Homeland Security Managers = Innovative Leaders
The search for and implementation of innovative methods to protect the homeland should play an important role in homeland security managers’ approach to how they guide their organizations. Citizens expect government leaders to propose and implement organizational, acquisition, and personnel management practices that enhance our nation’s ability to prepare for and mitigate potential threats. They expect these to make them safer and the nation more secure.
Earlier this year, President Trump issued executive orders that called for, among other things, the hiring of 10,000 additional immigration officers and 5,000 additional Border Patrol agents. Such major staffing changes will require significant enhancements to human capital-related processes. Not only must ICE and CBP recruit, train, and provision these new agents and officers, they must do so while minimizing the impact on current operations and sustaining their culture. What new approaches and models will the senior management teams use to achieve these major transformations?
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Unity of Effort initiative aims to create an agency that operates with systematic cohesion. In support of this goal, DHS has developed a series of initiatives and industry engagement events—called Acquisitions Innovations in Motion (AIiM)—focused on reciprocal learning between DHS and industry on best practices, new technology, and strategies to enhance acquisition methods and procurement practices. These interactions should provide a wealth of ideas for significantly improving the processes and technology that DHS uses.
Another example of innovative leadership comes from TSA’s Brett Gunter, who as Assistant Administrator for the Office of Training and Development successfully implemented a groundbreaking Transportation Security Officer Basic Training Program. Because of the measurable accomplishments of the new program, Mr. Gunter received an Exceptional Service Gold Medal from the DHS Secretary. Lessons learned from TSA’s experience may provide some ideas for how ICE and CBP train their 15,000 additional officers and agents.
The new mandates totally depend on innovation – and leaders who have the courage to take risks to achieve greater mission results. Senior managers within DHS should encourage, promote, and deliver innovative ideas and solutions to meet our nation’s homeland security challenges.
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