Magazine article National Defense

Put the 'H.S.' Back in DHS, Says Leading Department Critic

Magazine article National Defense

Put the 'H.S.' Back in DHS, Says Leading Department Critic

Article excerpt

* "We need to put homeland security back in the Department of Homeland Security," said former DHS inspector general Clark Kent Ervin.

Part of the reason the department is still getting its "sea legs" seven years after its creation is that so much of what it does has nothing to do with homeland security and counterterrorism, Ervin said at a Cato Institute panel discussion.

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Secretary Napolitano spent most of the first half of 2009 dealing with the HXN1 virus issues. She was compelled to do so under presidential directives signed during the Bush administration, he noted.

Nevertheless, Ervin questioned whether that should be the department's role.

The potential flu crisis should have been handled by the Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control, he said.

"There's absolutely no nexus to terrorism there," he said.

Ervin was the department's first inspector general, and came to Washington after serving as President George W. Bush's assistant secretary of state when he was governor of Texas. But Ervin clashed with then DHS Secretary Tom Ridge and left the department in 2005. …

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