Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

February 10, 2009

HLSwatch.com Makes NYTimes.com

Filed under: General Homeland Security — by Jonah Czerwinski on February 10, 2009

Now readers can connect to HLSwatch.com through a link on the New York Times blogroll. This is quite an honor. We’ll try to live up to it.

February 9, 2009

HSC-NSC Merger More Likely

Filed under: Organizational Issues,Strategy — by Jonah Czerwinski on February 9, 2009

A new presidential directive and a detailed implementation document will expand the National Security Council’s jurisdiction to include cybersecurity, energy, climate change, nation-building and infrastructure, as well as traditional foreign policy issues. The Washington Post published a detailed story yesterday based on an interview with National Security Advisor Jim Jones that indicated further progress on a possible unification of the NSC and Homeland Security Council. This week, the Senate will hold an important hearing on the subject.

The Post’s Karen DeYoung writes that most homeland and counterterrorism policy issues “may be subsumed into the expanded NSC.” The fate of the HSC as a separate body will be determined by a White House review over the next 50 days to be conducted for the President and Jones by John O. Brennan. Brennan, a former CIA official, was named deputy national security adviser for counterterrorism.

I noted at the time that it was possibly indicative of an NSC-HSC merger that when Jones was named, no corresponding Homeland Security Adviser was named. It seemed only more certain when Brennan was named, but no deputy for homeland security was. With Brennan in charge of this review, it may be even clearer that a merger is in the offing.

Brennan described his task to DeYoung as a “systems engineering challenge” to avoid overlap with the NSC while ensuring that “homeland security matters, broadly defined, are going to get the attention they need from the White House.”

This Thursday, the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs convenes a hearing entitled “Structuring National Security and Homeland Security at the White House,” which will include former senior officials in charge of these issues during the Bush Administration, as well as think tank experts. The witness list is expected to be made public tomorrow. The hearing is scheduled for 10:00 AM at the Dirksen Senate Office Building, Room 342.

UPDATE:
Witness list is now public for this week’s hearing. We’ll hear testimony on the question of merging the HSC and NSC from:

  • Tom Ridge, former Secretary of Homeland Security
  • Fran Townsend, former Assistant to President George W. Bush for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism
  • Christine Wormuth, Senior Fellow, International Security Program, Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Jim Locher, Executive Director, Project on National Security Reform
  • February 5, 2009

    Objections to DHS Funding in Stimulus Bill Are a Red Herring

    Filed under: Budgets and Spending,Congress and HLS — by Jonah Czerwinski on February 5, 2009

    Republicans are objecting to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (the “Stimulus Package”) because of spending they deem wasteful. Such objections over small spending items risk jeopardizing more American jobs on a daily basis. One of the items they point to is “$248 million for furniture at the new Homeland Security headquarters.” This claim is misleading, and now the tiny investment for DHS is at risk of being stripped from the bill.

    To put it in context, consider that the ~$800 billion package includes $430 billion in tax cuts, $114 billion for infrastructure projects, $138 billion for extending unemployment insurance, food stamps, and other forms of help to those in need, and $31 billion to address the housing crisis.

    Here is what the legislation actually says the DHS investment is for:

    “ for the ‘‘Office of the Under Secretary for Management’’, $248,000,000, to remain available until September 30, 2011, solely for planning, design, and construction costs, including site security, information technology infrastructure, furniture, fixtures, and related costs to consolidate the Department of Homeland Security headquarters: Provided, That no later than 60 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Administrator of General Services, shall submit to the Committees on Appropriations of the Senate and the House of Representatives a plan for the expenditure of these funds.”

    DHS employees labor away in a dismal office headquarters that is aged and ineffective for this agency’s important work. Wasteful? Hardly. These complaints are a distraction.

    February 3, 2009

    US-EU-NATO Discuss the Supply Chain

    Filed under: International HLS,Port and Maritime Security,Strategy — by Jonah Czerwinski on February 3, 2009

    Greetings from Munich. The conference here at the University of the Bundeswehr kicked off this week with a fitting representation of the challenges to global supply chain security from the perspectives of allied military and academic business. Michael Ritchie, Director, the USEUCOM Commander’s Interagency Engagement Group opened the conference with VADM Gallagher, Deputy Commander of EUCOM, Dr. Andreas Brieden, Dean of the School of Business, here at the Universität der Bundeswehr München, and Colonel Freitag, Head of the Military Department, at the Universität.

    It seems as though IBM and CISCO are the only private sector companies participating in this symposium. Global supply chain security is a concern for military in terms of supply and logistics for their own operations, but also in terms of their obligation to possibly protect private sector supply chains as an attractive target by terrorists or other adversaries. The private sector already deals with numerous risks to our supply chains, which is one reason why IBM sought to be involved in this discussion. I’ll present on GMM this afternoon and my colleague Colm Leonard, Executive Program Manager, Import Compliance & Supply Chain Security, IBM, will present on a panel discussion to review solutions for greater supply chain visibility and security.

    We heard yesterday from a number of experts. Most interesting was a presentation by the DHS attaché at the European Union. She is technically a CBP employee and gave a detailed run-down of C-TPAT, Secure Freight Initiative, Container Security Initiative, and other targeting measures to reduce risk in global supply chains in which the U.S. is a major link.

    Her counterpart at the EU also presented and described a number of similar programs. Like C-TPAT, the EU grants special status to “Authorized Economic Operators.” Here in Europe, companies can provide greater transparency into their supply chains so that EU authorities can better identify risks to shared links in the global supply chain. The trust shared between the EU and these AEOs is similar to that which is extended between DHS and C-TPAT members.

    Wouldn’t it be great if we could merge the membership? That is a goal, but the companies participating in C-TPAT or as AEOs remain concerned about the privacy protections for themselves if proprietary information about their supply chains – arguably major components in their competitive advantages – is shared with other governments that may favor domestic businesses.

    Alas, we have a long way to go in this regard. But merely getting the stakeholders in the room is a valuable first step. I’ll post again later with an update on today’s exchange. The more interesting dimensions of this is a working group of which I’m a part. All symposium participants are broken into groups to dive deeper into such challenges as AEO/C-TPAT integration. In my group, I have the CISCO guy, another IBMer who deals with NATO, and military reps from Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic, and the U.S.

    February 2, 2009

    In Search of Global Supply Chain Security

    Filed under: International HLS,Strategy — by Jonah Czerwinski on February 2, 2009

    I am headed to Munich today. No, not for Wehrkunde. U.S. European Command, the Naval Postgraduate School, and others are hosting “GLOBAL SUPPLY CHAIN MANAGEMENT: Security Challenges and Solutions.” The conference kicks off with Michael Ritchie, Director, EUCOM Commander’s Interagency Engagement Group and Vice Admiral Richard K. Gallagher, Deputy Commander of USEUCOM. NATO, EU, and national governments will attend to discuss solutions to the security challenges facing the intersection of global commerce and national/homeland security.

    I’ll deliver my speech Wednesday on Global Movement Management 2.0. The main components will include the analysis and framework from our 2008 white paper by the same title and connections between GMM, the conference, and IBM’s Smart Planet initiatives.

    Others scheduled to present include Kathy Conway, U.S. Attaché to the European Union, CBP, Department of Homeland Security, Mr. Mike Dietz, Supervisory Defense Critical Infrastructure Program Manager, U.S.European Command, LtCol David W. Maxwell, Deputy Chief, Logistics Support Division, EUCOM J4, Brigadier General Tarnowski, Chief, Logistics Department, Joint ForcesCommand, Federal Armed Forces, (Germany), Brigadier General Jaroslav Kocián, Commander of the Czech Army Support Command (Czech Republic), and Dr. Paul Needham, Director Supply Chain Management Program, Industrial College of the Armed Forces, NDU.

    I won’t be the only person from IBM there. Colm Leonard, Executive Program Manager – Northeast & CEEMEA Import Compliance & Supply Chain Security, IBM, is presenting later in the day on Wednesday.

    Blogging from Munich shouldn’t be a problem so I hope to keep you posted.

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