Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

January 17, 2014

Friday Free Forum

Filed under: General Homeland Security — by Philip J. Palin on January 17, 2014

Today, in a speech at the Justice Department — scheduled for 11AM eastern — the President is expected to address calls for reform in how the intelligence community collects and uses digital data.

Today California firefighters are battling several significant wildfires in the midst of serious and wide-spread drought.

On this day in 1994 a  6.7 earthquake hit Northridge, California.  On this day in 1995 a 7.3 earthquake hit Kobe, Japan.

On this day in 1966 a US B-52G bomber collided with a KC-135 tanker during mid-air refueling over the Mediterranean Sea. The KC-135 was destroyed when its fuel load ignited. The B-52G broke apart. Three of four nuclear weapons carried on the B-52G were found on land near the small fishing village of Palomares, Spain. The non-nuclear explosives in two of the weapons detonated upon impact with the ground, resulting in the contamination of a 0.78 square mile area by plutonium released from the nuclear weapons. The fourth weapon, which had fell into the Mediterranean Sea, was recovered intact after a 2½-month-long search.

On this day in 2010 riots between Christian and Muslim communities in Jos, Nigeria resulted in 200 deaths.

What’s on your mind related to homeland security?

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23 Comments »

Comment by William R. Cumming

January 17, 2014 @ 2:14 am

IMO the various posts and comments on this blog reveal that a large-scale bureaucratic stupor has set in at DHS! Seldom are DHS initiatives discussed for the merits of policy or progrmattic changes!

My question is the following: Is this a good or bad thing for HS?

Comment by Philip J. Palin

January 17, 2014 @ 5:55 am

Bill:

Other commentators will have other answers. For myself, I do not comment much on DHS policy-making for several reasons.

1. If — on the rare occasion — I am involved in the policy-making, I owe some discretion to those with whom I am working. If I might see poison in the sausage-making I would speak out here and elsewhere. But mostly I see banal processes, incremental progress, and the occasional secret recipe, none of which, in my opinion, is valuable to publicize on a regular basis.

2. I have never especially focused on DHS. In fact I make a great deal of the distinction between Homeland Security (official) and homeland security (un-official). I operate mostly in the unofficial domain.

3. Both Christian and Jonah focused on the official domain. We have been unable to recruit regular posts on the official domain. Does our inability to recruit (or retain) such posters support your insight. Maybe.

I agree there is an unfortunate silence on such issues here. But, at least in my case, this absence emerges from being involved elsewhere rather than active and purposeful disdain.

Comment by John Comiskey

January 17, 2014 @ 6:32 am

HLS2014: Introduction

This blogger is currently researching how colleges prepare students for HLS. To do so, the blogger first asks what is HLS? The White House (2001) announced a “New National Calling: Homeland Security.” Since then, people in HLS have been asking what is HLS? Shawn Reese (2013) of the Congressional Research Service identified at least seven USG definitions of HLS. Reese did not mention DOD’s (2011) definition. Notably, the National Governors Association (2010) affirmed the White House’s 2007 definition of HLS. The U.S. government does not, however, have a consensus or common definition of homeland security. Sometime this year DHS will publish the 2014 Quadrennial Homeland Security. People in HLS are more than a little curious to know what the 2014 QHSR portends for HLS.

IMHO, HLS is a strategic and collaborative national effort to secure the homeland against intentional, natural, and accident threats. Clovis (2006) argued and this blogger agrees that all levels of government should aggregate, coordinate, and integrate their HLS capabilities to ensure the greatest level of national preparedness. This blogger adds to the list of collaborators DHS’s (2010) homeland security enterprise. Bratton and Tumin (2012) argued further, albeit in more than an HLS sense, that we must “Collaborate or Perish.”

In a perfect HLS world, the enterprise collaborates selflessly and necessarily minimalizes interagency and inter-jurisdictional prerogatives. They try, to the best of their individual and collective capabilities, to prevent/mitigate attacks/storms/accidents and respond and help other recover from those attacks/storms/accidents that do occur. Moreover, they are reflective practitioners (Schon,1994). They reflect on what has happened, what they did, what went right, what went wrong, and most importantly how they can do better the next time.
This blogger senses that Friday Free Forum is a good place to explore the past, present, and future of HLS. To that end, graduate students and colleagues have been enlisted to offer their thoughts about HLS. When asked for guidance as to what to post, I suggested that we let a thousand flowers blossom (Bellavita & Gordon, 2006) and see what happens.

In the interest of full transparency, the blogger will instruct four of his graduate students to post a minimum of ten times during our upcoming spring semester that begins next week. They will be required to post something relevant to technology/future of HLS.

Bratton, W. & Tumin. Z.(2012). Collaborate or perish: Reaching across boundaries in a networked world. New York: Crown Publishing.

Clovis, S.H. Jr. (2006). Federalism, homeland security, and national preparedness: A case study in the development of public policy. Homeland Security Affairs.2(3). Retrieved from http://www.hsaj.org/?article=2.3.4

National Governors Association. A governor’s guide to homeland security. Retrieved from http://www.nga.org/files/live/sites/NGA/files/pdf/1011GOVGUIDEHS.PDF

Reese, S. (2013). Defining homeland security: Analysis and congressional consideration, Congressional Research Service. (CRS Publication No.R42462). Retrieved from http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/homesec/R42462.pdf

Schon, D.A. (1994). Reflective practitioners: How professional think in action. New York: Basic Books.

U.S. Department of Defense. (2011). Joint publication 1-02: Department of Defense dictionary of military and associated terms. (Issued November 8, 2010; as amended through January 31, 2011). Retrieved from http://ra.defense.gov/documents/rtm/jp1_02.pdf

U.S. Department of Homeland Security (2010). Quadrennial homeland security review: A strategic framework for a secure homeland. Retrieved fromhttp://www.dhs.gov/xlibrary/assets/qhsr_report.pdf

White House, Executive Office of the President. (2001) Securing the homeland strengtheningthe nation. Retrieved from http://www.hsdl.org/?view&did=855

________________________(2007). National strategy for homeland security. Retrieved from http://www.hsdl.org/?view&did=479633

Comment by Philip J. Palin

January 17, 2014 @ 7:52 am

Bill: Looks like John and his students and colleagues will help balance the lack of attention to HS policy making here.

Comment by Claire B. Rubin

January 17, 2014 @ 9:09 am

Many of the documents John lists do in fact supply the official HS rhetoric, reality seems to be quite different.

Comment by William R. Cumming

January 17, 2014 @ 10:39 am

Thanks to all for comments! My sources, largely OFA’s [other federal departments and agencies] and I am told that DHD reps to Interagency Forums attend but largely are silent as to participating in discussion. Exception is US Coast Guard.

CALIFORNIA WINTER WILDFIRES: Since 1969 the NFIP [National Flood Insurance Program] has had statutory authority to cover flood-related mudslide! No muslide hazard maps currently exist. But claims are paid. This erodes the underlying statutory scheme of the NFIP! NO flood-related erosion maps also authorized have been issued either.

Comment by William R. Cumming

January 17, 2014 @ 10:42 am

The epicenter of the NORTHRIDGE earthquake was 600 miles deep! The KOBE earthquake’s epicenter was 60 miles deep!

Comment by William R. Cumming

January 17, 2014 @ 10:50 am

Over 100 draft Executive Orders impacting the environment being held up by the WH! My two favorites
overdue for revision are EO 11990 on wetlands and EO 11988 on floodplain management! Both issued by President James Earl Carter!

I am told self-initiated inter-agency cooperation and collaboration at all-time low in the federal Executive
Branch.

I wonder how much OFAs particpated in the first QHSR?

How much the current effort?

Comment by William R. Cumming

January 17, 2014 @ 10:54 am

Pretty common agreement by knowledgeable observers that this President spends 2/3rds of his time on foreign affairs and military affairs.

Comment by Dan O'Connor

January 17, 2014 @ 12:23 pm

Bill, et al;

When HLS is a by and large dictated Federal idea or disposition, it almost by default must take on the legalese or “bureaucratic stupor” of Washington because that is the expected language.

Even if we were to speak in metaphor, HLS is in its adolescence and within that context trying to find its place. John obviously goes to great length to point out the source documents for a formalized definition and structure. However, the idea of HLS leaves much to be desired.

The HLS enterprise or community, depending on ones’ predilection or syntax has much it can address for future relevance.

Its exercise and evaluation process is broken…inexorably broken. It’s contrived and scripted to such a degree that not a lot is accomplished annually. Is that because leaders do not want to be embarrassed by the lack of capability and potency or…because it’s been dutifully bureaucratized? The idea of a centralized exercise program is reasonable in a bureaucracy because so many hope to control the outcome. That’s not real.

Also, there seems to be a lack of adaptability and nimbleness in the construct. I like Rafe Sagarin’s biological disposition and ideas in this regard. So if we are not adaptive, decentralized, and nimble, the gaps created by Bill’s “bureaucratic stupor” become hardened, calcified if you will, and permanent. That is vulnerability. Instead of addressing these gaps we continue to reinforce antiquated ideas of what is security and threats, paying lip service instead of attention. Perhaps an overstatement on my part, but resilience and adaptation are far more important than the biannual review of Federal Continuity Directive 1 (FCD1)…

And DHS has issues with hiring qualified people. Yes morale stinks and yes, DHS will again be voted the worst place to work in the Federal Government. Initial numbers from the annual survey are still trending down. Survey’s being what they are may skew the reality a bit, but with 40% of its leadership positions unfilled and no qualified and quantified idea on how to develop HLS professionals should be a cause for concern.

The political patronage is destroying any semblance of vertical opportunity and the risk averse culture and professional bureaucrat stymies initiative. Look carefully at the leadership positions within DHS and one will see hundreds of political appointees.

It’s the nature of the beast sure, but it does not lend itself to growing and developing capable subordinates that will rise through the ranks. Perhaps it’s unfair to compare to the DoD but Generals are selected from Colonels and Colonels from Major’s, and Majors from …well, it’s pretty clear that there is a system in place that screens, evaluated, and prepared leaders and operators.
Unfortunately the OPM and organizational nepotism and cronyism make the organization unlikely to get well rounded, mature, and critical thinkers and operators.

I know there are exceptions to this but the building of an organization, training and educating them, and preparing them for uncertainty has been left to what many would say are amateurs. Again, perhaps a bit unfair, but it is something that should be discussed. I know people who have great experience, graduated from CHDS and have unbelievable achievements who have applied for hundreds of Federal jobs with no interviews. It becomes a bit surreal. It also has its effect on both the attitude and opinion of the HLS but more specifically DHS enterprise.

It may be a function of its maturation but these are some of the challenges you who contribute to this blog illuminate daily.

So the real discussion I’d like to hear about are expectations too high or should we continue to expect a lessening of impact and relevance, so much so that DHS and HLS become as relevant as the Bureau of Engraving and Printing? No disrespect to the B.E.P.

Are these the growing pains an organization kluged together after an attack should have anticipated or has the entire idea of homeland security become so boiler plated in rhetoric and contrived that potency and capability are diminishing every day? Growing up is tough. I guess that’s why they call it growing pains and not joys!

That’s whats on my mind today anyway.

Comment by John Comiskey

January 17, 2014 @ 12:48 pm

Dan,

To your question/point:

“Is that because leaders do not want to be embarrassed by the lack of capability and potency or…because it’s been dutifully bureaucratized?”

Leaders must balance needs and wants and politics with limited resources. HLS is in part about spending money on things that we hope will not happen. A good many of those things are low-probability high-consequence events.

Politicians, distinguished here from leaders, mostly consider the short term hoping that those low-probability high-consequence events do not happen during their term of office.

In this sense civil society has deluded itself. We have accepted mediocrity. Great leaders make tough decisions.

Great leaders do not read polls. They influence polls. (Note: this blogger has not deluded himself about the nature of politics)

Real-world HLS capabilities are costly but necessary.
Again referencing Sam Clovis (see original post), the nation must aggregate, coordinate, and integrate their HLS capabilities to ensure the greatest level of national preparedness.

Final point, as the 2013 National Preparedness Report suggests, the nation is more prepared. President Obama and N.J. Governor Christie’s joint press conferences and support were especially promising considering that Christie was then thumping for the RNC presidential candidate. Their actions were, however, after the superstorm.

Comment by Claire B. Rubin

January 17, 2014 @ 1:41 pm

Great discussion. Keep up the good work.

Comment by William R. Cumming

January 17, 2014 @ 1:47 pm

Dan and John again thanks for your comments! And just to repeat how the oldest and wealthiest democracy handles HLS is fundamental to survival of our Constitution IMO
and it is a key element in projection of US soft power.

Wondering how DHS would stack up on the expertise scale nationally and internationally?

Comment by Dan O'Connor

January 17, 2014 @ 3:05 pm

John;

Good points and I generally agree. Your comment;

“Leaders must balance needs and wants and politics with limited resources. HLS is in part about spending money on things that we hope will not happen. A good many of those things are low-probability high-consequence events.

I think that is part of a leaders responsibility. I also believe that leaders have the inherent responsibility to complete their mission and ensure for the welfare of their subordinates. Perhaps too operational but both are elements of capability, not dialogue.

And investment in subordinates and mission capability enables a more robust and adaptive response to long tail/fat tail/exceedence probability/black swan events.

Your point about civility deluding itself is spot on. Depending on ones point of view and experiences, one could make the case that that delusion or alternative reality is as much constructed by an extended entitlement culture and/or less engaged populace. This contrived or ignorant delusion is part of our diminishing resilience.

Even though the 2013 National Preparedness Report might suggest a more prepared nation I find it challenging that there is not a more quantified measure much less a qualified one. This suggestion could be argued to be part of the very deluded populace you mentioned.

Nevertheless, you make, as usual excellent points.

Comment by Philip J. Palin

January 17, 2014 @ 4:03 pm

John and Dan: You both give considerable attention to leadership. I perceive — correct me if wrong — that each of you believe reality is fundamentally emergent. It is my experience that leadership is, in particular, an emergent phenomena. If you are right, why has leadership not emerged in Homeland Security?

Comment by Dan O'Connor

January 19, 2014 @ 7:14 pm

Phil; a most difficult question. Perhaps the most difficult question. I cannot say I am right but I do have an opinion. In my opinion leadership does not emerge because it is thwarted. It is thwarted not on purpose but by circumstance. It is thwarted by excessive political turnover and appointment, an immature definition of homeland security, and an overemphasis on management (bureaucracy) and justification of existence.

That is probably unfair and a bit hyperbolic but I make that assessment based on the following criteria.

We all have sources and/or definitions of what leadership is. Much has been written about leadership. I think too much emphasis is placed in some business abstract on leadership as if to say only business is a place where leadership excels. From my Marine Corps days we were taught that there are four indicators of leadership; morale, proficiency, esprit de corps, and discipline. In the context I first elaborated on, that being DHS, HLS and the Federal picture, I see near non existent morale and esprit de Corps, limited proficiency based on no structured development program and strategic vision on how to grow and deploy a homeland security professional and discipline, that being a culture of thoughtful and comprehensive set of behaviors that demonstrates excellence.

Each component that makes up DHS, a shaping giant in HLS has an agenda, culture, inclusive disposition, and are too focused on maintaining status quo and not building excellence. And it should not be unexpected. We do not lead systems, programs, and budgets. We lead people and manage the aforementioned. Yet, the focus of effort, in my opinion, is massaging spread sheets, torturing numbers, and minimizing identifying areas that need to be improved.

People will undoubtedly get angry with me and not see my point of view. That’s fine and will not be the first or last time. However, I have spend significant amounts of time observing several components, both operational and administrative and that’s what I come away with.

Leadership has not emerged because it is not a priority. People are not a priority, and when people are not the priority, there is a lack of leadership. To a lesser degree I have seen it also at the state level and have been told the human dynamic is often neglected because it is easier to manage a zero defect, risk averse institution than an aggressive, honest, and robust methodology to prepare and teach a nation to be resilient and not fearful.

Finally, I think leadership has not emerged because there is a confluence of political correctness, zero defect mentality, and an expectation of perfection. People cannot thrive and grow when there is so little margin of error. To kluge so many different mission sets together, so many organizations together, and so may people together as a response instead of with a defined purpose, I believe leadership will not emerge for some time and we will continue to see disaffected and low leadership indicators.

I think John aptly pointed out the short term and long term requirements and motivations of elected leaders and career leaders. I agree it is a real consideration. That said, I believe we as a nation no longer value leadership. I am comfortable with that assessment and could be very wrong and ill informed. But I am comfortable in my point of view. You asked a very difficult question and I think we should spend more time talking about leadership and building capable leaders than policy. Policy is like doctrine; both can easily become dogma. And I am pretty passioniate about leadership.

John; thanks for your insights…I always find them to be helpful and provocative.

Comment by Arnold Bogis

January 20, 2014 @ 2:44 am

Bill,

To your original question, I suppose I fall closer to what Phil described as having an “active and purposeful disdain.” Though disdain is a bit harsher than I actually feel. Perhaps disinterest would be a better term.

It’s funny you bring this up, because recently when searching for a particular old post it struck me how focused Christian and Jonah were on policy minutiae. But those initial details weren’t so trivial to a brand new Cabinet department, and both of them were integral in that initial conversation.

They were involved in shaping the development of the department, along with contributions from a range of think tanks and scholars. Unfortunately, many of those same individuals have moved on to other sexier topics, if they haven’t entered government service like Christian and Jonah (and if they did, some in non-HLS roles).

IMO, not to speak for others, but I always considered the current crop of HLSWatch contributors to be outsiders to DC and official HS, though obviously all in our own ways. Not to pick on Jessica, but I considered her more DC-centric and felt personally that it was exemplified by our differing views of what meant a “pre-9/11 vs. post-9/11″ viewpoint.

Once DHS became established, a lot of the policy and programmatic changes normalized to the federal baseline. By that I mean sometimes a small change could result in a big impact, but mostly much is bureaucratic rearranging of the office furniture to look like one is accomplishing the “mission” against “the enemy,” while at the same time avoiding the scrutiny of an IG, the GAO, or Congress.

And I think it’s a good thing for little hs, if not big federal HS.

But that’s just my opinion. To each his or her own…

Comment by Arnold Bogis

January 20, 2014 @ 3:32 am

John,

You noted that “Politicians, distinguished here from leaders, mostly consider the short term hoping that those low-probability high-consequence events do not happen during their term of office.”

I would argue that politicians are the most vital, important leaders going forward if we wish to escape the artificial bounds of “homeland security” and advance true “resilience.”

Why would I be wrong in that assumption?

Comment by Arnold Bogis

January 20, 2014 @ 3:42 am

Dan,

You noted, “From my Marine Corps days we were taught that there are four indicators of leadership; morale, proficiency, esprit de corps, and discipline.” And, “Each component that makes up DHS, a shaping giant in HLS has an agenda, culture, inclusive disposition, and are too focused on maintaining status quo and not building excellence.”

In terms of maintaining the status quo, there are plenty of rational arguments for getting rid of the Marine Corps entirely and turning over their service specific duties to the Army, Air Force, and Navy. Large scale amphibious assaults don’t seem to be in the future of our armed conflicts. An expeditionary force could be set up in the Army. Others can guard embassies. Etc.

As a Marine, are you willing to even entertain these and other arguments? (Btw, made at length in professional journals…I wouldn’t have the balls to fabricate them just for the sake of argument…) If not, why should HLS be expected to break the mold? If so, what would you suggest be a reasonable, if unlikely, outcome?

Comment by William R. Cumming

January 20, 2014 @ 3:41 pm

Many realize government programs are not designed to be efficient and effective but as political solutions to some problem or paradigm.

What is the problem[s] HLS is designed to solve? No further attacks? My take is that the politicians know how fragile our sinews are and the good ones hoping to improve resilience.

Comment by Dan O'Connor

January 20, 2014 @ 6:13 pm

Arnold;

Thanks for your question. Its an excellent question.

Of course I entertain as do all Marines entertain the argument that we are not necessary and one could fold our mission sets into other branches. If you’ll indulge me, I’ll try and give you a legitimate answer.

Some of it is lore and more myth, but people have been trying and trying hard to get rid of the Marine Corps for close to 100 years. Significant attempts to emasculate and/or eliminate the ‘Corps outright were carried out by significant Americans like Truman, Eisenhower, and Bradley. All happened to be former Army Officers too.

So the shtick here is we are better than everyone else, believe it to be true and people can write all day in professional journals about our insignificance. We do in fact have a pretty robust propagating myth and story line and we really happen to enjoy fighting and the culture of “us vs them”.

My numbers are a bit off because it’s been a few years, but the USMC only gets 3-5% of the DoD budget and do significantly more with that money, at least on the surface.

Do we need a Marine Corps? Guess it depends on who you ask. The national security act of 1947 tried to get rid of them. Now, without the Marine Corps, the Army would have been run off the Korean Peninsula and South Korea might look different today. The Marine Corps was able to rapidly stand up from post WW2 demobilization and rescue the 8th Army with an amphibious raid at Inchon, probably the most difficult operation of that kind in history.

Americans by and large want a Marine Corps…and you don’t join the Marine Corps as much as become one. Probably sappy and mythical, but the Marine Corps can do a lot of things together that the other services only believe they can do. The Air Force stinks at close air support and UAV’s are rendering them obsolete. The Navy has been without significant mission for a decade and their littoral navy fleet is not getting it done. Their ship design and deployment are having issues too. And the Army is having significant challenges with its leadership, mission, personnel, suicide rates, etc.

I too would not make up the arguments and read much of this in professional journals and writings.

And I take into consideration that I have a strong bias. I know I am prejudice about the Marine Corps and my 2+ decades of service allow me a bit of extra scrutiny and criticism of the institution. Given the opportunity, I’d prefer to still be an active duty Marine.

It’s not perfect and if we forget we have to deliver and instead become just another money succubus, than launch it, dismantle it, and get rid of it.

But getting back to your original question and subsequently mine; If we are not making Marines and winning battles we have no place in the fight. The USMC has a dominant narrative and a rather simple one; think, innovate, improvise, be frugal, maintain the brotherhood, and be warriors. That’s it. No career opportunities, no money for school, none of the social recruiting initiatives of the other services. If we are not exceptional and can no longer make a cogent argument of our relevance, make us the department of the Army, Maritime branch.

I and “we” that being Marines who’ve ever thought about it know that we are not necessities in the traditional sense but a service the Nation demands.

So do we need one? No. Had we better keep one? Yes. And if any part of the HLS enterprise had the same ethos and drive that the Marine Corps did, there wouldn’t be such strife, mission confusion, and the like. I don’t hear a lot of folks talking a lot about being a former ICE/DHS/FEMA/CIS etc “guy”.

I love that you asked the question. I want to see those questions asked across the board and let’s see who stands up and says, pick me…

And I can tell you Arnold, everything needs to be posed in the fashion you posed it; what’s your value and why do we need you? I hope I answered your question without too much rhetoric and rah rah. Once the nation decides it does not want, trust, or need a Marine Corps, roll up the colors and banish us to the history books. Or, let more Marines run the show.

Finally to fill the propaganda mill;
Why in hell can’t the Army do it if the Marines can. They are the same kind of men; why can’t they be like Marines.
Gen. John J. “Black Jack” Pershing, USA; 12 February 1918

The United States Marine Corps, with its fiercely proud tradition of excellence in combat, its hallowed rituals, and its unbending code of honor, is part of the fabric of American myth.
Thomas E. Ricks; Making the Corps, 1997

We have two companies of Marines running rampant all over the northern half of this island, and three Army regiments pinned down in the southwestern corner, doing nothing. What the hell is going on?

Gen. John W. Vessey Jr., USA, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the assault on Grenada, 1983

Comment by William R. Cumming

January 21, 2014 @ 3:18 am

Dan! Thanks very much for this thoughtful comment and series of your comments. I live now and for the last nine years near Lewis “Chesty” Puller’s birthplace.

The United States Marine Corps are one of our National Symbols [Icons?] and so all Marines past or present should understand that fact and why it is so! For all their skills at organized violence against the Nation’s enemies the Marines have often been outstanding in presenting government of the people, by the people, and for the people throughout our history.

Comment by Justin Blake

January 25, 2014 @ 1:56 pm

John, you make a great point about many of our nations leaders concern themselves too much with polls, and letting those polls influence their decisions. In order to combat that bias there should be a permanent panel implemented, similar to the Supreme Court. The council would be comprised of former officials with backgrounds in HLS to guide their decision making. Since their position is permanent, they will not have to concern themselves with pleasing one person over another or worry about being fired. The duties of this panel would be to utilize the intelligence given to them by the different HLS consumers and from that intelligence make decisions based solely on their merit, rather than political relevance.
It is understandable/foreseeable that these individuals may already have some bias, but it should be minimized just as the Supreme Court. This council will answer directly to the president and the cabinet, but shall be controlled by nobody other than themselves, the cabinet shall only make recommendations based of facts, not political ties. There are too many instances recently of political favors getting in the way of making the proper decisions.
The high consequence/ low probability events, or Black Swan events that you reference are where most of the HLS money will eventually be allocated. Your point that our leaders and citizens are deluded into a false sense of security could not be more correct. Since there have not been many major attacks in the U.S. since 9/11, besides the Boston Marathon our nation feels entitled to security. When asked to pay for that security most feel they should not have to pay for that level safety but still receive it.
Most leaders within the U.S. are not willing to step outside of political alliances in order to make the correct decisions. I have seen national leaders change their viewpoint on major political issues simply because the polls started to lean the other direction and they didn’t want to loose their base. To this point the suggested council would be more efficient than our current system.

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