Homeland Security Council

Homeland Security Council

The Homeland Security Council (HSC) is an entity within the Executive Office of the President of the United States and was created by Homeland Security Presidential Directive 1 (HSPD-1) on October 29, 2001. It serves as the "de facto" successor to the Office of Homeland Security which was established on September 20, 2001, in response to the September 11, 2001, attacks. President George W. Bush announced the establishment of an Office of Homeland Security (OHS) to coordinate homeland security efforts and was to be headed by then Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge with the title of Assistant to the President for Homeland Security. The Homeland Security Council, similar in nature to the National Security Council, retains a policy coordination and advisory role and is led by the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism. That role was occupied by Frances Fragos Townsend, who announced her resignation on November 19, 2007. Her position is currently vacant.

Her deputy was Joel Bagnal, Deputy Assistant to the President for Homeland Security. The Homeland Security Council is also structurally similar to the National Security Council and its staff are organized by subject areas relating to homeland security missions. The Council itself is made up of the Cabinet Secretaries and White House Senior Officials whose departments have principal interests in homeland security policy-making. The day to day work of the HSC is done by its full-time staff members who work in the White House Office, one of the entities comprising the EOP.


Structure of the United States Homeland Security Council (2007)
George W. Bush (President of the United States)
Ken Wainstein (Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism)
Regular Attendees
Richard B. Cheney (Vice President)

Michael Chertoff (Secretary of Homeland Security)

Henry Paulson (Secretary of the Treasury)

Robert Gates (Secretary of Defense)

Michael Mukasey (Attorney General)

Michael Leavitt (Secretary of Health and Human Services)

Mary Peters (Secretary of Transportation)

Joshua Bolten (White House Chief of Staff)

Michael Hayden (Director of the Central Intelligence Agency)

Robert Mueller (Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation)

R. David Paulison (Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency)

Jim Nussle (Director of the Office of Management and Budget)

David Addington (the Assistant to the Vice President and Chief of Staff to the Vice President)
Additional Participants
Condoleezza Rice (Secretary of State)

Dirk Kempthorne (Secretary of the Interior)

Chuck Conner (Secretary of Agriculture)

Carlos Gutierrez (Secretary of Commerce)

Elaine Chao (Secretary of Labor)

Samuel Bodman (Secretary of Energy)

Gordon Mansfield (Secretary of Veterans Affairs)

Stephen L. Johnson (Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency)

Stephen Hadley (Assistant to the President for National Security)

Juan Zarate (Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Advisor for Combating Terrorism)

The Counsel to the President shall be consulted regarding the agenda of HSC/PC meetings and shall attend any meeting when, in consultation with the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security, the Counsel deems it appropriate. The Deputy Director of the Office of Homeland Security shall serve as Executive Secretary of the HSC/PC. Other heads of departments and agencies and senior officials shall be invited, when appropriate." [http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2001/10/20011030-1.html Homeland Security Presidential Directive-1 ] ]

Structure and Function of the Homeland Security Council

The staff of the HSC are aligned into subject areas ranging from Emergency Preparedness and Response to Border and Transportation Security. Each subject area is headed by a Senior Director who holds the title of Special Assistant to the President. Sections typically have between one and five staff members. The line-level staff are usually designated as Directors for their given specialty. In some cases, junior staff members have been designated as Associate Directors or even Deputy Associate Directors. The staff are largely drawn from other U.S. government agencies as intra-governmental detailees though some have been hired directly from outside the executive branch. Most Senior Directors and Directors are mid to senior level government experts in their field and serve one or more years in their respective roles. Unlike the Department of Homeland Security which is a distinct cabinet-level department, HSC functions across all levels of the Federal Government and answers directly to the President. This closeness to the White House allows them to transcend bureaucratic boundaries and budget or turf fights in order to create a unified Administration policy on a particular aspect of homeland security. To accomplish their policy coordination role, HSC's principal instrument is the Policy Coordinating Committee (PCC). PCCs are organized along topical areas and are employed as tools by many EOP offices. In some cases, HSC will jointly chair a PCC with another EOP office such as the National Security Council or Domestic Policy Council. PCCs are typically convened and chaired by a Senior Director. The PCC is made up of representatives of all Federal agencies with relevant equities in the PCC topic area and are attended by an under or assistant secretary of each cabinet department. They are also attended by other staff from other EOP offices; HSC works extremely closely with staff from the Office of the Vice President, the NSC, the Office of Management and Budget, the Office of Science and Technology Policy, and the Domestic Policy Council in order to accomplish their mission. HSC tries to seek consensus among the PCC to effect policy coordination. If the PCC is unable to reach consensus or a more formal imprimatur is needed they will bring the policy proposal to the Homeland Security Council Principals or Deputies Committee. This committee is made up of cabinet or deputy cabinet secretaries from all relevant Federal departments. Other tools include having the President promulgate Executive Orders, memoranda, of Homeland Security Presidential Directives (HSPD). Though largely unknown and unseen by the public, HSC has served a central role in almost every homeland security policy debate since its inception. Most notably, they led White House efforts to combat the dangers of avian influenza and coordinated the "Lessons Learned Report" following Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. [ [http://www.whitehouse.gov/reports/katrina-lessons-learned/ The Federal Response to Hurricane Katrina: Lessons Learned ] ]


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