Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

October 4, 2006

DHS grant chief resigns

Filed under: DHS News — by Christian Beckner on October 4, 2006

Tracy Henke, the Assistant Secretary for Grants and Training at DHS, resigned yesterday, as announced in a DHS press release. This GovExec story looks at her departure:

The Homeland Security Department came under heated criticism from lawmakers in late May when it announced that New York City and Washington, D.C. were getting about a 40 percent cut in Urban Areas Security Initiative grants, which are designed to bolster anti-terrorism efforts in major metropolitan regions.

That set in motion an internal department feud that resulted in changes in the UASI program and the resignation Monday of Tracy Henke, director of the office of grants and training, administration officials and other sources said Wednesday. Henke had received a recess appointment from Bush in February.

Facing a political backlash over the UASI grants, sources say she faced little chance of being confirmed. Sources also said she was finally forced out by the administration.

“After the way she handled the UASI grants, she was persona non grata and basically was cut out,” one source said. “It was pretty obvious that her days were numbered.”

I’ve frequently criticized the process and analytical frameworks under which grants were managed under Henke, especially in the wake of the indefensible UASI grant decisions. Her description of the value of a “2×2 matrix” as a decision-making tool in a press conference after these decisions were announced (see the last paragraph of her opening remarks), was laughable to anyone with even a modest familiarity with business strategy frameworks. Hopefully DHS will pick someone with strong analytical capabilities and a deep understanding of the terror threat to the United States to replace Henke.

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