- All Best Essays, Term Papers and Book Report

The Difficulties of Reorganizing Homeland Security in America

Essay by   •  April 21, 2011  •  Research Paper  •  2,327 Words (10 Pages)  •  2,236 Views

Essay Preview: The Difficulties of Reorganizing Homeland Security in America

Report this essay
Page 1 of 10

the difficulties of reorganizing Homeland Security in America

In 2004 and 2005, a series of major changes were proposed for the civil service at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The proposed reforms were the most drastic in the area of civil service since the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978. The changes strove to make the federal organization emulate a private on, by introducing greater reward incentives, overhauling the pay system and minimizing union participation and employee protection (Underhill and Oman, 2007: 401). Although the changes were seen to transform the DHS into a more market-based system, they also reflected a continuing desire, one stemming from the 9/11 attacks, to counter immense criticism regarding the overall of US intelligence community through constructive action and policies. Although infusing the DHS with a market-based dynamism stands to encourage institutional efficiency, there remains a variety of issues that must primarily be dealt with in order to enhance and maintain institutional effectiveness and thereby, success. Through this article I will identify why institutional effectiveness has been particularly compromised in the general area of homeland security in the US. I will present the two factors impeding such progress in the intelligence community in terms of organizational discrepancies and the drawbacks posed by a Federalist mode of government. In the case of organizational discrepancies, I will draw as direct corollaries factors such as inter-agency non-communication and mis-communication, agencies' inabilities to make contemporary adjustments, agency stubbornness, agency parochialism and increased yet unnecessary bureaucratization. In the case of the latter, I will examine how Federalism has slowed down the reorganization and progression of homeland security as it has created an environment where a wide array of vested interests are able to exert influence on how homeland security is not only ensured in the US, but also on how it is meted out- in a fashion that sometimes do not reflect the needs of the general populace, but only of a select influential group.

The issue at the core of Homeland security is coordination and agency compartmentalization. Prior to the Intelligence Reform Act of 2004, the US intelligence community had 15 separate agencies, with the presidentially-appointed Director of Central Intelligence (DCI) serving as the head of the agencies responsible for gathering foreign intelligence which would report be reported directly to the President (Garicano and Posner, 2005: 153). The DCI also doubled as the head of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), also a multi-faceted foreign-intelligence gathering agency. Meanwhile, domestic intelligence had been an area which has been left singly to the FBI, which had been tailored and structured to serve more as a criminal investigation agency rather than an intelligence agency.

Soon after the events of September 11th 2001, a congressional committee was set up to detect why federal officials had failed to assemble the clues which would have prevented the attacks. They uncovered that in May 2001, a CIA official communicated to the FBI's International Terrorism Operations Section about concerns regarding the hike in threat reporting, indicating an imminent terrorist attack- only to be uncorroborated by similar concerning intelligence found by the FBI (Zegart, 2007: 26). Meanwhile, in July 2001, FBI officials became aware of two suspicious flight-training programs being taken by Middle-Eastern students speculated to belong to Al-Qaeda . Congressional investigators discovered that despite mounting evidence found by the FBI, no information was shared with the CIA, nor with the State Department (which would have refused to grant such suspicious individuals visas for their reentry to the US) nor with the National Security Agency, which was found to be very inadequately linked with the FBI, CIA and the State Department (Kettl, 2004: 21). Agency officials subsequently conceded that there were in fact eleven instances prior to 9/11 which could have been potentially thwarted by the CIA and others to prevent a similar scenario (Zegart, 2006: 40). In response, Congressional investigators explained that modern-day terrorism transcended national boundaries, enjoyed a plethora of arrayed support and exhibited dynamism and a multifaceted character with which intelligence agencies in the US had not yet fully adjusted with in terms of institutional integration and structural reforms. It was concluded that the 15 intelligence agencies, headed by a singular DCI who lacked even the effective control over the agencies' budgets and personnel, lacked any central command needed for effectiveness. There existed a widely fragmented structure within the intelligence community and which perhaps required greater tightening through the removal of bureaucratic institutions (Zegart, 2007: 34). It is only through this that the intelligence community would be able to device a comprehensive plan to centrally command its pool of resources to constructively address prospective threats

However, even after this diagnosis, in 2004, the office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI), a body that would coordinate the entire intelligence activity of the government, was created alongside the already existent intelligence arm of the DCI, without the elimination of any intelligence organizations. The new DNI since then, has still been staffed with government officials from all other 15 agencies on a rotational basis, meaning that no permanent loyalty to a non-partisan agency is ever cultivated. Officials acting within the DNI continue to be accused of acting along personal agency lines and not facilitating the exchange of inter-agency information. Fragmentation and non-cooperation, speculated to have been completely ignored in the overhaul, are still seen to be two factors that impede inter-agency cooperation. Since then, the FBI has also been given the primary responsibility of counter-terrorism. Even though the FBI's budget and personnel have been increased accordingly, it has still been unrecognized that intelligence gathering and the analysis of security threats are things very different from the overt work of criminal investigation and prosecution, raising concerns greater than just the institution's finances and manpower (Feldstein, 2008: 6-7).

Though five new institutions have been created in the US since 9/11 to bridge highly evident communication gaps and coordinate operations, criticism still lingers that agency fragmentation remains because of the increased bureaucratization of the intelligence community, in a situation where the reverse should have happened, thus leaving the problems of inter-agency miscommunication partially



Download as:   txt (15.3 Kb)   pdf (169.5 Kb)   docx (15 Kb)  
Continue for 9 more pages »
Only available on