Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

August 3, 2009

A Web 2.0 Dialogue on QHSR

Filed under: DHS News,Events,General Homeland Security — by Jessica Herrera-Flanigan on August 3, 2009

In furtherance of the Obama Administration’s tech-saavy, public-friendly approach to governance, DHS unveiled its “National Dialogue on the Quadrennial Homeland Security Review” today at http://www.homelandsecuritydialogue.org.   DHS is inviting the public to give its opinions between today and August 9 on proposals made by QHSR study groups in four different study areas and two process study areas, including:

Mission Studies:

  • Counter-terrorism and Domestic Security Management
  • Securing Our Borders
  • Smart and Tough Enforcement of Immigration Laws
  • Preparing for, Responding to, and Recovering from Disasters

Process Studies:

  • Homeland Security National Risk Assessment
  • Homeland Security Planning and Capabilities

This is the first of  three “dialogues” with the American public to be held during the summer and fall.  Dialogue 2 is scheduled for August 31-September 6 and will have more information and content from the QHSR study groups on the mission and process concepts.  Dialogue 3, scheduled from September 28 through October 4, will give the public and stakeholders one more opportunity to review and offer comments on the “refined mission goals, objectives, key strategic outcomes and enhancements” to the six priorities.

According to DHS officials, the dialogues are intended to transform how the agency engages the American public with regards to an all-hazards approach to homeland security and counter-terrorism. They are also intended to meet the consultation mandate included in 2007′s 9/11 bill (aka “The Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007″).  That bill required the Secretary to conduct the QHSR  in consultation with

  • the “heads of Federal Agencies” (including the Attorney General, the Director of National Intelligence, and the Secretaries of State, Defense, Health & Human Services, Treasury,  and Agriculture);
  • key officials of DHS; and
  • other relevant governmental and nongovernmental entities, including State, local, and tribal government officials, members of Congress, private sector representatives, academics, and other policy experts.

Overall, the Web 2.0 idea  is a fresh approach to communicating to and with the public (at least the connected public) on addressing homeland security issues. The website, hosted by the National Academy  of Public Administration, is easy to navigate and provides a mission statement on each item, as well as goals.   Reviewers who log in are giving the opportunity to rate whether they agree with the overall statements and provide comments. Additionally, participants can suggest their own ideas and alternative proposals for the six study areas.  To date, it appears that between 9 and 44 persons have logged in to provide ratings and comments.

The real test of the success of the dialogues will come over the next several days when we see how many citizens log in and upload thoughts and ideas for DHS.  Even a bigger test will be whether those who do offer opinions are “outside the Beltway,” offering local perspectives from New York, Atlanta, Houston, Peoria, and beyond.  Input from those communities would strengthen the QHSR and be in line with Secretary Napolitano’s comments last week at the Council of Foreign Relations that communities are our “greatest asset” and “you are the ones who know if something is not right in your communities.”

I would encourage anyone reading this to check out the site and offer your thoughts on the goals and priorities of the QHSR. Even better, once you finish doing that, share the site with a few (or few hundred) of your friends around the country so they can do the same.

July 23, 2009

If a dog barks on the internet …?

Filed under: DHS News,Events,General Homeland Security,Strategy — by Christopher Bellavita on July 23, 2009

If you are interested enough in homeland security to be reading this, the Department of Homeland Security and the National Academy of Public Administration want you to participate in something called the National Dialogue on the Quadrennial Homeland Security Review (QHSR). Information about the Dialogue can be found at this link.

The first “meeting” is scheduled for August 3 through 9.  It is intended to be a “conversation between you, other Homeland Security stakeholders, and DHS on an innovative web-based platform.” (One hopes the “you” might also include unaffiliated people with a point of view about homeland security.)

The first dialogue “will seek your opinion on general priorities of different Homeland Security mission areas. During this session, you will be able to evaluate the missions and goals proposed by DHS study groups, and rate, tag, and suggest your own alternative proposals.”

Two additional dialogues are scheduled for later in 2009.  The QHSR has to be turned in to Congress on Thursday, December 31, 2009.  Presumably by the close of business, before everyone leaves for the long weekend.

Yes, this whole National Dialogue could turn into another one of those anemic “we involved our stakeholders” justifications slogged out with the National Response Plan, Target Capabilities List, Universal Task List and their mechanical cousins.

But it might also be an opportunity for well-intentioned people to discover how broad collaboration, Web 2.0, social networks, mashups, and lord knows what else can contribute to a homeland security future worth creating.

You can sign up on the www.homelandsecuritydialogue.org website to receive emails for “news and announcements about the National Dialogue, and be notified when each Dialogue is live.”

I am persuasively informed that signing up does not put you on any of the special “lists” that may or may not be maintained by agencies that may or may not exist.

Besides, as we learned during the Web 1.0 days:internet_dog1

July 15, 2009

Summer reruns: HSAS and counterterrorism reform

Filed under: DHS News,Legal Issues,Terrorist Threats & Attacks — by Philip J. Palin on July 15, 2009

Tonight  and tomorrow I have  meetings near a beautiful mid-Atlantic beach.  This morning I am heading down early to walk  the sand and, if the waves permit, ride some crests.  So two reruns:

Yesterday Napolitano announced a 60-day review of the Homeland Security Advisory System (HSAS). A task force will assess the effectiveness of the system for informing the public about terrorist threats and communicating protective measures within government and throughout the private sector.  A complete announcement and some helpful background is available from the Department of Homeland Security website.

Back in November and December I was invited to review and make recommendations regarding the twenty-four Homeland Security Presidential Directives signed by President Bush. I suggested that six be affirmed and adapted.   Here’s what I offered regarding the HSAS.

HSPD–3: Homeland Security Advisory System

Delegate for review outside the White House and Revise. This is a notorious system that undermines public confidence in Homeland Security. But sudden abrogation would complicate several current procedures for jurisdictional alert and response.

Delegation for review and revision outside the White House was my most common recommendation for most of the HSPDs.

Many are surprised to see President Obama “continuing” several Bush administration anti-terrorism polices.  Examples include extraordinary rendition, the use of military tribunals, preserving state secrets, and other policies and tactics.

This administration’s unfolding approach certainly deserves close-attention (power corrupts and so on…),  but so far I perceive a careful reforming (and occasional rejection) of Bush policies rather than simple continuation.  Obama is as tough a counter-terrorist as Bush or Cheney, but much more attuned to being publicly explicit regarding rationale, legal process, and desired outcomes.

In this — coincidentally or not — I see the administration carrying out what Philip Bobbit recommended in his Spring 2008 tome, Terror and Consent: The Wars for the 21st Century.  In a review published last year by the Homeland Security Affairs Journal, I wrote and quoted as follows:

Bobbitt’s mitigation goes far beyond resilient design of critical infrastructure; it is focused on resilient design of our constitutional order. He argues for vigorous – some will say Draconian – measures of prevention, preparedness, and mitigation. But unlike so many making similar arguments he insists these measures must emerge from thoughtful, transparent, and principled legislation, executive enforcement, and judicial review. We must behave wisely and consistently as a state of consent or – without ever intending so – we are likely to end up living in a state of terror.

“The states of consent must develop rules that define what terrorism is, who is a terrorist, and what states can lawfully do to fight terrorists and terrorism. Unless we do this, we will bring our alliances to ruin as we appear to rampage around the world, declaring our enemies to be terrorists and ourselves to be above the law in retaliating against them. We will become, in the eyes of others, the supreme rogue states and will have no basis on which to justify our actions other than the simple assertion of our power. At the same time, we must preserve our open society by careful appreciation of the threat that terror poses to it and not by trying to minimize that reality or to appease the sensibilities of people who would wish it away… We must do this because an open society depends upon a government strong enough and foresighted enough to protect individual rights. If we fail to develop these legal standards, we will find we are progressively militarizing the domestic environment without having quite realized that we are at war. And, when a savage mass strike against us does come, we will react in a fury that ultimately does damage to our self-respect, our ideals, and our institutions (p. 394).”

I will not be thinking about either of these — or other — important issues as I paddle in place watching for the perfect wave.

June 15, 2009

The Blog @ Homeland Security

Filed under: DHS News,General Homeland Security — by Christopher Bellavita on June 15, 2009

The Department of Homeland Security — like the rest of government — continues its trudge into 2.o communications with the announcement of The Blog @ Homeland Security.  According to the site:

The Blog @ Homeland Security provides an inside-out view of what we do every day at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The Blog lets us talk about how we secure our nation, strengthen our programs, and unite the Department behind our common mission and principles. It also lets us hear from you.

One hopes the conversation there will be as human as the exchanges at … full stop.

I almost wrote “as human as the exchanges at the TSA Evolution of Security blog.”  But when I went there to check out the url, I discovered the Evolution of Security blog evolved into the disturbingly literal “The TSA Blog.”  I missed when the title change went into effect. However the blog does retain its tag line: Terrorists Evolve. Threats Evolve. Security Must Stay Ahead. You Play A Part.

I’m digressing now, but I thought the [old] TSA blog was the best blog I knew about in government. I did not agree with everything the authors wrote, but one could tell there were human beings explaining, defending, and disagreeing with those who objected to some part of TSA’s practices.  Government and the governed were talking about homeland security, and sometimes to each other.

More importantly, to me, the blog acknowledged that since terrorists and threats evolve, security too has to evolve — a stance seemingly premised on [old?] TSA’s understanding of complex adaptive systems (which TSA describes here).  That attitude helped create what I thought was a healthy dialectic on the blog.  The dialectic may still be there.  The title is not.  Survival of the suitable?

Back on point: it’s my hope that The Blog @ Homeland Security comes closer to the affect of the [old?] TSA Blog than to the luncheon speech tone of the [old?] DHS Leadership Journal [blog]

Welcome to the InterTubes, The Blog @ Homeland Security.

March 6, 2009

DHS Intergovernmental Lead Named

Filed under: DHS News,Organizational Issues,State and Local HLS — by Philip J. Palin on March 6, 2009

Secretary Napolitano has appointed Juliette Kayyem as Assistant Secretary of Intergovernmental Programs. Since 2007 Ms. Kayyem has served as Undersecretary of Homeland Security in the Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety and Security.

Prior to this role Ms. Kayyem was with Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government where she focused on the intersection of democracy and counter-terrorism policies. At the Kennedy school she taught courses on law, homeland security, and national security. She is a 1995 graduate of Harvard Law School and served in the Department of Justice during the Clinton administration.

The intergovernmental role at DHS is crucial. It can be – needs to be – an effective broker for communication and collaboration between the Department and non-federal Homeland Security assets. Because the Assistant Secretary’s office does not wield budgetary or supervisory authority its effectiveness depends on the perceived relationship of the occupant to the Secretary and other senior officials.

I don’t pretend to know the personal dynamics between Napolitano and Kayyem. But here are two soft-signals:

1. In what may be the most lawyerly administration since William Howard Taft, Janet and Juliette are each lawyers. Those who claim to know Janet consistently comment on her prosecutorial perspective. Juliette is a lawyer married to a lawyer. Like minds with a shared mission can make a powerful team.

2. Juliette was on the transition’s Agency Review Team for DHS. As such, she was – we can hope – involved in the vetting and preparation of Janet. For the sake of productive intergovernmental relations  and achievement of the HS mission we can also hope they got on famously and will continue to do so.

Administrative Note: Technical difficulties on the part of the host for HLSwatch have delayed and continue to complicate today’s posts.

June 2, 2008

Major DHS S&T Conference Starts Today

Filed under: DHS News,Events,Technology for HLS — by Jonah Czerwinski on June 2, 2008

This week I’ll be attending the DHS S&T Stakeholders Conference. Beginning this morning with a series of training sessions and running through Thursday, the conference is one of the largest DHS events, if not the longest. This is the annual opportunity for DHS to present the S&T Directorate’s organization, vision, and key initiatives, gain input from S&T stakeholders at all levels (Federal, State, and Local), industry, academia, and the news media, explain business opportunities in S&T, and describe new and emerging technologies.

Today includes the Pre-Conference Training Workshop. Sessions are led mostly by DHS, and some private sector, experts about such topics as Doing Business with the S&T Directorate, Science & Technology for First Responders, IEDs, and Crisis Communication.

I’ll blog about the sessions I can attend, which likely will be “Human Factors Division: Social-Behavioral Threat Analysis,” DHS S&T “Special Programs Division,” and “Next Generation Tech Commercialization: IP Portals, Tech Scouting, Alumni Funds, and Clusters.” The entire agenda is available here. Let me know if there is a specific panel you’re interested in.

Tomorrow the official kick-off includes Jay Cohen, Under Secretary for Science and Technology, and Homeland Security Secretary Michale Chertoff. Two panels I’ll cover tomorrow are:

S&T Partners: Capitol Hill
Mr. Brad Buswell, Deputy Under Secretary for Science & Technology, S&T Directorate, DHS
Mr. James McGee, Professional Staff Member, Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, U.S. Senate
Mr. Keyur Parikh, Professional Staff Member, Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, U.S. Senate
Ms. Ellen Carlin, Professional Staff Member, Committee on Homeland Security, U.S. House of Representatives
Ms. Rachel A. Jagoda Brunette, Professional Staff Member, Committee on Science & Technology, U.S. House of Representatives
Mr. Tind Shepper Ryen, Professional Staff Member, Committee on Science & Technology, U.S. House of Representatives
Dr. Christopher Beck, Professional Staff, Emerging Threats, Cybersecurity, Science & Technology, House Committee on Homeland Security

S&T Partners: International Partners
Ms. Lil Ramirez, Director of International Relations, S&T Directorate, DHS
Professor Israel L. Barak, Chief Scientist & Director. Bureau of the Chief Scientist, Ministry of Public Security, Israel
Mrs. Marcela Celorio, Deputy Director for North American Affairs, Centro de Información de Seguridad Nacional, Mexico
Dr Richard Davis, Head National Security Science & Technology Unit, Prime Minister & Cabinet Department, Australia
Dr. Michel Israël, Counselor for Science and Technology, Embassy of the French Republic
Dr. Stefan Mengel, Deputy Director for Security Research, Federal Ministry of Education and Research, Federal Republic of Germany
Mr. Yongkyun Kim, National Emergency Management Agency, Republic of Korea

April 9, 2008

DHS Names New IT Chief

Filed under: Cybersecurity,DHS News,Technology for HLS — by Jonah Czerwinski on April 9, 2008

Richard Mangogna is the new DHS Chief Information Officer, according to a DHS press release. The announcement is noteworthy for its brevity.

Before we get into the investigation, DHS deck chairs move as follows: Mangogna succeeds Scott Charbo, who was appointed deputy undersecretary of National Protection and Programs. Since Charbo’s departure, Deputy CIO Charles Armstrong has served as acting CIO. Armstrong will support Mangogna’s on-boarding before moving over to become CIO for Customs and Border Protection.

Not a lot out there on Mr. Mangogna. He is identified in the official release as an independent consultant with the Mason Harriman Group. MHG doesn’t list any of its staff on its website. It characterizes its employees as consultants who “are 45 seasoned former C-Level executives from the Fortune 200.” Only generic contact information is available, but at least we can tell where MHG is located: Towaco, N.J.

The White House and DHS releases cite Mangogna as a former president and CEO of Covidea. You don’t know Covidea? The New York Times and Covidea announced a videotex service on September 16, 1986, with a product called New York Pulse. On December 6, 1988, Covidea closed its videotex services, Pronto and Business Banking. New York Pulse shut down the following year.

So what’s the new DHS CIO been up to for the last twenty one years? The Administration only acknowledges that Mangogna worked as executive vice president and CIO at JP Morgan Chase and was the division head of Business Re-engineering Management at Chase Manhattan Bank. I found no evidence of the Business Re-engineering Management role. In its 1999 annual report, Chase Bank refers to him as Global Bank CIO.

It is unclear why more wasn’t said about his experience there. When Chase and JP Morgan merged in 2000, a massive systems and business integration project began. As CIO for the newly created company, Mangogna co-chaired the technology and operations steering committee that guided the integration of the technology that supported the operations of about 100,000 employees with systems across the country and on six continents, involving more than 90 data and processing centers, according to a 2001 piece in InfoWorld. You might say that’s a transferable skill set.

However, DHS is a larger undertaking. With over 200,000 employees operating in a different paradigm than pre-9/11 banking, DHS represents a challenge for anyone. USCIS alone is embarking on a major overhaul of its business processes and technology foundation under its $3.5 billion Transformation program. Perhaps more details about Mangogna’s resume will come out in the press. But since the CIO at DHS doesn’t need to be Senate confirmed, it won’t come easily.

Final note: When Chase Bank purchased a major new Sun Microsystems server for about $900K back in 1999 (that was big then), Mangogna justified the investment, explaining “IT performance is a competitive weapon in the global economy.” He might easily update that assessment to include the bigger picture that DHS is responsible for.

March 22, 2008

4 Administration HLS Officials Named

Filed under: DHS News,Organizational Issues — by Jonah Czerwinski on March 22, 2008

The Bush administration has named four candidates to fill top homeland and national security positions after a protracted effort to fill the top White House counterterrorism post, left open since January.

wanstein.jpg beckstrom.jpg leiter-nctc.jpg charbo.jpg

HLS Advisor to POTUS – Wainstein

Frances Fragos Townsend announced her resignation last November as Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism. In that position, Townsend also served as chair of the White House Homeland Security Council. News reports surfaced that known figures, such as retired Army Gen. John Abizaid, former CENTCOM Commander, and Adm. (Ret.) James Loy, former Coast Guard Commandant and Deputy Homeland Security Secretary, turned down offers by the White House to succeed Townsend. With one year left in this term, it is hard to blame them for declining to return to government service on that note. Townsend’s former deputy, Joel Bagnal, a former Army colonel, has served in an Acting position since her departure and according to those I’ve spoken with, he maintains a great deal of respect in the interagency.

On Wednesday, the President nominated Kenneth Wainstein, Assistant Attorney General, National Security Division, to replace Frances Townsend at the White House. Townesend came from the Department of Justice, and Wainstein seems to fit the mold of stalwart Administration supporter and institutional insider that would serve Townsend’s successor well. Since the position is not Senate confirmed, his prickly relationship with the Senate Judiciary Committee is unlikely to be an issue. Wainstein’s main responsibility at this point, barring any attack on the homeland in the meantime, will be to shepherd a transition to the next Presidential administration.

Chief CT Advisor – Leiter

Vice Admiral (Ret.) John Scott Redd stepped down as director of the National Counterterrorism Center last October for health reasons. The post went officially unfilled until this week when the White House announced that the President is nominating Michael Leiter to become succeed VADM Redd. Leiter is well respected in the intel community and has served since Redd’s departure as Acting Director of the National Counterterrorism Center.

Cyber Czars Named – Beckstrom, Charbo

The president announced a multi-agency cybersecurity initiative late last year after the director at the National Cyber Security Division, Amit Yoran, resigned in October 2007. The job was previously a White House position held by Howard Schmidt and Richard Clarke.

Four months later, President Bush picked Scott Charbo as Deputy Undersecretary for the National Protection and Programs Directorate at DHS, primarily in charge of the Department’s cybersecurity mission. It seems Charbo will have two roles: combating attacks on U.S. cyber netrworks and weathering attacks from the House Homeland Security Committee. Chairman Thompson is not a fan.

Last Thursday, Secretary Chertoff announced the appointment of Rod Beckstrom as Director of the National Cyber Security Center, which replaces the National Cyber Security Division that Yoran led.

As part of the Administration’s recently announced Cyber Initiative, DHS is responsible for leading federal efforts to protect government networks against cyber-associated threat. Beckstrom is the co-founder of the open-source wiki software system, TWIKI.net, founder of Cats Software, and author of The Starfish And the Spider, which is about the advent of leaderless, decentralized organizations and the power of networks (both human and electronic).

March 4, 2008

Chertoff Convenes Bloggers

Filed under: DHS News,Events — by Jonah Czerwinski on March 4, 2008

Yesterday Homeland Security Secretary Mike Chertoff sat down with a group of homeland security bloggers to discuss the upcoming 5-year anniversary of the Department, accomplishments under his watch, and other topics. In what became more of a rapid fire reverse panel discussion, Chertoff sat opposite the eight of us fielding exactly one question from each person. The topics ranged from immigration modernization to cyber security to warrantless wiretaps. As usual, the Secretary enthusiastically – if sometimes combatively – took on every question with the gusto of a real policy wonk.

Rather than rehash for you the details, you can access transcript of the roundtable from the DHS website. The transcript does not name questioners, but I asked the first question on USCIS Transformation, and others in the group were Ryan Singel of Wired, Townhall.com’s Amanda Carpente, Jeff Stein of CQ, J.P. Freire from American Spectator, Counterterrorism Blog’s Andrew Cochran, and Rich Cooper, former DHS official and contributor to Security Debrief. It was a great opportunity to meet these individuals in person

Because the meeting became more like a press interview than a discussion, I believe that we could have used the time better. Actually, we could’ve simply used more time, but that’s impractical. See the transcript for the details. It gets exciting when Jeff Stein digs in on the use of intel from warrantless wiretaps. See Ryan Singel’s distillation for highlights, too.

January 31, 2008

TSA Joins the Blogroll

Filed under: DHS News,General Homeland Security — by Jonah Czerwinski on January 31, 2008

The Transportation Security Administration took a step into the blogosphere with its new outlet called “Evolution of Security.”  This looks a lot different form the DHS/HQ blog set up by the Secretary.  TSA says that the purpose of its blog is “to facilitate an ongoing dialogue on innovations in security, technology and the checkpoint screening process.”  More of a two-way street.

Kip Hawley made the first post, and it sounds like an excellent start.  Hawley states that “While I and senior leadership of TSA will participate in the discussion, we are turning the keyboard over to several hosts who represent what’s best about TSA (its people). Our hosts aren’t responsible for TSA’s policies, nor will they have to defend them — their job is to engage with you straight-up and take it from there. “

Refreshing.  The bloggers assuming the keyboard cover a number of positions, but they are also practically anonymous.  Bob, Ethel, Jay, Chance, and Jim will be providing content.  While the informality is welcome, the introduction is a little awkward.  (“I like music, I love ice cream, and I adore weird facts,” begins one bio.)  In any case, the line-up includes a senior Transportation Security Officer, a Federal Security Director, and a staffer (referee?) from the Office of Strategic Communications and Public Affairs, among others.

Judging by the surfeit of comments the first post has generated (98 in one day as of this posting), they are hitting the ground running.

November 19, 2007

White House Homeland Security Advisor Resigns

Filed under: DHS News,General Homeland Security — by Jonah Czerwinski on November 19, 2007

The White House announced today that Francis Fragos Townsend, the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, resigned.  She served as head of the President’s Homeland Security Council for the last nearly five years and oversaw the development of the recent update to the National Strategy for Homeland Security, the lessons learned report on the federal response to Hurricane Katrina, and the fires on the west coast. 

Townsend with Chertoff and HHS Secretary
No word yet on who will replace Ms. Townsend.  Her recently appointed deputy, Joel Bagnal, stepped in for former Deputy HLS Advisor Ken Rapuano after he deployed for a tour in Afghanistan.  Will Mr. Bagnal step in for Townsend?The President reportedly asked all senior political appointees nearly a year ago to decide promptly if they’ll stay until the end of his term.  If not, they were to step down soon to be replaced.  Every President faces an exodus near the end of the second term, and that makes the request sensible.  That Townsend is leaving now — and without an immediate replacement — prompts questions about that wing of the White House.  Who fills that job takes up a great task of shepherding a homeland security mission during very difficult times, and does so by inheriting a new strategy he or she may or may not have had a hand in writing.  Given these circumstances, expect an insider like Bagnal to be named. 

I sure could be wrong on Townsend’s replacement.  Readers are encouraged to comment on who they think will be the new Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism.

November 12, 2007

Busy Week Ahead for DHS

Filed under: DHS News,Events — by Jonah Czerwinski on November 12, 2007

DHS leadership flung across the country for a very high profile week of events:

Monday, November 12

8:00 AM PST
Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator David Paulison will deliver remarks to the International Association of Emergency Managers Annual Conference
Silver Legacy Hotel
Exposition Hall A
407 North Virginia Street
Reno, NV

11:00 AM EST
U.S. Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Thad W. Allen will participate in the annual Coast Guard Veterans’ Day Wreath-layering Ceremony on Coast Guard hill
Arlington National Cemetery
Arlington, VA

Tuesday, November 13

9:00 AM EST
U.S. Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Thad W. Allen will deliver remarks and participate in a ground breaking ceremony for a new Landfill Gas Co-Generation Plant at the U.S. Coast Guard Yard
2401 Hawkins Point Road
Baltimore, MD

9:30 AM MST
Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator David Paulison will deliver remarks to the National Congress of American Indians Annual Conference 64th Annual Convention
Hyatt Regency
650 15th Street
Denver, CO

10:00 AM EST
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Office of Field Operations Admissibility Requirements and Migration Control Executive Director Paul Morris will testify before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, Subcommittee on Oversight, Government Management, the Federal Workforce and the District of Columbia on human capital needs of the CBP “One Face at the Border” initiative.
342 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC

2:00 PM EST
Management Chief Human Capital Officer Marta Pérez will testify before the House Committee on Homeland Security, Subcommittee on Management, Investigations and Oversight on Department of Homeland Security efforts to recruit, hire and promote veterans.
311 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, DC

Wednesday, November 14

8:00 AM HST
Under Secretary for Science and Technology Jay M. Cohen will address the 2007 International Test and Evaluation Association Symposium
The Kauai Marriott Resort
3610 Rice Street
Lihue, HI

9:00 AM EST
Screening Coordination Office Director Kathleen Kraninger will provide an overview on the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative at the Changing Borders Conference
Washington County Community College
US Route 1 South
Calais, ME

10:00 AM EST
Transportation Security Administration Assistant Secretary Kip Hawley will testify before the House Committee on Homeland Security on covert testing practices.
311 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, DC

10:30 AM EST
US-VISIT Director Robert Mocny, U.S. Coast Guard Assistant Commandant for Response Operation RDML Wayne Justice and U.S. Coast Guard Seventh District Commander RADM Dave Kunkel will participate in a media event announcing the success of the US-VISIT/U.S. Coast Guard Biometrics at Sea Initiative.
100 MacArthur Causeway
Miami Beach, FL

11:00 AM EST
Federal Emergency Management Agency Director of Management and Chief Acquisition Officer Deidre Lee will testify before the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management on the use of contract workers.
2167 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC

11:00 AM CST
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Office of Citizenship Chief Alfonso Aguilar will participate in a press conference to introduce the Polish version of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services publication, “Welcome to the United States: A Guide for New Immigrants”
Copernicus Center
5216 West Lawrence Avenue
Chicago, IL

1:45 PM EST
Assistant Secretary for Cybersecurity and Communications Greg Garcia will participate on the Securing Cyberspace Panel at the TechNet North 2007 Conference
John B. Hynes Veterans Memorial Convention Center
900 Boylston Street
Room 302
Boston, MA

Thursday, November 15

10:00 AM EST
Transportation Security Administration Assistant Secretary Kip Hawley will testify before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform on GAO Investigation of Airport Security Checkpoints
2154 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC

10:00 AM EST
Federal Emergency Management Agency Disaster Operations Directorate Assistant Administrator Glenn Cannon will testify before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management, the Federal Workforce, and the District of Columbia, and Subcommittee on State, Local, and Private Sector Preparedness on the status of U.S. response following a radiological dispersal devices attack
342 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC

12:30 PM EST
Secretary Michael Chertoff will deliver remarks at the 8th Annual U.S. Customs and Border Protection 2007 Trade Symposium
Ronald Reagan Building
1300 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Atrium Hall
Washington, DC

2:00 PM EST
Federal Emergency Management Agency Policy and Program Analysis Director Marko Bourne will testify before the House Committee on Homeland Security, Subcommittee on Emergency Communications, Preparedness, and Response on leveraging mutual aid for effective emergency response
311 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, DC

8:30 PM EST
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Emilio Gonzalez will provide the keynote address at the VISTA Magazine Awards Dinner
Biltmore Hotel
1200 Anastasia Avenue
Coral Gables, FL

Friday, November 16

2:00 PM GMT
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Office of Policy and Strategy Chief Carlos Iturregui will deliver remarks on the “U.S. Immigration Landscape – 2007 and Beyond” at the International Bar Association 3rd Biennial Global Immigration Conference
Renaissance Chancery Court
London, England

November 5, 2007

New DHS Technology Task Force Underway

Filed under: DHS News,Technology for HLS — by Jonah Czerwinski on November 5, 2007

DHS has formed a new Task Force under the Advisory Council Act to assess the ways in which the Department of Homeland Security can improve its acquisition of essential technologies. Under the auspices of the Homeland Security Advisory Council, the Essential Technologies Task Force, as it is called, is sponsored mainly by Under Secretary for Management Paul Schneider, TSA Administrator Kip Hawley, and Chief Information Officer Scott Charbo.

With very explicit terms of reference, and a very short amount of time to do its work, this may be one of the better run advisory councils yet for DHS. The topics under discussion ranged into critical areas of strategy, process, and leadership during the Task Force’s first hearing this past Thursday.

Both Scott Gould, VP of Strategy & Change at IBM Public Sector, and I were invited to testify before the Task Force to address a number of issues we believe ought to inform the process of improving DHS decision making in this area, as well as a number of options for immediate, near term, and long term improvements to DHS technology acquisition. The hearing was closed and so I’ll refrain from uploading our comments here or those of others who appeared before the panel. However, the Task Force’s final report will be made public. Following are the members of the Essential Technologies Task Force for DHS.

  • George A. Vradenburg III, President, Vradenberg Foundation – Chairman
  • Joseph White, CEO, American Red Cross, St. Luis MO – Co-Vice Chair
  • John L. Skolds, President, Exelon Energy Delivery and Exelon Generation – Co-Vice Chair
  • Dr. Richard Andrews, Senior Director, National Center for Crisis and Continuity Coordination
  • Nelson Balido, President and CEO, Balido &Associates
  • Elliott Broidy, Commissioner, Los Angeles City Fire and Police Pension Fund
  • Dan Corsentino, Former Sheriff, Pueblo County, Colorado
  • Dr. Ruth David, President & CEO, Analytic Services, Inc. (Arlington, VA)
  • Dr. Victoria F. Haynes, President, Research Triangle Institute (Research Triangle, NC)
  • Phillip E. Keith, Former Chief of the Knoxville Tennessee Police Dept. (Knoxville, TN)
  • Stephen Payne, President of Worldwide Strategic Partners and Worldwide Strategic Energy
  • Richard “Rick” Stephens, Senior VP, Human Resources and Admin., The Boeing Company
  • Dr. Lydia C. Thomas, President and CEO (Ret.), Noblis
  • David Wallace, Mayor of Sugarland, Texas
  • Allen Zenowitz, Retired General and FEMA Senior Official
  • Ex-Officio: Judge William Webster, HSAC Chair, Partner, Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy, LLP
  • Ex-Officio: Dr. James Schlesinger, HSAC Vice Chair, Chairman, Board of Trustees, The MITRE Corporation
  • October 10, 2007

    Or is the New Strategy Just Overdue?

    Filed under: DHS News,General Homeland Security — by Jonah Czerwinski on October 10, 2007

    The Washington Post ran a story today about the new National Strategy for Homeland Security that emphasizes the timing chosen for the new document. The article misses some important points.

    The President’s homeland security advisor, Fran Townsend, is quoted as suggesting that “Homeland security both as a policy matter and as a concept didn’t exist prior to 9/11 and prior to…President Bush assuming office.” We may have called it “homeland defense” or “anti-terrorism” before, but it sure isn’t the sole product of 9/11 or this Administration. Whether it was the Gilmore Commission (1999-2004) or the Hart-Rudman Commission (1998-2001), or one of several other high-level efforts, that concept long predates the authors of the 2002 and 2007 Homeland Security Strategy documents.

    The Post writers go on to quote Frank Cilluffo and David Heyman. Frank is candid in proposing that the new Strategy is more rearview mirror that proactive. Less than a contribution to the next Administration, he suggests it’s an effort to preserve the Bush Administration’s legacy. One would get that impression from the fact sheet put out by the White House Press Office. A full third of that document is dedicated to past successes and advice for the Congress.

    David Heyman’s analysis is focused on one of the elephants in the room: How do you carry out a strategy – old or new – if you have a depleted workforce? But the Post story quotes him as though the problem is a lack of “processes and operations to support” the Strategy. This seems odd since a major highlight in the new document, also explained in this earlier post that broke the story of the Strategy being revised, that shows a very detailed process for policy, operations, and support.

    The story did not point out that the timing of this new Strategy may just be overdue. After the first Strategy in 2002, there was the 2003 Iraq invasion and the creation of a whole new enemy called “al Qaeda in Iraq,” the Madrid bombings in 2004, London bombings in July 2005, and the Bali bombings later that same year. The Department of Homeland Security had only been around for six months at the time the first Strategy was issued.

    I can understand why the re-election effort in 2004 may have slowed things down in the policy shop, but why not issue a new Strategy in 2005? That would have given this Administration four years to carry it out. Did we have to wait to have the concept of natural disasters included more prominently into our Homeland Security doctrine until after Hurricane Katrina?

    October 6, 2007

    The Week Ahead for DHS: 10/8-12, 2007

    Filed under: DHS News,Events — by Jonah Czerwinski on October 6, 2007

    Monday, October 08

    Events TBD

    Tuesday, October 09

    6:30 PM EDT
    Transportation Security Administration Administrator Kip Hawley will address the British-American Business Association
    British Embassy Rotunda
    3100 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
    Washington, DC

    Wednesday, October 10

    9:30 AM EDT
    Assistant Secretary for Cybersecurity and Communications Greg Garcia will deliver a keynote address to the Detroit SecureWorld Expo on the development and implementation of the Information Technology Sector-Specific Plan, National Cyber Security Awareness Month activities, and the steps public and private sector organizations can take to protect cyberspace
    Ford Motor Company Conference and Event Center
    Keynote Theater
    1151 Village Road
    Dearborn, MI

    10:00 AM EDT
    Transportation Security Administration Administrator Kip Hawley will testify before the House Committee on Homeland Security, Subcommittee on Transportation Security and Infrastructure Protection on aviation security
    2167 Rayburn House Office Building
    Washington, DC

    1:30 PM EDT
    Chief Privacy Officer Hugo Teufel III will speak at the National Chamber Foundation’s “RFID Solutions: Securing the Commerce for Tomorrow” conference on the Department’s policy on Radio Frequency Identification
    Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center
    1300 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
    Washington, DC

    2:00 PM EDT
    Domestic Nuclear Detection Office Director Vayl Oxford will testify before the House Committee on Homeland Security, Subcommittee on Emerging Threats, Cybersecurity, and Science and Technology on the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office’s technical nuclear forensics program
    311 Cannon House Office Building
    Washington, DC

    Thursday, October 11

    9:00 AM PDT
    Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator David Paulison will deliver the keynote address at the National Emergency Preparedness Conference
    Capital Christian Center
    MRC Room
    9470 Micron Avenue
    Sacramento, CA

    2:00 PM EDT

    Update: This hearing is postponed to Tuesday, Oct. 16, 10 a.m. Location: 342 Dirksen Bldg.

    U.S. Coast Guard Admiral Craig Bone, Transportation Security Administration Director of Maritime and Surface Credentialing Stephen Sadler, Domestic Nuclear Detection Office Director Vayl Oxford, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office of Field Operations Assistant Commissioner Thomas Winkowski will testify before the House Homeland Security Committee Subcommittee on Border, Maritime and Global Counterterrorism on the SAFE Port Act
    311 Cannon House Office Building
    Washington, DC
    Friday, October 1210:15 AM EDT
    U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Emilio Gonzalez will address the National Foundation for Women Legislators
    The Seelbach Hilton Louisville
    500 Fourth Street
    Louisville, KY

    11:00 AM EDT
    U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Ombudsman Prakash Khatri will address the conference of the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys on International Adoption and Immigration
    Marriott Hotel
    300 South Charles Street
    Baltimore, MD

    September 25, 2007

    Revised Homeland Security Strategy Underway

    Filed under: DHS News,General Homeland Security — by Jonah Czerwinski on September 25, 2007

    Many of us have heard rumblings of an effort underway – led by White House Homeland Security Advisor Fran Townsend and her deputy Joel Bagnal – to revise the 2002 National Strategy for Homeland Security.  I was able to locate a presentation deck being used by Homeland Security Council officials to outline the rationale, intent, and scope of the new strategy document. It’s a cursory treatment at only 14 slides. However, some telling language reflects prevailing views amid HLS leadership about the five-year-old strategy presently on the books, as well as some useful perspectives on the nature of the threat.


    The first slide’s title says it all: “The Need for a Revised Strategy.” Operating from the same strategy since 2002, the need is real and surely felt by many members in the HLS community. The original strategy was written at a time when the terrorism threat environment was different (there was no Iraq war, for one) and the bureaucracy responsible for the homeland mission was only just getting off the drawing board.

    So what was really missing back in 2002? The presentation offers a short list with the suggestion that we need to “Articulate a capstone strategy to organize and unify the national effort.” I’m not sure what that means, but the next goal is indisputably important: “Institute a common framework for the broader homeland security community.”

    The need for a common framework is hard to argue with. You’ll find nothing else in this presentation specifically on that topic except for the detailed graphic on the final slide depicting what may be the “framework” they have in mind. This beauty is reminiscent of the structures used by the Defense Department to align their policy guidance, planning, and operations. This one even uses the term “doctrine,” a rarity in the realm of homeland security.

    DHS Strategy Management System 

    Other items missing back in 2002 included, apparently, disruption and protection. The presentation justifiably takes on the very definition of homeland security put forth in the original strategy.

    2002 Strategy:
    •Homeland security is a concerted national effort to prevent terrorist attacks within the United States, reduce America’s vulnerability to terrorism, and minimize the damage and recover from attacks that do occur.

    2007 Strategy:
    •Homeland Security is a concerted national effort to prevent and disrupt terrorist attacks, protect against man-made and natural hazards, and respond to and recover from incidents that do occur.

    Broadening the concept of homeland security is a great start.  And while a more detailed voice track surely accompanies this presentation, some things still remain outside this scope.  For example, a comprehensive strategy would include the concept of deterrence and how it applies in the context of terrorism.  Perhaps prevention can encompass deterrence, but that’s a stretch.  The only other possible hook on which to hang a reference to this would be on Slide 4, which states that Homeland Security entails “offense and defense.”  It is in the latter where we may find deterrence accounted for.  Quite a lot could be read into these 14 slides.  Let’s hope that the intellectual foundation supporting these encouraging signs come to light soon.

    Updated 9/27/07: I had originally noted that DHS officials were briefing this slide deck, but was informed today that it is being used by officials at the White House Homeland Security Council. 

    Update 9/27/07: UPI’s Shaun Waterman ran a related story today.

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