‘Homeland Confusion’ documents national-security vulnerabilities

 Streamlined oversight could solve

 

The 20-minute documentary “Homeland Confusion,” which examines one of the key unfulfilled recommendations of the 9/11 Commission – that Congress simplify and streamline its oversight of homeland security – debuted at a screening for former and current Congressional and homeland security officials and their staffs on Feb. 11, 2014, to mark the 13th anniversary of the Hart-Rudman Commission’s final report.

 

Issued months before 9/11 by a federal commission investigating the nation’s security challenges, the Hart-Rudman report warned of the danger of an attack on American soil and urged Congress to review its structure for overseeing domestic security. Hart-Rudman Commission chairman and former Senator Gary Hart and commission member Norman Augustine, a former undersecretary of the Army, discussed the report’s warning in an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times.

 

The film argues that Congress can exercise one of its strongest roles in protecting Americans through clear, direct oversight of homeland security. Yet more than 100 committees and subcommittees currently claim jurisdiction over the U.S. Department of Homeland Security – three times as many as supervise the Defense Department. The movie “Homeland Confusion” looks at how and why fragmented Congressional oversight of the Department of Homeland Security leaves our nation more vulnerable than it might otherwise be to the threat of cyber-, biological, and chemical attack.

 

In addition, a new report, “Alarms Unheeded,” on the Hart-Rudman Commission’s work, finds that the unaddressed concerns of the commission have become even more urgent today. The report, which will be released on Feb. 11, 2014 by the Aspen Institute Justice and Society Program and the Annenberg Public Policy Center, said that the Commission’s fears of duplicated and wasted efforts on some issues and lack of attention to others have been borne out.

 

The need for clearer oversight was also the focus of the Sunnylands-Aspen task force, a group of security experts that included the chair and vice-chair of the 9/11 Commission, Governor Tom Kean and Congressman Lee Hamilton. In a report on September 11, 2013, the group laid out the case for why stronger oversight is so essential to make the nation more secure. “Homeland Confusion,” filmed by the award-winning The Documentary Group for the Annenberg Public Policy Center, is based on the task force’s work.

 

For more information about the film, the Hart-Rudman report and the Sunnylands-Aspen task force, contact:

 

Kathleen Hall Jamieson, director, the Annenberg Public Policy Center, at 215-898-9400; or e-mail Meryl Justin Chertoff, director, the Aspen Institute Justice and Society Program.