The Associated Press reports:
President Barack Obama announced Tuesday he is combining White House staffs dealing with international and homeland security, predicting the change will make Americans safer.
Obama also is creating a new office intended to communicate more effectively with other countries about U.S. security policy.
Heritage fellows Jena Baker McNeill and James Jay Carafano wrote on April 9:
President Obama should fold the HSC into the NSC. Doing so would improve interagency policy planning and eliminate gaps between efforts to address transnational security threats at home and overseas.
Heritage first made the case for the merger in our September 18, 2008, report Homeland Security 3.0: Building a National Enterprise to Keep America Safe, Free, and Prosperous.
The details of the merger still deserve scrutiny though. McNeill and Carafano warn:
The White House should also demonstrate prudence and restraint in expanding the authority and responsibility of the President’s staff. The NSC should remain focused on its primary task: Policy coordination and providing staff advice to the President. The Administration should resist the effort to “operationalize” the White House by expanding its capacity to conduct crisis management and planning day-to-day operations.
Usurping the roles and responsibilities of federal agencies will only complicate the process of governing, obfuscate effective congressional oversight, blur lines of authority and responsibility, and increasingly bog the White House down in the day-to-day affairs of managing homeland security.