Date Published: 02/06/2003 03:05 PM
Title: Permanent Homeland Security Office
SUBJECT: Permanent Homeland Security Office
TO: All EPA Employees
Due to the increasing scope of responsibilities facing our Agency in homeland security, I am pleased to announce the creation of a permanent homeland security office, in the Office of the Administrator, which will be staffed by full-time career Agency staff. Mary Kruger, the current Deputy Director of the Office of Radiation and Indoor Air, will serve as office Director. Mary will report to me, through the Deputy Administrator, and will also closely coordinate her activities with Susan Mulvaney and Bob Bostock in my office.
Mary brings a great deal of experience and expertise to her new position. She has been the lead for OAR's homeland security matters, and has represented OAR on the Homeland Security Working Group. She has played a key role in developing the Agency's path forward on homeland security since 9/11, including preparing the strategic plan and negotiating important partnerships with the Office of Homeland Security and other agencies. Most recently, she has been our lead with the White House Office of Homeland Security on the development and implementation of the BioWatch program.
This new office will have several major areas of responsibility including:
- Leading and coordinating homeland security activities and policy development across all program areas, including tracking implementation of the Agency's Homeland Security Strategic Plan;
- Coordinating regularly with senior/political leadership within the Agency;
- Serving as point-of-contact for the Department of Homeland Security and the White House Office of Homeland Security and representing the Agency, as appropriate, on homeland security matters, as well as coordinating Agency interaction with the Department of Homeland Security;
- Establishing a more centralized and efficient system for receiving and evaluating important classified communications from multiple sources; and
- Supporting program offices' and the regional offices' ability to "do business as usual," while absorbing new responsibilities.
The creation of this office is a natural evolution from the system we've been operating under since September 11. In the 16 months since September 11, the Homeland Security Working Group has done an outstanding job for the Agency drafting our EPA Homeland Security Strategic Plan, and helping to coordinate the Agency's homeland security efforts to date. All of the members of the work group have taken on these duties in addition to their regular work assignments.
There's no doubt that EPA has moved swiftly and effectively to embrace its new homeland security responsibilities, and the working group played an indispensable role in helping us achieve the progress we have. I want to thank all those who have served on the Homeland Security Working Group for their hard work and dedication during this very challenging time.
But since our homeland security duties will continue to occupy an important place in our overall responsibilities, I believe a small, full-time office is necessary to ensure that we are meeting our homeland security mission without compromising our traditional mission. I also believe it is important to have a career employee heading this office, so as to maintain continuity across administrations.
We are reassigning Mary through the SES mobility program, and will initially use detailees to staff the office and get it up and running quickly. The office will be located in our headquarters complex at Federal Triangle in Washington.
We are also establishing a senior-level Policy Coordinating Committee (PCC), which will replace the Homeland Security Working Group. Like the working group, the PCC will consist of representatives of the lead regions, and each major program office. PCC membership will include AAs and RAs, plus one, and will have decision-making authority regarding homeland security issues.
Meetings of the PCC will be held on an as-needed basis, so that its members can discuss major policy issues, report progress on Strategic Plan implementation, and share other information as designed by the Committee. I will, along with the Deputy Administrator, chair the Homeland Security PCC and Mary Kruger will serve as its executive director.
The new Homeland Security PCC complements the National Incident Coordination Team (NICT), which Debbie Dietrich will continue to chair and convene. Where the NICT has primary operational responsibilities in the event of an incident, the PCC will have primary policy making responsibilities on an on-going basis.
The Homeland Security PCC will also be able to serve as an executive committee during a national incident, ensuring that the Agency's senior leadership is able to efficiently come together to provide policy direction, as needed, to those undertaking the response.
I believe this new structure, which we hope to have in place by the end of the month, will ensure that as we move forward, EPA will continue to meet its homeland security responsibilities effectively and efficiently.
Christine Todd Whitman /Signed/