The President’s homeland security advisor, Fran Townsend, is quoted as suggesting that â€œHomeland security both as a policy matter and as a concept didn’t exist prior to 9/11 and prior toâ€¦President Bush assuming office.â€ We may have called it â€œhomeland defenseâ€ or â€œanti-terrorismâ€ before, but it sure isnâ€™t the sole product of 9/11 or this Administration. Whether it was the Gilmore CommissionÂ (1999-2004) or the Hart-Rudman CommissionÂ (1998-2001), or one of several other high-level efforts, that concept long predates the authors of the 2002 and 2007 Homeland Security Strategy documents.
The Post writers go on to quote Frank Cilluffo and David Heyman. Frank is candid in proposing that the new Strategy is more rearview mirror that proactive. Less than a contribution to the next Administration, he suggests itâ€™s an effort to preserve the Bush Administrationâ€™s legacy. One would get that impression from the fact sheet put out by the White House Press Office. A full third of that document is dedicated to past successes and advice for the Congress.
David Heymanâ€™s analysis is focused on one of the elephants in the room: How do you carry out a strategy â€“ old or new â€“ if you have a depleted workforce? But the Post story quotes him as though the problem is a lack of â€œprocesses and operations to supportâ€ the Strategy. This seems odd since a major highlight in the new document, also explained in this earlier post that broke the story of the Strategy being revised, that shows a very detailed process for policy, operations, and support.
The story did not point out that the timing of this new Strategy may just be overdue. After the first Strategy in 2002, there was the 2003 Iraq invasion and the creation of a whole new enemy called â€œal Qaeda in Iraq,â€ the Madrid bombings in 2004, London bombings in July 2005, and the Bali bombings later that same year. The Department of Homeland Security had only been around for six months at the time the first Strategy was issued.
I can understand why the re-election effort in 2004 may have slowed things down in the policy shop, but why not issue a new Strategy in 2005? That would have given this Administration four years to carry it out. Did we have to wait to have the concept of natural disasters included more prominently into our Homeland Security doctrine until after Hurricane Katrina?