While advocating that Congress rein in FEMA, The Heritage Foundation calls on legislators to strengthen DHS’s central authority over its component agencies, so that it is not such a weak institution. The group’s paper on the issue says that DHS needs clearer authority to resolve inter-agency conflicts and create strategies that cut across these units. DHS needs the equivalent, it wrote, of what was done for the Department of Defense.
However, preventing attacks isn’t just the government’s battle. Private security operations have a role to play as well, as ASIS members know.
“We have eyes and ears and boots on the ground in places that sworn officers aren’t, like malls and office buildings,” says McFee.
“At the end of the day, security is local. The reason that we minimized the number of deaths in Boston was because law enforcement was working well with fire rescue, hospitals, and the people, and there is tremendous infrastructure there,” she says. “Thanks to that, we were able to save a lot of people. Can that be said if it happened anywhere else? With few exceptions, there’s a big question mark.”