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On the Record

Homeland Security Study

JACKI LYDEN: Congress takes up President Bush’s plan for a new Department of Homeland Security this week. The plan calls for a massive new department, combining all or parts of some 22 agencies at a cost of $38 billion a year. But a Brookings Institution report this weekend criticizes the President’s plan as too ambitious and unwieldy. And one that substitutes reorganization for strategy.

Ivo Daalder is one of the authors of the Brookings report and he joins me in the studio now.

One of the things you argue in the pages of this report is that there isn’t adequate strategy for preventing terrorism here. There’s a bit too much cart before the horse going on in terms of security apparatus. Is that so?

IVO DAALDER: Well the administration has put forward a reorganization plan before it had completed its strategy for homeland security. And the question one has is how can you really figure out how to reorganize without knowing what the strategy is. And you have this fleeting suspicion here of what’s going on is that the reorganization effort is in a sense being a substitute for a strategy. It is now becoming the strategy. The problem of course, is it’s not about the reorganization, it’s about getting the right people in the right place with the right information at the right time. Organization may help, but strategy needs to guide that rather than the other way around.

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