DHS Chief Intelligence Officer Charlie Allen testified before the House Homeland Security Committee yesterday, and offered a progress report from his first seven months on the job. His prepared testimony offers information on a number of new initiatives coming out of the DHS intelligence shop, such as:
- Putting forward a DHS Intelligence Learning and Development Strategic Plan, which has led to DHS “offering a full range of courses to improve our key analytic skills, including critical thinking, intelligence writing, and briefing, not only for I&Aâ€™s employees, but across our DHS intelligence enterprise.”
- Establishing a Content Management Board within DHS, which is “developing consensus on Department-wide standards for formatting and dissemination of intelligence products, including posting of relevant products for use by state, local, and private-sector partners.”
- Developing a new “Department-wide roadmap for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR), ensuring that the surveillance capabilities of DHSâ€™s operating components will be employed with those of the Intelligence Community and the Department of Defense in national crises or natural disasters.”
- Initiating an Intelligence Campaign Plan for Border Security, focused on “bringing the resources of both the national and Departmental intelligence communities to bear on this acute problem.
- Creating a constantly-updated briefing for members of Congress, the Homeland Threat Stream Matrix, on homeland security-related intelligence.
- Implementing a DHS Intelligence Recruitment Strategic Plan to “bring onboard the best and brightest people fresh out of Americaâ€™s universities and colleges” and finding the resources to hire 30 new GS-7/9/11’s.
After 2.5 years of delay and misdirection, the DHS intelligence enterprise is finally on the right track, and doing what needs to be done to build a sustainable and strategic intelligence capability at the Department. There are still major challenges ahead for DHS in terms of carving out its intelligence role, particularly in terms of strengthening its relationship with state & local governments and working out turf issues with the FBI. But I think that this is a real success story (so far) at DHS amid the Department’s broader turmoil, and hopefully the positive progress will continue.