Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

June 27, 2009

“…that kind of debate among two Cabinet officers … will inevitably lead to better policy.”

Filed under: Border Security,General Homeland Security,Homeland Defense,State and Local HLS — by Christopher Bellavita on June 27, 2009

When is a “food fight” better described as using the dialect to develop policy?

Spencer Hsu’s “Pentagon, DHS Divided On Military’s Role at Border” outlines some legitimate policy differences between the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security over the military’s role in domestic security.

The debate goes to the heart of the military’s role, which has expanded since the 2001 terrorist attacks, with an increasing commitment of troops and resources to homeland defense, particularly to help state and local officials respond to a nuclear attack or other domestic catastrophe. The deployment of new troops to the [US – Mexican] border [to help counter narcotics efforts] would represent a mission the military has not traditionally embraced.

Bert B. Tussing, director of homeland defense and security issues at the U.S. Army War College’s Center for Strategic Leadership is quoted briefly in the article:

“What we’re seeing … here is a move toward reframing where defense begins and ends…. Traditionally the military looks outward, but looking outward has begun a lot closer to home, and it may involve looking just across the border.”

Last October, Bert wrote a substantive strategic analysis of this topic: “New Requirements for a New Challenge: The Military’s Role in Border Security.”  The article is available here, and is worth reading if this is a homeland security-related issue you follow.

From a process perspective, Hsu’s article provides an example of the role metaleadership plays (at least implicitly) in the way the Obama administration treats wicked problems:

A senior White House national security official said the president is comfortable with the disagreement and “wants to see the kind of creative tension and full-out debate that major policy decisions engender.”  The official added, “It’s the president’s view that . . . frankly, that kind of debate among two Cabinet officers like Secretary Gates and Secretary Napolitano, both of whom he holds in high regard, will inevitably lead to a better policy.”

Tossed the right way, food fights can nourish.

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Comment by Laurie Van Leuven

June 27, 2009 @ 3:45 pm

Thanks for the article, Chris. When it comes to military forces within a homeland security context, I think the perceived urgency of the mission will help determine if the US should engage the military in less traditional roles. The value of differing views strengthens the dialogue of any topic, so I agree with White House stance to see where Gates and Napolitano take this one.

Comment by William R. Cumming

June 27, 2009 @ 5:29 pm

Again my long standing theme. Treat Mexico as full partner on N.American continent and help them help themselves. The demographics of Mexico are a dynamic that can either be a problem or possible major assistance to US growth and economy this century. But we really don’t have the basics down. Like many other deficiciencies the depth of ignorance between the two countries is enormous. Fortyifying the border makes no sense when whatever the technical possibilities both countries need the best of possible dynamic interchange between the two countries. If Mexico’ economy is so linked to US and vice versa then both the illegal and legal economy need to be studied in depth and common approaches and undersandings developed. Again creation of an Assistant Secretary of STATE for Mexican affairs, and the same at DOD and DHS, and possibly other agencies. These appointments would be most helpful if staffed completely by fully bi-lingual personnel familar with the culture and dynamics of both countries. Mexicans should be a completely separated demographic in US statistics on illegal and legal immigration and many other arenas.Time for amatuer night to end for US relationships with MEXICO. Their revolution was as deep and comprehensive as US and more in some ways and just in last century. Revolution may still be on Mexican agenda this century but if it is US policy will certainly be at least partially responsible. A special foreign assistance bill for Mexico would be highly appropriate. They are US!

Comment by christopher tingus

June 28, 2009 @ 12:25 am

There is no question that Mexico needs immediate US attention! This is old news and the present plight of Mexico reflects our indifference….

The suggestions made by William Cumming and others should be afforded the utmost seriousness in evolving US policy towards our neighbor. Enough time has been wasted in lackluster intent to help strengthen our neighbor to the south….It is time for both sides of the aisle, entrusted by precious vote, to ask for God’s forgiveness in placing arrogant self-agenda aside….If not, God help us for our present course is more than worrisome.

For those of us on the street outside the good ‘ol boy network, we can only look to government and when we can no longer trust our local, state and national representatives, certain despair evolves and uncertainty fosters a restlessness in the populace.

In a most recent example, an aspiring Governor of South Carolina professing psalms from the Holy Bible fails to resign from his leadership position as Governor of South Carolina not because of his personal choices where no one should throw stones, however as a result of his intentional departure without proper notification within the ranks of authorities to assure that while he is awol strolling the streets of Buenos Aries, the good people of South Carolina who “entrusted” this gentleman were left without appropriate and expedient decision-making jeopardizing public safety and much more indeed! His covenant pledged by his oath to his constituents depicts seemingly the same mentality of numerous others supposedly committed to public service using their positions of prominence willingly turning their cheek to the interests of the majority!

Most would concur with the premise that a stronger, healthier, less dysfunctional Mexico is a top priority, however in parallel, the WMD clock of concern by all points to those who seek our demise again reiterating this past week their intentions to acquire these weapons and utilizing these weapons against the west. Much focus and policy is hopefully existent to address this very worrisome reality….

As the North Koreans further strategize by utilizing their talk of WMD and missile strikes on US soil to extort monies, we should without question be building a missile defense system, responsibly presenting clear mission statements for DHS and other agencies and very importantly, clarifying just how valid this reference rumored on the street as to a new world order means….

Let’s toast to a new commitment towards Mexico, however let’s understand the true reality of the world weary of any agenda which seeks to compromise individual freedom and the country we love and respect….a nationa threatened by promise of a devalued dollar, inflation and our waning global influence being shadowed by new shiny German-led EU vessels sailing in the Mediterranean, an EU fast deployment army and a prominent Chinese global naval presence built by our own “fiat” dollars!

By all means, stay vigilant.

Demand transparency in government accountability especially to the constitutional framework reaffirming a government by the people and for the people.

Yes we worry about Canada to our north and Mexico to our South and yes we should do our utmost to assist our neighbors whenever possible, however an unrest among citizens is portrayed simply by the numbers of guns and ammunition being purchased throughout the country.

God Bless us.

We are desperate for bona fide leadership. Just as in World War II when we saved France and the world from oppression and the darkest hours of mankind, with the esteemed folks at NSA, the DoD and other committed government agencies who protect our daily way of Life, this is our watch and if we are to assure our destiny showing formidable strength and unity, then let’s muster our conviction and demand a government by the people and for the people.

It is rumored on the street that such talk is radical, I say it is the prayer of devoted Americans who are law abiding citizens eeking out a daily Life proud of a Republic with liberty and justice for all….

Christopher Tingus
64 Whidah Drive
Harwich (Cape Cod), MA 02645 USA

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June 30, 2009 @ 5:10 am

[…] Bellavita addressed this issue in a Saturday post.   Back in March I gave it some […]

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