Homeland Security Watch does not aspire to be a breaking news resource. Despite this, over the last two weeks we have sometimes behaved as such. In regard to both the controversial intelligence product on so-called right-wing extremism and the swine flu epidemic this blog has been on the cutting edge. Some have said our inputs over the weekend even influenced the risk communications effort that was deployed (see Friday, Saturday and Sunday posts).
As we move into what promises to be a busy week in regard to swine flu, this blog might play a helpfully differentiated role by focusing on the intersection of policy and practice that is exposed as we engage the emerging threat. Some readers have already begun to wrestle with questions such as,
- What does this situation tell us about the legal and doctrinal frameworks that were developed over recent years specifically for this kind of event? Are they being given attention? Are they working? Why or why not?
- What does this situation tell us about our threat surveillance capabilities?
- What does this situation tell us about our communications and information-sharing capabilities?
- What does this situation tell us about our collaboration and coordination protocols, especially between federal agencies, between the Feds and the States, and between the public and private sectors?
- What does this situation tell us about our current state of preparedness for preventing, mitigating, and responding to a potentially catastrophic threat?
Others have better resources to gather and report fast-breaking information. Based on my first few weeks of contributing to this blog, I perceive our readers have the knowledge, perspective, and judgment to articulate the policy and strategy implications of the unfolding situation. This could have value far beyond the cacophony of coverage that is almost certain to dominate the news for several days.
Chris Bellavita and I will be otherwise engaged this week in a way that will limit our contributions. I will, however, intend to start each day with a policy/strategy question that, I hope, you will take under serious consideration. Many of you have used private email to share valuable insights with me. I suggest this is the right time to share your thoughtful inputs with others.
How about if we begin by identifying questions beyond the five listed above on which we might focus?