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Homeland Security – Moving Past 2009

It should be no surprise that according to a recent survey done among 122 homeland security professionals (36% of whom has over 10 years experience and 32% had more than 5 years in the field), the top four priorities for the next administration are border security, emergency response, development of medical counter-measures to weapons of mass destruction, and port security.

More than 83 percent of homeland security experts expect major disaster or attack within next four years; 22 percent expect WMD attack on the Unite States; 54 percent say it would be a good idea to reorganize DHS.

While it is hard to debate those priorities and concerns, without politicizing this important message, the question is not the identification of these priorities, but having the ability to implement programs designed to meet these challenges. Thus, publisher of the Homeland Security Journal, Don Dickson said, "The purpose of the survey is to help set the priorities for homeland security as the next president and the next Congress take office." His comment reflects the importance of the transition to the next Administration since it will be the first time since September 11th that someone other than the Bush Administration had had oversight on the DHS. But the opinions are striking nonetheless:

· More than 83% expected a major disaster in the U.S.
· About 58% said the most probable scenario for a major disaster was a natural disaster, with 22% saying that the cause would be a terrorist attack with a WMD
· 72% expect change if Obama wins; 80% expect no change if McCain wins
· 54% said DHS should be maintained but reorganized; 30% percent said the agency should be unchanged; nearly 15% answered that the DHS should be broken up

In another report written by the National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA) and using interviews with 81 officials from both inside and outside DHS, , the DHS was urged to better integrate the roles of its 22 component agencies, many of which still operate as “stand-alone” entities and to consolidate the Congressional Oversight of the department.

You can read the full report here.

Given the greater risk to attack during the transition period when our jihadist enemies will be believe that the U.S. will be more vulnerable, wisdom supports the following of the NAPA suggestions on transitioning the DHS to the next administration, regardless of which political party wins.