Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

December 8, 2008

DHS Issues 73 Terms in Official Lexicon of Homeland Security

Filed under: General Homeland Security — by Jonah Czerwinski on December 8, 2008

DHS is in the process of building an Integrated Risk Management Framework to gather, integrate, analyze, and communicate information about risk in order to prioritize efforts and resources.

A newly released DHS Risk Lexicon is designed to support the Integrated Risk Management Framework by defining a standard set of definitions for DHS risk management. The DHS Risk Lexicon provides definitions for 73 terms deemed fundamental to homeland security risk management.

The Intra-Departmental DHS Risk Steering Committee (RSC) established the Risk Lexicon Working Group with membership from across DHS to produce this Lexicon to “advance an integrated approach to risk management for DHS.” The RSC is chaired by the U/S NPPD (Jamison) and administered by the Office of Risk Management and Analysis. Following is a chart from the Lexicon report that attempts to simplify the process.


The RSC is the risk governance structure for the Department, formed to ensure that risk management is carried out consistently and compatibly throughout DHS. The RSC is made up of three tiers:
Tier I: Component Heads
Tier II: Individuals at the sub component level
Tier III: Action Officers

The RSC also oversees a number of working groups, including the RLWG. The RLWG is responsible for building the DHS Risk Lexicon and managing the meanings contained within it. RLWG members are the subject matter expertise deal with the terminology itself and the arduous process of reconciling key concepts across disciplines. The Risk Management and Analysis office (RMA) leads the overall management of this effort. To round out the hierarchy, there is actually a “DHS Lexicographer” located in the Office of the Executive Secretariat.

You can always find the most current version of the DHS Risk Lexicon via the DHS Executive Secretariat homepage on DHS Online. If you don’t have access to it, here is the current lexicon list:


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Comment by William R. Cumming

December 9, 2008 @ 12:45 pm

Assuming that DHS subordinate units involved in risk management such as the Mitigation Division of FEMA and the CIP and National Preparedness Programs Adminsitration/Directorate (not sure of correct title) and others doing de facto risk assessment including mitigation and prevention this could assist in DHS becoming more coherent. Can always hope!

Comment by William R. Cumming

December 12, 2008 @ 3:07 am

Where there is a situation involving human intervention or lack thereof note definition of accidental hazard. Charles Perrow author of the “Normal Accident” might wince.

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