Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

July 1, 2014

A Collage of QHSR 2014 numbers

Filed under: General Homeland Security — by Christopher Bellavita on July 1, 2014

I’ve read the QHSR three times since last week. I continue to think it’s an almost ideal marker for what homeland security (as opposed to the Department of Homeland Security) attends to.

Like “A Perfect Day for Banana Fish,” every time I read the QHSR I see something new.

This week I want to focus on the QHSR as a numerical collage. I offer the numbers — all taken from the QHSR — without context,  with a minimum of comment, and with an appreciation for the information patterns they represent and ignore.

  1. According to Section 707 of the Homeland Security Act of 2002, the number of national homeland security strategies the QHSR is supposed to “delineate and update”: 1              (I don’t believe we’ve had a formal national homeland security strategy since President Bush left office; I think we now have a national security strategy, with homeland security strategy sprinkled inside).
  2. Number of times the National Security Strategy is mentioned in the QHSR report: 2
  3. The number of enduring national interests of the United States: 4
  4. Number of homeland security visions in the QHSR: 1
  5. Number of basic and enduring homeland security missions: 5 (all of which advance each of the 4 enduring national interests)
  6. Number of trends driving change in homeland security’s strategic environment: 6       
  7. Number of challenges posing the most strategically significant risks through 2019: also 6
  8. The not exhaustive number of potential black swan events that could fundamentally alter the the homeland security strategic environment described in the QHSR: 4
  9. Based on the drivers and challenges, the number of strategic priorities that affect the five homeland security missions:  5
  10. Number of areas of ongoing strategic priority and emphasis (beyond the other five strategic priorities): 3
  11. Number of principles that should guide efforts to address the strategic challenges to a secure homeland: 6  —————————————————————————————————————————————-
  12. Estimated number of people killed by Hurricane Sandy: 117
  13. Number of people Sandy left without power: more than 8,500,000
  14. Number of combined gallons of sewer overflows caused by Sandy in eight northeast states and the District of Columbia: 11,000,000,000
  15. Damage Sandy caused: tens of billions of dollars (I think that means somewhere between $10,000,000,000 and $99,000,000,000)    —————————————————————————————————————————————-
  16. Estimated number of major roads in the United States in poor or mediocre condition: 1 out of every 3 major roads
  17. Number of the nation’s bridges that are either structurally deficient or functionally obsolete: 1 out of every 4
  18. Increase in blackouts and other electrical disturbances since 2007: 140%
  19. Estimated “funding gap” for electric infrastructure costs between now and 2020: more than $100,000,000,000
  20. Estimated costs of wastewater and drinking water infrastructure improvements needed over the next 20 years: $682,000,000,000    —————————————————————————————————————————————-
  21. Increase in the value of U.S. exports between 2005 and 2012: 72%
  22. Increase in the value of goods imported to the United States between 2005 and 2012: 36%
  23. Increase in lawful travel to the United States between 2005 and 2012: 36% 
  24. Expected increase in lawful travel to the U.S. 2012 and 2018: 25%
  25. Increase (measured in “folds”) of rail intermodal traffic  – transporting shipping containers and truck trailers on railroad flat cars – between 1980 and 2012: nearly 4 (as in “fourfold”)    ———————————————————————————————————————————————————————-
  26. Number of the nation’s 30 largest metro regions whose municipal government revenues have not returned to pre-recession levels: 20
  27. As of 2011, the number of the nation’s 30 largest metro regions who reduced public safety spending: 20   —————————————————————————————————————————————-
  28. The estimated number of people in the world who have at least 12 billion computers and other internet devices: 2,000,000,000 (or about 30% of everyone in the world)
  29. Desired change in the speed of providing information to machines to help block cyber threats: milliseconds (one thousandth of a second) instead of hours or days      —————————————————————————————————————————————-
  30. Number of priority biological threats and hazards: 4
  31. Number of goals in the homeland security strategy for managing biological risk: 6      —————————————————————————————————————————————-
  32. Estimated number of undocumented immigrants in the nation: 11,500,000 (many of whom have been here more than 10 years and came here as children)
  33. Number of “deferred action” requests for undocumented childhood arrival processed by DHS in less than a year: more than 500,000
  34. Increase in the number of Border Patrol agents from 2004 to 2014: From 10,000 agents in 2004, 21,370 in 2014
  35. Number of employers and worksites, respectively, enrolled in the E-Verify program: 520,000 employers, representing 1,400,000 worksites
  36. Number of core objectives for strengthening the US immigration system: 4       —————————————————————————————————————————————-
  37. Number of distinct but interrelated types of flows of people and goods based on an in-depth look at legal and illegal flows: 3
  38. Number of partnership archetypes that encompass the types of relationships government shares with the private sector: 5     —————————————————————————————————————————————-
  39. Minimum number of elements in the National Preparedness System: 4
  40. Number of key elements in the Campaign to Build and Sustain Preparedness: 4
  41. The number of core principles in the Whole Community approach to preparedness: 3  —————————————————————————————————————————————-
  42. Estimated number of people responsible for carrying out the missions described in the QHSR: “hundreds of thousands of people from across the Federal Government; state, local, tribal, and territorial governments; the private sector; and other nongovernmental organizations are responsible for executing these missions.”
  43. Number of individuals, agencies and other entities who have key roles and responsibilities in homeland security: 32 (according to Appendix A)
  44. Number of phases in the development of the 2014 QHSR: 4
  45. Number of people asked by the QHSR development group to contribute to the report: Hundreds of key organizations; tens of thousands of practitioners, hundreds of federal advisory committee act committee members, several international partners, and a few other organizations and individuals.
  46. Number of unique stakeholders who a) registered for IdeaScale and Communities of Practice, b) number of comments they provided, c) number of source documents used, and d) number of votes: a) more than 2,000, b) thousands, c) more than 100, and d) more than 10,000
  47. Number of sources provided for the numbers cited in the QHSR: 0      (but I’m sure they exist somewhere among the literature, academic work and experts consulted in the making of this QHSR)  —————————————————————————————————————————————-
  48. The number missing from the QHSR that I miss the most: 85%

Instead of prolonging the myth that 85% of critical infrastructure is owned by the private sector, the QHSR authors simply wrote:  “The majority of the Nation’s infrastructure is owned and operated by private sector entities.”  

Thank you to whomever insisted on that language.  It still might not even be “the majority.”  I mean, what’s the evidence?  But — like the rest of the homeland security enterprise characterized in the QHSR — small improvements may be the right path for now.  It’s a big nation.  Small improvements everywhere start to add up after awhile.

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Comment by Quin

July 1, 2014 @ 8:27 am


It took me a week to finally read it once! I should say that the posts of you and Phil are a great way to get another layer of understanding without having to read it again and again. So thanks! Of course, I wonder if anyone else here has read it. No one I’ve asked has done so, and most are not aware of it. But the question of the impact of such documents on the agencies tasked with carrying them out is nothing new.

Your last two points are interesting especially given the emphasis on risk based decision making. You can only hope the facts and numbers those assessments are based on are accurate or not overwhelmed by “other” factors.

And I’ll add one more – Using the shooting at the Sikh Temple in 2012 as an example of a “mass casualty attack”. If 6 dead and 4 wounded is considered a mass casualty attack, then where is the discussion of weekly events around the country that together consistently kill or wound far more people than terror attacks? For instance, just two days ago: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/06/30/bourbon-street-shooting/11805841/

I’m not aware of an accepted definition for that term, but I’d like to think it should at least maximize the use or overwhelm available local medical resources. I wonder if the reason such a term is not defined is because we’d quickly find out that these types of events, if in fact the bar is this low, happen more often than we want to know – especially if you include all types of accidents. Would this change the narrative of the terror threat if the public was more aware?

Comment by E. Earhart

July 2, 2014 @ 8:24 pm

49. The number of times “comprehensive immigration reform” is mentioned in a brief five page span (three of which include shiny pictures): 12

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