[Liveblog] "The Cavalry"
Noting the U.S. founding fathers' intent for an inefficient and confrontational form of government to prevent tyranny (something Under Secretary Cohen tells the Hill, and the Hill tells him), he said that DHS is five years old -- and implored us to compare to the maturity of our own five-year-old kids or grandkids. He went on to note that Goldwater-Nichols (the landmark act that united the armed forces of the U.S. military into a joint force) is 23, and we're still not wearing purple uniforms.
The graphic above shows the escalating challenges of a major crisis: from the local sheriff to county police, state troopers, National Guard, federalized National Guard, to the "cavalry": U.S. Northern Command. As local First Responders are overwhelmed, the next higher tier has to provide relief.
NORTHCOM is Cohen's "executive agent" for experimentation, and said that "NORTHCOM is for DHS what U.S. Joint Forces Command is for the Dept of Defense." This is an interesting parallel, because there were some of us on the USJFCOM staff (after 9/11, when we lost the geographic area of responsibility to focus on force providing, training, integrating and experimenting) who believed that NORTHCOM was the ideal command to assume the "Force Provider" role.
During my first visit a few years ago to Peterson AFB in Colorado Springs, headquarters of NORTHCOM, I was amused to see the logos of NORTHCOM's service components -- the commands that train, equip and provide the soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines to the Combatant Commander for joint missions. The logos were for Forces Command (Army), Fleet Forces Command (Navy), Air Combat Command (USAF), and Marine Corps Forces-Atlantic (USMC).The irony? Those are the very same component commands under USJFCOM. So if NORTHCOM is to DHS as USJFCOM is to DoD, then how does the President reconcile two of his Cabinet departments if both DoD and DHS have competing needs -- and the same jar of force structure to draw from?