A BuzzFlash Reader Commentary
The Strange Career of "Homeland Security"
by Margie Burns
June 25, 2002
The odd phrase 'homeland security' appeared to come out of nowhere, just days -- or was it minutes -- after the attacks of September 11.
But actually, the Institute for Homeland Security was formed in the northern Virginia suburbs of DC, in October 1999.
The Institute's mission, stated in www.homelandsecurity.org, is "To provide executive education and public awareness of the challenges to homeland security in the 21st century." As "a nonprofit public-service research organization examining a new set of national security challenges," it produces workshops, programs for executive-level policy makers, a weekly Homeland Security Newsletter, a Homeland Security opinion poll on its web site, and the Journal of Homeland Security, established October 2000 and featuring "articles by senior government leaders and leading homeland security experts."
The well-supported entity is part of ANSER, Incorporated, also known as Analytic Services, Inc., headquartered in Arlington VA with "field offices and operating locations throughout the world," according to its 1999 annual report.
Analytic Services was a research center for the Air Force, closed as a federal entity in 1977, and has garnered federal contracts and patents ever since. In FY 1998, the Department of Defense ranked ANSER 58th among its top contractors for "Research, Test, Intelligence, and Evaluation." In FY 1999, its contracts included a $56M increase to an existing contract with the Air Force, to provide analytical and technical services through December 2000.
As of March 2002, the federal government listed ANSER as a "cognizant agency": "Any State, Local, or Non-Profit agency expending more then [sic] $25,000,000 in total federal awards in a single Fiscal year" (based on FY 2000: $74,456,395 for ANSER).
Among other contracts, ANSER has cooperative agreements with the National Institute of Justice regarding "intelligent search agent" software in law enforcement; it also received $1.7M from the COPS law enforcement discretionary fund, for "face recognition and intelligent software development," under the Virginia Office of Justice programs.
Following extensive preparation, the Institute for Homeland Security was formally established only in April 2001, following a month of buzz assisted by its ties with the military and the intelligence community.
On March 13, a mini-symposium entitled 'homeland security' was held by the Military Operations Research Society in Laurel MD.
Also on March 13, by coincidence, President Bush released his first National Security Presidential Directive, expanding the National Security Council and adding eleven new coordinating committees. It directs the Deputy National Security Adviser -- Bush appointee Stephen J. Hadley, formerly on ANSER's Board of Trustees -- to attend NSC meetings, and makes him Executive Secretary of the NSC.
Interestingly -- given today's emphasis on "coordinating" and information-sharing -- the directive also stated, "The existing system of Interagency Working Groups is abolished."
Administrations information seems to be shared with private companies foremost, with support from agencies including the CIA.
The talk at the Women's History Month annual luncheon, in March, was given by Dr. Ruth A. David, President and CEO of ANSER, on "the nation's changing security strategy." Dr. David's impressive bio includes a Master's degree and PhD in electrical engineering from Stanford; she came to ANSER in October 1998 following three years as Deputy Director for Science and Technology at the CIA. Her professional career began with managerial positions at Sandia National Laboratories; she serves on the NSA Scientific Advisory Board among others; and her honors include the CIA's Distinguished Intelligence Medal, the Director of NSA Distinguished Service Medal, and the Defense Intelligence Director's Award.
A now-gone web page from the Institute for Homeland Security answers a question from Mark Bower of the Air National Guard, posed on March 30, 2001: why 'homeland'? (Surely, a question to be asked.) The answer concedes that "the term 'homeland defense only recently entered the lexicon of public discourse," and attributes it to a 1997 report by the National Defense Panel. News reports credit it to panel member Richard L. Armitage, former CIA officer and now deputy secretary of State, though Mr. Armitage has not taken full credit for it -- understandably.
If Congress actually creates a Cabinet-level Department of Homeland Security, we will have a Cabinet office named after a corporation. Members of the House Committee on Government Reform and the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee should be watchful. The government has already given the company lavish free advertising, with assistance from the Reverend Sun Myung Moon's publications. In spite of the Institute, the phrase "homeland security" was little seen before last September (in this country); aside from a sprinkling of journals and think tanks, only the Reverend Sun Myung Moon's Washington Times newspaper, Insight Magazine, and UPI boosted the Institute and its central catch phrase with any frequency, before last fall.
No wonder this creepy name looks like something dreamed up by spooks, with a little help from the Moonies.
Does anyone really believe that Vice President Cheney, a guy from Wyoming whose wife has a PhD in English literature, came up with 'Homeland Security'?
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