Bridging Hometown and Homeland Security: The State Homeland Security Advisor

Bridging Hometown and Homeland Security: The State Homeland Security Advisor

This winter, fifteen states are swearing in new governors, bringing new leadership to the governors’ offices and their cabinets. Governors rarely campaign on homeland security issues. Yet, if a governor mismanages a disaster, it will be their only legacy.  Disasters can happen on day one of the job.

As commander-in-chief of their state, governors have flexibility in organizing their state’s homeland security enterprise. They appoint a state homeland security advisor (HSA) to serve as their state homeland security lead.

The HSA fills an important role in a national homeland security approach. Evolving from a simple point of contact for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) during a crisis, the HSA is a critical link between the state and Federal government for all homeland security activities—prepare, prevent, respond, and recover.

When disasters strike, strong homeland security leadership makes the difference between swift response and recovery or lingering disaster. The most effective HSAs have a strategic vision, homeland security or law enforcement experience, balance between their governor’s priorities and federal requirements, and budget authority over the state homeland security enterprise.

Setting Priorities: Governors also choose their HSA based on homeland security trends. After Hurricane Katrina, several governors began to name the state emergency manager as HSA to coordinate the response for “all hazards.” After recent active shooter incidents, other governors have focused on law enforcement or public safety officials as their HSA to make safe schools a priority.Vision and Experience: As a result of the governor’s discretion, HSAs can come from a myriad of backgrounds and executive experience. HSAs include Adjutants General of the state National Guard, Public Safety Commissioners, or state Emergency Managers. Sometimes they are a governor’s political advisor or Lieutenant Governor. A HSA may also have had experience in Federal government—such as former DHS or Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) personnel. Governors often choose and trust HSAs that have developed strong relationships with FEMA, and DHS, and local law enforcement and emergency services to assure federal and local collaboration and support.

Managing the Budget: Governors use their budget authority to focus state homeland priorities. Those priorities include the most likely risks their state may face during their term—such as flooding and weather related events. In some states, the HSA is the designed state administrative agent (SAA) to receive and manage grants from FEMA and DHS. HSAs invested with budget authority can swiftly align Federal grants with local priorities, identify overlaps, and focus the entire state homeland security enterprise on mission-critical needs.

Contributors

David Henry | David is an associate currently supporting information sharing solutions to improve intergovernmental relations, special event management, and operational support. At Arc Aspicio, David contributes to strategic initiatives, business development, recruiting, and external communications. David comes from a background in public health, strategic planning, and policy development and implementation, working with the US Department of Homeland Security, trade associations, and state governments across the country. He earned his M.P.A. in local government management from the Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs.

Reinventing Strategy

Reinventing Strategy

Since the GPRA Modernization Act in 2010, agencies across the Federal Government have raced to establish new Strategic Plans in response to incoming Presidential Administrations and agency leaders. Developing a new Strategic Plan is incredibly exciting for an agency. Leaders can redefine priorities, frontline managers can improve mission performance, and employees can better engage with the mission. Strategy, however, is so much more than just a Strategic Plan.

Running IT Like a Business: How Technology Business Management is Shaping the Future of Federal Agencies

Running IT Like a Business: How Technology Business Management is Shaping the Future of Federal Agencies

As the Government continually looks for ways to increase efficiency and encourage innovation, Information Technology (IT) is emerging as a solution to these needs. Recent Federal guidance mandates all agencies to adopt a new framework for better understanding IT costs. Technology Business Management (TBM) is a framework that incorporates IT departments into the overall business network, shifting away from treating IT as an independent unit. This provides a clear way to evaluate and manage IT, running IT as a business and communicating the value of new IT investments.

Behavioral Science – Using Behavioral Science to Effect Action

Behavioral Science – Using Behavioral Science to Effect Action

How do organizations encourage behavior change in their customers? Increasingly, they focus on customer experience, and as a consequence employ behavioral science methodologies. At the heart of behavioral science is the consideration of how an organization can make small investments that generate incremental savings/returns while considering both customers and organizational benefits. One example is Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) Pre✓® and U.C. Customs and Border Protection’s Global Entry programs.

Launching into #Action Through Strategy

Launching into #Action Through Strategy

As a new employee, your first company-wide meeting can make you nervous. This was how I felt.

Arc Aspicio’s recent Strategy Launch Day was so well planned and it involved participants so that I learned that I had nothing to worry about! The company treats each employee equally and equips even the newest joiners with the information and skills they need to have a meaningful experience

What Being a Consultant Means to Me

What Being a Consultant Means to Me

As a Consulting Associate at Arc Aspicio, I provide expertise and insight to help clients solve difficult problems. To be successful, a consultant does not need only to be a subject matter expert on their client’s industry and needs - though this often ends up happening over time.

Captivate Your Audience Through Design+Data

Captivate Your Audience Through Design+Data

So often, senior leaders must communicate their strategic and simple vision in a world of growing complexity. They must make decisions – and frequently explain them – based on an enterprise view of their data. It’s getting easier to do this these days through data visualizations and infographics that speak to specific employee and stakeholder audiences. Design+Data is what we call it at Arc Aspicio.

Chief Data Officers: Six Steps to Manage Data as an Enterprise Asset

Chief Data Officers: Six Steps to Manage Data as an Enterprise Asset

With an exponential increase in the types and quantities of data, organizations need defined strategies and techniques to manage data as an enterprise asset. To create enterprise-wide use of data, a Chief Data Officer (CDO) needs a clear data agenda for leadership and the whole organization to address current and future needs. CDOs should follow this six-part data plan to achieve short term capability gains and plot a path to greater enterprise data maturity.

Securing Cyberspace: Agile Strategy to Counter Changing Threats

Securing Cyberspace: Agile Strategy to Counter Changing Threats

Cybersecurity, managing and protecting computer systems from attacks, is evolving just as quickly as the techniques hackers use to cause damage. Historically, the public and private sectors believed that stronger technology and more advanced computer systems alone were enough to prevent attacks. As new trends emerge and the technologies used to both conduct and prevent hackings improve, cybersecurity strategies must remain agile, trying new tactics to counter changing threats.

Hacking Back – Do the Benefits Outweigh the Risks?

Hacking Back – Do the Benefits Outweigh the Risks?

With the increased frequency and sophistication of cyber-attacks worldwide, companies and executives are becoming frustrated with a traditional focus on defensive tactics. As a result, some private sector actors are taking a more active role in cybersecurity by “hacking back” – hacking against the very groups that are attacking their systems in retaliation or to retrieve stolen data. As hacking back rises in popularity, it is important to consider a number of political and legal issues and the risks to counter-terrorism efforts.