Jim Carafano at the Heritage Foundation published an article yesterday entitled “Missing Pieces in Homeland Security: Interagency Education, Assignments, and Professional Accreditation” which identifies the lack of a professional development strategy at the Department of Homeland Security and offers a number of recommendations to address this deficit. He writes:
Yet building a core of homeland security professionÂalsâ€”the most important initiative in making the enterprise a sucÂcessâ€”has hardly begun. The Administration can and must address this shortfall. Homeland security needs the foundation of a professional development system that will provide the cadre of leaders required to meet the demands of the 21st century.
Carafano offers a number of specific recommendations, focused on building new government-led institutions and courses for DHS professionals, facilitating interagency rotations, and accrediting outside institutions on homeland security education. I might come up with a slightly different list of recommendations (e.g. that a homeland security equivalent to the Foreign Service is needed) but overall these are sensible ideas, and we agree on the most important issue – that action is needed today. Carafano argues in his conclusion that the “clock is ticking,” and it’s time for the Administration and Congress to address this issue. Some steps have already been taken by Congress (e.g. see language in Sec. 844 and Sec. 845 of the DHS appropriations bill that addresses this issue), but this is far from a complete response, and the leadership of DHS needs to make this one of their top priorities in the coming year.