The last two days of workshops and panels were hosted by the US Army War College in support of DHS and DOD with the intention of further exploring some of the issues that foster and support jointness between the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security. Since both are undertaking their respective quadrennial reviews, it seemed appropriate to embrace that context for focusing on these issues.
All proceedings were off the record, so I won’t share content. The overall gathering brought together a number of DOD organizations and commands, including OASD-HD/ASA, NORTHCOM, OUSD(Policy), the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the National Guard Bureau, SOCOM, SOUTHCOM, JIATF-South, USACE, and others from DOD, with several DHS component agencies (USCG, ICE, CBP, TSA, FEMA) and DHS headquarters elements such as Policy, Management, Screening Coordination, Operations Coordination and Planning, etc. By assembling entities across DHS and DOD that have equities concerned with a shared success in securing the homeland, it actually seemed like a natural fit. There was no uniform consensus, of course, but nor was there any reluctance to put forward and discuss the tough issues.
The QHSR is, in many ways, intended to be more than just a document. Its a valuable process, too. And that process of engaging – at the strategic level – federal, state, and local authorities as well as non-governmental and private sector entities with a stake in securing the homeland is a vital exercise. It paves the way for jointness merely by enabling the right conversations and identifying opportunities for coordination. Paving the way is part of the battle. Actually institutionalizing jointness or interagency coordination on that level requires more work. I think the QHSR will be central to that work, too.