Here is the text of my speech to the Army Marksmanship Unit last Evening....
Ladies and gentlemen, Soldiers of the Army Marksmanship Unit, friends, distinguished guests…and Lieutenant Colonel Muggeo…Frank, thanks for that very gracious introduction—it’s the kind I so richly deserve, but so seldom receive!
What a great night! Ladies, you are a delight to the eyes – and gentlemen, well, I don’t know how you managed it, but you clean up pretty well yourselves!
I’m truly honored to be here. And even more honored to be asked to speak to you tonight. After every encounter with each of you, I always leave with my batteries fully recharged!
I went to the Interservice Rifle Championships in Quantico this past summer, and I heard about an experience, SFC Praeslick had on base….
SFC Praeslick was passing through Quantico just before the Interservice Rifle Championships. Everywhere he saw evidences of the most amazing shooting. At ALL of the ranges there were numerous bull's-eyes with the bullet hole in dead center. Even where the wind was howling.
SFC Praeslick asked one of the Marines if he could meet the person responsible for this wonderful marksmanship. The Marine turned out to be their commander.
"This is the best marksmanship I have ever seen," said SFC Praeslick, quite possibly the first time he’d ever been in a state of awe! "How in the world do you do it?"
"Nothing to it," said the Marine. "I shoot first and draw the circles afterward."
Not an approach I’d recommend.
I bring greetings from our commanding general, LTG Ben Freakley. He wanted to be here tonight, but just yesterday asked me to tell you that he is so very proud of you. A direct quote: You have covered yourselves in glory, but that’s to be expected from this unit. You have a history of extraordinary accomplishment, and this year in particular you have proven your talents and skills to the Army, to the Nation, and to the world. I doubt we could be any prouder of you. You truly demonstrate that you have a “strength like no other.”
Long before Army Strong was our advertising slogan, the AMU was comprised of the best of the best. When President Eisenhower formed this unit in 1956, he had in mind to bring together the best marksmen in the Army, so that they would hone their skills against each other and teach others how to be expert in all forms of shooting.
And from that beginning the AMU has gathered the best of each generation of Army shooters, men and women of extraordinary skill, Soldiers who have won military, national, and world championships, Olympic gold, silver and bronze. Truly a “Home of Champions.”
You are a band of brothers and sisters. I’ve seen first hand how you operate, how you work together. You laugh together, train together. Celebrate victories and endure the disappointments together. I’m a fan of Shakespeare. In 1599 he wrote his play Henry Vth, where he said,
Old men forget; yet all shall be forgot, But he'll remember, with advantages, What feats he did that day. Then shall our names, Familiar in his mouth as household words.
In the world of shooting, you are the household names.
Xenophon, the Greek soldier and historian, wrote about 400 years before Christ. Fast is fine, he said, but accuracy is everything. There may have been something lost in the translation, but I’m thinking about making that the new AMU motto…maybe making Xenophon an honorary AMU member!
“The AMU: Fast is fine, but accuracy is everything!” Or “AMU: Fast, Fine and Accurate!” or how’s this for a banner? “AMU: We’re fast…we’re accurate…we’re fine!”
In the wake of your successes this past year, always remember that winning is part of your mission. It’s stated in your mission. And it will ALWAYS be your mission. ... It’s your currency. Make no mistake: Without it, we’re simply not relevant. That’s what we do. We win!
And won, you have. This has been the best year in the history of the AMU, hands down. Olympic Gold times two! Best Nation at the CISM in Sweden! International Sniper! New Olympic records set!
The Service Pistol Team secured 39 of 41 team competition wins, going undefeated in the overall team aggregates for every competition. In the process they set 11 National and 4 Inter-Service records, have 7 of the top 10 nationally ranked pistol shooters and won the overall national team championship "Coming Through the Rye" for the first time in 23 years!
The Service Rifle Team again dominated their sport this past year by winning 17 individual titles and 8 team titles setting 4 Inter-Service and 2 National records in the process including winning both the CMP and NRA National Championship Titles.
The Action Shooting Team continued their tradition of excellence with winning 3 National and 6 World level Individual Championships in all 3 of their disciplines while setting 4 new world records in the process and earning 2 Gold and 2 Silver Medals at the World Handgun Shoot in Bali, Indonesia and led the U.S. Team to 3 Gold Medals for the country.
The International Rifle Team again led the way for the Nation by earning 4 World Cup Medals, 3 PanAm medals (setting 2 new records), 2 Interservice Championships, 9 National Championships and had 7 CISM team members and 2 Olympic Team members.
The International Pistol Team proved their dominance by winning 1 World Cup medal, 4 National Championships setting 2 National records, earning 2 Olympic Quota slots and sending 1 member to the Olympic games. All members of the International Pistol Team made the U.S. National Team.
The Shotgun Team had their most dominating year in its history. On their way to earning 2 Olympic Gold medals they earned 7 World Cup Medals, set 3 Olympic records, 7 National Records had 3 team members on the Olympic team 4 members on the U.S. national team.
All these great achievements would not have been possible without the world class support from the Customs Firearms shop. As well as directly supporting the AMU champions, the Shop also conducted numerous missions in support of Army combat units, increasing weapons and ammo proficiency for our Soldiers on the Battlefield.
I don’t want to go on and on about your achievements this year…I know them, you know them – there have been many.
But I’ve learned over time that the most appreciated speeches are the brief ones.
You have also contributed to the Army's recruiting effort through an active public information and public relations program. Coincidentally, the AMU has derived some benefit from our recruiting efforts. I recently heard of an exchange between Glenn Eller and Bill Keever at the Atlanta Airport upon Glenn’s return from Beijing:
Eller to SSG Bill Keever: By the way, thanks, Sarge! Keever: For what? Eller: For talking me into joining the Army!
That’s a story in itself—and I think your dad had something say about it as well, right?
But our successes in this phenomenal year have come not just at the hands of our shooters. The Army Marksmanship Unit is truly a team of teams – with over 100 people in the AMU – shooters, gunsmiths, and support personnel – all of you, together, have been responsible since 1956 for winning hundreds of individual and team National Championship titles, more than 40 World Championships, and 25 Olympic medals…. so far….
We have so many champions here tonight, I can’t name them all in the time allotted to me. But let me single out one person who’s with us here tonight. A competitive rifle shooter, he was recruited into the AMU as a 22-year-old specialist. He deployed abroad and fought when he was called upon to do it. He turned down the chance to be a First Sergeant to stay in the AMU. And he retired here as a master sergeant in 1982. You know him. He’s been your Shop Officer for the Custom Firearms Shop. And there he’s been, behind us all, still serving as a civilian for past 27 years. That’s the kind of dedication the AMU inspires. Mr. W.O. Hardin, please stand to be recognized!
I would also like to recognize the Civilian Marksmanship Program’s unwavering support, be it to competitions or our attempt to produce the marksmanship DVDs. The Civilian Marksmanship Program are our best supporters in the shooting world. (APPLAUSE)
I don’t know if you realize what a tremendous impact you have, whether it’s training Soldiers who are about to deploy on the M-9 or enhancing recruiting efforts by fostering public confidence in Army marksmanship. Every day, your professionalism, your skills, what you do for the Army and our Nation inspires others: other Soldiers, other marksmen, other young people who want to be like you. I don’t know if you think about it as you go about your day-to-day duties, but you are doing important work. You share the values and have the traits needed to help build a great team. You share a culture of discipline, a personal commitment to being the best, and a desire to see your momentum build toward ever higher goals. That’s what day-to-day is at the Home of Champions.
I recently spoke to Sergeant Major Bill Blankenship, one of AMU’s original members. I believe he was AMU’s only Triple Distinguished for a long time before Barbara Howe and others followed? I asked him what his impressions were of AMU’s evolution, he said: "How things have changed! I used to come out to the range and my family would pull targets for me!"
He also asked me to tell you: "Congratulations on all of your wins. Never give up and keep in mind that it's never good enough. You can't stop training or stop trying!"
I want to finish out by quoting another illustrious member of the AMU, Lones Wigger. Of course, you know that Lones won gold and silver in the 1964 Olympics, then gold again in 1972. He said:
“The AMU is the greatest unit in the Army. I was honored to be there. You now have the greatest Soldiers we’ve ever had in the AMU.”
He continued, "You've got the greatest opportunity in the world. Take advantage of it. Work on it. It's unbelievable what can happen.” And then he paused and said: “Just don't blow it!"
Ladies and Gentlemen: I’ve spoken long enough. Let’s carry on with the rest of the evening’s festivities. Thank you for everything you do for this Nation and our Army.
And remember, to continue Henry V’s speech on St. Crispin’s Day:
But we in it shall be remembered- We few, we happy few, we band of brothers; For he to-day that sheds his blood with me Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile, This day shall gentle his condition; And gentlemen in England now-a-bed Shall think themselves accurs'd they were not here.
You are a magnificent band of brothers and sisters. I am so proud of you. Proud of what you have achieved. Proud of what you represent. And proud to me in your formation.
What are the turning points in your novel? For students of writing, turning points are known as "Signposts" or "Acts." Typically, you should deliberately plan on four of them--each one is a journey of sorts that helps your characters evolve and your story progress. The first Overall Story Signpost is the point of departure for that journey. In The Lazarus Covenant, the first Objective Signpost is defined by the activity of gathering information. My notes for the first objective signpost are provided below. They are expounded upon in the novel's prologue.
Overall Story Signpost 1:
A very young Marko and Celo witness Tito's mass executions at Brnisi Dam in 1970's Yugoslavia, causing them to lose their innocence.
Thirty years later, Lyons returns to Bosnia where he grew up as a child before moving abroad, but does not really explore why he returns until pushed by Sandy Evenson, who poses that question to him ("why did you come back?"), without knowing any of the circumstances of his past. She learns that Lyons is a rare breed--extremely capable, not at all risk averse, engaging and brilliant--but also very conflicted. She wants to help him, but to do so, she must know why...and Lyons is extremely hesitant to tell her.
The focus for the objective story, however, is to learn who is behind the ambush of the US delegation and why-- what are his motives? What else is in store? Lyons learns through Evenson that Celo was possibly behind the ambush. Following Lyons' investigation, the powers that be learn that the attack was not a Serb attack...but that the Bosnian Muslims or Croats could be responsible.
"Here's to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square hole. The ones who see things differently. They're not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can't do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do."
What drives your protagonist through your story? Environment, challenges, crises, problems...they may be a major part of your novel, but they're not enough to propel your main character from beginning to end. Defining how your protagonist will evolve and change from his environment is called the "Main Character Throughline." Ultimately, it's your choice as the author to determine the lens through which you want your characters to be perceived by your readers--through his situation, his attitude, his way of thinking or his activities. In The Lazarus Covenant, I defined the protagonist (Mark Lyons) as someone who is primarily caught in a situation. Therefore the story revolves around Lyons, and how he perceives the past, how he sees the future and the present, and how he responds to an environment where the ground seems to be shifting under his feet. Here are my early notes that I jotted down in defining those dynamics.
As a Bosnian Serb, Mark has grown up with the ethnic prejudices endemic to the Balkans, and witnesses the mass execution-- prejudices which are hidden after Mark is evacuated from Bosnia by his aunt to Ireland when Adrian and his brother witness a mass execution of Muslim men by Tito's Special Police. Lyons returns to Bosnia as a representative of Ireland, but quickly finds that he must face his past as a Bosnian, face his cousin, and face EUFOR/US officials in a deadly game of chess that will affect the politics and security of all Europe and the world.
Lyons believes his perspective to be impartial and neutral in Bosnia, given his extensive absence and time in Ireland. Lyons finds himself balancing the seemingly irreconcilable roles of EUPM investigator, with his past in Bosnia and in Ireland, with the personalities who he again faces (Celo and Rose). It is overwhelming, and not something he anticipated. When he tells Evenson that he may recuse himself from the situation because he is "too close to it all," Evenson makes him realize that he really is the only one who can effectively confront Celo precisely because he is that close--and that subjectivity isn't necessarily a bad thing...how impartiality doesn't necessarily mean neutrality. Initially he rejects her suggestion, but then realizes it to be true when he learns of Rose's failed raid on Celo's compound.
The surest way to achieve a comprehensive exploration of all of the dimensions of your story is through your characters. Assigning a deliberate dramatic function to each of your characters is the best method to provide depth to your story and help illustrate the story problem and solution. While archetypes imply simplicity, they can be refined over time to be more complex and nuanced. Here are the initial notes I made for the Kate Kamrath character in my novel, The Lazarus Covenant. As a reporter, her character archetype can best be defined as "The Skeptic."
Kate Kamrath: Skeptic
INTJ Personality: Original thinker, has a vision of how to do something better and she perseveres in trying to persuade others that she is right. Has good organizational abilities., but she thinks he can improve everything. Risk that she will be absolutely convinced she is right, even when wrong. Difficult problems fascinate her, routine jobs are considered a waste of time. Not easily directed but will consider new facts and other opinions when carefully presented. Tends to be skeptical and critical, frequently not considering other peoples' feelings as much as she should.
Speed is so central to the reporter's task--getting to the story first and then getting the story to the public.
Practical skills, productivity, and a need for security. Sensitive and imaginative, with a forceful and determined personality. Receptive and attuned to form and structure, she can combine her practical skills with her artistic talents. With her ability to establish a workable system, she can often develop natural investigative skills. Sensible and practical. Must learn to trust her strong instincts or first impressions and recognize her hrerat inner strength. her efficient and down-to-earth approach also implies that she is outspoken and direct; nevertheless, she may have to guard against a tendency to be impatient or stubborn. Strong sense of duty. Takes pride in her work as a perfectionist. Need to exercise self-control. At times a sense of duty dominates the inclinations of her heart. Usually highly charged and enjoy vitality, ut she must avoid becoming overanxious or impractical. A blend of modesty and self-assurance challenges her to work toward finding a balance both materially and spiritually. Although she is reserved, she can be determined and ambitious, with an active mind. Needs to develop understanding , tolerance and patience as well as learn to become impersonal.
Highly social. Fascinated by many aspects of the world. usually has a ready comment to offer on practically any subject, she prides herself on being in the know.
The appointments process has become more torturous than the Founding Fathers ever could have imagined. In the vision of the Founding Fathers, the United States would be governed by citizen leaders who step out of private life for a term in office, then return to their communities enhanced by the experience and ready to recruit the next generation of citizen servants. The Founders, who themselves left farms, law practices, and businesses to answer their country's call, expected the time spent in government service to be inconvenient, even burdensome. That was part of the obligation to serve.
Future presidents will more rapidly assemble the leadership team necessary to honor the election mandate of the people.Barack Obama will take the oath of office on Jan. 20, 2009. In fact, if history is any guide, it will be nine or 10 months later before the new president is firmly in control of the government. That is roughly when the last members of his cabinet and subcabinet are likely to complete the presidential appointments process. Only then can the real work of the new administration begin.Since 1960, every president has taken longer and longer to complete the appointments process. Kennedy's top appointees were not in place until mid-April, Nixon's until mid-May, Carter's until July, Reagan's until August, Bush's until mid-September, and Clinton's until October. The next president will be lucky if his appointees are confirmed by November 1.
The delays reflect many factors, not the least of which is the growing number of positions that require presidential appointment. In 1961, Kennedy filled a grand total of 196 Senate-confirmed appointments. Thirty years later, Clinton had more than 800 to fill. And these figures do not include the growing number of advisory board positions and lesser political posts, which now number in the 5,000 range.
The review process has also grown more onerous and complex with each passing scandal. The number of forms has increased, as has the list of questions and disclosure requirements. Just about the only thing that has not changed is the requirement that the forms be filled out by a typewriter. To this day, executive branch forms are not available either on-line or on disk.
The increasing complexity of the process has reduced the number of talented Americans willing to accept the call to presidential service.Presidential recruiters report that it takes more calls to find candidates willing to subject themselves to the process, and more work to keep candidates from bolting once the process begins. The number of initial turn downs is rising, as is the number of later withdrawals.
There is already considerable agreement on a short list of reforms that could cut the current delays by several months. These include streamlining of the financial disclosure categories for the president's most senior nominees, and a simplified disclosure form and expedited FBI field investigations for selected nominees further down the Appointee hierarchy. The delays would be cut even further if the Senate and White House can restore comity to their joint review process. It is not clear whether doing so requires a constitutionally acceptable time limit on the process, or a sharp reduction in the total number of presidential appointments. What is clear is that reducing delays must involve a genuine dialogue between the two branches. We know that delays are not the only reason America's civic and corporate leaders are increasingly reluctant to serve. Public cynicism toward government also plays a significant role.
Although the Founding Fathers most certainly expected the time spent in citizen service to be inconvenient, even burdensome, they did not expect the process of entering office to be so long, intrusive and frustrating. They clearly wanted presidents to make speedy nominations and the Senate to discharge its advice-and-consent function, aye or nay, with equal dispatch.
Two hundred years later, the presidential appointments process is increasingly incapable of fulfilling its most basic responsibility: recruiting talented citizens for government service. More and more citizens are saying no, and those who do say yes are being forced to endure a process that is more torturous than the Founders ever could have imagined.
Reforms can succeed, however, only if leaders on both sides of the aisle come together to make senior service more attractive. In this era of handshakes across the party divide, we can think of no other issue that deserves more bipartisan attention than the need to renew citizen service as a basic democratic duty.Improving the presidential appointments process would not only help the next president turn to governing as soon as possible after inauguration day, it also would make it easier for all of the nation's elected officials to honor the promises they make. And that is an essential element for rebuilding public confidence in government.The genuine importance of government service far transcends the burdensome formalities that must come first.
The president-elect's transition team includes the White House Office of Presidential Personnel, the Office of the Counsel to the President, the Office of Government Ethics, home state Senators (and House members), Senate Committees of jurisdiction/confirmation, and relevant Senate staff.
Life seldom presents simplistic solutions or simple relationships. In a world where there are few absolutes, the challenge for a writer is to convey those complexities and expressions of morality in a compelling, yet condensed way. Nowhere is the potential contrast and commonality of perspectives greater than between the main and impact characters. One way to begin this process, early on, is to pick a prime descriptor for the dynamics between both characters. As I began the process of writing The Lazarus Covenant, "Deficiency" best described the dynamics between the main character, Mark Lyons, and the Impact Character, Sandy Evenson.
Lyons has an unfulfilled need for intimacy that he has repressed since his wife's murder five years ago...a deficiency that he sees Evenson can fill, but he is supresses that too by sabotaging their emerging relationship, telling her it would be best for her to leave. Lyons' primary deficiency is the void of an unfulfilled past--a loss of innocence at a very early age, being stripped from his family as he had known it, the nagging feeling that he was responsible for their compromise at the Dam Site and with his wife's murder in Belfast. These are not voids that can easily be fulfilled, but can be explained and rationalized. Evenson assists him in that effort; first, during their visit to Sapna, during their travels via car through Bosnia, following his Sandy Evenson-engineered reunion with his mother, etc.. Lyons' deficiencies in this regard are manifested by intensity, aggressiveness, sometimes by apathy, PTSD flashbacks (one that is recurrent, incremental in its telling and very disturbing, but is resolved in the end).
Characters are the life blood of any novel. Animating your characters is achieved by illustrating their motivation. Motivation is the core dimension for each of your characters. So, how exactly do you illustrate a character's motivation? In short, motivation can be directly translated into the problem your character is trying to resolve. So, before you begin writing, think about what drives your characters. It's a tactical question that has strategic implications, because what drives your characters will also, by default, drive your story.
Your main character, or protagonist, is the most important character in your story. Think about your protagonist's impending journey...what are his or her demons? What in his past affects the present and the future? What personal qualities and emotions will define his future choices? What makes him tick? In my novel, The Lazarus Covenant, Mark Lyons is the main character. Here are my early notes that I made as I thought about for Lyons' "Main Character Problem:"
Mark Lyons has always been driven to evaluate situations, environments for what the truth really is. Applies logic, but does not entirely trust it on its face-value. Understands that people are driven by agendas and motives. He has applied his evaluative technique in all of his activities as an SAS operative, and as a policeman in Northern Ireland...as he does in investigating the ambush. His "fault" is that he is not satisfied when the answer is easily provided to him, and so he does not quit even when threatened or told to desist.
Lyons evaluates the details of the "accident" and determines that it was an ambush, and discovers there was an eye witness; as a result, he finds himself in a number of threatening situations with Sandy Evenson; his investigation leads him to other facts that US officials seek to hide from public view (eg, WMD in Bosnia); his evaluation of the threat facing the US and EUFOR, places him in conflict with a number of powerful players with resources greater than his own; he evaluates the advantages and disadvantages of employing Celo and placing him further at odds with officials and with Sandy Evenson, who leaves him (temporarily) as a result of that association and as a result of his perceived selfishness during the Kamrath investigation.
My personal opinion about the NYT story below: If the Obama Administration goes forward with effectively abolishing the Homeland Security Council, and rolling those responsibilities into the National Security Council, it will represent the first major organizational error of President Obama's presidency. While consolidating the HSC into the NSC may sound attractive, it ignores the existing role (and influence) that the HSC plays as a coordinating body for the interagency. The NSC is already an extremely powerful organization, but its main focus is international, not domestic. The Counterterrorism Czar (Dick Clark's old job) is important, but John Brennan will not have the needed rank (Assistant to the President) that is required to have direct access to the Oval Office. The Homeland Security Advisor, as an independent (and impartial) Assistant to the President, can call meetings between DHS, DoD, DoS, NDI, et al. Under the Obama plan, those functions will transfer to the NSC-and will take a back seat to international issues. Such a decision, while perhaps intended to provide additional authority to the DHS Secretary (or strengthening the CT Czar's position), would make effective interagency coordination far more difficult to achieve. DHS is a peer competitor to its sister cabinet agencies and departments--all of them vying for access, influence, money and resources. The solution? Simply reinstate the Homeland Security Advisor position--and, if required, downsize the HSC staff. If they don't reinstate it now, they will likely find themselves needing to do it later in the wake of a major crisis....
John Brennan, President Obama's likely Counterterrorism Czar
January 8, 2009
Obama Is Reported Set to Revise Counterterrorism Efforts
WASHINGTON — President-elect Barack Obama is preparing to scrap the way President Bush oversaw domestic security in the White House and name a former Central Intelligence Agency official to coordinate counterterrorism, people close to the transition said Wednesday.
The plan being discussed would eliminate the independent homeland security adviser’s office and assign those duties to the National Security Council to streamline sometimes overlapping functions. A deputy national security adviser would be charged with overseeing the effort to guard against terrorism and to respond to natural disasters.
Democrats close to the transition said Mr. Obama’s choice for that job was John O. Brennan, a longtime C.I.A. veteran who was the front-runner to head the spy agency until withdrawing in November amid criticism of his views on interrogation and detention policies. His appointment would not require Senate confirmation.
Mr. Obama has made no final decision about how to structure domestic security in his White House, and advisers plan to wait until his inauguration to conduct a formal review. But many key advisers have publicly advocated folding it into the National Security Council, and those involved in discussions said the only real questions appeared to be how to do that and how to explain it without looking like domestic security was being downgraded as a priority.
Mr. Bush first appointed a homeland security adviser after the Sept. 11 attacks, and Congress later institutionalized a Homeland Security Council inside the White House. The adviser holds the rank of assistant to the president, equivalent to the national security adviser , and reports directly to the Oval Office.
“It’s pretty clear they’ve made the decision,” said Frances Fragos Townsend, who was homeland security adviser under Mr. Bush and has talked with the Obama team about the issue. “It’s a question of timing and how they’re going to roll it out.”
Mr. Bush’s aides, including the national security adviser, Stephen J. Hadley, have privately urged Mr. Obama’s advisers not to get rid of the separate homeland security office, warning that it would load too many responsibilities on the National Security Council and risk important matters’ falling through the cracks.
The likely selection of Mr. Brennan to take over domestic security issues in the White House represents a turnaround. Mr. Brennan, a former C.I.A. officer in the Mideast who served as the first director of the National Counterterrorism Center, was seen as the favorite for C.I.A. director after the Nov. 4 election. But he abruptly pulled out after critics of Mr. Bush sharply criticized Mr. Brennan for past comments that seemed to defend C.I.A. operations after Sept. 11. Mr. Brennan defended his record and called himself an opponent of the harsh interrogation methods used in recent years.
In his new capacity, Mr. Brennan would report to Gen. James L. Jones, the retired Marine commandant slated to serve as Mr. Obama’s national security adviser. Dozens of aides now working for the homeland security adviser would largely be incorporated into the N.S.C. staff. The cabinet Department of Homeland Security would not be affected by any of these moves.
The idea of merging the two councils has been recommended by a number of reports, most notably in November by the Center for American Progress Action Fund and by Third Way. Among those preparing their report were John D. Podesta, Mr. Obama’s transition co-chairman, and members of his team.
The report argued that domestic security is inextricably tied to the nation’s broader foreign and military policy making.
“It was an artificial distinction to begin with,” said Matt Bennett, vice president of Third Way. “Homeland security is a function of national security in its purest form.”
C. Stewart Verdery Jr., a former assistant secretary at the Department of Homeland Security under Mr. Bush, said putting domestic security under the national security adviser would focus more attention on those matters, not less.
“It was very hard to get D.H.S. on the N.S.C. radar,” Mr. Verdery said. “You want your issues considered. You don’t want to be off in some second bucket.”
But some state officials are skeptical. “The National Security Council is focused outside,” said Nancy Dragani, director of the Ohio Emergency Management Agency and president of the National Emergency Management Association. “They’re not going to be, nor should they be, consumed with worrying about what’s happening in Ohio.”
Senator Susan E. Collins of Maine, the ranking Republican on the homeland security committee, said, “If the Homeland Security Council were to be merged with the National Security Council, I would be concerned that insufficient attention would be devoted to homeland security issues.”
Ms. Townsend, who held the job until about a year ago, said the council should remain independent, but acknowledged pros and cons. In fact, she said, she recommended to Mr. Hadley and his predecessor, Condoleezza Rice, that they assume responsibility for domestic security, but both persuaded her they already had too much to do.
Still, Ms. Townsend added that fellow Republicans should not use the organizational change to accuse Mr. Obama of not caring as much about domestic security.