“The boundaries between domestic and foreign have blurred,” Richard Clarke told Dr. Condoleezza Rice at the start of the Bush administration. Yet, homeland security at the White House has evolved as a competing power center rather than an integrated policy imperative, a “third wheel” according to the 9/11 Commission.
Global terrorists bent on attacking the United States do not recognize artificial dividing lines between domestic and international, public and private. National interests extend from all 50 states to all nation-states.
The federal government must not only have an integrated national security strategy, it must support the strategy with a budget that adequately funds all elements of national power. The formation of the Department of Homeland Security, while providing an important nexus for planning, coordination, and action, is a daunting management challenge. Progress has definitely been handicapped by the sheer size of the merger, constant organizational change, and management turnover during its three years of existence.
The process of developing the first-ever Quadrennial Homeland Security Review can help the next administration assess the future threat environment, what is required to protect our society and economy, and the resource implications for all levels of government and the private sector. The QHSR should attempt to calculate how much is being spent on homeland security below the federal level so that the importance of federal support can be properly assessed.
Attention should also go to reforming the current congressional committee structure, where 88 committees/sub-committees have jurisdiction, inhibiting the development of comprehensive approaches to homeland security.
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