New National Infrastructure Protection Plan Released

A new version of the National Infrastructure Protection Plan (NIPP) was released yesterday.

I’ve extracted and attached the full Table of Contents (4 pages) and the Executive Summary (6 pages) as separate documents.  Both are worth reading, if only to identify the parts of the full document you may want to read more closely.  For a super-compact summary, I’ve included a short excerpt from the Preface, and a list of the major sections of the document in this post.

[Update 02/25: DHS Released an “NIPP Consolidated Snapshot” (2 pages), which I’ve linked to here.]

The Preface to the 2009 NIPP, written by former DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff, states:

“The NIPP meets the requirements that [President Bush] set forth in Homeland Security Presidential Directive (HSPD) 7, Critical Infrastructure Identification, Prioritization, and Protection, and provides the overarching approach for integrating the Nation’s many CIKR (Critical Infrastructure and Key Resources) protection initiatives into a single national effort.  It sets forth a comprehensive risk management framework and clearly defined roles and responsibilities for the Department of Homeland Security; Federal Sector-Specific Agencies; and other Federal, State, regional, local, tribal, territorial, and private sector partners implementing the NIPP.”

The NIPP has an Executive Summary, 7 main sections, and 6 appendices:

  • Executive Summary
  • 1. Introduction
  • 2. Authorities, Roles, and Responsibilities
  • 3. The Strategy: Managing Risk
  • 4. Organizing and Partnering for CIKR Protection
  • 5. CIKR Protection as Part of the Homeland Security Mission
  • 6. Ensuring an Effective, Efficient Program Over the Long Term
  • 7. Providing Resources for the CIKR Protection Program
  • Appendix 1: Special Considerations (Cross-Sector Cybersecurity and International CIKR Protection)
  • Appendix 2: Summary of Relevant Statutes, Strategies, and Directives
  • Appendix 3: The Protection Program
  • Appendix 4: Existing Coordination Mechanisms
  • Appendix 5: Integrating CIKR Protection as Part of the Homeland Security Mission
  • Appendix 6: S&T Plans, Programs, and Research & Development
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HSPD 25 & NSPD 66: Arctic Region Policy

On Friday, President Bush issued a presidential directive, designated as both Homeland Security Presidential Directive (HSPD) 25 and a National Security Presidential Directive (NSPD) 66, which “establishes the policy of the United States with respect to the Arctic region and directs related implementation actions.”

Although the directive mentions national security and homeland security needs first in all areas, the majority of the implementation actions relate to international relations, the economy, and protection of the environment and natural resources.  And as such, the directive is likely to have a greater impact on the Department of State (designated in all 7 policy areas outlined – see below for details) than on DHS (designated in 3 of the 7) or DoD (designated in 2 of the 7).

Here’s a quick summary of the major sections, and a few highlights.

In the “Background” section, the directive states that it “takes into account several developments, including, among others:

  1. Altered national policies on homeland security and defense;
  2. The effects of climate change and increasing human activity in the Arctic region;
  3. The establishment and ongoing work of the Arctic Council; and
  4. A growing awareness that the Arctic region is both fragile and rich in resources.”

The “Policy” section is divided into 7 areas (with designated agencies) as follows:

  • National Security and Homeland Security Interests in the Arctic (Depts of State, Defense, and Homeland Security),
  • International Governance (State),
  • Extended Continental Shelf and Boundary Issues (State),
  • Promoting International Scientific Cooperation (State, Interior, Commerce, and NSF),
  • Maritime Transportation in the Arctic Region (State, DoD, Transportation, Commerce, and DHS),
  • Economic Issues, Including Energy (State, Interior, Commerce, and Energy), and
  • Environmental Protection and Conservation of Natural Resources (State, Interior, Commerce, DHS, and EPA).

Each of these 7 policy areas includes both statements about policy and specific implementation directives.  Although only a handful of the implementation directives directly address national security and homeland security, several of the other directives have some dual-use, with some application to homeland security and defense, even though that’s not the primary stated purpose.

There is a single paragraph at the end discussing the need for additional resources to achieve the implementation directives. However, it’s not specific about funding sources, instead simply stating that “The heads of executive departments and agencies with responsibilities relating to the Arctic region shall work to identify future budget, administrative, personnel, or legislative proposal requirements to implement the elements of this directive.”

In terms of DHS, the Coast Guard is likely to be most impacted by this directive, so it’s likely that the Coast Guard will request more funds for operations in the Arctic region in coming years.  Whether they get them is far too early to tell.

Executive order on lab biosecurity

President Bush issued an executive order last week establishing a working group to review biosecurity at U.S. labs and issue a report to the President within 180 days with “recommendations for any new legislation, regulations, guidance, or practices for security and personnel assurance” and “options for establishing oversight mechanisms.”  The order covers “federal and nonfederal facilities that conduct research on, manage clinical or environmental laboratory operations involving, or handle, store, or transport biological select agents and toxins.”

Insufficient biosecurity at U.S. labs was highlighted in the report from the Commission on the Prevention of  WMD Proliferation and Terrorism released last month.  In response to that report, the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs indicated it may introduce legislation to strengthen lab security as well.

There is considerable overlap in purpose between the new working group and the Senate committee efforts, and the Commission has undoubtedly done some of the investigative work outlined in the executive order.  So the new working group may serve more as a platform to ensure executive branch agency cooperation and input into new legislation than as an actual investigative body.

Report: Commission on the Prevention of WMD Proliferation and Terrorism

The bi-partisan Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism released a long-awaited report on December 4th about the current state of the WMD threat against the U.S..  The report received fairly wide coverage in both the main-stream press and on the Internet.  I’ve summarized information from a number of sources here; I haven’t read the full report yet myself, but I’ll update this post again after I’m finished reading it.

Summary:

The report:

  • States that the odds are greater than ever that the world will see an attack using a biological or nuclear weapon in the next five years.
  • Criticizes Bush administration domestic and foreign policy.
  • Offers wide-ranging recommendations on controlling biological agents and containing nuclear proliferation.
  • Offers recommendations for Congress to solve problems with oversight and funding.
  • Singles out Pakistan as the top security priority for the United States.

Recommendations:

Here are many of the key recommendations in the report:

  • Overall Terrorist Threat:
    • Work with Pakistan and other countries in the region to eliminate terrorist safe havens through military, economic and diplomatic means.
    • Secure nuclear and biological materials in Pakistan.
    • Counter and defeat extremist ideology.
  • Biological Terrorism:
    • Call an international conference of countries with major biotechnology industries to promote biosecurity.
    • Strengthen global disease surveillance networks.
    • Press for universal adherence to the Biological Weapons Convention.
  • Nuclear Terrorism
    • Constrain a nascent nuclear arms race in Asia.
    • Take steps to prevent Iran and North Korea from possessing uranium enrichment or plutonium reprocessing capabilities.
    • Set strong penalties for violators who withdraw from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
    • Strengthen the International Atomic Energy Agency.
    • Employ further counter-proliferation efforts.
    • Work with Russia to secure its nuclear materials.
  • Presidential Oversight:
    • Create a new post in the White House to oversee government efforts to prevent a WMD attack.
  • Congressional Oversight:

    • Empower the Homeland Security panels in the House and Senate as the sole oversight committees for these issues (as opposed to the 16 House committees and 15 Senate committees that share jurisdiction on these issues now).
    • Create a new Intelligence Appropriations Subcommittee to fund both national and military intelligence.
      • From CQ Politics: Congress ignored similar recommendations from the original 9-11 commission, which issued its report in mid-2004.

Criticisms:

There has been some skepticism and criticism of the report, and a down-playing of the report conclusions, both by homeland security veterans and members of Congress.  Much of the criticism stems from the reports’ tone of urgency and lack of emphasis on explosives and other low-tech threats.  As mentioned in Homeland Security Watch, “There’s a noticeable demotion of chemical and high explosives in the WMD threat embraced by the report.”

Official Reactions:

Senate: In a hearing Thursday, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee indicated a willingness to consider legislation to strengthen safety and security at private and federal laboratories that work with deadly biological pathogens.  Read here for more details on the committee hearing.

UPDATE 12/22: Chairman of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs, Joseph Lieberman (ID-CN) and Ranking Member Susan Collins (R-ME) announced plans to introduce legislation to tighten oversight of high containment laboratories around the country that could handle deadly biological pathogens.  Click here to view the press release.

Bush Administration: Despite the report’s criticisms of US policies, the White House welcomed what it said was proof of Bush’s strong security record.  “Under President Bush’s leadership, extensive progress has been made on securing the world’s weapons of mass destruction and protecting our citizens from a WMD attack,” White House spokesman Scott Stanzel said.

Obama Administration: There is some expectation that many of the reports’ recommendations will be accepted and implemented by the Obama administration.  As reported by CQ Politics: “Several of the commissioners have advised the Obama campaign or transition, and several recommendations square with Obama’s policy views. Among the panel members, Wendy Sherman is a national security “team leader” in Obama’s transition, and Richard Verma serves on his defense transition team.” The Boston Globe reported that President-elect Obama will probably implement the recommendation for creating a position of WMD anti-proliferation chief at the White House, citing three unnamed Obama advisers.

Overall Summary:

The report will probably influence homeland security policy and funding for the next 4 years.  Diplomatically and militarily, expect an increased focus on Pakistan.  In the U.S., expect greater focus and spending on defense against biological attacks, including new legislation and rules to prevent pathogens from falling into terrorist hands through labs.  Consider preparing plans and grant requests to improve detection of and response to biological attacks.  Expect an increase in R&D funding for technology to detect and identify biological threats and verify adherence to nuclear and biological non-proliferation agreements.

Links:

Additional articles and posts about the report:

Reports of potential Bush administration “Burrowing” at DHS

There have been a number of articles and posts drawing attention to possible attempts at “burrowing” by the Bush administration, with DHS getting repeated special mentions.

“Burrowing” is a time-honored political tradition where the positions of political appointees are converted to career public service positions before the end of an administration, enabling those political appointees to keep their jobs and continue the influence of the previous administration after the new administration takes over.  Civil servants in career positions are afforded a number of job protections that makes them hard to remove, making it difficult for appointees of the new administration to remove burrowers.

Here’s a few articles on the subject:

But it’s not like this was entirely unexpected:

It’s also not unique to the Bush administration, as Mother Jones notes:

  • Mother Jones: The Clinton administration left behind its own crop of ideological holdovers, and near the close of George H.W. Bush’s presidency scores of political appointees attempted to burrow, some going so far as to disguise their allegiance by taking photos of Bush off their walls. Beleaguered civil servants, meanwhile, have been known to compile “lizard” lists identifying burrowers that have a way of turning up in the hands of the incoming administration. “There’s a lot of this internal politicking that just wastes time, creates suspicion, and lowers morale,” says Vanderbilt University political scientist David E. Lewis, author of a recent book on how presidents politicize the executive branch.

But recent reports suggest that the Bush administration may be setting new records.  A few highlights from the mix:

  • ThinkProgress: As late as last year, ABC News noted that DHS was still “a political dumping ground,” with 350 White House-appointed staffers (compared to just 64 at the Department of Veteran Affairs).  For the past five years, the Bush administration has refused to fire these cronies. Yet last week, the Wall Street Journal reported that all of a sudden, DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff had decided to replace many political appointees with career staffers.
  • According to an as-yet-unpublished paper by the University of Hawaii’s David Nixon, reports of burrowing increased during President Bush’s first four years compared to the Clinton administration, and “more than doubled” after January 2006. But the data was gathered prior to April 2008, Nixon points out. “The administration’s not even over yet, so there could be a huge uptick in burrowing.”
  • Republican administrations, explains Vanderbilt University political scientist David E. Lewis, “have been more aggressive at the top about encouraging or coordinating” burrowing. “The evidence that we have from the ’70s and ’80s was that the Reagan and Bush administrations were very successful in changing the ideology and composition of the federal civil service.” The current White House has even managed a variation on burrowing that bypasses the political appointment process—directly seeding the civil service with ideologues whose influence may be felt for decades to come.

Bush administration disregards reporting law

From the New York Times:

The Bush administration has informed Congress that it is bypassing a law intended to forbid political interference with reports to lawmakers by DHS. The August 2007 law requires the DHS chief privacy officer to report each year about Homeland Security activities that affect privacy, and requires that the reports be submitted directly to Congress “without any prior comment or amendment” by superiors at DHS or the White House.

But newly disclosed documents show that the Justice Department issued a legal opinion last January questioning the basis for that restriction, and that DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff later advised Congress that the administration would not “apply this provision strictly” because it infringed on the President’s powers.

Several members of Congress reacted with outrage to the administration’s claim, which was detailed in a memorandum posted this week on the Web site of the Office of Legal Counsel at the Justice Department.

Intel chair says White House withholding info in interrogation probe

The chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), accused the White House on Wednesday of withholding documents showing it authorized the CIA to use waterboarding and other tough interrogation tactics on suspected terrorists.

Rockefeller was reacting to a report in Wednesday’s editions of The Washington Post that two White House memos, in 2003 and 2004, gave the CIA written approval for using specific interrogation techniques on al-Qaida suspects.

“If White House documents exist that set the policy for the use of coercive techniques such as waterboarding, those documents have been kept from the committee,” Rockefeller said in a statement.

The top Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee, Senator Kit Bond of Missouri, called the report old news, and the White House declined to comment.

A former senior Bush administration intelligence official told The Associated Press that the White House “definitely, without a doubt” authorized the CIA’s interrogation techniques. The official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk publicly, was not aware of the memos but said the CIA sought approval for specific methods to protect it from any questions later about their legality.

In March, President Bush vetoed legislation that would have outlawed the use of waterboarding and other harsh interrogation techniques during CIA interrogations of terror suspects.