Chertoff To Overhaul Homeland Security Agency


U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff today will restructure the 180,000-employee department, reports the Washington Post. The plan will change how the two-year-old agency handles intelligence, sets policy, and manages key law enforcement operations, in response to criticism that domestic security remains unfocused and poorly coordinated.

Chertoff will replace or reassign the duties of three of five undersecretaries, and emphasize missions such as increasing national preparedness and screening people and cargo before they enter the nation.

Analysts said the changes could help the department with fundamental tasks like protecting computer and financial networks, guiding local preparedness efforts, processing threat information, and identifying key private-sector vulnerabilities. Regarding of the much-derided color-coded threat advisory system, Chertoff has said he is “fine-tuning it,” with changes to be discussed with state and local agencies. Chertoff can order 80 percent of the overall changes, but new undersecretary positions would require congressional approval. “We are not trying to rearrange the deck chairs,” one official said. “We are trying to look at what the mission is and understand very specifically how we need to be structured to accomplish that mission.”


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