Academic journal article Homeland Security Affairs

Homeland Security Capabilities-Based Planning: Lessons from the Defense Community

Academic journal article Homeland Security Affairs

Homeland Security Capabilities-Based Planning: Lessons from the Defense Community

Article excerpt


In 2003, President Bush's Homeland Security Presidential Directive 8 (HSPD-8) required the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary to develop a national domestic all-hazards preparedness goal. The intent was to establish measurable readiness priorities and balance threats and consequences with resources required to prevent, respond to, and recover from them. The goal would include readiness measures, standards for preparedness assessments and strategies, and a system to assess the nation's overall preparedness to respond to major events, especially terrorist acts.

Paying attention to the goal and related readiness priorities, particularly at the state and local levels, is vital, for at least one simple reason ? federal funding. Under the directive, state all-hazard preparedness strategies consistent with the national preparedness goal will determine federal preparedness assistance. 1 This direction was affirmed when Congress subsequently cited HSPD-8 for preparedness requirements and funding in the fiscal year 2005 DHS appropriations' language. The National Intelligence Reform Act of 2004 also required DHS to set national performance standards and ensure state homeland security plans' conformance with those standards.

Responding to the HSPD-8 mandates, DHS adopted a capabilities-based planning approach (CBP) from the United States Department of Defense (DoD). This article describes the approach, implementation practices from the DoD experience, and contrasts with the DHS strategies.

CBP Model for HSPD 8 Implementation

Capabilities-based planning is one approach that is intended to manage risk, set specific preparedness goals and priorities, make investment choices, and evaluate preparedness results. Proponents describe CPB as developing the means ? capabilities ? to respond to a wide range of potential challenges and circumstances while mindful of costs and sustainability. CBP uses intelligence, strategic studies, and experiences to describe potential future threats and specific event or longer-term scenarios. The scenarios are used to define specific capabilities through an analytical framework starting with mission objectives and measures of strategic and operational success and ending with an assessment of options on factors such as risk. Choices consider capability tradeoffs and impacts at multiple levels within and across organizational components. 2

All member nations of the defense community's Technical Cooperation Program (TCP) ? Australia, Canada, New Zealand, United Kingdom, and United States ? use capability concepts for long-term future defense force structure planning. The central audience for the defense community's CBP is the 'combatant commander' who must achieve specific missions. The TCP's generic CBP process chart, shown in Figure 1, starts with overarching guidance, identifies capability gaps, explores options, and ends with an affordable investment plan. 3

[Figure omitted. See PDF.]

Figure 1. Generic CBP Process Chart

Defense CBP Components and DHS Implementation

My review of the defense community's CBP experience represented by the TCP highlights several components important for CBP implementation to contrast with DHS's approach and provide 'lessons learned' useful for future CBP implementation. 4 In the following sections, I describe these components and briefly contrast them with DHS's efforts to date. Table 1 highlights the defense components and DHS efforts.

Table 1. DHS Approach and the Defense Components

[Figure omitted. See PDF.]

Business Case for CBP Adoption

First, CBP adoption requires a strong business case to justify the organizational commitment and investment. In the defense communities, the business case grew primarily out of the need to shift defense planning from a 'threat-based' model to a 'capabilities-based' model. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.