I went to hlswatch.com which was in Jonah's bio and pulled up all of the blogs on there either mentioning him or authored by him. Read here:http://www.hlswatch.com/index.php?s=Czerwinski
April 28, 2009
Stockton for Homeland Defense
Filed under: General Homeland Security — by Philip J. Palin on April 28, 2009
Paul Noble Stockton has been nominated by the President to serve as Assistant Secretary of Defense (Homeland Defense and Americas’ Security Affairs). Below I have copied the brief bio included in the White House announcement.
Readers of this blog will recall that Paul and I were announced as the co-contributors to succeed Jonah Czerwinski. Shortly after that partnership was made public, Paul learned that he might be considered for a position in the administration. For obvious reasons, Paul was never able to make a post, but has remained an avid reader of HLSwatch and, especially, the comments.
I have known Paul for many years. He has had fabulous mentors. His father was in the thick of Illinois politics, which as we have seen can be an effective schoolhouse. Paul’s political wisdom was well-nurtured by Senator Moynihan. But I perceive Paul’s most important guide has been James Madison. When you meet him, ask something about the Federalist Papers. Dr. Stockton will bring to Homeland Defense a profound sense of the role of the States in the defense of the nation… and of liberty.
From the White House announcement:
Mr. Stockton is a senior research scholar at Stanford University’s Center for International Security and Cooperation. He was formerly the associate provost at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, and was the founding director of its Center for Homeland Defense and Security. His research focuses on how U.S. security institutions respond to changes in the threat (including the rise of terrorism), and the interaction of Congress and the Executive branch in restructuring national security budgets, policies and institutional arrangements. From 2000-2001, he founded and served as the acting dean of NPS’ School of International Graduate Studies. From 1995 until 2000, he served as director of NPS’ Center for Civil-Military Relations. From 1986-1989 Stockton served as legislative assistant to U.S. Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan. Stockton received a bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth College in 1976 and a doctorate in government from Harvard University in 1986.
Permalink | | 1 Comment »
April 22, 2009
Filed under: — by Philip J. Palin on April 22, 2009
Jonah Czerwinski is Managing Consultant, Global Business Services at IBM, working on homeland security policy issues, and is a Senior Fellow for Homeland Security in IBM’s Global Leadership Initiative. Jonah is also a Senior Advisor, Homeland Security Projects, for the Center for the Study of the Presidency and a 2007-2008 Senior Fellow at the Homeland Security Policy Institute of George Washington University.
Jonah serves as a member of the Board of Directors at the Partnership for a Secure America and serves on the Task Force on Leveraging National Laboratory S&T Assets for 21st Century Security under The Henry L. Stimson Center. He is the co-author of “Global Movement Management: Strengthening Commerce, Security, and Resiliency In Today’s Networked World.”
From 2003 to 2006, Jonah was Senior Research Associate and Director of Homeland Security Projects at the Center for the Study of the Presidency (CSP). He led the Center project on combating the smuggled nuclear threat, which worked across the Executive Branch in an effort that led to establishment of the national Domestic Nuclear Detection Office. He also served on the Council on Foreign Relations Study Group on Strategies for Defense Against Nuclear Terrorism. From 2001-2004, he directed the Center’s Homeland Security Roundtable, which regularly convened senior Homeland Security leadership of the Executive Branch and Congress with leaders of the think tank community, academia, and private sector to discuss critical Homeland Security issues.
Jonah led a Center project on strengthening the transatlantic relationship through NATO, which published Maximizing NATO in the War on Terror in May 2005. He also directed the Center’s working group on The U.S.-Canada Strategic Partnership in the War on Terrorism in 2002. He served as a member of the Taskforce for Examining the Roles, Mission, and Organization of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, which published its recommendations as DHS 2.0 (December 2004). In 2005, he was Senior Fellow at the Homeland Security Policy Institute of George Washington University and in 2004 was named a Manfred Woerner Fellow.
Jonah was a contributing writer to and research coordinator of the Center’s 2001 report on Comprehensive Strategic Reform. He was project coordinator and principal writer of Forward Strategic Empowerment: Synergies Between CINCs, the State Department, and Other Agencies, and assistant editor and contributor to In Harm’s Way: Intervention and Prevention.
Professional media appearances include interviews on CNN and CNN-International, in addition to interviews for The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, The National Journal, Los Angeles Times, Congressional Quarterly, National Defense, and other major news outlets. In addition to authoring, editing, or co-authoring a number of publications, Mr. Czerwinski has spoken at the Elliott School of International Affairs at the George Washington University, the Center for International Security Studies at the University of Maryland, and the Graduate School at Salve Regina University. He has testified before the U.S. Congress on efforts to combat the threat of smuggled nuclear weapons.
Prior to joining the Center in late 1999, Mr. Czerwinski was an analyst with the program in International Finance and Economic Policy and a research assistant to the CEO at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). He has served as a consultant to CSIS and as coordinator for the Trinity National Leadership Roundtable. He serves on the Advisory Council of the Salvation Army of Washington, DC, as chairman of the nominating committee. Mr. Czerwinski earned his undergraduate degree (A.B., Philosophy) from Salve Regina University and is a member of the Class of 2009 at the University of Virginia’s Darden Graduate School of Business.
The comments by Jonah Czerwinski on this website are consistent with IBM’s guidelines on employee blogs. These posts reflect solely the personal views of the author and do not necessarily represent the views, positions, strategies or opinions of IBM and IBM management.
Permalink | | Comment on this Post »
February 24, 2009
Hello to HLSwatch
Filed under: General Homeland Security — by Philip J. Palin on February 24, 2009
On Monday Jonah Czerwinski announced he has asked us – Paul Stockton and Phil Palin - to contribute to HLSwatch on a sustained basis. That invitation is an honor and a significant responsibility. Under Jonah and his predecessor, Christian Beckner (who founded HLSwatch), this blog has provided a unique forum to identify and analyze new policy challenges. Sustaining that record of excellence will not be easy. We have two factors in our favor, however. First, and most important, we have you — the readers and fellow contributors to this blog — as partners. During our own years as readers of HLSwatch, we have learned a great deal from your postings and are counting on you to remain as active, and often feisty, colleagues in keeping the blog on the cutting edge. Our second advantage: there is no shortage of important new policy issues to address. Our own bias is that homeland security is very much a work in progress. Our gratitude goes out to those who serve on the front lines of homeland security in local, state and federal governments and in the private sector. Our commitment is to keep HLSwatch a valuable, provocative forum to support their work and to fuel broader debate over how homeland security should evolve in the years to come.
Permalink | | 3 Comments »
November 26, 2008
Chertoff, TSA Chief Hawley Convene Blogger Roundtable
Filed under: Aviation Security,Humor — by Jonah Czerwinski on November 26, 2008
On November 17, DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff and TSA Administrator Kip Hawley convened the next blogger roundtable, this time at TSA Headquarters. Topics covered Secure Flight, general aviation security regulations, holiday security measures, technology investments, and other issues. This may have been the final roundtable Secretary Chertoff convenes with the bloggers. However, it was the first time HLSwatch.com was singled out by the Secretary for a recent post with which he took issue. After the usually round-the-table introductions, S1 said the following with a smile:
Mr. Czerwinski: Jonah Czerwinski. Good to see you again, Mr. Secretary.
Secretary Chertoff: By the way I’m going to call you out on one thing. So you disagree with my saying that when I do risk, I put the most weight on consequence? And you said, but on Wall Street they disagree with that. They think it’s more a matter of probability than consequence. I rest my case.
Mr. Czerwinski: They may not be the people to watch–
Secretary Chertoff: Right. It was my position on consequence, which I’ve articulated for a couple years now, is what I’ve now learned that in the trade they call it the fat tail. If you read Black Swan so it’s inside baseball.
Mr. Czerwinski: I noted that, thank you.
Secretary Chertoff: All right, shoot.
Sheesh. Chertoff was referring to my 29 OCT 08 post entitled Chertoff Addresses the Beta, in which I suggest that he described risk assessment in his speech to the Wharton School in such a way that could trigger extremes of excessive caution or excessive spending. I made the ill-timed analogy of how risk is assessed on Wall Street. Oops. The full roundtable transcript is available on the TSA blog.
Fortunately, we won a small victory after that playful jab at my criticism of the Secretary’s risk assessment formula. The roundtable concluded as follows:
Secretary Chertoff: I have to say, people say, why do you do blogging? I’m not saying this to feed your egos. I said, I thought that by and large, in terms of focused, sustained, engaged, and knowledgeable questions, the bloggers who cover us regularly do a great job, and it is useful for me to get feedback because I actually do read these – I read the good ones, I don’t read the nutty ones – to get feedback about stuff that is working and not working, and I think that it is a great way for us to communicate, because we do get, you know, good questions come from a knowledge base. You guys do follow this stuff on a regular basis.
Mr. Czerwinski: When you hand over the “Leadership Journal,” can we get you to guest blog at some point?
Secretary Chertoff: Yeah, I probably will.
Fellow bloggers in attendance included:
Rich Cooper – Security Debrief
Barbara Peterson – Conde Nast Traveler & Daily Traveler
Matt Phillips – Wall Street Journal & The Middle Seat Terminal
Tom Smith – ACI-NA
Benet Wilson – Aviation Week & Towers and Tarmacs
Chad Wolf – Security Debrief
Have a great Thanksgiving everybody. I’ll keep up with developments and update HLSwatch.com over the long weekend if something is time sensitive. If, however, the next few days are as uneventful as I hope, I’ll see you on DEC 1.
Permalink | | 1 Comment »
November 14, 2008
DHS Cyber Security Plans, Progress, and Strategies for Success Subject of IBM Roundtable
Filed under: Cybersecurity — by Jonah Czerwinski on November 14, 2008
The new Administration will inherit a multi-billion dollar National Cyber Security Initiative with lead roles served by DHS and its component agencies, the Director of National Intelligence, and the Defense Department. In practice, all agencies will serve some role in reducing cyber-based threats. To address some of the governance and strategy issues in this context, the Center for the Study of the Presidency (CSP) and IBM’s Global Leadership Initiative today convene the next Homeland Security Roundtable on the topic of “DHS Cyber Security Plans, Progress, and Strategies for Success.”
Since 2001, CSP has convened senior leadership from the Executive Branch and leading minds from the policy community and private sector to address critical homeland security issues in an invitation-only, off-the-record setting. Today, I’ll facilitate this roundtable as I used to when I was at CSP as director of homeland security projects. A group of leading experts from the policy community and private sector will join me and our lead discussant, Mr. Andrew Cutts, director of cyber security policy at the Department of Homeland Security. Participants include:
• Steven Bucci, Cyber Lead, IBM Global Leadership Initiative, IBM Global Business Services, and former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense – Homeland Defense
• Frank Cilluffo, Associate Vice President for Homeland Security and Director, Homeland Security Policy Institute, The George Washington University, and Former Special Assistant to the President for Homeland Security
• P.J. Crowley, Senior Fellow and Director of Homeland Security at the Center for American Progress, and former Special Assistant to the President of the United States for National Security Affairs, serving as Senior Director of Public Affairs for the National Security Council, and former Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense
• Andrew Cutts, Director, Cyber Security Policy, U.S. Department of Homeland Security
• Jonah J. Czerwinski, Senior Fellow, Homeland Security, IBM Global Leadership Initiative, and Senior Adviser Homeland Security Projects, Center for the Study of the Presidency
• Bryna Dash, IBM Public Sector – DHS/NPPD
• W. Scott Gould, Partner and Vice President, IBM Global Business Services, , Public Sector , and former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, former Assistant Secretary of Commerce
• Job Henning, Director, Political and Legal Affairs, Project on National Security Reform and Senior Fellow, Center for the Study of the Presidency
• Henry H. Horton, Associate Partner leading the Information Assurance and Strategic Initiatives, IBM Global Services, Public Sector, and former Federal Special Agent in Charge of a strategic counter-espionage and counter-terrorism organization, Director of Security for an Independent Federal agency.
• Daniel B. Prieto, Partner and Vice President, IBM Global Business Services, Public Sector
Mr. Cutts will provide a substantive overview of where the DHS efforts currently stand, what remains as defined goals, and areas that should receive better focus. This session will be held at the unclassified level and is not for attribution. All comments are off the record and so, unfortunately, I will not be posting here about the roundtable.
Permalink | | 1 Comment »
June 26, 2008
Technology Task Force Presents 7 Recommendations to Chertoff
Filed under: Business of HLS,Organizational Issues,Technology for HLS — by Jonah Czerwinski on June 26, 2008
I’ve covered the work of the DHS Essential Technology Task Force here and here, and yesterday the ETTF reported out its final recommendations to the Secretary during the public portion of the HSAC’s bi-annual meeting with the Secretary.
The Secretary of Homeland Security tasked the Homeland Security Advisory Council with establishing an Essential Technologies Task Force (ETTF) to address the following questions:
• What are the legal, financial and operational issues that must be understood to assess whether and to what extent DHS should acquire various types of technology on a service or lease basis, rather than as a purchase/capital investment?
• What types of technology might be considered as candidates for different approaches?
• What types of financial arrangements would the private sector likely be prepared to accept, and how should DHS assess the pros and cons of each?
IBM’s Scott Gould and I were among those invited to testify before the Task Force. On the two occasions that I presented to them, my testimony focused on key attributes of successful technology acquisition from other parts of the USG, as well as opportunities for DHS to collaborate with international partners for joint technology development, the models for which reside at the EU, NATO, and elsewhere.
Both Scott and I made the point that without an overarching framework to guide a Department-wide acquisition strategy, little progress is likely. Scott actually recommended using the Global Movement Management framework as a model, which the Task Force chose to include as a specific example in their final report. That report described in detail the following seven top-level recommendations:
1. Build a high performance acquisitions and program management function implemented by capable staff.
2. Adopt a rigorous Department-wide requirements management process.
3. Develop a Department-wide acquisition strategy with a clear implementation plan.
4. Improve engagement with the private sector.
5. Manage innovation though a variety of approaches.
6. Use the regulatory and standards setting role of DHS to generate economies of scale across stakeholder domains.
7. Continue to advocate for the reduction of homeland security Congressional committees.
The Secretary stayed only to delivery praise to the Task Force and swear in three new members to the HSAC. He left before ETTF chairman George Vradenburg delivered his presentation on the Task Force’s findings. This is unfortunate. The ETTF is another example of how the HSAC is becoming a more focused and more useful advisory entity to the DHS leadership. Kudos to Chuck Adams and Amanda Rittenhouse for their tireless efforts over the last several months in leading the Task Force’s staff team.
Before he left, Chertoff charged the HSAC membership with one more task: “What are the ten tasks for the next Administration to take up and accomplish over its first year or two?”
It seemed odd to charge this group with something so trite. However, he explained, rightly, that it is important that efforts be made to preserve the institutional knowledge of the Department into and through its first ever Presidential transition.
I’d like to know what you think should make the top ten list. Comment below.
Permalink | | 1 Comment »
May 15, 2008
House Homeland Subcommittee Sheds Light on Resilience
Filed under: Infrastructure Protection,Strategy — by Jonah Czerwinski on May 15, 2008
Yesterday the Transportation Security and Infrastructure Protection Subcommittee held its hearing entitled “Partnering with the Private Sector to Secure Critical Infrastructure: Has the Department of Homeland Security Abandoned the Resilience-based Approach?”
I had the opportunity to testify along with DHS Assistant Secretary Bob Stephan, Bill Raisch of the International Center for Enterprise Preparedness at NYU, Dr. Kevin Stephens, Director of the New Orleans Health Department, and Shawn Johnson, Vice Chairman (soon-to-be chair), Financial Services Sector Coordinating Council. Dr. Stephens provided stark details about the state of the health system’s ability to manage another crisis in New Orleans, given the poor state of the infrastructure there nearly three years after Hurricane Katrina.
The 14th is part of a month of hearings the Homeland Security Committee is dedicating to resilience. Wednesday’s hearing focused on clarifying exactly how DHS views resilience as a priority in the overall strategy of the Department and on identifying ways that DHS can do better in working with the private sector to increase our resilience. Perhaps the best way to paraphrase everyone’s position would be as follows:
Chairwoman Jackson-Lee: Resilience should be part and parcel of the nation’s effort to protect the homeland. To do so requires that DHS effectively share threat information with the private sector, measure resilience (since protection can’t be measured: when is enough, enough?), and think creatively about the enterprise value to a company that invests in resilience. Citing the number of times we use the term resilience isn’t proof enough that action is being taken.
A/S Stephan: We already do resilience. It is mentioned ## times among our existing documents, such as the National Infrastructure Protection Plan (NIPP), the National Response Framework, and various sector specific documents. Through the NIPP, sector-specific plans are developed to accomplish the goal of security, resiliency, and preparedness. Moreover, the emphasis on resilience is a red herring generated by some in academia and think tanks to suggest that (a) DHS is misguided and (b) we ought to sacrifice efforts to prevent and protect in order to bounce back from likely fatal attacks.
Czerwinski: Resilience is more than the ability to “bounce back.” Measures to make the private sector more resilient must provide a “double bottom-line” that delivers both the ability to minimize the impacts of terrorism or natural disasters, but also the value of increased performance and improved commerce during the majority of the time when a threat isn’t present. Doing so requires connecting effectively across the sectors with a balanced approach to three key factors: strategic human capital, technology, and governance. Naturally, the framework offered in our paper on Global Movement Management would be a brilliant step forward.
Johnson: Nothing to see here. The Financial Services Sector has worked closely with the Treasury Department since long before 9/11 to manage an interdependent relationship among partners and competitors in this sector. DHS, through the FS-Sector Coordinating Council, works well in coordinating our efforts to be resilient, which for this sector means the ability to get business back online if ever a disruption were to interrupt our operations. I wouldn’t change a thing.
Raisch: If resilience is the goal, then a method to measure or assess progress is indispensable in order for businesses to determine if their investments in resilience are actually accomplishing anything and to be able to claim to stakeholders or possible adversaries that they are prepared to manage a crisis or disruption. Voluntary accrediting measures provided for in the 9/11 Act (H.R. 1) require the government to take the initiative “as a catalyst and investor in this process.”
Main take-away is this: Resilience is still a complex concept that can be approached from a variety of different angles. DHS is doing a lot to make sure the private sector is prepared and protected, but more can be done through an overarching framework that recognizes the interdependencies among the different sectors and the ways in which the risks of the 21st century make those interdependencies more important than any specific sector. Incentivizing the private sector to take action can be done by embracing a broader definition of resilience to include some level of value that actually improves commerce during those times when no attack or disaster is taking place. Investments in security and performance can be mutually reinforcing, not just mutually exclusive.
The streamed recording is available at the Subcommittee’s website on the hearing.
Permalink | | 1 Comment »
March 6, 2008
DHS Anniversary Prompts Wave of Judgement in CQ
Filed under: Strategy — by Jonah Czerwinski on March 6, 2008
CQ ran a story today commemorating the fifth anniversary of DHS by citing the roundtable Secretary Chertoff convened on Monday with about ten bloggers. At the roundtable, Chertoff outlined the Departmentâ€™s goals over the next year and fielded questions on a range of topics. Details about this gathering are available here.Â In follow-up, CQ Homeland Securityâ€™s editor invited more than two dozen experts in government, think tanks, and the private sector to comment (in about 200 words) on whether the creation of DHS was a good idea and, if you had the chance to do it all over again, what would you have done differently?
My response is listed second under the Academia and Think Tanks grouping.Â Since its available by subscription, I’ll only excerpt my comments below.
All are worth a read, but I recommend reading the contributions from Clark Ervin (former DHS IG), P.J. Crowley, Scott Hastings (former US-VISIT CIO), James Lee Witt, Bennie Thompson, and Sec. Chertoff.
Jonah Czerwinski, managing consultant for Global Business Services at IBM and a senior adviser on Homeland Security Projects at the Center for the Study of the Presidency
â€śThe stand-up of DHS has delivered both winners and losers during a tumultuous start challenged by self-inflicted wounds. The path forward requires a strategy that rebalances the homeland security mission with clear priorities and a new strategic framework.
Some pre-existing organizations, like the Coast Guard, enjoyed heightened authorities and larger budgets due to the reorganization that created the Department of Homeland Security. Others, such as FEMA, suffered an â€śorgâ€ť chart demotion with real consequences on peoplesâ€™ lives as seen in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Newly created entities, such as the Science and Technology Directorate, continue to struggle with the growing pains of integration and the battle for interagency legitimacy. A lot could have been done differently.
Initial objections by the Bush administration to creating a unified Homeland Security Department gave in to a real-word political science experiment that Congress passed in the form of the Homeland Security Act of 2002. The lack of initial administration support for DHS slowed progress and forced DHS to fight unnecessary bureaucratic battles with the Pentagon and the intelligence community, not to mention new counterparts overseas.
The departmentâ€™s strategy to this day falls short of prioritizing its resources and investments around its uniquely difficult mission: combat significant threats while maintaining â€” even enhancing â€” daily operation of the economy and overall quality of life for all Americans and visitors. And donâ€™t forget natural disasters. A framework that puts this entire mission into a workable perspective may be achieved by the forthcoming â€” and first ever â€” Quadrennial Homeland Security Review. Regardless, the next president inherits DHS with a responsibility to elevate this departmentâ€™s stature, rationalize its White House coordinating entities, and craft a strategy sufficient to the task.â€ť
Permalink | | 4 Comments »
January 29, 2008
DHS Essential Technologies Task Force Meets Today
Filed under: Technology for HLS — by Jonah Czerwinski on January 29, 2008
Looking forward to writing up something on the SOTU from last night, but I have to run to this meeting of the Essential Technologies Task Force, under the HomelandÂ Security Advisory Council.Â The agenda follows and my remarks for the hearing are here.Â Nothing profound, but the subject matter for this group is important: Find ways for DHS to better think about — and acquire — essential technologies.
March 8, 2007
House Science Hearing on DHS S&T
Filed under: Congress and HLS,Radiological & Nuclear Threats,Technology for HLS — by Jonah Czerwinski on March 8, 2007
Congressman David Wu, chairman of the House Science Committee‘s Subcommittee on Technology and Innovation, convened a hearing today on funding for homeland security R&D.Â Director of the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office Vayl Oxford testified, along with Admiral Cohen, Under Secretary for Science and Technology at DHS.Â I testified on the role of the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office, the applicability of risk assessments, and other items.Â Jerry Epstein, Senior Fellow at CSIS, testified on the Department’s biosecurity investments.Â And, from a first responder-as-user perspective, Marilyn Ward of the National Public Safety Telecommunications Council testified.
Fortunately, the hearing avoided the non-starter subject of whether DNDO should be consolidated into the S&T Directorate.Â The whole reason it is separate is due the special nature of nuclear terrorism and nuc detection R&D.Â The hearing focused instead on the importance of strategic level judgments about how to balance near-term needs to deploy technology solutions to the challenges of securing the homeland with long-term commitments to R&D that can lead to major leaps in capability down the road.
My statement focused on the nuclear challenge from a non-physicist perspective by introducing a different view of success factors for the DNDO, and the public sector in general.Â There’s a certain amount of attention given to the use of a broader framework for gauging value in R&D investments in there, too, that makes use of an IBM model — Global Movement Management – developed originally by Scott Gould and Christian Beckner.Â Full disclosure: I’m now on that project to generate the 2.0 iteration.Â I’d welcome any reactions to my testimony, and you can view the statements offered by the other expert witnesses by clicking below.
Vayl Oxford testimony for 3-8-07 hearingÂ
Admiral Cohen testimony for 3-8-07 hearingÂ
Dr. Epstein testimont for 3-8-07 hearing
Ms. Wardâ€™s testimony for 3-8-07 hearing
Czerwinski testimony for 3-8-07 hearing
Update 3/11/07: GovExec’s Winter Casey covered the hearing in this story.
Permalink | | 5 Comments »
January 29, 2007
Tough Act to Follow
Filed under: Border Security,Congress and HLS,Technology for HLS — by Jonah Czerwinski on January 29, 2007
When Christian Beckner unplugged from Homeland Security Watch, which he created and led, he called on some of us to maintain the blog. His are big shoes to fill. My name is Jonah Czerwinski and I will be one of the many required to pick up where Christian left off. More about my background will follow shortly. In the meantime, on with the Watch:
House Homeland Chairman Outlines Committee Priorities
During a luncheon discussion today Congressman Bennie Thompson, Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, offered a glimpse of what will populate his Committeeâ€™s agenda for the 110th. Jointly hosted by the Homeland Security Policy Institute and The Aspen Institute , the luncheon was an opportunity for Chairman Thompson to introduce what he calls a â€śReal Deal for Homeland Security.â€ť His prepared remarks can now be found on the Committee website, but there are some points he highlighted â€“ and even added â€“ during his delivery before a few dozen HLS wonks:
Mass transit. Chairman Thompson said to look for legislation next month aimed at strengthening mass transit security. In his remarks, he listed a few demands that legislation will likely include: vulnerability assessments, information sharing measures, and security training programs, among others.
Hurricanes Katrina and Rita represent a failure that should never be repeated, he said, but they also revealed equities that need better Congressional support. He called out the National Guard and U.S. Coast Guard for special attention and suggested the two need better federal support. The USCG Deepwater Project must be fully funded. That was not in the prepared remarks.
FEMA reorganization is unfinished. Chairman Thompson characterized efforts to reorient FEMA as insufficient. The audience was given the impression that current plans fall short of a solution to prevent the kind of under-performance witnessed in the Gulf Coast.
Other aspects of the Department are due for â€śaggressive oversight.â€ť The Chairman identified both the DHS Management and S&T Directorates as needing scrutiny in three areas: leadership, mission, and accounting. Both the House Homeland Security and House Science Committees are preparing for a hearing on S&T after the Presidentâ€™s budget is released next month.
The Chairman called out Biowatch by name. This is the program that deploys detectors to provide early warning of an intentionally introduced pathogen. According to todayâ€™s remarks, Biowatch can expect renewed scrutiny.
While it was not in his prepared remarks, Chairman Thomson pointed out during his comments the lack of screening for air cargo and suggested that his Committee would seek measures aimed providing some kind of visibility into the contents of cargo placed on passenger planes. He also noted that sea-borne cargo (â€śanything entering our portsâ€ť) must be subject to better screening. It was unclear if his call for transparency was intended to support 100% radiography screening of shipping container bound for the U.S. His prepared speech made no mention of ports or screening.
DHS contracting accountability made the list. The Chairman named both the Secure Border Initiative (SBI Net) and US-VISIT as likely targets of oversight. He directly questioned the use of a â€śborder fenceâ€ť to manage immigration and security needs.
â€śSecure Borders, Open Doorsâ€ť Makes Progress, Sets Goals, Requests Input
That leads into another message today that Maura Harty, Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs, circulated through an email to outline measures intended to improve visa processing under the joint State Department-DHS â€śSecure Borders, Open Doorsâ€ť policy. Her message as I received it today (bold emphasis added, immaterial language snipped):
January 29, 2007
SUBJECT: A Message from Maura Harty, Assistant Secretary for Consular Affairs, regarding Improvements to U.S. Visa Processing
The United States is one of the most open and engaged societies on Earth, maintaining vibrant family, commercial and educational links with peoples and countries across the globe. As a leader in the travel industry, you fully appreciate the national economic impact of international visitors. Foreign travelers contribute almost $105 billion annually to the American economy; international students account for an additional $13 billion.
Our task is to vigilantly protect U.S. border security and at the same time to maintain America’s openness to legitimate travelers – a policy we call “Secure Borders, Open Doors.” Working closely with the international business and travel community, academic groups, and other stakeholders, we have introduced features designed to streamline visa processing. Recent improvements include:
* An electronic visa application form, which reduces errors, eliminates duplicative data-entry, and so increases the number of applicants each office can interview daily;
* All consular offices post their visa appointment wait times on-line, so travelers can plan accordingly;
* We give scheduling and processing priority to students and urgent business travelers;
* We have added 570 consular positions worldwide, and are transferring some positions to ensure that workloads are evenly distributed;
* We are making significant investment in technology to speed processing and improve data sharing with other government agencies.
I am pleased to say that these efforts have produced results. In Fiscal Year 2006, overall nonimmigrant visa issuance rose 8% over the previous year. Business/tourist visa issuance rose 12% worldwide, and student visa issuances were up 14%. Processing delays have been cut dramatically: 98% of qualified visa applicants are approved within two days of their visa interview. We have “turned the corner” and will continue our efforts in this positive direction.
Meanwhile, visa demand is surging, especially in key emerging travel markets such as China, India and Brazil. Adding more staff and more resources are part of the answer; we are also piloting creative new approaches, leveraging technology and proven best business practices, to meet this challenge. Over the next two years we plan to introduce a variety of enhancements, including:
* A start-to-finish all-electronic visa process;
* A centralized visa appointment management system that will ensure that over 90% of requests for visa appointments can be handled within 30 business days;
* Technological innovations including remote data collection and interview via digital videoconference.
As we implement our plans, we genuinely welcome suggestions and comments from private sector stakeholders. At the same time, we depend on you and others in the private sector to help spread the word that the U.S. welcomes international visitors and that the visa application process is not a daunting ordeal, as it is sometimes still depicted in the press. News media are quick to report negative stories – many of which recycle complaints about problems that have long since been addressed and solved, or describe increasingly rare instances of long waits for visa approval.
We believe our efforts are striking the right balance between security and openness. The Bureau of Consular Affairs is committed to working with the international business and travel community to maintain and enhance our welcome to legitimate travelers. I look forward to hearing your thoughts.
Bureau for Consular Affairs
Department of State
More To Come
My posts on Homeland Security Watch will focus on organizational challenges, WMD issues, international aspects of homeland security, and developments that relate to the homeland security marketspace. Expect me to veer from this pretty regularly if I can. I’ll also make an effort to share useful materials pertaining to these and other issue areas as often as possible.
Final Note: I join Christian in thanking all the readers of Homeland Security Watch. Please keep up with this site as I’ll be joined by other contributors posting regularly. And, naturally, your comments are always greatly valued.
Permalink | | 1 Comment »
October 12, 2006
Heritage looks at international R&D for HLS
Filed under: International HLS,Technology for HLS — by Christian Beckner on October 12, 2006
The Heritage Foundation issued a report within the last week by James Carafano, Jonah Czerwinski, and Richard Weitz entitled “Homeland Security Technology, Global Partnerships, and Winning the Long War.” The report provides a solid overview of the current state of international homeland security R&D cooperation, and offers several recommendations about how the U.S. federal government can enhance this cooperation:
* Leverage NATO, including its Security through Science and Partnership for Peace Trust Funds programs;
* Apply lessons learned through the Technical Cooperation Program (TTCP);
* Establish an online clearinghouse of homeland security technologies;
* Apply export control regulations in a way that distinguishes more clearly between technologies that have a military purpose and those that have a homeland security and/or law enforcement purpose – and govern the latter by the Export Administration Regulation at the Dept. of Commerce.
For more on this topic, see this previous post on H.R. 4942, a bill in the House put forward this year that focused on this issue.
Permalink | | Comment on this Post »
December 24, 2005
About Homeland Security Watch
Filed under: — by Philip J. Palin on December 24, 2005
Homeland Security Watch is a blog that features breaking news, rigorous analysis, and informed commentary on the critical issues in homeland security today. It takes a cross-disciplinary approach to the subject of homeland security, spanning issues such as transportation security, preparedness and response, infrastructure protection, and border security. Its content is intended both for an expert-level policy audience as well as the broader general audience of people interested in homeland security. The blog is non-partisan and non-commercial.
Homeland Security Watch was founded by Christian Beckner in December 2005, and he was the primary contributor to the site until January 2007. In January 2007, Beckner handed it off to Jonah Czerwinski, who contributed to the site until February 2009, at which point in time it was passed off to new contributors including Phil Palin and Christopher Bellavita.