Book Excerpt from “Resourcing the National Security Enterprise” (Chapter 11)

In chapter 11, “Resourcing Homeland Security,” Mark Troutman examines the Department of Homeland Security. Because of its relative youth and extensive mandates, DHS’s process for creating and resourcing strategy is both the least developed and possibly the most consequential. Troutman argues that the DHS’s mission is likely to grow because of the increase in “gray-zone” threats to the homeland but that the department itself is underresourced to adequately fulfill its increasing mission requirements. Below, Troutman discusses the challenges of ensuring security in “free and open societies”:

Securing free and open societies is a challenge as systems built on individual liberty, free markets, and a federal governance structure present many vulnerabilities for malign actors to exploit. Thomas Jefferson famously articulated every American citizen’s right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” in the Declaration of Independence. Nearly 250 years later, the US government often finds these “inalienable” rights to be in competition with one another, if not, conflict. As a result, the DHS must ensure security while simultaneously safeguarding the freedoms and openness for which the United States is so famous and constitute a core national strength.

The DHS must also ensure resilience in the case that disaster—whether natural or manmade—should strike. Security and resilience are multifaceted terms that are both defined in President Barack Obama’s Presidential Policy Directive 21 (PPD-21), which remains in effect. According to PPD-21, security consists of “…reducing the risk to critical infrastructure by physical means or defensive cyber measures to intrusions, attacks or the effects of natural or manmade disasters…,” and resilience is the ability to “…withstand and recover rapidly from disruptions…deliberate attacks, accidents or naturally occurring threats or incidents.”

Taken together, these two concepts embody the pragmatic approach that the DHS employs to fulfill its mission. Unlike other national security agencies, the DHS consciously employs a risk-based methodology. It recognizes the breadth of its mission set makes the provision of coverage for every possible threat to American security impossible. Therefore, the DHS seeks to focus on threats with the potential greatest impact and encourages preventive and protective activities at the level best suited to reduce those threats. As a result, the DHS mission set is predominantly defensive, focuses more on domestic threats, and includes many law enforcement authorities. The DoD and DHS mission sets complement each other as threats span geographic boundaries and continually evolve. Thus, the DHS addresses the most dangerous threats comprehensively while consciously accepting risk in areas it deems less consequential to American security.”

Resourcing the National Security Enterprise: Connecting the Ends and Means of US National Security by Susan Bryant and Mark Troutman is available in hardcover, paperback, and digital editions. It is part of the Cambria Rapid Communications in Conflict and Security (RCCS) Series (General Editor: Dr. Geoffrey R.H. Burn).

Mark Troutman is an educator, consultant, and retired colonel. He is Chief Operating Officer of Strategic Education International and teaches business and national security economics at Georgetown University, Johns Hopkins University, University of Maryland, and George Mason University. Dr. Troutman is the former Director of the Center for Infrastructure Protection (George Mason University) and former Dean of the Eisenhower School (National Defense University). His military career included assignments in Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and the United States. A SAMS and US Army War College graduate, he also holds a PhD in Economics from George Mason University and a Master of Public Policy degree from Harvard University.

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