Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

February 26, 2009

HSC, NSC, and PSD

Filed under: General Homeland Security — by Philip J. Palin on February 26, 2009

On February 23 President Obama signed Presidential Study Directive 1. This sets out a process for the oft-discussed potential merger of the Homeland Security Council with the National Security Council.  A pdf of the three pages is available here courtesy of the Federation of American Scientists.

The directive’s language pre-supposes some sort of integration.  The President states,  “I believe that Homeland Security is indistinguishable from National Security — conceptually and functionally — they should be thought of together rather than separately.  Instead of separating these issues, we must create an integrated, effective, and efficient approach to enhance the national security of the United States.  The White House must be organized in ways to reflect this reality.”

John Brennan, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, is leading the study authorized by the PSD.  He is to report back within sixty days.

In her testimony yesterday (see immediately below) Secretary Napolitano declined to predict what the study might conclude regarding integration.

I agree that National Security and Homeland Security are tightly related.  Just as effective parenting depends on closely coordinated attitudes and actions by a mother and father,  we also need conceptually integrated National Security and Homeland Security functions.  It has, however, been my experience that the functions can be – and depending on the nature of the risk, should be -  meaningfully distinguished.

UPDATE: Karen De Young at the Washington Post scooped the rest of us on getting a copy of Policy Directive 1, the White House document resetting the National Security Council.  See her February 27 story: National Security Structure Set.   SECOND UPDATE: The text of PD 1 is available here courtesy of the Federation of American Scientists

(My thanks to frequent HLSwatch commentator William R. Cumming for bringing the FAS pdf to our attention.)

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1 Comment »

Comment by William R. Cumming

February 26, 2009 @ 12:13 pm

PSD-1 gives me hope that for the first time a domestic civil crisis mangement system might be forthcoming from the Administration, and a civil chain of command for domestic crisis incidents/events. The military should be ready for warfighting whether COIN or whatever and very agile but it is not designed to deal with civil response and recovery issues when we have almost 2.5M State and local professional and volunteer first responders with which when adequately prepared don’t need the active forces to bail them out. It is enough if the National Guard with its skills can support the Governors if properly designed. On that score it is not. In the mid-1990′s NAPA (National Academy of Public Administraton) did an excellent report on the NG that should be updated and closely examined for its recommendations. FEMA was the Executive Agent for the report. The problem I have with PSD-1 is its lead is Mr. Brennan whose total career was as an Intel official mostly at CIA. Let’s see how broad gauge he really is and whether he can come up with the first real domestic crisis response system and chain of command. That is a much higher priority than FEMA in or out of DHS and should be considered. FEMA of course does have several roles in domestic crisis response but the key roles are providing accuarate information (assessment) and money to other agencies through Mission Assingments and grants to STATES for their sub applicants local governments and individuals and non-profits providing community services. Mr. Brennan needs to identify ALL of the civil agencies missions, programs, functions, and activities, and legal authorities that support civil domestic crisis response and also how those civil agencies relate to DOD. One of the key organizations he should examine is DOJ (Department of Justice) because of it unfunded but important emergency law enforcement assistance role (See 28 CRF Part 65).

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