Homeland Security Experts Offer President-Elect Obama Counseling
By: Jim Kouri, CPP
The Homeland Security & Defense Business Council and the Georgetown Public Policy Institute today held a transition briefing to discuss the historical context of the US Department of Homeland Security, the evolution of the homeland security mission, and recommendations to the Obama Administration for where the Department should go from here.
“Although we are certainly doing better, we are not there yet,” said Greg Pellegrino, Chair of the Homeland Security & Defense Business Council and Global Managing Director at consulting giant Deloitte. “Speed and openness is the enemy of security and after 9/11 we responded very rapidly. We are still navigating the balance between openness and protection.”
Pellegrino, one of several industry leaders who advised and counseled the Department in its early stages joined Pat Schambach, Vice President & General Manager, Homeland Security Area, CSC and former Associate Undersecretary & CIO, Transportation Security Administration; and Christian Beckner, Professional Staff Member, Senate Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs Committee on a panel moderated by Gary Shiffman, Ph.D., Director of Homeland Security Studies, Center for Peace and Security Studies, Georgetown University, former Chief of Staff for US Customs & Border Protection, DHS. The event was moderated by Joseph Ferrara, Associate Dean, Director, MPM Program, Georgetown University with a keynote by Matthew Dallek, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, University of California, former Woodrow Wilson scholar and author of The Right Moment: Ronald Reagan’s First Victory and the Decisive Turning Point in American Politics.
“When we first stood up the Transportation Security Administration, our greatest challenge was to assure protection in an environment where commerce was being conducted,” said Schambach. “The mission was to build public confidence and achieve a balance between the openness we are used to with the security necessary to protect our citizens.” Schambach was one of the founding members of TSA and its first CIO months after legislation creating TSA was passed.
“Integration remains a huge challenge and the success of the collaboration needed will depend on how much President-Elect Obama will insist on — all the various components of the Department will have to work together and some tough decisions will have to be made,” Schambach continued. “From so many networks and systems with 40 passwords to access all the federal systems, information sharing among many other areas seem overwhelming – the new administration must develop a strategy to review all of these systems and simplify information integration,” added Christian Beckner.
Panelists addressed several substantive questions and commented on the separation of the Federal Emergency Management Agency from DHS, whether the National Security Council and the Homeland Security Council should merge, and what role industry plays and should play in the future of “homeland security.”
“The answer of whether we invest in prevention or just accept that things will happen is an evolution — mistakes like the nation’s response to Katrina only benefit us when we learn,” said Pellegrino. Continued Beckner, “We’ve seen FEMA improve and respond better to recent hurricanes and separating their function from DHS breaks the linkages that have been created and disrupts the continuum of prevention, preparedness and response that is critical to any incident.”
Speakers indicated that this continuum has evolved and to some extent integrated the private sector and its numerous contributions to homeland security. “Industry owns 85% of the infrastructure — and that is true around the globe — local business, small to medium companies, non-profits play a critical role in first line response,” said Pellegrino. “People relate to their communities first. Additionally, innovations such as the electric notification system that most schools use are simple, consumer oriented capabilities that help organize people and tell them what they should be doing. Right now they are employed to tell you what your kid’s eating for lunch but in an emergency those systems will be called upon to get critical information to parents and others in the community. These seemingly innocuous innovations have come from the private sector and have very meaningful homeland security implications.”
The Homeland Security & Defense Business Council is a nonprofit, nonpartisan corporate membership organization of the nation’s leading corporations engaged in the homeland security mission. The Council’s mission is to serve as a conduit to build stronger and more meaningful relationships between senior leadership in the public and private sectors. The Council’s vision is to create a seamless continuum of preparedness and a foundation of resiliency that utilizes the resources and expertise of the private sector to coordinate more effectively with the public sector. For more information, please visit: www.homelandcouncil.org.
Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police and he’s a staff writer for the New Media Alliance (thenma.org). In addition, he’s the new editor for the House Conservatives Fund’s weblog. Kouri also serves as political advisor for Emmy and Golden Globe winning actor Michael Moriarty.
He’s former chief at a New York City housing project in Washington Heights nicknamed “Crack City” by reporters covering the drug war in the 1980s. In addition, he served as director of public safety at a New Jersey university and director of security for several major organizations. He’s also served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country. Kouri writes for many police and security magazines including Chief of Police, Police Times, The Narc Officer and others. He’s a news writer for TheConservativeVoice.Com and PHXnews.com. He’s also a columnist for AmericanDaily.Com, MensNewsDaily.Com, MichNews.Com, and he’s syndicated by AXcessNews.Com. He’s appeared as on-air commentator for over 100 TV and radio news and talk shows including Oprah, McLaughlin Report, CNN Headline News, MTV, Fox News, etc. His book Assume The Position is available at Amazon.Com. Kouri’s own website is located at http://jimkouri.us
Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police and he's a columnist for The Examiner (examiner.com) and New Media Alliance (thenma.org). In addition, he's a blogger for the Cheyenne, Wyoming Fox News Radio affiliate KGAB (www.kgab.com). Kouri also serves as political advisor for Emmy and Golden Globe winning actor Michael Moriarty. He's former chief at a New York City housing project in Washington Heights nicknamed "Crack City" by reporters covering the drug war in the 1980s. In addition, he served as director of public safety at a New Jersey university and director of security for several major organizations. He's also served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country. Kouri writes for many police and security magazines including Chief of Police, Police Times, The Narc Officer and others. He's a news writer and columnist for AmericanDaily.Com, MensNewsDaily.Com, MichNews.Com, and he's syndicated by AXcessNews.Com. Kouri appears regularly as on-air commentator for over 100 TV and radio news and talk shows including Fox News Channel, Oprah, McLaughlin Report, CNN Headline News, MTV, etc. To subscribe to Kouri's newsletter write to COPmagazine@aol.com and write "Subscription" on the subject line.