Stephen Barr writes today in his Federal Diary column at the Washington Post about a new report from the Naval Postgraduate School that provides a case study of the proposed civil service reforms that were debated in the process of passing of the Homeland Security Act of 2002. A lot of this story has been told in bits and pieces already, but it contains a few new wrinkles, and this is the first time I’ve seen it in a single comprehensive narrative, featuring interviews with many of the principals involved with the process.
The report a number of interesting details, such as the fact that White House officials had a total of five days to write the initial draft of the Homeland Security Act and get it transmitted to Congress, based on a promise from VP Cheney to Speaker Dennis Hastert. And it quotes former OHS & DHS official Bruce Lawlor on the thought process behind the creation of the four initial DHS directorates:
When we originally built the Department, if you think about it, youâ€™ve got information, critical infrastructure protectionâ€”thatâ€™s two of your functions. Thatâ€™s one Directorate. Weâ€™ve got the borders, law enforcement and transportation security. Thereâ€™s another Directorate. And emergency response and recoveryâ€”thatâ€™s the third Directorate. We only had three Directorates when we started. Then the Vice President came along and said, â€œYouâ€™ve got to do something more about bio-terrorism.â€ Thatâ€™s the fourth Directorate, Science and Technology.
Overall, an interesting report – Chapter III (the narrative) is definitely worth a read.