Strengthen Civilian Agencies
"He will also strengthen our civilian capacity, so that our civilian agencies have the critical skills and equipment they need to integrate their efforts with our military."-- Obama's Blueprint for Change
By ALINA SELYUKH
The U.S. needs to adopt a "risk-based, threat-based" approach to security, and civil defense agencies will play a large role, according to one homeland security panelist in this year's Georgetown Public Policy Institute Conference at the Cannon House Office Building.
Philip J. Crowley, a former Clinton national security aide who is now a senior fellow and director of homeland security at the left-leaning Center for American Progress, said prevention and planning should be hallmarks of the Homeland Security Department's mindset.
The U.S. should re-evaluate existing programs and agencies to guard against inertia, said David Brent Buckley, former assistant director for defense and national security in the Office of Special Investigations at the Government Accountability Office.
Former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said that in managing the problems currently on DHS' radar -- from wars in the Middle East to border violence in Mexico -- soft power will be an indispensible partner of hard power, putting some of the onus on civilian agencies.