Letters to the editor
The following are responses from an FCW.com poll question that asked (beginning April 13): Should the Office of Homeland Security be replaced by a Cabinet-level Department of Homeland Security?
I wonder what the poll results would have been if this question were asked five months ago. Homeland security is of such importance that it should be a Cabinet position so that it receives the recognition is deserves. At present, the various agencies that provide some form of security are fragmented in various departments. Making it Cabinet-level would enable all these agencies to be under one leader and allow for a more amiable transfer of information, which I feel is seriously lacking at present. For example, how often does the FBI share information with any other agency? Same goes for the CIA, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, etc.
This would allow us to get on the same page, work together better and arrive at more optimum solutions and defenses to potential terrorist and criminal excursions.
I'm against a Cabinet-level homeland security department. We already have far too much bureaucracy in our government. We don't need another reason to increase spending (and then taxes). When any new organization is established, the full administrative burden of managing that organization must be funded and staffed. This includes everything from facilities management to human resources to defining policies and procedures. This is unnecessary and places an unnecessary burden on the taxpayer. It is, after all, our money, not the government's.
The need for homeland security is established. But we must carefully and efficiently manage its implementation.
One of the major problems is that we have too many players in defending the continental United States now. The armed forces, the CIA, the State Department, etc., are supposed to protect us from external sources. The Federal Emergency Management Agency, the FBI, and state and local police are tasked with internal protection. We do not need more chiefs. We probably need a lot less.
We should NOT have another Cabinet member but should consolidate the responsibilities under an existing Cabinet member. For instance, in most other countries, the Interior Department includes such responsibilities as border patrol and homeland security. Therefore, either the Office of Homeland Security reports to the secretary of the Interior or the secretary of the Interior is renamed secretary of Homeland Security. Then the office, its policies and budget would be more visible.
Cabinet level for homeland security would ensure a tighter restriction on budget and safer regulations for the nation's security.
Names withheld by request