The Annenberg Retreat at Sunnylands and the Aspen Institute Justice & Society Program convened a task force to review a request to consolidate Congressional oversight of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
The task force consists of distinguished former and current members of Congress, executive branch and DHS officials, and other homeland security experts.
According to Commision co-chair Thomas H. Kean, this "may be the toughest recommendation" because Congress does not usually reform itself.
The task force report warns, "While the failure to reform DHS oversight may be invisible to the public, it is not without consequence or risk. Fragmented jurisdiction impedes DHS' ability to deal with three major vulnerabilities: the threats posed by small aircraft and boast; cyberattacks; and biological weapons."
The Sunnylands-Aspen Institute task force proposed several recommendations that include:
· DHS should have an oversight structure similar to other critical departments, such as Defense and Justice.
· Congressional committees with jurisdiction over DHS should have overlapping membership.
· DHS should have an authorization bill giving the department clear direction from Congress.