Five priority areas for future U.S. homeland security focus

On the heels of the tenth anniversary of the creation of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Booz Allen Hamilton outlined five priority areas for the next decade of homeland security.

“Homeland security is an ever-evolving challenge,” said Adm. (Ret.) Thad Allen, Booz Allen Senior Vice President. “Today’s threats look much different than they did when DHS was created. To build and sustain a more resilient nation, we must move away from defining our problems in terms of an organization designed under stress. We should begin with a new assessment of where we’ve been and where we’re going.”

The five areas are:

1. Resiliency. When it comes to natural disasters, investing in prevention and mitigation will provide a long-term payback that can limit the cost of hastily-arranged responses. But this requires rethinking the roles and responsibilities of government and the private sector.

Using a “whole of community” model demands collaboration and coordination across the public and private sectors and non-profit community, as well as the recognition that some risks are regional in nature and therefore necessitate state and local government leadership.

2. Law enforcement and counterterrorism. Counterterrorism and transnational crime demand a network-on-network approach. International terrorism and transnational crime are highly networked threats, that include complex financial, travel, and personal links. So too, DHS and its partners must mount a networked response to sharing information and coordinating operations.

3. Enterprise insights. It is time to use enterprise solutions such as cloud analytics to drive integration of enforcement, security, and response functions. Technology to address big data issues is a hurdle, but so too is organizational leadership.

4. Borders. Protecting physical borders is no longer enough. Today’s borders are not defined solely by geography. The majority of trade flowing into and from the U.S. is virtually “inspected” through analytic tools, not by physical inspections at ports of entry.

In fact, the “functional border” is comprised of air, land, sea, and cyber domains through which legitimate and illegitimate flows of people and goods pass. As a result, we must create more holistic, integrated approach to facilitating, security, and enforcing the movement of goods and people across all domains.

5. Cybersecurity. Cyber attacks pose grave threats to critical U.S. infrastructure and defending our cyberspace requires the effective collaboration of government and industry. Embracing this shared responsibility will help us understand cyber citizenship and its implications for the functioning of markets, civil institutions and informal networks.

We cannot divorce security from network consolidations, the acquisition and management of data, and the public and private use of the internet across all domains.

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