Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

October 10, 2007

Or is the New Strategy Just Overdue?

Filed under: DHS News,General Homeland Security — by Jonah Czerwinski on October 10, 2007

The Washington Post ran a story today about the new National Strategy for Homeland Security that emphasizes the timing chosen for the new document. The article misses some important points.

The President’s homeland security advisor, Fran Townsend, is quoted as suggesting that “Homeland security both as a policy matter and as a concept didn’t exist prior to 9/11 and prior to…President Bush assuming office.” We may have called it “homeland defense” or “anti-terrorism” before, but it sure isn’t the sole product of 9/11 or this Administration. Whether it was the Gilmore Commission (1999-2004) or the Hart-Rudman Commission (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 it’s an effort to preserve the Bush Administration’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 Heyman’s analysis is focused on one of the elephants in the room: How do you carry out a strategy – old or new – if you have a depleted workforce? But the Post story quotes him as though the problem is a lack of “processes and operations to support” 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 “al Qaeda in Iraq,” 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?

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Pingback by Slowfive.Com » Or is the New Strategy Just Overdue?

October 10, 2007 @ 10:35 am

[…] Brenner wrote an interesting post today on Or is the New Strategy Just Overdue?Here’s a quick […]

Comment by Bill Meyer

October 11, 2007 @ 7:59 am

For those of native American backgrounds, Homeland Security began in 1492.

Comment by Brandon

October 11, 2007 @ 6:14 pm

1492 it is. Perhaps if the Bush administration wants a first, they may look at privatizing then outsourcing homeland security.

Comment by William R. Cumming

October 15, 2007 @ 2:03 pm

Interesting editorial in Today’s NY Times on new strategy.

Comment by J.

October 16, 2007 @ 8:16 am

“Did we have to wait to have the concept of natural disasters included more prominently into our Homeland Security doctrine until after Hurricane Katrina?”

Yes. This has been another edition of simple answers to simple questions.

Pingback by Homeland Security Watch » White House Homeland Security Advisor Resigns

November 19, 2007 @ 10:24 am

[…] Council for the last nearly five years and oversaw the development of the recent update to the National Strategy for Homeland Security, the federal response to Hurricane Katrina, and the fires on the west […]

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