The Department of Homeland Security has been infamous for delivering congressionally required reports late, but officials insist that its first Quadrennial Homeland Security Review will be delivered on time.
Like the Defense Department’s Quadrennial Defense Review, the DHS version will be delivered every four years and address long-term strategies and priorities. The first is due on Dec. 31, 2009.
Christine Wormuth, a senior fellow of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told a congressional hearing that DHS has not carried out such an examination since 2005 when Secretary Michael Chertoff conducted the “Second Stage Review.”
“DHS faces significant challenges — the QHSR cannot be an A to Z examination of every homeland security issue facing government,” she said at a House Homeland Security Committee hearing.
The deadline will come at an awkward time. Between now and then, there will be a change in administrations and a turnover in staff. It also comes too late in the year to make an impact on the appropriations and authorization bills, said Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich.
Alan Cohn, DHS deputy assistant secretary for policy strategic plans, said his office will gather as much empirical data as possible and lay the framework of the review for the new DHS staff.
“No matter which candidate wins in November, I’m sure we’ll see differing views on the subject of homeland security than those of the current administration,” said Rep. Christopher Carney, D-Pa.
DHS requested a team of six full-time DHS employees and $1.65 million to conduct the study. Rogers questioned whether that will be enough funding and staff to conduct a thorough review.
“If an appropriations bill is not passed [this year], the folks at the department may not have the resources they need for the review process,” he said.
But Cohn said DHS is keeping the group small on purpose in order to focus on a manageable number of issues.
“We’d like to overcome massive committees and death by PowerPoint,” Cohn said. “We’re comfortable with the deadline.”