At midnight on Sunday January 11, 2009, the Department of Homeland Security lost its soul. That’s because when the clock struck 12:00AM, Bob Stephan, oft referred to as the “soul” of DHS, officially added “former” to his title as Assistant Secretary of Infrastructure Protection.

Bob Stephan is a giant. Don’t know Bob? Then you don’t know “jack.” Stop reading Security Debrief because the topics clearly aren’t sinking in. You need something slower and far less sexy, lest you become the homeland security version of Billy Joel in a Benz. Otherwise, read on and pay attention as I take a moment to pay tribute to “The Bob.”

The Bob is a visionary. Michelangelo eyed a block of concrete and saw “The David.” Impressive? Yes, but The Bob looked at a heaping pile of freshly mashed federal agencies, saw the public/private partnership model and built it for homeland security. Now that’s a Renaissance Man.

The Bob is innovative. Michael Jordan took Dr. J’s slam to a new eye-popping level and created the dunk. The Bob took the idea of national protection and created the National Infrastructure Protection Plan (NIPP), which happens to be an eye-popping (interpret as you wish) document. Jordan played on wood. The Bob wrote the NIPP on wood – his dinner table to be exact.

The Bob is creative. Albert Einstein thought up the Theory of Relativity. The Bob thought up Sector Coordinating Councils and Protective Security Advisors. One was a physicist, the other is a soldier – both have funny haircuts.

The Bob has been an ambassador of all that’s right at DHS, an advocate for all-hazards response and resiliency before it was cool, and a trusted ally who the private sector could count on day or night.

Michelangelo, Michael Jordan and Albert Einstein are the greats, but The Bob’s got soul.

L. Vance Taylor has worked to advance the mission of homeland security on Capitol Hill and in the private sector. One of only approximately 250 people in the nation with a Master’s degree in Homeland Security, Mr. Taylor combines specialized educational training with real-world experience to leverage successful outcomes for clients and stakeholders. Read More