This morning, former DHS Secretary Tom Ridge testified before the House Homeland Security Committee, and as only he can do, he was crystal clear in identifying the problems of having so many leadership vacancies at DHS. He said it was a failure of leadership at the White House in ensuring the Presidential Personnel Office was prepared to fill vacancies when they occurred. He is absolutely right.
Then he turned to DHS’ morale problems, which are the result of the overlapping, uncoordinated legislative oversight morass. He recounted his testimony from when he served as Secretary about the need to adopt the 9-11 Commission recommendations in streamlining jurisdiction. He said it was “not oversight. It is overkill.” And he is right. Congressional leadership in both parties has had many chances to address this problem and each time in the past they have taken a pass.
Chairman McCaul announced that he planned hearings early in 2014 to highlight the jurisdictional problems. I, for one, look forward to those hearings and hope they will get the high level of attention the issue deserves.