HomeFeaturesDailyBriefingsRapidReconSpecial ReportsAbout Us

Leadership on HLS

This editorial at The Examiner is a pretty fair echo of the opinions vast majority of people in the land:

Seven years after the bloodiest attack on American soil, homeland security remains the federal government’s top domestic priority. But neither presidential candidate has presented voters with a detailed strategy to protect our nation while overhauling a dysfunctional agency plagued by high turnover and low morale. . .

Five years ago, President Bush caved to pressure from congressional Democrats and cobbled together 22 separate federal agencies to create the massive Department of Homeland Security. DHS has been working against itself ever since. . . .

It goes on, but you've heard this song before.

One point I've not heard raised yet is this: The basic dysfunction – border defenders vs. immigration, etc. – always existed; so did consolidation exacerbate these problems or just shine a spotlight on them? More to the point: If having a single authority over said missions has not improved functionality (which you would think would happen) what is the point of maintaining DHS?

Certainly there are very base political considerations at play here, like legislators who backed the plan now looking panicky and short-sighted. On the other hand it would be an excellent opportunity to look like the bigger man and an actual leader to point out imperial nudity and stand up to do something about it.

If it isn't improving the nation's security, bottom line, it's not worth doing. If it is worth doing, it's worth doing with a whip in your hand until people get their minds right about what it is we're trying to accomplish.

1 Comment

Most of the people I speak with understand that it is faulty. In fact, there are many aspects that are faulty, including the disconnect between border patrol and immigration.

The question, however, in my opinion, is not whether DHS should exist, but how to fix it and make it functional. Part of the problem is that it has become a political football. Another part of the problem is that the legacy cultures are still at odds with each other. Still another part of the problem is that people haven't had the time to step back and assess who or what a homeland security professional is. People I know at DHS are still trying to do their jobs the way they did in the original agencies.

I don't think that it is "black and white" that it isn't helping or it isn't functional. Unfortunately, DHS is a "form as you go" entity that is dealing with a morphing situation. I don't see going it without DHS as an option. It needs to be "fixed" and the first step may be the most difficult, "learning to cooperate and coordinate."