Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

May 11, 2016

DHS has a new mission statement

Filed under: DHS News — by Christopher Bellavita on May 11, 2016

dhs mission statement image
Dear Colleagues,

Today, I am pleased and proud to release our new mission statement for the Department of Homeland Security:

“With honor and integrity, we will safeguard the American people, our homeland, and our values.”

In March, I asked you to help me write a single, short, and simple statement of who we are as a Department—what we stand for, and what our values should be.

I asked, and you answered. We received nearly 3,000 entries from all across DHS. As we reviewed your suggestions, we saw a lot of similar themes: honor, integrity, service, and strength. I am impressed by the thought that went into each proposal, and by the values our Department shares. And, I was pleased to consult all three former Secretaries of Homeland Security in developing this statement.

I’d like to thank each of you who submitted a statement for your time, your creativity, and your thoughtfulness. This statement, which will be on display at DHS facilities, is a reminder to all of us of who we are and why we serve.

If we are to succeed in our security mission, we must work together—a Unity of Effort. We have many employees and many components, with many complex responsibilities. But we are one Department, and it’s the unity of our efforts that keep our homeland secure.

This statement is intended for all our components and all our approximately 226,000 personnel across the entire Department. My hope is that our people will see it as the capstone of our Unity of Effort initiative, and our unifying mission statement for now and long after I am Secretary of Homeland Security.

Thank you for your time, participation, and most importantly, thank you for your service.

Jeh Charles Johnson
Secretary of Homeland Security

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Comment by Christopher Bellavita

May 11, 2016 @ 8:09 pm

Note to self – I think this was the 2008 vision: A secure America, a confident public, and a strong and resilient society and economy. (U.S. Department of Homeland Security Strategic Plan
Fiscal Years 2008–2013 ) I wonder if there were other published DHS vision statements.

Comment by William R. Cumming

May 12, 2016 @ 2:34 am

And who will be defending the CONSTITUTION?

Comment by William R. Cumming

May 12, 2016 @ 3:11 am

Are there possible different definitions of the word “safeguard”? And “safeguard” from what?

Comment by John Comiskey

May 12, 2016 @ 5:59 am

Since its inception, DHS has mixed its Department missions with the missions of the HLS enterprise.

The following is an excerpt from a homeland-hometown security study that I am working on. The study asks the question is homeland security really about hometown security, and if so what are the implications for the field?

DHS developed four Department-specific strategies (2004, 2008, 2012, 2014), the 2010 and 2014 Quadrennial Homeland Security Reviews, the 2010 Bottom-Up Review. While DHS’ strategies focused on Department missions, goals, and responsibilities, each strategy identified homeland security as a concerted national effort that involved all levels of government, the private and non-profit sectors, and private citizens.

In the 2010 Quadrennial Homeland Security Review, DHS claimed a Congressional charge to delineate a homeland security strategy including an outlining of priority mission areas for the entire homeland security enterprise. Homeland security was a national effort. The homeland security enterprise included “the collective efforts and shared responsibilities of Federal, State, local, tribal, territorial, nongovernmental, and private-sector partners–as well as individuals, families and communities –to maintain critical homeland security capabilities.” Homeland security missions included: (a) preventing terrorism and enhancing security; (b) securing and managing our borders;c) enforcing and administrating our immigration laws;(d)safeguarding and securing cyberspace; and (e) ensuring resilience to disasters. DHS noted that the while the primary purpose of the Quadrennial Homeland Security Review was to outline the strategic framework to guide the activities of “participants in homeland security” to a common end, the report was not a resource prioritization document, and did not detail the roles or responsibilities of Federal or other institutions for each mission area.

The Bottom-Up Review was an assessment of DHS’ alignment with the mission sets and goals identified in the 2010 Quadrennial Homeland Security Review. Homeland security was about all-hazards as well as customs enforcement, immigration services, waterways management, and other legacy missions of various DHS components.

The 2014 Quadrennial Homeland Security Review maintained that the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010, Hurricane Sandy in 2012, and the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013 illustrated the evolving homeland security threat and hazard landscape. Homeland security was “a homeland that is safe, secure, and resilient against terrorism and other hazards, where American interests, aspirations, and way of life can thrive.” Homeland security missions included:(a)preventing terrorism and enhancing security;(b)securing and managing our borders; (c) enforcing and administrating our immigration laws; (d) safeguarding and securing cyberspace; and (e) strengthening national preparedness and resilience. The most recent White House homeland security policy document, the 2015 National Security Strategy maintained that the Nation must adapt to evolving threats and hazards including terrorism, violent extremism, transnational organized crime, pandemics, and the effects of climate change. Homeland security was a whole of community affair that brought all elements of American society –individuals, local communities, the private and non-profit sectors, faith-based organizations, and all levels of government together to make sure America was resilient in the face of adversity.

In response to Bill, DHS and the HLS enterprise missions includes “safeguarding” the Nation from “all-hazards.”

Also, the Constitution is supposed to protect both the citizenry and the Nation state. As famously, said, the Constitution is not a suicide pact.

Our “beautiful” Constitution serves us well though not perfectly.

Comment by William R. Cumming

May 12, 2016 @ 9:03 am

Thanks John! Arguably the most expert cabinet department in the Executive Branch should be DHS. John’s comment reflects that expertise.

John’s sentence extracted:

“In response to Bill, DHS and the HLS enterprise missions includes “safeguarding” the Nation from “all-hazards.””

If only all in DHS believed it. Question? Could the DHS ever become truly “all-hazards” when it is so stove-piped and few in DHS understand that almost all federal Executive Branch entities [almost 200] have some role in catstrophe situations even if on COG and COOP missions.

And again noting for the record with restrictions of Reorganization Plan No. 3 [1978] in place on FEMA catastrophic planning and preparedness was not in the FEMA
portfolio [the Reorg plan had the force and effect of a statute–see 5 U.S.C. Section 901n] until superseded by operation of law by the Homeland Security Act of 2002.

One tasking of FEMA Director Joseph Albaugh once DHS created was catastrophic planning and preparedness with “catastrophe” finally defined statutorily in PKEMRA 2006 [effective March 31, 2007].

GAO has looked at that effort several times.

A group of 41 federal entities has been tasked with a relook at radiological event planning and preparedness and in particular a NUDET.

I long argued to FEMA and NRC that the REPP effort should be focused solely on radiological emergency planning and preparedness not generalized EP. That advice was rejected. I did, however, go in writing on that subject post retirement in 1999.

Comment by William R. Cumming

May 12, 2016 @ 9:14 am

Is FEMA and/or DHS the SAFETY NET?


Comment by claire rubin

May 12, 2016 @ 4:03 pm

Is the new mission statement likely to improve morale?
The dept. has had the lowest rating of all federal agencies for the past few years.

Comment by William R. Cumming

May 13, 2016 @ 2:51 pm

Claire! IMO any beneficial impact on morale of the new DHS mission statement is entirely accidental.

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