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Obama creates new homeland security partnership council, to be led by John Brennan

John Brennan to lead
new Partnership Council

In an effort to foster closer relationships between the field offices of various U.S. Government departments and the state and local governments in those geographic areas across the country, President Obama signed an executive order on Oct. 26 which establishes a new White House Homeland Security Partnership Council, which will be chaired by the assistant to the president for homeland security and counterterrorism, which is currently John Brennan.

The new Council will draw upon expertise residing in federal, state, local and tribal governments -- as well as the private sector, nongovernmental organizations, foundations and community-based groups -- to enhance the nation’s ability to “address homeland security priorities, from responding to natural disasters to preventing terrorism, by utilizing diverse perspectives, skills, tools, and resources,” says Executive Order 13629, which was signed by the president on Oct. 26, and published in the Federal Register on Nov. 2.

The new Partnership Council will be composed of “Federal officials who are from field offices of the executive departments, agencies and bureaus…,” says the executive order. Selected members will represent about 18 different departments and agencies, including DHS, State, Defense, Justice, Energy, Interior, the FBI, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the Small Business Administration and several others. “The Council may establish subgroups consisting exclusively of Council members or their designees, as appropriate,” says the executive order.

A steering committee, which will provide guidance to the Council, will include representatives “at the Deputy agency head level,” or a designee, the order specifies.

The Council will promote opportunities for partnerships between the federal field offices and local government stakeholders; raise awareness of best practices at the local level; conduct outreach to the private sector and various nongovernment groups; and convene an annual meeting to exchange key findings, progress and best practices.

Within one year, and annually thereafter, the Council will provide a report on its work to the President, through the Council’s chairman.

The executive order emphasizes that such partnerships are critical to U.S. success at home and abroad. “This approach recognizes that, given the complexities and range of challenges, we must institutionalize an all-of-Nation effort to address evolving threats to the United States,” it declares.