In a recent Homeland Security Today article, a former Department of Homeland Security (DHS) official stated that DHS is in need of reauthorizing legislation that will reaffirm and update the department’s organizations and functions. Daniel M. Gerstein, who was the undersecretary (acting) and deputy undersecretary in DHS’s Science and Technology Directorate from 2011 to 2014, also said that such legislation should begin with a roles and missions commission for DHS.
In his article, Gerstein notes that “Such a review is not without precedent,” citing the National Defense Authorization Act of 1994, which included a requirement that the Department of Defense “review … the appropriateness … of the current allocations of roles, missions and functions among the armed forces…” This type of review, says Gerstein, “is needed today for DHS.”
DHS has seen some changes since it was established through the Homeland Security Act of 2002, but the department has not received a top-down assessment that a roles and missions review would provide. Gerstein lists several key areas that would benefit from a roles and missions commission, including cybersecurity, weapons of mass destruction, and critical infrastructure, as well as human factors that impact homeland security, such as the relationships between DHS, state and local authorities, the private sector, and others.
“A DHS roles and missions commission would be an ideal undertaking to ask fundamental questions about the functioning of the Homeland Security Enterprise as the 15 year anniversary of the Homeland Security Act of 2002 approaches.” concludes Gerstein.
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EXCLUSIVE: Former Top DHS Official Says A New Roles And Missions Commission On DHS Is Urgently Needed Now, Homeland Security Today