Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

April 15, 2008

Panel Seeks to Integrate CT and Security Assistance, Sans DHS

Filed under: International HLS,Strategy — by Jonah Czerwinski on April 15, 2008

Readers may recall the February 28, 2008, post that described ways in which we could work with other countries to build their counter- and anti-terrorism capacity through existing multilateral mechanisms to gain better cooperation overseas. The Center for Strategic and International Studies yesterday rolled out their new report that delves into the same topic with a focus on how the State Department and Pentagon ought to be better integrated in executing security assistance programs. While interagency coordination is the goal, and the report makes significant gains in this direction, there no mention of the Department of Homeland Security and its overseas presence serving a role.


The explicit recommendation in the paper is to rebalance the roles of State and DOD in carrying out “preventative civilian foreign and development policy instruments.” In doing so, the authors of the report, Kathleen Hicks and Stephen Morrison, recommend a better engagement of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and international NGO’s. Congresswoman Susan Davis, Congressman Geoff Davis, former DOD CFO Dov Zakheim, and president and CEO of CARE USA Helene Gayle spoke on the panel that convened at the Capitol to introduce the paper’s findings.

The aspects of the report most relevant to this blog deal with counter terrorism capacity building. The report suggests that “joint strategic planning and coordination” ought to occur between State, DOD, and USAID. The report offers solid recommendations for accomplishing this, but includes no mention of the role of the federal agency most involved with civilian efforts to combat terrorism: the Department of Homeland Security. The panel expressed doubt that DHS could contribute much to the mission due to its own lack of organization. The moderator even questioned whether the topic has anything to do with the new report.

It is no surprise that DHS does not immediately come to mind when considering an international strategy. However, this one, focused on civilian capacity for combating terrorism with reduced role for DOD, is incomplete with out DHS. And while DHS may not yet be up to the task, let’s make it so. The February 28, 2008, post offers some specific options.

Much of the CSIS report focuses on critical details about how things work now and where the drivers of the problems actually exist. For example, it describes the potential of USAFRICOM, the use and misuse of CERP funds, and the lessons learned from Provincial Reconstruction Teams. It is clear that an interest remains in attempting to reassert the role of the State Department’s regional Assistant Secretaries in the context of powerful country ambassadors and unified combatant commanders (formerly CINCs). There is a call for joint regional planning entities to better integrate these roles.


For more on this topic, see the 2001 report on Forward Strategic Empowerment: Synergies Between CINCs, the State Department, and Other Agencies. The report is the product of a taskforce led by former Army Chief of Staff Shy Meyer and former Undersecretary for Political Affairs Tom Pickering.

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1 Comment »

Comment by William R. Cumming

April 15, 2008 @ 6:25 pm

Very interesting post and agree with the suggestion that exclusion of DHS is shortsighted. But it should be noted that while Congress could easily have clarified statutory charters of DOD, State, USAID (now part of STATE), DOJ (also not mentioned) and DHS in the arena of CT and foreign activity concerning counter-terrorism and anti-terrorism they have failed to do so. Result, the same zero sum games that bureaucrats worry about. Without clear statutory mandates and charters, open warfare between departments and agencies for money and staff and Presidential face time (maybe not with this President). Anyhow, hate to be NOSTRDAMUS but it looks like when the next 9/11 hits the witch hunters will again be startled that the 9/11 Commission findings, conclusions, and recommendations still apply. Hey I would argue for a clearer DNI and Intelligence Community charter in this arena also. Guess too too much work for the Executive Branch and Congress.

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