Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

January 5, 2009

Collins to Meet with Napolitano Today

Filed under: General Homeland Security — by Jonah Czerwinski on January 5, 2009

Welcome back. And thank you for allowing this blog to indulge is a greatly enjoyed break over the holidays. I hope you all had a chance to disengage a bit, too. Now on the Watch:

Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) is reportedly meeting this afternoon with Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano, President-elect Obama’s nominee for Secretary of Homeland Security. As ranking member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, Collins will use the meeting as an opportunity to discuss the upcoming nomination hearing for Napolitano, tentatively scheduled for Jan. 15.

Napolitano has been a popular governor, with approval ratings hovering around 60 percent. And her proactive approach to securing Arizona’s border by deploying National Guard troops at the state’s expense has been lauded by both political parties. However, Arizona is tied for last in disaster preparedness among states, according to an annual report released last month by the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The report, “Ready or Not? Protecting the Public’s Health From Diseases, Disasters and Bioterrorism,” gave Arizona a passing score on only five of the 10 benchmarks related to health-related emergency response.

Collins is likely to focus instead on certain key positions the nominee brings to DHS. For example:

Napolitano opposes plans to build hundreds of miles of new fencing along the Mexican border. In one of her best quotes, she says “You show me a 50-foot wall, and I’ll show you a 51-foot ladder.” What does this mean for the Secure Border Initiative?

The department wastes billions on poorly managed contracts, like SBInet, the Homeland Security Information Network, and USCG’s Deepwater. What management imperatives does Gov. Napolitano plan to bring to DHS?

DHS’s morale is among the lowest in the federal government. How does she plan to address this problem and the ongoing challenge of integration and culture development at the Department?

President Bush issued 24 Homeland Security Presidential Directives on everything from how the White House is organized for homeland policy (HSPD-1) to combating WMD (HSPD-4) to terrorist screening (HSPD-11) to cyber security strategies (HSPD-23). How does the new DHS leadership view these as being superseded or amended?

I’ll update this post throughout the day as more information comes in (and after this meeting ends).

Thanks to Senator Lieberman’s office for letting me know that he plans to hold his own meeting with nominee Napolitano tomorrow morning. There’s a chance I might be able to head over to the Hart building afterward to ask a couple questions. If so, I’ll let you all know what I learn.

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Comment by William R. Cumming

January 5, 2009 @ 4:30 pm

The HSPDs have never been appropriately incorporated into other guidance or funded adequately so they have doubtful future influence. Even Executive Orders are often inadequately implemented because they lack coordinated funding to implement. A major defect in these essential insights into Presidential policy decision making. They are clearly NOT self-executing in the Executive Branch.

Comment by Christopher Tingus

January 7, 2009 @ 7:40 am

With so much time, oh so much money already spent during the present administration and hearing of low morale and disorganization at DHS, from a citizen’s perspective towards entrusted leadership and seeing our local first responders compromised as well as they who call police, fire and EMT’s in their desperate moment of need, let’s hope that the new sitting President and his commitment to strengthening DHS and FEMA will get the proper attention required. If we don’t have the minimum is safe personnel staffing and training today, just who will be available when a bio or other event must be handled in a large metropolitan area or in local communities –

There has been ample time to fund and organize DHS/FEMA and all we seem to see or hear is a government agency with numerous devoted employees, however much disorganization and disconnect where necessary – let’s finally begin to address by priority before a calamity is upon us and lack of planning in various scenarios is met with disarray and compromise in the well being of fellow neighbor.

With all the educated and supposed “experts” one looks today to local, state and national (and international) government leadership and sees arrogance and a real lack of genuine commitment to professional transparency and willingness to even the reaonable prerequisites while technological tools of advancement are becoming available to thwart those who truly seek our demise.

We must make some very important decisions as to DHS issues whether at our borders or within our communities as well as at DHS HQ so let’s hope the new President and the Democratic leadership will transform the beltway from its politicizing partisanship into a town which truly understands our needs here on the street – I (we) as proud Americans can hope, however from seeing the opening Congressiona proceedings, the new sitting President has much on his agenda and unless the professionals get it together as economic and global political conditions worsen, maybe it is time for us street by street, neighborhood by neighborhood to discuss how we will help one another as those we entrust with our precious vote for leadership seem to be looking only their way and not in addressing what is required of them and in response to the issues before us now….God Bless America and our new President! Time is of the essence. We know that here in Harwich as we realy never know whether a first responder will come as local budget restraints have already compromised our public safety and even first responders working in a team understaffed – Will the new President and DHS help fund just such basic community needs as Congress has chosen to first bailout their friends and give themselves a new raise, when we are lying in our home or in our driveway because of ill-health or falling and we wonder if we will hear the sirens of hope and basic life-saving support and if anyone doubts what I say, call the Harwich Fire Chief and ask him about the short staffing if any staffing of Station 2 or Chatham or Orleans and how we wonder how DHS/FEMA will truly respond to a catastrophic event when we here and in many communities throughout see State and National budgets under great stress and Life so very compromised for citizenry and even those committed to respond to us.

Good luck Mr. President – Your first act should be to call for a National Day of Prayer. We need it as there is much concern among the good people and taxpayers of this great nation as leadership and the ongoing politicizing causes us much obvious anxiety.

Thank you to this website open to the public citizenry as well as we read with avid interest remedies which we hope DHS and FEMA officials read with the same enthusiasm….I think it time that every Congressional member be sent a copy of this website with updates as well!

Christopher Tingus
Harwich, MA 02645

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