Joshua D. Filler is the founder and President of Filler Security Strategies, Inc., (FSS) (www.fssconsulting.net), a homeland security consulting firm in Washington, DC. FSS provides consulting services to State and local governments, federal agencies, transit agencies, ports, Fortune 500 Companies and smaller technology firms. Mr. Filler has a wide array of senior homeland security and government operations experience at the local and federal level and has published numerous articles and given speeches and lectures on homeland security and emergency preparedness across the U.S. This blog will provide insights and perspective into a variety of homeland security issues, particularly those involving terrorism prevention and protection, based on Mr. Filler's experience inside and outside of government.
Mr. Filler served as the first ever Director of the Office of State & Local Government Coordination for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in Washington, DC. Mr. Filler was a founding member of DHS, senior advisor to the Secretary of Homeland Security, a member of the Department's senior management team and a member of the Secretary's Emergency Response Group for incident management and high threat periods. As Director of the Office of State & Local Government Coordination, Mr. Filler was the Department of Homeland Security's primary point of contact for state, local and tribal homeland security leaders, including Homeland Security Directors, Mayors, Governors, Sheriffs, Police Chiefs, Fire Chiefs, Emergency Managers and other leaders and was responsible for coordinating the programs and policies of the Department as they relate to local, state and tribal governments.
Mr. Filler worked regularly with senior DHS leaders and other federal officials on national preparedness, grant funding issues, intelligence and information sharing, policy development, communications, and anti-terrorism operations and security planning within the United States and its territories. This included numerous Homeland Security Presidential Directives, the creation of the Urban Areas Security Initiative, the Transit Security Grant Program, the National Incident Management System, the National Response Framework and the National Infrastructure Protection Plan. Mr. Filler also represented DHS before Congress, the news media and was a regular public speaker at national and international conferences on homeland security.
Prior to joining DHS, Mr. Filler was Director of Local Affairs for the White House Office of Homeland Security (OHS) in Washington, DC. As Director of Local Affairs, he was responsible for coordinating with local governments around the country on homeland security matters including the National Strategy for Homeland Security, federal legislative and budget issues, and serving as a member of the OHS Incident Response Group, which managed domestic incidents for the White House.
Before joining the White House, Mr. Filler served in the Cabinet of Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani in New York as Chief of Staff in the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Operations and Director of Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs. His work included oversight of the New York Police Department, Fire Department and Office of Emergency Management and numerous other city agencies. After September 11, 2001, Mr. Filler was responsible for emergency operational issues and managing contacts with local, state and federal officials on behalf of New York City in connection with the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center.
Prior to his government service, Mr. Filler was an attorney in private practice in New York. Mr. Filler graduated from Boston University with a B.A. in political science. He received his law degree from St. John's University School of Law where he was President of the Moot Court Honor Society.
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Despite having made real contributions to the sharing of intelligence between the federal government and state and local agencies; since its inception, the office of Intelligence and Analysis (I&A) at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has struggled to find its place in the larger U.S. Intelligence Community (IC). Indeed, it is common knowledge among the IC that I&A is often viewed as the Rodney Dangerfield of that community - they get "no respect." To shed that image and earn some respect, I&A must add real and independent value to the IC and the homeland security mission as a whole.
A Shock to the System
To understand much of why I&A finds itself in the predicament it is in today, one must go back to 2003 during the establishment of the Terrorist Threat Integration Center (TTIC), which is now the National Counter Terrorism Center (NCTC). TTIC was created to provide a "comprehensive, all-source-based picture of potential terrorist threats to U.S. interests" while I&A was created to "access, receive, and analyzeâ¦information from agencies of the Federal Government, State and local government agencies and private sector entities, and to integrate such information in order to (a) identify and assess the nature and scope of terrorist threats to the homelandâ¦ ." While TTIC's mission went beyond the homeland to cover all "U.S. interests" it clearly collided directly with I&A when it came to homeland security.
When President Bush announced the creation of the TTIC during his State of the Union in January 2003, it sent a shock wave through DHS and particularly through I&A. So much so that then Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security, Gordon England, recommended we disband I&A since much of what is was designed to do would now be managed by the TTIC. On top of the TTIC, the FBI also believed that I&A was, and remains, duplicative of the FBI intelligence and TTIC missions and that I&A is simply not necessary. In the end, the decision was made to keep I&A in tact, but the underlying reasons that caused the basis for the debate within DHS, to this day, have hampered I&A over what its role truly is. If I&A is not to be the hub of U.S. government intelligence analysis for purposes of protecting the homeland, what is its proper role?
Before one can address what the role of I&A is one must first outline what I&A's role is not. I&A is not a collector of intelligence. It has no agents in the field and has no direct control over intelligence gathering assets. I&A's role is not to duplicate the efforts of other federal intelligence agencies - I&A is not the Directorate of Intelligence at the CIA or the FBI and it is not the NCTC. While competitive analysis is essential to determining the true meaning of intelligence, it alone cannot justify the existence of I&A.
Unlike most intelligence analysis units, I&A is not tied to a specific operational counterpart within DHS, e.g., the intelligence analysis units at the FBI and CIA serve, in part, to support their operational counterparts within those agencies. Compounding this fact, DHS operating components from the Coast Guard, which is an independent member of the IC, in addition to I&A, to Immigration and Customs Enforcement, have their own intelligence units further complicating the role of I&A.
Three Key Areas of Focus
I&A's fundamental mission should focus on three parts each of which is interrelated and serves the common purpose of protecting the homeland from threats and acts of terrorism: (1) To provide assistance to and integrate the intelligence efforts of the DHS components; (2) To provide assistance to and integrate the efforts of state and local intelligence programs with the larger IC counter-terrorism efforts; and (3) To view all source intelligence as its relates to vulnerabilities of U.S. critical infrastructure and key resources (CIKR).
The DHS components are a wealth of raw data that when properly collected and analyzed can produce useful intelligence leads and products. However, integrating the intelligence efforts of agencies as disparate as the U.S. Secret Service and the Transportation Security Administration whose missions seem to have little in common, short of the seal under which they operate, is daunting. The DHS components have long viewed I&A with suspicion, unclear as to how I&A fits into the components' day-to-day operations and intelligence needs. I&A has taken steps to overcome these challenges by including liaison officers from the components within I&A and by setting strategic guidance for intelligence units across the Department.
If integrating and coordinating the DHS components' intelligence efforts is difficult it pales in comparison to working with state and local intelligence programs for no other reason than the size and diversity of those programs. Such programs are spread across 50 states, five territories and the District of Columbia plus hundreds of major cities and counties across the country. In addition, I&A has no field offices similar to the FBI. Thus, except for its having deployed some intelligence analysts to state and local intelligence fusion centers, I&A, unlike the FBI, has no significant daily presence among state and local agencies, especially state and local law enforcement.
I&A currently serves as the executive agent for DHS concerning state and local fusion centers. It should be given this mandate U.S. Government wide and be tasked with developing a national concept of operations for fusion centers and a federal support plan - funding, training etc. - that reaches several years into the future. This should address to what extent I&A should have a broader presence in the field similar to the FBI's Field Intelligence Groups. It is information at the state, tribal and local level that I&A should focus much of its attention on in order to integrate that information with federal information to produce useful intelligence. This includes more than simply law enforcement information, e.g., public health, private security forces, and the fire service. However, given the criticality of state and local law enforcement in this area, until clear lines between I&A and the FBI are drawn, I&A's role will remain murky in this critical field.
Finally, viewing intelligence through the prism of CIKR is a mission shared by I&A's once twin brother at DHS - the Office of Infrastructure Protection, which, along with I&A and the Homeland Security Operations Center, made up the now defunct DHS Information Analysis and Infrastructure Protection Directorate (IAIP). Despite IAIP having been disbanded the need to overlap intelligence threats against the known vulnerabilities of U.S. CIKR in order to design protective measures and issue alerts and warnings is still vital. These missions must be better coordinated and integrated at DHS particularly at the Homeland Infrastructure Threat and Risk Analysis Center and the National Operations Center.
For I&A to shed its Rodney Dangerfield image it must provide unique and real value to the IC and the homeland security community writ large. It must do what no one else does. Until that happens, the office will continue to struggle to find its place and earn the respect it deserves.
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