In the wake of a fence jumper causing publicity headaches for the White House, many in Washington expected the Department of Homeland Security to step up their game. After all, the guy they caught – 42-year-old Omar Gonzalez – could well have done something disastrous in another scenario. Of course, keeping the White House secure is only one of many priorities for the Bush-created DHS, but it doesn’t seem like the time is right to add additional duties to the beleaguered agency.
Especially when those additional duties will be focused not on terrorism, illegal immigration, or keeping the peace, but rather the nebulous threat of CLIMATE CHANGE. According to top agency officials, it is incumbent upon the DHS to protect the infrastructure of American cities from the effects of global warming.
Caitlin Durkovich, the assistant secretary for infrastructure protection at the department, said Thursday that DHS was shifting from a focus on protection to a focus on resiliency. That kind of shift makes sense when you’re talking about ensuring American cities, bridges, and skyscrapers are up to the challenge of a major terrorist attack. It starts to make a little less sense when you’re talking about “climate change.” What exactly is the Department of Homeland Security preparing for? A nonsensical disaster of the Day After Tomorrow variety?
Indeed, it sounds like that is what they’re preparing for. As part of Durkovich’s speech, she mentioned preparing coastal cities for rising sea levels, a phenomenon that is – as yet – still a matter of intense debate in the scientific community. There was also reference made to 2012’s Superstorm Sandy, which caused billions of dollars worth of devastation in New England. While it’s appropriate, perhaps, for DHS to be involved in modernizing American cities against the threat of such storms, to pretend like hurricanes are a product of climate change is just willful ignorance.
All things considered, this sounds like another excuse to keep tax dollars flowing to the Department of Homeland Security in a time when John Ashcroft isn’t giving updates to the country every five minutes. In the years after 9/11, the DHS had the perception of being the most important federal agency in the land. Now that we’ve put time and distance between ourselves and the worst terrorist attack in our nation’s history, the department is rarely mentioned at all.
Obama is undoubtedly responsible for much of the DHS’s low profile. Being a Bush creation, he would have naturally wanted to keep them out of the spotlight. His focus has never been homeland security, after all. Now that the DHS is ripe for budget cuts, it’s time to make up some new duties for the agency that will ensure its survival over the next few decades. After all, whether it was created by a Republican or not, Democrats can’t risk doing anything that might put tax dollars back in American pockets.