Overall homeland strategy urged

The federal government needs to create an overall strategy for homeland security to help the scores of federal, state and local organizations involved in the effort best use limited resources, said Robert Nabors, vice president for enterprise solutions in EDS' government division.

Speaking Jan. 17 at the West 2002 conference in San Diego, the retired Army major general said that projects are being funded without a coherent strategy. If that continues, in five years the United States will be more secure, but not as secure as it could — or should — be.

The Defense Department's National Military Strategy process can be an effective model, said Nabors, who most recently was commanding general and head of contracting for the Army's Communications-Electronics Command.

As part of that DOD exercise, President Bush and the administration's senior leadership lay out what they want to accomplish. Those concepts are then parsed into DOD strategies, such as the Defense Planning Guidance, which causes the services to align their projects with that national strategy.

The result is that at the end of five years, changes have been made to implement a national strategy, he said. It also enables DOD and service leadership to track how money is being spent and assess the success of projects as they relate to that overarching strategy.

A homeland security strategy would allow the administration to define success and spearhead federal, state and local efforts, Nabors said.

"An undefined action is a fool's quest," he said.

Furthermore, despite the large amounts of money being spent on homeland security, the funds are not unlimited. And only about $1.8 billion of the $40 billion allocated for homeland security will be spent on information technology, he said.

There is also limited time, Nabors said. Although the administration is riding a wave of support now, other issues will begin to trump homeland security and the war on terrorism. Therefore, the administration should seize the opportunity now to lay out a coherent strategy, he said.

About the Author

Christopher J. Dorobek is the co-anchor of Federal News Radio’s afternoon drive program, The Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris, and the founder, publisher and editor of the DorobekInsider.com, a leading blog for the Federal IT community.

Dorobek joined Federal News Radio in 2008 with 16 years of experience covering government issues with an emphasis on government information technology. Prior to joining Federal News Radio, Dorobek was editor-in-chief of Federal Computer Week, the leading news magazine for government IT decision-makers and the flagship of the 1105 Government Information Group portfolio of publications. As editor-in-chief, Dorobek served as a member of the senior leadership team at 1105 Government Information Group, providing daily editorial direction and management for FCW magazine, FCW.com, Government Health IT and its other editorial products.

Dorobek joined FCW in 2001 as a senior reporter and assumed increasing responsibilities, becoming managing editor and executive editor before being named editor-in-chief in 2006. Prior to joining FCW, Dorobek was a technology reporter at PlanetGov.com, one of the first online community centers for current and former government employees. He also spent five years at Government Computer News, another leading industry publication, covering a variety of federal IT-related issues.

Dorobek is a frequent speaker on issues involving the government IT industry, and has appeared as a frequent contributor to NewsChannel 8’s Federal News Today program. He began his career as a reporter at the Foster’s Daily Democrat, a daily newspaper in Dover, N.H. He is a graduate of the University of Southern California. He lives in Washington, DC.


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