Napolitano issues first action directives

Published 23 January 2009

On her first day in office, new DHS secretary issues five action directives centering on protection of critical infrastructure, transportation, and on better intelligence sharing among federal, state, and local levels of government

On her first official day as DHS secretary, Janet Napolitano issued five Action Directives, all centered on one of the primary missions of DHS: Protection. DHS says that in the coming days, Napolitano will issue other action directives focused on other missions critical to the department: Preparedness, Response, Recovery, and Immigration.

The action directives issued Wednesday on protection instruct specific offices and agencies to gather information, review existing strategies and programs, and to provide oral and written reports back to her by a time certain. The areas in which Wednesday’s action directives were issued are: critical infrastructure protection; risk analysis; state and local intelligence sharing; transportation security; and state, local, and tribal integration.

One of my top priorities is to unify this department and to create a common culture. These action directives are designed to begin a review, evaluation and dialogue between the various functions of this department and me,” said Napolitano. “I look forward to receiving the information and to working with the offices and agencies involved to make DHS a more effective and a more efficient department.”

Here are the full action directives:

  • Critical infrastructure protection. This core mission of DHS entails a broad mandate to reduce the vulnerability of key systems and structures to natural and man-made threats. DHS oversees the national critical infrastructure list and manages 18 infrastructure sectors established under Homeland Security Presidential Directive-7, with primary responsibility for information technology, telecommunications, chemical, transportation, emergency services, and postal and shipping. This entails extensive dealings with other federal agencies, states, and the private sector, involving collaboration, data collection, risk analysis, and sharing of best practices. What is the current status of the critical infrastructure list, relations with the 18 sector security councils and the other departments that have critical infrastructure protection roles? What are the plans to enhance protection? How do we enhance private sector participation? An oral report is due 28 January.
  • Risk analysis. Given the extensive number of vulnerabilities to man-made and natural disasters and the limitations on resources, determining national priorities and the judicious distribution of resources are a major element of the department’s mission. What is the status of risk analysis metrics and what is the plan and time frame for setting up a full-blown system to govern the establishment of critical infrastructure programs, the priorities among national planning scenarios, and the distribution of grants to state, local, and tribal entities? More broadly, how can DHS enhance risk management as the basis of decision