Homeland Security Strategy & Policy Commentary Series Archive

The FY 2014 Budget Request For The Department Of Homeland Security: An Initial Assessment (PDF)

April 11, 2013

On April 10, 2013, the White House released its annual budget request for Fiscal Year 2014 (FY 2014). This paper provides initial commentary on the budget requested for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for FY 2014, as described in the DHS Budget-in-Brief report and the detailed Congressional Justifications (CJ’s) for all of the offices and components within the Department.

Beyond Benghazi: A Powerful New Counterterrorism Strategy? (PDF)

October 19, 2012

As the Arab spring gives way to another winter, and hope continues to recede into uncertainty and challenge, many observers are asking how do we best move ahead? Bringing to justice the perpetrators of the attacks in Benghazi would certainly be a good start, but it is not enough. The United States has important interests at stake and thus requires a strategy that will mitigate the possibility, or at least the effects, of the next Benghazi.

The Tragedy in Toulouse: When Kinetic Counterterrorism Tactics Aren't Enough (PDF)

March 29, 2012

To prevent the next jihadist-inspired shooting spree, authorities – whether in France, the United States, or elsewhere – must make a conscious decision to expand their focus from only the expressly violent to even non-violent extremism. Contesting the ideologies that drive extremism is a critical, but still overlooked, element in the overall effort to prevent and defeat the violence that emerges from it.

After bin Laden the Threat Remains: Drones, CIA and SOF Still the Only Game in Town (PDF)

May 02, 2011

Usama bin Laden is dead, a significant blow to al Qaeda. Yet on this first day after his death, much remains to be done — al Qaeda and legions of jihadists remain a threat. As President Obama announced the outcome of American actions in the Abbottabad Valley, he was correct in his assessment that, 'The cause of securing our country is not complete…

Eurovision? Let's Hope It's Farsighted (PDF)

October 08, 2010

As news of an alleged plot to stage a number of coordinated “Mumbai-style” attacks in Europe and possibly the United States continues to unfold, there looms in the background an important but complex matter between the United States and the European Union (EU) that is neither well understood nor resolved: the sharing of Passenger Name Record (PNR) data. What is PNR and why does it matter?

All Hands—and Eyes—Needed on Deck (PDF)

May 28, 2010

Proactive measures, building upon existing international partnerships, are needed to regularize the sharing of visa revocation, watch list, and no fly data between and among countries to enhance our capacity to prevent terrorism. A good base to leverage would be the so-called “five eyes”—the US, the UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand—which already share a close and productive working relationship which has yielded valuable benefits over time.

Stopping Terror In and On Its Tracks (PDF)

March 31, 2010

Defensive measures undertaken by public authorities can only take us so far, however. As a result, community engagement and citizen awareness remain important elements of the equation. Vigilance is a team sport. Solid intelligence underpins safety and security, and helps make sure that our last line of defense does not become our first.

Disaster Diplomacy (PDF)

February 26, 2010

Like the 2004 tsunami in Indonesia or the 2003 earthquake in Iran, there are times when the scale of devastation wrought by Mother Nature is simply so great as to dwarf whatever traditional interstate rivalries, animosities, or mistrust that may exist. While these times may be few and far between, they are arguably proof positive that nations and people can, and will, rise to the occasion when urgency demands, and reflect their better angels.

No Longer On Auto-Pilot: Aviation Security and Intelligence Reform (PDF)

January 09, 2010

Yesterday afternoon, President Obama made the latest in a series of statements regarding the attempted Christmas Day bombing. Over time more details will undoubtedly become available as investigations continue and efforts to remedy the defects in this case unfold. What is clear, however, is that there was a multilevel systemic failure, in terms of both aviation security and our intelligence architecture.

Next Generation National Security (PDF)

September 11, 2009

On the eighth anniversary of the attacks of September 11th, it is worth taking stock of just how far we have come. Over and above changes in policies, procedures, and so on, our mindset and conceptual parameters have evolved and adapted.

Reckless Neglect: A Disaster Waiting to Happen...Again? (PDF)

August 28, 2009

While Katrina serves as a forceful reminder of the inevitability of natural disasters, it underscores another important lesson: the risk we will become victims will rise dramatically if we neglect infrastructure. In the end, it was not an Act of God that doomed so many New Orleanians. It was the neglect of man.

Canada and the United States: Time for a Joint Threat Assessment? (PDF)

April 22, 2009

The present landscape, marked by new threats and uncertainties, presents a challenge—but also an opportunity—for Canada and the United States. A joint threat assessment, conducted and published by the two countries, could be a powerful protective tool on both sides of the 49th parallel. It need not—and should not—diminish sovereign capabilities and capacities on either side; to the contrary, it could enhance both.