HSC-NSC merger full of positive potential
By Dr. Jeff Rubin
The just-announced merger of the National Security Council (NSC) and the Homeland Security Council (HSC) has the potential to generate major change in how the federal leadership looks at the full range of potential threats, and how best to prioritize and address them. Such a merger has been proposed in the past, most notably in a well-reasoned paper by Christine Wormuth and Anne Witkowskyin June 2008, touting the benefit of “holistic policies and strategies” that could result. Wormuth, the principal author, was recently appointed Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense and Americas’ Security Affairs, and will doubtless have a role in making the merger a success.
On the face of it, the move has a lot of potential. Every level of government has struggled with the division between international and domestic threats, as well as the one between terrorism and other hazards. There appears to be a shift in policy toward better integration of the various federal preparedness and response agencies, and the merger is a tangible step beyond just good intentions.
As with any reorganization, there will be some short-term disruption, but the HSC has such a short history that this could almost be a definition of purpose rather than a re-definition. It would be even better if the “de-siloing” spirit extends to better communication between the world of intelligence and that of daily law enforcement work, extending from there to encompass the rest of the Emergency Services Sector, but that’s a few steps beyond this beginning.