Meeting the national security challenges of today’s world requires collaboration and commitment from all levels of government, the private sector and citizens. With that in mind, the National Homeland Security Consortium has outlined a vision for how the nation should address homeland security in the modern era in a new white paper, “Protecting Americans in the 21st Century.” The report can be found at http://www.subnet.nga.org/downloads/NHSCProtectingAmericans.pdf.
In particular, the paper urges an equal partnership between state, local and private entities and the federal government in setting national homeland security goals, policies and procedures.
“The consortium is committed to working with our federal partners in charting the path forward and ensuring that our efforts to protect America are united,” said Matthew Bettenhausen, chair of the National Governors Association’s Governors Homeland Security Advisors Council (GHSAC), which is a member of the consortium. GHSAC was created in 2006 as a forum for the 55 advisors appointed by the governors of each state and territory to share common concerns and develop strategies for managing homeland security threats.
The paper also recommends improvements in the areas of communication and collaboration; intelligence and information sharing; use of the military; health and medical; interoperability; critical infrastructure; surge capacity and a unified national capabilities approach; sustained resources and capabilities; and immigration and border security. Specific recommendations include:
- Establishing a sustained and consistent process for soliciting local, state, tribal, territorial and private sector engagement on the full breadth of homeland security issues;
Continuing to implement and expand efforts to ensure timely and effective information sharing across all levels of government and the private sector;
Protecting states’ authority over their National Guard forces and clarifying the circumstances and procedures under which federal active duty forces may be used in operations within the homeland;
Enhancing health and medical readiness to address trauma- and exposure-related injury and disease;
Promoting coordinated development of governance, technology and protocols needed to enhance capabilities for interoperable communications among all levels of government and the private sector;
Strengthening efforts to protect and make more resilient national critical infrastructure; and
Implementing national reforms to address immigration and border security issues facing local, state and private sector organizations.
The consortium consists of national organizations representing local, state and private professionals involved in delivering public health, safety and infrastructure services. Currently administered by the National Emergency Management Association, consortium members include 21 national organizations representing several hundred thousand members.