Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

April 3, 2009

Friday Morning Roundup of Stray Stories

Filed under: General Homeland Security — by Philip J. Palin on April 3, 2009

Following are quick  links to some important Homeland Security stories not given sufficient attention in recent days:

Lieberman proposal gets Senate budget approval for $550 million more to DHS for US-Mexico border security.  (You can see the OMB overview of the HS budget here, this is prior to Congressional action.)

Lute is confirmed as Deputy Secretary of DHS.

Title 44 CFR Chapter I; Final Rule for FEMA is promulgated in the Federal Register.

Another Mexican drug (war)lord has been arrested. (Check out the Los Angeles Times special online archive for Mexico Under Siege.)

 Legislation has been credibly introduced in the Senate aimed at strengthening cybersecurity.

Those arrested in the  Bellingham ICE raid have been freed.  The employer of those arrested has been served a criminal search warrant.

The National Applications Office has been targeted for a “fresh and objective look.”

While given prior attention in this blog, the AP’s story headlined, “Fargo resisted FEMA recommendation to evacuate” is worth a read.

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1 Comment »

Comment by William R. Cumming

April 3, 2009 @ 9:31 am

Several interesting items on the list above! The list gives some evidence that the Secretary is her own woman and following her instincts. Time will tell whether that is good or bad.
Also some evidence that Congress no longer trusts the OBAMA administration on DHS policy, programs, functions and activities on a bipartisan basis.
Also note that the administration has asked for no new monies for Mexican border issues. Instead reprogramming activities occurring within DHS. Rumor of a freeze in FEMA hiring may mean the Tom Ridge plan to fund the rest of resources from those that FEMA needs is the new play. Hurricane Season starts June 1st which is under 90 days now.
Billed as a technical amendment, the FEMA delegation rulemaking is not just technical and is defective for a multiplicity of reasons. First it states that the Federal Register Act does NOT require publication of internal delegations but then this publication does so. So they tried to have it both ways. Also the APA of 1947, as amended, also requires Executive Branch organizations to publish internal delegations. This revision should have been signed off by Janet N. since in effect it is a redelegation of authority from her. Why no signature by Nancy Ward–was she that busy? It also does things like cite the position of Federal Insurance Administrator that has not existed since March 1, 2003, and needs to be eliminated. Also cites the repealed Federal Civil Defense Act of 1950 (Public Law 91-820) which has not existed since 1994. Also cites as legal authority the Reorganization Plan No. 3 of 1978 which was superceded in its entirety by the enactment of the Homeland Security Act of 2002 (November 2002). There are many many other glitches. Perhaps time would have been better spent just asking Congress for a technical amendment substituting the word “Adminstrator FEMA” wherever it now reads “Director FEMA” throughout the US Code as as a starter.

Still as an first effort however defective to update delegations for FEMA since it is no longer independent that is helpful. Note how the disaster operations once in a single directorate are now in three seperate directorates. In fashioning FEMA Jimmy Carter himself and Congress worried that FEMA’s free disaster relief might so overshadow the rest of the agency with the American public that the rest would wither. Sort of the opposite of the saying “Pennies for tribute and millions for defense.”
Former Deputy Harvey Johnson testified under oath that FEMA had been reduced to 1500 FTE’s or less just before Katrina. James Lee Witt had almost 3700 on board. Well let’s find out how many currently on-board before the freeze?

As to delegations, a number of programs, functions and activities have been removed from FEMA’s jurisdiction since March 1, 2003 when it became part of DHS officially. So DHS delegations should be reviewed closely to see these changes. Interesting NATO civil security representation that was once FEMA’s under EO 12656 is no longer. Why did those in DHS charged with NATO liaison not accompany those who are celebrating 60th anniversay of that organization. We should pull out by the way, IMO!

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