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.