Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

September 14, 2009

This week in homeland security

Filed under: General Homeland Security — by Philip J. Palin on September 14, 2009

Following are a few homeland security events for the coming week.  For more information  access the embedded links.  Please use the comment function to identify other events you would like to bring to readers’ attention.  If you are attending or monitoring any of these events, please use the comment function to report out to the rest of us.

Monday, September 14

Fall World, a business continuity and disaster recovery conference continues through Wednesday in San Diego.

9:30 am (eastern) Washington DC, National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism hosts a meeting on Global Conflict and Terrorism Trends

10:00 am (eastern) Washington DC, Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs conducts a hearing on cybersecurity.

Tuesday, September 15

8:00 am (eastern) Washington DC, Partners in Preparedness Symposium and CEO Summit.

Wednesday, September 16

2:00 pm (eastern) Washington DC, Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs conducts a hearing on the nomination of Richard Serino as FEMA Deputy Administrator.

Thursday, September 17

9:30 am (eastern) Washington DC, the Woodrow Wilson Center hosts a meeting on police reform in Mexico.

10:00 am (eastern) Washington DC, House Committee on Homeland Security, Subcommittee on Border, Maritime, and Global Counterterrorism will conduct a hearing on the Secure Border Initiative.

10:00 am (eastern) Washington DC, American Enterprise Institute hosts a meeting on US strategic communications with the Muslim world.

Friday, September 18

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1 Comment »

Comment by William R. Cumming

September 14, 2009 @ 6:57 am

The Senate should try and determine whether cybersecurity which really predates 9/11 and stems from the fall 1997 Report of the President’s Commission on Critical Infrastructure Protection and its seminal split of cyber security from physical security, and one of the fundamental rationales for creation of DHS, has been housed properly in DHS over its lifetime as an organization. My guess is that with the Department 6 years old this coming March we now know whether that key activity is properly based. Readers of my comments know that I would be supportive of creation of a joint military/civil department concerned totally with cyber issues and IT issues since based on budget those functions and activities at larger than several existing cabinet level departments and large independent agencies. Look at the waste from DHS alone spending over $40B on IT since its inception without any real regards for cyber security. Then of course the FBI still fails in its premier mission to create and effective cyber security program and watch list for terrorists. And on and on. This is not to say there are not and of course there are many now who are excellent appointees and officers government wide dealing with cyber security. But OMB continues to operate with Circular A-130 as though IT security is separate from cyber security. And still no cyber czar!

The hearing on Serino for FEMA Deputy Administrator should focus on one specific issue. The division of labor between Fugate and Serino. Is it a mister inside, mister outside situation. Several FEMA Directors [the former title between 1979 and 2002] did not want a Deputy and put them on ice so to speak. Why? Certainly enough work for two people! I would argue for the following split, both functions being very important! First [and it does not matter which is which to me] one person could be the master of disaster and in the President’s civil crisis chain of command and the other person could cover all the other missions that FEMA handles that are critical, from flood insurance to the Defense Production Act [up for renewal this September just like the NFIP] and mitigation and COG and COOP! Time for real expertise in FEMA and FUGATE and SERINO could be the first really competent duo in FEMA history. I was interviewed recently as to whether PKEMA fixed FEMA. I said NO!
Why? PKEMA protected the FEMA name but did not really impact its programs, functions, and activities. This might be worthy of exploration by the SENATE since the HILL and Administration continue to believe the NEW FEMA is fixed and no problems for response and recovery to a catastrophic event. And except for off-site safety at NUCLEAR POWER plants, FEMA continues to have little knowlege or capability to deal with catastrophic events impacting critical infrastructure or regulated industries. And of course the regulated have fought security upgrades and improved response to events. Look at the Chemical industry for one. Also the stirrings on catastrophic reinsurance and federal direct involvement in catastrophic coverage continues to boil along. Most states, like TEXAS and Florida have established insurance programs that virtually ensure catastrophic levels of federal outlays of funds in certain situations and do not do anything for mitigation. These are fictional programs that unfortunately the rest of the country will be forced to read probably in the near future. Again a statutory overhead, by passing OMB Circular A-87 should be applied in all disaster programs, and all federal departments and agencies should be limited to a 20% overhead rate! DOD in particular should not fund wars off of disaster supplmentals and mission assignments. And criminal law enforce assistance by DOJ/FBI and other law enforcement agencies should NOT be funded out of the STAFFORD ACT. Should that statute become the domestic crisis management statute for the nation? Maybe but it is not now as currently worded.

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