Academic journal article Parameters

An Organizational Framework for Homeland Defense

Academic journal article Parameters

An Organizational Framework for Homeland Defense

Article excerpt

One of the most difficult problems facing government today is the question of how to organize to address new threats to national security. Noteworthy among these are threats from terrorism, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and attacks on our critical infrastructures. Others include the international drug trade, organized crime, and assorted transnational threats. These are nonconventional threats, and no single department or agency of the federal government can address them alone. They require coordinated policies, planning, and execution by agencies that fall on both the national security and domestic sides of the government, and they often involve cooperation with state and local governments, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and the private sector as well. Responses to them are crosscutting, involve non-federal organizations, and draw on assets that are already committed to other important missions. For the federal government, this creates problems of issue ownership ("turf"), and resource allocation--in both the annual President's Budget Submission, and in the congressional authorizations and appropriations processes. A lot of people have given a lot of thought to these issues, and it has become apparent that there will be no simple organizational solution.

Another important aspect of this problem of organizing for homeland defense is the difficult questions it raises about the role of government m society. When individual actors have the ability to launch cyber-attacks that shut down major corporations (as in February 2000) and madmen with modest assets can culture and spread pathogens that have the potential to kill thousands or even millions of citizens, [1] government must carefully consider how it should organize to address such potentially disastrous threats. In this process, important tradeoffs must be considered between catastrophic damage to the nation and an expanded (and possibly more intrusive) role for government. The prospect of an expanded government intruding on its citizens' rights is of such major importance that it must be addressed in full partnership with the Congress and, to the greatest extent possible, in open forums.

A Recommendation

A solution to this organizational issue can be based loosely on the military combatant command model. [2] In this model, the military's regional Commanders in Chief (CINCs) conduct operations (warfighting, peacekeeping, humanitarian operations) and report to the Secretary of Defense and the President. The forces they use to conduct these operations are raised, trained, and supplied by the military services. Almost all resources come through the military services as well. [3] And while the CINCs do not "own" the forces they use to conduct operations (these forces are assigned to them by the Secretary of Defense for specific missions), the CINCs have a loud voice in setting the requirements that shape them. In fact, the entire military model for the structuring and equipping of forces is driven by the requirements set by doctrine and warfighting demands. This model could provide a framework for solving some of the most pressing problems of organization and resource allocation for homeland defense. The framewor k could include:

* The creation of a Homeland Defense Agency (HDA) with a headquarters staff similar to that of a regional CINC.

* The identification of government agencies that could be permanently moved under the HDA without adversely affecting their home agency.

* The identification of government agencies that could not be permanently moved under the HDA without adversely affecting their home agency, and the establishment of habitual, plan-driven relationships with them to address specific homeland defense missions.

* The placement of the resource allocation decision authority for homeland defense issues that span more than one department or agency with the Vice President. …

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