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Experts: reshape homeland security now

Dec. 13, 2004 at 7:26 PM

WASHINGTON, Dec. 13 (UPI) -- The Department of Homeland Security is in crisis and needs a fundamental reorganization, experts said Monday.

"In Chinese, the character meaning 'crisis' is formed from two other characters -- 'danger' and 'opportunity'," David Heyman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies told United Press International.

"This is the magic moment," added James Carafano of the Heritage Foundation, "We need to make the changes now before the current structure solidifies and the stakeholders get entrenched."

Heyman and Carafano's report calls for Congress to legislate radical changes in the way the department is organized, with a flatter management structure and the elimination of the four directorates into which it is currently divided.

"The department would be much better off if it was managed in a more private sector way," said Carafano. He suggested operational agencies, such as the Coast Guard, should report through powerful chief executives, directly to the department's leadership, rather than through undersecretaries, as at present.

He added he hoped Congress would take up the recommendations next year.

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