Thursday, September 10, 2009

At 9/11 Anniversary, DHS Has Big Priorities

On the eve of the eighth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, the Heritage Foundation offers some practical homeland security priorities for Congress to consider for the balance of the current legislative session:
  • Scrap the 100% mandates for scanning maritime security and air cargo--the department cannot find a way to meet the mandate in a way that is practical and cost-effective and actually enhances security
  • Amend the Stafford Act so that a federal disaster declaration includes only those disasters that truly overwhelm state and local response.
  • Reform the homeland security grant structure through the use of cooperative agreements and other reforms.
  • Encourage innovative state and local immigration enforcement efforts that do not call for federal intervention.
The Heritage Foundation would probably not recommend spending over $3 billion on a glorified conference room, however:
Washington notables broke ground on the future home of the Department of Homeland Security on Wednesday, symbolically starting construction on the biggest federal building project in the Washington area since the Pentagon 68 years ago.
 The project will bring together more than 15,000 employees now scattered in 35 offices in the region, placing them on a 176-acre campus strewn with historic buildings in a long-neglected corner of Washington, five miles from the Capitol building.
Department leaders hope the $3.4 billion consolidation will help the department fulfill its core mission -- protecting the homeland -- in ways big and small.
 "It will help us hold meetings," Secretary Janet Napolitano said. "It will help us build that culture of 'One DHS.'"