This is another in a series of posts considering the analysis and recommendations of Linda Kiltz in a recent edition of the Journal of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.
“To date, there is no agreed definition of homeland security, no grand theory explaining the phenomenon of homeland security, no standardized curriculum, little discussion of the history, paradigms and philosophies of the field, and ill defined faculty roles.”
–(Kiltz, p. 13).Definition of GROUND RULE
1: a sports rule adopted to modify play on a particular field, court, or course
2: a rule of procedure <ground rules for selecting a superintendent — American School Board Journal>s.
The definition issue
The QHSR describes homeland security as the “intersection of evolving threats and hazards with traditional governmental and civic responsibilities for civil defense, emergency response, law enforcement, customs, border patrol, and immigration” (U.S. Department of Homeland Security, 2010, vii).
“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 broadbased 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 (U.S. Department of Homeland Security, 2010, viii).”
Fantastic stuff…if complicated. And unclear. Somewhat confusing, actually, if you get beyond the aspirations and attempt to imagine the practical implementation of including not only business and NGOs, but private citizens as well into what is still an overwhelmingly government enterprise.
Homeland security was a term adopted following 9/11 and expanded (providing greater emphasis on non-terrorist events) after Hurricane Katrina. The federal department was thrown together by a small cadre of officials with little thought given to considering the state of the final stew that would emerge from all the ingredients put into the pot. Long standing boxes on the organizational charts at the state and local level were soon moved under new homeland security headings.
Useful synergies were created, though the response to Katrina suggested to many that existing capabilities were also degraded. Will a common educational foundation help blend all the ingredients in the homeland security pot, or could it instead produce weak stew? Is it possible that the different parts of homeland security bring their own unique point-of-view to solving the big problems, and that this edge could be blunted by attempting to meld this into a multi or interdisciplinary program?
“This stuff will make you a national security Tyrannosaurus, just like me.”
(If you don’t recognize the edited movie quote, than you don’t have time to bleed…)
national security(DOD): A collective term encompassing both national defense and foreign relations of the United States. Specifically, the condition provided by: a. a military or defense advantage over any foreign nation or group of nations; b. a favorable foreign relations position; or c. a defense posture capable of successfully resisting hostile or destructive action from within or without, overt or covert. See also security.
–DOD Dictionary of Military Terms
The character played by Jesse “The Body” Ventura in “Predator” would have assumed he was working in the field of national security, even if he might have been at a loss to define it or point to a formal educational foundation. In the real world, the same goes for the members of Seal Team 6 that brought Bin Laden to justice, as well as the intelligence analysts who determined his location and the diplomats who had to deal with angry Pakistani counterparts following the operation. All work in “national security,” but come from different educational backgrounds.
General Petraeus, COIN jedi and the next director of the CIA, earned a Ph.D. in international relations while Ash Carter, nominated to be the next deputy of defense, has a Ph.D. in physics. Their personal backgrounds differ, and they lack common educational training, yet both have risen to national security leadership roles. More importantly for this conversation, despite their profound differences they have come to not only speak compatible languages but contribute to a shared “national security” goal.
A common educational core does not enable someone from the Pentagon, Foggy Bottom, and Langley to work in the same general field and support each others’ efforts while advancing the goals of our national security enterprise. Education is obviously important, as well as common language and joint training and operational opportunities. Scholars from various fields of study contribute national security-related research–engineers, chemists, sociologists, anthropologists, etc. The strength of “national security” seems to rest on diversity.
What lessons can be learned for advancing homeland security…whatever that is?