DHS News — by Christian Beckner on May 27, 2006

Following Senate voice votes on Friday afternoon, the Department of Homeland Security has three newly-confirmed officials: Ralph Basham as head of Customs and Border Protection, David Paulison as head of FEMA, and David Norquist as the Department’s Chief Financial Officer. These three confirmations, along with the change of command at the Coast Guard from Thomas Collins to Thad Allen on Thursday, go a long way to plugging the leadership gap at the top of the Department. Sec. Chertoff also named DHS CIO Scott Charbo as Acting Undersecretary for Management, which temporarily plugs this gap.

For those keeping track, here are the key remaining unfilled senior positions at DHS:

1. Undersecretary for Science and Technology (no nominee yet; Jeff Runge acting in this role)
2. Undersecretary for Management (no nominee yet; CIO Scott Charbo now acting in this role)
3. Secret Service director (Mark Sullivan has been nominated as Basham’s replacement but not yet confirmed).
4. Assistant Secretary for Cybersecurity and Telecommunications (no nominee yet; Andy Purdy is acting director)
5. Assistant Secretary for Legislative Affairs (no appointee yet)
6. Assistant Secretary, Office of Operations Coordination (no nominee yet).
7. Chief Privacy Officer (no nominee yet; Maureen Cooney acting in this role).

May 26, 2006

HLS in DC, May 30-June 2, 2006

Filed under: Events — by Christian Beckner on May 26, 2006

Below is a list of homeland security policy events in the DC area next week (as well as the occasional listing outside of DC). I post a list each week and will sometimes update mid-week when I find new items. You can always find current and previous postings under the “Events” category tab at right. And please note that many events require prior invitations and/or RSVPs.

5/30: George Marshall Institute event on “Pandemics and National Security” with U Penn professor Harvey Rubin. Capitol Hill Club, 300 First Street, SE, 12 noon.
5/30: Teleconference on the DHS Ready Campaign. 2pm.
5/31-6/2: Humane Society National Conference on Animals in Disaster features remarks by DHS Undersecretary George Foresman at 8:30am on 5/31 and sessions on disaster response and pandemic preparedness. Hilton Crystal City, Arlington, VA.
5/31: American Banker’s Association news conference to release recommendations by its Joint Emergency Preparedness Task Force. 1120 Connecticut Ave NW, 7th Floor, 10am.
6/1-6/2: Emergency Preparedness for Government Facilities workshop sponsored by the Homeland Defense Journal. 4301 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA.
6/1-6/4: International Hazardous Materials Response Teams Conference, sponsored by the International Association of Fire Chiefs. Baltimore Marriott Hunt Valley Inn, 245 Shawan Road, Hunt Valley, MD.
6/1: National Citizen Corp Council annual meeting features remarks by George Foresman and Tracy Henke from DHS. US Chamber of Commerce, 1615 H Street, NW, 8:45 am
6/1: Weapons of Mass Destruction Commission press conference at UN Headquarters in NYC to release their final report. 12:30pm.
6/1: Brookings Institution briefing with Sec. Chertoff on “The State of U.S. Homeland Security.” 1775 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, 3pm.
6/2-6/4: International Association of Emergency Managers mid-year meeting. National Emergency Training Center, Emmitsburg, MD.
6/3-6/4: US Conference of Mayors 74th Annual Conference features sessions on homeland security and pandemic preparedness. Las Vegas.

(Please e-mail me if you have suggestions about additions to this list for this week, or future weeks).

CRS report on FY 2007 DHS appropriations

Filed under: Budgets and Spending — by Christian Beckner on May 26, 2006

The Congressional Research Service released a report earlier in the month on the FY 2007 appropriations legislation for the Department of Homeland Security, available exclusively here at HLS Watch as a publicly-available document (at least for the time being):

RL33428: Homeland Security Department: FY 2007 Appropriations. May 10, 2006.

The 72-page report contains a number of useful charts that track proposed funding levels as the bill winds its way through the appropriations process. CRS typically updates this report over the course of the summer as new developments occur; I’ll try to track down these updates when they’re available (and readers are always encouraged to send me the latest CRS reports or other relevant homeland security documents – anonymity guaranteed).

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