Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

August 2, 2013

Friday Free Forum

Filed under: General Homeland Security — by Philip J. Palin on August 2, 2013

On this day in 1990 Iraq invaded Kuwait.  Gulf War I had something to do with Gulf War II.  Each in very different ways have implications for what we now call homeland security.  But 1990 certainly seems distant from 2003 and each of these prefaces seem profoundly distant from today.

What’s on your mind related to homeland security?

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Comment by HGRATTAN

August 2, 2013 @ 6:53 am

In one short month, the Fall semester begins.
This time last year I asked (myself, this blog, and my students) what is HLS?

In a years’ time, two events sharing the same name Superstorm Sandy and the Sandy Elementary School shootings answered the question, at least in part.
Revelations at NSA and the Boston Terrorist Attacks also informed the definition.

Still no succinct definition. I continue asking the question uncertain if HLS needs a common or consensus definition. I am reminded that we do not have a consensus definition of terrorism either.

The White House said that HLS is ultimately about National Security.
It would follow that the Gulf War I and II were more about national security than HLS. There are, however, implications for HLS in the same vein that the Arab Spring (frost?) and particularly Egypt’s and Syria’s woes might overflow into HLS.

I am looking to the QHSR 2014 and maybe a new National Security Strategy for some answers and maybe a consensus definition of HLS.

BTW, FEMA’s Superstorm Sandy AAR affirmed my belief that the nation and especially FEMA has learned the lessons of Katrina. I also sense that the Obama administration is starting to promote a sense of self-reliance.

IMHO, the nation would be well served if the definition of homeland security integrated more Emersonian self-reliance.

And we are now men, and must accept in the highest mind the same transcendent destiny; and not minors and invalids in a protected corner; not cowards fleeing before a revolution, but guides, redeemers and benefactors, obeying the Almighty effort and advancing on Chaos and the Dark. (Emerson, 1841)

See http://www.emersoncentral.com/selfreliance.htm

Comment by William R. Cumming

August 2, 2013 @ 6:59 am

Those living in the NCR [National Capital Region] PLEASE WATCH OUT! Why?

In the first Congressional hearing ever on Preparedness in the NCR held by the Homeland Security Committee and presided over by Senator Begich of Alaska [who did a good job in the hearing IMO] four witnesses provided excellent testimony and put a brave face on NCR preparedness. But this was the cover story. Behind the scenes there was NO FEMA witness and despite a statutory charter for the position of the NCRC [National Capitol Region Coordinator] established in the Homeland Security Act of 2002 and supposed to report directly to the Secretary DHS, that position is housed in FEMA and Administrator Fugate tried to move the NCRC to FEMA Region III. Another example of a dictatorial and authoritarian head of FEMA even trying to ignore the law.

More important to me is the substance of the need for outstanding coordination, collaboration, and cooperation in the NCR. The most recent GAO report on the issue documents years of neglect of preparedness in the NCR.

And GAO was not invited as a witness in the hearing.

Comment by William R. Cumming

August 2, 2013 @ 7:05 am

Interesting comment HGRATTAN!
One part of interest follows:
“BTW, FEMA’s Superstorm Sandy AAR affirmed my belief that the nation and especially FEMA has learned the lessons of Katrina. I also sense that the Obama administration is starting to promote a sense of self-reliance.”

Respectfully I disagree and conclude the opposite. Fugate taking credit in part for Obama re-election by his flooding the Storm Sandy arena with many untrained unqualified FEMA personnel but did show the flag.

In the NCR preparedness hearing discussed previously revealed that funding for the CERT teams ends October 1st. So much for community participation in preparedness.

Evidence of deep corruption appearing in state and local expenditure of Storm Sandy funds. This will be of interest to watch over next several years.

Comment by William R. Cumming

August 2, 2013 @ 7:08 am

And the President issued a new Executive Order yesterday on Chemical Safety but like many things the Administration does utility will be demonstrated will down the road and often over 270 days off. The punch of Executive Orders is doubtful legally but hey better than nothing.

What the new EO really reveals is the huge effectiveness of the chemical industry in avoiding effective regulation by any level of government.

Comment by William R. Cumming

August 2, 2013 @ 7:11 am

And James Fallows in the Atlantic arguing the Snowden case is all about Internet Freedom. Maybe?

Rumors starting to appear for a Nobel Peace Prize for Snowden as the Nobel Committee tries to make up for its earlier award to the war-waging drone striking President Obama. Who knows?

My fear is the breakdown of the international economy with $700 trillion in untaxed and unregulated derivative financial instruments stalking the world.

Comment by JD

August 2, 2013 @ 12:48 pm

@HG, I opine that HS still is crushed in the overlap of the Venn diagram between traditional National Security and traditional Emergency Management: expand and contract those circles depending upon what you want to include or exclude in an HS definition. I am not sure we are close to freezing that expansion or contraction yet, as the field remains in flux (e.g, cyber as a new threat vector in last few years).

I suppose one could consider the self-reliance of the individual as an extreme end of the Emergency Management circle (“look out for yourself”) and the use of the powers of the State for national defense (“provide for the common defence”) as the other end of the National Security circle.

@WRC, the FEMA NCR Office of National Capital Region Coordination (ONCRC) and FEMA Regional III are both relatively weak in terms of relations to the NCR local jurisdictions. Certainly, folding the office under the Region III office will make it even less relevant. The NCR local jurisdictions generally play well together via decades-old regional Council of Governments, without the major FEMA involvement. The more important player in the NCR is the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) which makes the call on the federal government-wide decisions to stay open or closed in snowstorms and such. Perhaps transferring the ONCRC functions to OPM would make more sense than packing them up I-95 to Philly.

The greater crime in reducing preparedness in the National Capital Region was done by Health and Human Services (HHS) last year, which shut down the locally-run, federally-funded first responder WMD response team, the National Medical Response Team (NMRT), because the HHS staff wanted more federal control. To my knowledge, that hasn’t been widely publicized, HHS basically shut off the funding, locked the gates, let a decade of equipment rot, and killed off a program that was started and run well by local NCR fire/EMS/police/HazMat since the mid-1990s when it was started with the first Nunn-Luger-Domenici preparedness funding.

My own contribution this week… here are two posts about airport car valets being tasked by TSA to search vehicles.

Certainly this seems to raise a few issues for discussion:
1. The constitutionality of the searches;
2. The use of private workers to perform an inherently governmental function;
3. The expansion of the TSA jurisdictional footprint outside the gate area (I thought this was the territory of local law enforcement).

Links here:



Comment by William R. Cumming

August 2, 2013 @ 2:11 pm

Thanks JD! Great info about the NCR!

It would be of interest to hear from the leadership of the Military District of Washington about NCR preparedness. Also wondering with the dedication of the new Coast Guard HQ whether it contains a brand new EOC to add to the over 30 in the NCR.

Comment by Christopher Tingus

August 2, 2013 @ 5:05 pm

All be very attentive to the alert this weekend. God Bless us all!

Conferring w/business colleagues throughout the Middle East, citizens, residents as well as expats yesterday and today, apparently “locals” are indeed quite concerned as to security and regional stability and again given the Friday Free Forum, I continue point to this current “Chicago-Hollywood-Washington Charade” and failed WH administration led by an obviously very narrow minded Chief Executive who not only gives little Respect to our White House for closing its doors to the White House, but has referred to the “Benghazi Massacre” as a phony scandal and….

…. given no arrests of the known perpetrators and murders of our esteemed Ambassador and our brave American Patriots – so willingly left behind – any substantial attack by AQ who should not be construed as anything less than leadership capable in strategic strike planning and has been encouraged to take up sword towards our beloved Republic and American friends simply by the obvious weakening of the US military and global positioning….Imagine we cannot deploy a naval vessel to the region unless Barry and Michelle are vacationing at the tune of millions….

How dare this WH be allowed to portray such policy to the detriment of our national security and fellow citizen as well as embassy personnel! To protect our Democracy, whether one likes it or not, a strong arsenal is a necessity….Germany is filling the void and We shall pay a price and so will the Middle East which is unfortunate given our numerous friends.

While I have strongly suggested and quite seriously that Barry Obama and Hillary Clinton both be held in House arrest for – suspicion in breach of faith, treason – for their intentional self-serving mannerisms and decisions at the “Benghazi Massacre” – enough is enough…far too many are being placed at risk by the intentional circumvention of the American way….We lead!

God Bless us all!

Watch for that drone as it may be following you, but it surely is not falling the perpetrators of the “Benghazi Massacre” a gun deal gone bad and a diminished security force in the area…

Let’s hope all keep cool heads in the Middle east this weekend. As to AQ, again, it is not the USA you should be watching over your shoulder, but Germany for the Germans are very quietly filling the void and will become a dominant force to reckon with throughout the Middle East….

Christopher Tingus
“Main Street USA”
Friday Free Forum
Cape Cod, MA 02645 USA

Comment by William R. Cumming

August 3, 2013 @ 3:09 am

Did I mention that Congress has recessed until after Labor Day?

Comment by William R. Cumming

August 3, 2013 @ 7:47 am

Apparently waiting for Congress to leave town it now turns out that the AQ threat is enough for the US to withdraw from much of the Islamic World. Ostrich empire?

Comment by Christopher Tingus

August 3, 2013 @ 7:50 am

Germany is already on the march and like the “KGB Putinites” as we all saw the poor turnout when Barry Obama visited Berlin recently, the Germans whose Afghanistan presence will remain waving to the Americans as the last of the US troops leave and the Germans increase troop strength and places more German aircraft at their air force base to the north, it is obvious to the naked eye that the new German Confederate of Middle East States not only is strengthened by the billions – yes, billions of dollars worth of weaponry being sent to the Middle East states as Germany again positions itself lime in 1870, 1914, 1939 and again today as the force that must be reckoned with and a Germany strategy which has already encircled the “Brutes of Tehran” and will crush Tehran….

….however, the rest of the story and again as in history, to the detriment of all mankind, Germany and its sidekick, the ever powerful Vatican with its influence as we saw in Brazil and South America in recent days when the Pope visited and the crowds were so welcoming, the German flag unfurls and the perverse and biased American public, ignorant in many ways, though good hearted in intent, sheltered from the reality of the anguish so many must confront daily in just trying to survive as their government leadership, tyrants abuse them in every way….

….Americans voted for the color of a man’s skin even though a half-white man instead of competencies and while both Barry Obama and Hillary Clinton should be held in House arrest in suspicion of breach of faith, treason for their blatant lies and willingness to leave our brave Patriots behind at the “Benghazi Massacre” and for this “Chicago city street slicker” and nothing more so prejudiced he and his Wife, Michelle Obama so willingly spending millions and millions to take vacations while – the White House Doors remain Closed and our Kids Deserve Better – and the Black community who was so duped as well by this half-white man who has left their young in high unemployment even more so than in ’08….and continues to spew his empty Rev Wright and Obama political rhetoric, ladies and gentlemen, Biblical verse is quite clear and War looms ahead and while Barry Obama in his pledge to Hussein Obama and his Kenyan pals, anti-colonialists, anti-Christians and certainly hell-bent in diminishing the American global presence in every way, militarily and economically while the sheep follow, an America without a strong arsenal and a string arm will not thwart the intentions of those seeking the demise of the west and again as in history, keep a very weary eye on the Germans, arch enemy to America as well and read scripture as it plainly shows the way ahead for those unable to repent!
While there is no nation better than our beloved Republic and while Barry Obama et al have left our Constitution tattered at its edges, maybe with conviction and much prayer, We here on “Main Street USA” will awaken, however probably not as the media is so tainted and so youthful in its ignorance of history and the privileges of living in a Democracy are so taken for granted….

Even to the shock and dismay of the illustrious Hawk, you will eventually see Hamas and Hezbollah frown and turn away from Assad and the Syrian regime of thugs and they and you will see Hamas and Hezbollah even turn their cheek from Tehran! The evildoers as soldiers of lucifer are among us and again, dismissing the history of humanity and its readiness in picking up sword in the quest to control Jerusalem which neither Islam or Christianity will ever control for the throne awaits our King and the Hebrew in covenant will continue to turn away foe, yet the Germans will unfortunately even hood wink the Hebrew as the tyrant in America and its ever imposing government seeking to use healthcare as a means to the end, assures that global strife will have little challenge from a weakened America who can only position its naval vessels offshore when the Obamas visit Africa at a cost of $100 million fiat federal reserve notes, however Not when strategic interests dictate for after all, in the words of Samuel Jackson (1775):
“No People will tamely surrender their Liberties, nor can they be easily 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 and without Aid of foreign invaders” –

…also, 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 –

…and in the face of all this intentional divisiveness in Obama strategy to divide this nation using the color of skin and in the words of Frederic Douglass who best describes this criminal behavior led by Barry Obama et al and supported by the utter ignorance of the American people and the easily dismissed ties to former generations and the hardships and perseverance which created this great nation called America:

“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 worlds or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress” –

God Bless us all!

Christopher Tingus
“Main Street USA”
PO Box 1612
Harwich (Cape Cod), MA USA
skype: christopher.tingus

Comment by HGRATTAN

August 3, 2013 @ 10:02 am


HLS/EM community did learn the lessons of Katrina.

Meta-prepare. Evacuate. Stage resources outside kill zone.

If anything over-prepare rather than underprepare. Spend what you must knowing that some funding will land in the lap of corrupt people.

HLS/EM funding is inherently political and some recipients will abuse emergency funding.

Significant number of FEMA surge force where not qualified. FEMA conceded this in Sandy AAR. The question is how to train and maintain a trained surge force.

BTW, USCG did the same thing in Deep Water Horizon, i.e. flood the impact zone with blue suits. (Few had marine science (MST) backgrounds). But, HLS people are (IMHO) generalists.

Chris Bellavita’s “HLS is in pre-paradigm stage” holds true today, but is evolving.

Politics, corruption (level TBD), and issue-attention mania; notwithstanding, Sandy was progress.

Re: self-reliance. I said “starting to.” O and the nation have a long way to go on the self-reliance continuum.

Comment by Christopher Tingus

August 3, 2013 @ 10:38 pm


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