Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

May 30, 2009

Designing the National Security Staff and the Resilience Policy Directorate

Filed under: General Homeland Security — by Philip J. Palin on May 30, 2009

The President’s statement on the creation of the new National Security Staff references standing up a White House Resilience Policy Directorate.  In their remarks at the Homeland Security Policy Institute the co-chairs of the PSD-1 study identified this Directorate as a potential “center of gravity” for state, local, tribal, and private-sector involvement in homeland security policy.

Next week — and perhaps for a few weeks – I hope we can give this concept some sustained attention and discussion.  In his HSPI comments Randy Beardsworth, one of the study’s co-chairs,  applied an architectural metaphor.   Adapting the metaphor to my purposes, the President’s decision has initiated building of  a new policymaking structure.  The President’s decision and the PSD-1 Review have identified several functional requirements for the the new structure and offer a rough rendering of an architectural concept for the final structure.

The actual form of the structure is far from finalized.  There are no detailed blueprints.  But the carpenters are on site and at work even this weekend.  You and I – and our neighbors – will reside in whatever structure emerges.  

The next few weeks will be the best opportunity we have for offering our thoughts on how the structure is built-out.  I expect the property developers (John Brennan, General Jones, President Obama, et al) might  appreciate some principled, practical, and considered advice.  They clearly listened during the PSD-1 study, they are likely to continue listening if we write with some clarity and insight.

The advice most likely to be considered will reflect the goals set out by the President and reflect prior discussions that produced the current architectural concept.  For this purpose here is a reading list.   Please review:

Presidential Study Directive 1

The President’s statement on creation of the National Security Staff.

Listen to and watch the PSD-1 briefing at the Homeland Security Policy Institute.

The Homeland Security Advisory Council report on Critical Infrastructure and the HSAC’s report on the Top Ten Challenges, giving particular attention to Challenge 7 focused on resilience.

Steve Flynn’s Foreign Affairs piece (or book) on resilience.

The Reform Institute’s report on Building a Resilient Nation.

The House Homeland Security Committee’s collection of testimony on resilience: May 6, 2008May 7, 2008, May 14, 2008, and  May 15, 2008.

The National Preparedness Leadership Initiative at Harvard has also explored the key role of leadership — and especially meta-leadership — in the emergence of resilient capabilities and capacity. 

Please use the comment function to add to this reading list.

Below Chris Bellavita thinks out loud about how we create the future.  He does not say so, but I will add that too often destructive cynicism is mistaken for intelligent commentary.  Analysis — the breaking apart of knowledge –  can be a first step in the creation of new knowledge.  But analysis alone is deadening.  Analysis should be the servant of creativity.  Please read Chris’ piece on the value of imagination and appreciative inquiry.  I hope our consideration of resilience — and the new policymaking structure – will feature analysis, appreciative inquiry, imagination, and creativity.

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6 Comments »

Comment by William R. Cumming

May 30, 2009 @ 9:42 am

It should be of interest that all the way back to the PCCIP in 96-97 they constantly were stating and reinforcing that they were not studying systems but sectors of the economy. Of course there ultimate focus on cyber security was pretty revolutionary at the time and for that should be congratulated.
What is interesting is that the evolution of CIP starts with the interests of DOD in its KAPP (Key Asset Protection Program) and predecessors and for the largely civil governmental sector with the former NIF (Non-Industrial Facility) PRogram of the old civil defense program established under Public Law 81-920, specifically what is often referred to as the Civil Defense Act of 1950. The NSC after the various blackouts of the 70′s became more and more with energy infrastructure resilience and conducted numerous energy sector studies over the years including EMP (Electro Magnetic Pulse) impacts on telecommunications and energy. What is interesting is how little of this really got into the nitty-gritty of systems and resilence but rather more in the way of restoration and restoration priority issues. I cite for example the TSP system codified at 47 CFR Parts 11, 47 and 201-212. Okay so plenty of work to be done on resilience outside of cyber security and perhaps I should not worry that demarcation of the new Resiliency Organization and the Cyber Security Organization will collaborate and cooperate and not become the normal White House or agency rivals out of ego and hubris. One can always hope. Since I think both systems wise and policy wise resilience is a bottom up not a top down concept will be interesting to see what the White House group decides to do. Always room for new ideas and brains to ensure survivablity, interoperability, redundancy, and security. Tough work ahead so good luck the new owners of the resilency policy, programs, functions, activities identified and then developed and implemented.

Comment by Mark Chubb

May 30, 2009 @ 3:26 pm

Hopefully the proposed structural metaphor will not limit thinking about resilience to conventional engineering notions of resilience rather than ecological conceptions that emphasize adaptation and renewal. Surely, we need to consider traditional approaches such as robustness and redundancy. But resourcefulness has an equally important role to play both in ensuring readiness and promoting a rapid transition from response to recovery following an unexpected or adverse event.

Social and human capital play important roles in promoting recovery following shocks. Government plays a necessary role in promoting the re-norming that must often occur following such shocks, but the public often lacks the trust and confidence in leaders required to produce an effective response to new and unexpected realities. This will only change when we introduce policies that reflect the civic virtues and humane values that have historically distinguished our free society from more autocratic regimes.

Chris Bellavita’s post of earlier today illustrates exceptionally well some of the creative thinking that I believe could promote the kind of engagement we need to ensure our security policies and efforts to promote community resilience begin to reflect more humane values.

Comment by christopher tingus

May 31, 2009 @ 6:56 am

Thank you for sharing your thoughts, your hopefulness, however unfortunately we, Mr. & Mrs. Joe
Citizen have lost much faith in our local, state and federal government. Here on the street, much hardship is encountered and little accountability and good government is witnessed. Even with you Mr. President, from here on the street despite come of your efforts, more needs to be done as government is out of touch.

We value our opinion, our resiliency for after all, we live in reality.

The continued portrayal in the lack of transparency and the Barney-Pelosi mentality of truly believing they know best for us the majority, (we) see little in the way of a less intrusive, cohesive, non-partisan government by the people and for the people.

What we do see is the same ‘ol, same ‘ol beltway mentality not depicting the prerequisite resilience and freshness in creativity and policy, however a government on both sides of the aisle pervaded with self-agenda and a limited scope of the “reality” in the global scenario unfolding as a result of politics.

We have a “certain” challenging road ahead. We must be vigilant and as the clock is ticking, little time remains. We must demand diligent commitment by all that wish to serve the public good and our communities and great nation and most charitable people deserve an energetic intellect enlightened to the dangers that threaten the very fabric of our Republic which still stands as a Beacon of Hope for so, so many with emphasis that we must be willing to stand tall and willing to sacrifice for the security we expect.

Both the economic and political events to unfold will continue to test us. Let us show the resilience and staunchness in response required.

God Bless America!

Christopher Tingus
Harwich, MA 02645 USA
chris.tingus@gmail.com

Comment by William R. Cumming

May 31, 2009 @ 7:23 am

All for Mark Chubb’s recommendation to include ecological approach to resilience. Wide angle vision on this is best.

Pingback by Resilience Policy Directorate: important, urgent, and open to definition | Homeland Security Watch

June 2, 2009 @ 6:30 am

[...] Saturday reader comments (and here) have ranged from skeptical to expansive.  There is a shared recognition that [...]

Pingback by Designing the National Security Staff and the Resilience Policy Directorate

June 8, 2011 @ 3:23 pm

[...] Washington , May 30, 2009  - The President’s statement on the creation of the new National Security Staff references standing up a White House Resilience Policy Directorate.  In their remarks at the Homeland Security Policy Institute the co-chairs of the PSD-1 study identified this Directorate as a potential “center of gravity” for state, local, tribal, and private-sector involvement in homeland security policy.Next week — and perhaps for a few weeks – I hope we can give this concept some sustained attention and discussion.  In his HSPI comments Randy Beardsworth, one of the study’s co-chairs,  applied an architectural metaphor.   Adapting the metaphor to my purposes, the President’s decision has initiated building of  a new policymaking structure.  The President’s decision and the PSD-1 Review have identified several functional requirements for the the new structure and offer a rough rendering of an architectural concept for the final structure.Read the full posting here. [...]

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