New PNSR Study Recommends an Integrated National Security Professional System

December 15, 2010 in News, Report by admin

WASHINGTON, DC – The Project on National Security Reform (PNSR) announced today publication of a major study recommending a system to produce and manage a cadre of National Security Professionals (NSP) equipped to handle complex 21st century issues. The study, The Power of People: Building an Integrated National Security Professional System for the 21st Century, recommends the phased establishment of an Integrated National Security Professional (INSP) system. The INSP system is designed to function collaboratively across agency and government boundaries.

PNSR believes this human capital system is urgently needed to produce and retain the necessary personnel with the requisite training and experience in whole-of-government approaches, to work in permanent, temporary, and emergency assignments. The current agency-centric system, established by Executive Order 13434 in 2007, is not robust enough to do the job. The new system must be rooted in 21st century practices of collaboration and integration, facilitated by technology, and centrally managed by a Board with a Senate-confirmed director.

PNSR identifies several guiding principles for establishing an INSP system. The study recognizes that “one size may not fit all” for individuals and agencies. NSPs should qualify for progressive levels of achievement/rank. NSPs should self-select to pursue NSP qualification, bolstered by incentives, with entry and training laterally or at an early career stage. An INSP system must attract the next generation.

The INSP system should be implemented in stages over a period of five to seven years. The four stages of implementation are: 1) further development of agency-specific capabilities, especially training, in the current NSP system; 2) establishment of a NSP Qualification Program and the beginning of centralized management of some system aspects; 3) formalization of the INSP system; and 4) realization of a whole-of-government INSP system that includes individuals from the federal government and state and local entities. Pilot programs in each phase would help ensure successful implementation of the system. The study presents general and stage-by-stage recommendations as well as specific next steps for both the executive and legislative branches.

In conducting the study, PNSR interviewed and met regularly with representatives of departments, agencies, and other organizations with national security missions. As the study developed, PNSR consulted with a distinguished group of experts with deep experience in national security, human capital, government performance, and change management.

PNSR President and CEO James R. Locher III commented, “This study emphasizes the enormous importance of the collaborative ability of National Security Professionals, whether they serve on emergency teams or toil every day with others to solve the complex problems we face. PNSR is pleased to have had the opportunity to suggest practical ideas to meet the need. Action on such ideas, step-by-step, to build a new system will be foundational to securing America’s future.”

The independent study, mandated by Congress in the FY2010 National Defense Authorization Act and performed under a Department of Defense contract, has been forwarded to the executive branch and Congress. The study can be found here.

For further comment please contact:
Project on National Security Reform
(202) 643-7049