Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

January 10, 2013

CRS: Homeland security ill-defined

Filed under: General Homeland Security — by Philip J. Palin on January 10, 2013

Thanks to the FAS Secrecy Project, a Congressional Research Service report on Defining Homeland Security is available for your consideration. From the report’s summary:

Varied homeland security definitions and missions may impede the development of a coherent national homeland security strategy, and may hamper the effectiveness of congressional oversight. Definitions and missions are part of strategy development. Policymakers develop strategy by identifying national interests, prioritizing goals to achieve those national interests, and arraying instruments of national power to achieve the national interests. Developing an effective homeland security strategy, however, may be complicated if the key concept of homeland security is not defined and its missions are not aligned and synchronized among different federal entities with homeland security responsibilities.This report discusses the evolution of national and DHS-specific homeland security strategic documents and their homeland security definitions and missions, and analyzes the policy question of how varied homeland security definitions and missions may affect the development of national homeland security strategy.

I’m sure that regular readers of HLSWatch are “shocked, shocked” by these findings.

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Comment by Claire B. Rubin

January 10, 2013 @ 7:15 am

Your earlier posting mentioned HS searching for affection. It does not seem to be able to garner any respect for consistency either, judging by the varied definitions in use!

Comment by William R. Cumming

January 10, 2013 @ 8:40 am

Guess those 1000 or more with policy analysis in their position descripiton will still not understand that top down confusion is not a good basis for coherence in strategy, management, or policy development and implementation.

Are any portions of DHS HRO’s?

HRO=Highly Reliable Organizations

Comment by Shawn Reese

January 10, 2013 @ 9:33 am

actually a report that I wrote back last spring and testified on in Feb… nothing new here. N

Comment by Donald Quixote

January 10, 2013 @ 10:43 am

I am shocked, shocked……….. I also understand from Captain Renault that there was gambling at Rick’s Café Americain………

The good news is that CRS can use the same report next year and for many more years to come, a real cost savings for them. If you define homeland security (and its cousins homeland defense, emergency management and national security), there could be tangible goals and expectations for the precious resources expended. Why in the world would we do that?

At least you can ping this one back to dozens of previous postings on this site.

Comment by Philip J. Palin

January 10, 2013 @ 10:45 am

Mr. Reese, While not new for you or most readers here, a very helpful and thoughtful report (re)delivered to Congress at a moment when meaningful attention to the issue could be very productive. Thank you for your work.

Comment by Dan OConnor

January 10, 2013 @ 1:59 pm

In some aspects if one cannot define it one cannot defend it.

Much like a war on an ideology, defining homeland security with one set of optics magnifies one definition while it occludes another.

Comment by HGRATTA

January 10, 2013 @ 3:32 pm

Pelrey and Pelfrey (2009) defined HS as the social, political, technical, military, and legal aspects of preventing, protecting against, responding to, and recovering from threats or hazards, whether intentional, accidental, or natural that represent dangers or harmful conditions to the population of the United States.

Pelrey and Pelfrey caputured the essence of HLS. As
Mr. Reese demonstrated, the U.S. governnment was unable to comprehensively codify HLS.

The homeland security stakeholder community needs a theory of HLS.

Pelfrey, W.V. Sr. & Pelfrey, W.V. Jr. (2009). Curriculum evaluation and revision in a nascent field: The utility of the retrospective pretest-posttest model in a homeland security program of study, Evaluation Review, 33(1), doi: 10.1177/0193841X08327578

Comment by Philip J. Palin

January 10, 2013 @ 3:42 pm

Ten years ago, and probably for most of about six years, I endeavored to offer, contribute to, and lend my support to various definitions of homeland security. There was never much traction. I’ve now mostly left the issue to others, wishing them well, but not giving it too much time.

There are, as the CRS report makes clear, consequences that emerge from this lack of definition. Many are negative. A few, not mentioned in the report, are (at least in my eyes) positive.

I’m not sure why the field has so effectively resisted some sort of consensus definition. But my guess is it has something to do with 1) too much emphasis on finding a definition that could be demonstrated with “performance metrics” and 2) the absence of any coherent and compelling strategic value-added vision for homeland security. I suspect, but cannot prove, the first factor undermined the potential of the second. But, in any case, no strategic value-added vision has ever sufficiently emerged to put up much of a fight.

The fractionalized nature of Congressional oversight, with each Committee and sub-committee pushing its own definition, certainly contributed to the non-emergence of a consensus definition. The militarization of homeland security — in terms of intellectual capital and personnel — also played a role. The integration of White House Homeland Security staff into the National Security Council staff was a kind of intellectual decapitation. Lots of other contributions, but making sense of why something did not happen is often even more elusive than explaining what did happen.

Comment by William R. Cumming

January 10, 2013 @ 6:02 pm

I believe usage of term “homeland” is the real source of the problem in conjunction with the term “security”!
Much of what DHS does has nothing to do with “existential” or even other security threats to the Homeland.

The failure of DHS to self identify programs, functions and activities that have nothing to do with Homeland Security as required by the BUR and QHSR for example means that DHS’ survival as a Cabinet Department is unlikely to last out this decade.

Comment by Wayne

January 11, 2013 @ 10:52 am

It is an interesting update by CRS for a long term issue that, regrettably, considering the turf and jurisdictional conflicts (2 separate but related concepts)among and between Federal departments & agencies as well as Federal vice State vice Local entities is not likely to be resolved soon. A definition of Homeland Security would, as others have noted, provide a framework for prioritization and analysis of effectiveness of programs and activities, while at the same time providing a tool to be used to stake out the boundaries of turf and jurisdiction. Until the Congress is able to move oversite into a select group of committees, and the players reach a stage where they are willing to surrender “turf” (and the programs, staff and funding that goes with it) for the greater good, a working definition will remain ambiguous and bureaucratic, rather than pragmatic and useful.

Comment by Christopher Tingus

January 11, 2013 @ 10:56 pm

We have become so wasteful, spending whenever the whim, little regard for accounting 101 and as a nation now in much peril from within, never mind the ever growing terrorist potential emerging, until we truly have clarity when it comes to the true role of DHS and we are serious about protecting our cherished documents, our Judeo-Christian values, the 2nd Amendment and the Right to carry weapon for all lawful purspose and Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness, we are destined for failure….we have little time remaining….

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January 15, 2013 @ 2:57 am

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Comment by Christopher Tingus

January 15, 2013 @ 11:51 am

Homeland Security vigilence should be further prompted by Al Gore’s self-serving sale to enable Islam another way into our Judeo-Christian nation and its Sharia law and its intent to kill those who choose anything other than Islam – direct and as clearly stated by Sharia Law…

….and Biblical scripture is quite clear…. for this Islamic Brotherhood professing Islam and its Sharia law, now to adversely affect Ethiopia and Iraq along with its pal, the thugs in Tehran, these “Brutes of Tehran” as I refer to them w/so much blodd of our American youth on their hands….Homeland Security Watch must now understand this Chrislam and all that these clerics choose to advance and kill Jews and Christians along the way…however don’t fret, surely our ignorance and a WH Barry Obama and his pledge to his pals in Cairo and his refusing to increase US security forces per multiple requests and he watching the “Benghazi Massacre” and leaving our men behind should demand a full “Benghazi Massacre Congressional Hearing” and he and Hillary Clinton, both who beleive they are above their oath to our Constitutiopn and the law, she prostituting herself by compromising her own integrity before the Lord standing shoulder to shoulder with Barty Obama again apologizing at taxpayer expense to the Muslim world on Pakistani television resulting in conflagration throughout the Middle East and furthering the cause of the fundamentalists as Hillary lies to the Father of one of our brave fallen Patriots telling him that this was all the cause of some flick – few knew about – and they promoting with my stating clearly, ‘Treason I Shout and Shame on You I Say” –

Homeland Security Watch is about Barry Obama and his pledge to Hussein Obama, Bill Ayers, Soros, Saiid, Ungor and so many other such as Bill Ayers and if you recall in ’08 the “Rev Wright-Obama pulpit” preaching the fact that Tehran should be allowed the WMD as long as the “Zionists” have in hand….How dare you all who profess to be discussing and explaining what Homeland Security are so hoodwinked and blinded by the obvious as Barry Obama reaches to increase our budget deficit not from the $10.6 to $16.4 trillion currect, but to $20 trillion _nailing the last in the coffin as we weaken America by enslaving more to poverty more dep3ndent on this ever imposing government seeking to do whatever possible to compromise our 2nd Amendment Right – for all lawful purpose – and weaken us so by diminishing our WMD arsenal in his -whispers- to the “KGB Putinites” and the reality of an aging fleet and aircraft when in fact, budget increases should be taking place to replenish our strength for Democracy must have an Arsenal to protect itself from those outside as well as tjose our forefathers with much insight cautioned us about in our Republic being besieged from within –

Homeland Security and no immigration laws, no real strict border enforcements and stringent laws…benefits and RMV licenses to those who break our laws, but to those waiting to be processed legally and standing for hours each morning in front of embassies globally hoping for a chance to come to America…we make them wait, yet pay for the tuition and birth of illegals and even their utility bills…

Homeland Security where we arm everyone to protect our passengers on planes, our officials, banks, and even the same who had the nerve to expose so many in greater New York as to their Right to carry weapon for all lawful purpose, yet they, too having armed guards to protect them standing guard outside their doors…what hyprocrites,,what snakes…this is what Homeland Security must deal with and is all about…the decitful…the real un-Americans commencingw ith the Kenyan in the WH so pledged to his mentors, the anti-colonialists, the anti-Jew, the anti-Christian and Barry Obama et al from within who was ousted from office by nearly 50% of tyhis nation populace who sees his ways and his friendship and sending two dozen F-16’s and some one billion of taxpayer monies to a Sharia promoting Islamic Egyptian regime of thugs..what hypocrites and self-serving we are in so many ways….

Terrorism and anti-Christianity now spreading the wild fires throughout Yemen and the Middle East and now We are engaged in Africa w/the French and the Europeans and these Germans who are to downsize the EU and in their march with the ever powerful and ever corupt Vatican, Germany, our arch enemy, now with a fast deployment Army and new naval vessels and to fill the void left by a weakened America by a half white man who has left Black America with its precious youth with some 30%+ unemployed…what snakes…these executives orders written far more than any previous and we talk about Homeland Security…

I say, let Homeland Security mean we button up our pown house first from within and thwart this effort to abuse our US Constitution, the foundation of our beloved Republic!

Homeland Security begins with the arrest of those perpetrators drinking wine and boasting about the killing of our wonderful Ambassador and they sodomising him and dragging him though the streets and ms. Hillary now back from her convenioent concussion yet to testify..How dare you talk of Homeland Security’s meaning when it is obvious We the People are allowing this blantant lie to remain without arrest of both Hillary Clinton and Barry Obama in breach of faith, treason as they watched our men get slaughtered and then knowing lied before all and the Lord and yet, the thugs who did this are allowed to be free, this nation of drones and Patriot Act, yet a Homeland Security we see action only from a television series as these thugs who killed our men, leaving them to be slaughtered and left behind, our brave Patriots, none questioned and none arrested and none with their heads cut off for believe it as these Islamic thugs have all intent to kill innocents and strike at Christians and Jews and Americans for their intent is to do such to all the infidels…read your history and get to work and to church and light your candles and profess Christianity and the Bible for this divisive way intened and promoted by this WH and Congress is – un-American and in direct conflict with pledge in oath to our Constitution and as Bartyu Obama continues to unfurl his Obama flag in parallel with our beloved ‘ol Glory being burnt throughout the Middle east and Al Gore’s Middle east channel comes to America to undermine us far worse than any global warming…Homeland Security and its political hacks must understand that Homeland Seurity is our defense and while we may all carry our muskets high – for all lawful purpose – we have forgotten our history and the strength we require in our defenses in every way which includes every man and woman who dedicated themselves and we saw during WWII in the factories and shipyards to show our commitment then to Homeland Security and today, with 50+ global scenarios embattled and requring our full attention and Tehran permitted by this Kenyan anti-colonialist at the WH helm seeking to undermine our Constitution and our values, our military strength and our focus and fortitude, forthright in our commitment to uphold justice and thwart the tyranny and oppression of so many even within our own citizenry…

We gentlemen and ladies, We are failing as terrorism and terrorists may not be permitted to be used at the WH, however it is increasing because of our weakness within and this focus on gay and lesbian rights and so much more when in fact, Homeland Security and military intelligence and the dedicated brave Patriots at NSA and other – this political correctness and all this empty rhetoric and political crap must cease…We are at great peril from within and from Islam, but heck, if one only reads Pslam 83, all has been foretold and while you have foresakened Biblical scripture and you who are involved in backdoor discussions with Tehran and all you who believe America can simply fly to Cairo and apologize for America and bow and kiss the ring of another soveriegn nation…well, centuries of Islam and Christianity sword to sword confrontation have taken place and with the help of the illustrious multi-millionaires like Barry Obama, Al Gore, “Snug-smiled Pelosi” and this “Chicago-Hollywood-Washington Express” who stage and earn monies showing guns and such violence, the same who hire guards to protect them and their Range Rovers fully armored…they wish to take weapons from those who have such for – all lawful purpose – and dismiss calls for undercover police in our schools and in our theatres, just as we protect all others….this is Homeland Security and these monies being sent from the WH to a Sharia adopted regime in tehran, let’s take this billion or maybe even two billion, stop the transfer and use it to reopen psych hospitals and deal with the mentally ill and those who seek our help and we are no where to be found as ER folks have no place to send these unfortunate folks…

Homeland Security is not just some weekly wonderful series rated as no. 1 in Europe and the Middle east…..it is necessary and we are failing as we cannot grasp the fact that the world as we see even from within with such snakes and hypocrites like Al Gore and even this WH and Ms. Hillary who again should be arrested for suspicion in breach in faith, treason, but heck no, just sit back and watch as budget deficit grows, our WMD stockpile is less and less and Korea and Tehran threaten such use and we encourage this new Chinese – Russian axis which will not bode well and all and supported by the acquiescence of you who profess to describe Homeland Security and with so much seemingly difficulty so get a grasp for we are besieged from within as the “beltway bandists” are so ever coprrupt and self-serving also in berach of faith to their oath to ‘ol Glory and to our Constitution and history where so many have given Life or limb to preserve our beloved Republic!

I remind you that as we sit and waste time…and talk of those issues are not a priority and we allow those we have “entrusted and elected by precious vote and such as Barry Obama and Hillary Clinton – who by the way are Not above our Judeo-Christian laws and justice system and are equal as any other citizen to abuse us from within when in fact so many from the outside seek our demise…We are a great peril as events unfold and our budget expenditures are unretrained….our laws are circumvented and executive orders are far too many and so on and so forth and this effort to be so divisive when at a time in history and for all humanity, We the American People must somehow stop – whispering – to the KGB Putinites and supporting Cairo and these nations which profess Sharia law so contrary to our American values and Democracy…

God Bless America!


Comment by Donald Quixote

March 22, 2013 @ 1:34 pm

DHS Oversight Panel Hears Consequences of Not Having Definition of Homeland Security

By: Anthony Kimery


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