On Sunday, after a terrorist attack that murdered a dozen French citizens, 4 million people gathered in Paris to stand together and say they would not be afraid. While leaders from around the world came to Paris to join in the rally, noticeably absent was a recognizable face from the United States. For reasons I don’t understand, President Obama was not there.
By most objective measures, 2014 was not a good year for the Department of Homeland Security. As we enter 2015, I sense there is a slight bit of subjective optimism that, under the leadership of DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson, things are getting better. Here are the opportunities (and potential challenges) for the Department in 2015.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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 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.