I received several private communications regarding yesterday’s “dinner” with Mr. Brennan. The most critical comments assailed my attention to Mr. Sunstein rather than nominating State, local, tribal, or private sector professionals to the new Directorate.
First, the appointment of such individuals is nearly a foregone conclusion. If Mr. Brennan asked for my nominations, I would be happy to provide some names. In fact, in the real world, I have been pushing one local leader. Otherwise, if the sale has been made don’t waste time, move on. How do you know what I might have said over dessert?
Second, putting the “right people” in place is never enough. This is the most common error that managers and policymakers make. Someone I trust inside the process has said there is still the need for “policy direction.” Right now the Resilience Policy Directorate is mostly a box in which to insert stakeholder — or functional — representatives. There is a need to frame a reasonably clear “why and what” for the RPD. I have argued — with others — that complex systems organize around meaning. What is the meaning of resilience?
Third, we have not answered the question of meaning. I believe the Brits abetted by Cass Sunstein point us toward a helpful answer. But as our discussion has exposed we are far from a meaningful consensus or even a simple modus operandi.
(Defensive interlude: I, too, believe — profoundly — in emergence. But the reality of emergence should not be used as an excuse for intellectual laziness. Our analyses will only be proximate and we should always recognize our limitations. But we may speed and even shape emergence with the rigor of our analysis and the power of our creativity. We can contribute to helpful outcomes even when our specific input fails to fulfill our intent.)
Others have written they are preparing comments on resilience and/or the RPD. Great. If you are looking for an outcome beyond an interesting bloggy exchange, I suggest getting your comments into the conversation earlier instead of later.
I assume that when individuals write me privately, instead of making public comments, they have ethical or political problems being identified with what they offer. Yesterday someone I do not know sent along the following factual information. The fact is helpful. The contributor’s analysis is acute:
Avid reader of your blog. FYI, useful addition to the discussion is
that Resilience is defined in the DHS Lexicon as:
“Ability of systems, infrastructures, government, business, and
citizenry to resist, absorb, recover from, or adapt to an adverse
occurrence that may cause harm, destruction, or loss of national
Note, DHS continues to see resilience as subordinate to ‘risk’ and an
aspect of ‘vulnerability’, vice recognizing it as the super-ordinate
organizing philosophy laying above risk management. Still, a useful