Initiative brings together bipartisan group of former DHS secretaries and national security experts to study how DHS can more effectively manage COVID-19 and other challenges

WASHINGTON, DC — March 30, 2020 — The Atlantic Council announced today the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security’s launch of the Future of DHS Project: Protecting the Homeland from Coronavirus, Threats to Democracy, and Other Future Threats—a look by senior experts in homeland and national security to recommend major reforms for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The Future of DHS Project is being launched with support from founding partners SAIC and Accenture.

“The security of the United States depends on a high-performing US Department of Homeland Security,” said Frederick Kempe, president and CEO of the Atlantic Council. “This project can contribute significantly by clarifying the options and suggesting new ways to tackle challenges that range from COVID-19 to the myriad threats that face everything from our democratic elections to the critical infrastructure upon which the United States must rely.”

Said Barry Pavel, Atlantic Council senior vice president and Scowcroft Center director, “We aim to deliver a set of recommendations for reforms at DHS by the end of July 2020, in time for consideration by the presidential transition teams of both parties.”

DHS is currently facing demands from Congress for greater national resilience and a more effective response to an accelerating array of threats—from the coronavirus pandemic, to the sabotage of critical infrastructure, to domestic terrorism—that put homeland security and the foundations of American democracy at increased risk. In the 2019 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey, DHS employees said they strongly support DHS’s mission, but ranked DHS 17 out of 17 among large cabinet departments in employee morale.

“We are pleased to join this bipartisan initiative, which brings together leaders from previous administrations with a diverse group of experts to develop recommendations to guide the Future of DHS,” said John Goodman, chief executive officer, Accenture Federal Services. “We look forward to collaborating through this initiative to help DHS apply new thinking, technologies, and approaches to better address known risks and emerging threats.” 

“SAIC is proud to continue our long-term support of the DHS mission and is honored to be part of this important initiative,” said Amy Rall, Vice President of Homeland and Justice Programs at SAIC. “DHS sits at the center of national events, whether it is a pandemic, a natural disaster, or an attack on critical infrastructure. They are indispensable in preventing, preparing for, and responding to these threats. It is essential that they have the right policies, technologies, and key talent—government and industry partners—to succeed.”

The Future of DHS Project Senior Advisory Board is co-chaired by former Secretaries of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff and Jeh Johnson and includes former Secretary Janet Napolitano and former Acting Secretaries Rand Beers and Kevin McAleenan. 

The project will be led by Thomas Warrick, Scowcroft Center senior fellow and DHS’s first deputy assistant secretary for Counterterrorism Policy from August 2008 until June 2019, and by Caitlin Durkovich, nonresident senior fellow and former DHS assistant secretary for Infrastructure Protection.

The work of the project will be carried out by study groups of former DHS officials and senior national security experts under both Democratic and Republican administrations, and will include former federal officials who served in the White House; the national security departments and agencies; former State homeland security officials; former congressional professional staff members; representatives of prominent private sector stakeholders, and other think tanks.

To learn more about the Future of DHS Project, please visit here and follow its efforts on Twitter through #ACFutureOfDHS.

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