Priorities

DHS has been rethinking priorities since 2004. The process picked up steam last July, when new DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff announced a six-point agenda to make DHS more responsive to changing threats. It called for: (1) improved preparedness, especially for catastrophic events; (2) better transportation security systems for people and cargo; (3) stronger border security, visa enforcement, and immigration reforms; (4) enhanced information sharing with partners; (5) improved department management; and (6) a DHS reorganization to implement these changes.

Chertoff said the reorganization would give the department a greater sense of urgency and improve coordination and information-sharing. The remake also appears an effort to stamp a single identity on DHS's 22 separate agencies.

Many of the changes consolidated power at the department's executive levels. A new Operations Directorate oversees DHS's response to new intelligence. The new Policy Directorate takes over this function from the Border and Transportation Security Directorate. A new Office of Intelligence and Analysis ensures that all field information goes to all relevant agencies.

Chertoff also transformed the old Information Analysis and Infrastructure Directorate into the new Preparedness Directorate. It now has responsibility for state and local government grants, training, exercises, cyber security, infrastructure protection and response to biological attacks.

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