Unveiled by Secrecy News – Pentagon sets new security standards

The Department of Defense this week established a new Defense Security
Enterprise that is intended to unify and standardize the Department's
multiple, inconsistent security policies.

The new security framework "shall provide an integrated, risk-managed
structure to guide DSE policy implementation and investment decisions, and
to provide a sound basis for oversight and evolution."

The Defense Security Enterprise, launched October 1 by DoD Directive
5200.43, is a response to the often incoherent and internally contradictory
state of DoD security policy.


An Inspector General report earlier this year said that there were at
least 43 distinct DoD policies on security that could not all be
implemented together.

"The sheer volume of security policies that are not coordinated or
integrated makes it difficult for those at the field level to ensure
consistent and comprehensive policy implementation," the DoD IG wrote. 
("DoD Security Policy is Incoherent and Unmanageable, IG Says," Secrecy
News, September 4, 2012.)


But under the new Defense Security Enterprise, "Standardized security
processes shall be implemented, to the maximum extent possible and with
appropriate provisions for unique missions and security environments," the
DoD directive said.

The new structure is supposed to "ensure that security policies and
programs are designed and managed to improve standards of performance,
economy, and efficiency."

But the directive does not explain how to proceed if "performance,
economy, and efficiency" prove to be incompatible objectives.

Nor does it provide a working definition for the crucial concept of "risk
management."  This term, often contrasted with "risk avoidance," implies an
increased tolerance for risk (i.e. risk of failure).  But the practical
meaning (or the limit) of this tolerance is nowhere made explicit.

The Defense Security Enterprise will be managed by "a core of highly
qualified security professionals," the DoD directive said.


The state and local fusion centers supported by the Department of Homeland
Security have produced little intelligence of value and have generated new
concerns involving waste and abuse, according to an investigative report
from the Senate Homeland Security Committee Permanent Subcommittee on


"It's troubling that the very 'fusion' centers that were designed to share
information in a post-9/11 world have become part of the problem. Instead
of strengthening our counterterrorism efforts, they have too often wasted
money and stepped on Americans' civil liberties," said Senator Tom Coburn,
the ranking member of the Subcommittee who initiated the investigation.


While it may not be the last word on the subject, the new Subcommittee
report is a rare example of congressional oversight in the classical mode. 
It was performed by professional investigators over a two-year period.  It
encountered and overcame agency resistance and non-cooperation.  And it
uncovered -- and published -- significant new information that demands an
executive branch response.  That's the way the system is supposed to work.


New and updated reports from the Congressional Research Service that have
not been made available to the public include the following.

Puerto Rico's Political Status and the 2012 Plebiscite: Background and Key
Questions, October 2, 2012:


The Emergency Food and Shelter National Board Program and Homeless
Assistance, October 5, 2012:


Federal Freight Policy: An Overview, October 2, 2012:


The Peace Corps: Current Issues, updated October 2, 2012:


Chemical Facility Security: Issues and Options for the 112th Congress,
updated October 2, 2012: