Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

March 6, 2009

DHS Intergovernmental Lead Named

Filed under: DHS News,Organizational Issues,State and Local HLS — by Philip J. Palin on March 6, 2009

Secretary Napolitano has appointed Juliette Kayyem as Assistant Secretary of Intergovernmental Programs. Since 2007 Ms. Kayyem has served as Undersecretary of Homeland Security in the Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety and Security.

Prior to this role Ms. Kayyem was with Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government where she focused on the intersection of democracy and counter-terrorism policies. At the Kennedy school she taught courses on law, homeland security, and national security. She is a 1995 graduate of Harvard Law School and served in the Department of Justice during the Clinton administration.

The intergovernmental role at DHS is crucial. It can be – needs to be – an effective broker for communication and collaboration between the Department and non-federal Homeland Security assets. Because the Assistant Secretary’s office does not wield budgetary or supervisory authority its effectiveness depends on the perceived relationship of the occupant to the Secretary and other senior officials.

I don’t pretend to know the personal dynamics between Napolitano and Kayyem. But here are two soft-signals:

1. In what may be the most lawyerly administration since William Howard Taft, Janet and Juliette are each lawyers. Those who claim to know Janet consistently comment on her prosecutorial perspective. Juliette is a lawyer married to a lawyer. Like minds with a shared mission can make a powerful team.

2. Juliette was on the transition’s Agency Review Team for DHS. As such, she was – we can hope – involved in the vetting and preparation of Janet. For the sake of productive intergovernmental relations  and achievement of the HS mission we can also hope they got on famously and will continue to do so.

Administrative Note: Technical difficulties on the part of the host for HLSwatch have delayed and continue to complicate today’s posts.

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2 Comments »

Comment by William R. Cumming

March 10, 2009 @ 11:00 am

WOW! What a great appointment. Ms. Kayyem really is a star academic/administrator who immediately picked up after 9/11 on the implications of events that date and following. This position as I understand it does NOT require Senate confirmation so she can immediately start working. If I am wrong perhaps during confirmation Senate can review how really top-down, we-know-it-all in Washington, we-invented it here and now are pronouncing policy and process DHS has been generally. Even though Tom Ridge was former Governor seemed to have no instinct for policy development or implementation or ability to manage, and Chertoff brought a judicial demeanor to what was more of a bar fight. Ms. Kayyem knows that bottom up in Homeland Security and EM is likly to be more productive in motivating STATE and LOCALs to do their fair share and help with the work load. Now that the Secretary DHS has announced at the NEMA conference that “FEMA is Not a First Responder” perhaps she will remember as a former Governor that STATES are not first responders either. All at local level, including citizens who should be taught that each of us is a responder and we are not victims. Train up everyone on CPR and Citizen Core (individual and family preparedness) and strengthen the overall resiliency of our country and democracy (Republic). Hey with 12 million unemployed let’s have a small program to train them all in first aid, CRP etc. and disaster preparedness. The ARC (American Red Cross) is struggling to balance its books. Let’s give then a direct funding obligation to train as many of the 12 million unemployed and looking for work on individual and family preparedness. Oh and maybe train all the illegals beign deported on same thing so that can seed preparedness in their own countries. Teaching first aid for gunshot wounds might be a great gift to those returning to Mexico. Being NOT so facetious.

Comment by Arnold

March 10, 2009 @ 4:00 pm

I absolutely agree with Mr. Cumming regarding Ms. Kayyem. She was fantastic at the Kennedy School. Fantastic working for Massachusetts. And she will be fantastic at DHS.

And further agreeing with Mr. Cumming, and indulging in a little self promotion, I made similar points regarding the need for a bottom up approach to homeland security at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/arnold-bogis/applying-the-obama-model_b_166157.html

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