In the opening days of his administration, President Obama wrote, “I believe that Homeland Security is indistinguishable from National Security — conceptually and functionally, they should be thought of together rather than separately. Instead of separating these issues, we must create an integrated, effective, and efficient approach to enhance the national security of the United States.” (See: Presidential Study Directive 1)
I testified against this proposition before the House Homeland Security Committee. I continue to have conceptual and functional reservations. But today I will embrace the President’s belief and offer a prescription for improving integration, effectiveness, and efficiency.
For this purpose, greater energy and attention should be given to a specific recommendation of the Quadrennial Homeland Security Review. From page 71 of the QHSR:
Build a homeland security professional discipline: Develop the homeland security community of interest at all levels of government as part of a cadre of national security professionals. A well-documented need within the national security community is a professional development program that fosters a stable and diverse community of professionals with the proper balance of relevant skills, attributes, experiences, and comprehensive knowledge. Executive Order 13434, “National Security Professional Development,” initiated a program for developing interagency national security professionals through access to an integrated framework of training, education, and professional experience opportunities. We must work together with our national security partners in bringing that important idea to fruition. As part of that effort, we must take steps to create a homeland security community of interest across the enterprise. Three elements of professional development are education, training, and experience via developmental assignments. State, local, tribal, and territorial governments, DHS and other Federal agencies, and academic institutions have taken important steps to build programs to support these key areas and will continue to emphasize enterprise-wide approaches to enhancing homeland security professional development.
The National Security Professional Development (NSPD) program established under Executive Order 13434 (May 17, 2007) has, to date, been implemented with a bureaucratic minimalism that has done nothing to enhance capability or capacity in either National Security or Homeland Security, much less for the Platonic form in which these security shadows become an indistinguishable whole.
Today (and for most of the last seventy years) there are various orders of a national security priesthood. The combination of rigorous education, apprenticeship, mentoring, and field experience required for ordination is reminiscent of the Jesuits at high tide. There is also competition — sometimes friendly, sometimes not — between the national security analogs of Jesuits, Benedictines, and Franciscans spanning the military, diplomacy, intelligence, and related.
Into this mix the so-called homeland security professions — law enforcement, fire, emergency management, public health, and more — arrive like so many fancy-dressed laity. We are Knights of Columbus who the priestly orders tolerate, encourage, or dismiss depending on personal taste or particular need.
EO 13434 and PSD-1 and the QHSR seem to say that priests and laity should learn together and collaborate toward the same purpose. If the NSPD program was undertaken earnestly and mindfully over the next thirty years then, perhaps, the President’s vision could be achieved. Such is not the case today, to our detriment.