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Organizing for Homeland Security

NCJ Number
Date Published
15 pages
This paper discussed those critical issues involved in designing the new U.S. Homeland Security organization and in achieving its goals through comparing existing coordinating organizations responsible for national security, economics, intelligence, and drug control and through presenting restructuring recommendations of three commissions and a nongovernmental group.
Responding to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, President Bush instituted a new organizational structure to ensure the security of America. He created the Office of Homeland Security, as well as a new interagency coordinating organization, the Homeland Security Council. The new organization is mandated to involve only coordination. This issue paper examines and discusses those issues necessary in developing the homeland security organization and in achieving its goals. The paper begins with a comparison of existing coordinating organizations that are responsible for national security, economics, intelligence, and drug control and then presents restructuring recommendations of three commissions and a nongovernmental group. President Bush drew on three models to design his new homeland security organization: the National Security Council, the National Economic Council, the Director of Central Intelligence, and the Office of National Drug Control Policy. These organizations differ in their characteristics of their processes, the nature of their budgetary authorities, and their statutory foundation. However, the organizational characteristics are only one factor determining their success. The most important characteristic is identified as the degree of personal presidential engagement. Several commission recommendations are presented on the reorganizing of the executive branch to provide homeland security and include: the Gilmore Commission, the Hart-Rudman Commission, the National Commission on Terrorism, and the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). All the commissions recommend that the White House coordinating entity be given responsibility for integrating both international and domestic activities. Yet, the mandate of the Office of Homeland Security covers only terrorism in the United States which is narrower than its title has suggested. The Office is to have no role in the international aspects of combating terrorism. In addition, the Homeland Security Council’s responsibilities were reduced in creating a separate coordinating entity in protecting the Nation’s critical infrastructure, and information systems. Once the Homeland Security Council was in place, they faced several critical issues: (1) coordinating responsibilities; (2) homeland security operations; (3) foreign and domestic counterterrorism activities; (4) State and local government cooperation; (5) national strategy; (6) domestic counterterrorism budget; (7) intelligence and law enforcement activities; and (8) the military’s role in homeland security. Given the immediacy of terrorist threats, it was quite reasonable for the President to adopt a high-profile organization response, creating a new office and new interagency coordinating process. Appendix