Homeland Security Efforts to Revamp WMD Offices Called Half-Baked and “Nonsensical”

Wednesday, September 16, 2015
(CBS/AP graphic)

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has been criticized for years about its bureaucratic jumble of offices that are supposed to prevent weapons of mass destruction from threatening the country.


DHS came up with a plan to reduce duplication and internal squabbling so officials could address plots to unleash nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. However, the plan is drawing criticism because it doesn’t include one DHS office vital to the mission of stopping WMDs.


The reorg blueprint calls for creating a new office to address chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and explosives. The Chemical and Biological Defense Division of the DHS Science and Technology Directorate would remain separate after the reorganization.


“It’s nonsensical,” Rick Nelson, former director of the homeland security and counterterrorism program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told The Washington Post. “You need to have all these people located together. Doing it halfway will just create more problems. It will be disruptive.”


A current senior DHS employee, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told the newspaper: “If you don’t put chem-bio in there, the entire group, it’s a waste of time. What’s the sense of having a WMD directorate? It doesn’t make sense to any of us.”


A DHS official acknowledged the concerns about the divided offices, but claimed that Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson had instituted enough reforms in the department that it wouldn’t be a problem.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

After Five Years of Delay, WMD Plan is ‘Nonsensical,’ Critics Say (by Jerry Markon, Washington Post)

Congress Skeptical of Homeland Security Developing Unified Plan on WMD Defense (by Maggie Ybarra, Washington Times)

Weapons of Mass Destruction: Bolstering DHS to Combat Persistent Threats to America (Committee on Homeland Security)

Justice Department Not Prepared to Deal with WMD Attack (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)


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