If you were paying attention, you read rumblings about the Department of Homeland Security’s shakeup in one of this blog’s special reports back in May.
Well, now it’s officially done. DHS chief Michael Chertoff wil unveil the plan publicly at 1pm EST today. The key details via CQ:
Many of the expected changes have long been rumored — and desired — by officials on and off Capitol Hill, such as a new office dedicated to developing policy, a departmentwide intelligence operation, and a greater centralization of operations, sources say. Chertoff is also rumored to be planning a few surprises, such as returning the Federal Air Marshal Service to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), from which it was removed in November 2003.
Overall, three directorates — Information Analysis and Infrastructure Protection (IAIP), Border and Transportation Security (BTS), and Emergency Preparedness & Response (EP&R) — will be most radically altered by the plan, according to the sources, who declined to be named because Chertoff’s plan was not public knowledge.
The intelligence, or “IA,” side of IAIP will become an intelligence operation reporting directly to the front office, the sources said. Several knowledgeable individuals within and outside the department described Chertoff’s plan to CQ Homeland Security. DHS has not released details of the plan.
A new directorate of preparedness will be created that will comprise the “IP” side of IAIP and the Office for Domestic Preparedness, from the Office of State and Local Coordination, as well as portions of EP&R. IAIP will no longer exist.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency, which was folded into EP&R when DHS was created, will be removed from that directorate and largely restored to its former state, according to the sources, some of whom were briefed by Chertoff. It will report directly to Chertoff and Jackson.
The position of BTS undersecretary, once held by former Rep. Asa Hutchinson, R-Ark. (1997-2001), will be eliminated, according to the sources; the directorate itself will cease to exist. Its various subagencies, including TSA, U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement (ICE) and the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection (CBP), will report directly to the front office.
Regarding the air marshals, whose trials and tribulations we’ve reported on and watched closely, questions remain: Will feckless FAMS chief Tom Quinn be in or out? Will shuffling the agency back under the TSA umbrella do anything to change idiotic and unsafe boarding and dress code policies? Will whistleblowers continue to be gagged and punished?
Regarding ICE and CBP, the same question I asked in May remains: If the Border Patrol is forbidden from doing interior immigration enforcement and local cops and state troopers can’t or won’t do it, and ICE remains understaffed and unable/unwilling to do the job, who will pick up the slack?
Before he can persuade the public that this is just more pointless Titanic deck chair rearranging, Chertoff has an uphill battle convincing his own employees.
Mark Krikorian: “If it helps, fine, but the real problem with immigration is bad policy, not how the boxes are arranged on the bureaucratic organizational charts.”
James Jay Carafano, senior research fellow for defense and homeland security at the Heritage Foundation: “This is the last, best chance to get it right.”
I’m with James Joyner at OTB:
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“While all quite logical, the fact that these changes weren’t part of the original design is astounding. Although I thought the creation of the Department, not to mention it Orwellian name, was unlikely to actually make us safer, one would think they would have at least done what they were supposed to do; namely, centralize counterterrorism resources and enhance border security. It is as if the Defense Department suddenly decided that it should procure weapons and begin training in case of war.
Furthermore, we have just created a new National Intelligence Director. It is not entirely clear why we need another one within DHS.
December 12, 2012 03:16 PM by Michelle Malkin
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