CHESTER HAS MOVED!: "Jointness" is catching on . . .

Monday, December 20, 2004

"Jointness" is catching on . . .

We've been pushing the adoption of the idea of "jointness," mandated by law, here at The Adventures of Chester for at least a month. Today the Wall Street Journal encourages "jointness" concepts for the Department of Homeland Security. Here's the editorial, since it is subscription only. More on this topic tonight . . . ----------------------- Wall Street Journal December 20, 2004 Pg. 14 Defense Lessons By Edward L. Rowny I was present at the creation of the National Security Act of 1947. Two years later, as a result of enabling legislation, the Department of Defense was born. Still, for the next 40 years, although nudged along by Secretaries Robert McNamara and Melvin Laird, the effective integration of the armed forces languished. In 1986, the Goldwater-Nichols Act finally established the policies that truly built a structure for the armed forces which fully utilized all the talents of the disparate services. This structure was tested in the first and perfected in the second Gulf War. Two of the changes made stand out to me as paramount. The first was to establish a joint structure in which the commanders reported directly to the secretary of defense. The second was to direct that no officer would be elevated to general or flag rank without first serving in a joint organization. Similar changes are needed to make the Department of Homeland Security fully effective. Creating an effective Department of Homeland Security is in many ways a more daunting task than creating the DOD. Instead of melding five uniformed services, the DHS must mold 22 widely disparate civilian and military agencies of 180,000 people into a cohesive whole. Rather than languishing for nearly 40 years, hoping that the wrinkles will iron themselves out, we should learn from the DOD experience and strive to reach the goal for the DHS in one-tenth the time. Earlier this month, the Heritage Foundation and the Center for Strategic and International Studies issued a report on how to make the DHS effective. Their 40 recommendations are a good framework on which the DHS could be remodeled, perhaps by a Lieberman-Cox Bill. A debate in Congress on these recommendations should begin immediately. I learned from bitter experience that it is a mistake to legislate an organization with the hope of improving it as time goes by. Delay only nourishes entrenched bureaucracies and fuels turf battles. Space prevents me from discussing all 40 task-force recommendations. Instead, let me mention those that I think are of greatest significance and urgency: Establishing a policy undersecretary. No organization can succeed unless it has a group of planners advising the boss on what to do. It is high time the DHS got some planners. Establishing a simpler structure for congressional oversight. No secretary of a federal department can afford the time and effort to report to 88 separate congressional committees. One standing committee each for the House and Senate should suffice. This is probably the most difficult thing that Congress is called upon to do. Further improving the exchange and coordination of intelligence within the DHS to include predicting likely scenarios for the next devastating attack, which is sure to come. For example, the likelihood of a dirty bomb arriving by container ship is too obvious to overlook. Only by accurately predicting the types of attacks and developing contingency plans can we prevent or overcome them. Organizing the DHS into discrete agencies that do their jobs while maintaining their own separate identities. For an organization to be effective, it must have a clear-cut mission, good leadership, the proper resources, and a strong sense of camaraderie. Canada tried to do this by placing all of its soldiers, sailors and airmen into a single organization with a common uniform. It failed. The department of Defense has kept the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines as distinct, proud organizations in which brotherhood and unity of purpose and morale flourish. The DHS should follow this model. The Coast Guard, Transportation Security Agency and others should keep their own uniforms; wearing a badge with the DHS logo is sufficient to identify them as belonging to an integrated department. Developing a policy and creating a mechanism for dispensing federal monies to states and localities. Every state has a legitimate claim for federal funds to prevent and combat terrorism, and the sums requested soon become astronomical. The DHS must determine how much the federal government can afford to spend for homeland security and dispense it to states on a strict basis of most critical need. There is no place for pork barrels. Clearly delineating leadership roles and organizational authority in critical areas such as biodefense, cyberdefense and critical-infrastructure protection. Attacks on our food supply or on Wall Street's communications network could be more devastating than another 9/11. Policies for handling biochem attacks with voluntary rather than imposed quarantining, such as "Self-Shielding" used by Canada during the SARS episode, need to be developed. One of the great successes of the DHS to date has been the establishment of a Science and Technology Division to seek out and bring in 21st century tools to prevent and fight terrorism. This admirable initiative should be continued. Establishing a highly effective gaming and exercise structure similar to the DOD's wargaming exercises. In combat, a soldier does what he has been trained to do. Similar training must be established for first responders by the DHS. Creating a culture and establishing policies for integrating the responsibilities of the DOD and DHS. The DHS has been looking inward and must begin looking outward. The DOD has traditionally looked outward and must begin looking inward. The recent establishment of a Northern Command and changing National Guard mission priorities are moving the DOD in the right direction. The DHS should follow suit and similarly change its outlook. While I do not agree with every task-force recommendation, most of them are not only sound but deserving of priority action. Perhaps Sen. Joseph Lieberman, who did a splendid job as the leading congressional architect of the DHS, and Congressman Christopher Cox, who has shown similar leadership in the House, could take the initiative. Debate on these issues should begin now on a bipartisan bill that should be first in line for the 109th Congress. Mr. Rowny is a former ambassador and Lt. Gen. U.S. Army (ret).


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