Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

November 21, 2007

A Future for the White House Homeland Security Council?

Filed under: General Homeland Security,Organizational Issues — by Jonah Czerwinski on November 21, 2007

In a CQ story today, Matthew Johnson invokes the perennial question of whether we need a Homeland Security Council in addition to a National Security Council at the White House. The non-government experts interviewed both suggest the HSC’s days are numbered, while Congressman Peter King defends the need for a separate HSC.

P.J. Crowley at the Center for American Progress gets the award for most cutting response:

“… it doesn’t make sense to have an Iraq policy where you are creating terrorists disconnected from a homeland security policy where you are supposed to be able to defend against them.”

Whether one agrees that the Iraq war is making more enemies than friends, it stands to reason that if combating terrorism overseas is a national security concern, why would defending against terrorism at home not be? No one would argue that the two efforts are completely disconnected, but sometimes all it takes is a little extra bureaucracy to install a stovepipe.

Imagine if the next President had a national security advisor with two deputies responsible for different portfolios that required a great degree of coordination and shared assets/resources (like the President’s attention)? One deputy for national security, the other for homeland security. The NSC staff would enlarge enough to accommodate the extra workload and the membership on the NSC would be rebalanced to include some of the members from the former HSC. (The Secretaries of Health and Human Services and Transportation may be the only two members of the HSC who are not also members of the NSC.)

CSIS’s David Heyman agrees. Not to put too fine a point on it, David clarifies that “We should abolish the HSC and it should be subsumed by the National Security Council….”

And in the other corner: Peter T. King of New York, the Ranking Republican on the House Homeland Security Committee, opposes the idea of merging the two Councils.

“Just as the president has a secretary of State and needs a national security adviser, he also needs a Homeland Security secretary and a homeland security adviser,” King said.

By this logic, we’ll need a Housing and Urban Development Advisor and a HUD Council at the White House, along with an Education advisor and National Education Council.  You see where I’m going with this.

Determining the HSC-NSC fate requires a different argument from this one.  Consider the unique roles that the HSC carries out that have no obvious overlap with the NSC (i.e. State and Local coordination, Emergency Preparedness and Response, or Critical Infrastructure Protection) and ask the following questions:

“Do these portfolios require a separate structure to serve the President or can they be represented by individual senior directors on an expanded NSC staff?”

“Do these responsibilities require direct White House coordination and guidance in the fist place?”

“Would a double deputy and single National Security Advisor be effective in managing a broadened portfolio?”

“Is homeland security a separate endeavor from national security?”

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4 Comments »

Pingback by SuperJogos - Todos os jogos da internet » A Future for the White House Homeland Security Council?

November 21, 2007 @ 10:25 am

[...] Interesting post today!.Here’s a quick excerpt In a CQ story today, Matthew Johnson invokes the perennial question of whether we need a Homeland Security Council in addition to a National Security Council at the White House. The non-government experts interviewed both suggest the HSC’s days are numbered, while Congressman Peter King defends the need for a separate HSC. P.J. Crowley at the Center for American Progress gets the award for most cutting response: “… it doesn’t make sense to have an Iraq policy where you are creating terrorists [...]

Pingback by quickerda » Blog Archive » The End of the HSC at the White House?

November 22, 2007 @ 2:13 am

[...] full story here [...]

Comment by William R. Cumming

December 12, 2007 @ 12:58 pm

Decision to eliminate HSC and Advisor to the President position made at White House and to be announced in State of Union address. National Security types want to get Homeland Security back under their firm control including access to contract dollars by DHS. My recommendation is that Homeland Security focus on both WMD detection, defense, and proliferation issues since the National Security state and the Nuclear Priesthood continues to pretend nuclear strategic warfare is possible. For a excellent critique of that priesthood James Carroll’s recent book on that subject gives the subject new evidence to masticate on. The various studies of Robert Oppenheimer and his life that continue to proliferate indicate that the next President will have to address issues not even well studied since the Truman-Eisenhower era. Each day or week goes by reveals that the basic proliferation flaw is that dessimination of nuclear power plant knowledge and skills continues to allow and promote proliferation. Just as the decision was made to keep civilian control of nuclear weapons in the past, a high level commission should be empaneled to review the military’s 6 decade doctrine of employment and safeguarding of nuclear weapons with recommendations on reform. Documented cleanup costs alone indicate that the atomic wasteland has already emerged. Deprivation of basic knowledge of the costs and constructs of the nuclear priesthood is the norm for both Congress and the citizens, much less the secrecy of the nuclear priesthood in dictatorships. If the President of Pakistan falls to extremists the country better be prepared for boots on the ground in an effort that will make Iraq and Afghanistane a joke for kinders.

Pingback by Homeland Security Watch » White House HSC Under Scrutiny. Again.

March 27, 2008 @ 12:02 am

[...] of this emerges within the context of an ongoing debate in Washington about what the future of the HSC should be. With a new administration coming in and [...]

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