Tuesday, December 28, 2010

What's In A Name Change?

The Science & Technology Directorate has been underperforming since DHS opened its doors. Now one of its units has been renamed from the Command & Control and Interoperability Office to the Business Enterprise Office. No real background information released by DHS as to reasons for the change and hoping that the DHS oversight committees demand an explanation. Why?

As many know there is no real command and control architecture in DHS. Some of its subordinate units do have that as for example the U.S. Coast Guard, which DHS leadership has continuously tried to understaff and underbudget since DHS opened its doors. The recent statement released as a public relations bouquet to itself by DHS leadership on 2010 successes failed to mention the U.S. Coast Guard which at least to the extent I thought possible responded to the largest Oil Spill in history better than anyone could expect. It did reveal anomolies like outdated procedures and strategies, most of which dated from 1999. Yet the mere size of the task should have had DHS arguing that it was as successful as possible given all the facts. Or lack of them.

So we do know that little has been done to establish Command and Control to the extent DHS is involved in large-scale domestic catastrophes. No administration has done this and it would be of interest to know how that label entered DHS history originally and what was accomplished or not.

We do know that despite recognition from the events of 9/11/01 specifically, interoperability across governmental units and responders has not yet been accomplished. Recent reports indicate that another decade may well pass before that is accomplished. Surprisingly, since 9/11/01 one of the regulatory agencies that does seem to be really trying hard and with some impact is the FCC [Federal Communications Commission] and their efforts should be followed closely.

My guess is that the somewhat limited accountability in the S&T Directorate which has largely failed to produce applied research or technology of much assistance to DHS is trying to make sure that none of its units are really accountable for much.

Since the controversial nomination and confirmation of Dr. Tara O'Toole, the S&T Directorate has certainly not accomplished what I expected. Perhaps the staffing and funding she found upon arrival was not up to snuff but even so not much progress has been made.

The continued reliance of DHS and its components to reorganize, changes names of organizations and other "management" strategies reveals to me a deeper distress. Probably because of the terrible status of internal delegations in DHS and the fact that personnel and appointees that try and cooperate and collaborate with other Executive Branch and private organizations that have both assigned roles and knowledge means that DHS is more stovepiped than most other departments in the Executive Branch.

And just for the record, the new DHS HQ under construction has inadquate facilities to promote cooperation and collaboration including conferencing facilities of all sizes and interoperable communication systems. A huge contract was challenged in a successful bid protest that will delay by up to two years the communications systems for that HQs.

Well plenty of work for Peter King and his House Committee on Homeland Security to give oversight. Interesting how his first priority is the radicalization of American Muslims. Are American Evangelicals radicals? Well someone must lead the Crusade against Islam I guess. And note there is ONE, repeat ONE, Congressman who is a Muslim. From Minnesota no doubt. And on the Homeland Security Committee to the extent that I have information. Will there be readings from the Quran in the Committee hearings? Will the acceptance of violence by all the desert religions be studied by the Committee? Perhaps the First Amendment and its grammar will be a key area of study. I understand that there is now an effort to label Sharia legal systems unConstitutional in the US, but not certain how that will be supported!

Well all good fun ahead. And what is the status of the missionary efforts in the entirety of the world's religions at this point? Meaning numbers of missionaries and their funding and locations? How many nation-states truly separate religion and government? Do we (the US)?