Security Debrief’s contributors hold broad experiences from a variety of public and private sector organizations. Their impressive backgrounds inform the analysis and opinion they publish on Security Debrief, as well as a variety of other outlets. Rich Cooper formerly served as the Business Liaison Director for the Department of Homeland Security. While proud of this service, he is also realistic about the many challenges that can make DHS a difficult place of employment. In an ongoing six-part series – “Why Is DHS a Crappy Place to Work?” – Cooper spells out some of the reasons for DHS’ challenging work environment.

CQ Homeland Security’s Lauren Helper spoke with Cooper to discuss some of the points he raises in his series. The Q&A offers further insight on Cooper’s analysis of why DHS can be a “crappy place to work.”

For DHS, Workplace Issues Linger – CQ Homeland Security

Q. You talk about a fixation on efficiency at DHS. Can you explain how this has actually bogged down some department processes?

A. One of the things that’s critically important for the department to do is to be able to build relationships with people. Under the efficiency initiative, what I have seen is that efforts to get people out from behind the red brick walls, out into associations and groups and other organizations that can bring people together, have retracted dramatically. The reason it has retracted dramatically is one of the edicts of this efficiency initiative — only one person from the department can go.

There’s no one person in the department who can speak to all of the issues it covers in blistering detail. [The department’s] heart may be in the right spot, but their head is certainly not there when it comes to execution and developing and refining and enhancing relationships. It’s had a chilling effect.

Read the full interview (subscription required).