After nearly a year of intense work, House Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul (R-TX) today released a comprehensive review of the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) use of intelligence to counter terrorist threats.
The report, entitled Reviewing the Department of Homeland Security’s Intelligence Enterprise: Fighting Terrorism by Addressing Key Gaps, is an in-depth analysis of the Department’s intelligence structure and functions, and provides over 30 recommendations with regard to streamlining and enhancing DHS intelligence efforts.
“Although DHS has improved its ability to protect the homeland against terrorist threats over time, major gaps still remain,” said Chairman McCaul.
“As the next Administration’s transition efforts begin, I urge the Department to redouble its efforts to further integrate its intelligence organizations and systems.”
“Better supporting state and local law enforcement efforts must also continue to be a top Departmental priority. Fifteen years after the attacks of 9/11, DHS has made significant strides in sharing terrorism-related intelligence, but more needs to be done.”
“With the dangerous terror threat environment we face today, the acceptable margin of error is zero.”
(Learn More, courtesy of Homeland Security Committee and YouTube)
- DHS has made significant strides in improving the flow of terrorism information to all stakeholders since its creation.
- The DHS Intelligence Enterprise (IE) is an evolving structure, and the authority of the Chief Intelligence Officer (CINT) is not completely accepted throughout the IE.
- Some DHS IE members do not have clear, or even explicitly identified, missions. This vagueness causes overlapping efforts and inhibits the effective sharing of terrorism-related intelligence due to the fact that information flows are sometimes unclear.
- The DHS IE does not have a consolidated intelligence doctrine and the CINT does not have full awareness of all terrorism-related intelligence sharing agreements into which the various DHS Components have entered.
- The DHS IE employs a vast array of Information Technology systems that require standardization and modernization. Implementing the DHS Data Framework initiative is a critical project which will help ameliorate this issue, while also allowing for more effective intelligence analysis of Departmental data.
- Members of the DHS IE generate a vast array of finished intelligence products. These are often nothing more than a repackaging of products from statutory Intelligence Community members, rather than analyses of DHS-derived information.
Summary of Recommendations:
- The Secretary of Homeland Security should more clearly define the DHS IE, as well as its roles and responsibilities.
- DHS Components should examine the missions and structures of their Component Intelligence Programs, focusing and consolidating them as appropriate.
- The CINT should work closely with the various DHS Components to share terrorism-related intelligence effectively within the Department as well as with other federal agencies.
- The CINT should ensure that the IE serves State, local, tribal, and territorial (SLTT) law enforcement authorities effectively, while at the same time benefiting from the unique information they can provide to the Department.
The U.S. House Committee on Homeland Security is a standing committee of the United States House of Representatives. Its responsibilities include U.S. security legislation and oversight of the Department of Homeland Security.