During a speech on Tuesday, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) director Jeh Johnson urged Congress to approve his plans to model three DHS task forces after the Defense Department’s combatant commands. Specifically, Johnson wants Congress to approve his re-organization of the National Protection and Programs Directorate, also referred to as the NPPD. That directorate’s mission is to secure national infrastructure.
Last year, the House passed legislation that required any re-organization of any DHS entity to require Congressional approval first, however, Johnson went ahead and began the re-organization without Congressional approval. Johnson is still waiting that approval.
In his speech, Johnson described modeling DHS departments based on the military’s combatant commands as ‘the wave of the future’. And he likened a DHS department to Special Operations Command (SOCOM).
“It’s a little like SOCOM supporting the geographic combatant commands in the Department of Defense,” Johnson said of the NPPD. “This is the wave of the future for our department. I’d like Congress to explicitly authorize this. There’s legislation pending now to do that, and I hope it actually happens, if not this year then next year. This is what we need to do and this is the direction that we need to continue to move in.” (Source 1; Source 2)
Analyst Comment: I can’t figure out what’s more troubling: that Johnson began the re-organization of the NPPD without Congressional approval and despite legislation requiring that approval, or that Johnson says that modeling DHS after the Defense Department is ‘the wave of the future’. Johnson seemed to imply in his speech that other task forces or teams within DHS would also re-organize along the type of command and control structure as the military. With less than 100 days until he leaves DHS, Johnson is clearly setting up the organization on a path to be continued during the next administration, or perhaps to force his replacement to developing that path. It certainly appears that a Clinton Administration is finally going to get Barrack Obama’s “civilian national security force”.
Photo via Mark Morgan