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.

House Homeland Security chair faults DHS for unfinished scenarios

From HSToday:

In a letter to DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff on Oct 9., Congressman Bennie Thompson, chair of the House Homeland Security Committee, charged that DHS has failed to draft national planning scenarios for specific threats as ordered in a presidential directive nearly five years ago.

The letter states that Homeland Security Presidential Directive 8 ordered DHS to plan for 15 national scenarios where federal input would be vital in a response to a threat, but DHS condensed those scenarios to eight “key scenario sets” in the National Response Framework.  The eight additional planning scenarios Thompson cites would describe how DHS and FEMA would handle a terrorist attack, a natural disaster, a cyber attack, a pandemic influenza outbreak, and other threats.

Thompson’s letter asks Chertoff to provide his committee with a program plan and a project schedule by Oct. 23 for finishing up the eight scenarios. Those plans should include a list of assignments and who is responsible for carrying out those assignments.

Cybersecurity report & recommendations due in November

The Commission on Cyber Security for the 44th Presidency, recently gave a “sneak peak” of some of their recommendations to a House homeland security subcommittee.  DHS has rejected many of the recommendations offered during the hearings (see also this post by Robert D. Jamison, DHS Under Secretary National Protection & Programs – look down the page for the post on Sept 20).

[UPDATE: Members of the subcommittee take up the recommendations from the Commission and urge the U.S. to go on offensive in cyberwar]

[Update 10/16: Robert Jamison, DHS Undersecretary of the National Protection and Programs Directorate rebuts a GCN editorial on this subject]

The Commission is scheduled to release the final report and recommendations in November (1 year after it was formed).

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