Leadership and Homeland Security

Leadership and Homeland Security

A colleague sent me an interesting perspective on leadership. It is from a lecture that William Deresiewicz, a literary critic and former Yale professor, delivered to the plebe class of the United States Military Academy at West Point in October 2009. http://www.theamericanscholar.org/solitude-and-leadership/

As he speaks to future Army leaders, the lecturer builds the case that a crisis of leadership exists – in every institution, not just Government. That the generation of students and recent graduates are driven to be experts, focused on one thing, but not always interested in learning about many things. He contends that leadership is about thinking, about vision, and most of all about courage.

I think this applies to homeland security.

Within the depths of many homeland security agencies, in pockets of private industry that serves the Government, and in stakeholder groups external to the Government, we are developing single pockets of expertise – both mission and technical. But, as the lecturer contends, we are not building leaders who are thinkers. “People who can formulate a new direction: for the country, for a corporation or a college, for the Army—a new way of doing things, a new way of looking at things. People, in other words, with vision.”

We get resumes of these experts all the time at Arc Aspicio – the person who only wants to do emergency planning, or the expert that wants to specialize in biochemical weapons of mass destruction, or conflict resolution related to international peace in third world countries.  We need broader thinkers, and those that are interested in always learning. We need people that can become experts quickly to solve a specific problem.

Leadership is about courage and persistence. In homeland security, it is not enough to look for ways to apply what you already know. It is about the persistence to consistently pursue the right answer, to look at all sources for the best answer. Not just working with the same group of people, on the same projects. Working with other teams, other experts, in unexpected places.  It is about the persistence to pursue a solution that people originally say won’t work or is too hard. And then to create the stakeholder buy-in to make it happen, one stakeholder, one person at a time. It takes time. It takes the relentless pursuit of the hard answer.

Pockets of expertise are important to solve very specific problems, but overall improvements in securing our borders and protecting our citizens require thinkers with vision and leaders that have the courage to have the big–picture thinking and then have the persistence to pursue the right answer, no matter how difficult this is. Homeland security requires broader thinkers that can talk with experts, and who can effectively work in cross-functional teams. Those that are willing to take an integrated view, who spend the time to reach out to other pockets of expertise.

The most unexpected homeland security solutions are found in the most unexpected places and take the longest to get everyone on board. It is then that they last.

Blog Homeland Security

Contributors

Lynn Ann Casey |

Global thought leader and Founder and CEO of Arc Aspicio, Lynn Ann Casey brings unique passion and insight to Government’s toughest challenges including in homeland security, border and transportation security, emergency management, and law enforcement. She is committed to partnering with governments worldwide to think differently, act strategically, innovate and explore, and deliver mission results in partnership with their employees and stakeholders.

Towards Preparedness and an Emergency Management Workforce of the Future

Towards Preparedness and an Emergency Management Workforce of the Future

Grit and determination. This is what the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) workforce is known for. After what is arguably the most challenging year in its history, the FEMA leadership called on the agency to enable the workforce through four elements: build, empower, sustain, and train. A key factor in creating a scalable, sustainable disaster response workforce is to foster a proactive culture, one focused on preparedness. A proactive mindset can create an environment that asks the “what if” questions that lead to more prepared response efforts.

Achieving Strategy Breakthroughs by Enabling the Operational Workforce

Achieving Strategy Breakthroughs by Enabling the Operational Workforce

Are you developing a strategy but are unsure where to start, what to rely on, and who to engage when driving a business, organization, or agency forward? Start by enabling the operational workforce. The workforce includes those who are executing daily tasks and operations of the many programs within an organization. Enabling the workforce gives them authority, allowing them to access their full potential to achieve desired results, and helps the Government develop, communicate, and implement strategy.

Greater Washington Innovation Awards Selects Arc Aspicio as Nominee in Professional Services Category

Greater Washington Innovation Awards Selects Arc Aspicio as Nominee in Professional Services Category

Arlington VA, March 14, 2018 — The Greater Washington Innovation Awards chose Arc Aspicio to participate in their showcase as a nominee for the Professional Services Innovator of the Year Award. This prestigious event gave Arc Aspicio employees the opportunity to present their innovative methods for solving the Federal Government’s most complex challenges.

Arc Aspicio Named 2018 Washington D.C. Corporate Culture Winner

Arc Aspicio Named 2018 Washington D.C. Corporate Culture Winner

Arlington, VA, February 19, 2018 — CEO Report chose Arc Aspicio as a Washington D.C. Corporate Culture Award Winner for 2018. An independent committee grants the award to companies that focus on empowering employees and fostering a work environment that is both creative and collaborative. Winners of the Corporate Culture Awards are leaders in using company culture as an asset for growth.

Lean Strategies: Workforce Engagement and Retention in the Federal Government

Lean Strategies: Workforce Engagement and Retention in the Federal Government

Across the Federal government, agencies and programs have been tasked with building, training, and retaining the workforce needed to serve the American people. Public-sector leaders have been struggling with the right approach to this challenge, but we are now seeing more and more agencies turn to implementing private industry ’lean’ methods as a potential solution. Lean strategies aim to identify and improve an organization’s pain-points by following a set of principles and techniques focused on minimizing risk, optimizing cost and quality of processes, and engaging employees to deliver value-added benefits and improvements aligned to the organization’s mission and goals.

Architecting the Arc Aspicio Employee Experience

Architecting the Arc Aspicio Employee Experience

Human Resources (HR). What comes to mind when you hear “HR”? Hopefully, it’s positive! While most people would answer with “processing paperwork, administering benefits, onboarding and paying employees, etc.,” HR in 2018 is so much more. As the Association for Talent Development argues, HR is about being an “experience architect.” It can transform the employee experience.

Building Data Analytics Capacity in Your Organization: Centralize or Decentralize?

Building Data Analytics Capacity in Your Organization: Centralize or Decentralize?

As threats evolve and technology reinvents how we perform work, the Government must continue to find solutions to increasingly complex and multifaceted problems. Thanks to the expanded availability and relevance of data, agencies are now equipped with more resources to make accurate fact-based decisions surrounding these complex issues. As agencies make increasing use of this data, they need to determine whether to implement a centralized or decentralized analytical structure.

Making a Difference

Making a Difference

We’ve all been there, a moment in a past job where you ask yourself if your work really matters. You are approaching mid-career and what matters more to you now is seeing your work make a difference. I knew that I wanted to spend more time “doing” homeland security, rather than writing policy memos about what other people were doing. With this mindset, I walked into my interview with Arc Aspicio four years ago. My question for my interviewer—how do your people make a difference every day?

Arc Aspicio Launches “Our Story” and Launches Updated Website

Arc Aspicio Launches “Our Story” and Launches Updated Website

Washington, DC, February 12, 2018 —Arc Aspicio published a blog series and updated its website to focus on the story and history of the company. “Our Story” starts from the beginning and shows key accomplishments and milestones along the way.

Lynn Ann Casey founded Arc Aspicio with a small team of people that wanted to influence and shape the Homeland Security consulting industry for the benefit of the Federal Government and the people it serves – the American public. As the company has grown, it has remained focused on the its core values; to put the mission first, build trust with one another, be innovative, solve difficult problems, and invest in its people.

Learning by Doing: Discovering DC through an Arc Aspicio Internship

Learning by Doing: Discovering DC through an Arc Aspicio Internship

I chose to attend college in Washington, D.C. because as an eager, politically-motivated young woman, I couldn’t imagine a city with better opportunities. Now entering my final semester at the George Washington University (GWU), I realize that even my highest hopes for a life in D.C. couldn’t compare to what I found once I got here. With nearly every government agency headquartered within metro distance, there is an internship for every calling.

Letting Employees Dive In

Letting Employees Dive In

What do you want to be when you grow up? The truth of the matter is, I’ve never wanted to answer that question. I’ve never been someone who felt tied to one particular activity or career path (and I have a disgruntled high school guidance counselor who can vouch for that). What I did know coming out of college were two things: I wanted to solve problems facing our country and I wanted to continue learning.