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Management and Administration

Anniversaries are More Than Just Days to Remember

Twelve years ago last week, President Bush signed the act creating the Department of Homeland Security. It came into formal existence on March 1, 2003. Anniversaries are days to reflect on broader issues, and it is a good time to reflect on what has occurred since DHS was created – and what that means for the Department’s current and future missions and challenges.

A Suspect Decision and a Poor Choice – The Ebola Czar

Obama Administration’s fumbled response to the Ebola threat has both political parties giving the President’s team a resounding thumbs down. To calm an anxious public, the President decided to tap a veteran Washington political insider, Ron Klain, to coordinate the messaging and response going forward. This is a suspect decision with hints of politics where there should be none.

Fire Secret Service Director Pierson Today

The long list of recent security breaches around the Executive Office are inexcusable. Secret Service Director Julie Pierson seems more interested in defending her inept agency than she is in protecting the most powerful person in the world. In short, shame on you, Pierson. Be sure to let the door hit you on the way out.

Save the Bagpipes From the Federal Bureaucracy

Every so often, a federal agency does something so questionable that it makes one shake his head in disbelief. This is about saving bagpipes and other musical instruments from seizure by federal officials at the U.S. border. It is a tragedy in the making.

After White House Breach, Public Pushes Back on the ‘Security Nation’

The recent security breach at the White House has a lot of Washington and the nation talking. Most of the White House security is understandable and defendable, but in looking at the most recent security incident and rumors of the Secret Service wanting to expand the security perimeter further, people have had enough of being cordoned off and told to step away from “the People’s House.”

Not What We Need – DHS in Disrepair

A new Washington Post story details lingering problems at DHS in terms of retaining leadership and talent in some of its most critical positions. If you talk to anyone at the Department today, they’ll tell you firsthand how bad things are. Since this is Washington, and we don’t meaningfully address issues to solve them, let’s play the game we’re all really good at – the blame game.

The ISIS Fight – Do We Have Your Attention Yet?

There are no words to describe the horror of the video showing the execution of American journalist James Foley at the hands of ISIS. Today, radicalization is spreading, and religious, civic, and cultural leaders on every continent have a responsibility to step forward to address it. Sadly, those voices don’t seem to be as loud or as savvy as the video we all saw last week.

Good Idea, Bad Idea – Bioterrorism and UACs

Good Idea, Bad Idea is a weekly recap of the brilliant and stupid things America’s homeland security community does every day, because sarcasm is good for the soul. This week, a cat catches the tongue of OHA’s Dr. Kathy Brinsfield and Sen. Chuck Schumer gets a paper cut.

Deals with the Devil – The Release of Sgt. Bergdahl

The release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, the last American POW in Afghanistan, ends a more than dozen-year American conflict in Afghanistan. The five senior Taliban leaders exchanged for Sgt. Bergdahl, however, will continue to set off debates on the left and right sides of the political aisles.

Congress Heal Thyself – New Voices Convey an Old Message

A full page Wall Street Journal ad last week, signed by 61 former elected and administration officials, including all three previous DHS Secretaries, added a number of new voices to the almost decade-old message that Congress needs to “fix” the overlapping committee structure morass it created to oversee homeland security issues.