Calhoun: The NPS Institutional Archive
Theses and Dissertations
1. Thesis and Dissertation Collection, all items
Critical accountability : preventing and
interdicting terrorist activity in the U.S. by
effectively utilizing state and local law enforcement
Squires, Keith D.
Monterey, California. Naval Postgraduate School
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CRITICAL ACCOUNTABILITY: PREVENTING AND
INTERDICTING TERRORIST ACTIVITY IN THE U.S. BY
EFFECTIVELY UTILIZING STATE AND LOCAL LAW
Keith D. Squires
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2. REPORT DATE 3. REPORT TYPE AND DATES COVERED
March 2009 Master’s Thesis
4. TITLE AND SUBTITLE Critical Accountability: Preventing and Interdicting 5. FUNDING NUMBERS
Terrorist Activity in the U.S. By Effectively Utilizing State and Local Law
6. AUTHOR(S) Keith D. Squires _
7. PERFORMING ORGANIZATION NAME(S) AND ADDRESS(ES) 8. PERFORMING ORGANIZATION
Naval Postgraduate School REPORT NUMBER
Monterey, CA 93943-5000
9. SPONSORING /MONITORING AGENCY NAME(S) AND ADDRESS(ES) 10. SPONSORING/MONITORING
N/A AGENCY REPORT NUMBER
11. SUPPLEMENTARY NOTES The views expressed in this thesis are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy
or position of the Department of Defense or the U.S. government.
13. ABSTRACT (maximum 200 words)
The events of 9-11 illustrated to U.S. government and law enforcement agencies the critical need for
definitive, cooperative and accountable gathering and sharing of intelligence for terrorist interdiction/prevention.
Despite billions spent annually for this endeavor, huge gaps in communication sharing and accountability remain.
This thesis illustrates the realities of these current issues facing homeland security, and proposes a conceptual model:
Homeland Security Regional Cooperation Areas (HSRCAs), based on proven, cooperative, drug-interdiction model
programs that effectively utilize resources, training, and establish inter-agency cooperation and accountability. Soft
Systems Methodology was used to study current realities and generate solutions for human factors, which have
previously created the challenges in agency and program integration. The HSRCA model proposes specific
performance management processes, as well as governance by administrative members (responsible for daily state
and local law enforcement operations throughout the country). Such administrators placed in a collaborative
environment are able to implement effective programs while satisfying federal objectives, within budget. HSRCAs
will utilize state resources and existing fusion centers for shared regional communication, critical infrastructure
protection and widespread training. These activities-easily incorporated into daily activities of law enforcement
officers—empowers them with critical tools and information to interdict and defeat terrorist activities.
16. PRICE CODE
NSN 7540-01 -280-5500 Standard Form 298 (Rev. 2-89)
Prescribed by ANSI Std. 239-18
20. LIMITATION OF
15. NUMBER OF
14. SUBJECT TERMS homeland security; state, local, law enforcement, information sharing, and
CLASSIFICATION OF THIS
12b. DISTRIBUTION CODE
12a. DISTRIBUTION / AVAILABILITY STATEMENT
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Approved for public release; distribution is unlimited
PREVENTING AND INTERDICTING TERRORIST ACTIVITY IN THE U.S. BY
EFFECTIVELY UTILIZING STATE AND LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT
Keith D. Squires
Colonel, Deputy Commissioner Utah Department of Public Safety,
Director of Homeland Security
B.A., Columbia College of Missouri (2006)
Submitted in partial fulfillment of the
requirements for the degree of
MASTER OF ARTS IN SECURITY STUDIES
(HOMELAND SECURITY AND DEFENSE)
NAVAL POSTGRADUATE SCHOOL
Author: Keith D. Squires
Approved by: Richard Bergin
Christopher Bellavita, PhD
Harold A. Trinkunas, PhD
Chairman, Department of National Security Affairs
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The events of 9-11 illustrated to U.S. government and law enforcement agencies the critical need
for definitive, cooperative and accountable gathering and sharing of intelligence for terrorist
interdiction/prevention. Despite billions spent annually for this endeavor, huge gaps in communication
sharing and accountability remain. This thesis illustrates the realities of these current issues facing
homeland security, and proposes a conceptual model: Homeland Security Regional Cooperation Areas
(HSRCAs), based on proven, cooperative, drug-interdiction model programs that effectively utilize
resources, training, and establish inter-agency cooperation and accountability. Soft Systems Methodology
was used to study current realities and generate solutions for human factors, which have previously created
the challenges in agency and program integration. The HSRCA model proposes specific performance
management processes, as well as governance by administrative members (responsible for daily state and
local law enforcement operations throughout the country). Such administrators placed in a collaborative
environment are able to implement effective programs while satisfying federal objectives, within budget.
HSRCAs will utilize state resources and existing fusion centers for shared regional communication, critical
infrastructure protection and widespread training. These activities—easily incorporated into daily activities
of law enforcement officers—empowers them with critical tools and information to interdict and defeat
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
1. Is It Working? Tough Answers to Tough Questions.1
2. The Difficulty in Finding a Best Practice.2
3. Critical Lessons, Critical Awareness, Critical Sharing.4
4. Background of Problem.7
B. BREAKING DOWN BRICK WALLS TO CREATE A TRUE,
1. Fusion Centers Create Opportunities for Intelligence Led
2. Need for Enhancing TSC and NCIC Application—and Top-
3. Clearer Communication Necessary to Facilitate Interdiction of
4. ‘Attitude Reflects Leadership’ - Overcoming a Lack of Trust.12
5. Transitioning from ‘Us Verses Them’ to Cooperative Policing ....13
6. Funding Issues, Areas of Control and Consistency.13
7. Current Focus of HLS Creating Gaps in Interdiction and
Protection from Threat.15
8. Funding Top-Down Instead of Bottom-Up Misses the Point.16
9. Creating an Effective Web of Counter-Terrorism Must Involve
10. Technology Supporting Intelligence Gathering.18
11. Connecting the Dots and Eliminating the Waste of Duplication...18
12. Homeland Security-Specific Training Needs.19
13. Following a Proven Model for Clear Change, Consistency and
II. LITERATURE REVIEW.23
A. IMPROVEMENTS IN HOMELAND SECURITY.23
1. Research: The First Step to Change.23
2. Effective National Strategies Must be Outlined before Truly
Effective National Action can be Taken.25
1. Defining, Prescribing and Utilizing State and Local Resources ....27
B. SOFT SYSTEMS MANAGEMENT.28
1. Win-Win: SSM can Portray the Complexities of Effective
2. Choice of Design in Complex Human Situations—What will
3. Understanding the Full Nature of the Challenge: People and
IV. ROCKY MOUNTAIN HIGH INTENSITY DRUG TRAFFICKING AREA
A. THE HIGH INTENSITY DRUG TRAFFICKING AREA (HIDTA)
B. A MAJOR REASON FOR SUCCESS: PERFORMANCE
C. A SPECIFIC PROGRAM FOR STUDY: ROCKY MOUNTAIN
1. RMHIDTA Organizational Design.41
a. Strategic Mission and Objectives . 41
b. Communication Lines of Authority . 42
2. RMHIDTA Operational Design.43
3. Data Gathering.43
4. Information and Intelligence Sharing.44
5. Accountability—Performance & Resource Management.46
V. THE ROCKY MOUNTAIN HIGHWAY PATROL NETWORK.51
A. STRUCTURE AND DESIGN.51
1. RMHPN Organizational Design.51
a. Strategic Mission and Objectives . 51
2. RMHN Operational Design.52
3. Data Gathering.52
4. Information and Intelligence Sharing.53
5. Accountability—Performance and Resource Management.54
B. A PROVEN PROGRAM, A PROVEN STRATEGY.55
VI. HRSCA: CONCEPTUAL HOMELAND SECURITY MODEL.57
A. NATIONAL CONSIDERATIONS.57
1. Getting Real with Funding Issues and Effective Solutions.58
2. Creating Win-Win Communication Through Win-Win
Programs and Nationally Consistent Priorities.58
3. Inter-Agency Cooperation on all Levels is Paramount.60
4. First Things First: Coming Together.62
5. Remembering the Vital Importance of Training Consistency &
B. CONCEPTUAL NATIONAL MODEL.63
C. BUILDING A STRONG CONCEPTUAL REGIONAL MODEL.68
1. The Executive Board.68
2. True, Effective Interagency Relationships and Communication ..69
3. The Budget Process.70
D. REGIONAL DIRECTORS.71
E. INITIATIVES / TASK FORCES.72
F. INFORMATION SHARING AND INTELLIGENCE.74
1. Establishing Intelligence Priorities.74
G. THE POWER OF CONSISTENCY AND LEVERAGE.75
H. SIDE-BY-SIDE COMPARISONS OF PROGRAM
VII. SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS.83
A. RECOMMENDATIONS FOR IMPLEMENTATION.86
LIST OF REFERENCES.89
INITIAL DISTRIBUTION LIST.93
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LIST OF FIGURES
Figure 1. Soft Systems vs. Hard Systems.30
Figure 2. Soft Systems Methodology.33
Figure 3. SSM Investigation.35
Figure 4. High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA).38
Figure 5. Map of Rocky Mountain HIDTA (RMHIDTA).41
Figure 6. HSRCA Proposed Organizational Chart.65
Figure 7. HSRCA Budget Cycle.71
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LIST OF TABLES
Table 1. Narcotics Interdiction.56
Table 2. Compared Programs.77
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LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS AND ACRONYMS
Department of Homeland Security
Drug Trafficking Organizations
Driving Under the Influence
El Paso Intelligence Center
Federal Bureau of Investigations
Federal Emergency Management Agency
High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area
Homeland Security Regional Cooperation Area
Investigative Support Center
Information Sharing Environment
Intelligence Led Policing
Joint Terrorism Task Force
National Crime Information Center
National Drug Intelligence Center
Office of National Drug Control Policy
Performance Management Process
Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area
Statewide Information and Analysis Center
Soft System Methodology
The FBI’s Terrorist Screening Center
Urban Area Security Initiatives
Utah Criminal Information Center
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Completing the coursework at NPS and writing this thesis has been an incredible
learning experience, and its primary value and significance in my life has only been
possible through the unwavering support of my family, friends, and co-workers. First and
foremost, my heartfelt thanks goes to my wife, Keryl, for taking special care of our
family when work and school kept me from being readily available. She has always
encouraged me to pursue my education and career. Without her, my successes would not
be possible. To my children: Konlin, Brandon, Hilary, Heather, and Desiree; my
grandchildren and my son-in-laws—thank you for your patience and support during this
extensive coursework. Your love gives me great strength. To my dad, who has always
inspired me with his professionalism and dedication to public service. Your regular notes
of encouragement throughout this process have meant the world. I deeply appreciate my
mom’s thoughtfulness and that she still worries about whether I’m eating right and
getting enough sleep. Thanks to Bridget, for her great coaching and talented assistance.
And to Commissioner Duncan, who has been a great mentor throughout my career. You
have always encouraged me to further my education and given me great counsel and
support throughout the process. May I say that your leadership is unmatched. Lastly, to
Dr. Bellavita, Professor Bergin and the incredible staff at NPS, you have all provided
exceptional leadership and a caring facilitation of the student’s work that distinguishes
our Center for Homeland Defense and Security as a premier contributor to the national
effort in keeping our country and communities as safe and secure as possible. To
everyone I’ve mentioned and others, I can’t thank you enough!
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1. Is It Working? Tough Answers to Tough Questions
The question in homeland security today is not if it is needed, but is it effectively
working? Despite the intention of the millions of dollars being spent, accountability is
lacking and finding best practices for nationwide implementation has been grueling at
best. Serious issues are currently affecting the success of homeland security. Past and
current critical situations illustrate the information gaps that continue to exist and why.
Some pervasive issues include brick walls of interagency mistrust; funding challenges;
serious national inconsistency in the day-to-day operations of all officers and detectives;
technological gaps and overall lack of effective, widespread homeland security training.
This overall lack of consistency and ineffective accountability measures still leaves the
nation at significant risk.
The expressed mission of state and local public safety agencies is to provide a
safe and secure environment for all people within their areas of responsibility. Homeland
security is supposed to work hand-in-hand with this mission. Still, the fact remains that
open communication, intelligence sharing, and cooperation between all agencies to
interdict and disrupt terrorist activity is below par, and accountability is haphazard. Since
the attacks of September 11, 2001, an enormous amount of money, time, and other
resources have been applied to enhancing the homeland security and communication
capabilities of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies throughout the country.
Time and again, the question arises: Can portions of this multi-billion dollar
funding be applied differently to increase the effectiveness and accountability of state and
local law enforcement efforts in homeland security? As recently as March of 2008,
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator David Paulison
addressed the House Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee, which was
inquiring as to how homeland security grant funding has been spent by state and local
governments since 2002. In a subsequent interview he stated, “We’ve put out $23.7
billion worth of grants and so far nobody’s done an assessment of what kind of an impact
is it having. Is it working or not?” 1 This absolute lack of an assessment clearly indicates
how imperative it is to look for new ways to improve effectiveness and discover an
effective fonn of accountability or measurement as to how this funding is utilized.
2. The Difficulty in Finding a Best Practice
With the multitude of individual police agencies throughout the United States, it
is a daunting task to find ‘a best practice’ for interconnecting all law enforcement
resources. Still, the threats that the nation has faced in national security illustrates that
cooperation and clear communication must be effectively put into place for no less than
the safety of the nation. To date, efforts from federal homeland security grant guidelines
have failed to create circumstances that consistently develop into effective infonnation
sharing between federal, state and local agencies. Although regionalization has been
emphasized, interagency collaboration between state and local law enforcement officers
is usually limited to the Joint Terrorism Task Forces operating in mostly metropolitan
areas. Accountability, for the effectiveness of federally funded state and local homeland
security programs is a concern for Congress. 2
An even more critical situation to address is that most state, local, and tribal
agencies are minimally involved, as will be illustrated further. For example, when
specialized homeland security units are implemented, they can be proficient in terrorist
prevention and interdiction, yet it is important to note that a dangerous side-effect can
occur on a department-wide level: it can ‘relieve ’ the rest of a police agency from having
homeland security responsibility or interest. The cultural attitude can develop is that
national security measures are already being handled elsewhere, so that with all of the
daily demands on patrol officers and detectives, homeland security may seriously fall
down on a list of their priorities.
1 Chris Strohm, “Homeland Security—House Appropriators Urge Department to see if Grants are
Improving Security,” Congress Daily (March 12, 2008),
http://www.nationaljournal.com/congressdaily/am_20080312_2.php? (accessed March, 28, 2008).
This brings up the issue of consistent involvement across the board. While some
law enforcement agencies have specialized public infonnation and education divisions,
others have patrol officers who contribute to this function as part of their regular
responsibilities. The latter may help develop an appreciative sense by all officers for the
value of effectively informing citizens on key public safety issues. The role and
responsibility to be involved in homeland security efforts absolutely depends on a
broader base of state, local and tribal law enforcement officers having an understanding
and appreciation for the elements of homeland security, as well as the direction these
officers are given from their leadership and how their specific agency’s homeland
security approach is organized. A patrol officer may be less concerned with issues of
homeland security if it is felt that his or her agency’s specialized unit is handling those
matters. This can lead to disconnected communication on issues that would normally
alert regular law enforcement to terrorist activity.
State and local law enforcement agencies must make better, more consistent
efforts to be engaged in counterterrorism efforts. It is through local and state police
officers that terrorist activity will be detected, interdicted and defeated. To include patrol
officers and detectives in homeland security training and infonnation sharing, along with
their regular responsibilities, will dramatically improve homeland security participation
in a synergistic manner. This in turn will increase opportunities to connecting, collecting
and sharing critical, relevant infonnation relating to terrorist activities. Having an
effective information sharing capability between local and state agencies and with their
federal partners is critical for achieving real success in protecting the nation at its base
level communities from tenorist threats.
This thesis examines the impediments that state, local and tribal law enforcement
agencies face in becoming regularly involved on a day-to-day basis in homeland security.
(For the purpose of this thesis, the identification of state and local agencies shall include
tribal law enforcement and any other non-federal law enforcement agencies.) It examines
how some applications are applied to other local and national issues, such as drug
interdiction, and explore whether the communication, collaboration and accountability
concepts applied to them are suitable for similarly designing a homeland security method
with real potential for accountability and interdiction success. This thesis also proposes a
set of powerful concepts and ideas of proven, best-practices that can be designed to
utilize much of the state and local law enforcement resources to more effectively
contribute in a coordinated national counter-terrorism effort.
Mathew Bettenhausen, the California Director of Homeland Security, gave
testimony in 2008 before the House Homeland Security Committee, Subcommittee on
Intelligence, Infonnation Sharing and Terrorism Risk Assessment. He stated:
Prior to 9/11, State and locals were all too often an afterthought in
counterterrorism efforts. This has proven to be a hard mindset to change.
Many of our federal partners underestimate the unique capabilities of State
and local public safety agencies. There has been progress on bringing
locals into the counterterrorism effort, but we are not there yet. For this
reason, I take every opportunity to remind my federal partners that, as
counterterrorism efforts evolve, we must work with our first preventers to
uncover the recruitment, fundraising (money-laundering), networking and
operational planning of Islamic extremists in the United States. 3
3. Critical Lessons, Critical Awareness, Critical Sharing
In order to examine the serious problems that interfere with successful state and
local law enforcement participation in the national homeland security mission, one
benefits from examining noted examples related to the critical importance that these
officers play in the day-to-day duties of counter-terrorism. It is important that state and
local law enforcement play a key role in countering terrorism. The Oklahoma City
bombing was a wake-up call for all agencies involved in interdicting terrorist activity
throughout the nation.
At 9:02 AM on April 19, 1995, a domestic terrorist named Timothy McVeigh
detonated a truck bomb in front of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma
City, Oklahoma killing 168 men, women and children. Trooper Charlie Hanger of the
3 Mathew Bettenhausen, “Moving Beyond the First Five Years: Evolving the Office of Intelligence
and Analysis to Better Serve, State, Local, and Tribal Needs,” (testimony before the Flouse Flomeland
Security Committee Subcommittee on Intelligence, Information Sharing, and Terrorism Risk Assessment:
California Office of Homeland Security, Washington, D.C., April 24, 2008), 2, Committee of Homeland
Security, http://homeland.house.gov/SiteDocuments/20080424101901-92489.pdf (accessed March 30,
Oklahoma State Patrol subsequently arrested Timothy McVeigh during a routine traffic
stop. McVeigh was tried, convicted and executed as a result. 4 Since this event, state and
local law enforcement agencies have better realized the importance of their potential in
preventing acts of terrorism. A great deal of planning and preparation went into
McVeigh’s terrorist act. The goal must be for state and local officers to be better educated
and informed so that they may detect elements of terrorist activity before such acts can be
This incident helps illustrate the realistic potential that state and local law
enforcement officers can play in the pursuit of detecting and preventing terrorist acts
within the United States. For example, it was not widely appreciated in law enforcement
prior to the 1995 bombing that the U.S. had threats of terrorism from within its borders.
Consider the hypothetical scenario that has a state trooper stop McVeigh prior to setting
the bomb. What if there had been an established network of state and local police officers
who aggressively pursued criminal activity and shared potential criminal and terrorist
related information within their state, region and across the country in an effective and
There were acts and communications that could have cued officers to McVeigh’s
criminal and terrorist potential. Having such information readily available to a patrol-
level officer or detective is vital to increasing their potential of interdicting terrorist
activity on a fundamental level. However, intelligence sharing in federal databases is
often kept too confidential. Programs and systems designed with a federal perspective are
not as likely to effectively address a local problem as those that allow for local
conception and execution. The country has not yet achieved consistent state and local
levels of homeland security awareness that increases the likelihood of interdicting an
actor like McVeigh prior to a terrorist event.
4 Oklahoma City National Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism, Oklahoma City: Seven
Years Later-Lessons for Other Communities (Oklahoma City: Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism
2002) http://www.terrorisminfo.mipt.org/pdf/MIPT-OKC7YearsLater.pdf (accessed March 30, 2009).
What can be learned from this example and countless others is that infonnation
sharing must go both ways. There is a need for two-way counter-terrorist information
sharing between agencies.
Local agencies must be able to submit information in a climate that supports
interdiction, but will not interfere with sensitive cases. Despite the advent of fusion
centers, vast amounts of criminal information still fails to be submitted to these facilities
from local, state and federal law enforcement agencies and officers. Without this regular
and all-encompassing flow of infonnation, the likelihood of successful homeland security
and criminal interdiction is greatly diminished.
State and local law enforcement agencies are effectively engaged in the day-to-
day mission of responding to incidents of criminal activity, investigating the crimes and
anesting the perpetrators. The job is both reactionary and proactive. The number of
arrests can be a measure of success in both realms. If a specific crime rate is down, it can
be reflective of aggressive, proactive law enforcement efforts. Sir Robert Peel, “the father
of modern policing” stated in his nine principles of modern policing: “The test of police
efficiency is the absence of crime and disorder, not the visible evidence of police action
in dealing with it.” 5
The police mission and profession have evolved over centuries of civilized human
development. Modern police agencies are primarily well-equipped with highly-trained
personnel who are dedicated to making their communities and geographic areas of
responsibility safer. Adding equipment to protect facilities and mass gathering events
must not be the most significant measure of how law enforcement agencies are
addressing homeland security at the state and local levels. Since 9/11, much of the
homeland security grant funding has gone towards material things. Having a homeland
security component incorporated into the everyday duties of officers in the field can be
and should be a part of the professional evolution of modern police services. It is through
state and local officers having understanding of the problem and their coordinated
efficiency that acts of terrorism will be thwarted. An important note: program
5 Magna Carta Plus, The Nine Principles by Sir Robert Peel, Magna Carta Plus, (November 20020)
http://www.magnacartaplus.org/briefmgs/nine_police_principles.htm (accessed July 26, 2008).
administrators must be careful in their processes so that the law enforcement efforts
applied to homeland security are not overly measured by how much equipment and
personnel are deployed. Homeland security success can also be measured by
how police agencies share information and cooperatively target resources for prevention
and by the absence of terrorist activity that results.
4. Background of Problem
Incorporating the homeland security mission into the regular responsibilities of
state and local law enforcement agencies involves several considerations that should all
be deliberated on:
• Unique Systems —Each agency has its own unique systems based upon history,
development, goals, and its reaction to and preventing local crime.
• Behaviors —Based upon systems in place, the behavior of officers at the lower levels
have to reflect the departments’ unique goals and needs.
• Trust —History of communication and trust (or lack thereof) with other agencies,
especially federal, has a huge effect on information sharing.
• Numbers of Personnel Assigned —Taking into consideration the already
burdensome reality of paperwork and accountability in everyday law enforcement
• Related Costs —Technology, manpower, time, coordination and training must all be
• Real and Perceived Threats in Specific Jurisdictions —-New York City, New York
verses Coure’de’laine, Idaho verses any small, medium or large town, USA. Every
area in the country has its own real and perceived threats and its unique part to play in
combating terrorism. No area is more important, nor should any areas be overlooked.
To create a blanket approach that will work the same in any given area of the
country is not realistic. Each local jurisdiction, state and region of the country has
circumstances and professional cultures that have developed. Agencies will always have
some problems and tactics in common, but administrative relationships and interactive
practices may be somewhat varied. Allowing agencies to participate in the identification
of local threats and designing the best method of applying their resources to a national
effort may increase the level of effective homeland security participation and
Especially since the terrorist events of September 11, 2001, federal, state and
local police jurisdictions have struggled to play a meaningful role in the added mission of
homeland security. Despite billions of federal dollars being spent on increased police
involvement in homeland security, overall only a small portion of police services are
applied to the effort. Homeland security remains a nebulous concept to most street and
command-level police officers. The majority of homeland security prevention programs
and systems have been developed and directed by federal agencies. Federal agencies will
always play a critical role in homeland security investigations and are very effective at
gathering and coordinating national homeland security intelligence and other related
information. Their emphasis in connecting domestic terrorist activity to its foreign ties is
imperative to a successful intelligence database and an overall homeland security law
enforcement network. The current areas of weakness involve the continued failure of
providing important infonnation to field-level law enforcement officers and vice versa.
Field-level officers are not largely nor routinely feeding potential homeland security
information to databases that can screen for terrorist connections to their investigations.
Additionally, these officers are not routinely checking criminal suspects against such
databases. Most state and local police officers have had little or no training in this area—
training that must be specifically designed to help them recognize potential elements of
terrorist activity and to understand the significance of shared information and intelligence
in the national homeland security mission. Intelligence dots are out there, but they are
simply not being connected.
B. BREAKING DOWN BRICK WALLS TO CREATE A TRUE, NATIONAL
On July 16, 2002, President George W. Bush wrote in his opening letter
describing the National Strategy for Homeland Security: “This is a national strategy, not
a federal strategy.” 6 The truth is, however, that most state and local police officers rarely
interact with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Federal Bureau of
Investigation (FBI). While the existing federally-driven method of structuring homeland
6 Office of Homeland Security, National Strategy’ for Homeland Security, Letter to the American
People, Office of Homeland Security (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 2002), 5.
security has been worthy in many ways, it has continued to fail in producing the level of
interagency cooperation and information sharing that is necessary to effectively utilize
the nationwide police resources that are available for homeland security purposes. In
contrast, local police and sheriff agencies have learned to interact with state law
enforcement services on a regular basis as part of their normal duties. State police
agencies often interact with each other on regional and national projects and their
coordinated efforts can be extremely effective. Creating a homeland security network
model for state and local police has the potential to create an interior web of policing and
information sharing throughout the United States that would greatly reduce the ability for
individual terrorists and terrorist cells to operate undetected.
Recently, Representative Bennie G. Thompson of Mississippi, the Chainnan of
the House Homeland Security Committee stated:
The 9/11 Act was clear. Homeland security doesn’t happen just in
Washington, D.C. Preventing the next terrorist attack requires new and
strong partnerships with state, local, and tribal leaders, especially in law
enforcement. Put simply, our police and sheriffs’ officers in the course of
their crime-fighting duties are in the best position to stop a terrorist plot in
its tracks. If we don’t have a Department or an intelligence office that
knows how to meet their needs, we’re failing. 7
The use of Intelligence Led Policing (ILP) is paramount to national, state and
local homeland security success. ILP should be synonymous with homeland security at
the state and local police levels. According to the New Jersey State Police:
The key to ILP is to answer the need for targeted resource allocation to
combat crime, terrorism and other law enforcement issues through
improved, situational awareness. For the trooper on the road, this requires
feeding information into intelligence databases and receiving intelligence
to assist patrol operations. At the detective and analysts’ level, it refers to
the broader understanding of issues that affect state policing throughout
the state. 8
7 Bennie G. Thompson, “Moving Beyond the First Five Years: Evolving the Office of Intelligence and
Analysis to Better Serve, State, Local, and Tribal Needs,” (testimony before the Floiise Flomeland Security
Committee Subcommittee on Intelligence, Information Sharing, and Terrorism Risk Assessment: California
Office of Homeland Security, Washington, D.C., April 24, 2008), Committee on Homeland Security,
http://homeland.house.gov/SiteDocuments/20080424102123-27335.pdf (accessed March 30, 2009).
8 New Jersey State Police, Practical Guide to Intelligence Led Policing (New York, NY: Manhattan
Institute for Policy Research, 2006), Center for Policing Terrorism, http://www.cpt-
mi.org/pdf/NJPoliceGuide.pdf (accessed March 30, 2009).
ILP also provides for more effective policing, information sharing and improved
communication and coordination of efforts within neighboring states. 9 From a law
enforcement administrative standpoint, ILP provides the senior law enforcement agency’s
leadership with improved awareness of events and activity that affect the broader scope
of all police activities.
1. Fusion Centers Create Opportunities for Intelligence Led Policing
In examining the importance of infonnation sharing, the proliferation of fusion
centers around the country promises to provide greater opportunity for more agencies to
participate. The primary function of fusion centers is to fuse together key resources from
local, state, federal agencies and critical, infrastructure-related private industries. First
Sergeant Lee Miller of the Virginia State Police oversees the operation of the Virginia
Fusion Center. He states:
In order to be a true intelligence led policing model, local, state and
federal analysts must be able to see all infonnation and intelligence. If
analysts are provided only a couple pieces of the puzzle, we will never be
able to see the overall picture. Local, state, tribal and federal agencies as
well as private industry have individual pieces, and we must have an
information technology mechanism as well as trusted relationships to put
these pieces together. 10
First, Sgt. Miller also points out that local and state intelligence professionals
must be given the same opportunity as their federal counterparts regarding the access to
classified information systems. 11 Only by opening the doors to complete two-way
information and intelligence sharing will true homeland security effectiveness take place.
From an overall perspective, it makes more sense to provide a means for the nation’s law
9 New Jersey State Police, Practical Guide to Intelligence Led Policing, 4.
10 Lee Miller, “Homeland Security Information Network: Moving Past the Missteps Toward Better
Information Sharing: Testimony of First Sergeant Lee Miller, Virginia State Police” (testimony for the
United States House of Representatives Committee on Homeland Security, Subcommittee on Intelligence,
Information Sharing, and Terrorism Risk Assessment, Washington, D.C., May 10, 2007), 2, Committee on
Homeland Security, http://homeland.house.gov/SiteDocuments/20070510132259-40476.pdf (accessed
March 30, 2009).
11 Ibid., 3.
enforcement professionals to be alerted to who the terrorists are and where they are
suspected to be operating, than to be overly cautious in protecting information for fear
that a few might be alerted. The benefits on interdicting terrorist activity in process
should truly far outweigh other consequences. Depending on federal authorities to
identify and monitor every potential domestic and international terrorist threat in the U.S.
2. Need for Enhancing TSC and NCIC Application—and Top-Down
The FBI’s Terrorist Screening Center (TSC) began operations in 2003. It was
created to ensure that government investigators, screeners, agents and state and local law
enforcement officers have ready access to the information and expertise they need to
respond quickly when a suspected terrorist is screened or stopped. TSCs are designed to
consolidate access to terrorist watch lists from multiple agencies and provide 24/7
operational support for thousands of federal, state and local law enforcement officers
across the country. 12
From a state and local perspective, this system has great potential, but could be
greatly enhanced for ideal working situations. Currently, time delays in receiving
information from the TSC can be deeply problematic. Officers are only legally permitted
to detain individuals for a reasonable amount of time during a traffic stop. If a state or
local officer encounters a subject who is on a terrorist watch list, the National Crime
Information Center (NCIC) will have only a flag on an individual’s information. The
NCIC is given an alert for the officer to contact the TSC. Once contacted, the TSC has
various steps that must be taken and separate checks that must be handed off from one
individual to another. This may result in long delays. Additionally, the TSC will only
provide unclassified information. The street officer may be jeopardized by unclear
communications from the TSC based on what they are able to communicate.
12 Donna A. Bucella, “Statement of Donna A. Bucella to the National Commission on Terrorist
Attacks Upon the United States, January 26, 2004,” National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the
United States, http://www.9-llcommission.gov/hearings/hearing7/witness_bucella.htm (accessed March
Clearer Communication Necessary to Facilitate Interdiction of
A recent example illustrating the critical need for trust between federal and local
agencies involved a Utah Highway Patrol trooper making a traffic stop on an individual
who was traveling through the state. The trooper ran the normal law enforcement checks
on the individual. Sometime after the trooper had released the subject, he was contacted
by the FBI to be debriefed. The resulting information provided by the trooper led to the
issuance of a federal arrest warrant for the subject on a firearm violation. 13 No specific
details of the FBI’s additional interest in the subject were communicated to the trooper or
his agency except for an informal mention of a possible homeland security interest. The
trooper’s original traffic stop led to the high-profile search of a Muslim mosque in an
eastern state. 14 This serves as an example of a missed opportunity to quickly and
effectively communicate information back to the state and local agencies that could assist
their officers in being better able to detect future subjects who may have a homeland
security nexus. As discussed previously in reference to the Oklahoma City bombing by
Timothy McVeigh, were there specific indicators available that would alert an officer to
investigate further? It is important to clarify that this does not mean that the state and
local agencies always need investigation details of a sensitive or classified nature.
However, providing information to the agencies related to specific threats and potential
identifiers of terrorist activity will increase the possible interdiction opportunities in
future contacts. State and local officers must be informed and trained if they are going to
be alert to similar situations.
4. ‘Attitude Reflects Leadership’—Overcoming a Lack of Trust
A reverse example of the lack of trust in infonnation sharing between local, state
and federal agencies involves the Utah Criminal Information Center (UCIC). In 2003,
command officers from the UCIC traveled throughout Utah meeting with police chiefs,
13 Author’s personal knowledge and involvement as a commander with the Utah Department of Public
14 Pittsburg-Post Gazette, “Ex-Con Guilty in Gun Case,” (April 3, 2004), http://www.post-
gazette.com/pg/07093/774749-53.stm (accessed August 4, 2008).
sheriffs, commanders and other law enforcement officers. They made presentations
regarding the resources available to local agencies if they would be willing to participate
by providing information to the UCIC. The UCIC commanders explained that by
providing criminal investigative information to the center, it would be entered into the
FBI’s databases. Despite the promotion of the UCIC services, local law enforcement
agencies failed to participate to any significant degree. A common concern given by
representatives of the local agencies involved their perception that investigative case
information could be compromised, and that they would receive little infonnation in
return due to federal restrictions. The effort may have been better received if it had been
presented as a multi-agency resource, designed to bring about federal state and local
5. Transitioning from ‘Us Verses Them’ to Cooperative Policing
In March of 2008, the UCIC began transitioning from a unit that primarily served
federal investigations to a state fusion center designed to provide services to all law
enforcement agencies. Its name has been changed to the Utah Statewide Infonnation and
Analysis Center (SIAC), and it is being moved from its co-housed location at the FBI
building to a Utah Department of Public Safety facility. Through this transition, most of
the local police and sheriff agencies have committed to participating with the center and
sharing infonnation. The FBI will remain a great partner and supply personnel to the new
center, but it is important to note that with these changes the level of interagency trust
and cooperation with information sharing is greatly increasing. 15
6. Funding Issues, Areas of Control and Consistency
The Domestic Counterterrorism portion of the National Strategy for Homeland
The attacks of September 11 and the catastrophic loss of life and property
that resulted have redefined the mission of federal, state, and local law
enforcement authorities. While law enforcement agencies will continue to
15 Author’s personal knowledge and involvement overseeing the development of the Utah Statewide
Information and Analysis Center.
investigate and prosecute criminal activity, they should now assign
priority to preventing and interdicting terrorist activity within the United
Since that time, much of the nation’s law enforcement homeland security
endeavors have been hit and miss. Some of the successes seem to be related to the
amount of continued funding that an area receives, but that funding has been less than
consistent. In fiscal year 2006, DHS determined the urban area eligibility for funding
based on a formula that assessed each area’s relative risk of terrorism. 17 Other state and
local programs that were initiated when per capita homeland security funding was more
available have been decreased. It seems to make sense to prepare for terrorist attacks that
potentially target large metropolitan areas, as they provide opportunity for maximum
impact and high body counts. However, equal consideration needs to be given to other
law enforcement agencies that are able to commit to building unified systems and
procedures allowing for better-shared information and coordinated enforcement. These
agencies are often poised to detect terrorist activity that may be using less densely
populated areas to live, plan and train.
Providing federal funding for homeland security to state and local agencies has
been an evolving and difficult prospect. As previously mentioned, $23.7 billion in
homeland security grant funding has been provided to state and local government
agencies. Currently, a House Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee is
looking into tracking how billions of dollars in grant funding have been spent by state
and local governments since 2002. 18
16 Office of Homeland Security, National Strategy’ for Homeland Security, 25.
17 William O. Jenkins, Homeland Security Grants: Application on Process DHS Used to Allocate
Funds to Selected Urban Areas (Washington, D.C.: United States Government Accountability Office,
2007), 1-2, http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d07381r.pdf (accessed March 30, 2009).
18 Chris, Strohm, “Appropriators Urge DHS to See if Grants are Improving Security,” Congress Daily,
(March 12, 2008), http://www.nationaljournal.com/about/congressdaily (accessed March, 28, 2008).
Current Focus of HLS Creating Gaps in Interdiction and Protection
The House Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman,
Representative David Price said, “The grant funding equation depends on several
variables, including our ability to measure and reduce risk, and on precisely how the
requirements we place on our state and local partners are defined.” 19 Funding that
primarily considers threat and vulnerability-based metropolitan areas—without proper
consideration of peripheral threats—may be missing the real potential that state patrols,
rural sheriffs offices and municipal police agencies have to provide critical infonnation
and interdict terrorist operators prior to an event. A balanced and coordinated effort needs
to be achieved. Terrorist planning, training and preparation for urban area attacks are
likely to take place in rural locales. If urban law enforcement preparedness plans do not
incorporate the resources and potential connections developed by their more rural law
enforcement counterparts, an island concept of increased homeland security around
metropolitan areas may develop. This might serve to protect more significant targets but
will provide fewer opportunities for successful terrorist identification and interdiction
prior to an attack—precisely the prevention strategies that the nation needs.
The current practice of providing primary homeland security funding to the
largest metropolitan police agencies (that are detennined to be more likely an area of
attack and vulnerability) is potentially missing many realistic opportunities for a
substantial and effective homeland security-coordinated law enforcement effort. The
Urban Area Security Initiatives (UASI’s) are primarily focused on homeland security
issues within their metropolitan jurisdictional boundaries because of the specific grant
funding mandates involved. The threat based rationale seems to serve well in a
protective, response and mitigation role, but without connectivity and coordination with
less threat-based state and local agencies, its true overall preventive measure may not be
achieved. There are only 88,496 federal law enforcement agents and over 708,000 sworn
state and local law enforcement officers in the U.S. Of the 12,666 municipal police
19 Strohm, “Appropriators Urge DHS to See if Grants are Improving Security.”
agencies, most have less than 24 sworn officers. There are 164,711 sheriff deputies and
the 49 state police agencies have 56,348 sworn troopers and agents. 20 These numbers
represent an incredible amount of police activity. With all of the traffic stops and criminal
investigations taking place every day, there is still a limited sharing of real and potential
homeland security information.
8. Funding Top-Down Instead of Bottom-Up Misses the Point
It is critical that a true, two-way flow of homeland security infonnation, which
allows state and local officers to recognize elements of a terrorist threat when it is
encountered, needs to be established. Even with the billions of dollars applied to local,
state and federal levels, most agencies are not there yet. A successful law enforcement
network needs to be created that is fairly standardized in each state and is able to
seamlessly breach jurisdictions and specifically-funded programs. Too often, homeland
security efforts are hampered because one jurisdiction has specific funding and others are
not included. Whether this is caused by grant restrictions or because one agency did not
apply (due to a myriad of reasons such as time or budget constraints), it can result in
inconsistent capabilities throughout regions and large gaps in communication and critical
A separately funded homeland security initiative that overlays these individual
programs and projects can be the interconnecting vehicle that ties infonnation and
strategic operations together. Such a system should be established with considerations for
interaction between state and local law enforcement agencies and regional partners in
adjacent states. This system should be further networked to tie the states and regions
together in a national working web of homeland security that meshes easily with the day
to day activity of all law enforcement. Again, what clearly gets in the way is that most of
the contemporary homeland security models have specialized law enforcement units as
the means to incorporate homeland security at the state and local levels. The specialized
homeland security units, like the Joint Terrorism Task Forces, are generally designed for
20 Bureau of Justice Statistics, “Law Enforcement Statistics,” U.S. Department of Justice,
www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/lawenf.htm (accessed June 12, 2007).
limited numbers of specially-trained state and local officers to work directly with the
federal agencies. 21 These taskforces have sound purpose, but do not work to effectively
share infonnation with those officers outside of the unit. Specialized units often remain
similarly isolated from the regular agency operations, and federal agencies are not
exposed to the information available from wide scale day-to-day contact with the public.
Therefore, the same issues will continue to manifest. The true, effective goal should be
incorporating homeland security measures into what all street-level police officers do in
their day-to-day pursuits of criminal activity.
9. Creating an Effective Web of Counter-Terrorism Must Involve All
An all-encompassing, patrol-oriented homeland security approach as part of
regular operations creates a web effect that has the potential to be very effective at
intercepting and disrupting terrorist activity. To give an example, a state trooper in
Colorado stops a vehicle involved in smuggling migrant workers from Mexico into the
interior United States. A check of the individual’s names and/or fingerprints is submitted
to the Colorado Fusion Center, which contacts the other fusion centers in the Rocky
Mountain Region. One individual’s fingerprint identifies him as a possible associate of a
suspected member of a terrorist cell in Las Vegas, Nevada. This intelligence has been
developed from local investigations. The trooper in Colorado is then cued to investigate
additionally to determine if a possible homeland security incident might be taking place
beyond the apparent immigration and human trafficking issues. Unfettered by federal
classification restraints, Las Vegas police authorities could then provide immediate
information that they have developed from their own investigation. This immediate
insight would help the Colorado trooper assess the totality of the circumstances. Other
agencies, such as the FBI, could now respond quickly with additional information and
specialized resources if necessary. It is through identifying ways of developing efficiently
operating networks and building interagency relationships that such relative terrorist
connections will be made and interceded.
21 U.S. Department of Justice, “Joint Terrorism Task Force,” U.S. Department of Justice,
http://www.usdoj.gov/jttf (accessed August 24, 2008).
10. Technology Supporting Intelligence Gathering
The technology already exists for this type of efficiency. The key will be
overcoming the tendencies that individual states and police agencies have of creating
their own and separate systems. The other important need is for the information
pertaining to an individual who is being contacted by police to be immediately queried
against relevant criminal and homeland security databases. Part of the problem exists
because too much of the federal data analysis process is devoted to storing, analyzing and
disseminating information. This can be a very costly and difficult procedure to manage,
especially when one considers the vast amount of criminal justice information that is
being processed by all of the state and local law enforcement agencies throughout the
U.S. Better utilization of the state fusion centers as a networked resource for state and
local agencies to share infonnation regionally and nationally could provide more
opportunity for discovery of terrorist activity.
11. Connecting the Dots and Eliminating the Waste of Duplication
There is a need for law enforcement officers to determine if the subject of their
investigation is also being investigated by another agency so that the dots can be
connected. Technology needs to be utilized to point to related databases so that officers
can directly communicate information related to their separate investigations. There is
also a great duplication of services by having many independent intelligence analysts
simultaneously working at various centers and employed by individual agencies. A
networked system that points to where related infonnation may be located will promote
A large part of an intelligence analyst’s job is to individually search for specific
information from several potential databases that might contain information related to an
investigation. A better use of resources would be for each state to have a similar and
compatible information system. Instead of collecting and storing various criminal and
homeland security information, these systems would create an index that linked to other
existing databases containing related infonnation. More analysts’ work could be devoted
to finding duplicate records at the index and associating them with individual suspect
information. Analysts could have more opportunities to find common patterns and trends
as opposed to spending much of their valuable time doing the work of independently
searching various data systems. Using the commonality of state fusion centers can serve
as a platform for improved regional and national information sharing between state and
local agencies with their federal partners being the benefactor of increased identification
potential. Existing analysts from many independent agencies could be better networked to
serve the larger good on a state and regional basis.
12. Homeland Security-Specific Training Needs
Homeland security-related training is another overlooked and greatly needed
service that the individual states could develop and share with federal assistance. State
and local police officers are well-trained in many facets of law enforcement specialties,
but not homeland security. Training and equipment are provided to increase officer’s
potential for curbing specific threats that impact communities. The quality of training and
access to information allows officers to successfully target various crimes. One poignant
example would be asking a patrol officer to place an emphasis on driving under the
influence (DUI) violations without providing him or her with related training. His or her
likelihood for success in making DUI arrests would be minimal if he or she was not
familiar with the indicators of impaired driving. Many state and local law enforcement
agencies have been very successful in developing drug interdiction training for their
officers. Such training teaches officers to look for indicators of drug smuggling while
performing their regular traffic enforcement duties. Providing comprehensive and up-to-
date homeland security-related training to all state and local police agencies is imperative
to successful terrorist interdiction. Nothing more strongly can be said than that. The open
communication that training brings allows officers the opportunity to realize and identify
terrorist threats that may be encountered as part of their regular law enforcement duties.
Sharing successful terrorist interdiction information among officers around the country
would not only foster a greater appreciation for the threats, but underline their important
role in prevention.
13. Following a Proven Model for Clear Change, Consistency and
While it is a difficult and daunting task to find a best-practice that will effectively
eliminate all of the issues that have arisen with the current implementation of homeland
security, it naturally makes sense to find proven, working, cooperative models that
effectively address other issues that threaten the nation. Utilizing the lessons learned and
the strengths of effective drug interdiction models, a new homeland security model can
be created for effective counter-terrorism efforts across the United States and even
internationally. Homeland Security Regional Cooperation Areas (HSRCA’s) could
greatly improve security efforts using a bottom-up approach that mirrors the drug
interdiction models. For study and implementation purposes, using the Soft Systems
Methodology allows opportunities for consideration of human factors that can interfere
with integrating agencies and programs.
The HSRCA model, proposed later, includes utilizing perfonnance management
processes governed by members who are responsible for daily state and local law
enforcement operations in various areas of the country. These administrators, if placed in
a collaborative environment, will have innate abilities to implement programs into state
and local jurisdictions that satisfy federal directives. There is a need for this to be
accomplished in an evolving manner that promotes cooperation, collaboration and
sustainable purpose. Local fusion centers are utilized as the basis for shared
communication and training that is easily and consistently incorporated into the day-to-
day activities of patrol officers. Despite significant differences in cultural norms that exist
in agencies across the country; empowering them with the tools and information they
need to build progressive homeland security programs will increase their ability and
opportunity to interdict and defeat terrorist activities—thereby keeping the homeland safe
from attack using a fiscally responsible and performance-accountable method.
In conclusion, the Oklahoma City bombing and the 9/11 attacks established a
definitive need for first responders to also be first preventers. Billions of dollars are being
spent in support of this effort and yet efficiency, open communication and accountability
are seriously lacking. This thesis attempts to capture the realities of current issues facing
homeland security. Such issues as interagency collaboration, communication,
effectiveness and accountability are paramount to law enforcement’s role in the
homeland security mission. It also attempts to capture the true strengths of working drug
interdiction models and proposes the use of HSRCAs to mirror effectiveness and improve
implementation and costs by utilizing resources already in place. In addition, the thesis
proposes that the use of HSRCAs could greatly increase national security while
implementing a widespread cooperative spirit in homeland security where all agencies
are integrally involved on a day-to-day basis. With such a model, accountability would
increase exponentially resulting in more efficient use of limited federal resources.
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II. LITERATURE REVIEW
A. IMPROVEMENTS IN HOMELAND SECURITY
1. Research: The First Step to Change
Clearly, there has been an understandable outcry for improved state and local
participation in homeland security since the 9/11 attacks. Fortunately, however, there
have been significant improvements in some specific areas, including the advancement of
state and regional fusion centers throughout the country that has prompted much
discussion and led to some communication innovations. There are considerable amounts
of research and writing related to state and local agencies’ involvement in the nation’s
homeland security. Hundreds of government reports have been written and innumerable
studies have been launched.
The importance of state and local agencies participating in national homeland
security efforts has been discussed and included since the attacks, especially since local
first responders have had to bear the responsibilities of immediately taking action after
the terrorist attacks and have had to face all of the ramifications of such attacks. Since
that time, state and local governments have taken on a shared responsibility in preparing
for catastrophic terrorist attacks. However, it is important to note that out of necessity,
the initial responsibility still falls upon local police, fire, emergency medical personnel
and health agencies. 22 Subsequently, they must take part in preventing attacks upon their
citizens. Much has been written and proposed about this subject since then. In addition to
all of the documents, a very considerable amount of testimony has been given before U.S.
House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate Committees and subcommittees relating to
issues of state and local involvement in homeland security. A minority staff report for the
Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs starts out:
22 Randall A. Yim, Integration of Federal, State, Local, and Private Sector Efforts Is Critical to an
Effective National Strategy> for Homeland Security (2002), 2, General Accounting Office,
http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d02621t.pdf (accessed March 30, 2009).
America’s safety demands that state and local officials, especially law
enforcement and public safety professionals — our front line defenders—
are fully engaged in the war against terrorism. 23
The United States Government Accountability Office has produced many reports
that address state and local needs. There are currently 74 Naval Post Graduate theses or
research papers that include state and local involvement in the titles or summary. This
alone points to the dramatic and pressing need to include the state and local agencies in
all degrees of homeland security planning and implementation.
In studying the plethora of information available on homeland security, it is
important to note that it is not easy to identify one best practice. For example, important
intelligence available from state, tribal and local government agencies may forewarn of
another massive, future attack. Interdiction of these acts of terrorism can be accomplished
through the regular, everyday activities and crime control services already offered.
Successful counterterrorism efforts require that federal, state, tribal, local and private-
sector entities have an effective information sharing and collaboration capability. 24 In
2004, the 9/11 Commission Report cited one significant lesson learned from the events of
the previous three-and-a-half years is that state and local agencies are significant partners
in homeland security: The new “grass roots” war against terrorism must include more
connectivity between local, state and federal agencies; combining resources and
intelligence for the good of all to provide the level of national and domestic security
demanded by the people of the United States. 25
23 United States Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs, State and Local Officials: Still Kept in
the Dark about Homeland Security, 108 th Cong., 1 st sess., Minority Staff Report, (2003), 1,
http://hsgac.senate.gov/public/_files/sprtl0833min_hs_statelocal.pdf (accessed March 30, 2009).
24 William A. Forsyth, “State and Local Intelligence Fusion Centers: An Evaluative Approach in
Modeling a State Fusion Center,” (master’s thesis, Naval Post Graduate School, 2005), 2.
25 National Commission on the Terrorist Attacks Upon the Untied States, The 9/11 Commission
Report: The Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (New
York: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., 2004), 353-356.
2. Effective National Strategies Must be Outlined before Truly Effective
National Action can be Taken
The importance of state and local agencies playing significant roles in the national
homeland security effort is identified in the following:
• National Strategy for Information Sharing
• President’s National Security Strategy
• National Strategy for Combating Terrorism
• National Strategy for Homeland Security
Without effective cooperation of state and local agencies, a national strategy is
only a strategy and not a form of effective action. However, there must be a systematic
approach to providing opportunities for state and local agencies to be involved in what
was always previously considered a federal issue.
On December 16, 2005, in accordance with section 1016 of the Intelligence
Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004, the President issued a Memorandum to
Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies prescribing the guidelines and
requirements in support of the creation and implementation of the Information Sharing
Environment (ISE). In Guideline Two of that memo, the President stressed that “war on
terror must be a national effort” and, therefore, one in which state, local, and tribal
governments and the private sector are afforded appropriate opportunities to participate
as full partners in the ISE. Accordingly, he directed that a common framework be
developed to govern the roles and responsibilities of federal departments and agencies
relating to the sharing of terrorism information, homeland security information and law
enforcement information among federal departments and agencies, state, local and tribal
governments and private sector entities. 26
Many studies have cited the inadequate successes of state and local agencies
being incorporated into the federal efforts of homeland security. In 2003 a General
Accounting Office (GAO) study found that the poor coordination of information sharing
26 Executive Office of the President, National Strategy for Information Sharing: Successes and
Challenges in Improving Terrorism-Related Information Sharing (Washington, D.C.: White House, 2007),
13, http://handle.dtic.mi1/100.2/ADA473664 (accessed March 30, 2009).
efforts could cause important clues regarding impending terrorist attacks to go unnoticed.
It further reported that states and local agencies were not receiving adequate information
and that many federal agency representatives believe that they are primarily responsible
for gathering and maintaining homeland security information and concerned with sharing
potentially sensitive national information with state and local agencies. 27 Despite some
advances, there is still much progress to be made.
In other words, it is time for this homeland security to be truly considered national
in nature and not simply a federal program with federal mandates. Therefore, it must
include initiatives that fully and successfully take into consideration the resources,
manpower, missions and availability to prevent future attacks on a basic, community¬
wide level that interacts from community-to-community, state-to-state and agency-to-
agency, creating a true web of critical information that can stop terrorism in its tracks.
27 United States General Accounting Office, Homeland Security’: Efforts to Improve Information
Sharing Need to Be Strengthened (2003), 4-5, http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d03760.pdf (accessed March
This thesis seeks to identify improved methods of utilizing existing resources of
state and local law enforcement agencies as part of the integral overall national homeland
security strategy. The goal is to examine alternative methods of applying state and local
resources in a more involved and effective homeland security program. Using Soft
Systems Methodology (SSM) instead of a hard systems methodology allows the study of
the complexities of the systems, programs, behaviors, beliefs and cultures involved in
collaboration, program design, data gathering and sharing procedures, accountability and
training—already in place in existing programs. Too often, proposed programs seem very
sound, but fail to achieve success because human factors such as pride, ego and
protection of territory prevent the hard systems to function effectively. The soft systems
human considerations of organizational design and lessons learned in this thesis could
increase the nation’s opportunities to keep citizens safe from terrorist attack.
1. Defining, Prescribing and Utilizing State and Local Resources
Building an improved method of providing homeland security services by state
and local law enforcement agencies should take advantage of demonstrated approaches to
build stronger social, professional and technological networks with federal agencies and
with the adjacent state and local agencies in a multi-state region. No longer can one
expect that by providing prc-delined grant requirements to these agencies that it will
eventually create an effective network and atmosphere of collaboration. State and local
law enforcement agencies are very effective at applying resources towards fighting crime.
Strategically applied, these resources could be equally effective in detecting and
preventing terrorism. Fonner International Association of Chiefs of Police President Bill
Berger pointed this out in testimony before the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee:
The role of state and local law enforcement agencies is not limited to
responding to terrorist attacks. These agencies can and must also play a
vital role in investigating and preventing future attacks. The 16,000 state
and local law enforcement agencies in the United States—and the 700,000
officers they employ—patrol the streets of our cities and towns daily and,
as a result, have an intimate knowledge of those communities they serve.
They have developed strong and close relationships in those communities.
This unique relationship provides these agencies with a tremendous edge
in effectively tracking down infonnation related to terrorists. In addition,
police officers on everyday patrol, making traffic stops, answering calls
for service, performing community policing activities, and interacting with
citizens can, if properly trained in what to look for and what questions to
ask, become a tremendous source of intelligence for their state and federal
homeland security counterparts . 28 [emphasis added]
B. SOFT SYSTEMS MANAGEMENT
Examination of programs within this thesis requires more than simply looking at
systems of well-defined technical or structural applications to problems. Such systems are
used for ensuring that agencies have both the money and equipment and that the
equipment is interoperable so that agencies can work together, but often there is give
little consideration given to social, political and cultural aspects that influence how
people interact. This thesis will use a Soft Systems Methodology (SSM) to identify
existing problems and develop a conceptual model that has potential for positively
influencing the human factors that affect how independent organizations can come
together effectively to target common problems.
1. Win-Win: SSM can Portray the Complexities of Effective
The paper will use SSM to explore how federal, state and local law enforcement
agencies may be successfully influenced to cooperate in achieving common goals of
prevention and protection against terrorist attacks. Additionally, it will explore what
designs might influence these agencies to participate collaboratively in an effective
manner with consideration for flexibility and accountability. Too often, collaborative and
cooperative agency participation has tried and failed through federal grant programs and
2° international Association of Chiefs of Police, “IACP Testifies on Local Law Enforcement Role in
Homeland Defense,” International Association of Chiefs of Police,
(accessed August 5, 2008).
systems that are designed as a template with various compliance requirements—
unfortunately with less consideration for the unique work environments that exist in
various agencies, as well as in areas of a state, region or the nation.
In many cases, measures of accountability are detennined by “experts” outside the
area in which the program will be implemented. The designing individuals are often
detached from the agencies that will carry out a mission and often even lack working
knowledge of procedures, norms or professional cultures in the surrounding environment.
Without having local information and perspective, the program designers must speculate
on what is needed to achieve cooperation and produce a successful outcome. They may
expect that overall conditions and circumstances will be unifonn throughout the country.
This is not the case, and it causes multiple implementation problems which continue to
occur. This examination through SSM may provide future opportunities to consider local
processes, professional relationships and unique agency needs when developing federal
homeland security programs that intend to invite state and local law enforcement
2. Choice of Design in Complex Human Situations—What will Really
What one thinks of as ‘engineering’ begins when a need is established; and the
engineer’s task is to provide something which literally meets the need, whether in the
form of physical object or a procedure, or both. The best engineer is the one who
provides with a minimum of resources a solution which both works and is aesthetically
pleasing. 29 In order to use SSM, it’s important to understand what it is and appreciate the
distinction between soft and hard systems thinking. First, let’s look at systems
engineering (SE). Peter Checkland (a pioneer in SSM) gives this description:
Systems Engineering is a process of naming a system (assumed to be some
complex object which exists or could exist in the real world), defining its
objectives, and then using an array of techniques developed in the 1950s
and 1960s to engineer the system to meet its objectives. This framework
29 Peter Checkland, Soft Systems Methodology’: A 30-Year Retrospective (West Sussex: John Wiley
and Sons Ltd., 1999), 17.
was rapidly found to be poverty-stricken when faced with the complexity
of human situations. It was too thin, not rich enough to deal with fizzing
social complexity. 30
SE ignores worldviews and considers systems as things in the world that have
very specific structure and objectives that can be engineered. SSM, on the other hand,
allows acceptance of worldviews in a learning process that can define desirable and
feasible actions to improve the considered problem situation. A hard system thinking
views the world as interacting systems that can be engineered to achieve an objective. It
does not consider the potential for conflicting worldviews that are part of social
interaction. 31 According to Peter Checkland, “In SSM the (social world) is taken to be
very complex, problematical, mysterious, and characterized by clashes of worldview.” 32
The Process of Inquiry: Systemic
Observer 1: “I spy systems which I can engineer”
Observer 2: “I spy complexity and confusion; but I
can organize exploration of it as a
Illustration based on Peter Checkland, Soft Systems Methodology: a 30-Year Retrospective
Figure 1. Soft Systems vs. Hard Systems
30 Peter Checkland and John Poulter, Learning for Action: A Short Definitive Account of Soft Systems
Methodology and Its Use for Practitioners, Teachers and Students (West Sussex: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.,
31 Ibid. 21
32 Ibid. 22.
The observer with a hard systems view of a problem will see systems that he can
engineer. While an observer using a soft systems approach can look at problems that
seem complex and confusing and organize its exploration as a learning system. 33
SSM looks beyond the surface and examines what may be inhibiting successful
management of a project or program. As example, state and local representatives have
been brought together from around the country to address the critical need to include state
and local agencies in federal homeland security efforts, but an important question arises:
Is including a few state and local representatives on a federal program planning
committee from separated areas of the country as effective as having state and local
representation from the actual areas that will be working together? 34 This question will be
examined through evaluation of successful models that have worked for addressing
3. Understanding the Full Nature of the Challenge: People and Practices
Achieving end goals for a specific national homeland security program should
require an understanding of how agency administrators and field level officers interact
within local communities, states and geographic regions of the country. Although there
are common laws, policies and procedures to guide law enforcement agencies throughout
the country, cultures and practices have developed that are often dissimilar. Vitally
important is the consideration of the cultures that exist within specific law enforcement
communities and an understanding of how an agency’s relationships have evolved. It is
important to note that there is not one single organizational culture for all police. The
style of policing in any community can be affected by a mixture of values and attitudes in
the community. 35 Individual personalities of agency leaders can also influence the
potential for successful interagency collaborative programs.
33 Checkland, Soft Systems Methodology’, All.
34 Yim, National Preparedness, 8-11.
35 Stephen J. Harrison, “Police Organizational Culture: Using Ingrained Values to Build Positive
Organizational Improvement,” Public Administration and Management: An Interactive Journal 3, no. 2,
http://www.pamij.com/harrison.html (accessed August 6, 2008).
With these considerations in mind, this thesis uses SSM to identify human
situations in which people can take purposeful action which is meaningful for them
and apply it to well-defined objectives. 36 SSM is a qualitative technique that can apply
systems thinking to non-systemic situations. It provides a means of addressing program
or situational ineffectiveness that may be influenced by social, political and human
activity. This is what distinguishes SSM from other methodologies which are more suited
to deal with hard problems that may often be technology oriented. 37 In addition, Soft
Systems Methodology is ideally suited for use in situations where it is necessary to
determine obstacles to a program’s success. SSM is suitable for this thesis because of its
potential for identifying a way of creating a paradigm shift from ‘top-down’ driven
federal mandates to a ‘bottom-up’ design for state and local law enforcement homeland
security applications. Peter Checkland and his colleagues at Lancaster University
developed SSM in the 1960s and early on identified seven steps to the SSM process (see
1. Investigate the unstructured problem.
2. Express the problem through worldviews of the key stakeholders. This
involves creating rich pictures with infonnation relating to the problem
3. Create and examine root definitions of relevant systems.
4. Make and test conceptual models based upon worldviews.
5. Compare conceptual models with the problem situation.
6. Identify feasible and desirable changes.
7. Take action to improve the problem situation.
36 Checkland, Soft Systems, A7.
37 Peter Weeks, “Applying Systems Thinking to Non-systemic Situations: Explanations of Soft
Systems Methodology of Checkland,” 12 Manage Fast Track,
http://www.12manage.com/methods_checkland_soft_systems_methodology.html (accessed July 16, 2008).
Will Be Perceived
Differently by People
With Different Worldviews
3. Will Contain People
Trying to Act Purposefully
5. Use Models as a Source
of Questions to Ask of the
Problematical Situation, Thus
Structuring a Discussion About
Changes which are both:
* Desirable (given these models)
* Feasible (culturally)
4. So: Make Models of
Purposeful Activity as
Perceived by Different
6. Find Versions of the
To-Be-Changed Situation Which
Different Worldviews Could Live With
7. Implement ‘Changes to Improve’
(Be ready to start the process again!)
Figure 2. Soft Systems Methodology
When dealing with real-life problems involving human beings one must have
flexibility. People’s decisions will be influenced by many factors including their
personalities, upbringing, education, sense of pride, age, gender etc. In the human world,
no situation ever plays out exactly the same. There can be many influences affecting
problematical human situations. These situations can evolve and be perceived differently
by the various people that are involved. According to Checkland, “SSM provides a set of
principles which can be both adopted and adapted for use in any real situation in which
people are intent on taking action to improve it.” 38 Developing a rich picture of the
problem involves looking at it from a wide range of aspects. Checkland points out, “In
making a rich picture the aim is to capture, informally, the main entities, structures and
viewpoints in the situation, the processes going on, the current recognized issues and any
potential ones.” 39
In 1990, Checkland provided an updated option to use only four steps, which
represented a more flexible use of SSM:
1. Find out about a problem situation, including culturally and
2. Formulate some relevant purposeful activity models,
3. Debate the situation using models and seek from that debate both:
a. Changes which would improve the situation and are
regarded as both desirable and culturally feasible, and
b. The accommodations between conflicting interests which
will enable action-to-improve to be undertaken
4. Take action in the situation to bring about improvement 40
SSM can be very versatile and has wide application by allowing learning to take
place when proceeding through examination of problematical situations towards an action
to improve them. Its flexibility also allows for considerations and comparisons during
research that can provide problem-solving insight that leads to defining a purposeful
course of action. Instead of the classic way of doing research—in setting up a hypothesis
and conducting experiments to test it—does not readily apply to the social and human
situations that widely affect groups and organizations. Human situations are diverse,
change through time and have conflicting world views (particularly in the case of
38 Checkland and Poulter, Learning for Action, 6.
39 Ibid., 25.
40 Ibid., A-15.
homeland security: taking place across a large nation with such diverse population and
geographical areas as the U.S.). SSM provides an opportunity to conduct action research
by considering human situations, activity and experiences as the research object itself
(see Figure 3). 41
Figure 3. SSM Investigation
SSM methodology is used in this thesis to examine the current disconnects in
federal, state, local and tribal homeland security efforts and seeks to identify an improved
method for successfully stimulating information sharing, cooperation and collaboration
among these law enforcement agencies. It examines established models that are already
in effect and uses them as a basis for developing a conceptual homeland security
application. The research cited here considers the human factors in proven, non¬
homeland security concepts that are used for delivering collaborative, goal-oriented
federal, state and local law enforcement services.
This thesis follows the methodology described in this chapter and uses it as a tool
for identifying the existing problems that fail to successfully prevent and protect and
often discourages collaboration between federal, state and local law enforcement
agencies. SSM allows comparison and consideration of effective models that may have
application if used for homeland security purposes. Chapters IV and V provide specific
insights about the strengths and weaknesses of proven, working, collaborative models
that interdict another national threat: the drug trade through the Rocky Mountain corridor.
41 Checkland and Poulter , Learning for Action, 17.
The thesis will culminate by proposing a new, conceptual model in Chapter VI, with
suggestions for improved methods for applying combined multi-agency resources
towards detecting and preventing terrorism in the United States.
IV. ROCKY MOUNTAIN HIGH INTENSITY DRUG
TRAFFICKING AREA MODEL (RMHIDTA)
A. THE HIGH INTENSITY DRUG TRAFFICKING AREA (HIDTA)
This chapter examines the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) and
then more specifically the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area
(RMHIDTA) program. The HIDTA program was established in 1988, under the direction
of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) through the Anti-Drug Abuse
Act of 198 8. 42 This program was designed to infuse federal resources with state and
local drug enforcement efforts. This targeted, cooperative and coordinated effort provides
great opportunity for law enforcement teams to disrupt and dismantle drug trafficking
organizations. HIDTA is credited with success because of its proven ability to break
down the longstanding barriers between the state, local and federal law enforcement
agencies. Each HIDTA is governed by its own executive comprised of sixteen
members—eight federal members and eight state and local members. These boards
facilitate interagency drug control efforts to eliminate or reduce drug threats. 43 The
executive boards develop the specific strategies to address local and regional threats.
They ensure that initiatives are developed, employed, supported and evaluated on a
regular and consistent basis. These executive boards can work very well.
This cross-representation and diversification generally lends itself to a strong
spirit of cooperation with less competitive distractions. In 1990, the HIDTA program
received Congressional appropriation for $25 million. It has authorized appropriations for
$260 million for fiscal year 2009 44 The major leap in funding is due to the program
42 Weeks, “Applying Systems Thinking to Non-systemic Situations.
44 Office of National Drug Control Policy, “Title Ill-High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas,” White
House Office of National Drug Control Policy, http://www.whitehousedmgpolicy.gov/HIDTA/statute.html
(accessed July 12, 2008).
expanding rapidly because of its long-term, proven track record of success. That is why
this program has been selected as a model example of effective intra-agency cooperation.
HIDTAs are present in 45 states, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the
District of Columbia. Each HIDTA represents a geographical region and there are 28
areas designated as HIDTAs (see Figure 4).
HIGH INTENSITY DRUG TRAFFICKING AREAS
Office of IVational Drug Control Policy
Figure 4. High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA)
B. A MAJOR REASON FOR SUCCESS: PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT
Performance management is an essential process in effectively monitoring a
program such as HIDTA, and it is important to note who cultivated HIDTA’s
accountability process. In 2003, a group of HIDTA directors worked together and
developed the program’s Perfonnance Management Process (PMP). The PMP documents
how well each individual HIDTA annually fulfilled its commitments to ONDCP. Each of
the HIDTAs is required to outline certain perfonnance goals that each intends to achieve.
The PMP provides a set of standardized tables that capture key data accumulated
throughout the year. 45 ONDCP cites the following perfonnance measures as part of the
HIDTA program PMP:
• The principal performance objective—disruption and dismantlement of drug
trafficking organizations (DTOs)—is a reasonable proxy for reducing the supply of
drugs in the United States.
• The PMP focuses on the common features of what HIDTAs actually try to do (again,
disrupt and dismantle DTOs) and not on measures the HIDTAs can only indirectly
affect; e.g., drug-related assaults.
• The PMP is flexible enough to be used for HIDTAs with very different strategies,
including those that attempt to disrupt smuggling operations along the southwest
border, methamphetamine production in the Central Valley of California, marijuana
cultivation in Appalachia or money laundering wherever it occurs.
• It is easily understood—“Tell me what you said you were going to achieve and then
tell me what you did achieve .” 46
Individual HIDTA funding levels are based on their perfonnance. Superior
performance and accomplishments are recognized with continued funding at levels that
support demonstrated operational needs. The HIDTAs have developed in a way that has
gone far beyond the benefits to the local initiatives. Infonnation sharing and coordinated
efibrts have eflectively tied together law enforcement and task force operations throughout states,
regions and even across the country.
C. A SPECIFIC PROGRAM FOR STUDY: ROCKY MOUNTAIN HIDTA
Examining the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area
(RMHIDTA) provides an opportunity to consider facets of a multi-agency program
operating in a large geographic region. Chapter VI specifically considers which aspects
45 Office of National Drug Control Policy, “Title Ill-High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas.”
of RMHIDTA may have application in a homeland security mission. RMHIDTA was
formed in 1996 creating a region representing law enforcement agencies from Colorado,
Wyoming and Utah. Five counties from Montana were added in 2002 (see Figure 5).
RMHIDTA represents the state police agencies from each of the four participating states
and includes municipal and county law enforcement agencies from thirty-four counties in
the region. It encompasses areas from major metropolitan cities to very rural stretches
that have a sparse law enforcement presence. 47
RMHIDTA is designed to include participation in its initiatives by federal, state
and local law enforcement agencies working in a fully cooperative environment. It is a
program and not a government organization. All involved personnel participating in the
program’s initiatives remain employees of their individual agencies.
There are currently 115 different federal, state and local agencies; 495 full-time
personnel; and 1,244 part-time personnel affiliated with the program and most of these
are sworn, law enforcement personnel. These officers and support staff are involved in
thirty-three different initiatives that are networked and supported through RMHIDTA. 48
47 Document was provided to author by Thomas Gorman, Director of the Rocky Mountain High
Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA); Rocky Mountain HIDTA, “Rocky Mountain HIDTA On-Site
Review November 1 —5, 2004,” (internal document Rocky Mountain HIDTA, Denver, Colorado, February
15, 2005), 1.
48 Ibid., 8.
Figure 5. Map of Rocky Mountain HIDTA (RMHIDTA)
1. RMHIDTA Organizational Design
a. Strategic Mission and Objectives
The original mission of the RMHIDTA was to enhance cooperative efforts
in reducing the availability of illicit drugs within the region and nationally.
The mission has evolved and the current mission states:
The mission of the Rocky Mountain HIDTA is to support the national
drug control strategy of reducing drug use. Specifically, the Rocky
Mountain HIDTA’s ultimate mission is to facilitate cooperation and
coordination among federal, state and local drug enforcement efforts to
enhance combating the drug trafficking problem locally, regionally and
nationally. This mission is accomplished through intelligence-driven joint
multi-agency collocated drug task forces sharing information and working
cooperatively with other drug enforcement initiatives including
interdiction. The aim is to reduce drug availability by eliminating or
disrupting drug trafficking organizations and to improve the efficiency and
effectiveness of law enforcement organizations in their efforts within
49 Document provided to author by Thomas Gorman, Director of the Rocky Mountain HIDTA;
“Rocky Mountain HIDTA 2007 Annual Report,” (internal document. Rocky Mountain HIDTA, Denver,
Colorado, n.d.), 6.
Communication Lines of Authority
(1) Executive Board: The program is then administered by an
executive board that is comprised of twenty-four members and is guided by established
policies and procedures. Ten members are lead federal agency administrators who are
assigned within the geographic boundaries of RMHIDTA. There are fourteen state and
local representatives with at least one state and one local agency representative from each
state. These members are senior-level administrators from their respective agencies and
the board meets at least quarterly. 50
The executive board has an elected chairperson and vice-chairperson. The
chairperson serves for one year and this position alternates between a
federal and state or local representative. The chairperson acts in a similar
fashion as a chairperson of a corporate board of directors and the
executive board the same as a corporate board.
The executive board also selects a qualified individual to serve as the
director of RMHIDTA. The director reports to the executive board and
also liaisons with the President’s Office of National Drug Control Policy
There are five standing sub-committees comprised of members of the
executive board. The five sub-committees that provide oversight are:
• Strategic Planning
• Training Advisory
(2) State Committees: Additionally, there is a state committee for
Colorado, Utah, Wyoming and Montana. The state committees are responsible for
overseeing issues related to the taskforces that operate within their specific state. It is
50 Document provided to author by Thomas Gorman, Director of the Rocky Mountain HIDTA;
“Rocky Mountain HIDTA 2007 Annual Report,” (internal document. Rocky Mountain HIDTA, Denver,
Colorado, n.d.), 3-4.
important to note that they attempt to manage performance issues prior to being taken to
the entire executive board, which increases accountability, responsibility and efficiency
to the overall program. 51
2. RMHIDTA Operational Design
THE RMHIDTA facility is located in Denver, Colorado. The office space is
leased and has room for daily operations and regional coordination. The central
Investigative Support Center (ISC) is located there as well and facilitates a clearinghouse
of information and data from all of the cooperating agencies and other available
The board travels to the RMHIDTA office to physically convene on a quarterly
basis and the chairperson more often, if needed. The director handles the day-to-day
operations and supervises the management team that is responsible for the administrative
function of the program.
The management staff is streamlined and very efficient. For example, there is no
need for a deputy director, although other HIDTAs around the country do utilize a deputy
director position. 52 There is one fiscal manager, a budget officer and an executive
secretary, as well as intelligence analysts.
Having a centralized, day-to-day operation ensures that the necessary
communication with all of the project and initiatives and board members takes place in a
consistent manner and creates a central point for program guidance
3. Data Gathering
The RMHIDTA has developed a strategy for addressing the drug problems in the
region that is based on the threats, personnel resources, fiscal resources and past
performance. They have been very effective by having existing taskforces modify their
51 “Rocky Mountain HIDTA On-Site Review,” 4.
52 Document provided to author by Thomas Gorman, Director of the Rocky Mountain HIDTA;
“Rocky Mountain HIDTA Policy and Procedure Manual,” (internal document. Rocky Mountain HIDTA,
Denver, Colorado, n.d.), 3-9.
focus to meet changing threats. The executive board and director keep personnel and
resources targeted at the most significant threats facing the communities in the region. 53
Threat assessments are produced by the National Drug Intelligence Center. It
obtains information from law enforcement agency’s responses to the National Drug
Threat Survey and interviews with drug unit commanders and gathers information from
emergency admissions and treatment programs. 54 A threat assessment was conducted
when the RMHIDTA was established in 1996. Per policy, a threat assessment is
conducted annually with input from all of the initiatives participating in the program. The
initiatives represent the various taskforces and units that receive HIDTA funding. The
threat assessments center on the drug trade and the gang violence that is associated with
Officers on duty from all participating multi-agency task forces report real-time
not only to their own departments but also to the Investigative Support Center (ISC).
Reports, notifications and electronic data transfers are also given to the analysts for a
broader perspective, enabling them to observe trends and disseminate intelligence to all
of the regional participants.
4. Information and Intelligence Sharing
A prime component of the RMHIDTA is its Intelligence Sub-System. This is
managed and coordinated through the ISC. The RMHIDTA ISC is located in Denver,
Colorado. There is a satellite ISC in Salt Lake City, Utah and a Criminal Intelligence
Team in Cheyenne, Wyoming. These units are part of the overall strategy and
intelligence initiative. The 2005 ONDCP On-site Review indicated, at the time, there was
limited coordination between these units and recommended that RMHIDTA develop
better methods of coordination. 55
53 “Rocky Mountain HIDTA 2007 Annual Report,” 7.
54 Document provided to author by Thomas Gorman, Director of Rocky Mountain HIDTA; “Rocky
Mountain HIDTA 2009 Strategy Report,” (internal document. Rocky Mountain HIDTA, Denver, Colorado,
“Rocky Mountain HIDTA On-Site Review,” 32.
One model worthy of review as a super-effective intelligence sharing platform is
the El Paso Intelligence Center (EPIC), which was designed to collect and disseminate
information relating to drug, alien and weapon smuggling in support of field enforcement
entities throughout the Southwest region. EPIC began as an entity to monitor and
interdict the drug trade through Mexico, but now effectively gathers from and
disseminates information to federal agencies, all 50 states, the District of Columbia,
Canada, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Guam, in addition to supporting law
enforcement efforts conducted by foreign counterparts throughout the world. After 9/11
in response to increased multiagency needs, EPIC developed into a fully coordinated,
tactical intelligence center supported by databases and resources from member agencies.
The ISCs within RMHIDTA have sought to learn from EPIC and coordinate
efforts and intelligence in a similar fashion, including budgeting. The three state units are
all part of one intelligence initiative. The executive board, director and taskforce
commanders have all demonstrated additional committed support for these intelligence
units. There are thirteen analytical positions assigned to this initiative. The ISC has
implemented an Investigative Analyst Training and Development Assessment process to
ensure that personnel are able to increase their skill level and expertise. 56
The 2005 ONDCP On-site Review Report highlighted some significant findings
that help describe the program and its effectiveness. It noted that the taskforces of
RMHIDTA are attentive to local and regional drug trafficking patterns while being
significantly involved in cases that are tied into other parts of the country. According to a
2004 ONDCP RMHIDTA On-Site Review, “Such a network of enforcement activity,
along with its intelligence collection and sharing emphasis, allows RMHIDTA to state
that it is progressing toward achieving its mission.” 57 This review also mentioned that
historically federal resources and personnel are not particularly prevalent or welcomed in
the law enforcement culture of this region. It cites this skepticism for federal presence as
an even more remarkable consideration in the success that RMHIDTA has achieved in
56 “Rocky Mountain HIDTA On-Site Review,” 25-27.
57 Ibid., 93
bringing forth interagency cooperation and coordination. 58 The RMHIDTA genuinely
promotes a collegial concept among the agencies through its representation on the
executive board. It has been very successful in leveraging its federal funding by having
participating agencies step forward and provide personnel and resources towards the
5. Accountability—Performance & Resource Management
In 2004, The HIDTA program initiated a performance measurement program to
assess each HIDTA’s effectiveness and efficiency in impacting illegal drugs. The strategy
and goals are related to dismantling and disrupting drug trafficking organizations. The
RMHIDTA Executive Board, along with the Director evaluates the threat assessments
and develops the strategy, initiatives, and budgets for the program. They are also
responsible for ensuring accountability throughout the initiatives and to take appropriate
action if any aspect fails to perform to the established standards.
A 2005 ONDCP Review of the RMHIDTA recommended that the executive
board members “institute a formalized evaluative process event/meeting in order to
memorialize its decisions concerning its assessment of each initiative’s projected
production, current level of achievement, existing structure and mission, and
attentiveness to guidelines.” 60 This is accomplished through a process of reviews that
include: 1) analyzing statistical reports, 2) conducting and analyzing internal review
reports and 3) budget review committee assessments. On occasion, some of the taskforce
commanders appear before the board to make presentations. The ONDCP Review also
noted that the executive board members were very knowledgeable of the HIDTA
program and concept. The executive board was also recognized for being actively
involved and providing oversight and direction to the initiative’s personnel. In addition,
58 “Rocky Mountain HIDTA On-Site Review,” 93.
59 Ibid., 94.
60 “Rocky Mountain HIDTA On-Site Review,” 4.
the review also credited the level of communication that exists between all participants. It
is through this process that the executive board ensures that HIDTA’s performance based
budgeting policy is being adhered to. 61
It is important to understand the value of communication within the
administration of the RMHIDTA. Internal reviews are a process that facilitates efficiency
and accountability. These reviews are part of the ONDCP/HIDTA program policy and
budget guidance requirements. RMHIDTA internal reviews fall under two categories,
fiscal and operational. The fiscal manager and budget officer make onsite visits to each
initiative and its fiduciary at least once every two years. Maintaining accountability for
all purchased equipment by the RMHIDTA is at the forefront of this administrative
process. Property reconciliations are conducted during these visits, and each initiative is
required to maintain strict accounting for all property. If assets are no longer needed, the
individual initiative will make them available to other RMHIDTA partners. Additionally,
equipment can be borrowed between initiatives on occasion. The intent of these internal
reviews is to ensure that the director and his staff have a close relationship with each
initiative commander and thorough understanding of their initiative. They help ensure
that all are in compliance with HIDTA policies and are meeting the expectations of the
executive board. Any deficiencies are documented in a report with the corrective action
outlined and presented to the executive board by the director. 62
Management of the federal funds provided to RMHIDTA is a vital task. It
involves taking a set amount of funding for the entire regional program and applying it
where it will have the most influence and effect towards accomplishing the overall goals.
It takes continuous maintenance and monitoring to ensure that the performance based
budgeting is being applied appropriately. The current and only director of RMHIDTA has
a great deal of experience and thorough understanding of narcotics investigations. He is
very involved in the process for which each initiative submits its annual budget requests
61 “Rocky Mountain HIDTA On-Site Review,” 3-5.
62 “Rocky Mountain HIDTA On-Site Review,” 8.
and justifications. The director gives guidance to the various taskforce commanders in
preparing their annual initiative draft proposals. The 2005 ONDCP On-Site Review
provides information on how the process works:
There are multiple layers in the budgeting and reprogramming processes
of RMHIDTA. Initiative/taskforce commanders submit their annual
initiative proposal directly to the HIDTA director’s office. The director
and staff review each request and make comments and recommendations
that are sent to the initiative/taskforce commanders for their rebuttal. The
original request, director and staff recommendations, as well as the
rebuttals, are then distributed to the appropriate state budget committee,
which consists of board members from their respective state. The state
budget committees meet and come to a final consensus on how they feel
the money should be distributed to achieve their goals and address the
threat in that state. The state budget committee recommendations are then
passed along to the overall Executive Board Budget Sub-Committee. This
committee is a compilation of the individual state budget committees.
They also review all prior stages and make a final recommendation to the
entire executive board. The executive board is the final approval stage
prior to submission to ONDCP. 63
An important subsystem of RMHIDTA is its training initiative. The training
program is submitted as a separate initiative each year. In the RMHIDTA budget in the
fiscal year 2005, 5.56 percent was dedicated to providing related training to officers
throughout the region. This reflects the importance of providing significant training
opportunities in support of the initiatives and the program. All four states have
representatives on a training sub-committee. They meet annually to select and schedule
the training for the next year. 64
The training program is very well-run and provides elements of expertise that
officers can apply directly to their narcotics investigation and interdiction work. The
training team consists of a full-time training coordinator and two assistant training
coordinators. The success of this program and its cooperative approach is reflected in
63 “Rocky Mountain HIDTA On-Site Review,” 9-14.
64 Ibid., 91.
how it is coordinated with other training programs and participating agencies. These
agencies regularly provide instructors. The training is designed to be timely and to
specifically meet the needs of the participating agencies, including officers and analysts.
The courses provided through RMHIDTA are well-attended. It is a very innovative
program that complements the cooperative enforcement efforts of the RMHIDTA. 65
“Rocky Mountain HIDTA On-Site Review,” 92.
THIS PAGE INTENTIONALLY LEFT BLANK
V. THE ROCKY MOUNTAIN HIGHWAY PATROL NETWORK
The Rocky Mountain Highway Patrol Network (RMHPN) is a joint criminal
interdiction effort between the state police agencies in Utah, Montana, Wyoming and
Colorado. It began in March of 2001 when the state police agencies of Utah, Wyoming
and Colorado entered into a memorandum of understanding to participate in an inter¬
agency effort through coordinated RMHIDTA initiatives. These states each had law
enforcement canine programs and similar operational needs related to criminal drug
interdiction. In January of 2005, the Montana Highway Patrol joined the network.
The collaboration and effectiveness of RMHIDTA inspired the opportunity to
coordinate the resources of these state law enforcement agencies to create a more
efficient highway patrol network. The RMHPN has become the original model for the
rest of the country, and many HIDTAs have now incorporated state police networks.
A. STRUCTURE AND DESIGN
1. RMHPN Organizational Design
a. Strategic Mission and Objectives
The RMHPN’s main emphasis targets drug trafficking organizations
(DTOs) that operate in and throughout the region. The cooperative agreement
emphasized that the effort is intended to increase communication between the
participating state police agencies; increase drug trafficking arrest rates; increase
prosecution and conviction rates for drug traffickers and their organizations and has led
to other opportunities to interdict criminal activity. This was the first collaborative project
to link highway patrol agencies for this purpose. 66
66 Document provided to author by Thomas Gorman, Director of Rocky Mountain HIDTA; “Rocky
Mountain Highway Patrol Network Fact Sheet,” (internal document. Rocky Mountain HIDTA, Denver,
Colorado, January 19, 2006), 1.
RMHN Operational Design
The Rocky Mountain Highway Patrol Network is comprised of federal, state and
local law enforcement agencies from the states of Colorado, Wyoming, Utah and
Montana. On the state and local side, the executive board consists of chiefs, sheriffs and
state police commissioners from all four states. The federal members of the board are
U.S. attorneys and senior agency administrators from within the states and regions
represented. This group has been very successful in providing guidance and funding to
the various taskforces and initiatives within RMHIDTA. They have created a working
environment that promotes cooperation. Regional coordination in drug crime
investigations and information sharing is a primary objective. The HIDTA program as a
whole expands the potential to network with law enforcement agencies throughout the
Each state police agency has a command-level officer that regularly
communicates and coordinates with peers from the other agencies. These commanders
meet quarterly as a guiding committee to coordinate information sharing, training,
equipment purchases, trends, projects, tactical operations and regional intelligence. These
commanders follow the overall guidance and directives of the RMHIDTA Executive
Board and set subsequent RMHPN initiative goals. They are responsible for developing
strategies for applying these state law enforcement agency’s resources with other state
and local drug taskforces, as well as working closely with federal agency partners within
RMHIDTA. This is an effective way of connecting these agencies through established
channels of communication and coordination.
3. Data Gathering
The RMHPN utilizes the ISC for information gathering, basically using the same
system as the RMHIDTA in that officers collect information to give to their own agencies
as well as the coordinating office at the ISC in Denver.
Information and Intelligence Sharing
Linking criminal activity related to the drug trade that takes place across adjacent
borders has become very effective in the Rocky Mountain region. The state troopers also
have secure websites that they have developed for sharing information related to their
stops. Interdiction officers from local agencies also participate. Information is shared
regarding trends, methods of concealment, officer safety alerts and considerable amounts
of other infonnation that increases the effectiveness of all interdiction officers. This
increases the likelihood that national and international drug trafficking organizations will
be identified and interdicted as they operate across state lines. Engaged law enforcement
officers from each state individually share arrest information in real time with each other
through these secure, web-based networks. Arrest and intelligence information from all
four states is shared nationally through a monthly RMHPN bulletin and various national
information and intelligence systems. This practice allows all federal, state, tribal and
local officers and agencies to observe trends and identify possible drug-related activity
when it is encountered. 67
The RMHPN uses the RMHIDTA Investigative Support Center (ISC) to support
its information sharing role. Information is shared with all officers in the RMHIDTA
region and throughout the country through fonnal and more infonnal networks. The ISC
has a dedicated interdiction intelligence analyst that is assigned directly to support the
RMHPN. The required actions of officers and analysts are established through policies
and procedures. The involved highway patrol officers from the four states are regularly
arresting narcotics traffickers and seizing drugs and cash. State or RMHIDTA taskforce
investigators assist in the follow-up investigations and secure related evidence in the form
of pocket trash, hotel and gas receipts, telephone numbers, cell phones, documents etc.
This evidence can be used to establish connections to other investigations of drug
trafficking organizations. These officers are then responsible for completing a detailed
report and immediately sending it to the intelligence analyst at the ISC.
67 Rocky Mountain Highway Patrol Network Fact Sheet, 1; author’s personal knowledge and
The intelligence analyst assists the investigators in determining where the drug
loads originated and where they are destined. When these areas are identified, contact is
made with the HIDTA and local law enforcement agency or drug taskforce to share
information. The ISC then sends the information to the Federal Drug Enforcement
Administration (DEA) so that it can be entered into their database at the El Paso
Intelligence Center (EPIC). This is done to connect the drug courier and load to
investigations that may be taking place in other parts of the country. The intelligence
analyst has the responsibility to ensure that the information exchange takes place, to
receive related information and report back to the officers. Additionally, the ISC
intelligence analyst compiles and publishes a weekly RMHPN intelligence bulletin that is
available to state, local and federal officers nationwide and in Canada. This bulletin
contains infonnation from the RMHPN officers regarding activity related to significant
drug and cash seizures, methods of concealment, officer safety, packaging, routing,
trends and any other information that could benefit officers within the RMHPN or
elsewhere. This has resulted in much information being directed back to the analysts and
5. Accountability—Performance and Resource Management
The four state police agencies (as a whole) receive federal drug enforcement
funding to enhance their effectiveness—both individually and collectively. They also
leverage agency assets to ensure maximum advantage to their program. 69 Each agency is
responsible for managing its individual budgets. Emphasis is placed on coordinating
resources and activity to reduce costs and enhance effectiveness.
For example, when command level officers from each agency assess various
equipment and training needs to determine the acquisitions most suited for their specific
applications, they come together to also detennine the highest good for the region as a
68 Document provided to author by Thomas Gorman, Director of Rocky Mountain HIDTA; Thomas
Gorman, 2006 National HIDTA Outstanding Interdiction Effort Award Nomination (internal document.
National HIDTA Board, n.d.).
69 Document provided to author by Thomas Gorman, Director of Rocky Mountain HIDTA; Rocky
Mountain HIDTA, “Rocky Mountain Highway Patrol Network Operating Policy” (internal document.
Rocky Mountain HIDTA, Denver, Colorado, n.d.).
whole, and are able to collectively gain purchasing power by combining resources. This
also ensures inter-operability of the systems used between agencies.
The RMHPN, as one of the RMHIDTA initiatives, is responsible for meeting its
own performance measurements. Failure to do so can result in reduced funding or
redirection of resources. The implementation of these performance measurements has
enhanced each department’s opportunities to target drug trafficking organizations through
communication and coordinated regional projects.
In addition, the committee of command level representatives from each state
police agency designs training and equipment allocation plans that complement their
overall interdiction efforts. Money is spent for specialized training courses where each
state is able to send its officers. This high level of training ensures that all officers have
consistent instruction and operate in a fashion that allows for better coordination on joint
projects. This consistent training has resulted in fewer complaints and improved case law.
B. A PROVEN PROGRAM, A PROVEN STRATEGY
It is easy to see why such a cooperative program as RMHPN will not only
continue to operate but also continue to receive the level of funding needed for such
In 2006, the RMHPN was awarded the National HIDTA Award for Outstanding
Narcotics Interdiction Unit. The following information highlights the effectiveness of this
four state interdiction team during that one-year award evaluation period (see Table 1).
Table 1. Narcotics Interdiction
7,600 lbs of marijuana
501 felony arrests
754 lbs of cocaine
1.7 million dollars of U.S. currency
5 lbs of tar heroin
$900,000 worth of stolen property
200 lbs of methamphetamine
18 submachine guns, 11 handguns and
numerous rifles and shotguns
17 lbs of ecstasy
145 seized vehicles with 43 containing
RMHIDTA Director Tom Gorman nominated this team for the award. In his
nomination, Director Gonnan states:
One of the primary goals of the RMHPN is to tie the interdiction seizures
into on going investigations throughout the United States. This effort has
been successful. Annually, the program averages 150 “hand off’ cases for
follow up to HIDTA Task Force or DEA. The follow up has resulted in
information exchange with 146 agencies where significant loads
originated, and 139 agencies where significant loads were destined
involving 34 different states. Evidence discovered during the stops has
assisted task forces and agencies throughout the country that have targeted
drug trafficking organizations. 70
RMHPN and RMHIDTA were both highlighted in this thesis specifically for their
design, structure, success in collaboration and overall effectiveness as best-practice
examples. The strengths of these programs and suggestions for improvements have been
carried forward into the conceptual homeland security model that will be discussed in
part B of the following chapter.
70 Document provided to author by Thomas Gorman, Director of Mountain HIDTA; Rocky Mountain
HIDTA, “Director Thomas Gorman’s Nomination of the Rocky Mountain Highway Patrol Network for
2006 National HIDTA Ding Task Force Award” (internal document. Rocky Mountain HIDTA, Denver,
VI. HRSCA: CONCEPTUAL HOMELAND SECURITY MODEL
This thesis has outlined the importance of change in the way homeland security is
handled. It has also illustrated some powerful examples of best-practice programs that
deserve recognition for their ability to create in drug interdiction what has yet to be
created for homeland security: accountability and widespread cooperation between
agencies. A summit or meeting of the minds would be critical to develop consensus on
change. A model program at least as strong as the one proposed in this chapter would be
an ideal platfonn from which to launch change, which facilitates national law
enforcement cooperation, enhances two-way flow of intelligence and supports the
maximum use of available resources for effective terrorist suppression and interdiction.
A. NATIONAL CONSIDERATIONS
State and local law enforcement agencies have been part of the national homeland
security effort since the terrorist attacks of 9/11. The National Strategy for Homeland
Security has emphasized the role of law enforcement as a key element for preventing and
interdicting terrorist activity throughout the United States. 71 Despite progressive efforts,
the primary means for directing and driving homeland security at the state and local
levels have been through federal grants with specific guidance and requirements. U.S.
Department of Homeland Security Undersecretary George Foresman is quoted as saying
that states should not be judged by how much grant money they have spent or how fast
they have expended it. Instead, success should be judged by the quality of their programs
and the extent to which they have supported and improved upon interagency and
intergovernmental coordination and collaboration throughout the program development
and implementation process in order to achieve a safer community .72 This conceptual
model proposes a way to accomplish this goal in a unique fashion that has a structure
with proven success.
71 Office of Homeland Security, National Strategy’ for Homeland Security, 25.
77 James M. Thomas, “Testimony before Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental
Affairs,” (January 9, 2007), 1, Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs,
http://hsgac.senate.gov/public/_files/010907Thomas.pdf (accessed March 30, 2009).
1. Getting Real with Funding Issues and Effective Solutions
Although federal grant requirements have emphasized interoperability and
cooperation, the method of delivery may have resulted in many cases where agencies
obtained funding for resources that primarily benefit uses other than collaborative
counterterrorism efforts. William Jenkins, the Government Accounting Office’s (GAO)
Director of Homeland Security and Justice Issues stated, “We still know little about how
states have used federal funds to build their capabilities or reduce risks.”73 There remains
a need to create a method of delivering federal homeland security funding in a way that is
measured and allows individual state and local law enforcement agencies to participate
cooperatively in the project’s design and is directed towards realistic attainable goals that
can be accounted for. These agencies are best suited to develop programs and projects in
a manner that is tied to their existing working environments and based on realistic
circumstances that they understand best. There are effective ways to create local, state
and regional cooperative inter-agency working environments. Such a design can lead to
more accountability and measured success. Existing models used for other law
enforcement missions have presented several positive features that can directly translate
into homeland security applications. It is possible that hybrid variations may be viable,
especially in creating a more effective infonnation sharing network.
2. Creating Win-Win Communication Through Win-Win Programs and
Nationally Consistent Priorities
All state and local law enforcement agencies will not view opportunities to
contribute to the national homeland security effort in the same way. Each agency is
administered by command staffs that hold varying viewpoints and historical perspectives,
yet they hold in common certain interests and capabilities. There is much public safety
benefit available through cooperative working environments. As example, the command
staff of the Denver, Colorado Police Department (Denver P.D.) may have different
homeland security priorities, considerations, approaches and perspectives than their
counterparts in the Salt Lake City, Ehah Police Department (SLCPD), yet both have in
Strohm, “Appropriators Urge DHS to See if Grants are Improving Security.”
common incidents and responsibilities that can benefit each through regular sharing
information. Once the available federal information is included, then that shared
information allows these agencies to achieve situational awareness within their state and
at a regional level. It also creates opportunities for developing best practices and offering
mutual aid. The SLCPD has worked and continues to work with the Utah Department of
Public Safety (Utah DPS) on projects of mutual benefit, including an Urban Area
Security Initiative (UASI) and the 2002 Winter Olympic Games. Denver P.D. has a
similar working relationship with the divisions of the Colorado Department of Public
Safety and most recently provided safety and security to the city during the 2008
Democratic National Convention.
These state public safety agencies operate their state infonnation fusion centers
for the benefit of all agencies in their state. Relationships between the state fusion centers
and the local and federal agencies are generally established and ripe for further
development under a collaborative construct. Additionally, the various state and local
police agencies of Utah and Colorado participate with their counterparts in the Rocky
Mountain States as part of a regional approach to specifically targeting drug crime
reduction in the HIDTA program. These agencies are brought together in a significantly
non-competitive atmosphere of cooperation. Creating win-win situations is prominent.
The common theme becomes regional information sharing and collaborations. These
commonalities between agencies from adjacent states open doors for relationship
building and in developing effective ways of managing specific problems that benefit all
of the involved agencies at a regional level.
Such an environment allows for improved internal and external efficiency of
operation. Such collaborations are not often possible when federally funded programs are
presented in a one size fits all manner. State and local police agencies need to be a part of
the design and goal setting process. This creates buy-in and allows them to leverage their
existing resources, capabilities, interagency relationships and then apply them to a
homeland security mission within their geographic area of responsibility.
Inter-Agency Cooperation on all Levels is Paramount
Operating as part of a regional team approach with federal agency participation
creates opportunities for all involved agencies to be involved in the specific design,
implementation and management of the interagency program or project. This will
increase opportunities for focused and long-term success. A program template that is
solely designed by a federal agency without benefit of direct state and local input from
the officials who are in the specific areas that it will be implemented, significantly lacks
information and insight that can lead to long-term success. Having random state and local
representatives on a DHS program committee has value for creating general national
guidelines. To have that program fit each state and region in an effective manner requires
federal, state and local representatives who reside in the region to participate
collaboratively in the design and management. Each state and geographical region of the
country has special circumstances and pre-existing relationships that need to be exploited
when developing realistic and long-tenn methods of delivering homeland security
services at the state and local levels.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation and U.S. Department of Homeland Security
are not structured to best design a homeland security program or project for state and
local law enforcement agencies to participate in. The federal agencies need to contribute
to state, local and regional homeland security projects, but their main strategic
contributions should come from representatives who are locally assigned and
understanding of the interagency cultures, resources and capabilities that exist. The same
would hold true that a state police department is not best suited to effectively design a
program for addressing a specific crime problem within a city’s jurisdiction.
The agency closest to the problem is best informed and positioned to understand
what is needed. If placed in a collaborative and non-competitive environment, the
additional resources made available from the federal, state and adjacent local agencies
can be applied to addressing specific public safety issue which may carry over into other
jurisdictions. This approach helps prevent the problem from simply migrating to another
jurisdiction as pressure is applied by one agency independently, and it helps create a
situational awareness for all involved. There are many crimes and potential terrorist
affiliations that may overlap jurisdictional boundaries or be large enough that the local
agency will need other agency’s assistance.
The local police department will intimately know its population, geography,
resources and capabilities. Yet, in a working environment that facilitates communication
and cooperation, the federal, state and other adjacent local agencies can come together
and help design a project that responds to the specific problem in a manner that is not
effectively possible by the local agency itself. This allows the resources and expertise
available from all agencies to act as a force multiplier. The resulting product benefits
each agency’s missions and perfonnance of the required tasks is achieved with higher
The public benefits when all agencies are able to maintain more safe and secure
jurisdictional environments. This cannot be accomplished through forced collaborations
and broad mandates. It must be created through effective communication, evaluation of
specific intelligence and the careful designing of the project by representatives of the
involved agencies. The closer they are to the problem, the clearer they can see it.
The following example is used to emphasize the importance for the potential of a
successful federal, state and local homeland security program that it be created in a
manner that promotes cooperation in a shared power and shared responsibility way.
Individual state and local resources need to be applied in a manner that focuses on
common goals and that complement federal goals and efforts. As an example, the Utah
Department of Public Safety participates in federal highway safety grants that are
administered in a manner that allows state and local highway safety stakeholders to
deliver programs in a common geographical area. These complement each other and are
largely not competitive. Sometimes the projects are in full cooperation, such as a
cooperative DUI checkpoint manned by multiple agencies, and other times they involve a
coordinated effort such as a high-visibility statewide media and enforcement campaign to
encourage seatbelt usage.
Homeland security must be approached in a manner that connects federal, state
and local law enforcement agencies in a similar complementary method, one that
provides opportunity for state and local agencies to craft a homeland security product that
works in close conjunction with all allied agencies and reduces the sense of competition.
It needs to be done in a manner that provides sustainable returns in the form of common
equipment, training, coordinated projects, improved information sharing and trusted
4. First Things First: Coming Together
A first step towards coordination should involve a summit meeting of all of the
state police commanders and state homeland security directors of the United States. It is
realistic that these state agency leaders can come together with their federal partners for a
meeting of the minds. This group is empowered and manageable enough in size to have
the potential to enter into agreements that can result in improved information sharing and
connectivity between each state’s information fusion centers. Development of common
information-sharing systems that serve each state’s fusion centers individually and
collectively, while tying into the federal systems, must be identified.
This platfonn is needed to develop successful regional homeland security
components. Such a state-to-state interconnected system would be able to more
efficiently partner with the federal agencies and complement their databases. The
concept requires agreements that provide clarity in developing common data information
sharing systems that allow information from field officers to reach points that have global
perspective. It is envisioned that such a system would satisfy the needs of each host state,
yet be networked in real-time with the other participating states regionally and nationally.
Instead of having one central repository for all homeland security information, a
system can be designed to index infonnation and direct queries to state’s that have
relevant information that is available. Each state continues to operate databases in
compliance with its own laws and procedures, but the linked intrastate infonnation can be
shared with other legitimate law enforcement agencies throughout the country via a state
to state processes. Ideally, each state, local and tribal police agency needs to be linked to
their state fusion center for two-way sharing of information and intelligence. Fusion
centers can then be directly linked to each other and significantly increase law
enforcement opportunities to identify criminal and terrorist activity that transcends
jurisdictions. The end goal should be that each state has compatible systems that allow
for real-time sharing of information among all state police managed fusion centers.
5. Remembering the Vital Importance of Training Consistency &
Relevant homeland security-related training for state and local law enforcement
officers is another overlooked and greatly needed resource. Intelligence led police
training is vital along with other homeland security strategic and tactical applications.
State and local police officers are well-trained in many facets of law enforcement
One poignant example would be a patrol officer who has minimum opportunity
for success in driving under the influence arrests if he is not familiar with the indicators
of impaired driving. Another is drug interdiction training. As described in previous
chapters, state and local law enforcement have been very successful in developing
training for their officers that is reflective of circumstances that they might encounter
while on duty.
Providing comprehensive and up-to-date homeland security-related training to all
state and local police agencies is imperative to successful terrorist interdiction. The more
intelligence that is provided, along with training, will allow more officers the opportunity
to realize and identify terrorist threats that may be encountered as part of their regular law
enforcement duties. Sharing successful terrorist interdiction information among officers
around the country would not only foster a greater appreciation for the threats, but
underline their imperative role in prevention.
B. CONCEPTUAL NATIONAL MODEL
In previous chapters, the thesis examined the following programs: National High
Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) and its regional sub-components, the Rocky
Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (RMHIDTA) and Rocky Mountain
Highway Patrol Network (RMHPN). From these examinations, a conceptual model can
be developed for improving communication, cooperation and effectiveness of homeland
security related services by federal, state and local agencies. These models, used as a
guide for developing this conceptual model, will build infinitely more involved and
effective state and local homeland security strategies. The emphasis will be on improving
the awareness and participation of state and local law enforcement agencies while
providing cooperative focus and accountability for individual projects.
This national model program, Homeland Security Regional Cooperation Areas
(HSRCA’s), will be designed to enhance the investigative and preventive measures that
can be applied through increased state and local participation. It is not necessarily a
threat-based program, although national and regional threats must be incorporated. Much
of the threat-based initiatives are addressed through the current State Homeland Security
Grant Program and the Urban Area Security Initiatives.
This concept involves a prevention program that will maximize the potential for
protecting the public by increasing the amount of information and intelligence made
available to and from state and local officers. It will increase the expertise of these
officers and reap benefits from increased amounts of homeland security related
information being gleaned from their contacts and investigations. The overarching goal
is to create a regional approach to homeland security that can be individualized, yet
duplicated in other connecting regions of the country. These regions will be tied together
in a national network with their federal agency partners.
To begin the process, a foundational structure was outlined that served as the
platform for building a robust state and local law enforcement homeland security
capability. In emphasizing the need for more ground-up verses a top down approach to
addressing the problems identified in Chapter I, elements of the National HIDTA Model,
which was outlined in Chapter IV, were used to develop this concept.
Congress should establish and fund within the U.S. Department of Homeland
Security (DHS), a national program with regional components that can be designed for
the purpose of more effectively and efficiently incorporating state and local law
enforcement agencies into the national homeland security mission. This should be done
in a manner that ensures the responsible use of federal funding without requiring a direct
relationship with any federal agency. This means that although federal funding is used,
the regional team will not simply operate to satisfy pre-determined federal mandates. The
federal relationship for designing regional programs will instead come from local
representatives who participate as equal members with state and local agencies as part of
a collaborative team (see Figure 6).
tu.S. DEPARTMENT OF
HSRCA Proposed Organizational Chart
The purpose of this conceptual program is to reduce the opportunities for terrorist
individuals and organizations to operate undetected and unchallenged within the borders
of the United States by:
1. Facilitating cooperation among federal, state and local law enforcement
agencies to share information, resources and implement coordinated
enforcement activities through collaborative design.
2. Enhancing the flow of homeland security related information to and from
state and local law enforcement officers and increasing law enforcement
intelligence sharing among federal, state and local law enforcement
3. Providing reliable law enforcement intelligence to law enforcement
agencies for the purpose of designing effective collaborative enforcement
strategies and operations.
4. Supporting coordinated law enforcement strategies which maximize use of
available resources to detect disrupt and apprehend individuals and/or
organizations that are reasonably suspected of being linked to terrorism in
real-time in order to be able to make critical arrests within appropriate
The Secretary of DHS, in consultation with the governors of each state, should
implement this program by designating specific regions of the country as HSRCA’s. The
Secretary will appoint a director within DHS to administer the program. Once the
regional HSRCA’s are identified, the director shall:
1. Establish a panel of qualified experts with state and local police
representation to determine national goals and objectives to guide the
regional programs and ensure that they may be adequately networked.
2. Create regulations under which a coalition of law enforcement agencies
from a region may prepare proposals for how their specific programs will
3. Establish and maintain overall program performance measures while
allowing regional enhancements.
4. Obligate specific amounts of the appropriated funding to the individual
HSRCA regions based on the overall merit, creativity, viability,
cooperative value of their plans and the upfront state and local
5. Ensure that federal assistance and support is made available as needed to
6 . Coordinate administrative, records keeping and funds management with
state and local agencies.
7. Submit to Congress an annual program budget justification with
explanation of each HSRCA and its performance and proposed funding
8 . Submit to Congress an annual report that outlines the specific purposes of
the individual HSRCA, its performance evaluations, long and short-tenn
goals, nature and extent of how agencies are sharing infonnation,
technological systems being employed, and how well they are conducting
enforcement in cooperation with Joint Terrorism Task Forces.
To receive funds under this program each HSRCA must be governed by an
executive board. Due to the fact that the emphasis is specially placed on increasing
participation by state, local and federal agencies, each executive board shall consist of an
odd number of senior administrators from the law enforcement agencies that are
participating from the region. One third of the board shall consist of federal agency
representatives who are the senior agency official for an involved state or region.
Representation should also include the head of each state police agency and the State
Director of Homeland Security. Local agency composition should have representatives
from metropolitan and rural areas.
Executive board responsibilities shall include:
1. Providing overall direction and oversight of the HSRCA.
2. Appointing and supervising a director who manages the HSRCA.
3. By vote, selecting an executive board chairperson and vice chair.
4. Establishing and dissolving sub-committees as needed.
5. Developing strategies, initiatives and budgets.
6 . Establishing and ensuring that the goals of the HSRCA are accomplished.
7. Reviewing and approving all funding proposals consistent with the overall
objectives of the HSRCA.
8 . Managing the funds and financial responsibilities of the HSRCA.
9. Reviewing and approving all reports.
10. Ensuring accountability of the initiatives, and that they will accomplish
what they set out to do, or identify annually why they were unsuccessful
and how they plan to rectify the plan. It is critical that the executive board
place on corrective action or discontinue any initiative that is not operating
effectively and in compliance with all program guidance and polices.
The executive board will select a most highly qualified individual to serve as the
director of the specific HSRCA. The director reports to the executive board and liaisons
with DHS to ensure complete coordination. Additional responsibilities of the director
1. Developing and updating policy and procedures that are approved by the
2. Representing the executive board in all matters related to the programs
3. Manage the staff and day-to-day operation of the HSRCA.
4. Ensure financial accountability of the program with required reports and
5. Be a subject matter expert to the executive board and conduct research and
make reports as necessary or required. 74
C. BUILDING A STRONG CONCEPTUAL REGIONAL MODEL
1. The Executive Board
The most important component of this conceptual national program model is that
it allows at the regional level an opportunity to bring together agency administrators from
federal, state and local agencies who have the shared power and responsibility to design
how they will collaboratively attack the real potentials of terrorism that exist within their
jurisdictional areas of responsibility. They are no longer a single agency head who
receives federal funding for their department that can only be used for specific equipment
74 Office of National Drug Control Policy, “Title III- High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas,” 1-3.
and programs or that may or may not complement what the other surrounding
jurisdictions are doing. They are part of a collaborative body that shares success and
failures. This is why the executive board of each HSRCA will be so powerfully able to
assess the national and regional intelligence and use it to design a strategy with realistic
goals and objectives that requires interagency collaboration.
A successful board can not afford to allow initiatives within its program to
flounder, as ignoring poor perfonnance will influence the success and funding levels for
the overall region. The balance of federal, state and local representation on the board
provides opportunities to understand and leverage existing agency resources that are
available. The communication that takes place at this level prevents duplication of efforts
and provides a means to establish goals that all involved can be party to. Another
important aspect of the executive board is the integrity that is maintained by the group.
As the board must find consensus on issues, it is much less likely to make decisions that
are of questionable intent or of insincere value. This social aspect adds to the
accountability of the program.
2. True, Effective Interagency Relationships and Communication
Relationship building is a key to successful interagency cooperation. The design
and structure of the executive board creates an opportunity for federal, state and local
agencies to agree on what needs to be done in their region and to create a strategy for
how to be successful as a team. They are empowered to apply funding to initiatives
within the regional program that involve cooperative participation from officers with the
various agencies represented. This is not to say that every initiative must have
representation from all involved agencies in the HSRCA, but each initiative must involve
collaboration between some of the agencies and be designed to complement the overall
As one recalls the Rocky Mountain Highway Patrol Network that was examined
in Chapter V, one can see an initiative that allows each participating agency to receive
funding through a process of evaluation, planning and coordinating that takes place in a
very non-competitive environment. A sense of camaraderie can be developed from this
bottom up approach where each agency identifies what resources and capabilities they
can apply to the problem and leverage that effectiveness by adding equipment, training,
information sharing and coordinated projects that are made available from the
Thomas Gorman is the director of RMHIDTA. During a recent discussion
regarding limited resources, Mr. Gorman stated, “I have not seen in my career a better
example of agency administrators being more concerned with the needs of the program
than what they can obtain for their agency.” 75 This is a compliment to this group, but it
also represents the social opportunities that are availed when people from various
agencies can come together and be part of an informed process to address common,
3. The Budget Process
It is proposed that Congress will set aside specific funding for the HSRCA
Program and that DHS will be the administrator. Each region of the country will receive
specific funding for law enforcement preventive purposes based on a formula that will
need to be detennined through consistent practices. The budget cycle will follow nonnal
federal timelines. The regional program will receive notification of the amount of funding
for its overall program. The following diagram illustrates proposed steps for the regional
budget cycle (Figure 7):
75 Thomas Gorman, Rocky Mountain HIDTA Executive Board Meeting Comments (author notes,
Rocky Mountain HIDTA Executive Board Meeting, Denver, Colorado, September 9, 2008).
Figure 7. HSRCA Budget Cycle
The HSRCA’s will assess their initiatives to ensure that appropriate guidelines
and procedures are followed. These should take place regularly to provide accountability
of the initiatives and maintain the credibility of the regional and national programs. DFIS
will follow up with regular audits of the regional programs.
D. REGIONAL DIRECTORS
The director is another key component to having a successful regional homeland
security program. The director is responsible for the day-to-day management of the
program. He or she must provide the administrative guidance necessary for effective and
innovative program management. The director shall develop the policy and procedures
and monitor initiatives for compliance issues. In addition, the director shall manage the
HSRCA staff to ensure the efficiency and integrity of the program. The director will
oversee the financial manager and ensure fiscal responsibility is maintained.
The executive board must be careful to select a director who is credible with a
distinguished background and is energetic. The director must have exceptional people
and communication skills and use them to keep the executive board informed and the
initiatives well-coordinated. The director assists the executive board chairperson and
plays a key role in facilitating effective board meetings. He or she must have the
expertise necessary for providing the day-to-day leadership that keeps the program on
track. Moreover, the director will be a subject matter advisor to the board and make
qualified recommendations regarding the performance of individual initiatives. The
director has the opportunity to identify problems before they become unmanageable.
Although the director does not work for DHS, they serve as the liaison between the board
and DHS officials. Effective communication at this level is essential.
E. INITIATIVES / TASK FORCES
The other critical component to this model is the individual initiatives/taskforces
that are established and operate within the regional HSRCA. These initiatives should be
constructed in a manner that is brings federal, state and local agencies together in a
focused manner. Their development will apply action towards addressing problems and
meeting homeland security goals and objectives that have been established by DHS and,
more specifically, by the regional executive board. This is where the true application of
taking existing resources and complementing them with assets made available from the
HSRCA can lead to efficiencies.
Several taskforces can be developed in a multi-state HSRCA. Two that should be
paramount are initiatives that link each state’s information fusion centers, state police and
critical infrastructure protection units. All initiatives should be managed and coordinated
by a command level staff that is set below the senior administrator level that makes up
the executive board. These commanders are closer to problem and have more
understanding of what it will take to successfully address the needs that are identified in
an efficient realistic way. This is the key point in the process where Intelligence Led
Policing (ILP) should be applied.
The 9/11 Commission Report that examined the federal government’s failure to
prevent the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks cited a “lack of imagination” as a
primary reason why officials were unable to connect the data dots and take action. 76 As
noted by the Commission, a secure homeland depends on the state, local, and tribal law
enforcement officers in our communities. These individuals are the people best
positioned, not only to observe criminal and other activity that might be the first sign of a
terrorist plot, but also to help thwart attacks before they happen. 77
This conceptual regional approach to problem solving allows the initiative
commanders the flexibility to understand the objectives and goals that have been set by
the executive board, to have situational awareness with the other agencies and initiatives
in the region, and to develop plans accordingly on how they will contribute to the overall
effort. The advantage of this concept is that these units can develop their plans and have
them vetted through the executive board so that specific intelligence and specialized
opportunities can be incorporated into the regional and national goals and objectives.
Again, areas of the country have varied professional cultures, interagency
relationships, administrative structures, and specialized capabilities that must be
considered and exploited for maximum efficiency. These commanders have that
opportunity for creativity with their savvy knowledge of their working environments to
be able to design initiatives that satisfy the established goals and utilize the existing
resources and relationships. This flexibility must be emphasized. The program has strong
accountability that will ensure that each initiative is well developed and in coordination
with the other initiatives. Part of the process involves annual evaluations and assessments
by the HSRCA director, staff and executive board as well as from DHS. These checks
76 National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, 9/11 Commission Report, 339.
77 Bennie Thompson, comp., “Improving Information Sharing Between the Intelligence Community
and State, Local and Tribal Law Enforcement,” Report prepared by request of Democratic Staff of the
House Committee on Homeland Security, (2006), 1, http://hsc-
democrats.house.gov/SiteDocuments/20060927193035-23713.pdf (accessed March 30, 2009).
and balances will be established to prevent individual initiatives from developing a
“mission creep” that can take them off track from the other program’s initiatives.
Statewide and regional meetings of these commanders provide the additional social
interaction that contributes to their creative collaborative capacity.
F. INFORMATION SHARING AND INTELLIGENCE
1. Establishing Intelligence Priorities
Developing information and intelligence sharing networks within each region will
be paramount to this conceptual homeland security program. Each state agency within the
HSRCA should be united in a combined initiative called a regional intelligence network
(RIN), in order to create a more effective information and intelligence sharing
opportunity. The RIN’s will be created to tie each state’s fusion center together with the
others in their region in a consistent and familiar fashion.
The commanders from each fusion center will fonn the coordinating committee
and design the regional strategy, structure, plans and policies that will unite the centers
and ensure efficient sharing of information between the states. Similar to the RMHPN
that was examined in Chapter V; this HSRCA initiative will bring these fusion center
commanders together for regular coordination meetings where relationships can be
developed and in-common systems can be identified. The funding stream for this
initiative can be used to develop each center’s needs individually and collectively while
ensuring interoperability. As each HSRCA is established throughout the country, they
will connect as regions and then each region to each other in creating a more robust
national infonnation sharing and intelligence network—the primary goal of homeland
security in the first place. As regions develop, they will identify ways of overcoming
technical and potential social obstacles that can interfere with information sharing. These
successes will be shared with other regions in a regular team forum that brings more
structure to the national effort.
Regional intelligence priorities (RIP’s) need to be established by the fusion
centers for each RIN. For example, in one RIN the intelligence priorities might be to
identify and investigate suspicious activity around power plants. In a neighboring
region’s network there might not be a power plant; therefore, the intelligence priorities
will be different. However, there will be occasions when the national mission will need
every HSRCA RIN in the country to focus on the same intelligence priorities—such as
illegal aliens suspected of smuggling weapons of mass destruction (WMD) across the
borders and into the states.
The effort of identifying and apprehending these suspects and accompanying
WMD would be a main intelligence priority throughout the country until the threat has
subsided. Intelligence priorities focus the investigative efforts of the regional or entire
intelligence system toward common objectives and steer the accompanying law
enforcement resources through ILP. Each RIN initiative will establish intelligence
priorities for their region’s intelligence strategy. These priorities will change and modify
as intelligence and circumstances dictate.
G. THE POWER OF CONSISTENCY AND LEVERAGE
One of the most significant advantages of the HSRCA program is that it provides
a forum of regular communication that leads to more efficient use of funding and
resources. Providing relevant training and equipment is an important need for agencies
engaged in homeland security missions. Funding should be used to establish a training
division in each HSRCA. These training divisions will identify the training needs that
correlate with the national and regional HSRCA’s missions and objectives and then
develop training programs that deliver the highest caliber courses available to law
enforcement officers and analysts throughout the region. These officers and analysts
should also receive specific training together to fully integrate their investigative and
analytical activity. This training can be structured to provide specific applications while
creating consistencies that allow fusion centers, initiatives and participating agencies to
more freely interact and coordinate operations. The training staff, with input from the
executive board, initiative commander and students will be responsible for designing a
program that suits the relevant needs of the regional participants.
Equipment purchases are a regular part of most grant allocations. The challenge
can be the difficulty in proscribing what equipment is needed in specific areas and what
equipment may already be available. By creating a collaborative environment within the
HSRCA, an opportunity presents itself for multiple agencies to leverage their purchases
based on their joint developed strategies and inventories of what already exists. This
cooperative practice also creates increased buying power and interoperability. For
example, if a common vendor can be identified that provides a product that allows
efficient interoperability between state’s fusion centers in the region, then through
agreement, the coordinating committee of the RIN can make that purchase together using
their allotted funding. The same holds true for the other initiatives operating within the
Using the HIDTA program model as a basis, a specified portion of Congressional
homeland security appropriations should be identified for this regional collaboration.
H. SIDE-BY-SIDE COMPARISONS OF PROGRAM ARCHITECTURE
It can be difficult to compare one or more live, running programs currently in
place versus that of a conceptual mental model, even using the Soft Systems
Methodology. The following table (Table 2) was developed in an effort to provide a way
to visually recognize the foundation on which the program architecture for HSRCA
model would ideally be built on. The graph includes specific strengths copied from the
illustrated models and improvements made for areas to be shown to be weaker than the
Table 2. Compared Programs
All levels of
Pro: Federal, state,
Con: This is
Lower level multi-
in the region
for state police
driving force for
and less formal
Pro: Creates a less
are guided by
and interact to
by federal, state and
core group to
provides use of
Command and field
from a multi-agency
many of the
RMHPN is very
ISC in a timely
Pro: Data is
all state police
agencies and officers
through each states
fusion center. Each
information from the
other fusion centers.
with other HSRCA’s.
The state fusion
centers are the
centers that tie the
back to field
sharing is not
with the non-
the ISC and
Pro: Hybrid design
centers, officers, and
gathering and sharing
and balance to
oversight is a
vital level of
Pro: Annual reports
and audits combined
program will promote
focused and efficient
multi-agency use of
HSRCA with national
program and internal
for much improved
efficiency and less
duplication of effort.
Pro: Has a
training to all
A dedicated training
division creates more
opportunities for in¬
common training to
Provide a means to
deliver regular and
relevant training to
officers and analysts
Has potential to
Increase the level of
In summation, the HSRCA model proposes utilizing the strengths of proven, best-
practice programs in other areas of national security and crime prevention that have
enonnous seeds of potential when placed within a structure that supports homeland
security needs—across the spectrum of the entire nation. Utilizing this model program
would blend the local culture, policies and resources with an accountable, federally-
funded program that would be utilized in the day-to-day duties of all law enforcement
agencies to provide a comprehensive web of homeland security.
VII. SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS
The intent of this thesis was to examine current gaps in homeland security; to
identify and study possible model programs that suggest best-practice accountability and
lend themselves to improved multi-jurisdictional cooperation; and to detennine if similar
models could be applied for use in homeland security applications. Using a Soft Systems
Methodology was important in the research process as it allowed examination and
consideration of the human factors that quite often interfere with attaining true
collaboration between organizations. Creating environments, where agency leaders can
maintain their autonomy while feeling part of a greater cause, is the key to increasing
opportunities for successful cooperative efforts among federal, state, local law
enforcement agencies. This research looked at the HIDTA programs to determine if a
similarly coordinated allocation of federal resources could be applied to a clearly defined
and cooperative homeland security program that provided improved information sharing
systems, equipment and training for all law enforcement operating in a specific
geographic region. Through a conceptual model, this thesis proposes that such a
national-intelligence-led law enforcement program, which more significantly involves
state and local agencies, can be designed to be much more efficient and economical than
other applications that exist today.
An effective program can be accomplished by developing a strategy that
realistically connects federal, state and local law enforcement agencies by using their in
common relationships, structures and linkages at a regional level. The key is not to
create a separate function of law enforcement but to incorporate homeland security into
the regular day-to-day operations of law enforcement. The guiding concept should be to
connect the regular police activity of all state, local and tribal police agencies throughout
the country in a win-win with their federal partners. This can be accomplished by
allowing key stakeholders at the state and local levels to participate in the specific design
of the program for their region. By considering that there exist similar, yet unique
circumstances in various areas of the country can provide an opportunity for people in
leadership positions to come together in a purposeful way and build an atmosphere of
collaboration in a less competitive environment.
Consideration for the human, social and cultural aspects of team building are
often overlooked when administering national programs that are established in a manner
that is expected to fit every jurisdiction and region. These human interactions are critical
when considering the influences that can interfere with developing cooperative outcomes.
Through examination of the HIDTA related programs, this thesis identified successful
structures that contributed to a more bottom-up design of regional drug enforcement
programs. The models that were explored demonstrated the potential for a similar hybrid
design that could be delivered to state and local agencies as part of a national homeland
security program. The conceptual model that was developed in Chapter VI outlined
specifics of how such a collaborative program could be implemented in multi-state
Some significant factors that were presented in the conceptual model included:
• Federal, state and local agency administrators being provided with opportunities to
create working groups that come together in a power-sharing and less competitive
• Consideration of the human traits is beneficial when attempting to bring agencies
together for the purpose of creating collaborative homeland security programs in a
spirit of cooperation.
• There are alternative designs that provide realistic opportunities to greatly improve
information sharing and develop actionable intelligence at the state and local levels.
These proposed improvements complement federal efforts and can tie the levels of
government together. It offers opportunities to better coordinate regional information
sharing by connecting the activity of state fusion centers. Such regional collaboration
can be expanded into a more coordinated national network where fusion center
commanders can directly apply their expertise to overcoming obstacles that inhibit
• This can be a national program with regional flexibility that provides state and local
agency administrators with specific opportunities to design, manage and account for
the federally funded initiatives being worked cooperatively by their law enforcement
• State and local agency leaders can become more involved by setting the regional
goals, standards and objectives, which are based on realistic evaluations of existing
threats and agency’s capabilities. This is accomplished in partnership with the senior
federal agency administrators who live and work within the region, as opposed to
those who are not familiar with the local and regional circumstances and professional
cultures. This contributes to effective buy-in by the multi-agency participants and
promotes a spirit of efficient cooperation that is often absent under other homeland
security grant distribution methods.
Distributing federal funding through this conceptual national program allows a
senior-level executive board to determine strategic goals and objectives that address the
specific threats that are presented within a given region and also tie into national
objectives. It is through this process that a true web of homeland security can be created
that detects terrorist operations through the regular course of state and local law
enforcement activity. The more “boots on the ground” officers who can be trained in
homeland security related matters will lead to more potential and actual interdiction of
terrorist activity prior to an event. The dedicated work of these officers needs to be
effectively plugged into the co-developed information-sharing network of state and
regional fusion centers. This increased amount of information sharing will provide added
benefit to federal investigations because of the increased potential for connecting the
In the effort to solve problems, there often comes a time to step back, evaluate,
and, perhaps, approach the problem from another angle. Current methods of bringing
together the effective use of state and local law enforcement agencies in national
homeland security efforts has considerable room for improvement. To continue down the
current path places the country’s main homeland security reliance on federal law
enforcement agencies and military branches that lack daily interaction with the public at
large. The level of state and local law enforcement homeland security awareness and
participation needs to be developed in much of the country. Without that, state and local
law enforcement will remain underutilized and the opportunities for success by terrorist
individuals and organizations will be more likely.
A new conceptual model for state and local involvement in a national law
enforcement approach to homeland security is not only necessary, but it is vital to
increasing the long-term capabilities of preventing another 9/11 type event in an ever-
changing terrorism environment. It is through this proposed homeland security model
that delivered programs with increased state, local and regional participation can be
improved. The potential for more productive and coordinated information sharing will
lead to evolving opportunities for terrorist interdiction. A collaborative and less
competitive environment will provide improved public safety, operational efficiency and
esprit de corps among the cooperating agencies.
A. RECOMMENDATIONS FOR IMPLEMENTATION
It would be wise for future research to delve more into the social dynamics of
group leaders and attempt to identify what circumstances might explain why one group is
more effective at creating a collaborative environment than another given similar
circumstances. This study offered that creating a shared-power, less-competitive
environment for a program’s regional executive board naturally fosters collaboration.
Additionally, it recommended that a strong and engaged director, with subject matter
expertise, can facilitate more efficiency and cooperation among the group. Identifying
ways to increase the likelihood that the executive boards will be able to operate at
optimum efficiency deserves further study, but does not inhibit the potential of currently
combining random groups of administrators under the proposed regional models and
developing their interactive capability through the operational process.
There is sufficient evidence presented in this thesis to warrant consideration of a
three-year pilot project on a regional basis. This amount of time allows for careful
development, implementation and evaluation. This project should be adequately
monitored and facilitated to ensure that problematic issues can be identified and
adjustments made, so that the end product has the greatest potential for being expanded
in an extremely useful and efficient national program. U.S. economist John Bates Clark
once said, “A nearly ideal situation would be that in which, in every department or
industry, there should be one great corporation working without friction and with
enormous economy, and compelled to give to the public the full benefit of that
economy.” 78 It is through the careful guidance of government agencies by administrators
who are deeply committed to protecting the public that homeland security can be
advanced. Steps need to be taken to place these administrators together in a non¬
competitive environment that breeds collaboration. It is through these cooperative
relationships that those who seek to hann citizens will be identified in advance and
interdicted by dedicated law enforcement officers of all agencies who are sharing
information and working together.
78 John Bates Clark and John Maurice Clark, The Control of Trusts (New York: Macmillan Co., 1912),
h_.html (accessed September 19, 2008).
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