The House will consider a bill tomorrow that would establish a Science
and Technology Homeland Security International Cooperative Programs Office. The bill (HR 884) reflects a logical, albeit piecemeal (and wordy), progression to empower the Department of Homeland Security with the organizational and legislative capability to pursue Homeland Security objectives overseas.
Collaborating with allies and partners, even reluctant ones, is a valuable step toward communicating our national interests as the shared interest. A report by the Center for the Study of the Presidency made a contribution to the discussion of how DHS could engage internationally with better success. Another paper, by James Carafano, Rich Weitz, and me weighed in on the role of S&T in this effort. These documents, along with DHS 2.0 and others, highlight the potential for engaging such organizations as NATO, the European Union, OSCE, and others to both build counter- and anti-terrorism capabilities and develop a shared understanding of the nature of the threat.
HR 884 is unclear if the Director of the proposed S&T Homeland Security International Cooperative Programs Office reports to the Under Secretary of S&T or the U/S PolicyÂ at DHS. Thereâ€™s an argument that could be made for either, but the real value is the strong interagency coordination required of its Director â€“ and the $25 million budget. In a climate when DHS S&T appears to be suffering budget blow after blow, this one may fare better if attached to the Policy Directorate, which does have an Office of International Affairs. Of course, reconciling OIA with the new S&T Office would be a first step.