DHS reorganizing–again

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WASHINGTON, D.C. — Secretary Michael Chertoff has announced a new six-point agenda and an internal reorganization, both of which are designed to improve the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) programs, policies, and operations.

The changes are the result of the Second Stage Review that Chertoff launched shortly after he took over from former Secretary Tom Ridge. The review team was tasked with recommending ways the DHS could better manage risk in terms of threat, vulnerability, and consequence;
prioritize policies and operational missions according to this risk-based approach; and establish a series of preventive and protective steps that would increase security at multiple levels.

Chertoff’s six-point agenda focuses on the following:
* increasing overall preparedness, particularly for catastrophic events;
* creating better transportation security systems to move people and cargo more securely and efficiently;
* strengthening border security and interior enforcement and reforming immigration processes;
* enhancing information sharing with US partners;
* improving DHS financial management, human resource development, procurement, and information technology; and;
* realigning departmental organization to maximize mission performance.

Details of new policy initiatives in these six areas, including the following, are expected to be announced in the coming weeks and months, but the following are already available:

* a “Secure Freight” initiative that Chertoff said will allow the DHS to “gather, fuse and assess more complete data from the global supply chain to develop a more accurate profile of the history of cargo in a given container,” as more informed targeting will allow the department to more efficiently conduct inspections of cargo that is either high-risk or unverified;

* an analytic matrix to set a preparedness baseline, which will allow the DHS to match possible threats against possible targets and map the current state of prevention, protection, and response planning with regard to each;
* a new approach to securing US borders through additional personnel, new technologies, infrastructure investments, and interior enforcement, coupled with efforts to reduce the demand for illegal border migration by channeling migrants seeking work into regulated legal channels;
* in conjunction with the Department of State, restructuring the current immigration process to enhance security while easing the process for “those who wish to visit, study, and conduct business in this country;”
* reaching out to state homeland security officials to improve information exchange protocols, refine the Homeland Security Advisory System, support state and regional data fusion centers, and address other topics of mutual concern; and
* initiating “top-notch” professional career training and development efforts.

Chertoff also announced plans to make a number of organizational changes that will take effect 60 days after they are notified to Congress, including the following:

* A new Directorate of Policy, ultimately led by an Under Secretary upon enactment of legislation, will serve as the primary DHS-wide coordinator for policies, regulations, and other initiatives. This directorate will ensure the consistency of policy and regulatory development across various parts of the DHS as well as perform long-range strategic policy planning. It will assume the policy coordination functions previously performed by the Border and Transportation Security (BTS) Directorate. It will also create a single point of contact for internal and external stakeholders by consolidating or co-locating similar activities from across the DHS. The new directorate will include the Office of International Affairs, the Office of Private Sector Liaison, the Homeland Security Advisory Council, the Office of Immigration Statistics, and the Senior Asylum Officer.
* A new Office of Intelligence and Analysis will ensure that information is gathered from all relevant field operations and other parts of the intelligence community; analyzed with a mission-oriented focus; informative to senior decision-makers; and disseminated to the appropriate federal, state, local, and private sector partners. Led by a Chief Intelligence Officer who reports directly to the Secretary, this office will be comprised of analysts within the former Information Analysis directorate and draw on the expertise of other DHS components with intelligence collection and analysis operations.
* A new Director of Operations Coordination will enable the DHS to more effectively conduct joint operations across all organizational elements; coordinate incident management activities; and utilize all resources within the department to translate intelligence and policy into immediate action.
* The Information Analysis and Infrastructure Protection Directorate will be renamed the Directorate for Preparedness and consolidate preparedness assets from across the DHS. The new directorate, which will be managed by an Under Secretary, will facilitate grants and oversee nationwide preparedness efforts supporting first responder training, citizen awareness, public health, infrastructure, and cyber security, and will ensure that proper steps are taken to protect high-risk targets.
* A new Office of Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs will merge certain functions of the Office of Legislative Affairs and the Office of State and Local Government Coordination in order to streamline intergovernmental relations efforts and better share homeland security information with members of Congress as well as state and local officials.

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