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Obama Needs To Fix Shortcomings of Dept. of Homeland Security

In these exciting transition times after the election it is good sport to speculate on what might be coming with the new President’s government. Already there is buzz about another New Deal. That may be a good thing when you consider the problems facing Federal law enforcement. The net result of years of mission creep and unfunded mandates has left its mark on Federal law enforcement. The old complaint about having more mission than people has never been truer.

The creation of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in the wake of 9/11/01 was a shock to the system from which Federal law enforcement has yet to recover. In creating DHS, the Bush Administration combined the failed managements of Treasury’s Customs Service and Justice’s Immigration and Naturalization Service. Consequently, the DHS succeeded in creating an agency that has yet to find a coherent identity. Another “Fed Frankenstein” is Transportation Security Administration (TSA). The media is full of stories from this DHS quadrant, particularly about the shortcomings of the Air Marshal’s Service and the airport screeners.

Perhaps the Obama Administration “New Deal” might provide some relief here. Its transition teams should make certain no good budget dollars follow bad ones and management fixes internal control weaknesses in these organizations. A top to bottom analysis of DHS should determine a new strategic plan to bind this cabinet department together. Some agency pieces may need to be jettisoned or returned to other Executive Branch departments. The DHS needs to have a common sense organization that benefits the Nation rather than the bureaucratic lash up of today. A litmus test for the transition team is to review the DHS of today against the findings of the 9/11 Commission and determine if there are still homeland security gaps to be filled.

Some effort must be focused on the DHS mission. The schizophrenic Immigration enforcement laws and regulations need to be addressed. These laws need to be free from political manipulation and grounded in fairness and uniformity, particularly when it comes to the protection of the border.

Perhaps the national service idea (besides Armed Forces duty) that President-elect Obama articulated during the campaign as a way for young citizens to earn college tuition credit might include helping fulfill some of the broad mission of DHS. In any case, DHS is definitely a place for a “New Deal.”


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Pingback from Obama Needs To Fix Shortcomings of Dept. of Homeland Security | Security Debrief – a blog of homeland security news and analysis
Time November 19, 2008 at 5:56 pm

[…] Tickle The Wire » Obama Needs To Fix Shortcomings of Dept. of Homeland Security The creation of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in the wake of 9/11/01 was a shock to the system from which Federal law enforcement has yet to recover. In creating DHS, the Bush Administration combined the failed managements of Treasury’s Customs Service and Justice’s Immigration and Naturalization Service. Consequently, the DHS succeeded in creating an agency that has yet to find a coherent identity. Another “Fed Frankenstein” is Transportation Security Administration (TSA). […]

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