Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

October 19, 2015

Homeland times (more than) two

Filed under: General Homeland Security — by Philip J. Palin on October 19, 2015

Johnson_Dane_Hilary Swift_NYTPhotograph by Hilary Swift for the New York Times

Jeh Johnson, the Secretary of Homeland Security, had lunch recently with Claire Danes, star of “Homeland”.  Philip Galanes brought them together (above) for a piece printed in the Style section of the Sunday Times.

It strikes me as an odd invitation for the Secretary to accept.  But he is evidently a fan and, as explained in the feature, Mr. Johnson perceives that popular culture can do a great deal to shape the political context.

No breaking news that I recognized.  But it did cause me to look more carefully at yesterday’s edition of our “newspaper of record” for other homeland security related stories.

The magazine’s cover story is an exposé on the death of Osama bin Laden.  While a bit of a stretch, doesn’t anything dealing with bin Laden somehow touch homeland security?  That story is immediately followed by a two-page photo spread on confederate memorials in Richmond, Virginia.  What do you think?

The first section of Sunday’s paper has plenty on Israeli-Palestinian tensions, Hindu nationalism, the war in Syria, refugees in Europe, and a Mexican drug lord.  In their current form none of these reports quite strike me as speaking to the homeland.  But there is a follow-up on the mass shooting at Umpqua Community College.  That counts, wouldn’t you agree?

The business section’s big lead is on the head of the International Association of Fire Fighters.  Recently I have argued here for greater involvement by homeland security professionals in policy/strategy development.  The IAFF does so.  The NYT tells how.

Racial discrimination in housing is the topic of Sunday’s lead editorial.  The Sunday Review also includes an essay on how recent scientific studies show (again) “how easily we can be fooled by our belief in patterns.” Then there’s a piece on how Americans no longer learn to actively listen.  These issues strike me as having profound implications for what I frame as homeland security. But I expect many of you would disagree.

The sports section confirms we are closing in on the World Series (a National Special Security Event).

Scanning the travel section my synapses fired on several terrorism or counterterrorism possibilities.  Did you see the recent article claiming paranoia is good?

In an interview with Steven Spielberg we read:

So many things were in my mind in the contemporary world. Drone missions. Guantanamo Bay. Cyberhacking, because cyberhacking is a form of spying…  And yet today, there is much more dread and fear of who’s looking over our shoulders.  There was a specific enemy, the Soviet Union, in the the 1950s and ’60s. Today we don’t know our enemy.  The enemy doesn’t have a specific face.

The Book Review tells us about a post-catastrophe novel, a non-fiction “biography” of weather, a couple of thrillers involving “China is ascendant, Russia is on a real estate acquisition binge, the Middle East is aflame…”  There are also two new texts on “how we make sense of a complex world and try to predict its future.”

Any of the above strike you as homeland security stories?  Sorry, nothing that I saw on floods, droughts, grid-failures, earthquakes, cyclones, current epidemics, or even supply chains. Maybe I missed something, will look more carefully on the plane tomorrow.

I’ve been invited to write a chapter for a new text on national security. Saturday I was reading complaints by several scholars regarding how there is no consistent definition of national security.  If so, maybe the President is right when he insists, “Homeland Security is indistinguishable from National Security…”

But isn’t the Claire Danes character a CIA agent?  She should be having lunch with John Brennan not Jeh.

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9 Comments »

Comment by William R. Cumming

October 19, 2015 @ 8:14 am

The sinews of HS like its first principles are yet to de discovered or discerned IMO!

After all the Constitutional oath of most federal officials is to protect that Constitution not to protect people and property first of all.

Which Presidential candidates are most likely to protect the Constitution?

Comment by William R. Cumming

October 19, 2015 @ 8:26 am

Article II Section 2 extract:

“Before he enter on the Execution of his Office, he shall take the following Oath or Affirmation: I do solemnly swear or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

Comment by Donald Quixote

October 19, 2015 @ 9:28 am

As the admittedly annoying broken record continues regarding the expensive consequences of no clear and agreed upon definition for homeland security and its missions, I have come to the conclusion that it is time for DOD to execute the homeland security mission within the United States and for DHS (with a TSA lead) to take over control of the missions in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. If they are one in the same, maybe we have been dedicating the incorrect resources for them.

Ms. Danes may be utilized as a subject matter expert for either department to ensure our success.

Comment by Vicki Campbell

October 19, 2015 @ 12:11 pm

Well that may be just as well, because we certainly don’t seem to have any half decent subject matter experts in either agency to date…..

Comment by Vicki Campbell

October 19, 2015 @ 3:34 pm

…or they’ve got great subject matter experts that nobody’s listening to….

Comment by William R. Cumming

October 20, 2015 @ 5:07 am

According to my information, HS and FEMA almost totally removed from Washington policy circles and key decision making.

Comment by William R. Cumming

October 22, 2015 @ 7:56 am

Here is how FEMA should be reorganized to do its primary disaster mission OF SUPPORTING STATES AND THEIR LOCAL GOVERNMENTS:

1. TECHNICAL ADVICE AND SUPPORT;

2. FINANCIAL ADVICE AND SUPPORT;

3. FEDERAL RESPONSE, PREPAREDNESS AND PROTECTION;

4. LOGISTICS AND MOBILIZATION SYSTEMS;

5. INSURANCE FOR NATURAL DISASTERS AND MITIGIATION;

6. CIVIL/MILITARY COOPERATION AND COLLABORATION IN DOMESTIC DISASTERS;

7. MASS CARE [FOOD, SHELTER, MEDICAL SUPPORT SYSTEMS];

8. CAPABILITY ASSESSMENT FOR EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS;

9. COG/COOP PROGRAMS FOR ALL LEVELS OF GOVERNMENT;

10. RESILIENCE ANALYSIS, POLICY DEVELOPMENT, AND IMPLEMENTATION FOR STATES AND THEIR LOCAL GOVERNMENTS;

11. FIRE SERVICE INTEGRATION INTO HS AND EM;

Hey left number 12 for others!

Comment by William R. Cumming

October 22, 2015 @ 7:59 am

If you review the assignments in Executive order 12656, as amended, issued in November 1988, and still in effect, you would find that few of the assignments for NATIONAL SECURITY EMERGENCIES can be fulfilled by the assigned Departments and agencies.

Comment by Arnold Bogis

October 25, 2015 @ 3:35 pm

Bill,

If I read you correctly, you have fire service integration as a separate priority but medical folded under mass care?

No offense to the fire service, but I would argue that medical care is as much, if not more, deserving of it’s own prioritized bucket.

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