Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

July 25, 2013

A missing link in strategy?

Earlier this week I was re-reading the DHS Strategic Plan (2012-2016).  I perceived something — actually its absence —  I had not noticed before.

Community involvement is, of course, a recurring mantra in the Strategic Plan and many other DHS policy, strategy, and operational documents. “Whole Community” is prominent in Mission 5: Ensuring Resilience to Disaster.  Other missions include similar language.  For example Mission 1: Preventing Terrorism and Enhancing Security has a goal to “Increase community participation in efforts to deter terrorists and other malicious actors and mitigate radicalization toward violence.”

A close reading of the Strategic Plan suggests the whole is made up of the following parts:

Private and Non-Profit Sectors
Faith Based organizations
Federal Partners
All Segments of Society

Especially with those catch-all terms it’s not that my “absence” is excluded.  But it is not given explicit attention.  Certainly not priority.

What prominent place in the life of most Americans is not referenced?

The workplace.

Indirectly this is part of the private sector or non-profit-sector or local and state government or whatever other sector in which you work. But these “sectors” are abstractions. The workplace is a concrete — often literally glass, steel, and concrete — place. Yet the only time “workplace” is referenced in the Strategic Plan is with workplace standards for protecting intellectual property and “workplace wellness” programs for DHS employees.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Americans age 25-to-54 spend an average of 8.8 hours per day at work. This is a larger block than any other activity, much larger than any other non-sleeping activity surveyed.

Yet the places where we work are not regularly conceived or engaged as venues where homeland security priorities can be pursued.

There are exceptions. I am aware of a few.  I welcome you highlighting successful exceptions in the comments.

The absence of the workplace from the DHS Strategy reveals a strategic perspective.  It is another example of the disconnect between private and public domains.  Clearly government is a place where homeland security is to be practiced.  There is considerable effort to engage neighborhoods and sometimes schools. These are real places too, but much more public than private in their character.

Is a “community” — whole or not — a real place?  It depends, in my experience, on the community and how an outsider approaches the putative community.

There are offices, distribution centers, power plants, factories and refineries, restaurants, hotels, retail stores and many more real places where each day the vast majority of Americans spend the majority of their waking hours.  Most of these places feature a task-oriented culture with management processes already in place.  Most of these places are self-interested in a reasonable level of safety, continuity, and resilience.

In my personal experience most of these places are wonderful contexts for the practical practice of homeland security.

There is a tendency for modern strategic thinking to be more comfortable with space than place.  See battlespace and cyberspace, even Space Command.  I am often an advocate for differentiating between Theater Command and Incident Command and perceive we give too little attention to the Big Picture.  But it is not, of course, one or the other: it is a continuum.

Real risks, threats, vulnerabilities and consequences usually unfold in real places where people come and go everyday.

Interesting what you can miss even when it’s right in front of you.  I’ve read that strategy a half-dozen times.  Wonder what else is hiding in plain sight?

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Comment by HGRATTAN

July 25, 2013 @ 5:13 am

Defining who is and is not a homeland security practitioner may prove to be difficult –when you examine a “whole” there is lot that might be missed. First, the whole of the homeland security enterprise was described many ways. Second, the work place was inferred in the descriptions.
The Homeland Security Enterprise
The 2010 QHSR referred to the homeland security enterprise as “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.” (p.viii) DHS noted that the use of the term homeland security enterprise connoted “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.” (pp.viii-ix)
Between Congress, the White House, and DHS at least six terms were related to the homeland security enterprise: homeland security stakeholder community; whole community, all-of nation, whole community of emergency management and whole of government. Juxtaposed, the definitions raised the question: Who is not homeland security?
First, the Homeland Security Act of 2002 (P.L. 107-296, Sec.2 (6)) defined emergency response providers as “Federal, State, and local emergency public safety, law enforcement, emergency response, emergency medical (including hospital emergency facilities), and related personnel, agencies, and authorities.”
Second, DHS’ 2006 Intelligence Enterprise Strategic Plan referred to the homeland security stakeholder community as “all levels of government, the Intelligence, Defense, and Law enforcement communities, private sector critical infrastructure operators, and those responsible for securing the borders, protecting transportation and maritime systems, and guarding the security of the Homeland.” (p.4)
Third, the 2010 National Security Strategy referred to a whole of government approach to national security that attempts to balance and integrate U.S. defense, diplomacy, economic, and homeland security capabilities.
Fourth, Presidential Policy Directive 8: National Preparedness referred to an all-of-nation approach to national preparedness as “the shared responsibility of all levels of government, the private and nonprofit sectors, and individual citizens.”
Fifth, FEMA’s 2011 A Whole Community Approach to Emergency Management: Principles, Themes, and Pathways for Action referred to the whole community of emergency management as “a means by which residents, emergency management practitioners, organizations and community leaders, and government officials can collectively understand and assess the needs of their respective communities and determine the best ways to organize and strengthen their assets, capacities, and interests.”
Sixth, DHS’ 2011 National preparedness goal used “whole of community” interchangeable with “all of nation” and defined the whole community as:
A focus on enabling the participation in national preparedness activities of a wider range of players from the private and nonprofit sectors, including nongovernmental organizations and the general public, in conjunction with the participation of Federal, state, and local governmental partners in order to foster better coordination and working relationships. (p.A-2)
Combined, the terms proposed that near everyone from every level of the public and private sector establish a state of preparedness by aggregating their capabilities to secure the homeland.
DHS Risk Steering Committee’s 2010 DHS Risk Lexicon maintained that risk was a key organizing principle for homeland security strategies. Risk management supported specific homeland security missions and determined how homeland security functions could be used to prevent, protect, mitigate, respond to, and recover from hazards to the nation. The committee defined a total of 123 risk related terms and did so through a three-phase process. The process included (a) a collection of terms that were collected across DHS and the risk community; (b) the harmonization of oft conflicting definitions to produce a single meaning for each term; and (c) the validation, review, and normalization of each term against a number of non-DHS sources to ensure that the definitions produced for use in DHS were consistent with those used by the larger risk community.
EMPHASIS: see (c) directly above.
The Workforce
The May 2013 National Prevention Framework described private sector entities as
all sectors of business, commerce, private universities, and industry that support the operation, security, and resilience of global trade systems. Private sector entities assist in the prevention of terrorism by identifying and reporting potential terrorism-related information to law enforcement. The Framework made special mention of critical infrastructure owners and operators.
Civic Responsibility 101
I return to my oft repeated theme of civic responsibility though this time in the context of workforce responsibility. As simple and despite some criticism, “If you see something, say something” just makes sense. Common sense, civic responsibility, and self-reliance makes sense too. As was suggested in this blog this passed Tuesday saying something can be someone with an axe to grind. See: http://www.hlswatch.com/2013/07/23/essence-of-rat-in-fed-insider-threat-program/
Most times those axes decrease morale and organizational capacity. Albeit sometimes grinding axes exposes bad things we want/need to know. Balancing “see something, say something” with a sense of civic (and workforce) responsibility is essential to a democratic society.
IMHO, we should start with K-12 civic education by including it in Common Core standards. Higher education should be encouraged to include civic education in their general education requirements. Finally, the U.S. Citizens and Immigration Service Learn About the United States: Quick Civics Lessons for the Naturalization would make for good office reading. See especially Sec 53. What is one promise you make when you become a United States citizen? (p.13)

See: http://www.uscis.gov/USCIS/Office%20of%20Citizenship/Citizenship%20Resource%20Center%20Site/Publications/PDFs/M-638_red.pdf

Comment by William R. Cumming

July 25, 2013 @ 8:26 am

Great post and great comment. Thanks Phil and HGRATTAN!

Do you ever wonder if DHS makes available on a consistent basis the materials produced under the Community Right to Know Act (1986) that I believe is Title III of SARA [Superfund Act Reauthorization Act}?

I just discovered thanks to a GAO report of January 2013 again documenting the almost complete absence of coordinated preparedness in the NCR [National Capitol Region] that the key national preparedness unit in DHS has only 24 employees [FTEs] far less than say the 40 in the FEMA policy shop.

Clearly preparedness is now officially a step child in FEMA as is Insurance and Mitigation. Well one thing you can always say the government never does well is establish priorities. And by the way the deadline coming up for all the IG’s to send a letter to Congress on their top 10 issues and policy disputes. And that list prioritized in the opinion of the OIGs.

With no budget passed again for FY 2014 the rendezvous with destiny of another budget collision is now fully in place.

I no longer sharpen my axe but just schedule events to test the system. A CATEGORY 3 or 4 in September?
The Big One in CA this fall.

Well time will tell!

Comment by Christopher Tingus

July 25, 2013 @ 3:40 pm

Homeland Security and our vulnerability as a nation and its failed leadership prompts little confidence in our preparedness and response and in fact, whether we are as resilient as we think given the divisiveness as led by even Madame Secretary who should of resigned….

The “community” is so ravaged by the self-agenda and the lack of integrity, the willingness to dismiss all which has made America great and to remembrance to all who have sacrificed Life or limb for us to reside together and have respective choices without other to impose their values and now we see an ever imposing government willing to lie and cheat and “enslave” us so how can we expect much from the community who has allowed our Constitution to be so tattered at its edges by even a White House who not only keeps the White House Doors Closed to our Kids who deserve better and opened to invited – rappers- but a White House who willingly and knowingly lies….can we really rely on one another when the populace no matter color allows such divisive and often apparently criminal behavior where all is referred to as “phony” and the truth is so easily distorted….
kindly see the words of Stephen Douglass….

In the words of Samuel Adams (1775):

“No People will tamely surrender their Liberties, nor can they be eaily subdued, when knowledge is wide spread and Virtue preserved. On the Contrary, when people are unwisely ignorant, and debauched in their manners, they will sink under their own weight without Aid of foreign invaders” –

In the words of James Madison (1785):

“If tyranny and oppression come to this land, it will be under the guise of fighting a foreign enemy. But, in reality it will be an Enemy from within”

While I quickly refer you to Biblical verse: Psalm 83….

I must cite the words of Stephen Douglass, an individual i hold in much esteem and who best describes Barry Obama and Eric Holder in their continued insistence to circumvent the Constitution, to fail in enforcing the established laws and especially this “Chicago city street slicker” and nothing more who utilizes divisiveness and willingness in blatant lie as we shall never forget those willingly and knowingly left behind at the “Benghazi Massacre” and in my suggestion that Barry Obama and Hillary Clinton be placed under House arrest in the suspicion in breach of faith, treason –

Ladies and Gentlemen, Stephen Douglass who best describes the present evolving government given his vision long ago:

“Find out just what People will submit to, and you have found the exact amount of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them; and these will continue until they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress” –

Further, I reiterate my reply to a few and using Stephen Douglass; words:

“I prefer to be true to myself, even at the hazard of incurring ridicule of others, rather than to be false, and to incur my own abhorrence” –

To best describe to you the real scandals at hand, I turn to the following and suggest an interesting perspective for your perusal:


Further, like ‘ol Glory, with its colors of red, white and blue, as Christians and Jews, we have all been proud of our Judeo-Christian values and in our beloved Republic and while barry Obama, a half white man, a majority of caucasian voter who voted at least in the first ’08 election to portray an unbiased white community seeking leadership of one who was really obviously spewing empty rhetorical orations from his Rev Wright Obama pulpit who supported Tehran’s intent to have WMD in hand as long as the “Zionists” had same and in pledge to Hussein Obama and his kenyan pals, anti-Christan and anti-colonialists seeking to bring our mighty arsenal required of a Democracy to be sustained against those who seek our demise, We here on “Main Street” USA are White, Black, Blue, Green, Yellow and a combination of cultures and while we share many similarities, we are distinct in our choices and there is no harm in being proud of our respective choices and White America, despite the ongoing seemingly criminal efforts to the lay man of those We have “entrusted’ to serve us all, it must be remembered that White America voted the first – supposed – Black man into office, however as many Black Americans will attest to and realize, Black American unemployment continues to be high as it was in ’08 and crime is rampant and it is Black America which must address this unfortunate challenge in its community for it is obvious that an ever burdensome government – “enslaving” – Black America especially to government support will never lend real support to a better quality in living and while our youth certainly deserve better in seeing the White House doors reopened as our the doors seem only opened to WH parties and “rappers” as guests, history perceived by Michelle and Barry Obama and their perverse and biased prejudice acknowledges the struggles imposed by slavery issues, but also includes the advancement of all who have had to endure the challenges of bias and other…

It is interesting to note that when I went to Martha’s Vineyard over the weekend, what I observed were – Black friends – more often accomplished in their respective educational and professional attainments based on focus and commitment in diligence and like the Irish, the Greeks (Hellenes), the Jews, the Armenians, the Italians and Portuguese, the African, and so on, while not all, however many of these individuals worked tireless and with much compromise and adversity and overcame whatever the stumbling block making no excuse and neither placing their hand out, unless temporally and whether while CNN’s audience is now very few compared with Fox News as the populace of all color, similarities and differences look to Oreilly’s – Talking Points – realizing that it is time to talk straight from the shoulder and say it the way it is and no other way…

Get a Life and wake up and stand forthright on behalf of our Constitution and our beloved Republic for We must all Respect one another and the old adage of working hard bring results, well, try it for more and more, we as a populace and nation are failing and when we do not stand for and show Ms. Hillary that telling the truth versus placing self-agenda first – does make a difference –

God Bless us all and our nation for whether Black, White, Blue or Green and yellow and “whatever” – We are in much peril from the lack of sincerity, the pledge in oath with hand on Bible and to our Constitution now torn at its edges by those who could given a damn and have no regard or respect of our history and those who before us, gave Life or limb to assure Democracy no so, so abused by those who prefer to be divisive and to manipulate and even “entrusted” by precious vote who are elected to serve but place self-aganda as their priority….

Christopher Tingus
“Main Street USA”
PO Box 1612
Harwich (Cape Cod), MA 02645 USA

Comment by shopping for cheap cute clothes

August 2, 2013 @ 10:17 pm

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