The Power of Proper Negotiation to the Homeland Security Mission
A refugee crisis on the heels of war. A sudden diaspora in response to a spreading disease. A natural disaster displacing thousands of international citizens.
These are three very real scenarios that the United States government and the international community have had to face in the past year alone, and three cases that make negotiating across ethnic lines that much more important to the homeland security mission. In times of crisis, disagreements are inevitable, but knowing how to properly address them in creating a plan of action can mean the difference between coming to a mutual agreement or severing a working relationship.
One of the most difficult obstacles in the negotiation process can be working with stakeholders that have conflicting values and backgrounds, which we often see during international emergencies like the ones described above. For the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and its employees, responding to and addressing the after effects of such crises can be a crucial part of the job. Customs and immigration officers must safeguard and streamline lawful entry into the U.S. as part of DHS’ five core missions. Immigration specialists administer and enforce U.S. immigration laws and review applications.
Establishing a plan of action with other nations and handling international migrants in situations such as these can put a lot of pressure on DHS employees to prepare for inevitable disagreements with international diplomats, bureaucrats, and displaced citizens. In preparing for conflict mediation sessions which may address sensitive beliefs, DHS can consider several important steps:
* Understand where the conflict stems from
* Prepare for counterarguments by truly applying this knowledge
* Address and interpret the mutual relationship at the forefront
* Don’t make empty promises or concessions
* Break down cultural and value differences at play
* Outline negotiation boundaries at the onset and clearly define repercussions of crossing them
A truly successful cross-cultural debate can only be achieved through careful facilitation and preparation. Parties involved cannot simply argue over values and beliefs, they must recognize each other’s personal interests to reach agreement.