While DHS is waiting to learn who its fourth leader will be, homeland security geeks (you know who you are) spend the summer quadrennially reviewing homeland security.
If you care about homeland security and want to add your voice to the 2nd QHSR discussion, you have at least two options. You can join the conversation on IdeaScale and you can go to the “Quadrennial Homeland Security Communities of Practice” message board. (Registration required on both sites.)
Here’s how the IdeaScale works:
- Users submit their ideas
- The “community” discusses and votes for the ideas.
- The best ideas bubble to the top.
I could not discover what happens to the ideas that bubble to the top.
The QHSR Communities of Practice site “addresses question of governance in the Homeland Security Enterprise – The Public Private Relationship.”
I interpreted those words to mean you could talk about anything as long as it had to do with public-private relationships in homeland security. Most of the 90+ posts did have a private sector connection, even the discussions of memes and the-always-appropriate “what is homeland security?”
The IdeaScale site has a richer variety of issues. As of last night, there were 140 of them — including:
- the impact of Obamacare on public health
- whether local law enforcement could be trusted with homeland security
- facial recognition
- global recovery
- politics as a waste
- Christion Zionism
- infectious illegal immigrants
- the security of homeland security vehicles
- tablet computers for prison inmates
- privacy concerns hindering homeland security efforts
There were many more.
Even if few of those ideas make it into the 2nd QHSR, they do offer candidates for news stories, research papers, conspiracy theories and congressional hearings.
I spent a few days last week in the company of 30 state, local, federal and private sector people, all of whom had some connection to homeland security.
I asked about the QHSR.
Most people had heard something about it. Some thought it was a strategy. Others said it was a law. It was a plan. A report.
One person said the QHSR influenced what that person did at work: ”Everything we do is aligned to the 2010 Review.” That person works for DHS.
No one else in the room was able to identify any impact the 2010 QHSR had on what they do. No one. The consensus was the 2014 Report would have the same result.
“Why is the QHSR Important?” asks the 2nd QHSR Engagement Bulletin.
The 2010 Report “described the what of homeland security.” The 2014 Report “will begin to describe the how of homeland security.”
Another description (available here) says the “first quadrennial review answered the question, ‘What is homeland security?’ ” And the “second quadrennial review is focusing on how we work together to address critical security challenges in the face of evolving threats and resource constraints.”
The Engagement Bulletin has a a buzzing description of five specific things the 2nd QHSR will do.
- Apply a strategic, risk based approach…using a rigorous, data-driven analytic approach.
- Learn from the past to help plan for the future….
- Maximize impact….
- Help create a DHS that “works together even more efficiently.
- Engage the entire homeland security enterprise….
I admire the ideals reflected in those aspirational objectives and the belief that the homeland security world might work that way.
I wonder what measures could be used to determine whether the QHSR will do those 5 things.
I wonder what “learn from the past” measures are used within DHS and in Congress to figure out what impact the 1st QHSR Report had in the homeland security enterprise. (Seriously. I’d appreciate learning, if anyone knows.)
Why even do this exercise?
Blame Congress. It mandated that every 4 years there be a review of “the homeland security of the nation.” Whatever that means.
Congress directed the Review to be:
a comprehensive examination of the homeland security strategy of the Nation, including recommendations regarding the long-term strategy and priorities of the Nation for homeland security and guidance on the programs, assets, capabilities, budget, policies, and authorities of the Department.
That’s a tall order. Bravo to those in the Arena who are trying to make this work.
If I remember correctly about what happened after the 1st QHSR Report was issued, Congress held hearings, DHS folks testified, Congress said there should be more progress.
That’s probably going to happen again.
But all that is later. Right now, cynic, realist or idealist, you have an opportunity to offer your ideas, debate with people who care about homeland security, and who knows, maybe make a difference.