Thursday, March 09, 2006

All's well at Homeland Security

Suppose you are a young 28 year old with no management experience but, according to your profile a good listener and someone whose favorite books include William Bennett's The Death of Outrage: Bill Clinton and the Assault on American Ideals. You aren't entirely inexperienced. In 2001 you were a $30,000 a year low level White House staffer who arranged presidential travel. Not enough for you? How about a top level job in the Department of Homeland Security? That can be arranged.

Welcome Douglas Hoelscher, the new executive director of the Homeland Security Advisory Commitees (plural). Hoelscher is now
the "primary representative" of department Secretary Michael Chertoff in dealing with more than 20 advisory boards. Among them is the Homeland Security Advisory Council, which includes such high-powered figures as Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts, former Lockheed Chairman Norman Augustine, and former Defense and Energy Secretary James Schlesinger. (Shane Harris in the National Journal)
Not bad. Just the kind of person that Secretary Chertoff needs to provide "strategic counsel," another one of Hoelscher's duties. And Chertoff could use the advice of someone who has "been there," like this young fella:
In 2004, Hoelscher worked for the RNC [Republican National Committee]. The following year he became Homeland Security's White House liaison, "obtaining information from the department," said Joanna Gonzalez, a department spokeswoman. During Katrina, he helped deploy volunteers from the department to the Gulf Coast, she said. The congressional report on Katrina noted that some of those employees had trouble making it to the region because of departmental miscommunications.
He'll be part of an illustrious tradition:
Controversial political appointments at the department include Michael Brown, the former FEMA director, who was a longtime friend of Bush's 2000 campaign director, Joe Allbaugh; Julie Myers, who's married to Chertoff's chief of staff and heads the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Bureau despite lacking law enforcement credentials; and Eduardo Aguirre Jr., a career Texas banker with Bush family ties, who was director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
Did I mention that Homeland Security is the lead federal agency in the event of a flu pandemic? Rest easy