Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

February 25, 2014

Baseball, the White House and Homeland Security

Filed under: General Homeland Security — by Christopher Bellavita on February 25, 2014

August 28, 2011.

The New York Yankees beat the Baltimore Orioles 8-3 in the second game of a day-night double header.

New York hit five home runs. Ivan Nova — in his rookie year — won his 10th straight game.

Who cares about an uneventful baseball game that took place two and a half years ago?

I promise there’s a homeland security connection here.


After spending the last few months away from homeland security concerns, I’ve been trying to reconnect with what the front burner issues are in the Enterprise (if “enterprise” is even used anymore).

I went to the White House website to look at their “Issues” page.   Homeland Security is one of 23 important issues featured on the White House site.

Here’s what I found:

The headline item on the page was a video of President Obama, DHS Secretary Napolitano, and FEMA administrator Fugate talking about “on going response efforts to Hurricane Irene.”

The date of the briefing?

Yep, August 28, 2011 — the same day Curtis Granderson hit two home runs; and Robinson Cano, Nick Swisher, and Andruw Jones each hit one.

None of those people play for the Yankees anymore. Things change.  Except, it seems, on the White House homeland security issues page.

The site also features information about:

– The July 2011 Strategy to Combat Transnational Organized Crime
– The June 2011 National Strategy for Counterterrorism
– The Administration’s success managing tornado damage in Joplin and Tuscaloosa, with a nod to DHS efforts during the BP oil spill.
– A March 2009 US-Mexico border initiative
– A May 2009 Cyberspace Policy Review
– A March 2010 Surface Transportation Security Priority Assessment
– And a reminder of the principles guiding the May 2010 National Security Strategy.

And that’s pretty much it for that web page. There are a few half-hearted efforts on the right hand side of the page to be somewhat current – like two September 2011 commemorations of the 9/11/01 attacks, and a blurb about a 2013 Canadian border initiative. But that’s about it.

It does not look like anyone at the White House cares that much about the homeland security issue page.

I realize in the scheme of things this is not a big deal. Homeland security is not a website. I appreciate how difficult it is to keep the content and the look of a website current. Homeland Security Watch looks basically the same today as it did when Beckner wrote the first post on December 2, 2005.

I can only guess why no one at the White House deems the homeland security issues page important enough to keep current. I know they have the capability to pay attention. Maybe the interest is not there.

Compare the worn-out homeland security issues site with the White House sites dealing with the economy, education, ethics, health care, urban and economic mobility– to name just a few. Those sites look like they live in the second decade of the 21st Century. Plus they have updated information (mostly).

So what gives here?

My guess is in the list of administration priorities for the second term, homeland security does not matter  much.

Not because homeland security is unimportant. “The president’s highest priority is to keep the American people safe,” the issue page declares.

Perhaps the website is out of date because — for the most part — homeland security is being handled.

Compared with the messiness of the other issues on the president’s agenda, thousands of men and women engaged in homeland security work seem to be doing a more than adequate job accomplishing the core mission: keeping the American people safe.


The first spring training baseball games of the 2014 season will be played on Tuesday.

In spite of the Boston Marathon attack last year, I continue to believe the country is in good homeland security shape if there can still be time for baseball.

The Boston attack reminded us that effective homeland security does not mean complete safety or security.  There remains a lot of tuning to be done in the Enterprise.

An out of date White House website might simply mean that people are busy working, not playing on the Internet.

I hope that’s the reason.

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Comment by John Comiskey

February 25, 2014 @ 6:36 am

On January 6, 2002 the NY Jets beat the Oakland Raiders 24-22. As was the case of the August 28, 2011 NY Yankee-Baltimore Orioles game, there is a HLS connection.

On September 16, 2001, the NY Jets were scheduled to play the Oakland Raiders. Keith, a friend of this blogger, was more than an avid Raiders fan. He bet the blogger a dinner and bragging rights that his home team would beat the blogger’s home team. Home team banter pervaded our office space for weeks. No NFL games, however, were played that day.

Keith and I and hundreds of others spent the day at ground zero with Air Force jets flying overhead. While there we were rooted for and prayed for. In a sense, we were the home team. We heard the cheers and felt the prayers.

The Jet-Raider game was played on Jan 6, 2002. Though still busy, Keith and I were not as busy as we were on September 16, 2001. We watched the rescheduled game. NY Jet kicker John Hall hit a 53-yard field goal to both win the game and advance the Jets to the Wild Card round.

On January 1, 2002, NYC had a new mayor and NYPD a new police commissioner. NYC and NYPD would return to a new sense of normalcy. Still we took time to root for our home teams. We did so with heightened awareness and security. The heightened awareness and security are now “OPS NORMAL” (normal operations).

This blogger senses that the 2014 QHSR and maybe a 2014 National Security Strategy will fill the White House HLS website void.

Comment by E. Earhart

February 25, 2014 @ 6:44 am

[Baseball]is not complicated in it’s objective, but in execution of layers and complexities and nuances. It involves constant attention to the law of cumulation, which is: A lot of little things add up through 162 games, to big differences. 162-game season is like this enterprise/ecosystem/hls, an exercise in cumulation.

Men at Work, the Craft of Baseball, George Will

Comment by E. Earhart

February 25, 2014 @ 6:50 am

Dodger Catcher Dempsey made clear the mental make-up that made for success in baseball [and hls?]:

You have to think right . . . your not thinking, Hey, we’re going to kill them tomorrow- because that may not happen. Your not looking to do something all on your own. You can’t get three outs at a time. It all breaks down to its smallest part. If you play baseball [hls] like that, the next thing you know, you look up and you have won.

Men at Work, Will

Comment by E. Earhart

February 25, 2014 @ 6:59 am

John Updike wrote about the great Ted Williams playing in his final game, he radiated “the hard-blue glow of high purpose . . . Williams is the classic ballplayer of the game on a hot August weekday before a small crowd, when the only thing at stake is the tissue thin difference between a thing done well and a thing done ill”

Will writes, “Baseball heroism, [like hls heroism] comes not from flashes of brilliance but rather, as Updike says, from “the players who always care,” about themselves and their craft.

The people I know that play,practice, and write about hls have the hard-blue glow and always care.

Comment by John Comiskey

February 25, 2014 @ 8:27 am

E. Earhart,

The maxim “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care” and variants of the maxim have been attributed to many including Theodore Roosevelt who also applauded the “man in the arena.”

As you suggest, the most successful people in the arena are apt to have the hard-blue glow and always care.

On March 31, 2014, the NY Mets will host the Washington Nationals for the home opener. This bloggers hopes that the Mets care more this year than they did last year or the decade or so before that. They should care like they did in 1986 when won they won the World Series or at least like they did in 2000 when they lost to NY’s other home team.
Money Ball suggests that the Mets might win more games if they employ saber metrics. See: http://www.amazon.com/Moneyball-The-Winning-Unfair-Game/dp/0393324818/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1393333659&sr=8-1&keywords=Moneyball%3A+The+Art+of+Winning+an+Unfair+Game

GAO recommended that DHS use more data analysis to better manage and budget. See:

In the age of “big data,” baseball teams and members of the HLS enterprise should always care about numbers too.

Comment by William R. Cumming

February 25, 2014 @ 8:28 am


It is no surprise that the Japanese adopted baseball so readily given the importance of MONEY BALL and incrementalism to that sport [and others]!

As to the WH blog? A new analytic framework has seeped into the dialectic on HLS. Its face is posted on the blog INFORMED COMMENT run by Juan Cole. He features recently a video interview by Bill Moyers of Ted Lofgren and discussion of a term new to me but not of others. The term THE DEEP STATE meaning in fact the NATIONAL SECURITY STATE in all of its facets, WALL STREET, and DHS, the State Dept., and the Treasury Dept.

According to some the entire purpose of the DEEP STATE is to avoid public scrutiny and thrive while gridlock pervades the Constitutional government and its operations.

There is no contention of a formal conspiracy only that the jigsaw puzzle of the DEEP STATE has fallen into place in the last three decades but in particular 9/11/01. The DEEP STATE THRIVES while the rest of the country is driven into penury!

And by the way Chris is it important that only a genius could kink the over 55 NATIONAL STRATEGIES all derived from the NSC, its staff, and its contractors?

In the Moyers interview one thing revealed is that 70% of the entire budget of the IC [Intelligence Community] goes to its contractors.

Comment by John Comiskey

February 25, 2014 @ 8:29 am


Perhaps the 2014 QHSR will answer your question: Is “enterprise” even used anymore?

Comment by William R. Cumming

February 25, 2014 @ 8:54 am

Does the DHS starship “enterprise” go where no one has gone before? Perhaps a black hole?

Comment by Sally Chapman

February 25, 2014 @ 11:20 am

Perhaps the same people responsible for the Affordable Healthcare Act website maintain the Whitehouse’s HS website. Or, maybe those responsible left and given the government freeze on hiring, it’s ‘frozen’ in time. I’ll think I’ll stop there.

Comment by William R. Cumming

February 25, 2014 @ 11:52 am

In a forthcoming Washington, D.C. conference on HLS [billed by the sponsors as the leading DC area HLS conference this year] these are the conference topics:

The Conference will address these current Homeland Security issues:
* Big Data Analytics
* Continuous Diagnostics Monitoring
* Doing Business in Homeland Security – Procurement Executives Roundtable
* IT Priorities in Homeland Security – CIO Roundtable
* Information Sharing – Fusion Centers
* Mobility and Interoperability
* Professionalization of Cyber Security – Human Resources
* Role of Laboratories in Homeland Security



Disclosure: I received a stipend as a 3rd or 4th tier sub-contractor under a S&T Directorate contract with TASC for two days of participation in an open source discussion of the threat posed by RDDs! That was in 2004.

Comment by Donald Quixote

February 25, 2014 @ 12:22 pm


Comment by JD

February 25, 2014 @ 8:21 pm

I’ll add three thoughts to the discussion.

First, as I’ve previously written, PSD-1 has minimized most White House attention on homeland security. The NSC doesn’t really care much for the tedious work of thinking past the guards, gates, and guns model. The National Security affairs dominate all the attention span. The only reason PPD-8 got probably got through the noise is that it was on the shelf when Fukushema melted down.

Second, there is the political discomfort with the DHS role in immigration and commerce, so it is hard to brag about successful (or not, depending on your view) border management or everyone’s most favorite pastime (next to baseball) of airport security screening.

Finally, we have the strategy and policy plandemic as Bill alluded to, even with the limited website updates. As a staffer or appointee, you don’t score political points by cleaning up others strategies and policies, but a White House staffer does score points by getting POTUS to sign off on their own particular ideas. So instead of cleaning up, we just add to the mess. With the rotation of White House staff, hence the blizzard of policies and E.O.s, as each person tries to leave their own mark. The “Enterprise” term still exists, and the “partners” are getting pretty tired of the being told the latest policy and strategy from the “federal family.”

Comment by William R. Cumming

February 25, 2014 @ 10:23 pm

Thanks JD! And careerism a big problem in DC as many are ice skaters skating along while the ice breaks behind them. Often even trained historians ignore whether the country was better or worse off after another President left office.

Pick a President!

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