Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

July 11, 2008

Advisers to Obama, McCain Camps Opine on HLS Priorities

Filed under: General Homeland Security,Strategy — by Jonah Czerwinski on July 11, 2008

Congressional Quarterly’s CQ Homeland Security ran a story revealing views likely held by the presidential candidates on homeland security priorities. Neither candidate has dedicated much airtime to the topic of homeland security, but both have formed teams of volunteer policy advisors focused on developing homeland security positions. This week’s story quotes Ruchi Bhowmik of Obama’s Senate staff campaign and Lee Carosi Dunn from McCain’s staff. Neither spoke as representing the presidential campaigns, but both are accurate indicators of the candidates’ views.

Ruchi offered a constructive view that avoided the “throw the baby out with the bathwater” stance that many fear a change in party would bring to DHS. A key challenge for the next Administration, she said, would be to complete key programs that the current administration has left unfinished.

She views DHS as something of a “delinquent student” with “homework assignments and they’ve been by no means easy homework assignments, but they haven’t really turned them in.” She specifically included the National Response Framework, and described it as a research paper that was treated as an outline by DHS. “It’s OK,” Ruchi explained, “but it really wasn’t what the assignment was.”

Ruchi also explained that “resilience” is a concept that reflects a core goal of DHS to develop strong partnerships with stakeholders, including governors, local law enforcement, the private sector, and citizens in general. She noted that homeland security is achievable only when these groups are made a trusted partner in the process.

CQ also noted the emphasis Ruchi placed on research and development for better sensor technologies for mass transit protection, cargo container screening, medical countermeasures for bio-threats, and cybersecurity, which depends heavily on strong public-private partnerships.

Lee Carosi Dunn, counsel to McCain, emphasized making first-responders’ communications compatible with one another through such legislative efforts as setting aside some broadcast spectrum for first-responders.

Dunn also noted that McCain supports risk-based funding for state homeland security grants, cited transit security, better leveraging of technology between DHS and DOD, infrastructure protection – i.e. nuclear power plants, ports or cybersecurity – and the Real ID program that requires states to meet federally set standards for their driver’s licenses.

Soon it may be time to update the series we posted here on where the candidates stand on homeland security. Let’s hope the media ask the candidates to expand on their concepts and proposals for homeland security.

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Comment by William R. Cumming

July 11, 2008 @ 4:54 pm

Likely that each candidate’s VP nominee will be the HS lead for their administration. Neither candidate have a particular feel for the issues involving HS and both view it as part of the National Security arena. You heard it here first, one or both may throw the selection of their VP nominee to their conventions. Absolutely amazing how real power can cause trepidation. Wisely perhaps but perhaps not. Maybe just inexperience. Both candidates have unusal gaps for Presidential candidates and uncertain leadership credentials. Of course, we now can see bluffing can take you through two terms but may not cause you to rank in top 25% of historically successful Presidents. After all it is absolutely about the history books is it not. Fate can intervene sometimes. Permutations and combinations of impacts of strikes domestically by terrorist before or after November 4th are mind boggling.

Comment by Christopher Tingus

July 12, 2008 @ 8:59 pm

It is certainly interesting to note that this nation’s ledership is entrusted to more than President George Bush. To most of us, we see very little progress with respect to our Homeland Security from both sides of the aisle and an understanding of the principals and ideals of Homeland Security.

In fact, in almost all states led by Democrat and Republican, God help the cities affected by any such atrocity perpetrated against the good people of this nation, a citizenry that is diligent, family-oriented and is the most charitable populace to others globally than any oter civilization in history.

As “Citizen Joe” I take note that other than 11th September when Bin Laden finished the job he had set out to do and like others in power positions seeking to establish their agenda even at the cost of killing others, this nation could suffer terrorist attacks at amy time, and during the years following this personal agenda of Bin Laden again choosing to kill innocents whose heritage derived globally, there has not been a terrorist strike in the United States and there will be none if we as a people demand those we entrust to portray leadership rather than enrich their own coffers and self-importance for the moment of fame.

Homeland Security…should it be concerned of the thugs, the self-appointed and misguided leaders in Iran who by the way have the most educated population in the region, an enlightened people who know that Tehran is nothing more than a few who are foolish to believe that their will dupe the world and start a nuclear conflagration believeing that this is their calling and altering the sacred Islamic religious principals which are grounded in Peace and Love, Respect for another, not the killing that these self-appointed thugs espouse.

“Freedom fighters” frustrated by a world of injustice and governments addressing personal agenda versus the majority interests of the people, look to the United States of America and its good people for hope and an understanding, not the fools who seek to destroy humanity or the technological progress made which holds hope to so many.

What this “Joe Citizen” sees as well as many others here and abroad is a bureaucracy that from the top fails blatently. How many years has 11th Spetember passed and with the billions of dollars invested in DHS and FEMA, who truly is watching the chicken coop? The majority of us who are quite astute in our daily living and in a world of technology have the opportunity to share much with others whether in Asia, Europe or in Fiji…

Other than for those who have no respect for humanity, for God’s Blessing in annointing each of us with our distinct individuality and our associated choices allowing similarities and differences to respect one another, it is not one another that concerns us, but those we elect in every government which is entrusted to act in a progressive, cooperative manner in the interests of ther majority.

The world’s current challenges did not just evolve during the administration of President George Bush and from my “Joe Citizen” perspective, most women and children are relying on the people of the United States to continue to enhance their individual understanding of the many issues facing families everywhere from Palestine to the villages of Africa.

Let’s get real, every government since Babylon has failed and unless we as a global populace take control from the central banks whose personal agenda is not to address the issues affecting “Joe Citizen” but rather the top tiers of the wealthy in every nation with most identified as government leaders who have no idea of the (rising)cost of even a gallon of milk….

Printing fiat currency and the failure of decades of talk by both Democrats and Republicans as to identifying and developing alternate energy sources for an ever growing world population as well as leaders in Europe, In Russia and certainly the science and engineering oriented leaders in China and Asia who should know better, however boast of Beijing with five times the pollution than offering a healthy environment to its people and choosing to make appropriate energy policies.

Homeland Security, allowing Germany to build a fast deployment army which is the real threat to Iran and to Islam, not Israel or the United States. In fact, it is Germany which has been allowed by the international community to break World War II Treaty Agreements, but to enjoin the Vatican to make derogatory adn inflamatory remarks towards the individual who professes a peaceful coexistence like all others with neighbors.

Homeland Security encompasses holding our democractically elected local, state and national candidates accountable as well studying and understanding history and not necssarily looking past the EU’s agenda which I believe has already portrayed actions which clearly spell out the German-led rise of the next threat in stablizing world peace.

I think it quite a sad commentary that whether these two candidates and their respective lack of experience especially in addressing the real global threats or the leadership of nations whose “top dogs” are interested in their own power and legacy that the world’s population and many here in this wonderful country cannot see very far into the distance.

I have walked the streets of Hebron and Jerusalem, there is no reason why Palestine as a country living and working together with their brethren Israelis, myst endure their daily challenges when the leaders of the Arab League are using petrol dollars to erect cities of gold and marble. It is a pure example of just why this world comprised of “Joe Citizens” throughout are discounted and compromised as pawns with many so frustrated that they revert to acts of terrorism – killing – which they should not – rather clasping hands together and standing before the tank and halting the injustices being permitted in the 21st century.

While I hear the Democrats pointing fingers at George Bush, we – “Joe Citizens” everywhere see the failure of this government on both sides of teh aisle to stop any further entrance of illegals into this country, allowing individuals to disrepect our laws as the leaders themselves do for their are fearful of losing position and power rather than the principals that this great nation was founded and so many men – and women – died for here and on the beaches of Normandy and other places far away to stand tall for the principals of this nation and its wonderful people.

There are many dedicated, committed first responders, even Homeland Security personnel who are striving to preserve our nation against foe, those who unmistakingly are seeking our demise.

Let no one believe that there are those here and around the world who do not understand what our nation represents to thos seeking peace and respect for one another. Let no one think that we will not take arms against foe for if it were not the United States of America, the world in 1945 and today would be far different.

On election day, I am urging all to go and vote. When in the polling place, if one cannot truly choose one of the inexperienced candidiates for American President, then please join with me in the first National write-in sticker campaign and place your name – “Citizen Joe” on the line as the candidate you have the most asurance in for it is you that can make a difference and when the “Citizen Joe” tally is witnessed on election results on CNN, a clear message will be sent to not only those we entrust with our votes, but to those around the world that they must stand tall against the greed and corruption, the lack of any real leadership, whether Democrats or Republicans, as our real Homeland Security is to show those we have elected at the local, satte and national level that they have failed us in standing tall and knowing their history and their covenant with the Lord, treaties and principals of law and justice that humanity must adhere to and promotes valuable discussion and solutions to challenges everywhere. This is truly Homeland Security, not the continued politics and bureaucracy which chokes those committed to truly safeguarding our nation and its founding principals to offer hope to all.


Christopher Tingus
Harwich, MA USA

Comment by William R. Cumming

July 16, 2008 @ 10:26 am

Wow what a comment. Both form and substance cover a lot of ground. Prompts a brief comment as to the next administration. First–is the Federal Government a real safety net or should it be able to count on State and local governments and citizens to pull their weight in disasters and large-scale unexpected events? Second, if it is the safety net does this mean a centralized top-down system of emergency response and recovery assuming prevention has failed or should the feds be trying to use a bottom-up building block approach more in keeping with the federal system and documenting lack of capability as well as developing capability other than at the federal level? Third, does the gun and badge mentality–namely law enforcement culture really fly at DHS or is it or should it be something else? With 80,000 gun and badge carriers plus a uniformed military service what is this organization really being designed to do as is it adequately trained and controlled to not invade civil liberties and privacy of citizens? Finally, do we really want or need a fortified border with Mexico and Canada or should other alternatives be considered? With all the national strategies, HSPD’s, and planning documents who are really the operational types that can make use of all this guidance and where are they located, what is their funding, when exactly will they respond and what are they expected to accomplish before announcing mission accomplished? With the reduction in staffing and budgets of the civil agencies how many are really taking seriously their need to be part of a response system as identified in the NRF and how is this being documented, tested, and deployed? I tend to agree with Chris that we may be no better off for an even worse event than 9/11 and how will the witch hunt be accomplished then? China is dealing with 13M homeless from the earthquake,and the planning base for the NRF is non-existent. Probably we (the US) could not handle 500,000 homeless.

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