Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

November 20, 2008

AZ Governor Named DHS Chief for Obama

Filed under: General Homeland Security — by Jonah Czerwinski on November 20, 2008

Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano is reported to be President-elect Obama’s nominee for Secretary of Homeland Security. An early supporter of Obama’s, Napolitano is a considered to be a champion of law-enforcement and border security. Her focus on managing illegal immigration across Arizona’s southern border prioritized eliminating facilitators and enablers of illegal border crossings, rather than on incarceration and raids (although these were still used). Governor Napolitano shepherded Arizona’s first homeland security strategy and established the Arizona Counter-Terrorism Information Center, a 24/7 inter-agency fusion center.

According to DemocraticGovernors.org, Governor Napolitano has secured more than $100 million in homeland security funds for Arizona. This year, the Arizona Department of Homeland Security announced a 36 percent increase in federal funding for border security operations. DHS awarded $9.85 million dollars to Pima, Santa Cruz, Yuma, and Cochise counties for efforts related to Operation Stonegarden.

Arizona’s Operation Stonegarden grant began in 2006 when the state was awarded $7.2 million in DHS funds. According to Arizona’s Department of Homeland Security, the state’s homeland security projects align with eight national priorities identified by DHS:
1. Implement the National Incident Management System and National Response Plan (NRP)
2. Expand Regional Collaboration
3. Implement the Interim National Infrastructure Protection Plan (NIPP)
4. Strengthen Information Sharing and Collaboration Capabilities
5. Strengthen Interoperable Communications Capabilities
6. Strengthen CBRNE Detection, Response and Decontamination Capabilities
7. Strengthen Medical Surge and mass Prophylaxis Capabilities
8. Strengthen planning and citizen preparedness capabilities

Arizona’s homeland security strategy includes the following five priorities:
• Enhance Arizona’s information sharing and systems to expand and maintain assessment and detection capabilities

• Further enhance prevention and regional collaboration in sustaining homeland security programs

• Bolster border security by strengthening partnerships with federal, state, tribal, local and international stakeholders

• Bolster emergency preparedness, response and recovery planning capabilities while protecting first responders

• Support national strategy for homeland security and National Preparedness Goal

Did I mention that she’s also a Wahoo? Gov. Napolitano earned her JD at UVA.

UPDATE:

DHS issued this statement on December 1, 2008, the day President-elect Obama publicly announced Gov. Napolitano as his pick for DHS:

Statement By Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff On The Designation of Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano as Homeland Security Secretary

I have had the good fortune of knowing and working with Governor Janet Napolitano for years, going back to our days as prosecutors. She has a tremendous intellect and possesses the leadership and sound judgment needed to make the difficult decisions that this job presents.

The men and women of this department have been keenly focused for more than a year on facilitating a smooth transition for the incoming leadership team. Janet is an excellent choice for Secretary of Homeland Security, and I look forward to working with her as she prepares for this awesome responsibility.

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11 Comments »

Comment by William R. Cumming

November 20, 2008 @ 3:55 pm

Okay a fellow WAHOO J.D. just like me. I paid $25 for mine to replace the more honest LLB granted in 1967! Now to substance! Is she the new WHITE HOUSE DOMESTIC CRISIS MANAGER to be if confirmed? See last post by Jonah and my comments. If their is a sealing of the border, revolution in Mexico, there could really be a MASS IMMIGRATION EMERGENCY. Hope DHS has a plan, exercised and vetted and funded and staffed and of course NIMS and National Response Framework compliant. I am NOT being facetious.

Comment by Christopher Tingus

November 21, 2008 @ 6:52 am

Given your prior posts/comments – because this decisive and emerging issue will soon challenge our resources and DHS organizational response, if possible, many of us would like to hear your (William Cumming) astute remedies/suggestions as to our woes with illegal immigration and border security….

Just as with our economy and the trillion+ “quick fix” to bailout the boys on Wall Street without transparency leaving we the citizenry literally “out in the cold” – your valued experienced and competencies are invaluable and read with much interest as we here on the street are very much worried as never before that those we have entrusted to portray leadership have long ago forgotten who it is they are serving as well as their oath in front of the Lord to do their utmost not for their personal agenda, but for this great nation and its good people.

Thank you for your genuine concern for our nation’s policies and implementation of such to enable us to properly address the issue of border control and illegal citizens who many feel are on one hand making a contribution – yet others feel are taking advantage of a failed system where both sides of the aisle have failed in upholding the principals and laws of our country.

Christopher Tingus
64 Whidah Drive
Harwich (Cape Cod), MA 02645 USA

Comment by William R. Cumming

November 21, 2008 @ 10:21 am

Chris! You are welcome to write or talk off-line to me at vacationlanegrp@aol.com

Immigration reform is extremely important to US future but interestingly Janet N. the DHS desigee I think–WAPO so no formal announcement yet) has skillfully managed to promote more enforcement of immigration laws combined with humane treatment. Basically, I would decriminalize any portion of the immigration statutory scheme (and remember it was used to imprision many resident aliens after 9/11 without indictment) and rely on other statutes to enforce against criminal behavior by illegal or legal immigrants. The Department of Justice through its INS (Immigration and Naturalization Service) historically completely mismanaged immigration issues resulting in the current morass inherited by DHS and of course happily surrendered by all those legal begals at DOJ that beleive in criminal enforcement strategies and never thought about the broader policy issues. An outgunned and poorly managed FEMA in 1980 led the response to the Mariel Boatlift under President James Earl Carter and under the current statutes it is my belief BCE has the statory responsibilty for MASS IMMIGRATION EMERGENCIES under a federal response plan formerly called “DISTANT SHORE.” Given the location of TOPOFF V next spring in the South West US, perhaps a mass imigration emergency should be part of the scenario so the players, observers, and evaluators could see how that current plan fits with the National Response Framework and NIMS. Hope this helps some!

Comment by Arnold

November 21, 2008 @ 8:21 pm

Any comments on the makeup of the Homeland Security Transition team?

Comment by Jonah Czerwinski

November 21, 2008 @ 9:15 pm

Arnold — All I’ll say is that two members of the DHS agency review team have been guest bloggers here on HLSwatch.com. So they are supremely qualified in my eyes. The DHS Review Team Leads are Rand Beers and Clark Ervin, and the other members are:

Beverly Aimaro Pheto
Ruchi Bhowmik
P.J. Crowley
Juliette Kayyem
Robert Knake
David Martin
Juan Otero
Nelson Peacock
Subhasri Ramanathan
Michael Sheehan

Bios for Rand Beers and Clark Ervin from the PTT site:

Robert R. Beers is President of the National Security Network, a non-profit communications strategy group focusing on national security issues. He previously served as Assistant Secretary of State for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs from 1998-2002 and as a member of the White House National Security Council Staff under Presidents Reagan, Clinton, and both Bushes from 1988-1998 and 2002-2003. Beers served as the national security advisor to presidential candidate John Kerry in 2004, and has previously served as a government official in the U.S. Marine Corps, the Foreign Service and the Civil Service.

Clark Kent Ervin is the Director of the Aspen Institute’s Homeland Security Program. He joined the Institute in 2005. He previously served as the first Inspector General of the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS), from 2003 to 2004. Prior to his service at DHS, Ervin served as the Inspector General of the United States Department of State and the Broadcasting Board of Governors, from August, 2001 to January, 2003. His service in the administration of President George W. Bush is preceded by his service as the Associate Director of Policy in the White House Office of National Service in the administration of President George H.W. Bush. He served in the state government of Texas from 1995 to 2001, first as Assistant Secretary of State, and then as a Deputy Attorney General. He has practiced law twice in the private sector, with the Houston-based firms of Vinson & Elkins, and Locke, Liddell, & Sapp, respectively.

Comment by Arnold

November 22, 2008 @ 12:38 am

Forgive my lack of ambition to search your archives…which two? Just out of curiosity.

Comment by William R. Cumming

November 22, 2008 @ 5:16 am

Well under 60 days to go as of this week so hope they write and think fast! Personally, I would hope they would consider suggesting moving out two units–TSA (back to DOT where it belongs) and FEMA to support White House level domestic crisis management. Hey those units can be replaced by moving the FBI and DEA from DOJ to DHS. Just confine DOJ to litigation on behalf of US or involving US. Oh and the Bureau of Prisons (one of the largest public works projects run by Uncle Sugar) should probably also be in DHS. Documentation of the relationships of DHS to the components mentioned makes this an obvious solution. If the shoe fits wear it, if not don’t. And while we are at it the Judiciary Committees should be confined to just that and not attempting oversight on huge bureaucracies. A little known story is houw Senator Judd Gregg (R) NH screwed up state and local homeland security grants for almost a decade while on the Judiciary Committee and then miraculously all was cured when he moved to Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. President Elect Obama as a former Constutional scholar and law professor needs to understand how ever since Ed Meese and his 22 Special Assistants ran DOJ as AG it has been totally screwed up administratively and is highly ineffective and inefficient even for a federal organization. As a result probably 30-50 DOJ/FBI staffers spend their time solely on the unproductive work of watching DHS struggle and try and operate. Janet N. might be a big help on this. She understands only too well how DOJ litigation undermines the federal system mandated by the Constitution. An argument can be made that the passage of the Inspector General Act of 1978 and its amendments was a direct reflection on the failures of the FBI. So now we have an organization that does not investigate and does not analyze. Why 35,000 staff in the FBI but only 6-12,000 gold badge agents? All of the duplication and overlap in the Executive Branch comes down to too many political appointees trying to make reps or make jobs after service.

Comment by Jonah Czerwinski

November 22, 2008 @ 10:48 am

Arnold — We had P.J. Crowley and Clark Ervin blog here in the past.

CZ-

Comment by Arnold

November 22, 2008 @ 6:09 pm

Oh yeah, that rings a bell.

And too bad…just in terms that those two have published in considerable volume elsewhere. Would have been interesting to get insight into the thinking of some of the Congressional staffers on the transition team.

Comment by William R. Cumming

November 23, 2008 @ 2:28 pm

Ruchi Bowmik announced in a public forum that OBAMA wqould “surgically remove” FEMA from DHS. I have not seen this mentioned or confirmed anywhere in writing as his policy. Also all the independent thinktanks seem to have lined up on against even considering an independent FEMA until the end of 2009.

As readers of the comments on this blog might note, I respectfully disagree with that postponement of the resolution because President needs effective DOMESTIC CRISIS MANAGEMENT from January 20th on and note that NO EFFECTIVE WHITE HOUSE DOMESTIC CRISIS MANAGEMENT UNIT exists.

There is another reason for my opinion. OBAMA is now on record for a massive new infrastructure outlay and that outlay needs to consider mitigation and resiliency issues. Mitigation has always been downgraded in DHS. In the independent FEMA it used to be headed by a PAS (Presidentially Appointed Senate Confirmed) appointee. Now the MITIGATION head in FEMA’s Mitigation Division is a NON-CAREER SES, competent and well-regarded both inside and outside FEMA, but outranked by others with less responsibility. After all the NFIP (National Flood Insurance Program) has had billions in outlays since Katrina. The mapping program is the only hazards mapping program over three decades old in the Executive Branch.

FEMA needs to be pulled out because of its key role in mitigation of natural disasters (manmade disasters not already subject to coverage by other federal programs, activities, or functions (these are terms used by GAO and budget examiners). If FEMA is not pulled out, the Insurance aspects of the the NFIP should be sent to the Dept. of Treasury and the mapping programs and mitigation programs involving coastal issues should go to NOAA which with its CZM program nicely dovetails with the NFIP flood plain mapping and mitigation activity. All STAFFORD ACT mitigation programs, functions and activities should be jointly administered by whatever appointee or organization manages the Stafford Act mitigation activities. A key role of the FEMA Dirctor/Adminsitration is not to just smooth the response and recovery process but also to mitigate and prevent natural disasters (and reduce outlays0. Enforcement of compliance with NFIP flood plain regulations essentially ceased with the reduction of compliance staff in BUSH 41. Hope this helps in developing readers analytical take on FEMA reorganization and placement.

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February 10, 2009 @ 9:47 pm

[...] Secretary Napolitano named her counselor and DHS transition chief to serve as acting Deputy Secretary. Rand Beers takes [...]

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