Change in strategy
The vision of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), is “to ensure a homeland that is safe, secure, and resilient against terrorism and other hazards” (United States Department of Homeland Security, 2015). To achieve this vision, DHS has developed five core missions these are, “to prevent terrorism and enhance security, to secure and manage US borders, to ensure and administer immigration laws, to safeguard and secure cyberspace, and to ensure resilience to disasters.”
To accomplish this DHS must have quality skilled staff, only with stable sustained leadership can there be any hope for a resilient workforce. Although there are many agencies which make up DHS, these agencies tend to function in such a manner that is often described as being decentralized. Perhaps the biggest reason for this decentralization is the need of these individual agencies to desire a sense of autonomy which in turn leads to tension amongst the various components as well as headquarter elements. Only by implementing a stable, sustained sense of leadership within DHS, can there be any chance of creating positive lasting change across the various agencies. Furthermore, this sustained leadership will aide by helping to foster a culture in which the employees who make up these various agencies are now motivated in a positive manner.Order now
Another important step is the implementation of better workforce management. As the institute of medicine described, “Leaders are not born, they are grown; thus, to address deficiencies in leadership, DHS must institutionalize leadership development in its components. The leadership development program needs to delineate not only expectations of employees but what employees can expect from the organization “(Help wanted at DHS, 2013, p. 103). By including more training as well as career development, DHS would not only aide in retention but they may also be able to increase employee engagement. An important element for engagement which should be developed is the ability of leaders and employees alike to have fair access to career mobility in recognition of high performance. With a more diligent workforce management along with an increase in the health of their employees, DHS would be creating a more resilient workforce that is ready to deal with the “chronic and acute stressors” of their daily work (IOM, 2013, P. 116).
Can the leadership problems within DHS be rectified, indeed they can but at what costs? Would not the money and resources being spent on fixing the myriad of problems within DHS be better spent by allocating those funds to other areas particularly local, state, and tribal governments who are on the front lines so to speak during an emergency? It would not be advantageous to attempt to expand DHS in the hopes of improving, instead the effort should be redirected towards those agencies such as FEMA, which already have the expertise and the resources to effectively respond in times of crisis.
As previously indicated, DHS has several top level positions which need to be filled. This would be a perfect opportunity for DHS to reevaluate the leadership roles in order to make better hiring decisions. Since the biggest problems currently facing the department are declining workforce moral, and high turnover, it is critical to select leaders cautiously. What are the qualities in leaders which aid in lifting the motivation of those employees which may feel disgruntled or even distrusting? How can the organization regain the trust of its employees who have so little trust in the future of the organization?
One essential quality a leader must possess is excellent communication skills. Lack of communication is a key issue currently facing the department. Communication gaps between leader and subordinates, as well as between leaders, may be the biggest contributing factor leading to a dysfunctional organization. For successful change efforts, the leader should incorporate messages which are in line with the vision of DHS through communication at all levels of the department both internally as well as externally. Therefore, this should be a top quality in considering perspective applicants to fill these vacancies.
Once leaders are hired, the next crucial step for any organization is to build and maintain a core team. As an organization cannot exist with a leader alone, it is essential for the leader to identify and improve each subordinate’s talent and performance, while acknowledging their innovative efforts. The second step would be for the leader to look ahead, be flexible and strategic about how the team evolves and be able to solve issues as they arise within the team. In order to build and lead a team, it is crucial for the leader to improve interpersonal skills. Without knowing how to build trust and connection with the team, it is impossible for the followers to learn and grow. The leaders must b flexible in terms of how to navigate the followers in ways that inspire, motivate, and allow them to perform at their best.
1. Fusion of Actionable intelligence information
Actionable intelligence pertains to information which will force the consumer of intelligence products to initiate action such as using mitigation techniques as a means by which to lessen the impact of an impending threat. As part of DHS’s information sharing with state and local entities, several provisions of the 9/11 commission Act related to support provided directly to fusion centers. Fusion centers are receiving support and centers have been set up in various states so as to assist the government in addressing the gaps regarding terrorism related information.
Fusion centers should be capable of transforming raw data into actionable intelligence. This can be achieved by implementing and planning the integration of data, as well as through an information technology infrastructure which meets the needs of the department , however, the objectives and mission must be clearly defined. Critical data must be identified and the implementation of this data must take place in sequential order. Also, a proper definition of the approach regarding the means by which data will be integrated must be provided.
2. Prevention and deterrence of attacks
Actionable intelligence may be used as a means by which to deter or prevent attacks. This role may be utilized in the analysis process. This phase requires strategic analysis, along with alternative analysis as well as operational support. The execution cycle should be supported by actionable intelligence in order to protect the nation’s borders.
The proper understanding of the significance and capability of this resource is essential to its proper use. Actionable intelligence requires little if any further development in order for action to be taken, it may be acted upon through executive action, covert response, or both (Homeland Security, 2006). The key is the tactical and strategic employment of experts’ known for their ability to interpret actionable intelligence systems. Successful exploitation of this existing resource may lead to successfully deterring future terrorist attacks.
3. Protection and hardening of targets
Target hardening is the means by which those entrusted with securing key targets such as embassies, take additional steps to further hamper those seeking to attack that specific target i.e. Jersey barriers to slow, or redirect traffic. Actionable intelligence may be utilized, along with a target hardening approach, as a means to protect targets. However, these objectives can only be met through the use of strategic actionable intelligence. To determine whether or not a target should be hardened, DHS should conduct frequent threat assessments so as to determine the vulnerability of the perspective target.
4. Responding to attacks and recovering from disasters
DHS is responsible for leading a unified effort in securing the United States by preventing and deterring terrorist attacks and by responding to new threats and or hazards (DHS, 2013). Intelligence analysis (I&A) is a key component of the intelligence community. The I&A is DHS’s headquarters intelligence element and is led by the undersecretary of intelligence and analysis with guidance from the Homeland Security council, as well as the Homeland Security intelligence council, as a member of the intelligence community, the I&A is responsible for utilizing actionable data from multiple resources as a means by which to identify and asses current and potential threats facing the United States. The I&A provides actionable intelligence to support national and DHS decision making while working closely with state, local, tribal, and private sector partners.
5. Improve cost efficiencies within DHS
DHS is seeking to improve in its cost effectiveness, tis can be accomplished by incorporating a result-oriented focus. An integrated intelligence approach may be adopted in order to better assist performance measures. The usage of actionable intelligence is expected to result in a decrease in costs to the department, ultimately leading to a reduction in overall costs.
Additionally, in order to improve cost effectiveness, it should be noted that by placing qualified men and women into leadership positions based on merit rather than political affiliation, there would be a substantial saving in costs due to those individuals providing a more solid foundation for the agency as a whole. Currently there are many vacancies within DHS which could be filled by qualified individuals as opposed to expanding into a larger facility as has been suggested. These qualified individuals would also help by fostering an atmosphere where people want to work and are therefore more productive.
Furthermore, instead of looking at the possibility of expanding DHS into one all-encompassing facility, efforts should be made to see if certain agencies within DHS namely FEMA, are indeed better if they were to be elevated to cabinet level positions as they already have a working knowledge of what needs to be done to prepare for any eventuality which may happen. This would also serve as a means in which to simplify the agency rather than continuously seeking to expand.