Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

February 14, 2014

Friday Free Forum

Filed under: General Homeland Security — by Philip J. Palin on February 14, 2014

On this day in 2007 a massive winter storm peaked across the Eastern United States.  Northern Vermont got four feet of snow. More than 35 deaths were blamed on the weather system.

On this day in 1989 Union Carbide agreed to pay $470 million to the Government of India in regard to the Bhopal Disaster that killed more than 3700 and involved tens-of-thousands of human medical effects.

On this day in 1945 the Anglo-American fire-bombing of Dresden begins.   The Washington Star (and other newspapers) headlined the attack as “Terror Bombing Gets Allied Approval as Step to Speed Victory.”

What’s on your mind related to homeland security?

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Comment by William R. Cumming

February 14, 2014 @ 12:47 am

Any info on the spike in propane prices? Apparently exports of propane have skyrocketed and the desire to export oil and gas from the USA now leads as the biggest goal for the energy lobbies! And perhaps export of coal to China reductions biggest goal for environmental types.

Is energy a HLS issue why or why not?

Is this really a water issue? The Defense Science Board back in 2011 said for National Security threats Climate Change really a water issue!

And IMO 2014 will face DROUGHT not flood as the leading natural hazard story!

Comment by William R. Cumming

February 14, 2014 @ 1:03 am

The United States Department of Energy (DOE) is a Cabinet-level department of the United States government concerned with the United States’ policies regarding energy and safety in handling nuclear material. Its responsibilities include the nation’s nuclear weapons program, nuclear reactor production for the United States Navy, energy conservation, energy-related research, radioactive waste disposal, and domestic energy production. It also directs research in genomics; the Human Genome Project originated in a DOE initiative. DOE sponsors more research in the physical sciences than any other U.S. federal agency, the majority of which is conducted through its system of National Laboratories.

The agency is administered by the United States Secretary of Energy, and its headquarters are located in southwest Washington, D.C., on Independence Avenue in the James V. Forrestal Building, named for James Forrestal, as well as in Germantown, Maryland.

Comment by William R. Cumming

February 14, 2014 @ 1:17 am

List of Secretaries of Energy
# Name Term Began Term Ended President served

1 James R. Schlesinger August 6, 1977- August 23, 1979 Jimmy Carter

2 Charles W. Duncan, Jr. August 24, 1979-January 20, 1981

3 James B. Edwards January 23,1981-November5,1982 Ronald Reagan

4 Donald Paul Hodel November 5, 1982-February 7, 1985

5 John S. Herrington February 7, 1985-January 20, 1989

6 James D. Watkins March 1, 1989-January 20, 1993 George H.W. Bush

7 Hazel R. O’Leary January 22, 1993-January 20, 1997 Bill Clinton

8 Federico F. Peña March 12, 1997-June 30, 1998

9 Bill Richardson August 18, 1998-January 20, 2001

10 Spencer Abraham January 20, 2001-January 31, 2005 George W. Bush

11 Samuel W. Bodman February 1, 2005-January 20, 2009

12 Steven Chu January 21, 2009-April 22,2013 Barack Obama

13 Ernest Moniz May 16, 2013 Incumbent

Comment by William R. Cumming

February 14, 2014 @ 1:22 am

Outside DoD which does HOMELAND DEFENSE not HLS what Department outside DHS has the biggest role in HLS?

My pick is DoE! Yours?

Comment by William R. Cumming

February 14, 2014 @ 1:29 am

BTW the Forrestal Bldg. is a superb design of a structure for a floodplain and in fact the USACOE was scheduled to be housed there before DoE created.

So ready for climate change DoE?

And do you know the flood of record on the Potomac? 1936! It put 9 feet of water on the Ellipse!

After all DC is a swamp geologically [and otherwise?] speaking.

Comment by William R. Cumming

February 14, 2014 @ 1:34 am

The United States Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) was an agency of the United States government established after World War II by Congress to foster and control the peace time development of atomic science and technology. President Harry S. Truman signed the McMahon/Atomic Energy Act on August 1, 1946, transferring the control of atomic energy from military to civilian hands, effective from January 1, 1947. Public Law 585, 79th Congress.

An increasing number of critics during the 1960s charged that the AEC’s regulations were insufficiently rigorous in several important areas, including radiation protection standards, nuclear reactor safety, plant siting, and environmental protection. By 1974, the AEC’s regulatory programs had come under such strong attack that Congress decided to abolish the agency. The agency was abolished by the Energy Reorganization Act of 1974, which assigned its functions to two new agencies: the Energy Research and Development Administration and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. On August 4, 1977, President Jimmy Carter signed into law The Department of Energy Organization Act of 1977, which created the Department of Energy. The new agency assumed the responsibilities of the Federal Energy Administration, the Energy Research and Development Administration, the Federal Power Commission, and programs of various other agencies.

Comment by William R. Cumming

February 14, 2014 @ 1:45 am

In an earlier post by Arnold and comments a 20 minute video was linked describing HOMELAND CONFUSION. In the video the two biggest shortfalls in HLS due to failed effective and efficient oversight by the Congress was Cyber security and we now have the NIST framework as posted recently. The other identified area was the Bioterror threat.

My favorite report on Bioterror is as follows:

Chemical and Biological Arms Control Institute (CBACI). November 2000. Bioterrorism in the United States: Threat, Preparedness and Response
[339 pages]

N.B. This precedes the anthrax attacks of fall 2001! But still a good baseline!

Comment by William R. Cumming

February 14, 2014 @ 1:48 am

Apologies the link in the prior comment failed! Help?

Comment by John Comiskey

February 14, 2014 @ 4:56 am

HLS Priorities 2014

The Heritage Foundation’s 2014 prioritized recommendations for HLS included:
Improve Effectiveness of DHS
Enforce Effective Cybersecurity Legislation
Strengthen Immigration Enforcement
Rebuild the U.S. Coast Guard

This blogger adds to the list of priorities: Educating the nation (preK-16+) to think and act, globally, nationally, and locally, and to act civilly to all.

What else should be a 2014 HLS priority?

Comment by John Comiskey

February 14, 2014 @ 5:05 am


DOD does HD and defense support to civil authorities (code for HLS?) See: http://www.defense.gov/news/homelanddefensestrategy.pdf

In money sense HHS was #3 in 2012

Congressional researcher Shawn Reese (2013) noted that in the federal fiscal year 2012 appropriations and budget requests, 33 federal departments, agencies, and entities received homeland security funding. DHS and DOD respectively received approximately 52% and 26% of homeland security funding. Also noteworthy were Health and Human Services (5.97%), Department of Justice (5.79%), Department of State (3.42%), and Department of Energy (2.72%).

See:CRS report http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/homesec/R42462.pdf

Comment by Philip J. Palin

February 14, 2014 @ 5:21 am

Bill: I think this may be the same report.


Comment by E. Earhart

February 14, 2014 @ 5:51 am

Mr. Cumming and JHC,

As far as protecting Civil Society, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) an operating division of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)works 24-7 to save lives and protect people from health threats. Thus another nod to HHS?

Since 1946, CDC has worked to keep America safe from health, safety, and security threats, both foreign and domestic. Whether diseases start at home or abroad, are chronic or acute, curable or preventable, human error or deliberate attack, CDC fights disease, and supports communities and citizens to do the same.

CDC is the nation’s health protection agency
— saving lives, protecting people from health threats, and saving money through prevention.
CDC?s mission, simply put, is to keep Americans safe and healthy where they work, live and play.

Comment by E. Earhart

February 14, 2014 @ 5:56 am

CDC (cont.)(Mr. Cumming, while CDC and more directly HHS does dispense $$, I see CDC as an Agency that FEMA could have been full of SME helping to protect Civil Society)

CDC scientists and disease detectives work around the world to put proven prevention strategies to work,track diseases, research outbreaks, and respond to emergencies of all kinds. CDC works with partners around the country and world to:

Protecting Americans from infectious diseases

Preventing the leading causes of disease, disability, and death

Keeping Americans safe from environmental and work
-related hazards

Protecting Americans from natural and bioterrorism threats

Monitoring health and ensuring laboratory excellence

Ensuring global disease protection

CDC’s highly trained staff provide critical national leadership to increase the health security of our nation and the world.

Comment by E. Earhart

February 14, 2014 @ 6:07 am

Dresden Bombing? How about Little Boy (Aug 6, 1945) and Fat Man (Aug 9, 1945)

Altogether, Little Boy & Fat Man killed an estimated 110,000 Japanese citizens. By 1950, another 230,000 Japanese had died from injuries or radiation. Though the two cities were nominally military targets, the overwhelming majority of the casualties were civilian.

Comment by E. Earhart

February 14, 2014 @ 6:10 am

Have not some of those we are currently engaged in battle with justified their efforts at targeting our homeland and specifically civilians on essentially the same grounds?

“In some sort of crude sense which no vulgarity, no humor, no overstatement can quite extinguish, the physicists have known sin; and this is a knowledge which they cannot lose.”

–J. Robert Oppenheimer

Comment by William R. Cumming

February 14, 2014 @ 6:15 am

Thanks all and Phil that is the correct link!

HHS and its CDC very important to HLS and oddly perhaps more important than HLS?

Interesting that I know of no use of resilience or HLS in the debate on Obamacare. Is not health the fundamental building block of resilience and HLS?

If so the Department of Veterans Affairs should be considered part of the HD and HLS budget!

And EPA?

Does HLS foster collaboration, cooperation, and exchange with external HLS contributors?

Comment by William R. Cumming

February 14, 2014 @ 6:35 am

John and others! First the Sean Reese report is outstanding but in its reliance on OMB’s report on HLS funding it is almost adsurb. For example, it counts the entirety of the DHS budget as HLS! When in fact some have estimated as much as 40% or more of the DHD budget has little or nothing to do with DHS.

It almost seems that OMB is trying to use HLS as an argument for some federal programs, functions,and activities that are so remote from HLS as being laughable.

Apparently the analysis behind the OMB numbers does not exist or is not available. The numbers were picked out of a hat by OMB to pretend it fulfilled the Congressional mandate. And Mr. Reese ably points out the variety of definitions utilized.

See for yourself!

Comment by Dan OConnor

February 14, 2014 @ 10:20 am


What’s your take on rebuilding the USCG? Is it broken? Its role has grown exponentially and its former officers and senior enlisted folks litter every office within DHS, so I would be curious on your take is.

Comment by William R. Cumming

February 14, 2014 @ 10:56 am

Dan! My take near breaking point for USCG! BP GOM spill almost broke the USCG!

Double E! What is SME?

Comment by Dan OConnor

February 14, 2014 @ 11:26 am

E. Earhart;

I think you bring up an excellent point with broad implications.

I have read several points of view and arguments why we chose those target sites. From crippling industry, to halting an estimated million allied (US) casualties. I have also read and heard arguments that they, the Japanese being Asian had a xenophobic or racist factor and that they also attacked us first. And, it’s unlikely that Japan could have maintained its capabilities with its diminishing manufacturing capabilities and proximal loses at Iwo Jima and Okinawa.

And these target selections as well as Dresden were considered reasonable targets within the law and warfare, 1941-45. This was very close if not total war.

Dresden and even Guernica were “experiments” of sorts. And it’s only eye witness reporting and journalists who capture the truly horrific injuries and damage of the campaign.

These instances of the horrors of war have been suppressed in my opinion. The battles of both Europe and Pacific get glossed over very quickly in most instances.

A study of the battle of Stalingrad and their war with Germany might explain Russian bellicosity post WW2.

Perhaps an overstatement; we have done our best to sanitize the effects of war so it’s easier to exercise.

“It is well that war is so terrible, or we would grow too fond of it.” While attributed to General Lee, I find it becoming increasingly easy to create and justify war.

I think most politicians and policy makers are quick to commit our folks to war.

“What’s the point of having this superb military that you’re always talking about if we can’t use it?” Madeline Albright to then JCS General Colin Powell, about Bosnia. I am not too sure Bosnia was an existential threat to the US at that point.

Then there is also the opinion of Chuck Spinney, who pointed out, rightly I think that the reason we are so adept now at going to war is; “… the military much easier to use because: you are f**king volunteers, screw you, you signed up for this. You know, the objections [against going to war] don’t carry as much water”. All reasonable points of view but necessary to weigh accordingly in a decision making process.

All this affects our political bellicosity and ease in using our military. This attitude has also, in my opinion, permeated the homeland security culture and the interface between officials charged with “protecting” citizens and then justifying actions to, for, and against them.

We’ve seen this with the reported NSA and TSA activities and police departments across the country. The militarization of LE is a disturbing trend, one that in many cases could be considered deeming the citizenry incapable of exercising their own judgment and being considered the “enemy”. Is that an objective argument? I think it’s worth having at some level.

So in many aspects the Homeland Security idea and behavior set has quite a history, laced and stitched with behaviors and a peculiar outcropping of the American Experience.

American History and its study is often dismissed as a relevant part of homeland security training and education…you have aptly readdressed a critical issue. Thanks!

Comment by Dan OConnor

February 14, 2014 @ 11:26 am



Subject Matter Expert.

Comment by John Comiskey

February 14, 2014 @ 12:56 pm

Dan and Bill,

USCG is a can and will do organization. I am, however, extraordinarily biased. As Bill suggested BP was a heavy drain on USCG. I was involved in post Exxon Valdez Oil Pollution prevention and response. USCG stripped my sidearm from my hand and forced upon me a copy of Oil Pollution Act of 1990 and a lab kit. Times were such and the Cold War was near over.

9/11 was the impetus for the return of my sidearm accompanied by a M16. Thereafter, Hurricane Katrina redirected significant USCG assets on a long term basis. In 2010 I returned to NOLA for the BP spill. Noteworthy were NOLA officials that were now attuned to demanding government response to national-level emergencies. Added to the fray was BP who for many reasons opened their checkbooks. In all cases USCG depended heavily on their reserve forces. My sense was that reserves were used (misused) as if they were active duty members to be rotated in and out of theater.

USCG is simply underfunded, understaffed, and too much a good steward of the public’s fiduciary interests. I often heard high ranking USCG officials lamenting advice from congressional staffers to overstate their budget requests to get what they need.

One 0-6 USCG official that I remember dearly suggested that the USCG needs to fail more and fail badly at a critical task so as to get the funding it needs.

Comment by William R. Cumming

February 14, 2014 @ 1:51 pm

Thanks John and Dan!

Also DAN believe the quote is William Tecumseh Sherman’s not Lee!

Dresden was a war crime IMO! Dropping one atomic bomb not so for complicated reasons. The second one also a war crime.

Any nation-state now waging [employing nukes] a pariah state for all time again IMO!

USA should long ago announced first use of nukes. The writings of Retired AF General Lee Butler who actually understood the SIOP instructive. MAD is still the nuclear strike official doctrine.

By 2030 there is a high probability of 30 nations with ballistic missile nuclear strike capability.

Fukishima will emerge as a major environmental crisis this year not just for Japan but for the USA!

Comment by Dan OConnor

February 14, 2014 @ 7:10 pm


It is well that war is so terrible, otherwise we should grow too fond of it. Comment to James Longstreet, on seeing a Federal charge repulsed in the Battle of Fredericksburg (13 December 1862)

I will research attribution to Sherman

Comment by Philip J. Palin

February 14, 2014 @ 7:29 pm

Dan, Bill, and E. Earhart:

First, I’m pleased to know my brief Friday historical vignettes are read. I wasn’t sure they were.

Second, the comparison of fire bombing to use of atomic weapons is pertinent. Where do legitimate psychological operations end and terrorist behavior begin?

If intentions are non-terrorist does that lessen the implications of terrorist consequences?

Third, I am impressed with your stark references to the horrors of war (regardless of cause or intention?)

Comment by Bruce Martin

February 14, 2014 @ 7:46 pm

The Union Carbide Bhopal spill was one of the motivators towards the creation of hazmat Community right to know (RTK)laws. (In Calif, Health and Safety Code Ch. 6.95), subsequently adopted into fire and building code standards across the country. I believe that have been successful and have reduced accidental spill occurrences and severity. After 9/11 areas engaged in a discussion of RTK vs CIKR info protection. The discussion still goes on.

I enjoyed the back and forth on Dresden and Hiroshima. I can only contribute my dad’s perspective, which he opened up about in his last days: “I was an 18 year old sailor who truly believed I was going to die invading Japan; I’m OK with the bombing as it ended the war.” He was a landing craft coxn in 1944-45 Pacific. Not very policy oriented, but real nonetheless, and a gauge for me on the horror of war.

Comment by E. Earhart

February 14, 2014 @ 7:57 pm

Happy Valentines From DHS (even risk-based!!)

CBP Protects Valentine’s Day Flowers from Harmful Pests. The weeks leading to Valentine’s Day are some of the most demanding each year for CBP agriculture specialists as they ensure that cut flowers are free from microscopic insects and diseases that could harm the U.S. agricultural and floral industries. Detecting and preventing pests from entering the United States avoids significant economic and environmental harm.

Flowers chosen for physical inspections are based on low, medium or high risk as determined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Cut Flower Release Program. The criteria for this program include measuring how many and what kinds of pests were found in shipments of the various species of flowers arriving from different countries.

Comment by E. Earhart

February 14, 2014 @ 7:59 pm

A rose is a rose . . .

CBP processed approximately 867.2 million cut flower stems during the 2013 Valentine’s Day season (Jan. 1 to Feb. 1), compared to 842.2 million stems processed during the 2012 season-an increase of 3 percent. Most of the cut flowers are imported from South America, primarily Colombia, with 567.3 million stems or 65.4 percent, followed by Ecuador with 190.2 million stems or 21.9 percent.

During the 2013 Valentine’s season, CBP in Miami processed approximately 738.2 million stems, or 85 percent of total imported cut flowers nationally, compared to 716.7 million stems imported during the same time in 2012.

The port of Los Angeles ranked second by processing 43.7 million flower stems during the 2013 Valentine’s season, compared to 35 million stems imported during the previous season.
In Miami, the top cut flower imports were roses, mixed bouquets and rose bouquets.

Imported cut flower inspections netted 1,867 pest interceptions locally between Jan. 20-Feb. 14 last year.

Comment by E. Earhart

February 14, 2014 @ 8:28 pm

Dan, you are correct most politicians and policy makers are quick to commit our folks to war. For an outstanding analysis see:

General Dennis Laich makes a compelling case that the all-volunteer force no longer works in a world defined by terrorism, high debts, and widening class differences. Less than one percent of US citizens have served in the military over the last twelve years-even though we’ve been fighting wars the entire time. What’s more, most of that one percent comes from poor and middle-class families. In 1973, 73 percent of the members of Congress had served in the military. Today, that number has shrunk dramatically to only 20 percent. Even more importantly, while it is difficult to determine how many family members of our lawmakers are presently serving, the general consensus is less than 2 percent.

Skin in the Game: Poor Kids and Patriots
by Dennis Laich http://www.amazon.com/Skin-Game-Poor-Kids-Patriots/dp/1491703822/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1392427419&sr=8-1&keywords=dennis+laich

Comment by Kevin G

February 14, 2014 @ 8:35 pm

On Wednesday Feb. 12, the Obama administration announced the launch of the long-awaited National Cybersecurity Framework in response to the private-sector led effort to develop a voluntary how-to guide for organizations in the critical infrastructure community to enhance their cybersecurity. This framework is a good first step as the flexibility within this document helps guide each type of business into securing their own system, implementation remains a requirement. As company move to address their security needs, the need for better legislation to help address implementation requirements remains. It will be interesting to follow as to how companies will utilize this document and whether the new public-private sector cooperation is going to replace the private company dominance in system security.

-Kevin G

Comment by E. Earhart

February 14, 2014 @ 8:37 pm

Skin in the Game? See also . . .

But the greatest challenge to our military is not from a foreign enemy — it’s the widening gap between the American people and their armed forces.

Less than 0.5 percent of the population serves in the armed forces, compared with more than 12 percent during World War II. Even fewer of the privileged and powerful shoulder arms. In 1975, 70 percent of members of Congress had some military service; today, just 20 percent do, and only a handful of their children are in uniform.

. . .technology has helped insulate civilians from the military. Such reliance on technology can breed indifference and complacency about the use of force.

Americans and Their Military, Drifting Apart

Comment by E. Earhart

February 14, 2014 @ 8:47 pm

Americans and Their Military, Drifting Apart . . .

As DHS and HLS become more populated by DOD both Active members of the military and DOD, I think we see Americans and their hls drifting apart. As in our wars and conflicts, the volunteer will take care of it . . . so to in protecting civil society . . . the cop, the fireman, the EMS, the TSA or CBP Agent; just not my job.

THE all-volunteer force may be the most lethal and professional force in history, but it makes a mockery of George Washington’s maxim: “When we assumed the Soldier, we did not lay aside the Citizen.” Somehow, soldier and citizen must once again be brought to stand side by side.
Americans and Their Military, Drifting Apart

Comment by Christopher Tingus

February 14, 2014 @ 10:14 pm

In Moscow, Field Marshal Abdel- Fattah el-Sissi was scheduled to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin and speak at a joint press conference with his Russian counterpart, Egypt’s state news agency mena reported.
According to the state-owned daily Al-Ahram, the purpose of el-Sissi’s visit was to conclude a $2 billion arms
deal funded mainly by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Gen. Hossam Sweilam, a retired Egyptian army general who maintains close contact with the military, also said the deal would be finalized in Moscow.
The visit comes nearly three months after Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Defense Minister Sergei Shogiu visited Cairo.
Moscow has been trying to expand its influence in Egypt at a time when Egyptian-U.S. relations soured in the aftermath of President Mohamed Mor- si’s ouster last July and the subsequent crackdown on his Islamist supporters that has left hundreds dead and thou- sands arrested. The United States has been Cairo’s chief foreign backer and benefactor since the 1970s. …
Egypt has been the second-largest recipient—after Israel—of U.S. bilat- eral foreign assistance, largely as a way to sustain the 1979 Egypt-Israeli peace treaty. Washington froze a large chunk of about $1.5 billion in annual aid, mostly for the military, in October. on Wednesday in his first visit outside the country since the ouster of its Islamist president and amid reports of a $2 billion arms deal that would significantly expand Russia’s influence with a key U.S. ally in the Middle East.

Comment by Christopher Tingus

February 14, 2014 @ 10:17 pm

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani hit out on Tuesday at Western assertions that a military solution to a nuclear dispute with Tehran remained an option and pledged that Tehran would press on “forever” with what he called peace- ful atomic research.
In a speech marking the 35th anniversary of the 1979 Islamic revolution, Rouhani also attacked economic sanc- tions imposed by the West as “brutal, illegal and wrong” and said countries in the region had nothing to fear from Iran.
Rouhani said Western officials continued to argue that if such efforts came to nothing, there was always the option of using military force against its nuclear facilities.
“I say explicitly to those delusional people who say the military option is on the table, that they should change their glasses. … Our nation regards the language of threat as rude and offensive,” he said.
“I want to expressly announce that the movement of the Iranian nation toward the peaks of scientific and techni- cal progress and advancement, including peaceful nuclear technology, will be forever,” he added. …
In recent weeks Iranian officials have repeatedly criti- cized U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry for speaking about a potential military option, something his counterparts in several other Western countries have continued to do.
Kerry told Saudi-owned al Arabiya television on Janu- ary 23 that if Tehran did not abide by the interim deal “the military option of the United States is ready and prepared to do what it would have to do.”
Rouhani said that if major powers approached Iran in the nuclear talks seeking mutual interest, respect and coop- eration, they would receive a positive and proper response. If their approach was inappropriate, this would be harmful to the region. .

Comment by Christopher Tingus

February 14, 2014 @ 10:21 pm

President Obama’s State of the Union pledge to “act with or without Congress” marks a milestone in presidential usurpation of Congressional authority. Most modern presidents have used executive orders to change and even create laws without Congressional approval. However President Obama is unusually brazen, in that most presi- dents do not brag about their plans to rule by executive order in State of the Union speeches.
Sadly, his pledge to use his pen to implement laws and polices without the consent of Congress not only received thunderous applause from representatives of the president’s party, some representatives have even pledged to help Obama get around Congress by providing him with ideas for executive orders. The Constitution’s authors would be horrified to see legislators actively aiding and abetting a president taking power away from the legislature.
Executive orders are perfectly legitimate and even necessary if, in the words of leading Constitutional Scholar Judge Andrew Napolitano, they “… guide the executive branch on how to enforce a law or … complement and supplement what Congress has already done.” The problem is that most modern presidents have abused this power to issue orders that, as Judge Napolitano puts it, “restates
federal law, or contradicts federal law, or does the opposite of what the federal law is supposed to do.”
Political opponents of the president rightly condemned Obama for disregarding the Constitution. However, it was not that long ago that many of the same politicians were labeling as “unpatriotic” or worse anyone who dared question President Bush’s assertions the he had the “inher- ent” authority to launch wars, spy on Americans, and even indefinitely detain American citizens.
Partisan considerations also make some members of the opposition party hesitate to reign in the president. These members are reluctant to set a precedent of “tying the president’s hands” that could be used against a future president of their own party. …
The people must also insist that politicians stop viewing issues concerning the separation of powers through a parti- san lens and instead be willing to act against any president who exceeds his constitutional limitations. … The key to achieving this goal is to make sure the people understand that any president of any party who would exceed constitu- tional limitations is a threat to liberty, and any member of Congress who ignores or facilitates presidential usurpation is being derelict in his Constitutional duty.

Ron Paul

Comment by Christopher Tingus

February 14, 2014 @ 10:22 pm

Markhulbert,MARkETWATCh | February11
There are eerie parallels between the stock market’s recent behavior and how it behaved right before the 1929 crash. That, at least, is the conclusion reached by a frightening chart that has been making the rounds on Wall Street. The chart superimposes the market’s recent performance on top of a plot of its gyrations in 1928 and 1929.
The picture isn’t pretty. And it’s not as easy as you might think to wriggle out from underneath the bearish signifi- cance of this chart.
I should know, because I quoted a number of this chart’s skeptics in a column I wrote in early December. Yet the market over the past two months has continued to more or less closely follow the 1928-29 pattern outlined in that two- months-ago chart. If this correlation continues, the market faces a particularly rough period later this month and in early March. (See chart, courtesy of Tom McClellan of the McClellan Market Report; he in turn gives credit to Tom
DeMark, a noted technical analyst who is the founder and ceo of DeMark Analytics.)
One of the biggest objections I heard two months ago was that the chart was a shameless exercise in after-the-fact retrofitting of the recent data to some past price pattern. But that objection has lost much of its force. The chart was first publicized in late November of last year, and the cor- relation since then certainly appears to be just as close as it was before.
To be sure, as McClellan acknowledged: “Every pattern analog I have ever studied breaks correlation eventually, and often at the point when I am most counting on it to continue working. So there is no guarantee that the market has to continue following through with every step of the 1929 pattern. But between now and May 2014, there is plenty of reason for caution.” …
One of the market gurus responsible for widely pub- licizing this chart is hedge-fund manager Doug Kass, of Seabreeze Partners and cnbc fame. In an email earlier this week, Kass wrote of the parallels with 1928-29: “While invest-
TW in brief
nEngland suffers wettest January on record
A total of 5,800 homes have flooded over the last 6 weeks, as England experienced its wettest January since 1766, part of an unprecedented series of record-breaking wet weather. “The country has faced an extraordinary period of severe weather and flooding since the start of December, with the wettest December in 50 years in central
southern and southeast England as well as the biggest east coast storm surge in 60 years followed by the wettest January on record,” wrote the Environment Agency on February 8. The Guardian reported that total costs could hit $1.67 billion, according to in- surance experts. During the past week, 850 homes flooded. The rain has not stopped, and the flood seems certain to continue. The British Geological Survey warned that even if the rain
ment history doesn’t necessarily repeat itself, it does rhyme.” And, based on a number of indica- tors rather than just this chart drawing the 1928-29 parallel, he believes that “the correction might have just started,” he said.
DeMark is even more outspokenly bearish. …
You may still be inclined to dismiss this. But many more were laughing last November when this scary chart be- gan circulating. Not as many are laugh- ing now.

Comment by Ashley Koch

February 14, 2014 @ 10:24 pm


I have been following the news of the new National Cybersecurity Framework that has been launched. “The intention of the Framework is to describe cybersecurity work regardless of organizational structures, job titles, or other potentially idiosyncratic conventions.” http://csrc.nist.gov/nice/framework/
I am looking forward to the progression of the framework to see the ups and downs of it.I am interested in seeing how companies adapt to this new framework and to see how this connection, I guess one could say, between organizations will help.

Also being as this is completely new, I want to see how it is going to change to meet the different needs as the framework gets put into play.

Comment by Christopher Tingus

February 14, 2014 @ 10:27 pm

Arguments in favor of a global currency resurfaced during October’s U.S. budget impasse, which forced the government to shut down. “It is perhaps a good time for the befuddled world to start considering building a de-Americanized world,” a Xinhua News Agency commentary said on October 14. The piece argued that creating a new international reserve currency to replace reliance on the greenback would prevent govern- ment gridlock in Washington from affecting the rest of the world.

In March 2009, China’s central bank governor, Zhou Xiaochuan, called for the creation of a new “super- sovereign reserve currency” to replace the dollar. In a paper published on the People’s Bank of China’s website, Zhou said an international reserve currency “disconnected from individual nations” and “able to remain stable in the long run” would benefit the global financial system more than current reliance on the dollar. …

Pierre Defraigne, executive director of the Madariaga College of Europe Foundation in Brussels, said of Lin’s infrastructure proposal, “It is excel- lent, but the problem is how to imple- ment these plans to link those coun- tries that need such infrastructural construction and those with enough foreign reserves, by using an effective global mechanism.”
Urgent Buildup of German Military

The massive demonstrations in the streets of ukraine gave the German people and their leaders an urgency they have not had before about building up their

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Comment by Ashley Koch

February 14, 2014 @ 10:35 pm

Top news that is new today: German IT industry hopes to benefit from NSA leaks-inspired distrust of U.S. tech companies. http://www.homelandsecuritynewswire.com/dr20140214-german-it-industry-hopes-to-benefit-from-nsa-leaksinspired-distrust-of-u-s-tech-companies
Due to Edward Snowden’s leaks, The German government is looking to develop Internet security initiatives. The plan is that data originated in Europe to be processed and stored within Europe. There are different views about this new idea. Some critics think this is a bad idea. There are different concerns such as the ‘openness of the internet.’ It will be interesting to see where this will lead in the near future.

Comment by Christopher Tingus

February 14, 2014 @ 11:57 pm

Alexander Dobrindt, the new transport minister, is also responsible for the “digital infrastructure.” He has to oversee the development of broadband internet and the nationwide internet backbone. Although roads and railways are still his main areas of responsibility, it is the first time that the internet has been part of a ministry’s portfolio.
“With the clear allocation of the digital infrastructure to a ministry, it will hopefully be given the same importance as the transport network and the power supply,” said Oliver Süme, Deputy Chairman of the German Internet Business Federation (ECO).
As secretary-general of the Bavarian CSU, Dobrindt was well known for his impertinence – he once called Gabriel, whom he will see frequently in the cabinet, “overweight and undertalented.”
And while Dobrindt was not previously known for his expertise in information technology, he is not alone in the new leadership. Internet users have been merciless when it comes to the technological awareness of the entire cabinet, particularly after Merkel referred to the internet as “new territory.”
“It’s obvious Dobrindt will be the internet minister,” a Twitter user joked. “He is the only one in the cabinet with horn-rimmed classes.”
But Dobrindt, who didn’t even have a Twitter account until now, isn’t “internet minister” – his responsibility extends only to the “digital infrastructure.” It remains to be seen if he will also make a priority of data security, as many online firms are hoping in the wake of the NSA scandal.
“The government should contribute to restoring the economy and consumers’ weakened confidence in the internet,” Süme said. “The preservation of an open and free internet and a future-oriented European data protection structure should be at the top of the international political agenda.”

Comment by William R. Cumming

February 15, 2014 @ 8:37 am

ALL: IMO any military operation should always be viewed from the prizm of a least a decade as to its success or failure [what is success or failure with respect to military operations largely eye of the beholder].

And thanks again for interesting post and comments on this Friday Forum.

Comment by William R. Cumming

February 15, 2014 @ 11:22 am

When DHS created climate change not much of an issue in creation of DHS. Now with the open merger of all staff into a national security force I am still not clear on where climate change stands as a National Security issue. High level officials in DHS and FEMA tell me that they are pursuing climate change issues diligently and have so informed Congress and GAO.

The DSB [Defense Science Board] is a key internal DoD think tank identifying long range issues and concerns. It turns out the DSB looked at Climate Change and National Security in 2011 and issued a seminal report. Perhaps oddly for some readers but I believe correctly focuses on water availability issues. I am interested if this document has been cited or utilized elsewhere.

The report appears at:


Comment by Bruce Martin

February 15, 2014 @ 8:34 pm

Reflecting on EE’s “skin in the game” … what was armed service participation before WW2?

One would expect higher participation during wartime(s), what about post Civil War? between WW 1 and 2? Post war one would expect more people with military service in society. Is there a difference in service numbers between larger (ww2 and smaller (Spanish-American) war? As we move further from a larger war, the number of service people would likely decrease as well. There’s a research project for you!

Does not change the volunteer/draft discussion but could be revealing.

Comment by Dan O'Connor

February 15, 2014 @ 9:37 pm

E. Earhart;

What a fabulous discussion this has turned out to be. Thanks for your responses and it’s been a busy Valentines Friday in HLSW!

With regard to population is closer to about 3/10ths of 1% Conservative think tanks will tell you that the military is well represented by the middle class (http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2006/10/who-are-the-recruits-the-demographic-characteristics-of-us-military-enlistment-2003-2005) and the argument you have provided and the argument General Laich (very good book btw) also makes is not accurate.

I think it all comes down how one tortures the data. A 2008 Pew poll found that 40% of Americans with incomes below $20,000 – roughly equivalent to the poverty line – described themselves as middle class. And about one-third with incomes above $150,000 said they’re middle class, too. That’s a fairly wide swath. Considering the poverty line is now approximately $23,550 for a family of four the idea makes the argument more complicated. But wait, there’s more.

The idea or striving for both an income and status of becoming “middle class” is a manifestation of post WW2 America moving into the 50’s largely intact logistically and untouched geographically by war. And that generation of Americans found jobs that enabled single income families to afford houses, cars, pay property taxes that grew the suburbs, moved away from cities, and 1950s, when post-war America gave birth to a generation that found solid jobs, bought houses in the suburbs and took modest family vacations. That’s all gone by and large. Combined with the explosive tuition hikes, for profit schools, deemphasizing skill jobs and a host of other nuances has left a lasting effect.

Add to this the lack of representation of the top and bottom 15% of Americans in the armed forces. There are no recruiting stations in Cambridge and the bottom 15% based on a variety of metrics are underrepresented. I am not being flippant; however the days of entire Ivy League classes enlisting in the Army to fight the good fight are over. When it can cost upwards of 200K for an education and Harvard’s endowment earns about $7million a day, the incentive to serve is rather small.(I am not signaling out Harvard) Whatever is left is what recruiting officers and manpower experts identify as specific demographics they target and exploit. Add in Obesity and the population to field this all volunteer army is very, very small.

And you have probably seen the shift in terms of recruiting messaging. States now target national guardsman to be first responders not fighters. The pull for enlistment is still not about fighting but about benefits and entitlements, and schooling etc. The problem is many of the leadership skills and responsibilities these people accrue are dismissed by and large by both private and public agencies. Again, I admit it may be an overgeneralization. However, I base that generalization on feedback and points of view from a variety of sources and observations.
And I can tell you unequivocally, that HR personnel within the DHS try mightily to reduce veterans from the applicant pool. I recall one being overheard saying there are “too many damn veterans”. Not a complaint but an observation.

And stories like this should turn Americans stomachs, but they don’t;



As I have said before on this blog; America is not at war, the Department of Defense is. And this war has not been felt and fought by a large portion of the populace.

So in total, the extremely small amount of Americans who serve in the armed forces, those that are harvested from targeted demographies within the United States, does in my opinion impact homeland security. The expectations placed on them, the constraints of ROE, hyper scrutiny by a journalism corps that has limited concept of what war is and by and large, senior leaders (Generals) who probably never fought at the company level or led company or platoon level operations, making decisions that are career based, not fighter based. That is a terse generalization on my part and I draw that opinion after speaking to a host of Generals who fought in Vietnam as Lt’s and Captains, instead of LtCol’s. It makes a large difference in perspective.

There are many who will pontificate ad infinitum about veterans paying their share and being overcompensated, yada yada, but most that do the talking are grossly misinformed with regard to some of the all-volunteer force constraints. And again, in my opinion, the situation is a microcosm of larger issues within the United States. We will soon see contraction of the DoD and many more unemployed and underemployed veterans added to the double digit unemployment rates coming back into a country that for the most port cannot fathom what they’ve been asked and tasked to do.

I take for granted I have very strong opinions on this subject and some may not agree with me. Nevertheless, I believe it to be a significant HS issue on a variety of fronts. Thanks for your great comments and apologize for length!

Comment by Christopher Tingus

February 16, 2014 @ 4:39 am

Immigration – drug traffic via tunnels – a host of DHS considerations:

Largest-ever drug tunnel in Nogales found – see USA and CNN

Comment by William R. Cumming

February 16, 2014 @ 9:22 am

ALL! Some items!

Recovery Diva blog posted this AM on President Obama speech linking California drought to climate change! He continues to talk a good game just as President Clinton papered the record just to CYA for posterity!
Barry Commoner for President.

Yes I am a tree hugger!

Comment by William R. Cumming

February 16, 2014 @ 9:26 am

Computer garbled my comment last! Voted for Barry Commoner for President in 1980!

Wiki extract:

Barry Commoner (May 28, 1917 – September 30, 2012) was an American biologist, college professor, and politician. He was a leading ecologist and among the founders of the modern environmental movement. He ran for president of the United States in the 1980 U.S. presidential election on the Citizens Party ticket. He served as editor of Science Illustrated magazine.

Comment by William R. Cumming

February 16, 2014 @ 9:42 am

wiki extract:
See “conscription” and “Selective Service” entries.

Comment by William R. Cumming

February 16, 2014 @ 9:49 am

ALL! IMO the Pacific War in WWII was racially motivated on all sides! In all theaters Facism was driven by racial and/or ethnic and/or religious hatreds! And corporate greed!

Histories of WWII remain largely politically correct by victors and vanquished! This may be a good thing or not!

Comment by Christopher Tingus

February 16, 2014 @ 10:54 pm

re Karl-Theodor Zu Guttenberg

To all who are so firmly committed to Homeland Security and understand the need to look closely at global events and their relationship to Biblical verse, whether it is Isaiah 10:5; Daniel 7 and 8; Leviticus 26as well as verse 19!

….and why Merkel’s failed leadership will result in the return of Karl-Theodor Zu Guttenberg, while we have been watching the Superbowl, Guttenberg in his brilliance has been looking at the long game and with his astuteness, his brilliance, Guttenberg in his repentant ways keeping a watchful eye as the “KGB Putinites” as I refer to them will revive the Russian empire at the helm of Putin of course who has seen how pathetic this US Presidency has been and a Congress so willing to allow a sitting US President to break the law, to use Executive pen to alter laws instead of dutifully enforcing them….well, anyone concerned about our well being and Homeland Security and the clash between Putin and Guttenberg should at least become familiar with his name!

Putin understood quite well that if the Ukraine had allied itself with the Europeans, it would have weakened his ambitions considerably and Putin seeing a global void in US strength made sure that Viktor Yanukovych did Not sign the 21st November ’13 EU accord so w/over 50% of Russian gas exports passing through the Ukraine thus the Ukraine has now slipped back into the Kremlin’s grasp despite much protest and for anyone interested in Homeland Security and what is truly taking place in light of the worst US presidency since Millard Fillmore and a Congress so partisan in its ways that it continues to blatantly fail in its obligation to stand forthright on behalf of the Constitution!

God Bless America!

Christopher Tingus
PO Box 1612
Harwich (cape Cod), MA 02645 USA

Comment by E. Earhart

February 17, 2014 @ 9:48 am

President’s Day Question,

While all those who have served as President of the United States have done so for the good of the nation, some were more talented, skilled, or lucky than others. From the hls ecosystem’s perspective and with proper hindsight, which former president do you believe would have been best equipped to deal with climate change, ideological factions, Brutes of Tehran, KTZ Guttenburg, financial crisis, radicalism, water scarcity etc. etc. etc.

I will throw out Dwight Eisenhower as the first name.

Comment by William R. Cumming

February 17, 2014 @ 9:56 am

Double E! Excellent choice! An an interesting recent biography by Edward Jean Smith, 30 years at the University of Toronto and now at Marshall University.

Comment by William R. Cumming

February 17, 2014 @ 9:58 am

The NY Times today has an article that drought not related to climate change! My understanding is deserts worldwide expanding but perhaps wrong!

Wiki extract:

North America
Main article: List of North American deserts

Black Rock Desert
Carcross Desert
Central Valley of California (which is divided into the Sacramento Valley in the north, and the San Joaquin Valley in the south) – this area has largely been transformed, due to irrigation canals, to an agricultural area. It is technically a semi-arid climate
Chihuahua Desert
Colorado Desert
Great Basin Desert
Mojave Desert
Pumice Desert, the remains of an ash flow from the big eruption of Mount Mazama
Sonoran Desert

Comment by William R. Cumming

February 17, 2014 @ 10:09 am

Some of the US water basin commissions exist in federal law. President Ronald Reagan terminate all non-statutory
water basin commissions established by Executive Order by Executive Order. President Obama should re-establish the dissolved water basin commissions by Executive Order and seek to make them statutory.an

President Reagan also gutted the Principles and Standards for Water Resource Projects in issuing new guidance in 1983. This also should be corrected!


Comment by William R. Cumming

February 17, 2014 @ 12:29 pm

The Water Resources Council [also needed now] was also abolished by President Reagan!

Comment by Christopher Tingus

February 17, 2014 @ 11:38 pm

…and when I look at our woes and the failings of Homeland Security despite the billions spent in the last decade or more and we see the Executive Branch of government failing to enforce laws and to amend them at the President’s whim contrary to the Constitution as if some monarch or in fact a tyrant as I prefer to refer to this President whether Black, White, Blue or Green and should be subjected to Congressional arrest for breach of faith, treason….

….in a failing society where one individual cannot even afford another dignity and the with the tragedies of Life we seem to be more accustomed to while more and more seemingly become less family-oriented, I refer to the following as a reason why We are now such a weakened nation and We are at great peril, I refer to the Gospel and John 8:31 as well as verse 37:

“Ye seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you” – until faith is restored, the troubled road will become even more arduous!

God Bless America!

Comment by William R. Cumming

February 18, 2014 @ 10:21 am

I missed this one by President Obama on Friday Feb 13th:

“Today, I joined Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and representatives of more than 25 nations, the World Health Organization, the World Organization for Animal Health, and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations to launch the Global Health Security Agenda, an international effort to enhance our ability to prevent, detect, and respond to outbreaks of infectious disease threats.

This is not just a health challenge – it is a security challenge as well. Infectious diseases have the potential to cause enormous damage in terms of lives lost, economic impact, and ability to recover, just as with nuclear, chemical, or cybersecurity attacks. In today’s interconnected world, they emerge and spread faster than ever before. These threats know no borders, and no one country can address them alone. That’s why the United States is bringing together international partners across sectors – from agriculture and health to defense, foreign policy, and development – to address this challenge.

Today, we pledged to work with at least 30 international partners as they strengthen their global health security capacity in the next five years. That means working together to slow the spread of antimicrobial resistance, reducing zoonotic disease transmission, establishing national biosecurity systems, increasing routine immunization, strengthening national infectious disease surveillance and laboratory systems, and developing real-time electronic reporting systems and emergency operations centers. The President’s FY2015 Budget will include a request for $45 million in new funding specifically dedicated to this effort. And later this year, we will convene partner nations at the White House to review our collective progress, highlight new commitments, and identify additional actions we can take together to make the world safer from dangerous diseases.”

Comment by William R. Cumming

February 18, 2014 @ 10:43 am

How about 5 less F-35s to fund yhe initative announce in my previous comment! BTW the USAF training over 100 drone pilots for each drone! They want 24/7/365 coverage and wondering how over 20,000 with a single Emergency Manager thinks about their 24/7/30day coverage?

Comment by Kevin Gilhuly

February 23, 2014 @ 9:56 pm

In response to what William R. Cumming stated on February 18th, the Global Health Security Agenda is a great chance to attempt to prevent, detect, and respond to outbreaks of infectious disease threats. The issue I am having is trying to comprehend how an increase of $45 million is that critical to mission success. An increase of funding to that area as a simple means of relocation of funds from DoD could address some short comings the health department is suffering from however I argue that a relocation of funds is not the answer. We need to look rather at waste and within the Medical field there are improvements to technology that can cut costs of operation if we fund the improvements. An increase of funds in technological improvements and a more sustainable environment for health professionals to work would allow for those funds and professional to work at a more efficient level. If any of these politicians actually worked in a hospital for one day they can see where the work gets put on delay and how technological improvements could expedite that process. This Agenda needs to address these needs. Just as HealthVault was established to provide an easier collaborative environment for health officials, we need to keep technology a high priority to rid ourselves of delay.

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