Applying the Economic, Homeland and National Security Analysis Framework

Applying the Economic, Homeland and National Security Analysis Framework

by Bijan Karimi


In “Security and Prosperity: Reexamining the Relationship between Economic, Homeland and National Security” I used an analytical framework to identify key components of the Economic, Homeland and National Security relationship, explore their connection in the literature and the real world, and then identify the impact of ‘metamorphic forces’ that further shaped the relationship. This analysis refines the analytical (EHN) framework into seven components (Elements, Outside Forces, Complex Systems, Outcomes, Analysis, Reimagination, and Transformation), summarizes its initial application, and tests the validity of its application to another homeland security issue.

Suggested Citation

Karimi, Bijan “Applying the Economic, Homeland and National Security Analysis Framework.” Homeland Security Affairs 12, Essay 4 (May 2016).



During early studies of atoms, physicists postulated about their contents, but did not understand the connection between protons, neutrons and electrons, so they had to figure out how they were related by observing what happened when they did things to the atoms. When recounting early sub-atomic research, Bill Bryson in A Short History of Nearly Everything described how in 1910, Ernest Rutherford “fired ionized helium atoms at a sheet of gold and, to his astonishment, some of the particles bounced back.”1 Through the use of a particle accelerator (a new invention) Rutherford took a known entity, in this case a helium atom, and smashed it into another atom in order to observe what ‘came out’. Via this process, he could validate his hypothesis on what is contained in an atom (of whatever element) and how the components relate to one another.

In “Security and Prosperity: Reexamining the Relationship Between Economic, Homeland and National Security,” I utilized an analytical framework akin to that used in early atomic exploration to identify key components of the Economic, Homeland and National Security (EHN) relationship, explored how the elements were connected in literature, compared that connection to the real world, and then identified the impact of outside forces that further shaped the element relationship.

The EHN framework uses a similar concept: understanding the security elements under study, identifying external forces that impact the elements, and then observing the result (both expected and unexpected) to get a better understanding of the complex systems that are at play between the security elements and the external forces. The results then allow for someone to reimagine how the relationship could be changed (we are not dealing with forces of nature in this case) and what steps are needed for the transformation.

This essay explores the reuse of that analytical framework and tests the validity of its application to another homeland security issue.

My initial exploration was based on the notion that economic security (ES), or some variation thereof, has been discussed for several decades, and there was little debate on its importance. It is an assumed component of a functioning society and homeland security. However, there is no evidence to explicitly link the two in the literature. So, why is homeland security (HS) considered inseparable from economic security as stated in the National Security Strategy and what are the implications for this connection?

If national security (NS) is outward facing and homeland security is inward facing, will taking steps to ensure economic security have different impacts on these two areas? Does global economic interconnectedness blur the lines between domestic and international policy? If so, do homeland security decisions impact the global economy? If HS is inseparable from ES and HS is part of NS, do ES decisions have the same impact on both areas? Understanding the tangled triangle between economic, homeland, and national security may impact decisions on domestic and foreign policy in order to ensure the success of each initiative. What if the very steps being taken to increase economic security were actually making homeland security more difficult by causing unforeseen or unintended consequences?2

When systems are connected, it can be very difficult to comprehend the complexity of the individual components and how they interact with each other. In The Watchman’s Rattle, Rebecca Costa discusses the issue of cognitive threshold—essentially the limit at which an individual can grasp elements of a complex situation.3 It turns out that individuals unconsciously resort to “silos” to insulate and isolate key activities in order to make understanding easier.4 In the end, the very situations people are trying to solve are being simplified to the point of becoming a non-issue because the cognitive threshold has been reached. In order to study the EHN relationship and not oversimplify the relationship in a way that distorted my analysis, I developed an analytical framework that allowed me to organize my observations and analysis of this complex topic.

This essay begins with an overview of the framework and explanations of the different components. Then we turn to an in-depth review of how the framework was applied to studying the ES, HS and NS relationship. The framework is then applied to a new issue, in this case the prioritization of national preparedness and how the federal and local perspectives differ.

EHN Framework


Image83174The first step of the EHN framework consists of identifying the elements to be studied, determining the working definitions, and outlining the suspected connections between these different elements. How are they related? How do they affect one another? Some of these definitions and connections may be unclear. Clearing up such ambiguity is part of the EHN examination process and one of the goal outcomes from the framework. Rutherford knew atoms were made of parts, but he didn’t know how many or how they might all fit together.5

Outside Forces

Image83182Outside forces are those factors that may exist separately from the elements and their connections. There are direct and indirect forces that may need to be considered when studying the connections between the elements, both of which may be difficult to identify initially. The outside forces may also vary based on the perspective of the individual looking at the elements. One observer may see several issues that affect the relationship; yet someone else may see an entirely different set of forces at work. The key is to identify and analyze those forces that are most likely to impact the connections in order to hypothesize how they will affect the elements. While unaware at the time, Rutherford and his contemporary researchers would eventually come to discover (albeit 20 years later) the strong and weak nuclear forces which bind atoms together.6

Complex Systems

Image83189The next step is to understand complex systems. Each of the elements and the connections between them form a system that is acted upon or influenced by the outside forces. The different connections, leads and lags, and feedback loops between different system components (or elements) may lead to other relationships that were not clearly understood. In Thinking in Systems, Donella H. Meadows and Diana Wright define a system as:

…a set of people, cells, molecules or whatever—interconnected in such a way that they produce their own pattern of behavior over time. The system may be buffeted, constricted, triggered or driven by outside forces, but the system’s response to these forces is characteristic of itself and is seldom simple in the real world.7

Systemic risk occurs when complex systems interact with one another, and the creators of those systems do not understand the connections. Then, when there is an unintended consequence, it is unclear what affect that will have on the overall system.8 It is important to understand the interconnections and interdependencies in an increasingly complex world in order to conduct “what-if” analysis and evaluate potential behaviors.9 Analysis has moved from risk identification to considering and understanding the interconnectedness of risks and their secondary and tertiary impacts.10 These interdependencies may also be unbalanced (i.e., the impact in one direction is different than in the reverse direction), creating an asymmetrical relationship.11 These complex systems exist in every relationship. Sometimes the only way to know what is going on inside an unknown is to look at inputs (in this case our elements) and our assumptions about their relationships (connections). In the early 1900’s physicists could not see anything as small as an atom so they had to figure out what it was and how it worked by observing what happened when they did things to it.12


Image83196In an empirical experiment, a researcher makes note of the elements and known relationships being studied, documents the outside forces, and then notes the outcomes (both expected and unexpected) when the entire relationship is set into motion. The expected results involve the system behaving as we had originally hypothesized given the connections between the elements and the outside forces acting on them (i.e. ionized atoms passing through gold foil). Unexpected results (i.e. particles bouncing back) may give the researcher more insight into the complex system relationship between the elements, their connections and outside forces. This is particularly important because this is the piece that will allow us to understand the importance of the outside forces and help us identify areas that we may want to change. Direct implications are first order effects where indirect implications are secondary or tertiary and may be difficult to observe during the testing phase.


Image83203Analysis is examining the outcomes and attempting to answer the “so what does this all mean?” question. In this social experiment, the inputs have been identified and the outcomes have been observed. The analysis section links those two states by hypothesizing what external forces and complex systems are at work. This section may also create more questions than it answers. How do the expected and unexpected outcomes differ? What is the impact on the overall relationship between the elements? How do the elements actually align? Would others have the same results if they were to conduct a similar examination? Rutherford, Hans Geiger, and Niels Bohr all examined the results of the foil research and hypothesized about what it meant for understanding sub-atomic particle structures.13


Image83214Reimagination is the opportunity for the researcher to consider the outcomes and the analysis and make determinations as to what could be changed in the understanding of elements, their connections, and outside forces in order to create more expected outcomes from the element relationship. Do the elements or their definitions need to change? Is there an external force that needs to be mitigated (or enhanced)? What complex relationships were uncovered that may introduce previously unknown system lags or impacts? Not until the 1920’s did Werner Heisenberg, who had been reimagining all along, develop the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle to describe that electrons are particles that behave like a wave, providing an explanation for the uncharacteristic sub-atomic behaviors being observed.14


Image83223The final step in the EHN framework is transformation and implementing change and also where we leave Rutherford’s experiments on atoms. The road map has been laid out by exploring the outcomes, analyzing the “so what” question, and reimagining the relationship between the elements and the impacts of outside forces on those elements. It is important to appreciate that others may want the situation to change to fit their preferences (which are different from one’s own.). When initiating change, the researcher must consider how it will impact others and what steps those others may take to mitigate perceived negative impacts (from their point of view) to achieving their ultimate goal.


The EHN framework (Figure 1) is a cyclical process. The framework was previously used for studying the connection between economic, homeland and national security. It can also serve as a template by which a social scientist can identify the components of a problem being studied, postulate on forces and systems that may be causing observed outcomes, and analyze results in order to recommend change or create a more desirable outcome. In the next section, we will look at how this framework was applied and in the subsequent section, the framework will be applied to a novel problem to test its transferability.


Figure 1. The EHN Framework

First Application

The framework was first utilized in the study of the relationship between homeland and economic security based on the statement “Homeland Security supports economic security,” which was found in the 2014 Quadrennial Homeland Security Review (QHSR).15 The QHSR goes on to say that “…as recognized in successive national security strategies, homeland security is inseparable from economic security.”16

The National Security Strategy (NSS) states that America’s economic growth and power supports national military strength.17 This would suggest that there is a national security (NS) component to the country’s economic strength. Economic security (ES) and homeland security (HS) are concepts that have been linked in foundational homeland security documents; however, the interrelationship between economic and homeland security is not clearly explained or justified. Figure 2 identifies the initial elements being studied, analytical observations, external forces, and system complexity that lead to outcomes and a reimagined security relationship.


Figure 2. Analytical Process Used to Explore the Relationship Between Economic, Homeland and National Security.


I observed some level of definitional clarity for the security elements through the analysis. However, when viewed as a component in a complex system, the relationship of ES, HS, and NS becomes cloudy. The definitions put forth in the literature examination (primarily in doctrine) are at odds with the scholarly research. The literature review suggests that while there is a connection between ES and HS, the more important relationship to explore for policy development lies between ES and NS. Additionally, where there are connections discussed between ES and NS, it is primarily in the literature. When ES-HS connections are discussed, it is primarily in government doctrine, and there is little explanation of why the connection exists.

To understand the connections between the elements, I began by exploring the definitions of the terms and then turned to how they are linked. Figure 3 summarizes the different security elements and their connections which were explored in the research.


Figure 3. Security Elements and Conceptual Connection

Through this process, I found that journals primarily focus on investigating the ES-NS relationship, whereas federal doctrine attempts to discuss the ES-HS connection, but often ends up describing the stronger NS connection. In the journals’ formulation, ES is the source from which national strength emanates, for without economic security, the U.S. government is unable to project itself militarily and diplomatically across the globe. In total, the relationship that is described in the literature is not the one that actually exists.


A review of the literature and doctrine related to each element revealed that there is a difference in how economic and national security are discussed in these sources. Most of the literature focuses on the relationship between economic security and national security. None of the materials had a discussion about all of the elements together, and as such the definitions are focused more narrowly.

Economic security, or some variation thereof, has been discussed for several decades. In a collection of essays on national economic security from 1982, editors Alting von Geusau, Frans A. M. von Geusau, and Jacques Pelkmans explain why the topic was gaining more interest by economists and governments. According to them:

[a]fter exposure to two oil shocks, booms in raw material prices, the threat of a world food crisis … and rising popularity of economic coercion among nation-states, there was little surprise in observing economic security to rise to the most prominent element of national security.18

At the time, there was some overall agreement that economic security refers to something bigger than just what is necessary to promote the economic wellbeing of the country.19 Just over 20 years later, in Economic Security, Kahler stated, “the economic uncertainty of the last decade has caused countries to revisit their understanding of this concept and the associated definition.”20 A fluctuating economy and its impact on domestic conditions continues to be a significant issue, but whatever the issue is, “it” seems to extend beyond just the economy. Pankov believes that economic security is not only the protection of national interests but also the readiness and ability of government institutions to create mechanisms to implement and protect national interests in the development of a national economy.21 Mijalković supports this view, but extends it to include the absence of threats that could endanger economic stability and independence.22 He believes, “economic power is a traditional ‘lever’ of national security and the state’s role in the international community.”23 In a report published by RAND, Neu and Wolf believe that economic security is the ability of the U.S. to protect its own economic prosperity via domestic policies and international influence.24 This perspective was clarified by Cable a year later when he identified three conceptual definitions for economic security: 1) the investments that directly impact a country’s ability to defend itself, 2) the economic policy instruments that can be used for the purpose of aggression, and 3) the extent to which a weak economy may undermine the ability for a country to project power.25 A generally accepted definition of ES in the U.S. would posit that national interests are supported through an economic system that supports free exchange and supports the upward mobility of the nation.26

Homeland security was not part of the national discussion until the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.27 The phrase had appeared in some documents, but was used interchangeably with homeland defense. It entered the common lexicon after the 9/11 attacks via Executive Order 13228, which defined it as the “implementation of a comprehensive national strategy to secure the U.S. from terrorist threats/attacks.”28 The 2002 National Strategy for Homeland Security released just months after 9/11 states that, “terrorism directly threatens the foundations of our Nation—our people, our democratic way of life, and our economic prosperity.”29 This established some direction for the nation, but after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the need to help communities respond to natural hazards took center stage. This caused Christopher Bellavita and others to ask if homeland security should focus on “meta hazards,” where there are areas of confluence for issues, conditions, etc. that affect many other areas (e.g., fiscal, infrastructure, education) and require a “view” higher up than the local level.30 When looking at HS as an all hazards activity, the amount of money spent on terrorism contradicts this definition. The homeland security vision articulated in the 2007 national strategy is very broad, including everyone (i.e., citizens) working together to ensure a free, wealthy, and friendly nation.31 In 2012, Reese explained that the events of 9/11 precipitated the creation of DHS with the intent to focus on terrorism, but that definition was expanded in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina toinclude significant disasters, major public health emergencies, and other events that threaten the United States, the economy, and the rule of law…”32 Christopher Bellavita, in “Changing Homeland Security, What is Homeland Security” aptly described the multiple definitions that are being used by today’s homeland security enterprise (HSE) professionals. Many definitions of HS are derived from looking at the homeland security enterprise through the lens of a group with a niche set of interests.33 Bellavita concludes, and the researcher agrees, that the most commonly accepted definition relates to the prevention of, and protection and recovery from terrorist activities.34 In a 2012 Congressional report, Reese furthered Bellavita’s research, noting that “homeland security, regardless of the definition or strategic document, is a combination of law enforcement, disaster, immigration, and terrorism issues”35

There has been a tremendous amount of research, most of which fairly consistently defines national security (NS) as the ability to maintain the nation’s physical boundaries, economic relations, and social institutions from outside threats. The first National Security Strategy (NSS) in 1987 characterizes national security as the blueprint for freedom, peace, and prosperity.36 At the time, the United States was engaged in the Cold War with the Soviet Union. In subsequent years, the NSS changed to reflect the extant and emerging threats, but posited that the overall pillars of national security came from political, military and economic strength. When defining its mission, the 2007 National Strategy for Homeland Security also provided clarity on the “instruments of national power and influence—diplomatic, information, military, economic, financial, and intelligence.”37 Buzan, Wæver, and De Wilde argue that the scope must be expanded to better reflect the breadth of issues that have an impact on the security field. However, they bounded this expansion by offering that any additions must pose an “existential threat to a referent object” and not just a regular political issue.38 The literature and doctrine differ on the ways to maintain national security, but offer similar perspectives on its basic elements —the ability to project power militarily and politically, both supported by economic strength. In Thinking about National Security, Brown argues,

[n]ational security is the ability to preserve the nation’s physical integrity and territory; to maintain its economic relations with the rest of the world on reasonable terms; to protect its nature, institutions, and governance from disruption from outside; and to control its borders.39


Of equal or greater importance than the definitions are the connections that exist between the elements. While it may seem that the definition would drive the relationship, the reverse is often true; by seeing how these elements are related, we can also clarify their definition.

Domestically, the connection between ES and HS was cemented after World War II, during the implementation of the Marshall Plan. The U.S. provided economic support to the allies to help them rebuild. The literature review revealed that authors are consistently inconsistent when describing the impact of economic success (security) and the resulting human (homeland) security. There is no empirical nexus between ES and HS and little research connects the two elements together. Losman makes this the centerpiece of his article Economic Security: A National Folly? He directly questions the emphasis that has been placed on economic security and clearly states that military resources should not be used to promote economic security. Further, he points out that the ‘relationship’ between economic and homeland security has been assumed and the importance persists in domestic policy without any check for validation.40 As previously seen, Mijalković and Milošević believe that the two concepts are closely linked, and that economic interests support homeland security.41 Losman disagrees, feeling that homeland security, or the military specifically, is used to sustain economic security.42 In 2011, DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano said economic and homeland security go hand in hand, stating that “…the economy is dependent on our ability to secure and facilitate the flow of people and goods from our shores.”43

The connection between ES and NS is well established in the literature. Economic strength is presented as one of the key pillars of national strength and it provides the foundation from which the U.S. can project itself globally. The 2015 National Security Strategy clearly states the importance of the economy domestically and internationally:

[t]he American economy is an engine for global economic growth and a source of stability for the international system. In addition to being a key measure of power and influence in its own right, it underwrites our military strength and diplomatic influence. A strong economy, combined with a prominent U.S. presence in the global financial system, creates opportunities to advance our security.44

Securitization of economic issues elevates their importance and suggests that they require additional protection because of their relationship to national security.45 In National Economic Security, von Geusau, von Geusau, and Pelkmans provide a broad definition of “national economic security” that includes economic policy as part of the broader concept of security.46 Pankov provides additional clarity by stating that national economic security is a state of the national economy characterized by sustainability and immunity to the impact of internal and external factors that disrupt the normal process of living. In 2011, Shelia Ronis asked if economic security is an overlooked component of national security. She believes national security is traditionally focused on strength of infrastructure, but that national security should also include a healthy economy and policies that promote that state.47 A clear connection between domestic economic strength and national power is evident in the 2010 National Security Strategy, where it states that, “[o]ur prosperity serves as a wellspring for our power. It pays for our military, underwrites our diplomacy and development efforts, and serves as a leading source of our influence in the world.”48 The domestic economy must be robust enough to sustain national strength and future growth. She posits that this is a deterrent to enemies and supports defense.49

Jane Holl Lute, former Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security, said in her 2011 speech to the American Bar Association that, “[n]ational security is strategic, it’s centralized, it’s top-driven. Homeland security is operational, it’s transactional, it’s decentralized, it’s bottom-driven.”50 This statement clearly articulates the different focuses of the disciplines and helps delineate responsibility. With Bellavita’s earlier explanation that HS is an element of NS,51 we have a good idea regarding how these elements are related. In a lecture to Center for Homeland Defense and Security students, Masals discussed new multilateralism, stating that, “the boundaries between foreign and domestic policy are gone.”52 He asserted that HS and NS should not be viewed as separate activities; rather, they are one in the same and should be treated as such. America can learn from other countries’ approaches to security (homeland and national) because many of the issues are transnational and need resources from both “sides” to cooperate and work together.53 This is underscored by the 2010 National Security Strategy statement that we need to move beyond having distinctions between the two elements.54 Morag, in Comparative Homeland Security, believes that the construct of homeland security is a uniquely American concept.55 The nation’s geographic boundaries and location have allowed it to believe that issues take place within and outside its borders; thus it is hard to compare with other nations who see homeland and national security as one and the same. Bellavita asks why we should maintain an artificial separation of homeland security and homeland defense. This approach would treat homeland security as a sub-set of national security and function as another lever of national power. 56

Unclear definitions in the literature do not prohibit describing the interactions between economic, homeland, and national security elements and providing clarity where connections exist between the different security elements. A link between ES and HS exists, but is not well substantiated. ES is a cornerstone of NS and the link is well documented in the literature. Describing HS as the operational embodiment of NS policy suggest that they are part of the concept. Each element supports the other although to different degrees and with different outcomes. Figure 4 clarifies the linkages initially identified in Figure 3 and shows that, while the link goes both ways, ES and HS primarily support NS.


Figure 4. Security Element Linkages

Applying specific research methods allows a more detailed analysis of the literature and leads to some surprising results, and we can see that there is a complex network of interactions, complicated by outside forces.

Outside Forces

Economic, homeland, and national security elements do not exist in a vacuum; rather, they exist within a broader system and are shaped themselves by outside forces that provide subtle but substantial pressure. Globalization is the exchange of social and cultural ideals and the extension of economic ties between countries. It is also characterized by greater integration of other countries and cultures into the primarily western (liberal) perspective.57 Securitization involves saying that something (person, place, or thing) or some condition of the item poses a security risk.58 An issue may become securitized because there is a real existing threat or because the issue is presented as a threat by an individual who would benefit from the elevated concern. This practice confuses the true importance of issues and is often politically motivated.


Since the Bretton Woods Conference following World War II, the U.S. has taken a leadership role to encourage global economic prosperity through the establishment of international standards and the International Monetary Fund. To support U.S. economic strength, companies look to globalization for a way to expand into new markets. Regional and bilateral trade initiatives need to be in place to ensure that international markets will be open to new entrants and support deeper integration among participants,59 while bringing in allies and new partners to strengthen economic ties. The National Intelligence Council 2020 study (conducted in 2005) claims that globalization will be a pervasive “mega-trend” that will significantly impact other global trends.60 Its prediction proved accurate and has materialized faster than anticipated. Countries are entering a new era where economic-driven governance is superseding that of political nation-states.61 The interconnected financial markets make economic impacts wider reaching. Creation of supra-state entities and agreements (e.g., World Trade Organization, North American Free Trade Agreement etc.) move countries away from a nationalistic economic focus because global economic integration needs to have structure (i.e., common laws) to guide expansion among participating nations. The World Economic Forum’s 2014 Global Risks survey highlighted that increased global trade and movement of capital support economic growth, but also increase volatility.62 This is a condition that advanced economies will attempt to counteract through policy reforms designed to increase market resilience.63 Globalization is not without drawbacks; it changes the traditional political role of the state and changes global power dynamics through supra-state organizations. In its most recent Global Risk Survey, the World Economic Forum clearly summarizes the challenges that arise from countries making domestic economic decisions:

[i]n today’s interdependent global economy, whenever countries focus on their domestic market—even if the decisions are taken by central banks rather than politicians—there is potential for unintended effects on other countries to spill over into the geopolitical sphere.64

In a 2004 article, Lewis states that America’s economic strength will be eroded with the movement of jobs around the world and the subsequent international economic reorganization.65


Buzan, Wæver, and De Wilde state that, “[s]ecuritization is a more extreme version of politicization” in Security: A New Framework for Analysis.66 Securitization is quite simple—all it involves is the process of a speech act; effectively, saying something is a security issue securitizes it.67 Normally, this process is done by the state because it has the legitimacy to identify something as posing an existential threat; however, media expansion has allowed other individuals or groups (e.g., corporate CEOs or public interest parties) to make such statements. If securitization is self-referential, that means that anyone can securitize something because she or he feels it needs to be securitized, even if the issue of concern does not pose an existential threat. There is also a “cost” of securitization—in particular to liberty and democracy. Securitization often leads to steps that reduce the very rights guaranteed to a free society—life, liberty, and property. Losman explains, “[o]ver the past quarter century civilian leadership and the military community… have transformed the concept of economic security into a prominent national security issue.”68 In their analysis, Buzan, Wæver, and De Wilde rightly question the assumptions that have been made. They assert that, “[m]uch of what might be seen as ES issues are in fact either normal or politicized economic relations.”69 ES has been securitized by individuals in order to either elevate or confuse issues. Losman believes many narratives have been distorted by fear and fiction in order to increase their prominence.70


We have explored the definitions of our elements and examined how the body of knowledge describes their link to one another. Now, we investigate the expected and unexpected outcomes of the current relationship. The concepts of globalization and securitization have a significant effect on the complex relationship between economic, homeland, and national security.


A stable economy fosters a stable society. A decrease in national income leads to a decrease in stability, and in turn, a decrease in social stability causes population unrest, which can cause an unstable homeland security environment. This theme is discussed by Ichikowitz, and the U.S. national preparedness report. It is also discussed by the World Economic Forum 2013 report, most often in reference to challenges faced by developing nations.71 Improving social stability will lead to improvements in economic and national security. If human security is the responsibility of the state, it can be accomplished through economic and national security activities. In effect, the state can improve society to create the increased perception of personal security. The individual need for ontological security (consistency of condition) can be extrapolated to the nation.72 Thakur discusses how security-oriented research supports the idea that investments in homeland security increase human security in “A Political World View.”73 Losman believes it is preferable to spend limited national funds to create jobs, boost the economy, and increase education in order to develop personal resiliency, rather than on military applications. President Bush in the 2002 National Security Strategy eludes to this possibility by stating, “[p]overty does not make poor people into terrorists and murders. Yet poverty, weak institutions, and corruption can make weak states vulnerable to terrorist networks and drug cartels within their borders.”74

The United States economy is the source of national strength and prosperity for its citizens. Porter and Mykleby make this point succinctly in A National Strategic Narrative by stating, “[o]ur strength as a world leader is largely derived from the central role we play in the global economy.”75 Pankov points out that international economic security is closely related with the national economic security of all countries in the world. Therefore, if countries want national economic security, they need to support policies that reinforce a stable international economy.76 Mijalković and Milošević believe fiscal policy is just another tool to promote positive relationships and prosperous exchange between other nations.77 Most authors acknowledge that nations use economic incentives to encourage other governments to behave in certain ways, often favoring political allies. Economies no longer stop at geopolitical boundaries; thus, increased economic integration reduces self-sufficiency and increases vulnerability because of the tight coupling with the economies of other countries.78 Supra-state economic groups then begin to have more power than socio-political ones. However, as mentioned earlier, economic coupling for stability may be an acceptable trade-off for the loss of some political autonomy. The DNI 2020 report predicts that large multi-national companies and economic partnerships will have increasing sway and will drive change throughout the world, yet their actions are outside the control of any nation-state.79 As such, national economies are less insulated from economic shocks on the other side of the world. As stated in Economic Security in an Era of Globalization and the 2014 Quadrennial Homeland Security Review, unintended consequences with global impacts may occur as a result of increased system connectedness and complexity.80 Therefore, as President Obama stated, the U.S. needs more flexibility with domestic policy to adapt to external conditions.81 The World Economic Forum expresses concern around how the global economic fragility (in the attempt to achieve economic security) is diverting resources away from other social and political issues because it is not a broader concept.82 However, the U.S. 2002 National Security Strategy suggests the opposite is true—social issues can be addressed through economic means, which can also strengthen ties between nations. According to the 2002 the National Security Strategy:

[f]ree trade and free markets have proven their ability to lift whole societies out of poverty—so the United States will work with individual nations, entire regions and the entire global trading community to build a world that trades in freedom.

Economic strength supports the political foundation necessary for a stable society. The economic relationships that we enter into with allies are no less important than NATO’s military relationships.

Political influence is tied to economic policies; Kahler, Mijalković, Mondale, and Neocleous all refer to this connection in their works. Moreover, they all acknowledge that nations use economic incentives to encourage other governments to behave in certain ways, often favoring political allies. Where they differ is on the extent of the influence and whether it should be used for political gains. State political power may be diminishing in areas where there is significant globalization. So what happens when countries are not able to make political decisions because of economic encumbrances? In “Genuine National Security: A People’s Definition,” Eisenhower made the case that the U.S. has become a debtor nation and this may cause leaders to adjust fiscal and monetary policy to suit our creditors because they hold significant sway in our economic health.83 Decision makers need to balance economic welfare with optimizing political power. Ultimately, the goal is to minimize the ability to be coerced by outsiders.84 Cable raises the issue that global political strength (or the strength of countries on the global stage) may be decreasing because: “[I]n practice what is slowly emerging is a complex hierarchy of institutions and informal arrangements at the national, regional and global level (and points in between) to deal, case by case, with various economic security threats.”85 These institutions are outside of the state-system and do not have the same level of accountability as an elected official—they are a proxy. Establishing economic security priorities should not be influenced by political considerations because, as Medevdev observes, doing so obscures which problems require immediate attention.86 Neu and Wolf believe there is a recognized connection between the health of the domestic economy and the ability to influence international policy.87 In The Economic Dimensions of National Security, the authors explain that:

[t]he most basic elements of the international commercial infrastructure have been the freedom of peaceful international passage for trade purposes and the sanctity of property rights. Throughout its history, the U.S. has exercised its diplomatic and military muscle to protect U.S. access to international shipping routes or exploitation of U.S. owned foreign assets from confiscation or expropriation.88

An increase in prosperity leads to improved social conditions and political stabilization. Globalization is a driving force behind this prosperity. However, exposure to new cultures can lead to violence, and economic partnerships can reduce overall political control. There are clear political implications driven by the relationship of ES to HS and NS. We begin to see more clearly that the connections between ES and NS are essential to having the political strength to remain a global leader, and that the ability of the U.S. to influence world events is becoming more dependent on the economic strength we possess.89 The impacts discussed above allude to the complicated interaction between the economic, social, and political components of ES, HS, and NS, and are not altogether different than those described in the literature.


A World Economic Forum (WEF) 2014 study remarks, “[t]he greater the interdependencies between countries and industries, the greater the potential for events to bring about unforeseen, cascading consequences.”90 Knowing how the systems interact and the nature of the lag between actions in one area is important to understand when projecting likely future benefit or the need to invest now in order to prevent disruption in another area.91 A key point of many of the WEF studies is that there is not a single risk; it is the cascading interdependency that is of concern. As Siminiuc points out, “the link between economics, security and stability should be viewed dynamically.”92 Globalization and securitization are powerful forces that slowly and continuously change the economic, homeland, and national security relationship. They shape the individual systems and the complex interaction between them and other areas of government. At times, they lead to unintended consequences.

Two manifestations of the external forces at work on the security relationship can be seen in the following examples. In both cases, the desire for economic security has led to secondary and tertiary consequences that were not anticipated, although they were not necessarily unlikely. In one case, we see ES through globalization’s cultural pressure, which metastasizes into terrorism. In the second, the same drive for ES leads to short-term thinking and misallocation of resources which causes national insecurity.

Economic Security Leads to Homeland Security Threat

In the process of expanding markets to maintain economic strength, cultures and ideas are coming together at a speed and in a way with which individuals are not prepared to cope emotionally. Not only is the West tapping into new markets, we are also taking our way of life, perspectives, and viewpoints, and sharing those with others as we go. Moghaddam, in a series of books, expresses the belief that Muslim fundamentalists view globalization as a significant threat against which they must defend themselves and their traditional heritage.93 While it does not justify their actions, it provides one explanation of the possible genesis. Moghaddam goes on to posit that, “[w]idespread identity crisis in Islamic communities underlies the present radicalization being experienced by these communities, as well as the terrorism emanating from them.”94

Figure 5 summarizes the social concepts behind the impact of globalization on Muslim communities, and the potential behaviors those impacts cause. To be sure, there are many reasons why an individual may become violent: power imbalance, disenfranchisement, defending community, or as is more commonly reported, because of religious beliefs.


Figure 5. Unintended Consequence of Globalization on Homeland Security

Quality of life expectations have been raised by exposure to western society and ideals. If there is no opportunity to meet these expectations, then radical steps may be taken to create change. Marmot states that there are three issues that drive social classification: money, status, and power. How individuals react to perceived deprivation (and the lack of self-respect that may accompany it) is often derived from social classification and can create violent situations.95 In its extreme form, terrorism (religious, political, and cultural) is used to maintain differentiation and resist globalization.96 This hermeneutic provides justification for terrorist action as some militant groups believe the rest of the world needs to change, not them.97 Globalization and the cultural dichotomy it fosters does not guarantee creation of a terrorist, but it may drive more people towards religious affiliation because of the mental, emotional, and social net it provides.98

Economic Security Leads to National Insecurity

To maintain a strong economy and support political and military strength abroad while ensuring prosperity domestically, businesses seek access to larger markets in which they can sell their products and services. The 2000 National Security Strategy observes that globalization is an unstoppable trend.99 Yet, the increasing globalization of business operations has made the local economy more susceptible to shocks and uncertainty. The international economy plays a considerable role in domestic economic conditions; foreign policy and national security should support policies that strengthen the international economy.100 Economic security provides the important link between social and national security. Thus, a stable international economy is closely related to maintaining domestic (homeland) security.

The current discussion of economic security does not acknowledge the complex system in which these decisions are being made. Figure 6 summarizes the unintended NS consequence of using globalization to bolster economic security. While the expansion does provide short-term economic benefits, it comes at the expense of lasting innovation. There is a balance needed between short-term benefit and the long-term prosperity; we may need to forego benefit now for future returns.101 Thus, the economic foundation needed to project global strength is not solid, weakening national security.


Figure 6. Unintended Consequence of Globalization on National Security



Through the analysis, I found that the equal-parts relationship between ES, HS, and NS described in the literature is not what actually exists. The definitions for ES, HS, and NS vary in terms of clarity and complexity. The connections between these elements are similarly confusing and depend on the lens of the individual evaluating the situation. For example, the doctrine authors focused on HS and chose to discuss activities most relevant to the mission. Taken individually, the discussions would suggest a balanced relationship; however, when examined more broadly, the relationships are uneven. The relationships are a wild mash-up of activities and strategies which must function individually and which do not tie together or really reference one another. Most of the literature and doctrine explores the elements in this 1-to-1 relationship, negating the broader context that truly defines the push-pull between the elements.

Economic security is concerned with the overall fiscal health of the nation, which includes personal financial health, business stability, economic growth, and protection from circumstances that would degrade any of the same. Homeland security is domestic protection from threats (intentional), preparation for hazards (natural), and the response and recovery from these events. The large list of activities related to HS has given DHS (and the homeland security discipline) a large area of responsibility with competing priorities. National security is still seen as an overarching concept to which other elements are dependent. While that may be true, the direct connection between these is not clear. There are some connections to be sure, but they are not clearly explained or understood so someone can understand how a decision for the benefit of HS or ES can benefit NS.

The primary issue with “where we are now” is that it does not exist in a world where only these three security components exist together. The world is connected technologically, economically, and politically, but the political connections are more fragmented. Nations are economically joined but politically separated.102


Various doctrinal statements point out that threats and hazards in the homeland security realm are often influenced by external social, political and economic forces. Thus, before a system is disturbed or changed, the observer should understand how it works. In June 1974, NATO members discussed how economic difficulties of one member could pose big issues on the ability of other members to maintain financial effectiveness; this condition posed a threat to the foundation of western society (i.e., ability to project power) and they believed it was important to develop policies that will govern international economic issues.103 According to Mondale, “[b]oth Bretton Woods and the Marshall Plan stemmed from the recognition of the interdependence—that the economic health of the major countries of the world affected the security and well-being of the others.”104 Homeland security and national security are complimentary, but have been separated due to legal doctrine designed to keep domestic and international protection separate. This has created duplication of effort and fragmented goals—the opposite of what the nation needs.

The analysis produced the following observations:

  1. There is not a balanced relationship between ES, HS and NS
  2. The security relationship is an uneven overlap of the security elements
  3. Outside forces play a key role in shaping the security relationship
  4. The unintended consequences hinder the very security elements they are designed to improve

I believe that the blurry definitions and tight connections between these elements support the assertion that discussion on this topic should be focused on two areas, illustrated in Figure 7.


Figure 7. Reframing and Defining the Security Relationship

Today, the nation needs a galvanizing vision that puts the prosperity and sustainment of our nation at the forefront. We need a unifying construct which brings the security elements together, is focused on larger, long-term issues, and orients resources to address national issues.


Figure 8 summarizes five recommendations designed to address the four observations identified above and show how they are conceptually related to one another as well as the ‘level’ they are trying to address.


Figure 8. Strategic and Tactical Recommendations to Focus on Security and Prosperity

Table 1 provides details for each of the recommendations as they relate to creating a discussion focused around security and prosperity rather than the individual elements of economic, homeland and national security.

Table 1. Description of Recommendations



  1. Develop a National Narrative

The country needs a strategic plan that unites our populace, crosses political perspectives, and promotes a sense of purpose for a generation. To promote economic security that will benefit national security (and in turn homeland security), it is better to focus government policy at the national level and explore its impact on the nation’s overall state of security.

  1. Integration of DHS and DOD

Complex systems (i.e., government agencies) are structured to perpetuate themselves, so recommending the integration of two of the largest departments in the federal government would be an unrivaled challenge, but one that is not without merit. There are compelling signals that the security functions in both agencies would operate more efficiently if brought together in one department rather than maintaining the artificial separation.

  1. Create a Department of Prosperity

The Preamble to the Constitution defines our federal government’s basic purpose as “… to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.” The financial market- driven focus on short-term returns is detrimental to the country’s long-term health and not yielding investments in education, health care and infrastructure—essential elements for sustained prosperity.

  1. Continue Combating Violence and Extremism

The long-term solution to terrorism is prevention, but prevention is not just stopping a radicalized individual from carrying out a planned attack; it should also contain activities that prevent an individual from becoming radicalized. While long-term solutions are being implemented to change the environment that creates the crucible for radicalization, existing initiatives that have been described in national security strategies should continue in order to blunt and dismantle terrorist cells and networks that intend on doing harm to the U.S. and its citizens.

  1. Continue Promoting Prosperity Abroad

A consistent theme in multiple National Security Strategies (NSS) is the importance of promoting prosperity abroad. Economic stagnation sets in where political unrest and social strife exist. These are some of same locations where Islamic radicalization is taking hold—not that these are directly correlated or have a causal relationship. The U.S. should increase efforts to support developing economies.

None of the recommendations above can be accomplished without the public support for change; it is not a matter of just doing different things, it is doing the same or similar things with a different goal in mind. True economic or national security requires members of the public to see the common goal and orient their activities towards meeting the objective.105 In her discussion of defining homeland security, Reese mentions that coordination among the different federal agencies and state and local partners involved in HS (over 30 in some cases) is very challenging.106 Without having the right goals and key performance indicators, the wrong thing may get measured and encouraged. According to Meadows and Wright, “[i]f the desired system state is national security, and that is defined as the amount of money spent on the military, the system will produce military spending.”107

In their 2011 book, The Dictator’s Handbook, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith discuss how any change to existing policy will likely alter the power balance between the winners (those who benefit from the policy) and the losers (those who are negatively impacted). To generate support for the creation of a new policy, leaders need to overcome resistance to maintaining the status quo (where winners want things to stay the same). In a closed system, there is limited good to be shared by both parties. Table 2 summarizes the potential outcomes for the effects of a policy change on two groups.

Table 2. Policy Change Outcomes

Loser and Winner of policy



Neither Group 1 (G1) nor Group 2 (G2) benefits.


One group benefits from policy and any change will alter balance between G1 and G2 but no overall improvement for both.



Change in system will benefit both G1 and G2.

To successfully implement policy change, all parties must be oriented towards a common goal (change problem space) and away from individual subsystem goals.108 By changing the system (or how the problem space is constructed) to an open system when proposing a new policy, there is the possibility for all groups to benefit from the change. In closed systems, once a change is made, winners receive more rewards and losers receive punishment. As policy complexity grows to affect multiple groups, it is important to understand who makes up the winning coalition (essentials who must support the initiative), key supporters (people influential in the transformation), and the nominal selectorate (individuals that have some say but have no significant role).109 These are groups whose needs should be considered when contemplating any policy change. Each of these groups will be impacted differently by all the changes recommended, and each may take steps to support or derail them based on their perception of how the change will impact them (see Table 3).

Table 3. Groups to be Addressed When Implementing Political Change


Senior decision makers whose support is a requirement for success

These are representatives of multilateral economic agencies (e.g., WTO, G7, ASEAN, NAFTA), foreign leaders, elected U.S. officials on Senate and House commerce committees, Secretary of Commerce and leaders of global businesses etc.


Individuals who make the decision

These are foreign policy makers and business leaders of large U.S. companies. These individuals are making business decisions to exploit global trading relationships and maximize profits. They are donors to political campaigns and advocate for economic incentives and tax breaks that benefit U.S. businesses.


Every person who has some say in the decision

These are members of the public and consumers. The challenges associated with globalization are likely to affect this group the most in the way of lost jobs (outsourcing), decreased wages (keep costs low) and lack of domestic production expansion (off shoring).

The relationship between ES, HS, and NS is a complex one and it has tangible impacts on the social, economic, and political well-being of the nation. The actual security relationship (ES driving NS which also encompasses most of HS) differs from what is described in the literature and doctrine (ES, NS and HS being equally important), leading to a misunderstanding of the security environment. Furthermore, outside forces (globalization and securitization) press down on the security elements and have unintended, sometimes violent consequences. By reimagining the relationship between security elements as the connection between security and prosperity and setting a national strategy, decisions can be made that will support the long-term health and success of the nation.

Extending the Framework

To evaluate the utility of the EHN framework, it must be used to analyze another issue, in this case the prioritization of national preparedness activities and the funding streams that support those initiatives. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) identifies core capabilities that help jurisdictions to achieve the national preparedness goal of “[a] secure and resilient nation with the capabilities required across the whole community to prevent, protect against, mitigate, respond to, and recover from the threats and hazards that pose the greatest risk.”110 FEMA does not provide a prioritization of these activities, but instructs state and local jurisdictions to use the Threat and Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment (THIRA) process to identify capabilities on which to focus. However, through Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) grant funding, priorities are implicitly identified by the federal government which may not align with Federal or local priorities. The EHN framework will be used to ascertain whether this federal grant program is incentivizing the improvement of the right core capabilities, or if it distorts where effort is needed. This will be done using the City and County of San Francisco (CCSF) as one example by comparing results from the National Preparedness Assessment and CCSF THIRAs. This exploration is not a detailed analysis, rather a ‘moist finger in the air to determine wind direction’ check of extending the framework.


Image83174The core capability list was created as part of the 2012 National Preparedness goal. The intention of the document is to provide a list of capabilities that local, state and federal jurisdictions should strive to meet in order to prepare themselves in an ‘all hazards’ (i.e. both man-made and natural disaster events) approach. The capabilities are grouped into five mission areas (Figure 9) with the Planning, Public Information and Warning, and Operational Coordination capabilities shared across all missions.111 Within each of these mission areas, FEMA identifies core capabilities that organizations should strive to meet in order to be prepared to deal with an emergency event.


Figure 9. Mission Areas and Core Capability List112

When these directives are discussed, there is no prioritization suggested for which area is most important. Some have more capabilities which could suggest increased relevance, but the directives serve primarily a taxonomic purpose rather than prioritization. Jurisdictions are tasked with determining the areas that need the most attention.

A Threat and Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment (THIRA) is a comprehensive assessment of the threats (intentional) and hazards (natural) in a jurisdiction, the areas of exposure, and the jurisdiction’s ability to respond to the threats and hazards. Risk analysis is an important component of emergency management. It allows jurisdictions to gain a greater understanding of the risk landscape, evaluate current capabilities against known threats and hazards, and identify resources available to prevent, protect against, mitigate, and respond and recover from our greatest risks. Using THIRA results, we can identify gaps in preparedness and drive investment towards building and sustaining core capabilities to address those gaps. The gaps identified are not threat or hazard specific, rather they identify what is needed to make a jurisdiction more prepared and resilient. See Figure 10 for a summary of these concepts.


Figure 10.  Components of a Capability Gap Analysis

The 2015 National Preparedness Report summarizes the progress towards meeting the core capabilities and identifies areas for sustainment and improvement. It aggregates information from states, territories, and urban areas from THIRA analyses which were conducted in 2014 and which identified the following areas for national improvement:113

  • Cybersecurity
  • Housing
  • Infrastructure Systems
  • Long-term Vulnerability Reduction
  • Economic Recovery
  • Access Control and Identity Verification

The City and County of San Francisco conducted a similar analysis and identified the following threat and hazard likelihoods (Table 4) as well as core capabilities that need attention.114

Table 4. Top Three Threat and Hazard Likelihoods in San Francisco








Very High

Aircraft as weapon






High Wind


The primary capabilities that need more attention in order to address the threats and hazards are:

  • Critical Infrastructure Protection
  • Health and Social Services
  • Cybersecurity
  • Vulnerability Reduction
  • Critical Transportation

Congress established the Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) as part of the Homeland Security Act of 2002 in order to fund activities primarily focused on terrorism prevention.115 UASI grant money has been allocated by the federal government to increase our nation’s ability to prepare for, respond to, mitigate, and recover from a terrorist act. The federal government allocates funds to urban areas in order to support high-density urban area capability-based preparation for acts of terrorism identified during THIRA analysis.116 This terrorism (threat) focus is a requirement for the justification of grant-funded projects. If jurisdictions do not spend funds in this way, they will not be reimbursed. This ‘power of the purse’ encourages state and local government to expend funds in accordance with the federal priorities.

The relationship between the FEMA Core Capabilities, National Priorities, San Francisco priorities and UASI grant funding priorities is expressed in Figure 11.


Figure 11. Connection of Priority Elements

As the framework describes, the elements do not exist in a vacuum. They are impacted by outside forces which we will examine next.

Outside Forces

Image83182In both federal and local instances, there are significant outside forces that likely impact the element relationship. In both arenas, political opinion plays a key role. Nationally, the daily reports of the threats posed by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), China’s expansion into the South China Sea, and North Korea’s ballistic missile testing shape the narrative about public safety and impacts the perceived level of national preparedness. In San Francisco, the public is worried about income inequality, homelessness, the economy and global warming. These issues speak more to human security and the lack of public resiliency in the Bay Area.

At the federal level, the money was initially allocated in order to improve the overall preparedness and legislators are keen to make sure that the money is being used for that purpose as well as being spent in a timely fashion. The local forces involve political pressure for preparedness and significant pressure for human security. Law enforcement and fire agencies, as well as emergency management, consider themselves essential elements in the preparedness process and seek funding for individuals, equipment, and training in order to keep their resources prepared to support the community. Figure 12 identifies some external forces that influence the funding decisions being made at the national and local (San Francisco) level. When outcomes are analyzed other forces may also become apparent.


San Francisco

  • Political priorities
  • Homeland Security Act mandates
  • Budget priorities
  • Popular opinion and fear
  • Rise of new threats
  • National Preparedness findings
  • Political priorities
  • Elections
  • Homelessness
  • Economic health post disaster
  • Types of threats/hazards
  • Department underfunding
  • Differing definitions of who is a ‘first responder’
  • THIRA findings

Figure 12. External forces influencing funding decisions

Complex Systems

Image83189Within the web of complex systems there are connections between each of the different elements as well as between outside forces acting on those elements, and they all have feedback loops that are influencing one another. Understanding these complex systems will allow the researcher to better predict the likely outcome from known inputs (i.e. elements and external forces).


Image83196The amount of money allocated by Congress for the Urban Area Security Initiative has decreased from its initial high in 2010117; however, it has remained relatively consistent (varying by +/- $10M) over the last three years. Table 5 identifies direct impacts of the UASI funding and associated constraints:

Table 5. Expected and Unexpected outcomes of UASI grant allocations




  • Overall level of national preparedness has increased
  • Funds improve core capabilities
  • Some jurisdictions make questionable purchases
  • State ‘hold back’ for administration may not align with local needs

San Francisco

  • Funds improve core capabilities
  • Overall preparedness has increased
  • Funding is directed towards supporting positions and the purchase of equipment
  • Unable to use funds for certain capabilities that need more attention
  • Challenging to spend funds because of narrow performance windows
  • THIRA results point to new areas of exposure that have not been addressed
  • Measuring specific capability gains is challenging because goals are too vague

Two indirect impacts of the UASI grant allocations are:

  • UASI requirements to expend grant funds within 2 years of award put significant additional hardship on local jurisdictions. The unintended consequence is that local entities purchase items that could be procured within the timeline rather than those that were most needed but required longer to obtain.
  • A 2011 study of the effectiveness of UASI grant funds highlights a key issue when examining how program awards were used – measuring success. The report separates measuring the effectiveness of the program versus increasing overall preparedness and to indicates there is no scientific equation to quantify the impact.118


Image83203By examining the elements, their connections, and the impact of outside forces, we see that specific local capabilities are not being addressed because they do not align with UASI funding goals. The local focus is on preparedness and addressing more pressing political issues, but funding being provided is targeted towards something else. The concept of rational choice assumes that decision makers are functioning as rational actors when deciding if they will allocate capital for disaster protection and mitigation or to some other activity. However, research by Healy and Malhotra clearly explains a different story:

…voters significantly reward disaster relief spending, holding the incumbent party accountable for actions taken after a disaster. In contrast, voters show no response at all, on average, to preparedness spending, even though investing in preparedness produces a large social benefit.119

The complexities of this mental calculation reflect an intricate relationship between social, political, and economic tradeoffs.120 Other insights include:

  1. Core capabilities are a suitable benchmark for preparedness, but goals are vague
  2. THIRA process is an effective way to assess jurisdiction needs
  3. Federal and local THIRA results are related but don’t directly align
  4. There is a disconnect between federal grant goals and local needs/priorities.


Image83214Decision makers need a framework to understand where investments need to be made to reduce the impact of disasters. Local, state, and federal governments have a limited amount of working funds, and may be reluctant to spend these precious funds towards mitigating something that might happen in the face of addressing issues that have an impact now.

As seen above, if elected officials make rational choices, they are not necessarily ‘rewarded’ by constituents who value immediate benefit over long term investments that may decrease the overall impact of a future event. If decision makers (i.e. government elected officials) want to remain in office, they may be more likely to make irrational decisions about disaster preparation because they are more focused on the short-term, ‘what’s in it for me’ focus of their constituents.

To address these needs, recommendations include:

  1. Develop tangible core capability measures and align them with pressing political issues
  2. Change grant performance period back to 3 years
  3. Continue THIRA as primary way to identify capability areas that need improvement
  4. To promote national preparedness, use of UASI funds needs to be expanded beyond terrorism to ‘all hazards’ use.

Other areas for improvement are likely, but for the purpose of evaluating the framework this should suffice.


Image83223Some of the outcomes that drove the analysis are a few years old and have already been addressed, notably, UASI grants have returned to a 3 year performance cycle after local jurisdictions identified the challenges they were facing. Additionally, the Bay Area UASI (of which San Francisco is part) developed more detailed metrics for each of the core capabilities.

In the first application of the framework, we described how the Dictator’s Handbook suggests that any proposed change (i.e. transformation) will have winners and losers. The winners will want to fight for new change that will likely benefit them while losers may want to maintain the status quo and their preferred environment. Both of the changes above faced similar challenges. Changes to how UASI grant money can be used, even if it aligns with federal and local capability gaps, will likely be challenged because money will be diverted from existing programs in order to fund new ones. This issue, of course, is not foreign to people who have been in government for any period of time. Once a program has been put into place, it is very difficult to change.


Application of Framework

A challenge for any researcher is to clearly define the question being examined and organize the related observations in order to conduct thoughtful analysis. If the wrong issue is identified then the wrong solution may be developed. The EHN framework emerged as a tool to identify the key components of the issue and the context in which it exists. There are well established processes for analysis – inductive, deductive, exploratory, descriptive, qualitative and quantitative. Several of these processes were applied in “Security and Prosperity” once the core issue had been correctly identified. The EHN framework helped organize the information available in order to more effectively apply the analytical processes. It is a reusable solution composed of organization techniques, analytical tools and thought guides to focus and simplify the study of other issues.

To test the transferability of the framework, it had to be applied to a novel problem to see if it would help focus the analysis and decrease the time to study the issue. The problem being studied was whether or not national and local homeland security priorities were aligned. Initially the study was focusing on what was written in doctrine by both groups but when applying the framework the linkage was not clear. By identifying a link (in this case grant funding), I was able to establish a marker for intent – where the Department of Homeland Security wanted the funding spent vs where a local jurisdiction (e.g. San Francisco) actually applied it. Considering the outside forces that impact the relationship led me to identify the different political environments that significantly influence how the money is allocated/spent (i.e. budget priorities). Complex systems exist at both levels and are likely extensive; because this is a proof of concept they were not explored intensively, but the framework acknowledges that they exist and likely had a significant effect on the outcome. This helped identify the expected and unexpected outcomes once grant funding was spent in San Francisco. Most importantly, because the right issue was studied, the Reimagination and Transformation process generated targeted solutions.

Applying the EHN framework to the comparison of national and local preparedness priorities did not contain the necessary analytical rigor needed to truly study the issue; rather, it was intended to focus on studying the framework’s applicability to a novel issue. Based on the research findings, I believe the EHN framework is helpful to structure the exploration of social issues.

Next Steps

Determining the validity of the framework does not require empirical study. When studying social science issues there is no single structure best suited to issue analysis. During the research of my thesis “Security and Prosperity: Reexamining the Relationship Between Economic, Homeland and National Security”, the EHN framework emerged to help provide the analytical structure.

This research is not intended to invalidate other frameworks in use; rather it is to provide a new tool that may be helpful to researchers as they move forward in their own exploration. Other researchers may choose to use the framework when examining their next issue to see if the structure helps with their own analysis.

About the Author

Bijan Karimi is the Assistant Deputy Director for the San Francisco Department of Emergency Management and is responsible for overseeing planning and policy implementation, hazard and threat analysis, training and exercise planning, and response operations. As a member of CHDS Masters Cohort 1402, his research focused on the connection between economic, homeland and national security. He may be reached at


Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations in this document are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect views of the San Francisco Department of Emergency Management.


1 Bill Bryson, A Short History of Nearly Everything, (New York: Broadway Books, 2003), 139.

2 Bijan Karimi, “Security and Prosperity: Reexamining the Connection Between Economic, Homeland and National Security,” (Masters Thesis: Naval Post Graduate School, 2015), 3.

3 Rebecca Costa, The Watchman’s Rattle: A Radical New Theory of Collapse (Philadelphia: Vanguard Press, 2010), 7.

4 Costa, 123.

5 Bryson, A Short History, 139.

6 Bryson, A Short History, 147.

7 Donella H. Meadows, and Diana Wright, ed. Thinking in Systems (White Junction, VT: Taylor and Francis, 2012), 2.

8 World Economic Forum, Global Risks 2014, 9th ed. (Geneva: World Economic Forum, 2014), 26.

9 Meadows, and Wright, Thinking in Systems, 6.

10 World Economic Forum, Global Risks 2015, 10th ed. (Geneva: World Economic Forum, 2015), 8.

11 Richard L. Hough, Economic Assistance and Security: Rethinking US Policy (Washington, DC: National Defense University Press, 1982), 13.

12 Bryson, A Short History, 142.

13 Ibid, 144.

14 Ibid.

15 U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Quadrennial Homeland Security Review (Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Homeland Security, 2014),, 31.

16 Ibid.

17 White House, National Security Strategy of the United States (Washington, DC: White House, 1987),, 11.

18 Alting von Geusau, Frans A. M. von Geusau, and Jacques Pelkmans, National Economic Security: Perceptions, Threats, and Policies (Netherlands: John F. Kennedy Institute, 1982), v.

19 Jacques Pelkmans, “The Many Faces of National Economic Security,” in National Economic Security: Perceptions, Threats, and Policies, ed. Frans von Geusau, A. M. von Geusau, and Jacques Pelkmans (Netherlands: John F. Kennedy Institute, 1982), 3.

20 Miles Kahler, “Economic Security in an Era of Globalization: Definition and Provision,” Pacific Review 17, no. 4 (December 2004): 486.

21 Vladimir Pankov, “Economic Security: Essence and Manifestations,” International Affairs [Moscow] 57, no. 1 (2011): 199.

22 Sasa Mijalković, and Goran Milošević, “Correlation between Economic, Corporate and National Security,” Megatrend Review 8, no. 2 (2011): 441.

23 Ibid, 439.

24 Carl R. Neu, and Charles Wolf, The Economic Dimensions of National Security (Santa Monica, CA: RAND, 1994), xi.

25 These definitions are summarized from a more lengthy explanation by the author over several pages in the article. Vincent Cable, “What is International Economic Security?” International Affairs 71, no. 2 (1995): 306.

26 Mark Neocleous, “From Social to National Security: On the Fabrication of Economic Order,” Security Dialogue 37, no. 3 (2006): 376.

27 Cynthia A. Watson, U.S. National Security (Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, Inc., 2002), 14.

28 Robert W. Smith, “What is Homeland Security? Developing a Definition Grounded in the Curricula,” Journal of Public Affairs Education 11, no. 3 (2005): 234.

29 White House, The National Security Strategy of the United States of America (2002) (Washington D.C: The White House, 2002), 7.

30 Christopher Bellavita, “Changing Homeland Security: What is Homeland Security?” Homeland Security Affairs 4, no. 2 (June 2008): 2,; 10.

31 Ibid, 1.

32 Shawn Reese, Defining Homeland Security: Analysis and Congressional Considerations (CRS Report No. R42462) (Washington, DC: Congressional Research Service, 2012), 1.

33 Bellavita, “Changing Homeland Security,” 4.

34 Ibid.

35 Reese, Defining Homeland Security, 2.

36 White House, National Security Strategy of the United States (1987), 5.

37 White House, National Strategy for Homeland Security (2007), 13.

38 This is a combination of themes contained over multiple pages in the introduction of the book. It is summarized here to establish that securitization now extends beyond the initial context but still relates to existential threats. Barry Buzan, Ole Wæver, and Jaap De Wilde, Security: A New Framework for Analysis (Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 1998), 1–15.

39 Harold Brown, Thinking about National Security (Boulder, CO: Westview, 1983), 4.

40 Donald Losman, “Economic Security: A National Security Folly?” Policy Analysis no. 409 (August 2001), Cato Institute,, 2.

41 Sasa Mijalković, and Goran Milošević, “Correlation between Economic, Corporate and National Security,” Megatrend Review 8, no. 2 (2011), 439.

42 Losman, “Economic Security: A National Security Folly?” 1.

43 Janet Napolitano, “2nd Annual Address on the State of America’s Homeland Security,” (presented at National Press Club, Washington, DC, 2011).

44 White House, National Security Strategy of the United States (2015), 15.

45 Mijalković and Milošević, “Correlation between Economic, Corporate and National Security,” 451.

46 Alting von Geusau, Frans A. M. von Geusau, and Jacques Pelkmans, National Economic Security: Perceptions, Threats, and Policies (Netherlands: John F. Kennedy Institute, 1982), 241.

47 Sheila R. Ronis, ed. Economic Security: Neglected Dimension of National Security? (Washington, DC: National Defense University Press, 2011), viii.

48 White House, National Security Strategy of the United States (2010), 9.

49 George Arthur Lincoln, Economics of National Security: Managing America’s Resources for Defense (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1954), 5.

50 Christopher Bellavita, “A New Perspective on Homeland Security?” Homeland Security Watch, December 20, 2011, accessed May 24, 2015,

51 Ibid, 11.

52 Carlo Masala, “New Multilateralism” (presented at Naval Postgraduate School, Center for Homeland Security and Defense, Monterey, CA, January 2015).

53 Nadav Morag, “Does Homeland Security Exist Outside the United States?” Homeland Security Affairs 7 no.2 (2011): 1,

54 White House, National Security Strategy of the United States (2010), 11.

55 Morag, “Does Homeland Security Exist Outside the United States?” 1.

56 Bellavita, “Changing Homeland Security,” 11.

57 Fathali M. Moghaddam, Multiculturalism and Intergroup Relations: Psychological Implications for Democracy in a Global Context (Washington, DC: American Psychological Association, 2008), 10.

58 Buzan, Wæver, and De Wilde, Security: A New Framework for Analysis, 26.

59 White House, The National Security Strategy of the United States of America (Washington DC: The White House, 2006), 26.

60 National Intelligence Council, Global Trends 2020: Mapping the Global Future (Washington DC: National Intelligence Council, 2005), 10.

61 Fathali M. Moghaddam, How Globalization Spurs Terrorism: The Lopsided Benefits of ‘One World’ and Why That Fuels Violence (Westport, CT: Praeger Security International, 2008), 167.

62 World Economic Forum, Global Risks 2014, 28.

63 Ibid., 31.

64 World Economic Forum, Global Risks 2015, 28.

65 James Andrew Lewis, Globalization and National Security: Maintaining U.S. Technological Leadership and Economic Strength (Washington, DC: CSIS Press, 2004), 4.

66 Buzan, Wæver, and De Wilde, Security: A New Framework for Analysis, 23.

67 Ibid, 26.

68 Losman, “Economic Security,” 2.

69 Buzan, Wæver, and De Wilde, Security: A New Framework for Analysis, 109.

70 Losman, “Economic Security,” 3.

71 World Economic Forum, Global Risks 2014, 27; Office of the Secretary of Homeland Security, 2013 National Preparedness Report. (Washington, DC: Office of the Secretary of Homeland Security, 2013), 54.

72 Jennifer Mitzen, “Ontological Security in World Politics: State Identity and the Security Dilemma,” European Journal of International Relations 12, no. 3 (2006): 343.

73 Ramesh Thakur, “A Political World View: What is Human Security?” Security Dialogue 35, no.3 (2004): 347.

74 White House, The National Security Strategy of the United States of America (2002), v.

75 Wayne Porter, and Mark Mykleby, A National Strategic Narrative (Washington, DC: Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, 2011), 6.

76 Vladimir Pankov, “Economic Security: Essence and Manifestations,” International Affairs [Moscow] 57, no. 1 (2011): 199; Sasa Mijalković, and Goran Milošević, “Correlation between Economic, Corporate and National Security,” Megatrend Review 8, no. 2 (2011): 198.

77 Mijalković, and Milošević, “Correlation between Economic, Corporate and National Security,” 439.

78 Cable, “What is International Economic Security?” 305.

79 National Intelligence Council, Global Trends 2020, 12.

80 Kahler, “Economic Security in an Era of Globalization,” 25.

81 Theo Peeters, “National Economic Security and the Maintenance of the Welfare State,” in National Economic Security: Perceptions, Threats, and Policies, ed. Alting von Geusau, Frans A. M. von Geusau, and Jacques Pelkmans (Netherlands: John F. Kennedy Institute, 1982), 37.

82 World Economic Forum, Global Risks 2013, 8th ed. (Geneva: World Economic Forum, 2013), 17.

83 Dwight D. Eisenhower, “Genuine National Security: A People’s Definition,” Political Affairs 67, no. 6 (1988): 18.

84 Theodore H. Moran, American Economic Policy and National Security (New York: Council on Foreign Relations, 1993), 3.

85 Cable, “What is International Economic Security?” 324.

86 Vladimir Medvedev, “Problems of Russia’s Economic Security,” Problems of Economic Transition 40, no. 9 (1998): 21.

87 Neu, and Wolf, The Economic Dimensions of National Security, 3.

88 Ibid, 61.

89 Moran, American Economic Policy and National Security, vii.

90 World Economic Forum, Global Risks 2014, 11.

91 Neu and Wolf, The Economic Dimensions of National Security, 13.

92 Mona Siminiuc, “Security and Economic Dimensions of the Transatlantic Partnership” (master’s thesis, Naval Postgraduate School, 2005), 15.

93 Fathali M. Moghaddam, How Globalization Spurs Terrorism:, 6.

94 Ibid, 47.

95 Michael G. Marmot, The Status Syndrome: How Social Standing Affects Our Health and Longevity (New York: Times Books: 2004), 69.

96 Moghaddam, Multiculturalism and Intergroup Relations, 10.

97 Fathali M. Moghaddam, From the Terrorists’ Point of View: What They Experience and Why They Come to Destroy (Westport, CT: Praeger Security International, 2006), 2.

98 National Intelligence Council, Global Trends 2020, 33.

99 White House, A National Security Strategy for a Global Age (Washington D.C: The White House, 2000), 29.

100 Walter F. Mondale, “Beyond Détente: Toward International Economic Security,” Foreign Affairs 53, no. 1 (1974): 23.

101 Neu, and Wolf, The Economic Dimensions of National Security, 13.

102 Hough, Economic Assistance and Security, 12.

103 Mondale, “Beyond Détente,” 1.

104 Ibid, 4.

105 Neu, and Wolf, The Economic Dimensions of National Security, 64.

106 Reese, Defining Homeland Security, 10.

107 Meadows, and Wright, Thinking in Systems, 138.

108 Ibid, 115.

109 Bruce Bueno De Mesquita, and Alastair Smith, The Dictator’s Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics (New York: PublicAffairs, 2011), 5.

110 Federal Emergency Management Agency, National Preparedness Goal,, Last updated 10/02/2015. Accessed 03/01/2016.

111 United States Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency, National Preparedness Goal, (Washington, D.C.: United States Government Printing Office, September 1, 2011), 2.

112 Federal Emergency Management Agency, Mission Areas,, Last updated 10/02/2015. Accessed 03/01/2016.

113 Department of Homeland Security, 2015 National Preparedness Report. March 30, 2015. 10-11.

114 San Francisco Department of Emergency Management, 2012 SF THIRA Explanation and Risk Assessment. Unpublished. October 2, 2013. 2.

115 Federal Emergency Management Agency, Fiscal Year 2015 Homeland Security Grant Management Program,, Last updated 07/28/2015. Accessed 03/01/2016.

116 Ibid.

117 National Urban Area Security Initiative Association, A Report on the Effectiveness of the Urban Area Security Initiative Program, August, 2011, Accessed on March 4, 2016. 18.

118 National Urban Area Security Initiative Association, A Report on the Effectiveness of the Urban Area Security Initiative Program, 3.

119 Andrew Healy and Neil Malhotra, “Myopic Voters and Natural Disaster Policy,” American Political Science Review 103 (3) (2009), 388.

120 Bijan Karimi, “Capital Allocation Strategies for Minimizing the Financial Impact of Natural Hazards.” (Unpublished, July 2014), 10.

Copyright © 2016 by the author(s). Homeland Security Affairs is an academic journal available free of charge to individuals and institutions. Because the purpose of this publication is the widest possible dissemination of knowledge, copies of this journal and the articles contained herein may be printed or downloaded and redistributed for personal, research or educational purposes free of charge and without permission. Any commercial use of Homeland Security Affairs or the articles published herein is expressly prohibited without the written consent of the copyright holder. The copyright of all articles published in Homeland Security Affairs rests with the author(s) of the article. Homeland Security Affairs is the online journal of the Naval Postgraduate School Center for Homeland Defense and Security (CHDS).


1 Comment

  • Silvana Croope

    June 2016 at 12:29 am Reply

    I enjoyed the disruptive thinking process.Thesis and antithesis are interesting in the adverse impact approach that is one of the traps to be avoided under a sustainability approach. Congratulations.

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