P.J. Crowley, Senior Fellow and Director of Homeland Security at the Center for American Progress convened a panel discussion yesterday morning on the near-term future of HLS and the new report from P.J. and CAP, entitled “Safe at Home.”
The Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, Congressman Bennie Thompson, kicked off the gathering with his own scene setter of where things are today. The discussion invoked such important topics as resiliency, HLS doctrine, the role of people in securing the homeland, and how to overcome information sharing obstacles that currently hinder overall progress.
My very first post on this blog covered a presentation by Chairman Thompson at an event at the Homeland Security Policy Institute. Then, as now, the oversight environment for DHS was contentious. Back then, the policy community was abuzz with the switch in power in the Congress. Yesterday morning’s discussion focused on how this Congressional session will finish out and how the next Presidential administration can obtain the best footing in taking leadership in securing the homeland.
Chairman Thompson intends to dedicate a series of hearings to resiliency and another solely to the topic of the transition from this administration to the next in terms of handling the transfer of DHS leadership. Thompson’s strategic goal, he said, was to achieve a secure homeland based on a “freedom from fear.”
Thompson also dropped a couple of other news items, too:
P.J. opened with an incisive analysis of the state of homeland security affairs based on his new paper, Safe at Home: A National Strategy to Protect the American Homeland, the Real Central Front. That last clause is a direct criticism of those who suggest that Iraq is the central front in the war on terrorism. P.J. explains that its just the best funded front: We spend twice as much on securing Iraq as we do on securing the U.S. He didn’t miss the opportunity to take issue with the term “war on terror” either.
Dan, noting the roll-out this week of IBM’s new report on the subject, clarified the role for resilience in this domain:
“Resiliency is defined as the ability to recover quickly from, or to resist being affected by a shock or disruption. Resiliency is a more powerful concept than simply “response and recovery” because it demands that security and commerce be treated as simultaneously achievable goals.”
The new IBM report, Global Movement Management: Strengthening Commerce, Security, and Resilience in Today’s Networked World, provides a survey and analysis of the \ three main components of resilience: people, technology, and governance. Dan explained further that:
“[Resilience] implies a greater level of forethought and planning ahead of time instead of simply reacting after an event. It stresses the importance of how to train people, build systems and technology and implement governance so that people are prepared on the front lines to react in the right way. It is about making sure that the right people have the right information at the right time to make the right decisions in the right way.”
Overall, a pithy deconstruction of how our nation’s investments risk being misapplied led to a trenchant discussion of how best to trigger the next phase in securing the homeland. If he had his way, P.J. would focus far more resources on the likelier threats, such as IEDs, chem., and cyber. His report offers, among other things, the following table:
Click to enlarge