Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

June 27, 2006

NYPD names new counterterrorism head

Filed under: State and Local HLS — by Christian Beckner on June 27, 2006

The New York Daily News and the New York Sun report today on the naming of Richard Falkenrath as the new Deputy Commissioner of Counterterrorism at the New York Police Department.

It will be interesting to see whether this leads to stronger ties between DHS and the NYPD, which have often seemed more like rivals than partners. The Sun story notes that Falkenrath intends to represent NYC more strongly in the chase for homeland security grant funds:

Mr. Falkenrath told the Sun his priorities for protecting New York City include securing specific terrorist targets, with the subway system “at the top of our list of concerns.” He also said he would work to secure more federal antiterror dollars: “I believe New York is, from a terrorist perspective, the highest priority target in the world. And the federal grants need to reflect that.”

One potential challenge facing Falkenrath will be whether he can rapidly assimilate into the culture of the NYPD and master the operational dimensions of the job. Falkenrath’s expertise on homeland security is unquestioned, but he comes from an academic, policy-focused background, while his predecessors in this job (Michael Sheehan, Frank Libutti) both had military backgrounds, and more extensive management experience coming into the position.

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Comment by William R. Cumming

June 27, 2006 @ 3:49 pm

I am not certain but my belief is that Dr. Falkenrath was never in DHS but instead only at the White House Office of Homeland Security created before there was a DHS and no longer in existence. During the period 9/11/01 until 3/1/03 relationships between those persons in that office and those eventually going to DHS became strained because of the \”Left Behind\” syndrome. I hope this is not the case and that that era of bad feeling no longer is an issue. It is interesting though that NYC continues to hire those who were most active shortly after 9/11/01 in the White House, rehire in some cases, but those persons for whatever reason did not succeed in the current milieu in Washington. Their paper credentials were certainly more promising than some there now, but perhpas they had more of a public service orientation and were less interested in representing vendors or making vendor contacts witness the recent NY Times series. As with all new organizations, the DHS culture has not yet settled and it is uncertain whether an effective and efficient domestic response sytem and mobilization to support that system will be built with the current actors. Nonetheless, the willingness of past principals to move from place to place may be representative of what I call \”Skaters\” those persons who are never long in one place and so not accountable because they always seem to move ahead of the breaking ice. I hope in the case of Dr. Falkenrath that is not the case. Perhpas a decade of strong service to NYC will reveal the truth for him.

Comment by Joe Dodd

August 8, 2006 @ 9:08 am

It is indeed true that Dr. Falkenrath neither served at DHS nor did he have any operational role or responsibility on behalf of or at the Department of Homeland Security. His tenure at OHS was less than remarkable and indeed purposely cut short. Dr. Falkenrath is a policy advisor not a manager and that may hamper NYPD’s security efforts despite the highly regarded legacy left by Mike Sheehan, only time will tell.

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