Barack Obama faces key decisions about how to reshape the nation's vast homeland security apparatus, including whether to scrap the White House Homeland Security Council and free up the Federal Emergency Management Agency, reports Politico.com. The liberal think tanks Center for American Progress and Third Way have produced a manual for the homeland security transition that may prove to be particularly influential in the new administration. Labeled the Homeland Security Presidential Transition Initiative, the study was authored by one of the president-elect's transition team chiefs, John Podesta, and Clark Kent Ervin, a transition team leader for homeland security.
Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano is expected to be homeland security secretary. One of the top recommendations from the report is to fold the White House Homeland Security Council into the National Security Council and create an assistant to the president for homeland security and counterterrorism. Criticism about the Homeland Security Department's efficiency and efficacy has dogged it since its inception. One of the most enduring critiques has been that DHS was used as a dumping ground for political appointees. Experts and the transition report argue that Obama will need to pay careful attention to the qualifications of new hires to reverse that impression. “Do we want to take an all-hazards approach?” asked Jessica Herrera-Flanigan, a lobbyist for the Monument Policy Group who advised the Center for American Progress on the transition study. “That's going to be the big question.”