Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

April 29, 2016

Friday Free Forum

Filed under: General Homeland Security — by Arnold Bogis on April 29, 2016

William R. Cumming Forum

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19 Comments »

Comment by William R. Cumming

April 29, 2016 @ 8:00 am

The GAO seems to be fully engaged in recommendations to Congress on reform of the NFIP by fall. Several pieces of NFIP legislation passed since original enactment as a title in the 1968 Housing law. The entirety of current amendments and text of the law can be found at 42 U.S. C. 4001 et seq. Remember always the NFIP itself was an effort to reduce federal disaster outlays. None of the so-called reform legislation has really reformed much with the exception of enact of the Flood Disaster Protection Act of 1973 [effective December 31, 1974] closely intertwined with the Disaster Relief Act of 1974 [Public Law 93-288].

More follows:

Comment by William R. Cumming

April 29, 2016 @ 8:18 am

While the GAO as always has so far made no effort to publicize their efforts the following criteria appear to be within their efforts:

GAO plans to evaluate each option against the criteria it adopts
including the trade-offs involved in each one.

The options are designed to do the following:
1. Promote flood risk resilience (reducing risk from floods and increasing ability to recover post-disaster at both the individual improved property and community level);

2. Require transparency of federal fiscal exposure including subsidies [cross subsidies?] and all fully accounted for;

3. Encourage purchase of flood insurance (maximizing the take-up penetration rate of consumers/homeowners);

4. Minimization of costs to the federal government;

5. Expand role of private insurance sector including first real risk exposure to and under the NFIP and improve overall program efficiency and effectiveness;

6. Make states fully accountable for their management of the nations floodplains.

7. Minimize transition and implementation challenges [both legal and logistical].

Comment by William R. Cumming

April 29, 2016 @ 8:36 am

IMO the NFIP was always an experimental program. Almost 50 years later what have learned: Principally that state and local governments can almost never withstand development pressures and allow unwise development in areas subject to flood. In the past 50 years we have learned that as soon as the end of this century sea level rise may devastate many coastal communities. Only the federal government can address coastal issues IMO. Thus, the NFIP should end for all riverine/inland flood risk [perhaps with some federal reinsurance].

Note that some STATE catastrophe insurance programs [like Florida] are a constructive fraud on their citizens and in no way could a major event be covered [Florida e.g. would need $13B overnight].

Comment by William R. Cumming

April 29, 2016 @ 3:03 pm

SCOTUS makes law in a variety of ways including approving chages to the FRCP [federal rules of civil procedure] and Federal Rules of Criminal procedure]! There is a formal process for adopting rule changes. What is an essential is that rules of evidence also changed from time to time–specifically what can be allowed in evidence without challenge by any of the parties.

The theory is that judges are triers of law and juries triers of fact but defendants can waive jury trial and often do as in plea bargaining.

While the Communications Act of 1934 specifically authorized wiretaps in certain circumstances that act no longer is an effective umbrella for surveillance legal issues.

Thus it is notable that the House unanimously pases a bill recent that the Senate now will take up concerning communications privacy. Stay tuned.

Comment by William R. Cumming

April 30, 2016 @ 2:30 am

A policy analysis of a FEMA disaster proposal:

FEMA Public Assistance Grants: Implications of a Disaster Deductible.

Comment by William R. Cumming

April 30, 2016 @ 2:31 am

Apologies link did not work!

Comment by William R. Cumming

May 1, 2016 @ 1:03 am

Seven inches of rain in 1/2 hour in a Texas town! Wow!

Comment by William R. Cumming

May 2, 2016 @ 2:27 am

Richard Nixon once proposed that the Cabinet Departments be reorganized with 4 at the top and the rest reporting through them.

Can you name them?

Comment by William R. Cumming

May 2, 2016 @ 9:39 am

President Nixon Super-Cabinet posts:

1. State Department;

2. Treasury Department;

3. Health, Education and Welfare Department [HEW] now Health and Human Services [HHS];

4. Department of Defense [DoD].

Comment by William R. Cumming

May 3, 2016 @ 1:36 am

President Nixon’s Reorganization Plan No. 1 of 1973 which did go through split up OEP [Office of Emergency Preparedness] with parts going to HUD, GSA, Treasury. It established the principal that federal disaster relief efforts were supplementary to State efforts. Codified in statute by the Disaster Relief Act of 1974 [Public Law 93-288]. That Act supplemented in part, revoked in part, and revised by Public Law 100-707, The Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act [enacted November 1988].

Comment by Christopher Tingus

May 3, 2016 @ 6:05 pm

Washington, D.C.
Woodrow Wilson Center
Remarks (As delivered)DHS Director:

Good morning everyone. Thank you Jane and the Wilson Center for hosting me again for this annual ritual. Jane is a terrific supporter of our Department and our homeland security mission, and a voice of strength and common sense in this town. Jane, for the third year in a row, I continue to appreciate your leadership and mentorship. Thank you again.

Today I will outline progress we made in 2015 and the goals the President and I have for the Department of Homeland Security in 2016. In the remaining 344 days of this Administration, there is much to do. I intend to make every day count. The former president of my alma mater, Morehouse College, used to tell his students we only have just a minute, but eternity is in it, and it’s up to us to use it. With Deputy Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas as my partner, we will push an aggressive agenda to the end.

I begin these remarks with a shout-out to the men and women of DHS, led by the terrific component heads seated before me. It’s the nature of our business in homeland security that no news is good news. But no news is very often the product of the hard work and extraordinary, courageous effort our people put in every day to keep the American public safe.

Last fiscal year, for example, TSA screened 695 million passengers (3 million more than the year before); screened 450 million pieces of checked luggage (the highest in six years), and, at the same time, seized a record number 2,500 firearms from carry-on luggage, 84 percent of which were loaded.

Last fiscal year CBP screened 26.3 million containers, 11.3 million commercial trucks, 1 million commercial and private aircraft, 436,000 buses, ferries and trains, 103 million private vehicles, and 382 million travelers at land, marine and air ports of entry to the United States. At the same time, CBP collected nearly $46 billion in duties, taxes, and fees, making it the second largest revenue collector in the U.S. government.

Last fiscal year, HSI made a record high 33,000 criminal arrests, including 3,500 alleged members of transnational criminal gangs, and 2,400 alleged child predators.

Last fiscal year the Coast Guard saved over 3,500 lives, and seized 319,000 pounds of cocaine and 78,000 pounds of marijuana worth a total of $4.3 billion wholesale. In just one mission off the coast of Central and South America, the National Security Cutter STRATTON alone seized over $1 billion in cocaine, along with two drug cartel-owned submersibles.

Last year the Secret Service successfully orchestrated what may have been the largest domestic security operation in the history of this country, by providing physical security to 160 world leaders at the UN General Assembly, and, at the same time, providing security for Pope Francis as he visited New York, Washington, and Philadelphia.

Last year FEMA provided over $6 billion in federal disaster assistance, and was there to help communities recovering from flooding in Texas and South Carolina, tornadoes in Oklahoma, and typhoons in the Western Pacific.

This past Sunday, DHS personnel from the Secret Service, TSA, CBP, HSI, FEMA, I&A, NPPD, the Coast Guard, and other components led the federal effort to provide ground, air, maritime and cyber security for Super Bowl 50.

Then there are the individual acts of good and heroic work by our people, to save lives and go above and beyond the call of duty.

In late December nine Border Patrol agents traveled miles on foot or by horseback to come to the aid of an Arizona rancher who had fallen off her horse in a remote, mountainous area.

Last March two uniformed Secret Service officers helped save the life of a journalist who suffered a heart attack in the East Room of the White House.

Last July Coast Guard Petty Officer Darren Harrity swam nearly a mile, at night, in 57-degree water and 30-mph winds, to save the lives of four stranded fishermen.

Finally, we honor those killed in the line of duty. HSI Agent Scott McGuire was killed last month by a hit and run driver in Miami. I was glad to at least have had the opportunity to visit with Scott’s wife and five-year-old son, and hold Scott’s hand before he was officially declared brain dead. His funeral was 10 days ago in New Orleans.

Our people do extraordinary work every day to protect the homeland. Please consider thanking a TSO, a Coastie, a Customs officer, or a Border agent next time you see one.

Comment by Christopher Tingus

May 3, 2016 @ 6:06 pm

Washington, D.C.
Woodrow Wilson Center
Remarks (As delivered) DHS Secretary:

Good morning everyone. Thank you Jane and the Wilson Center for hosting me again for this annual ritual. Jane is a terrific supporter of our Department and our homeland security mission, and a voice of strength and common sense in this town. Jane, for the third year in a row, I continue to appreciate your leadership and mentorship. Thank you again.

Today I will outline progress we made in 2015 and the goals the President and I have for the Department of Homeland Security in 2016. In the remaining 344 days of this Administration, there is much to do. I intend to make every day count. The former president of my alma mater, Morehouse College, used to tell his students we only have just a minute, but eternity is in it, and it’s up to us to use it. With Deputy Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas as my partner, we will push an aggressive agenda to the end.

I begin these remarks with a shout-out to the men and women of DHS, led by the terrific component heads seated before me. It’s the nature of our business in homeland security that no news is good news. But no news is very often the product of the hard work and extraordinary, courageous effort our people put in every day to keep the American public safe.

Last fiscal year, for example, TSA screened 695 million passengers (3 million more than the year before); screened 450 million pieces of checked luggage (the highest in six years), and, at the same time, seized a record number 2,500 firearms from carry-on luggage, 84 percent of which were loaded.

Last fiscal year CBP screened 26.3 million containers, 11.3 million commercial trucks, 1 million commercial and private aircraft, 436,000 buses, ferries and trains, 103 million private vehicles, and 382 million travelers at land, marine and air ports of entry to the United States. At the same time, CBP collected nearly $46 billion in duties, taxes, and fees, making it the second largest revenue collector in the U.S. government.

Last fiscal year, HSI made a record high 33,000 criminal arrests, including 3,500 alleged members of transnational criminal gangs, and 2,400 alleged child predators.

Last fiscal year the Coast Guard saved over 3,500 lives, and seized 319,000 pounds of cocaine and 78,000 pounds of marijuana worth a total of $4.3 billion wholesale. In just one mission off the coast of Central and South America, the National Security Cutter STRATTON alone seized over $1 billion in cocaine, along with two drug cartel-owned submersibles.

Last year the Secret Service successfully orchestrated what may have been the largest domestic security operation in the history of this country, by providing physical security to 160 world leaders at the UN General Assembly, and, at the same time, providing security for Pope Francis as he visited New York, Washington, and Philadelphia.

Last year FEMA provided over $6 billion in federal disaster assistance, and was there to help communities recovering from flooding in Texas and South Carolina, tornadoes in Oklahoma, and typhoons in the Western Pacific.

This past Sunday, DHS personnel from the Secret Service, TSA, CBP, HSI, FEMA, I&A, NPPD, the Coast Guard, and other components led the federal effort to provide ground, air, maritime and cyber security for Super Bowl 50.

Then there are the individual acts of good and heroic work by our people, to save lives and go above and beyond the call of duty.

In late December nine Border Patrol agents traveled miles on foot or by horseback to come to the aid of an Arizona rancher who had fallen off her horse in a remote, mountainous area.

Last March two uniformed Secret Service officers helped save the life of a journalist who suffered a heart attack in the East Room of the White House.

Last July Coast Guard Petty Officer Darren Harrity swam nearly a mile, at night, in 57-degree water and 30-mph winds, to save the lives of four stranded fishermen.

Finally, we honor those killed in the line of duty. HSI Agent Scott McGuire was killed last month by a hit and run driver in Miami. I was glad to at least have had the opportunity to visit with Scott’s wife and five-year-old son, and hold Scott’s hand before he was officially declared brain dead. His funeral was 10 days ago in New Orleans.

Our people do extraordinary work every day to protect the homeland. Please consider thanking a TSO, a Coastie, a Customs officer, or a Border agent next time you see one.

Comment by William R. Cumming

May 4, 2016 @ 8:17 am

Well it looks to me like one major party candidate totally unpredictable and one totally predictable. You pick!

Comment by William R. Cumming

May 5, 2016 @ 1:27 am

Samuel Clovis, Jr. a key Trump adviser and National Campaign
Coordinator. A link to his article about HS and FEDERALISM, one of my favorites:

https://www.hsaj.org/articles/163

Comment by William R. Cumming

May 6, 2016 @ 5:10 am

Since its doors opened on April 1, 1979 FEMA has struggled with the computer age IMO!

See Link:

http://www.gao.gov/assets/680/676349.pdf?utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery

Comment by William R. Cumming

May 7, 2016 @ 2:07 am

I have long predicted Electoral College confusion may result in a COG crisis.

Thoughts?

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