Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

July 12, 2009

Late Sunday retrospective

Filed under: General Homeland Security — by Philip J. Palin on July 12, 2009

Some recent homeland security stories that we have been watching, but not finding time to write about:

$42.9 billion HS appropriations approved by Senate

“The Senate on Thursday approved a wide-ranging $42.9 billion measure to pay for improving U.S. border security, clamp down on illegal immigration and beef up cyber security in fiscal 2010. The Senate voted 84-6 for the annual spending bill funding the Department of Homeland Security for the year starting October 1, and now lawmakers must work out differences with a $42.6 billion version of the bill that passed the U.S. House of Representatives last month.” (More from Reuters)

Shabbab connection attracts lots of attention

“An examination by The New York Times, based on interviews with close friends and relatives of (several Somali-American) men, law enforcement officials and lawyers, as well as access to live phone calls and Facebook messages between the men and their friends in the United States, reveals how a far-flung jihadist movement found a foothold in America’s heartland.” (More from the New York Times, this was the most prominent story on the Sunday frontpage). 

Napolitano pushes focus on bad guys

“Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano imposed strong new standards on Friday for a federal program that lets local police enforce immigration laws, saying the priority is catching and deporting dangerous criminals in the country illegally, not going after illegal immigrants who commit minor offenses.”  (More from the Arizona Republic and from DHS)

Really bad guys launch coordinated attack on Mexican police

Gunmen have launched a string of attacks on federal police bases in Mexico, killing five people. At least six cities were hit – all in the western Michoacan state, a stronghold of Mexico’s drug cartels. Three police officers and two soldiers are reported to have been killed when the attackers, armed with grenades and assault rifles, opened fire. (More from the BBC)

While battles rage on several fronts across Pakistan

“Three Pakistan soldiers and 14 Taliban fighters were killed as Islamabad pushed its massive assault against militants in the northwest, officials said Sunday.”  (More from DAWN)

And tens of thousands of refugees begin to head home

“Crammed into rickety vans with electric fans and sacks of flour roped to the roof, the first of the two million displaced people have begun returning to their homes after the army said it had expelled Taliban militants from most of their strongholds.” (More from DAWN)

Not exactly the homemade ice cream and fireflies that I remember so clearly from summer Sunday evenings a half-century ago.

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Comment by William R. Cumming

July 12, 2009 @ 4:46 pm

Some tough situations all around. Hey let’s hope the DHS approprs bill gets through conference before Labor Day. The fact that DHS has had a separate approp bill has allowed it to survive many other disasters in my opinion.

Comment by Arnold Bogis

July 12, 2009 @ 4:55 pm

If I can add another, FEMA got that much stronger with the nomination of current Boston EMS Chief Richard Serino as Deputy Administrator.


Comment by Philip J. Palin

July 12, 2009 @ 5:29 pm


You’re too quick for me. I went to walk the dog on a late Sunday, intending to do a post on Serino when I returned, and you beat me to it. Thanks.


Comment by Arnold Bogis

July 12, 2009 @ 6:17 pm

No need to thank me, as I have to admit to personal bias. I’ve been fortunate to work with Chief Serino in a past project, so I’ve been a fan for a while.

In terms of his potential impact at FEMA I believe it is twofold. First, the obvious background in the medical aspect of disasters. It seems to me there have been plenty of doctors involved in homeland security (however any of us would like to define it) but not many with a deep background in the pre-hospital care side of things. And if I would have to guess, out of hospital care (whether by paramedics or nurses and doctors at temporary and improvised facilities) will be of major importance in the next catastrophe that totally overwhelms existing systems.

And second, here in Boston Chief Serino has been a major proponent of working not only with other public safety and medical entities, but the private sector and non-traditional partners during the yearly big activities (i.e. Boston Marathon, 4th of July, First Night, etc.) as well as special events (i.e. the 2004 DNC). This outlook is vital to improving preparedness, response, and recovery across the spectrum of relevant federal agencies.

Comment by William R. Cumming

July 13, 2009 @ 4:04 am

INteresting choice for a Deputy for Fugate. I also not that the DHS Chief Medical Officer operation has crossed the 125 FTE mark which to me is substantial investment in medical issues for DHS. Hoping both actions will reduce stove-piping that exists between HS/EM/PH and DHS and HHS/CDC! Maybe and maybe not. Time will tell.

Pandemic Flu operation is great example of what might occur and problems of integrating medical and public health world with HS and EM.

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