Senators Have Low Regard for DHS Policy Reviews
By Stew Magnuson and Ashleigh Fugate
The Department of Homeland Security delivered the first Quadrennial Homeland Security Review with little fanfare in February. That same month, Secretary Janet Napolitano ordered a “bottom up review” of the department, which was delivered in July.
Republicans at a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing stridently criticized the two DHS documents for lacking substance and stating grandiose ideals without delivering specifics.
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., called the reports “laughable” and “entertaining.” They contained a lot of general statements such as “strengthen aviation security,” and “create an integrated departmental sharing architecture,” but said he “would like to know what has been done in the last seven years in these initiatives and enhancements.”
Most of the GOP senators criticizing the reports acknowledged that the problem of poor planning at DHS dated back seven years, long before the Democrats took over.
Citing a Government Accountability Office report, which said DHS has yet to come up with a plan for the screening of illicit radiological and nuclear materials, ranking minority member Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, said, “it disappoints me that rather than completing this plan that the bottom up review just states that DHS will quote, ‘leverage the full range of capabilities and increase its leadership roles.’”
Where is the plan the committee has been pushing for during the past seven years? she asked.
Taking the full brunt of the criticism was Deputy Secretary Jane Hole Lute, who offered little in the way of a defense of the two documents.
As for the nuclear material strategic plan, she said, “We are in the process of working on that senator. I can’t give you a precise plan but I will go back and as a matter of urgency, set a timeline and be in touch.”