5 Missions, 14 Goals and a Partridge in a Pear Tree

Obama officials present a strategic redefining of Homeland Security’s mission By Spencer S. Hsu Washington Post Staff Writer Tuesday, February 2, 2010; 2:58 PM The Obama administration Monday delivered to Congress the nation’s first Quadrennial Homeland Security Review, defining homeland security for the first time as including hazards beyond terrorism, in a strategic document intended to drive long-term budget decisions.  

Ah yes, when you can’t find your ass (or your mission), what with all that staggering around in the China shop, it’s certainly time to put out a ‘strategic’ document. Insisting upon clarity of purpose and effectiveness is no substitute for strategic documents.
Wonder if they have someone in mind who actually knows what one is? Certainly I don’t.  

Congress mandated the high-level strategic review in 2007, two years after Hurricane Katrina exposed failings in the government’s response and four years after the creation of the Department of Homeland Security. The initiative was modeled after the Quadrennial Defense Review, another congressionally mandated effort that directed the Defense Department to reset its strategies and budgets against evolving threats every four years. 

 That sounds strategic enough for me at the moment. If resetting your strategies and budgets doesn’t paralyze 240,000 employees, it’s hard to visualize what would. That strategy sounds like it was invented by Osama bin Laden. But wait, there’s more.  

Analysts said that production of the 88-page document marked a successful milestone for DHS, even though it is not as thorough as the Pentagon’s version and will not be as influential.  

One wonders at what particular milestone they will be strategic enough to pull some dude off an airplane before one of these already reported crazies actually succeeds in his mission. Apparently, having your own father turn you in is not enough. That might finally get DHS’s attention, as hurricanes and earthquakes apparently don’t count. But I’m relieved the analysts are happy.  

“This study has given them a road map for how they are going to think through tough problems.”  

I thought you’d appreciate this George Carlin bit that ever-so-accurately explains the nuance of the political lexicon of ‘road maps’ and ‘tough problems.’  

The issue is still vexing because many experts still struggle to explain, “What is homeland security?” “How is the homeland best made secure?” and “What does it mean to be prepared?,” the review notes.  

Don’t sweat it. We are only eight years and $400 billion into the thing and this stuff takes time. Maybe they (DHS) could check in with the Boy Scouts, to find an operating definition of ‘Be Prepared.’  

The QHSR lists five missions, backed by 14 specific goals: preventing terrorism and enhancing security, particularly against chemical, biological, nuclear and radiological threats; securing U.S. borders; enforcing the nation’s immigration laws; securing cyberspace; and ensuring resilience to disasters.  

Well, thank god for new brooms. We have Janet Napolitano in there now, running things and not a moment too soon.  

“Homeland security will only be optimized when we fully leverage the distributed and decentralized nature of the entire enterprise in the pursuit of our common goals,” Napolitano said.  

Run, do nt walk, back to the Carlin video link. Your Honor, I rest my case.

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