Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

June 26, 2014

QHSR: Translating the archetypes (especially anima/animus)

Filed under: Preparedness and Response,Private Sector,Resilience,Strategy — by Philip J. Palin on June 26, 2014

FRIDAY, JUNE 27 EDITORIAL NOTE:  The Friday Free Forum is on vacation this week, luxuriating in the quiet of a cool mountain glade beneath a sweep of stars, seeking to reclaim social and spiritual equanimity.  You are invited to join the QHSR discussion that is already underway below.



How do we anticipate what we cannot predict?  That question animates the Quadrennial Homeland Security Review. Strategy generates benefits to the extent it accurately anticipates.  An effective strategy generates an initial — sometimes persisting — advantage in dealing with whatever specific challenges unfold unpredictably.

The QHSR is a bureaucratic document. This description is not meant as pejorative.  There are various DHS components, other national security agencies, White House and Congressional concerns, and many other stakeholders.  While the QHSR wants to accurately anticipate, it is not a prophetic text.  Rather than speaking truth to power, this is power in search of truth.  It can be cumbersome.

Meaningful interpretation recognizes the limitations — and opportunities — of the bureaucratic genre.  Much must be said. Where have the authors moved beyond the minimum requirements? Bureaucracies tend toward girth, but are sensitive to hierarchy.  What or who is given more attention?

The QHSR reviews previous challenges and outlines what it considers important shifts in the risk environment.  It gives particular priority to the following (page 28):

  • The terrorist threat is evolving and, while changing in shape, remains significant as attack planning and operations become more decentralized. The United States and its interests, particularly in the transportation sector, remain persistent targets.
  • Growing cyber threats are significantly increasing risk to critical infrastructure and to the greater U.S. economy.
  • Biological concerns as a whole, including bioterrorism, pandemics, foreign animal diseases, and other agricultural concerns, endure as a top homeland security risk because of both potential likelihood and impacts.
  • Nuclear terrorism through the introduction and use of an improvised nuclear device, while unlikely, remains an enduring risk because of its potential consequences.
  • Transnational criminal organizations are increasing in strength and capability, driving risk in counterfeit goods, human trafficking, illicit drugs, and other illegal flows of people and goods.
  • Natural hazards are becoming more costly to address, with increasingly variable consequences due in part to drivers such as climate change and interdependent and aging infrastructure.

Lots on the plate even here.  But these six risks are segregated from the rest. There is also a full page text-box highlighting Black Swans.  Words are carefully chosen to avoid accusations of being alarmist, but the visual rhetoric is emphatic. When push comes to shove, here are the risks  that this QHSR seems intent to especially engage.  How?

At different places in the document (especially page 16 and again in the conclusion) the following “cross-cutting” strategic priorities are articulated:

  • An updated posture to address the increasingly decentralized terrorist threat; 
  • A strengthened path forward for cybersecurity that acknowledges the increasing interdependencies among critical systems and networks; 
  • A homeland security strategy to manage the urgent and growing risk of biological threats and hazards; 
  • A risk segmentation approach to securing and managing flows of people and goods; and 
  • A new framework for strengthening mission execution through public-private partnerships.

What does “updated posture” mean?  Read pages 33-38. Compare and contrast with QHSR vers. 1.0 and your own counter-terrorism experience.  There are others better able to read-between-these-particular-lines.  I hope you will do so in the comments.

The attention to biological threats is not new, but concerns related to pandemic are even more acute. (“Of the naturally occurring events, a devastating pandemic remains the highest homeland security risk.”)  Urgent and growing are almost prophetic terms.  But once again, others are better prepared to give you the close-reading of how we are to be biologically battle-ready.

In my reading the most notable shift in this QHSR, and on which the rest of this post will concentrate, is the priority given so-called public-private partnerships (which I strongly recommended be amended to “private-public relationships”).

I perceive this enhanced priority emerges from a confluence of cyber-threats, disaster-management, and catastrophe preparedness.  In each of these domains the public good largely depends on private sector capacities and potential collaboration between private and public.

Flows of people and goods are given significant analytic attention. Flow-of-goods is treated mostly as a matter of economic security.  In time of significant crisis this is also the source-of-life.  The capacity to maintain a sufficient flow resides almost entirely with the private sector. In case of crisis, the public sector may be able to lead.  But in many cases the public sector will do better to follow and support.  Sometimes the best possible is for the public sector to get out of the way.  The latter alternative is most likely when there has been minimal private-public efforts in joint preparedness.  Leading or supporting require much more joint engagement than currently anticipated.

Being strategically prepared to — depending on context — lead, follow or get out of the way does not come easily.  Even the insight is atypical.  In advancing this insight the QHSR is making a potentially major contribution to safety, security and resilience.

Here is how the QHSR frames the issue (page 60):

At a time when we must do more with less, two guiding principles help public-private partnerships maximize the investment by each partner and the success of the partnership: (1) aligning interests and (2) identifying shared outcomes.

By focusing on how interests align, we can provide alternatives to costly incentives or regulations and help ensure a partnership is based on a solid foundation of mutual interest and benefit. There are many examples of public and private sector interests aligning in homeland security. Common interests include the safety and security of people and property, the protection of sensitive information, effective risk management, the development of new technology, reputation enhancement, and improved business processes. New ways of thinking about corporate social responsibility—in which societal issues are held to be core business interests rather than traditional philanthropy—also present an opportunity to identify shared interests.

Where interests do not directly align, potential partners can often be motivated by shared desired outcomes, such as enhanced resilience; effective disaster response and recovery; and greater certainty in emerging domains, such as cyberspace and the Arctic.

Aligning interests and identifying shared outcomes are absolutely a big part of effective collaboration.  But behind this reasonable rhetoric is a complicated, often treacherous cross-cultural tension.  I once spent a few years brokering decision-making between Japanese and Americans.  The intra-American — and perhaps global — private-public cultural divide is at least as profound.

The QHSR helpfully identifies five “archetypes” for framing relationships between private and public (see page 60-61).  A “Partnerships Toolkit” has also been developed.  All of this is potentially constructive.  When DHS folks started talking to me about archetypes I immediately thought of Jungian archetypes.  This matches my sense that to really work together private and public will usually require the institutional equivalent of long-term joint counseling.  But this analogous leap seemed to make some of my DHS colleagues uncomfortable.

Some were even more uncomfortable when I suggested private/public is the equivalent of the anima/animus archetype. C.G. Jung wrote, “The anima gives rise to illogical outbursts of temper; the animus produces irritating commonplaces.”  I’ll let you guess which I associate with private and which with public.

But C.G.’s most important insight regarding these contending archetypes is that each depends on each, each is fulfilled in relationship with the other, and robust elements of both are required for ongoing creativity and growth.  The recurring clinical problem is an inclination to diminish, suppress or oppress one or the other.

In the life of an individual failure to meaningfully engage both anima and animus is self-subverting and can become tragic.  Our current failure to effectively engage private and public presents a similar social threat.  To suggest why — in less than another thousand words — here’s yet another analogy:

I happened to be reading about the Battle of Austerlitz when the QHSR was released last week.  In the summer of 1804 the British Prime Minister, William Pitt, accurately anticipated Napoleon’s expansionist ambitions.  He effectively forged a strategic alliance with Austria-Hungary, Russia, and Sweden. In October 1805 the British Fleet soundly defeated a combined French and Spanish naval force at Trafalgar.  It was the right strategy and the strategy was proving effective. But then in early December on a cold fog-drenched Moravian bottom-land the entire strategy unraveled.  Europe was, once again, transformed.

There are many reasons for the Third Coalition’s failure at Austerlitz. My particular author focuses on a clique of over-confident young nobles around the Russian Czar who seriously underestimated the practical requirements of deploying two emperors and their very different armies into actual battle.  The practical requirements of a national capacity for effective private-public collaboration in crisis are much more complicated.

The QHSR has articulated the right strategy.  We will undermine the strategy by minimizing challenges involved in making the collaboration operational.

On July 16 there will be an early signal of our operational readiness and sophistication.  That’s when new applications for the Homeland Security National Training Program: Continuing Training Grants are due.  This includes Focus Area 4: Maturing Public-Private Partnerships.  Will be interesting to see what’s submitted.

Brian, please be very cautious of any proposals received from twenty-something Russian princes.

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Comment by Donald Quixote

June 26, 2014 @ 11:10 am

Great line: “Rather than speaking truth to power, this is power in search of truth”.

Hopefully, public-private partnerships is the continued whole of community push for resilience without total reliance on the endless disaster supplemental bills and shrinking homeland security grants.

I do wonder about the mid and long-term impact of QHSR other than meeting a requirement and matching our DOD partners. Does it matter if the majority of DHS personnel do not know what it is or its importance? Is it acceptable that only senior leadership may or may not fully read and incorporate it? Did the first QHSR help mature the department and enterprise?

Comment by Strategos

June 26, 2014 @ 11:41 am

Chris and Phil:

Thanks. Got it. Mostly don’t disagree. Appreciate the encouragement to read it and the guidance on how to read it. And (not but, but and) I’m mostly a “guardian”. I come to HLSWatch to get my fix of what might be on the minds of the philosophers-sometimes-kings. It is usually interesting. Every once in while it helps. I haven’t decided yet where the QHSR sits on the utility metric. Maybe it depends on how (if) its operationalized.

If it’s not operationalized, as Phil fears, I expect the cause will be mostly because the conversation never penetrated the perimeter of philophers and their bureaucratic and academic peers. Will anyone ever come to my office to have a real conversation related to the QHSR? If they did I would probably be so surprised as to be tongue-tied and lose the chance.

I’ve been thinking about how to broach a couple of the topics with my fellow guardians. It’s not exactly what I’m going to bring up tonight at the bar. Where does this thinking get a chance to meet reality? That’s about the only way it has a hope to be operationalized.

In terms of the grants, if that was going to be your answer, give me a break. This new topic will just be rolled up in some other general training that is usually death-by-powerpoints, where ideas both good and bad die even before the students.

So really I mean it, thanks. But help me see how this practically moves forward.

Comment by Philip J. Palin

June 26, 2014 @ 2:36 pm

Don and Strategos:

Many thanks. There are similar tracks in each of your comments. You’ve articulated why I’m concerned about operationalization.

So… instead of me trying to answer, can I ask: What do you think would produce the biggest pay-off? What would it take for the QHSR to become more consumable? I think you see DHS open and trying to do this with the production of, for example, the Partnerships Toolkit. What sort of re-purposing or training or educating or conferencing or seminaring or some sort of social processing could help insert what (we all seem to agree) is pretty good stuff into the operational rhythm of the Enterprise?

And Strategos, I understand the critique of the typical training program, but no one (that I know) is requiring bad curriculum planning and worse facilitation. If you were (philosopher or not) king for a day, how would you redo the training?

Comment by Samantha Wilson

June 26, 2014 @ 3:33 pm

As I read this post, I found myself drawn to the portions written about pandemics and the threat they pose to the United States. I agree that pandemics are an acute concern for the homeland security community, and I am pleased to see the QHSR give attention to this topic. The 2014 QHSR states, “Of the naturally occurring events, a devastating pandemic remains the highest homeland security risk. Both the likelihood and consequences of this low probability, high-impact event are expected to increase, driven in large part by increasing opportunities for novel infectious diseases to emerge and spread quickly around the world.” I am currently researching the threat of pandemics, specifically one caused by the reemergence of the H1N1 virus, and how it would affect New York City and the New York City Police Department. In New York City, interconnectedness is at an extreme due to the City’s small area, large population, and large workforce community. Although public health is now considered a homeland security concern, the crowdedness of New York City and the entire United States could lead to a disease outbreak that dwarfs the 1918 influenza pandemic. Although medicine has improved greatly in the last century, increasing resistance to medication can hinder medical countermeasures. The U.S. may not be as protected and immune to the flu as some think. A pandemic can weaken the well-being of countless Americans, affect food and water supplies, and lead to a breakdown of society. This would be detrimental to homeland security, and it is a smart practice to recognize the threat of pandemics and to prepare for them.

Comment by Donald Quixote

June 26, 2014 @ 4:27 pm

The increase in biological and public health threat concerns, to include possible pandemics, is very welcomed and may be a result of the QHSR Ideascale campaign discussion topics. SARS, MERS, H7N9, H1N1, H5N1, Ebola and many other pathogens are surely drivers too.

Comment by Donald Quixote

June 26, 2014 @ 4:46 pm

Mr. Palin:

Of course you can ask, but after answering a few of the original questions with your valued perspective (another question for a question works best in the safety zone of a graduate level seminar). What do you think Sir?

Comment by Philip J. Palin

June 26, 2014 @ 5:34 pm

Mr. Quixote:

So… I’m sort of in the midst of a business dinner and I don’t want to preempt a possible response by Strategos (who I think may be new here). But I will offer something tomorrow morning.

Between now and then I hope you will also be thinking. In undergraduate days my favorite professor nicknamed me Don Quixote. I think this operationalization issue may be better suited for Sancho Panza.

Comment by John Comiskey

June 26, 2014 @ 6:35 pm

In the interest of transparency, I am deep into dissertation research that asks how does college homeland security curricula prepare students for homeland security?

There are several sub questions and most importantly what is homeland security? Since 9/11 (and even before that), the White House, DHS, and DOD have given us several definitions of homeland security. The 2014 QHSR offers a vision of homeland security (the same vision that the 2010 QHSR offered a comma notwithstanding).

My research found that HLS education (distinguished from HLS) evolved from a pre-9/11 DOD and DOJ initiative to prepare state and local officials for WMD events. 9/11 happened and the initiative went full throttle and DOJ’s part was assumed by the then new DHS.

HLS was and is the product of focusing events and particularly 9/11 and Katrina. The 2014 QHSR highlights our latest focusing events Deepwater Horizon, Superstorm Sandy, and the Boston Terror Attacks and most impressively Black Swan events.

HLS problems are wicked problems that the HLS Enterprise or anyone for that matter cannot get their arms around. Those problems included natural, intentional, and accidental threats including natural disasters, terrorism, critical infrastructure, cyber threats, risk management, resilience, and many others.

Ideally, the HLS enterprise (see QHSR 2010) includes federal, state, local, tribal, territorial government, private sector, NGOs, and citizens.

Chris Bellavita’s 2006 assessment of HLS, HLS is in a pre-paradigm stage, holds true today and is affirmed by the 2014 QHSR assertion that HLS is evolving.

Comment by Bellavita

June 26, 2014 @ 11:55 pm

Strategos — Thanks for your thoughtful comments.

I used to work for a guy who said, “It all matters, but not very much.” I think the QHSR matters — for reasons we could talk about; but I also think from the perspective of an operational guardian, it probably doesn’t matter very much. As you note, “Got it.”

But over time, in homeland security, I think some words do matter.

When I compare the 2014 QHSR with the 2002 homeland security strategy I see a sea change in the hubris of authors. The 2014 document reflects a battle scarred modesty about what it takes to accomplish something significant in a complex world, a modesty that was not very apparent in 2002.

The 2010 QHSR introduced networks, evolution and emergence into the way people spoke about homeland security. It also — for good or bad – baptized homeland security as an “enterprise.” I see all those ideas reflected as actions, described in the 2012 and 2013 national preparedness reports and the fusion center network reports. Shifting one’s thinking from hierarchies to networks, and from mechanical processes to emergence has significant strategic and policy implications.

Is trying to shape the way people use language practical? Maybe not for guardians who are required to focus on the immediate now. But for guardians who pay attention to movement toward the longer now, the QHSR is eminently practical.

In my experience, some guardians already know this. I hope you’re able to find them.

Comment by Philip J. Palin

June 27, 2014 @ 4:40 am

Responding to Donald Quixote and Strategos

As it is the QHSR is a rich resource for graduate education in homeland security, homeland defense, public administration, some aspects of business administration. I perceive this. John Comiskey has the evidence.

As it is the QHSR is a helpful resource for undergraduate education where the same issues as above are engaged. There are some undergraduate institutions that give sustained attention to integration of knowledge. The QHSR would be a brilliant text for such a seminar or symposium. As Chris Bellavita’s Tuesday post identified, the QHSR engages a whole host of issues very much alive in recent intellectual history.

I can imagine public sector senior management seminars drawing on the QHSR, though probably not assigning it whole. I find it harder to imagine it being used this way in the private sector.

When I get to formal and especially informal professional development it gets much more difficult to envision the QHSR being embraced and effectively deployed for learning. This says as much about the professional development system as the QHSR. So I am basically agreeing with the critique that each of you raised. There is a danger the QHSR’s potential will not penetrate to operational, much less tactical levels. (For a somewhat alternative perspective see Chris Bellavita’s comment just above. Chris and I both believe in emergence. I tend to bring to emergence the impatience of a new convert. Chris is a high priest.)

So what could be better engaged at the professional development level?

Well, as seems to have already been done, demonstrate the link between the QHSR and grants. Look at the QHSR and look at the focus areas for the Homeland Security National Training Program and the message could not be more clear. Articulating this connection at major professional development conferences of the various HS professions, jurisdictions, and stakeholders will help. But while this may motivate learning, it does not necessarily generate learning.

At some point for learning to happen (for all but the most self-directed) social groups must be gathered where the content will be discussed, critiqued, applied, analogized, adopted or rejected (typically a bit of each). We are doing some of this here and now.

And about here is where this Don Quixote feels a deep need for Sancho Panza. Here is where a veil of shadowy reality falls and before which my confidence fails (my Knight of the White Moon?). But from this vantage what I notice is absence: I do not see advocates, champions, evangelists, salesmen and saleswomen confident and excited by the QHSR and related sources of potential intelligence, empowered and funded and sent forth. There are many different ways the professional development opportunity could/should be fulfilled. But there is a need for teachers or, better, knowledgeable facilitators of adult learning who are committed to the task.

Peter Drucker — admittedly referencing the private, not public domain — wrote that there are two sources of value: innovation and sales. Everything else is a cost. In the QHSR there are important innovations. Where is the sales team?

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