Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

June 15, 2009

The Blog @ Homeland Security

Filed under: DHS News,General Homeland Security — by Christopher Bellavita on June 15, 2009

The Department of Homeland Security — like the rest of government — continues its trudge into 2.o communications with the announcement of The Blog @ Homeland Security.  According to the site:

The Blog @ Homeland Security provides an inside-out view of what we do every day at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The Blog lets us talk about how we secure our nation, strengthen our programs, and unite the Department behind our common mission and principles. It also lets us hear from you.

One hopes the conversation there will be as human as the exchanges at … full stop.

I almost wrote “as human as the exchanges at the TSA Evolution of Security blog.”  But when I went there to check out the url, I discovered the Evolution of Security blog evolved into the disturbingly literal “The TSA Blog.”  I missed when the title change went into effect. However the blog does retain its tag line: Terrorists Evolve. Threats Evolve. Security Must Stay Ahead. You Play A Part.

I’m digressing now, but I thought the [old] TSA blog was the best blog I knew about in government. I did not agree with everything the authors wrote, but one could tell there were human beings explaining, defending, and disagreeing with those who objected to some part of TSA’s practices.  Government and the governed were talking about homeland security, and sometimes to each other.

More importantly, to me, the blog acknowledged that since terrorists and threats evolve, security too has to evolve — a stance seemingly premised on [old?] TSA’s understanding of complex adaptive systems (which TSA describes here).  That attitude helped create what I thought was a healthy dialectic on the blog.  The dialectic may still be there.  The title is not.  Survival of the suitable?

Back on point: it’s my hope that The Blog @ Homeland Security comes closer to the affect of the [old?] TSA Blog than to the luncheon speech tone of the [old?] DHS Leadership Journal [blog]

Welcome to the InterTubes, The Blog @ Homeland Security.

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Comment by William R. Cumming

June 16, 2009 @ 8:00 am

Could be an interesting development. Basically the Civil Service is an authoritarian management system resisting change for all its worth. My leading example was Commissioner Randolph Thrower of IRS who came to clean up the Nixon/Walters mess at IRS with IRS being used to police Nixon’s enemies list. Thrower was not only a talent lawyer but superb human being and one of his suggestions that threw IRS into total uproar was that every letter IRS sent out to taxpayers, individual and business, contain the name and phone number of a specific real live human being who worked for IRS and was familiar with the issue. This system never was fully adopted and did not last long but think of what other agencies might do to indicate that they were not faceless bureacrats doing whatever. The blog could help but note that we know that DHS has rejected suggestions by Congress, its own advisory committee, and certainly has not been customer friendly. It has adopted a largely law enforcement, US against them culture. Which is interesting since citizens are not likely to bring to light problems of interest to DHS by this approach. Hope the blog is a big success however.

Comment by William R. Cumming

June 16, 2009 @ 8:11 am

I guess I should also have mentioned that many of my comments posted to the Leadership Journal never appeared. Let’s see how they do on the blog.

Comment by William R. Cumming

June 16, 2009 @ 12:54 pm

Footnote! I posted comments on two blog posts this morning at The Blog@Homeland Security. One comment was transposed from the post commented on to another. Another lengthy technical comment on DHS role in international activities under the other post has not been posted to either post. Other later commentors have had their comments posted. Also the comment reported was as Anonymous. As readers of this blog know I never post anonymously.

Hey! Even new restaurants have a breakin period.

Comment by Bob

June 16, 2009 @ 3:33 pm


Nothing has changed over at the TSA Blog. Just the name… It’s the same old blog.


Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team

Comment by William R. Cumming

June 17, 2009 @ 8:30 am

Okay posted another comment on the DHS blog. See if this one comes up as “anonymous.” The lengthy comment under the US Mexico signing of letter of agreement never did appear.

Blog censorship?

Comment by William R. Cumming

June 17, 2009 @ 2:44 pm

Just for the record the DHS blog did not record my question/comment related to the recent and repeated announcement of preparedness grant availability [which by the way does not specify if competitive based on applications or not] wherein I asked a simple question? Why are/is there not a single preparedness block grant to all STATE and LOCAL governments?
Readers of this blog may know that based on the need for maintenance of existing levels [often inadequate] in STATE and LOCAL preparedness, and in particular during the economic downturn (depression?) should not the STATES streamline local governments downsizing from the 90,000 now operating and also should not the Federal Government pick up between 15-25% of the total costs of STATE and LOCAL preparedness as part of the totality of a comprehensive approach to Homeland Security? This would included picking up salaries and expenses, equipment, logistics, and training and exercises, for the totatlity of the public safety and responder communities in the 250 or 300 largest muncipalities. Including police, fire, EMT, HAZMATS, Public Health and EM. Some might say this would put the federal camel’s nose under the tent with regards to standards but it probably is on the way anyhow.

Comment by christopher bellavita

June 18, 2009 @ 2:31 am

Glad to hear, Blogger Bob, that nothing has changed except the name. I would love to know the back story. It was such a great name It captured, in my mind, the dynamic of DHS, TSA and homeland security’s growth — variation, selection and reproduction — in a way that (to me) “The TSA Blog” does not. Sort of like buying organic food with a Safeway label on it. It’s probably fundamentally the same as the farmers market stuff, but a touch sad nonetheless.

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