Public-private partnership in homeland security

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Introduction

According to Renwick (2016), public-private partnerships are the collaboration between the government and the private sector to attain a particular objective or even a set of goals. The collaboration leads to the development of government-business associations such as service contracts, supply chains, as well as partnerships. Other collaborations include channel associations, information dissemination groups, as well as civic switchboard associations. The collaborations encourage agile strategies in public agencies and for this study; the main focus is on Homeland Security. Security has become a major concern globally, with increased terrorism activities, thus the need to collaborate with professionals in various areas to support agility and quick response to emergencies and even prevent such occurrences. The main subfields under homeland security that require the application of agile coaching include emergency management and effective infrastructure protection. The public-private partnerships are essential especially for supply chain security that has been threatened by global terrorism, as it helps in intelligence, cyber security, public health, and mitigation risks, hence the advanced understanding of agile operations in the agency.

As postulated by Renwick (2016), agile coaching in Homeland Security is vital as it helps in the transition to an effective and agile-based organization. The team at Homeland is trained to measure success in their setting while identifying effective strategies and providing necessary recommendations that help them to evolve in their processes of delivering service abiding by the agile best practices. Homeland Security delivers value to citizens, hence the need for the institution to engage in transforming initiatives that offer a lasting change in their service provision. Through agile practices, Homeland Security has a chance to create the right procedures to manage work portfolios in an agile manner. Currently, supporting strategic change at the organization is vital, hence the need to adopt agile techniques from top to bottom leadership. It is necessary to have a pragmatic approach to daily activities that include governance, service delivery, and the continuous enhancement of digital services.

The transformative shift in Homeland Security is necessary for analyzing the implications of new strategies to enhance the partnership. Agile coaching plays an important role in mitigating the challenges in the partnerships between Homeland Security and the private sector to ensure long-term success. Since Homeland Security has different goals from the private corporations that are focused on maximizing profits, agile coaching when the two groups merge is essential. The agile coaches combine coaching and training to ensure they attain the shared objectives within the shortest time possible. Homeland Security as a client has a chance to ask questions, clear their big doubts, as well concerns and obtain informed support to support a successful agile process (Renwick, 2016).

The Role of Digital Skills

Agile coaching allows for improved use of digital platforms in ensuring security measures applied by Homeland Security are successful in the long term. The integration of agility principles in daily activities happening at Homeland Security is essential, hence the need to establish a strategy to attain set goals. Homeland security is a sensitive institution as it takes care of the security of the entire country thus the need to develop practices that serve the objectives of the institution and achieve the set outcomes. Pastor (2003) asserted that technology has become complex, hence the need to ensure that the workforce at Homeland has the required digital skills to protect the country’s network, as well as information systems. The major need for digital skills includes the need to ensure cyber security by having a team that can respond to any emerging cyber incidents and mitigates cyber risks through strategic structures and analysis.

More so the digital skills shall help in supporting intelligence, as well as investigations, and development of networks, as well as systems engineering. Homeland Security has prioritized digital forensics assurance software and analysis, since the September 11 attacks. The country’s sense of safety within the states and communities was altered permanently after the 9/11 incidents. Homeland security, therefore, has changed its policy focus to cater for the uncertainty on dealing with new spectrums of terrorism in the country and beyond. Such an environment needs agility, hence the need for the coaching to students, practitioners and all stakeholders in homeland security to improve emergency management, prepare for uncertainties’ and handle the systematic stress the department places on the US government and society at large (Dunn-Cavelty & Suter, 2009).

The commission report provided on the events of 9/11 showed that homeland security missed numerous opportunities to prevent the tragic event. It was clear that federal intelligence, as well as other law enforcement institutions, failed to collaborate and communicate well. The biggest failure was the inability to connect the dots because of the usual human and applications that made sharing information impossible (Pastor, 2003). The information arteries were blocked completely, making it impossible to share and integrate relevant information pertinent to gathering information on terrorist attacks. According to Renwick (2016), with an important digital platform, it is possible to establish secure communication networks between FBI headquarters and all the field officers linked to domestic and foreign intelligence agencies. For instance, before the 9/11 attack, intelligence agencies monitored and assessed the possibility of an attack, but weak digital platforms caused the stalling of information, stove piping, and distortion and in some instances even ignoring or withholding of important information.

Without a doubt, the federal officials knew there was an imminent terrorist attack against America, but poor technology and effective strategies to help in critical thinking blocked communication platforms. With enhanced digital platforms, it is easier to fix the communication arteries and identify new methodologies to analyze and disseminate information without causing a breach of established protocols (Renwick, 2016). The same case happened with Hurricane Katrina, which exposed the country’s failure to learn from the 9/11 attacks, with the leadership ignoring clear signs of the event. New Orleans for instance, failed to execute proper emergency plans or even share information to share lives. Agile coaching is, therefore, necessary as it helps in enhancing the technology and digital applications to share information on what is expected and the plans in place. Agile coaching helps to reduce individual and corporate failures, especially the failure of initiatives by anticipating the consequences of any expected event. Despite receiving warnings early on about pending catastrophes, the key leaders at Homeland security failed to respond in an effective way to the disasters.

Target Audience of Agile Coaching

Renwick (2016) posited that agile coaching at Homeland Security shall target all employees from top to bottom because agile coaching helps in developing plans that are most valuable for the institution to ensure efficiency. IT is the backbone of security institutions in the US; therefore, the agile workflows help the organizations to become faster, better, and more effective in ensuring the country is secured and safe. The specialized agile coaches have the ability to integrate unique working methodologies into the various teams in an efficient manner. The coaches’ objectives include developing a motivated team ready to share information and collaborate with each other to prevent security breaches and in the case of an emergency, respond appropriately. Agile is needed at Homeland Security focusing on all the employees because it is not just a practice, but the ability of Homeland Security and the employees to remain adaptive, responsive, and have the capacity to learn as they evolve.

It means the public-private partnership with the agile coaches must ensure the existence of agile methods as a permanent structure in the homeland. Making agile permanent at the institution shall change the mentality of the employees that adapt special attitudes towards work and team. It, therefore, includes more than introducing a specific practice as many people assume. Agile coaching must be conducted on all staff at homeland security because it speaks against the “carrot-and-stick” methodology and micro-management practices, hence the need for employees to have space to develop and evolve in their duties (Pastor, 2003).

How Agile Coaching can transform Homeland Security Management

According to Renwick (2016), agile work methodologies at Homeland give employees an opportunity to remain intrinsically motivated to perform at their best. Agile coaching can transform leadership in the homeland by ensuring the management move away from micro-management policies, as well as the carrot-and-stick approach to allow workers space to fulfill their responsibilities. It allows employees to think critically backed by advanced technology, systems, and programs to decide what they should do to encourage change in the institution. With Agile coaching, homeland security can improve transparency through government leads that act in a role of a product owner. The product owner element has improved the transparency of individual team members and their assignments. The institution develops scrum team priorities through release and sprint planning increasing awareness of the roles of the Scrum team’s performance using Sprint sessions. The programs have improved team efficiency by supporting short feedback loops, as well as reduced rework.

Agile Coaching

Lessons learned through the development of the digital culture and skills

When homeland security adopts a digital culture, the institution embraces digital literacy that moves beyond the basic and functional IT skills, describing a wider set of digital practices, as well as identities. Since the emergence of terrorism, homeland security has undergone technological changes that have helped the employees to become proficient over a long period. Through agile coaching, homeland security has adopted digital literacy reflecting a developmental process starting from access, as well as functional skills to higher-level abilities, as well as identity (Dunn-Cavelty & Suter, 2009).

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How products and solutions can be delivered at an early stage

Homeland security being under civil service has experienced a huge challenge in technology, as well as digital skills. Digital skills are necessary at the institution, with the need for the workforce to have the right skills to participate in digital transformation. Homeland security is using a digital and technological skills matrix that supports all the departments to acquire the right digital, as well as technological skills. The matrix focuses on new skills through digital transformation applicable to existing frameworks. Homeland security adopted numerous specialist skill groups that have no specific aligned roles. Every skill group is applied across numerous roles, with each applicable in different areas. For instance, a developer at the homeland has to draw skills from the Research and Development department, User research, design, as well as Quality Assurance (Dunn-Cavelty & Suter, 2009).

How agile coaching will help in the transformation of the functionality of homeland security systems

According to Busch and Givens (2012), Agile coaching has led to improved responsiveness, as well as the performance at homeland because of the increased release frequencies. The frequencies support fast response to emergent needs, as well as rapid value delivery to communities. For instance, B&A offered the award-winning “CBP Electronic System for Travel Authorization” (ESTA) application that used tailored agile systems to complete projects in the shortest period of six months. Currently, ESTA can execute over 9,000 automated tests each time a code undergoes modification. Busch and Givens (2012) established that the homeland has an opportunity to improve the test framework, as well as the efficiency by enhancing test scripts that support automated regression testing when solving cases. Conventionally, the test automation methodology supports continuous integration. The institution can now tighten its development cycle, as well as increase productivity. Agile coaching has helped homeland security to reduce their quality assurance testing by over half, meaning they can respond fast to emergencies (Dunn-Cavelty & Suter, 2009). Pastor (2003) asserts that homeland security has improved continuous integration, by reducing the time for deploying software in new areas within 30 minutes enhancing efficiency to about 94% for deployment.

Examples of where the systems have been used and their associated benefits

According to Dunn-Cavelty and Suter (2009), agile systems in homeland security started being used in the late twentieth and early 21st centuries. Homeland security created The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) under the Carter administration to help consolidate disaster management roles. The same followed in security and defense departments’, which began by constructing an effective IT infrastructure, developing specialized equipment to be used in law enforcement, and contracting some job functions in the offices. The three incidents that highlighted the need for private-public partnership under homeland security included Hurricane Katrina, the Deep-water Horizon oil spills, and the 9/11 attack. The private firms collaborated with the federal government to fulfill community needs, with the example of the 9/11 incident where Verizon rebuilt the network infrastructure to ensure normal and better operations at “The New York Stock Exchange” (Renwick, 2016).

The same systems applied after Hurricane Katrina when FEMA collaborated with the State of Louisiana by distributing over $2.3 billion in public assistance to assist those affected by the storm. Wal-Mart offered relief supplies such as blankets, flashlights, water, plastics and non-perishable foods to residents of Gulf residents. For instance, the Deep-water Horizon disaster needed close coordination of federal state, private firms and NGOs. The American Red Cross cared for the residents, with private companies hiring local fishermen to help in clean up services and prevent oil leaks. The above examples show that business corporations collaborate with NGOs and state and federal states to play an integrated role in homeland security (Pastor, 2003).

The outcomes of the successful development and implementation of the system

Successful implementation of homeland security has assisted in infrastructure protection, with over 85% of America’s infrastructure operated by the private sector that coordinates with federal and state governments and other business corporations (Busch & Givens, 2012). DHS forms the coordination bodies to ensure information exchange, proper planning, as well as situational awareness between the public and private institutions. The example of ‘The Office of Infrastructure Protection” (OIP) established under Homeland Security handles threats, as well as vulnerability analysis. OIP functions as a coordinator of information exchange and the collaboration of six sectors like chemical, nuclear materials, commercial facilities, critical processes, dams, and emergency services. OIP is complemented by the “Critical Infrastructure Partnership Advisory Council” (CIPAC), which is a strategic body (Busch & Givens, 2012).

CURRENT ISSUES WITH DIGITAL SKILLS AND KNOWLEDGE

Lack of adequate resources to formulate and implement a new system

Without proper management, the contractual public-private partnerships are likely to fail, specifically because of unmet expectations and increased expenditures, which the public sector cannot afford. For instance, homeland security began the initiative of a ‘Virtual Fence’ which needs many surveillance radars, cameras, as well as sensors to monitor the border. The area, however, has a harsh terrain, which causes continuous malfunctioning of the equipment making it hard to integrate numerous types of technologies. The 2005 budget showed that it would cost seven billion dollars to cover the southern border, forcing the institution to cancel the project because it was not viable. The Virtual Fence project is an indication of how the contractual partnerships fail, because of the unmet expectations, poor execution and advancing costs. It, therefore, means that there is a need to have an effective, as well as transparent management of the collaboration (Busch & Givens, 2012).

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The unfamiliarity of Agile at homeland security

The public sector and specifically homeland security have limited digital capacity including few individuals with relevant skills, knowledge, and capabilities. The situation has led to the institution having issues handling information and cyber security, and digital forensics, hence the need to have more support. The lack of digital skills among the homeland staff has made agile processes difficult because many are unfamiliar with the used software and programs (Renwick, 2016).

Logistics and management issues in the development and implementation of the system

According to Renwick (2016), despite CIPAC having clear guidelines to address, there have been numerous criticisms leveled against the group. For instance, some organizations feel the need to share a lot of information with the federal government, but the government always fails to provide the information as expected. Similarly, the federal-state sometimes pressurizes the private firms to participate in agile activities, to avoid rules and regulations that force them to change their business objectives. It is, therefore, wrong to diminish the relevance of such concerns, but at the same tie CIPAC offers an instance where public-private partnerships enhance ‘critical infrastructure protection’.

Resistance to the implementation of the system from the public and private sector

Despite homeland security making some progress when it comes to agile coaching, the progress is inconsistent. For instance, the White House has emphasized on “amnesty first” methodology to issues border security, immigration policies, as well as workplace enforcement. Nevertheless, the federal government has undercut major tools and programs. The initiatives have undermined the progress made in the past to fix border issues and restore US immigration laws and their credibility. At the same time, the government has done little to focus on the growing challenge related to transnational crime such as the Mexican cartels. The public sector has formulated bad policies that end up endangering progress, specifically in disaster preparedness, immigration laws, as well as border security. Such policies have contributed to federal catastrophic disaster planning making it hard for the private sector to execute its mandate freely (Renwick, 2016).

OUTSOURCING TO PRIVATE

Effective resources utilization

Busch and Givens (2012) explained that most organizations have limited human, as well as physical capital to attain company objectives and goals. Resource utilization is the ability to direct the assets towards a particular objective by forgoing other opportunities. When resources are directed towards homeland security processes, businesses, the federal government, as well as the public benefit. The private firms benefit through increased sales, while the government benefits from the enhanced products and services, hence enhancing security. Accordingly, the private firms develop a beneficial triangular association with stakeholders using their resources for homeland security reasons. An example includes aviation security, wherein 2008’Transportation Security Administration” explained that it would allow airline passengers to keep their laptop bags at security checkpoints as long as the bags meet the set X-ray transparency guidelines’ (Renwick, 2016).

TSA also released a “Request for Information” RFI on bag requirements that include not having metal elements like zippers, buttons, or snaps, which could interfere with the x-ray to analyze the laptop components. Aerovation, a luggage production company produced a laptop bag that met all the checkpoint requirements. Such public-private partnership ensures that organizations re-allocate R&D resources to fulfill the homeland security goals and at the same time meet the business needs. The process improves operational efficiency, as it reduces wait forties for airline passengers’ queuing on security lines. The innovation can only become effective if the TSA personnel are trained to identify the laptop bags that meet all set requirements (Pastor, 2003)

Private sector’s ability to develop an effective business model

When private institutions participate in homeland security activities, they develop specializations in particular functional areas to enhance public sector performances. The process allows government agencies to focus on attaining their mission, with the example of TSA which made an announcement to give CSC an IT service contract with a firm in Falls Church Virginia. According to Busch and Givens (2012), providing the IT needs of homeland security represents the best model that CSC can develop increased familiarity with the TSA applications, software, hardware, and other needs. The knowledge then encourages the development of efficiencies over time, with the ability for CSC to anticipate TSA needs in an effective manner. TSA also moves away from the responsibility to devote their personnel as well as resources to other important activities. Increased specialization advances aggregate effectiveness to serve both the private and public sectors in a mutually beneficial way.

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Explain how the agile coaching system can be facilitated successfully

CIPAC is a strategic organizational framework where the federal and private sector officials exchange information, as well as coordinate ‘critical infrastructure protection’ events at the federal state. CIPAC has advanced membership to include numerous government agencies and industry leaders such as Google, Boeing Corporation, Environmental Protection Agency, Commerce Department, and ‘Department of Justice’. CIPAC encourages cooperation between private and public firms at the federal level specifically related to homeland security. Homeland has many multiple coordination groups and US businesses to achieve the goals set by ‘critical infrastructure protection’ (Pastor, 2003).

OVERVIEW OF THE PROCESS

According to Busch and Givens (2012), for the public servants working in Homeland Security to successfully handle the complex challenges and increased demand for excellent service and proper accountability, digital skills, and high-level thinking abilities is essential. On a daily basis, the homeland professionals go through chunks of information to assimilate and obtain solutions for the presented challenges. The process is impossible without digital skills, as they enhance critical thinking among the public servants to evaluate the simple and complex tasks they face daily. Homeland security roles and fields constantly change because of the emergencies they face daily. It means that the inability to utilize digital and technological skills, especially during disasters can cause massive causalities, property destruction, and above all loss of public trust in the institution. So far, the institution has faced increased criticisms, especially after the 9/11 attack and Hurricane Katrina incident in August 2005.

According to Pastor (2003), without proper management, the contractual public-private partnerships are likely to fail, specifically because of unmet expectations and increased expenditures, which the public sector cannot afford. Another issue includes the lack of transparency both by the state and companies. The major solution includes encouraging transparency among the stakeholders starting with the federal state. The agencies must also remain transparent when reporting to the public. It is also necessary to solve the issue of legislative oversight through robust monitoring of both the private and public sectors.

BENEFITS

Key beneficiaries of the process

When private institutions participate in homeland security activities, they develop specializations in particular functional areas to enhance public sector performances. The process allows government agencies to focus on attaining their mission to secure the country and its citizens.

Anticipated growth and development of knowledge and skills

Successful implementation of homeland security has assisted in infrastructure protection, with most of America’s infrastructure operated by the private sector that coordinates with federal and state governments and other business corporations. DHS forms the coordination bodies to ensure information exchange, proper planning, as well as situational awareness between the public and private institutions (Dunn-Cavelty & Suter, 2009).

Resources allocation for the system

Through Agile activities, Homeland has departed away from the conventional model of the government financing R&D. Homeland only provides the design specifications to interested vendors through public announcements. The private companies then design technologies with their individual financing and sell them to the state at a competitive price, saving the public sector a lot of costs, and at the same time allowing the firms to concentrate on the activities and offer solutions within a short time (Dunn-Cavelty & Suter, 2009).

Contribution to the attainment of excellence within the homeland security department

According to Busch and Givens (2012), agile coaching has led to improved responsiveness, as well as the performance at homeland because of the increased release frequencies. The frequencies support fast response to emergent needs, as well as rapid value delivery to communities.

EXAMPLES OF AGILE IMPLEMENTATION

What has been done in implementing the system?

According to Renwick (2016), Public-private collaborations act as catalysts to establish new technological innovations. An example includes implementing the ‘System Efficacy through Commercialization, Utilization, Relevance and Evaluation’ (SECURE) as well as FutureTECH. The secure program offers a way for the private industry to conduct R&D without the homeland having to finance the activities.

Who has been actively involved in the system implementation process?

Those involved include the federal government which makes public announcements about the required programs and calls upon the companies to participate in the process. The companies then come up with their versions which they sell to the government at a price, with the best quality winning the tender (Renwick, 2016).

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Areas of improvement for the system to be adaptable in the field of homeland security

The main area of improvement includes transparency to allow easy sharing of important information between the private and public sectors. Both parties have to increase transparency to encourage a strong correlation.

The feedback was obtained from people who have previously implemented the system.

Many people are impressed with the SECURE program and Future TECH, with the only issue being the need to ensure increased transparency.

IMPLICATIONS OF PRIVATIZATION

Creating employment

The private sector assists in filling personnel needs for the federal government compared to when the government operates alone. Private firms help with background checks including security clearances, as homeland security has been sluggish in this area, in some instances taking many years to fill such positions. Companies operating within homeland security bring in new staff fast and in an efficient way as compared to the public sector. In turn to create value for the public sector, with the arrangements serving the business interests and at the same time the personal government needs(Dunn-Cavelty & Suter, 2009).

Ensuring that the public has adequate resources for growth and development

According to Cellucci (2011), under the SECURE program, homelands call upon private companies to invest in essential projects, without having to remove funds for the programs. It is for the private companies to fund the projects and then come up with an outline, which they present to the state and receive compensation if it meets the set requirements by homeland security.

Integration of the business functionalities between the public and private sector

According to Renwick (2016), when the homeland collaborates with the private companies, they share information skills, competencies and technologies to ensure efficient operations. DHS forms the coordination bodies to ensure information exchange, proper planning, as well as situational awareness between the public and private institutions. The examples of ‘Office of Infrastructure Protection’ (OIP) established under Homeland Security that handles threats, as well as vulnerability analysis.

Improvement in the quality and level of service delivery in the homeland security department

Collaboration leads to quality of services, with the example of the employment of skilled workers, where private companies higher qualified workers and at a fast pace as compared to homeland security, where they could take even years to fill the positions.

Support of the government initiatives in addressing the issues of security in the country

The government may have great government initiatives to enhance security in the country but lack the necessary resources to implement. Private companies with enough resources, however, can help the government by providing funding to prevent cyber security, manage emergency issues, as well as enhance security in ports, roads, and airports (Dunn-Cavelty & Suter, 2009).

LIMITATIONS

According to Cellucci. (2011), major limitations include possible issues in search of information by private companies with the bureaucracy in government institutions making it hard for the firms to access the information. More so, many stakeholders have resisted the partnerships claiming that in could increase criminal activities in the country, because it is risky to trust private companies as they can be manipulated by the enemy, especially on the issue of terrorism. For instance, having private police creates much security issues and breach to the country, since the private companies are only interested in making profits hence they can compromise safety for profits. In some instances, both the private and public sector lacks the required infrastructure to enhance their services, in addition to increased costs associated with certain initiatives such as the Virtual fence to guard the US-Mexico border (Dunn-Cavelty & Suter, 2009).

Conclusion

Agile coaching in Homeland Security is vital as it helps in the transition to an effective and agile-based organization. The team at Homeland is trained to measure success in their setting while identifying effective strategies and provide necessary recommendations that help them to evolve in their processes of delivering service abiding by the agile best practices. Homeland Security delivers value to citizens when it collaborates with the private sector as the integration supports quality service delivered in timely schedules. Homeland, therefore, must engage in transforming initiatives that offer a lasting change in their service provision. Through agile practices, Homeland Security has a chance to create the right procedures to manage work portfolios in an agile manner.

Did you like this sample?
  1. Busch, N. E., & Givens, A. D. (2012). Public-private partnerships in homeland security: Opportunities and challenges. Homeland Security Affairs8(1).
  2. Cellucci, T. A. (2011). A Guide to Innovative Public-private Partnerships: Utilizing the Resources of the Private Sector for the Public Good. Government Institutes.
  3. Dunn-Cavelty, M., & Suter, M. (2009). Public-Private Partnerships are no silver bullet: An expanded governance model for Critical Infrastructure Protection. International Journal of Critical Infrastructure Protection2(4), 179-187.
  4. Pastor, J. F. (2003). The privatization of police in America: An analysis and case study. McFarland.
  5. Renwick, J. (2016). Building digital skills in criminal justice. Retrieved from: http://www.agileconference.org/building-digital-skills-in-criminal-justice/
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