As Secretary Napolitano undertakes a wide-ranging review of DHS operations, plans, and capabilities, no doubt she is either leading or informing a similar review of the two dozen Homeland Security Presidential Directives issued by President Bush since 9/11. All HSPDs are likely on the chopping block, but for different reasons. Some are inconsistent with President Obama’s philosophy and strategy. Some are simply outdated. We’ll take a look at a few of them here and in subsequent posts.
HSPD 5, entitled Management of Domestic Incidents, was issued in late February 2003 and outlines the National Incident Management System (NIMS), the National Response Plan (NRP), and, among other things, the fifteen planning scenarios. NIMS seems to be an unfinished integration effort. According to GAO, the TOPOFF 3 exercise in April 2005 illustrated some uneven uptake of the NIMS framework at the federal level. The FBI, wrote GAO,
• “never fully integrated into and accepted the unified command called for under NIMS…”,
• “did not appropriately staff the incident command post with its representatives,” and
• “kept management of the investigation separate from the incident management overseen by the unified command.”
Chances are the FBI is in store for some firmer guidance as to its role in cooperation with DHS, which was lacking at the highest levels.
HSPD 8 is related to this Directive and is probably headed for a re-write. HSPD 8, on National Preparedness, requires a national domestic all-hazards preparedness goal, establishes mechanisms for improved delivery of Federal preparedness assistance to state and local governments, and outlines actions to strengthen preparedness capabilities at all levels of government.
Combining the rewrite of HSPD 5 with 8 makes some sense. To that end, the planning scenarios and capabilities-based planning guidance could be replaced with a more agile process. A form of scenario-based planning, similar to that which is used by the intelligence community and the State Department’s Project Horizon, would be an appropriate addition. The planning scenarios started out as an academic exercise, almost as a placeholder to facilitate discussion and planning. But they are notably static and became surprisingly influential for planning in dynamic situations.