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.

Top Qualities of Design Thinking Leaders

Top Qualities of Design Thinking Leaders

Design Thinking is on the rise in the business world. Design Thinking leaders focus on creating the best product for their clients and working with the experiences and insight of fellow coworkers. Some of the key characteristics of Design Thinking leaders present themselves in individuals who are open and subject themselves to vulnerability with clients and coworkers. These qualities help leaders to connect and build relationships with others. They also create an open flow of communication that allows for others to better share their knowledge to align with and understand the company's mission.

Think, Key, Speak: Purposeful Communications

Think, Key, Speak: Purposeful Communications

I spent the early years of my career in the United States Navy as a Naval Flight Officer on the E-2C Hawkeye, the Navy’s aircraft carrier-based Airborne Early Warning and Command and Control platform. The various missions of the aircraft demand that aircrew monitor up to ten radio frequencies, and actively speak on three or four of those, at any given moment in flight.

How Can Communities Ready Themselves for a Major Power Grid Event?

How Can Communities Ready Themselves for a Major Power Grid Event?

Communities are often the foundation for an expedited recovery following major events. But how can communities strengthen their response to, for example, a major cyber-attack or natural event, such as an Electronic Magnetic Pulse solar flare? A United States electrical grid failure could destroy a number of the nation’s high voltage transformers causing widespread outages for several weeks, even months. A public health emergency could quickly ensue particularly among the vulnerable as the ripple effects cause significant societal disruption. The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) strategic plan encourages and empowers communities to prepare for the inevitable impacts of future disasters. How can communities prime for major events?

Confessions of a Chief Strategy Officer

Confessions of a Chief Strategy Officer

I’ll admit it, I was a little smug. After more than 20 years in the consulting business helping clients develop, implement, and integrate their strategies, I thought… “how hard could it be to do the same things for my own company – a company of consultants?” I had the commitment of my leadership, a group of talented people, and a plan and resources to grow the company. We had energy and we had a great process and tools to successful. What could go wrong?

Exploring Trends in Strategic Workforce Planning (Attract, Engage, and Retain)

Exploring Trends in Strategic Workforce Planning (Attract, Engage, and Retain)

Federal agencies have been undergoing significant transformation, requiring effective workforce strategies that can assist them in facing increasing challenges. As government leaders look for and implement initiatives to improve performance, Strategic Workforce Planning, (SWP) has become instrumental in assisting organizations to focus on their most important resource: their people

#Innovate Your Heart Out: We See an Innovation Day in Your Future

#Innovate Your Heart Out: We See an Innovation Day in Your Future

Innovation is difficult to harness for organizations of all sizes (Government and private sector alike). Replicating a process to encourage and produce innovation is even more challenging. Innovating in a structured space and time seems counter-intuitive, and begs the question: can thinking outside the box be a structured activity? Arc Aspicio recently held an Innovation Day to answer this question.

A Unified Brand Helps Serve a Complex Mission

A Unified Brand Helps Serve a Complex Mission

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), created in 2003, undertook the most significant reorganization of federal agencies since the Cold War. It brought together federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial agencies with a focus on securing the U.S. from threats in a collaborative way. DHS pulls together five complex mission areas: preventing terrorism and enhancing security; managing our borders; administering immigration laws; securing cyberspace; and ensuring disaster resilience.