The homeland security enterprise seemed especially busy on Wednesday:
- Immigration and border security were at the top of the agenda for the US-Mexico Summit.
- Congressional hearings on the Gulf oil spill continued, even as some scientists say the oil has reached the loop current that could speed the pollution to South Florida and into the Atlantic.
- A powerful weather system was moving through Texas, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas with some predictions of a “severe thunderstorm and tornado outbreak” overnight.
- Senior US officials were in Pakistan “to discuss the failed Times Square bombing and the fight against militants in havens close to Afghanistan.”
- FEMA continued recovery operations for the mid-South floods even as more rain was predicted.
- The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence released a review of intelligence operations related to the Christmas Day bombing attempt on Northwest Flight 253.
- The House Homeland Security Committee heard testimony from the 9/11 Commission co-chairs on work still-to-be-done implementing the Commission’s recommendations.
The natural, accidental, and intentional threats on which homeland security is focused are taking up a lot of bandwidth. Many more bullets could be listed. It is important to note that while DHS and its component agencies are in the middle of all these issues and events, it is not just DHS nor is it only a federal undertaking.
The Quadrennial Homeland Security Review helpfully defined the “homeland security enterprise.” In the report’s executive summary we read:
Homeland security describes the intersection of evolving threats and hazards with traditional governmental and civic responsibilities for civil defense, emergency response, law enforcement, customs, border control, and immigration. In combining these responsibilities under one overarching concept, homeland security breaks down longstanding stovepipes of activity that have been and could still be exploited by those seeking to harm America. Homeland security also creates a greater emphasis on the need for joint actions and efforts across previously discrete elements of government and society.
Homeland security is a widely distributed and diverse—but unmistakable—national enterprise. The term “enterprise” refers to the collective efforts and shared responsibilities of Federal, State, local, tribal, territorial, nongovernmental, and private-sector partners—as well as individuals, families, and communities—to maintain critical homeland security capabilities. The use of the term connotes a broad-based community with a common interest in the public safety and well-being of America and American society that is composed of multiple actors and stakeholders whose roles and responsibilities are distributed and shared…
When trouble breaks — or is about to break — it is the total enterprise that is needed on-deck and ready. For me the core value-add that homeland security offers is a sector-crossing, stovepipe busting, strategic integration of risk-awareness, risk mitigation, risk-readiness, and consciously cultivated resilience. Homeland security — the enterprise — does not always achieve this potential, but the potential remains potent.
(I will be fully engaged until very late Wednesday and begin travel Thursday at O dark 30. I probably won’t have time to update this post (queued up at 5:30 Wednesday night). Just in case there is a breaking story overnight, I do not want HLSwatch to seem purposely oblivious. Best wishes for a peaceful and productive Thursday.)