Doug Bedell — January 11, 2008, 12:09 pm

Groups DHS Consults With

Michael Chertoff, secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), shows a commendable willingness to reach beyond Washington for advice and input – and in the department’s blog, lists a couple of the organizations DHS uses for that purpose. If you don’t know them, it might be good to get acquainted.

“We know we don’t have all the answers in Washington – nor do we pretend to,” Chertoff writes in the DHS blog, Leadership Journal. “That is why we rely on the advice and counsel of a host of advisory groups to broad our understanding of critical homeland security issues and to help us make more informed policy decisions that benefit from a range of perspectives and professional experience.”

Two organizations Chertoff cites for that purpose (he spoke to each of them this week) are:

• The National Infrastructure Advisory Council, which includes members from the private sector, academia, state and local governments – all expert on security issues. “The council’s main focus,” Chertoff writes, “is infrastructure security – how to better protect our nation’s physical structures and cyber systems from deliberate attack or disruption, and how to build greater resiliency into these critical systems.” A check of the council’s website shows links to a host of reports on risk management issues and the minutes of its meetings.

• The Homeland Security Advisory Council – Its charter and makeup are similar to that of the Infrastructure Advisory Council. It has focused on “the future of terrorism, as well as well as how to enhance the culture and effectiveness of the Department’s workforce.” Its website includes copies of its recommendations to Secretary Chertoff.

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