Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

September 28, 2009

Homeland security this week

Filed under: General Homeland Security — by Philip J. Palin on September 28, 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 28

The Heritage Foundation in Washington D.C.  will kick-off a week-long “Homeland Security University” program.  Monday’s morning-long course focuses on Homeland Security and the Federal Structure.  This is a significant effort to generate some intellectual and strategic gravitas to what can often be a weak brew of consensus opinion and partisan sniping. The Heritage Foundation certainly has a point-of-view.  But on Homeland Security that perspective has — to date — been constructive and non-partisan.  A recent Heritage web-memo on homeland security offers an overview of the priorities of the Heritage Foundation HS team.  Those scheduled to speak over the five days are largely veterans of the last eight years, which gives the week a certain partisan cast, but need not diminish the value of the input.  You can also watch and listen via a webcast.

Tuesday, September 29

2:00 pm (eastern) Washington D.C. Secretary Napolitano will give a speech on preparedness at the American Red Cross. (Please see a Sunday morning post, below, related to this event.)

The Heritage Foundation “Homeland Security University” will focus on counterterrorism and critical infrastructure.

Wednesday, September 30

10:00 (eastern) Washington D.C. The Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs will conduct a hearing on threat of terrorism.

The Heritage Foundation “Homeland Security University” will focus on preparedness, resiliency, and response.

Thursday, October 1

10:00 (eastern) Washington D.C. the House Homeland Security Committee, Subcommittee on Emergency Communications, Preparedness and Response will conduct a hearing on community preparedness.

10:00 (eastern) Washington D.C. the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, Subcommittee on Energy and the Environment will conduct a hearing on Chemical Facilities Anti-Terrorism Standards.

The Heritage Foundation “Homeland Security University” will focus on trade and travel, followed by immigration and border security.

Friday, October 2

The Heritage Foundation “Homeland Security University” will close with a  focus on “leveraging all resources.”

The International Spy Museum in Washington D.C. will launch on a new exhibit on Weapons of Mass Disruption, including cyberterrorism.

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Comment by William R. Cumming

September 28, 2009 @ 10:02 am

An interesting post and clearly it should also be of interest to note the clear impact of the Heritage Foundation on homeland security issues.
Ms. Townshend is always worth hearing and has always spoken truth to power in ways that IMO make her worthy of the highest ranking of “GRAVITAS” among those who have born the policy hat since 9/11! Specifically she should have been kept on by President Obama.
As to Heritage Generally while I have found their proposals and analysis of interest it seems they have had influence way beyond their competence and experience in the past. Perhaps just me but given their intellectual depth surprised at the few really substantive studies as opposed to short pieces that have been accomplished and they still continue to duck the really hard issues. So here goes more of my quick and dirty analysis and hoping readers will have better ideas than mine.

First, the Heritage September 9th list to do: (1) the Congress should not encourage illegal immigration! Readers of this blog know that I think that issue badly needs subdivision before we face revolution in Mexico! Separate out Mexico from that issue generally.
(2) Don’t punish tourists! I would add don’t punish foreign students either and also not this may directly contradict item #1 above. Still no effective system for those tourists or students who overstay their visas.
(3) Don’t subsidize hurricanes! Well I would argue don’t subsidize the property insurance industry who then subsidizes hurricanes. A major review of federal policy on disasters is about to happen probably this winter. 21 years since enactment of the Stafford Act next month.

I would add a new NOT-TO-DO for Congress and also for the Heritage Foundation–Please don’t recommend any further DHS reorganizations.

Okay now for the Heritage to-do list!
(1) Heritage recommends scrapping the 100% maritime screening statutory mandate on the basis of lack of administrative feasibility. Disagree because while delay may be required this is ultimately required and should not be beyond technological developments. Why not just build sensors and GPS into all containers with alarms when deactivated? Hey get to work because this is not just a US issue.
(2) Amend the Stafford Act! Seems this is a consensus item generally but the reasons stated by Heritage don’t look like they deal with the real problem that Stafford is shaping up as de facto US domestic/civil crisis management statute and question is should it be that?
(3) Reform the Grant structure! I agree but would just go to block grants based on risk and threats and vulnerability analysis of system impacts for certain targets! Unless there is a federal or national impact from specific targets let’s not overmanage. Of course I have long recommended that for the 300 largest cities, a block grant for funding the training, equipment and systems of the EM/Public Safety/Public Health be accomplished on a permanent basis with federal standards setting because these are assets that must be available when needed for a national response. Compliments to NY STATE and Florida for mandating standardized fire hookups statewide. Why is this so difficult? Simply because if fraud, waste, and abuse is a problem at the federal level in contracting even more so at the STATE and LOCAL level. Give the DHS/OIG authority to see that grants get spent on their intended purposes!
(4) Encourage STATE and LOCAL immigration enforcement! Too much possibilty of abusive use of this tool by STATE and Locals IMO even with appropriate training. Hey let’s overcome the long history of DOJ mismanagement of INS and it predecessors now housed in DHS, including Border Patrol! Let’s give DHS the resources and personnel they need to deal with this and also make sure that they come up with policies that fit American history and current national needs. Legal and illegal immigration may be the only thing between the US and its demographic downfall.

Okay hoping these comments are relevant and material at least to some degree. Keep up the good work Heritage just work harder. No simplistic judgements or solutions not backed by detailed research and documentation of that research when making these recommendations. NO HIP SHOTS! Make sure you are aiming correctly.

Comment by christopher tingus

September 29, 2009 @ 6:45 am

Well said and hopefully all are listening attentively and will share this William Cumming contribution for all to better understand perspectives many hold accurate!

We must address these issues accordingly as the clock is ticking and valuable time is lost to bureaucratic and other. There is much to be done and all should work cohesively with clarity in direction and commitment.

Christopher Tingus

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