Notes from the Editor: Proceedings of the 2008 CHDS Annual Conference


Six years after the creation of the Department of Homeland Security, practitioners and academics in the field of homeland security are exploring diverse and complex issues relating to the defense and security of the United States. Nowhere is the growth of the field more evident than in the work of the professionals completing advanced degrees at the Naval Postgraduate School’s Center for Homeland Defense and Security. The papers presented in this special supplement to Homeland Security Affairs represent the work of CHDS alumni, presented at the Center’s fifth anniversary conference in January 2008.

Grouped around the break-out sessions of that conference, as summarized in the “Proceedings” presented here, these papers examine intelligence and information sharing, border security, and public and private collaboration. In “The Domestic Intelligence Gap: Progress Since 9/11?” James Burch examines the issue of post-9/11 intelligence reforms within the context of organizational mechanisms, information sharing, and intelligence oversight, and identifies challenges for the future. “State and Local Fusion Centers: Emerging Trends and Issues,” by Kevin Eack, incorporates interviews with state fusion center directors to outline the development of these centers and discuss potential obstacles the centers may face. A practical solution to the difficulties of sharing and managing intelligence information is presented by Michael McDaniel, Emad (Al) Shenouda, and M. John Batista in “The Functional Desks as Collaborative Mechanisms in the Michigan Intelligence Operations Center.” The Michigan Intelligence Operations Center has established or proposed three functional desks to facilitate cross-sector collaboration to address issues of terrorism. How these desks operate is detailed in this paper.

A continuing challenge to the United States is securing our extensive borders. Karina Ordóñez discusses “Securing the United States-Mexico Border, an Ongoing Dilemma,” analyzing the complex dynamics of the southern border and offering a model for addressing border security based on the activities along the Arizona-Sonora Border. In “Caribbean Maritime Migration: Challenges for the New Millennium” Robert Watts argues that worsening economic and political conditions throughout the Caribbean region, and the resulting increase in migrants attempting to reach the U.S. by sea, pose both humanitarian and security threats that need to be addressed through strategic deterrence, coordinated interagency interdiction, and an emphasis on the safety of life at sea.

From the final break-out session, on public and private collaboration, we offer two papers. The first, from Siobhan O’Neil, looks at the ACLU’s argument that enhancing private sector integration with fusion center efforts could lead to the abuse of civil liberties. In “The Relationship between the Private Sector and Fusion Centers: Potential Causes for Concern and Realities,” O’Neil analyzes the ACLU’s concerns and concludes that, while potential problems are not inevitable, there are fundamental issues relating to fusion centers which need to be addressed. “Integrating Virtual Public-Private Partnerships into Local Law Enforcement for Enhanced Intelligence-Led Policing,” by Matthew J. Simeone, Jr., details how web-based public-private partnerships allow policing agencies to exponentially expand their networks for collecting and disseminating information. This ability could significantly improve the ability of law enforcement agencies to prevent crime and terrorism.

This special issue is the second in a continuing series of Homeland Security Affairs supplements, sharing the working papers and proceedings of conferences where academics and practitioners debate current homeland security issues and strategy from multiple points of view.

The Editor

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