Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

January 22, 2009

Day One at DHS Starts with 5 Directives

Filed under: Aviation Security,Infrastructure Protection,Risk Assessment,State and Local HLS,Strategy — by Jonah Czerwinski on January 22, 2009

Day One at DHS started with Secretary Napolitano at the helm issuing five Action Directives centered on the Protection mission for the Department. The directives request internal reviews to be conducted on how DHS protects critical infrastructure, conducts risk analysis, shares information with state and local authorities, “integration” of DHS engagement of states, localities, and tribes, and protection measures aimed at air, surface, and maritime transportation sector. The last one includes a “side by side comparison of the threat environment, resources and personnel devoted to each transportation sector.”

“One of my top priorities is to unify this department and to create a common culture. These action directives are designed to begin a review, evaluation and dialogue between the various functions of this department and me,” said Secretary Napolitano.

Further directives are expected to come soon concerning preparedness, response, recovery, and immigration.

Following is the text describing the directives as issued at DHS:

• Critical infrastructure protection. This core mission of DHS entails a broad mandate to reduce the vulnerability of key systems and structures to natural and manmade threats. DHS oversees the national critical infrastructure list and manages 18 infrastructure sectors established under Homeland Security Presidential Directive-7, with primary responsibility for information technology, telecommunications, chemical, transportation, emergency services, and postal and shipping. This entails extensive dealings with other federal agencies, states, and the private sector, involving collaboration, data collection, risk analysis, and sharing of best practices. What is the current status of the critical infrastructure list, relations with the 18 sector security councils and the other departments that have critical infrastructure protection roles? What are the plans to enhance protection? How do we enhance private sector participation? An oral report is due Jan. 28.

• Risk analysis. Given the extensive number of vulnerabilities to manmade and natural disasters and the limitations on resources, determining national priorities and the judicious distribution of resources are a major element of the department’s mission. What is the status of risk analysis metrics and what is the plan and time frame for setting up a full-blown system to govern the establishment of critical infrastructure programs, the priorities among national planning scenarios, and the distribution of grants to state, local, and tribal entities? More broadly, how can DHS enhance risk management as the basis of decision making? An oral report is due Jan. 28.

• State and local intelligence sharing. Core to the department’s ability to successfully carry out its mission is sharing information within the department, and between DHS and other federal, state, local, tribal, and private sector entities. Across the department there are currently multiple operational, technological, programmatic, and policy-related activities underway to focus on improved information sharing.

o Given the importance of this mission, please provide a complete inventory of all operational, programmatic, technology, and policy related activities currently underway.

o Provide an evaluation of which activities hold the most promise for achieving the smooth flow of information on a real time basis.
The inventory and evaluation should take into account the voices of all stakeholders, especially state, local and tribal entities.
The evaluation should also consider the private sector’s perspective and its relationship to these stakeholders.

o The inventory and evaluation should focus on ensuring that the department’s information sharing efforts are closely linked to government-wide efforts to establish the Information Sharing Environment as called for the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004.

o DHS Intelligence & Analysis should evaluate whether DHS is meeting all of its information sharing missions as described in Section 201(d) of the Homeland Security Act of 2002, P.L. 107-296, especially Section 201(d)(1).

An oral report is due Jan. 28.

• Transportation security. TSA is directed to provide a review to the Secretary of the current strategies, plans and programs for security of the air, surface, and maritime transportation sector, to include a side by side comparison of the threat environment, resources and personnel devoted to each transportation sector. TSA shall coordinate, as necessary, with all pertinent components and offices in DHS, as well as with all relevant outside bodies and advisory councils. An oral report is due Jan. 28.

• State, local and tribal integration. To promote policies to more fully integrate American state, local, and tribal governments in the development of policies and programs to protect our nation and help it recover from natural and manmade disasters consistent with the homeland security interests of the United States, the DHS Office of Intergovernmental Affairs shall:

o Immediately contact every relevant governmental association, e.g. the National Governors Association, National Association of Counties, League of Cities and Towns, U.S. Conference of Mayors, National League of Cities, National Emergency Management Association, and the National Congress of American Indians, announcing that DHS intends to revitalize its relationship with state, local, and tribal governments effective immediately with the intent of creating a working partnership.

o Immediately plan for an accelerated process of soliciting and collecting input from our state, local and tribal partners on how to improve the programs and processes of DHS.

o This input should include, but not be limited to, the following topics:
a. Critical infrastructure
b. Grant making
c. Interoperability
d. Intelligence collection and dissemination
e. Emergency services
A preliminary written report is due Feb. 10.

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Comment by Claire B. Rubin

January 22, 2009 @ 2:22 pm

Great idea to revitalize the relationship of DHS with the major public interest groups. Many years ago, when FEMA was young, it had a very productive relationship with such groups and their constituents. I would be glad to see it happen again.

Comment by Christopher Tingus

January 23, 2009 @ 8:25 am

With China seeing a cost of $110 billion to address natural disasters in 2008 and our very own tornadoes and hurricanes never mind the anticipated strong earthquake(s)which could cause substantial infrastructure damage, FEMA and DHS in respective and joint efforts must nuture a more informed and proactive role with first responders now faced with serious local budget restraints given the continuing economic downturn.

I (we) are seeking a much more organized and commitment in diligence and clarity in DHS and respective roles and this new administration led by Barney Frank’s and Nancy Pelosi’s (Democratic party) mandate that Congresional members pass a $700 billion bailout of Wall Street et al and to hear that $350 billion and the tranparency promised and the funds are no where to be seen demands an immediate Congressional Hearing to take place for I see local first responders – services to save Life in a person’s desperate plea for help – being cut and Life on our streets, our neighborhoods being jeopardized and as this economy will certainly worsen very possible beyond expectations – the decision-makers at DHS, FEMA and this new administration must get to the floor and seek a non-partisan “bailout” of our first responders in our metropolitan areas and beyond – yesterday

Never mind a bio or other terrorist attack –

The economy worsens – for many a depression already and we as a great nation and a good people must first begin to demand accountability and transparency and this inhouse partisanship must stop now for there are fellow neighbors calling 911 presently truly concerned that no one is available or at least delayed enough to fail to save Life and if so, their vehicle equipment will fail enroute – see: Boston Fire as an example at the recnt loss of a firefighter –

The time has come for organized and devoted commitment – we expect DHS HQ to take the lead!

Christopher Tingus
Harwich (Cape Cod), MA USA

Comment by William R. Cumming

January 24, 2009 @ 1:24 pm

It would be a big help if all the briefing books prepared for the Secretary DHS by the preceding administration would be made public on a DHS website. Perhaps then an analytic framework would exist for trying to understand how the Bush DHS appointees and staff saw their mission and programs, functions and activities. Or were they any briefing books, other than FEMA’s which we know was helpfully descriptive but totally lacking in discussion of FEMA’s real needs and requirements. Just a bottom line of everything is hunky-dory! Well time will tell. If I were the Secretary I would baseline every program, function, and activity in DHS as of January 20, 2009. Let’s see some real metrics so we can judge progress over the next 4 or 8 years.

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