The Naval Postgraduate School & The U.S. Department of Homeland Security

'Homeland Confusion': A Response to the 13th Anniversary of the Hart-Rudman Report

CongressIn recognition of the 13th anniversary of the release of the Hart-Rudman report, the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania (the Center) released this week "Homeland Confusion," a 20-minute documentary that outlines "national-security vulnerabilities streamlined oversight could solve."

The Hart-Rudman report, originally released in January 2001 by the U.S. Commission on National Security/21st Century, "warned of the danger of an attack on American soil and urged Congress to review its structure for overseeing domestic security." Although the report would serve as a chilling preface to the terrorist attacks that came just a few months later in September of 2001, the findings and recommendations of the Commission went largely unheeded at the time of their release.

"Homeland Confusion", however, serves as the Center's modern response to the Hart-Rudman report. "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 […] 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 to this documentary, the Center teamed up with the Aspen Institute Justice and Society Program to produce a report on the Hart-Rudman Commission's work, entitled "Alarms Unheeded". Ultimately, the report "finds that the unaddressed concerns of the commission have become even more urgent today."  

Further insight into the Center's argument that increased congressional oversight will make the U.S. more secure can be found in the September 2013 report of the Sunnylands-Aspen task force. The Center states that "Homeland Confusion" is based on the work of this task force.