Six years after its creation, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) undertook the first Quadrennial Homeland Security Review (QHSR) to inform the design and implementation of actions to ensure the safety of the United States and its citizens. This review, mandated by the Implementing the 9/11 Commission Recommendations Act of 2007, represents the first “comprehensive examination of the homeland security strategy of the nation.
The QHSR includes recommendations addressing the long-term strategy and priorities of the nation for homeland security and guidance on the programs, assets, capabilities, budget, policies, and authorities of the department.
Rather than set policy internally and implement it in a top-down fashion, DHS undertook the QHSR in a new and innovative way by engaging tens of thousands of stakeholders and soliciting their ideas and comments at the outset of the process. Through a series of three-week-long, web-based discussions, stakeholders reviewed materials developed by DHS study groups, submitted and discussed their own ideas and priorities, and rated or “tagged” others’ feedback to surface the most relevant ideas and important themes deserving further consideration.
The recommendations included: (1) DHS should enhance its capacity for coordinating stakeholder engagement and consultation efforts across its component agencies, (2) DHS and other agencies should create special procurement and contracting guidance for acquisitions that involve creating or hosting such web-based engagement platforms as the National Dialogue, and (3) DHS should begin future stakeholder engagements by crafting quantitative metrics or indicators to measure such outcomes as transparency, community-building, and capacity.