Thursday, November 4, 2010

Convergence of Private Sector-Public Sector Preparedness

I must apologize for not posting for 4 months without checking in.

I was distracted with a local community project that is now completed.

I have continued working with my clients of course and some limited pro bono work with ASCE, DomPrep Journal, TISP, and MIPT.

As a new blogger for 7 months, I learned a valuable lesson and I want to become more efficient in my blogging.

I've observed the emerging professional blogger community in my local area including a gentleman named Tom Coale. I hope to get better at this.

Now, on to business.

I'm working on a project for Dom Prep 40 that explores the relevance and knowledge of the public sector regarding PS-Prep and private sector preparedness.

The national strategy and policy that embraces resilience suggests that there should be a convergence of public and private sector efforts in preparedness.

Since the Y2K episode a decade ago, the private sector has been focused on continuity and supply chain resilience as key business strategies to protect their revenue streams. The NFPA 1600 standard and the Disaster Recovery Institute certifications have been evolving for two decades.

In my next few posts, I want to examine this convergence and some of the issues I am observing. I'll be on a panel for DomPrep on Nov. 15th at the National Press Club on this topic. More to come.

On another note, The Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism (MIPT) in Oklahoma City has been successfully pursuing its retooled mission to train police officers across the nation in intelligence collection. There was an excellent article in Homeland Security Today that describes the initiative.

As I've mentioned before, I am on the MIPT board and am proud of the work David Cid and the Board have done in the past 3 years. They have also recently established an advisory board that includes notable figures like Josh Filler, Nancy Dragani, Dr. Van Romero, Chris Geldart, and David Carey.

That's it for now.

Thanks for checking in.


Thursday, June 17, 2010

Managing the White Space in Homeland Security and Incident Management

I decided to take a break for a few weeks to reflect on the breathtaking activities that have transpired over the past 4-6 weeks.

I had been focused on the QHSR Strengthening the Enterprise strategy, Bottoms up review and the coordination of the Public Safety and Engineering communities in Resilience. Suddenly the Gulf Oil spill and the departure of DNI Dennis Blair caused me to step back and pause so I could try to grasp what was happening.

I shared with someone recently why I believe there has been a significant shift in Homeland Security over the past 2 years. The shift actually has nothing to do with the change in Administrations, but with a natural cycle of events. It revolves around three critical issues that stem from the fact that the novelty of Homeland Security has worn off:

1. Homeland Security is a horizontal process not a vertical function. The very hard work ahead is developing concepts like resilience into real actions.

2. There really isn't significant money to be made in managing the horizontal especially in the security domain. Americans want and value security, but will not pay excessive amounts for it.

3. You can't keep throwing money unconstrained at an issue that is competing with other priorities.

So that leads to the issue of Managing the White Space in Homeland Security.

I believe that Homeland Security at its core is about managing the white space.

For example, in my opinion to be effective as DNI you have to strip out the overhead and focus on managing the network. That is a difficult task for senior officials who are accustomed to being in charge with line responsibility. The role as senior intelligence advisor is to provide the President with the recommendations and staff work that he or she needs to provide direction. That is easier said than done. It requires a different style of leadership that is in short supply.

The Gulf Oil Spill is another example of a system that is still under development. I believe that the spill and subsequent response is a case study for the review of Homeland Security Presidential Directive (HSPD)-5, the National Incident Management System (NIMS), and the National Response Framework (NRF). It may well be that the law establishes the Coast Guard and EPA as the lead agencies, but what happened to the Joint Field Office (JFO) concept defined in the NRF. This was declared a spill of national significance weeks ago. 40 CFR provides the authority for who is in charge, but shouldn't that be in the context of NIMS and the NRF?

The Emergency Management community and the House's T and I Committee have been saying for 5 years since Katrina that there was no need for a Principal Federal Official (PFO) during an incident. They also have said that all incidents are emergencies. Unfortunately this isn't a Stafford Act incident, but isn't this an incident that is an emergency?? Why haven't we organized around the NRF.

After this incident is under control, we should do of a sober review of NIMS, HSPD-5, and the NRF. When that happens, it should be done with a recognition that there will always be white space in these situations and hopefully we will move past the parochial interests and recognize that we need to plan for the worst and hope for the best.

More to come in the weeks ahead.

Thanks for checking in,


Thursday, May 20, 2010

Light Weight Sustainable Networks - Key to Regional Collaboration

As you may know, when I was the Maryland Homeland Security Director, I became convinced that the key to Regional collaboration was lightweight sustainable networks. The Mid-Atlantic All hazards Consortium (AHC) was an outgrowth of that thinking.

The AHC convened an outstanding UASI conference on May 10th and 11th to explore the future of UASI and regional collaboration. Tom Moran and Evalyn Fisher deserve credit for a terrific workshop. I also want to recognize the great work of outgoing President, Bob Crouch former Homeland Security Advisor for Virginia for his efforts in maturing the AHC concept.

Why is this important?

The QHSR advocates for "promoting regional response capacity" in order to "Foster Unity of Effort" and encourage mutual aid that builds "resilience in time of disaster". This is an excellent objective.

In August of 2008, FEMA Preparedness sponsored a workshop hosted by the Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism (MIPT) and facilitated and documented by the Naval Postgraduate School. A paper was developed to better understand how and why multi-jurisdictional, networked alliances formed and were sustained.

There are not enough resources to build stand alone security focused organizations that are very costly. They will not be sustainable. The fact is that our culture values security, but will not invest excessive resources for it over the long run.

Lightweight networks are a technique for achieving sustainable regional collaboration.

Thanks for checking in,


Monday, May 10, 2010

Maturing the Enterprise-|Acquisition Career Development

You may want to keep your eye out for the BUR. For those of you who are not Washington insiders, it is not associated with a saddle, but is the Bottoms Up Review that implements the Quadrennial Homeland Security Review (QHSR).

One area that should be addressed in the BUR as part of maturing the enterprise is the Acquisition workforce.

Every program manager at DHS and its components has an acquisition responsibility.

In the early 90's Congress passed the Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act (DAWIA). It required that there be certifications for the acquisition workforce within specific training requirements.

The Acquisition life cycle is a critical element of developing capabilities from early stage Science and Technology (S&T) to training and staffing the capability to life cycle replacement of assets.

The Homeland Security enterprise probably needs this kind of thinking.

It will be interesting to see what the BUR produces.

Thanks for checking in.


Thursday, April 29, 2010

Functional Exercises - Lower Cost Options

I've been reflecting on a recent Washington Post article about the National Exercise Program. I'm not sure what the article was trying to communicate, but one thing is clear.

In my time as a state Homeland Security Director in Maryland, there was a lot of concern about "exercise fatigue" and the ability to get actual cabinet leaders to engage in exercises.

With Governor Ehrlich's support and his Chief of Staff's participation, we developed a process that focused less on the full scale "field show" and more on executive decision making.

We established mini-drills that were made part of the daily work schedule and embedded table top and functional exercises as part of the routine cabinet retreats and meetings.

One morning, we had every cabinet secretary go to the nearest state police barracks on their way to the office to do an emergency radio check to the Governor's mansion to simulate a state wide emergency where all normal communications had been disrupted. The whole thing was done in 60 minutes and we learned a lot from it.

We held a statewide local elected officials seminar to reach out to those officials. That was very well attended. We did small functional exercises with key decision officials to game our operational plans.

On another occasion we did a 2 hour table top on Avian flu as an agenda item at a cabinet retreat.

So, when we received then Governor Napolitano's letter when I was at FEMA, I was sympathetic to the substance of the letter.

We went about trying to redirect the approach to designing future national level exercises. I was very satisfied with the outcome of the Phoenix based functional exercise and went to each venue to observe the activity during NLE-08. The play was very serious and the players were definitely being pressed.

NLE-09 was designed as the first prevention exercise without the type of field play previously done. We also asked FEMA Region 6 to lead the engagement with the states involved. The Intelligence Community was very well represented and from my vantage point and made a terrific impact in the early planning. We also pressed to have real private sector play in the planning process.

These changes caused some consternation, but were the first small steps in addressing the problems addressed by the Governor's letter.

We also developed the National Exercise Simulation Center (NESC) to support federal play anywhere in the country and to allow for a federal simcell co-located with the National Response Coordination Center (NRCC).

I've been away from it for 15 months so I'm not sure how things have unfolded since then. By all accounts it appears as if NLE-09 went off well.

It will be interesting to see where the road ahead leads.

Thanks for checking,


Saturday, April 10, 2010

Maturing the Homeland Security Enterprise-Federally Funded Research and Development Centers(FFRDC)

The QHSR lays out an ambitious agenda to mature and strengthen the homeland security enterprise. In order to accomplish this agenda, DHS will will need to employ a comprehensive systems engineering capability both inside DHS and in support of the federal inter-agency and state and local jurisdictions nationally.

Dr. Michael French (Mitre) and I presented our groundbreaking paper at the American Society of Public Administration conference last week in San Jose, CA. that discusses the use of FFRDCs and UARCs to support state and local governments. The link to the paper-

DHS S&T has access to significant resources and capability to facilitate the use of FFRDCs and UARCs to do systems engineering work in the enterprise.

The program managers in DHS Headquarters activities and the operational components will have to become more familiar with S&T resources and processes in order to create the collaboration necessary to deploy systems engineering to improve the enterprise.

DOD and DOE and other federal agencies have effectively used systems engineering to develop their programs over the past 65 years through FFRDCs and UARCs. This proven methodology bears careful consideration.

Thanks for checking in.


Friday, April 9, 2010

Maturing the Homeland Security Enterprise through Regional Preparedness

The QHSR has identified Fostering Unity of Effort as one of the 4 strategic aims to mature the enterprise. The seven objectives to support this aim are highly inter-related and definitely on target. The objective to promote regional response capacity ties very nicely to the objectives for professional development, institutionalized planning, and the military-homeland security relationship.

One current initiative, the Regional Catastrophic Grant Program (RCGP) is being piloted in the Tier I Urban Areas and four of the Tier II Urban Areas. The results of this effort will be coming to light in the next several months.

One way to build on this effort would be to link the RCGP to the development of the FEMA regional preparedness organizations. FEMA developed a Concept of Operations for this effort in February 2008. This was in direct compliance with the Post Katrina Act requirements. I've included a link to the document.

I would urge state and local public safety officials to become familiar with this document and engage the FEMA regional preparedness organization. This will enhance the RCGP efforts over time and mature the enterprise.

This is also consistent with the Project on National Security Reform (PNSR) recommendations.

Thanks for checking in.


Friday, April 2, 2010

TISP Sends Resilience Recommendation to White House

The Infrastructure Security Partnership (TISP) developed seven resilience recommendations for a white paper it submitted to the White House last month.

TISP White House resilience letter

The engineering community can make an important impact as resilience policy is developed in the next 2 years.

Bill Anderson from TISP and Ernie Edgar from PBSJ deserve a lot of credit for driving this product.

Thanks for checking in.


Sunday, March 14, 2010

Systems Engineering and the Homeland Security Enterprise

The Quadrennial Homeland Security Review (QHSR) identified 4 strategic aims and 18 objectives that support the goal of Maturing and Strengthening The Homeland Security Enterprise. The objectives deal with recognized challenges in planning, information sharing, resilience, professional development, risk assessment, and science and technology.

The key to achieving this ambitious goal is applying systems engineering approaches to the objectives in order to create the enterprise changes that are envisoned.

The private sector and Federally Funded Research and Development Centers provide opportunities to address this systems engineering need. I want to address this issue in my next several posts.

Today I want to address the Resilience mission area.

The reason I got involved with the ASCE Committee on Critical Infrastructure (CCI) and The Infrastructure Security Partnership (TISP) and am intrigued by the International Council on Systems Engineering (INCOSE);, is that heretofore resilience has been described at a strategic level by macroeconomic thinking.

For example, Scott Jackson recently wrote a very fine review of Steve Flynn's book, Edge of Disaster.

The book continues to discuss the macroeconomic challenge. I believe that systems engineering is where the difficult work lies ahead to convert resilience theory to reality.

The reality is that engineers working in the microeconomic sphere have to develop cost effective systems solutions and then sell them to investors and owners of infrastructure who make microeconomic investment decisions.

The Obama Administration's willingness to embrace Resilience is exciting and the recent effort by the TISP partners to develop and submit a white paper to the White House is the kind of "grunt work" that is required.

The ASCE CCI Guiding Principles project that focuses on project level tactics is another good effort.

It remains to be seen if practical resilience solutions can be engineered into our systems.

Thanks for checking in.


Thursday, March 11, 2010

QHSR and the National Homeland Security Enterprise

Rich Cooper from Catalyst Partners wrote a very interesting post about the recent National Emergency Management Association (NEMA) mid year meeting that I want to pass along.

I attended two of the meetings on Sunday and witnessed the same tone that Rich writes about.

This is very encouraging. In my last post, I discussed my optimism about the Quadrennial Homeland Security Review (QHSR) mission areas. I am also delighted by the focus on Maturing and Strengthening the Homeland Security Enterprise. As Rich points out; now that the debate over the structure has been decided, the nation can turn its attention to maturing the enterprise.

We should savor these occasional moments in what will be a long hard road to securing the nation.

Thanks for checking in.


Saturday, February 27, 2010

New Homeland Security Strategic Framework - A Reason for Optimism

I've been digesting the February 2010 Quadrennial Homeland Security Review (QHSR) and believe it offers an opportunity to move the National Hoemland Security enterprise to another level over the next decade.

The underlying premise is that the Homeland Security mission areas will migrate from a focus on Prevention, Protection, Response, and Recovery to that of Preventing Terrorism, Borders, Immigration, Cyber Security, and Disaster Resilience.

To accomplish this transformation will require significant change leadership. This change will come about from the design of people, processes, and rewards that create the kind of national enterprise envisoned in the QHSR. I learned over a decade ago from my two former colleagues Brad Schoener and Betsy Hostetler about Jay Galbraith's star model of organization design. The model differentiates typical organization design efforts that primarily rely on structure to create change.

I have practiced this approach many times over the years and know it works, but it requires incredibly hard work and dedicated leadership over extended periods.

The good news is that the change required to create the mission area focus across the Department of Homeland Security will drive the kind of change that might not otherwise occur with the Prevent, Protect, Respond, and Recover paradigm.

The change will also require a commitment to career development and systems engineering as tools to drive the enterprise in the direction to support the defined missions areas.

Since 2002 we have had the first national strategy, the Homeland Security Act of 2002, the Post Katrina Act of 2006, and the 9/11 Act in 2007.

The QHSR has the potential to set a course to make the changes necessary to move the National Homeland Security enterprise to a mission focused one that overcomes the stovepipes of the current previous mission areas.

Thanks for checking in,


Sunday, February 14, 2010

National Disaster Recovery Framework

The draft National Disaster Recovery Framework has been released for public comment last week.

The three links below can take you to the FEMA announcement, the draft document, and the comment venue. in Docket FEMA-2010-0004

The document is groundbreaking doctrine and should be reviewed by those in the engineering and development communities. In particular, local elected officials should have their staffs analyze the doctrine.

The deadline is February 26, 2010 for comment.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Resilience, Protection, Mitigation, and Engineers

Last May, I gave a lecture at the Heritage Foundation about Unfinished Business at FEMA.

I made the point that there should be better coordination between Preparedness, Mitigation, and by inference Critical Infrastructure.

Now that there is growing recognition that resilience is a key strategy for a safer homeland, the time has come to better involve engineers in the process.

For example, FEMA Mitigation has a strong engineering orientation and done some excellent work in creating many publications in their Building Sciences Division. Those pubs should be a foundation for the work of Preparedness and Infrastructure Protection.

The organization structure potentially creates barriers to collaboration. What is needed is leadership and processes that facilitate it. Hiring more engineers into Infrastructure Protection and creating working groups composed of Mitigation, Preparedness, and the Office of Infrastructure Protection (OIP) would be a good first step.

In the private sector, The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) has been producing a report card for several years that could be an input to the resilience measurement process. I'll have more to say on this next week.

Thanks for checking in,


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Creating a Roadmap for ASCE National Infrastructure Guiding Principles

I wrote a few weeks ago about the recently developed National Infrastructure Guiding Principles by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE).

The four guidelines are supported by 15 recommendations.

1. Quantify, communicate, and manage risk

2. Employ an integrated systems approach

3. Exercise sound leadership, management, and stewardship in decision-making processes

4. Adapt critical infrastructure in response to dynamic conditions and practice

An initial effort to introduce the guidelines to students will take place at the U. S. Military Academy at West Point in April. The call for papers describes the symposium and can be found on the home page of my website.

Lieutenant Colonel Steven D. Hart, Ph.D., P.E., US Army Corps of Engineers has organized the symposium. He is also a corresponding member of the ASCE Committee on Critical Infrastructure.

Joe Manous, the Chair of the Task Group that developed the Guidelines has been making presentations around the country to communicate the guidelines. His briefing can be found on my website.

The implementation roadmap will be developed over the next year to implement the guidelines.

Thanks for checking in.


Tuesday, January 5, 2010

National Preparedness System: PNSR studies pathway to the future

The Project on National Security Reform (PNSR) has published a new report that outlines the root cause problems with improving National Preparedness and suggests some possible solutions. The report called Recalibrating the System: Toward an Efficient and Effective Resourcing of National Preparedness is available at the PNSR website or my website below.

The report was facilitated by John Morton for PNSR and I was pleased to lead the issue team that included former senior representatives from DHS and FEMA, state and local government officials and the private sector.

The report outlines two key problems: (1) Unresolved Conflict over All-Hazards Risk and (2) Inadequate Capabilities for Catastrophic Operational Planning to include the issue of grants as the primary tool for resourcing national preparedness.

The solutions focus on assumptions that are built on the continued implementation of the Post Katrina Emergency Reform Act (PKEMRA).

The report is well worth reading.

Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terror (MIPT), Executive Director David Cid commented this week in an Oklahoman –MIPT opinion piece- “Is the Shark Moving?” (12/30/09). He provides an interesting perspective on the Flight 253 incident.

Thanks for checking in.