Commentary and information about public safety and security, intelligence and counterintelligence, open government and secrecy, and other issues in northern Idaho and eastern Washington.

Location: Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, United States

Raised in Palouse, WA. Graduated from Washington State University. US Army (Counterintelligence). US Secret Service (Technical Security Division) in Fantasyland-on-the-Potomac and Los Angeles. Now living in north Idaho.

Friday, March 31, 2006

Department of Homeland Security - How Well Is It Doing?

What is the mission of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)? According to the DHS Strategic Plan, its mission is to "...lead the unified national effort to secure America...prevent and deter terrorist attacks and protect and respond to threats and hazards to the Nation...ensure safe and secure borders...welcome lawful immigrants and visitors, and promote the free flow of commerce."

How well is DHS accomplishing its mission?

To get the answer, read the DHS's Fiscal Year 2006 Annual Performance Plan.

"The Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) of 1993, Public Law 103-62, requires agencies to submit to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) an annual performance plan covering each program activity in the agency's budget. The annual performance plan is to provide the direct linkage between the strategic goals outlined in the agency's strategic plan and what managers and employees do day-to-day. The plan is to contain the annual performance goals the agency will use to gauge its progress toward accomplishing its strategic goals and identify the performance measures the agency will use to assess its progress."

In other words, the GPRA of 1993 requires agencies to have long- and short-term plans and the mechanisms in place to measure how well those plans have been met. It's a way to hold federal agencies accountable to the taxpayers, the people who pay the bills.

As bureaucratic and uninteresting as this all sounds, there is some interesting and informative reading in the DHS's Fiscal Year 2006 Annual Performance Plan. It does help answer questions people often raise about whether or not DHS is really effectively meeting its mission.

As an endnote, an "oh, by the way...", I wonder if our county and city agencies would function more effectively if they were required to conform to a state standard proportionally as demanding as the GPRA of 1993. Just a thought.


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