The Department of Homeland Security is not a model of efficiency. The Washington Post points out more problems.

DHS tried to combine 22 federal agencies into one superbureaucracy. The DHS was as shortsighted reaction to the 9/11 attacks. Congress responds with only one tactic: create more bureaucracies.

The 9/11 Commission proposals are mostly bureaucratic puzzles. When corporations or government notice problems and inefficiencies in hierarchical structures, their “solution” is to add another layer of bureaucracy to oversee the other layers of bureaucracies. When this fails, they provide more funding for the bureacracy, as if this is a matter of money.

This has a number of negative effects. It increases the distance that information must travel from the bottom to the top and back down. Time lags in feedback make bureacracies more cumbersome and less responsive in a crisis.

The DHS not only made the Federal Government weaker against terrorism, but it is also less capable of responding to natural disasters.

The 9/11 Commission Intelligence Reforms are far worse. In all honesty, I wish the commission was never formed. It is very similar to the Pearl Harbor studies done during WWII. It reactively lays the blame on the wrong people and creates “solutions” that do more harm then good. Investigations of disasters or attacks should come years later when emotions play no role.

The goal of intelligence reform is to create a decentralized intelligence community which offers a wide variety of opinions and perspectives while sharing information. This requires some tradeoffs with opsec, but it will be better suited to countering both decentralized non-state warfare and traditional state politics. Reforms should have taken down barriers between intelligence agencies so information is not restricted.

There are minor steps in the right direction, like the creation of an “IntelWiki” where analysts can share information and identify patterns.

The 9/11 Commission created a structure that restricts and narrows opinion, making our bureaucracies function like the decrepit Soviet Government.

I’d like to make two radical proposals.
1) Abolish the Department of Homeland Security.
2) Abolish the CIA

The CIA should be replaced with two specialist human intelligence agencies: A Foreign Humint agency and and a Defensive Intel organization modeled after the British MI5 and Israel’s Shin Bet.

The CIA developed a culture that is resistant to reform. It leaks vital secrets, undermines democratically elected Presidents and it does not perform well overseas. The CIA lacks critically needed Humint, its analysis is sub-par, and its secret operations end in failure.

A foreign HUMINT agency would specialize only in this activity. This prevents mission creep and the lack of focus that plagued the CIA.

The Defensive Intelligence Organization organization will handle internal threats to the US. This includes duties including counter-terrorism, counterintelligence, interrogations, and providing protection of critical infrastructure.

The FBI currently handles these activities but it is the wrong bureau. It has a law-enforcement culture that is ill-suited to warfare. In response to those who believe this is a secret police or a domestic spy agency, they clearly have no idea what MI5 does. It will replace only what the FBI currently does without further jurisdiction. An MI5-like organization defends against military attacks while the FBI handles crime.