The Homeland Security Hash
The Department of Homeland Security gets little credit for the fact that terrorists have not staged an attack on American soil since 2001, and it is an open question whether it deserves much. Conceived in haste and crippled by its design, the newest addition to the cabinet desperately needs an overhaul.
Four years after it opened its doors, the Department of Homeland Security is by general agreement one of the most troubled cabinet-level agencies in the federal government. Hardly a day goes by without some fresh report on a contract gone bad, a new technology that does not work, a new Coast Guard cutter that is not seaworthy, or more cargo that slips through port without inspection. Year after year, virtually every assessment, including those by Congress, the 9/11 Commission, and the department’s own inspector general, has given the department the same mediocre grades. “While the terrorists are learning and adapting, our government is still moving at a crawl,” said 9/11Commission chairman Thomas Kean in December 2005.
To read the rest of this article, please consider becoming a WQ subscriber, which allows online access to the current WQ issue as well as archive content. Other access options are below.
Research, browse, and discover more than 35 years of articles, essays, and reviews by preeminent scholars and writers. Our searchable archive of back issues is free for WQ subscribers.
Paul C. Light, the Paulette Goddard Professor of Public Service at New York University’s Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service, has frequently testified before Congress on the Homeland Security merger. He is the author of The Four Pillars of High Performance (2005).more from this author >>