Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

September 30, 2009

Here’s today’s transcript, has anyone seen yesterday’s?

Filed under: General Homeland Security — by Philip J. Palin on September 30, 2009

The Department of Homeland Security has released the prepared testimony that Secretary Napolitano filed for this morning’s Senate hearing before the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.  The topic is “Eight years after 9/11: Confronting the Terrorist Threat to the Homeland.”

I don’t see much new or different.  There is a brief riff on violent extremism that I haven’t  noticed in her prior statements, but it clearly derives from John Brennan’s more extensive remarks on the topic.  Anyway, for the record, you can see what she wanted the Committee to have by choosing the link above.

I still cannot find a transcript of the Secretary’s remarks on readiness and resilience given yesterday at the American Red Cross Headquarters.  Can you point me to a copy?  There are lots of places across the web promising to provide, but nothing is there yet.

What happened, did she waft off-script and speak so spontaneously that the transcriptors are still sweating over grammar corrections?

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Comment by Arnold Bogis

September 30, 2009 @ 12:30 pm

I listened to her remarks in the background while I worked on other things (so I can’t say with certainty that she didn’t go totally off script), but I didn’t notice much in the way of new or exciting information in her presentation.

Continuing the discussion from the previous thread, I think that may be symptomatic of a larger issue. While it is beneficial for both the Secretary and FEMA Director to continually pound the resilience drum, the underlying message and approach has not changed since the last administration. There is not a lot of space between Ridge’s “duct tape” speech and the talk of “resilience” by Napolitano. Between the two Ready.gov has continued to promote the same basic message of “get a kit, make a plan, be informed.”

Which is a good message, don’t get me wrong. And the Secretary did announce funding in the speech to be distributed through Citizen Corps and the identification of best resilience practices. All very helpful.

But I think resilience needs to be better defined if it is to be held up as a goal. Currently it seems to be the combination of preparedness, prevention, response, and recovery. Ready.gov advice combined with the “don’t expect the government to be there immediately, help yourselves” and “see something, say something.” A re-packaging or reformulation of existing goals.

DHS needs to develop policy tools to encourage citizens and all levels of government to work toward such goals–regardless of the name you give it. The bully pulpit is useful, but specific actions that can drive bottom up change will be more powerful.

And in my opinion, it is not particularly helpful to constantly bring up examples from past generations. Hearing about the hardy settlers or the truly courageous exploits of the “greatest generation” again and again begins to sound like “they walked to school uphill in the snow….both ways.” If stories must be used, at least stick with recent examples such as the actions of passengers on United 93 and the town that is recovery from the devastating tornado. I personally believe Americans are just as tough as previous generations, but the realities of everyday life change for each generation. This will drive a change in the look of “resilience” for each generation.

Comment by christopher tingus

October 2, 2009 @ 10:35 pm

I concur with you that we are a very resilient and most charitable people, however a very disheartened people and becoming more and more distrustful of those we “entrust” to serve the majority interests of the public….

There is far too much expansion of government at all levels and far too much in printing fiat dollars adding to our overall deficit impoverishing many and not at all a good idea for we left the King of England for the increasing taxes and fees and we depict our overall strength by the growing numbers of disgruntled voters!

In those areas of the country prone to tornados, we need some of these fiat dollars headed to the local communities for more warning sirens, better shelters, loan guarantees, etc. rather than to bail out New York bankers charging some 3500% in overdraft fees and bank charges of the same patrons who bailed these same bankers out.

If we are going to continue to grow in deficit and unemployment numbers, then let’s get a comprehensive civil defense network established reaching out to our neighbors and friends under more and more stress as the economy worsens for many.

Christopher Tingus
Harwich, MA 02645 USA

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