In her first 10 days in office, new Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has issued 12 “action directives” focused on specific homeland security areas. Here’s an overview of all the action directives, including their purpose and a brief look at what they may indicate for Homeland Security policy in the Obama administration.
What is an action directive?
According to the DHS press release, action directives “instruct specific offices and agencies to gather information, review existing strategies and programs, and to provide oral and written reports” by a specified date. The dates are specified separately for each directive.
So essentially the action directives are reviews of existing programs. Although the action directives do not direct any changes to the programs under review, the specific areas each directive specifies for review give an indication of programs that may begin seeing changes after the reviews are complete.
List of Action Directives
The list of action directives follows. I’ve listed all the relevant dates for each directive as [Date issued / date oral presentations due / date written reports due]. I’ve linked each directive in this list to the DHS press release that includes it.
Note: Although the initial press release didn’t give both oral and written dates for the 5 action directives issued on that date, based on the press releases for the other action directives, this appears to be an error, and I’ve made the assumption that all 5 of those directives have the same oral and written response dates. No date was specified for oral presentations for the last action directive (immigration and border security).
- [Jan 21 / Jan 28 / Feb 10]: Critical Infrastructure Protection
- [Jan 21 / Jan 28 / Feb 10]: Risk analysis
- [Jan 21 / Jan 28 / Feb 10]: State and local information sharing
- [Jan 21 / Jan 28 / Feb 10]: Transportation security
- [Jan 21 / Jan 28 / Feb 10]: State, local, and tribal integration
- [Jan 23 / Feb 03 / Feb 17]: Cyber security
- [Jan 23 / Feb 10 / Feb 17]: Northern border strategy
- [Jan 27 / Feb 09 / Feb 23]: FEMA state and local integration
- [Jan 27 / Feb 09 / Feb 23]: National planning
- [Jan 28 / Feb 10 / Feb 24]: First responder health surge capacity
- [Jan 28 / Feb 10 / Feb 24]: Hurricane Katrina
- [Jan 30 / None / Feb 20]: Immigration and border security
Although immigration and border security was the last action directive issued, it is by far the longest and most specific directive, while at the same time allowing the shortest time between issuance of the directive and due date for the final report. This may be a reflection of Secretary Napolitano’s experience with immigration, but in any case it indicates a likely increase in emphasis on immigration and border security compared to the previous administration.
The other theme clearly evident in many of the action directives is interoperability and integration, integration, integration. Napolitano stated during her confirmation hearing that a primary focus under her watch would be integration of DHS agencies into a single cohesive agency, and the action directives reflect that.
- DHS Press Release Jan 21: First 5 action directives
- DHS Press Release Jan 23: Cyber security and Northern border strategy
- DHS Press Release Jan 27: FEMA state and local integration and National planning
- DHS Press Release Jan 28: First responder health surge capacity and Hurricane Katrina
- DHS Press Release Jan 30: Immigration and border security
Filed under: Commentary, DHS, Press Releases, Reports Tagged: | action directive, border, cybersecurity, first responder, Hurricane Katrina, immigration, information sharing, infrastructure, integration, interoperability, Janet Napolitano, surge capacity, transportation