Monday, September 27, 2010

The Dirty Dozen

Probably a good time to do a post on the Dirty Dozen of Homeland Security and EM. After all Congress departs the end of the week to go campaign except the 66 Senators not up for re-election.

The Dirty Dozen will be repeated from time to time but they rest on open source information, and my questions in some cases are based on lack of information not necessarily the existence of information!

1. FEMA has been "fixed"! Fact: FEMA now approaching for first time in its history 10,000 permanent full time employees, permanent part time employees and part time employees. This does not include consultants hired through the personnel system or by contract or contractor staff. How many of these 10,000 have been fully trained by classroom or independent study or otherwise (exercises) on the current and about to be revised NRF, NIMS, and other aspects of the National Response System mandated by PKEMA? My guessimate is less than 500!

2. The response to the BP Catastrophe was a success! FACT: IT is evident by published reports that confusion and consternation dominated the early days of the spill as so few in the civil sector of government understood the NCP at 40 CFR Part 300 and its funding mechanisms. And note still no civil actions filed by the federal government against BP!
What we do know is that the US Coast Guard was understaffed and underfunded for this response effort from the opening gun to the present. All repeat all assets for oil spills nationwide were diverted demonstrating the lack of capability for mulitiple events. And why was Carol Browner's role kept secret?

3. The various components of DHS share an understanding of their roles and are able to collaborate and cooperate with other components to allow them to achieve their mission and goals! It is only the components largely ignored by seniro managment and appointees that have to some degree achieved their mission and goals. It would be interesting to see how DHS employees rank the DHS components for effectiveness and efficience as those employees understand the other components roles.

4. The Secretary DHS has her own independent statutory authority to act in a crisis and can operate as an all-hazards leader! FACT: The DHS Secretary still relies largely on delegated Presidential authority, which she is about to lose over the next 6 months for her most important authority. Prediction: DHS will be largely written out of many current Executive Orders and Presidential Directives. The flowdown authority to FEMA in particular will be adversely impacted.

5. The White House is well organized to deal with crisis management! FACT: There is no WH crisis management system both domestic and with respect to the military. Just read Bob Woodward's latest. Jim Jones is so passive a National Security Advisor that the whole of the National Security and Homeland Security community is adrift hoping no large-scale events occur and trying to prevent same. This included John Brennan who cannot figure out the non-INTEL civil sectorof the federal government.

6. The WH and the Congressional DEMS worked well together on both HS/EM and issues of federalism. FACT: This is a clearly documented failure just by reviewed statutory enactments and proposed legislation in the 111th Congress.

7.The WH understand Constitutional and practical civil/military relationships and they are working smoothy. Fact: The budget reveals that many if not all civil miltary programs, functions, and activities are in tatters.

8. The Vice President has fulfilled the role comptemplated for him by the President in various matters impacting military/civil, foreign affairs and HS/EM. FACT: He is an outsider and not listened too whatever the merits of his arguments. NOR is he respected by the members of the SENATE likely to be in the 112th Congress.

9. The WH and Executive Branch components understand what the President and WH staff want to have happen to the Bush policies in place when they arrived and those policies are in place. FACT: Most of the civil/military and HS/EM policies are in place just as they were under President George W. Bush.

10. DHS is a learning organization! FACT: DHS repeats over and over the same mistakes including contracting with non-performing entities. Small business is largely excluded from DHS/EMA contracts and typically contracts are awarded principally to those contractors audited by the corrupt DCCA [Defense Contract Audit Agency].

11. DHS grants are awarded competitively and are highly leveraged by STATE and LOCAL governments and other recipients. FACT: Most of the Federally Funded Research entity grants have produced NO usuable product. Most state and local grants have been rendered ineffective by legal and illegal rakeoffs by STATE or LOCAL government desperate to make up for other revenue shortfalls.

12. Only the most qualified and highly competent appointees are able to gain positions in DHS. FACT: Some are but an honest appraisal of those incumbering appointed positions are largely there because they needed the job. Second opinions and options are not usually welcome by DHS Senior managment.

WEll YOU READERS ARE FREE TO AGREE OR REJECT and hope it stimulates you to figure out how to fix these fictions so they don't destroy future DHS activities.