Does Homeland Security Work? Evaluating DHS’s Efforts to Make Us Safer

Capitol Hill Briefing
May 25, 2010 12:00 PM to 2:00 PM EDT

B-339 Rayburn House Office Building

Featuring Benjamin H. Friedman Research Fellow in Defense and Homeland Security Studies, Cato Institute; co‐​editor, Terrorizing Ourselves: Why U.S. Counterterrorism Policy Is Failing and How to Fix It; and John Mueller, Woody Hayes Chair of National Security Studies, Mershon Center, Ohio State University; author, Atomic Obsession: Nuclear Alarmism from Hiroshima to Al Qaeda, and Overblown: How Politicians and the Terrorism Industry Inflate National Security Threats, and Why We Believe Them; co‐​author with Mark G. Stewart, Terror, Security, and Money: Balancing the Risks, Benefits, and Costs of Homeland Security (forthcoming).

Risk management is a mantra in the Department of Homeland Security but little more. Risk management means more than sending grants to areas where the risk of terrorism is greatest. It means honestly assessing danger rather than using worst‐​case scenarios as a basis for policy. It means creating ways to evaluate whether homeland security policies succeed, eliminating those that do not, and shifting funds to those that do. Current U.S. homeland security policy does not achieve these basic tasks. This forum will discuss ways to remedy that failure. Benjamin Friedman will explain what homeland security policymakers can learn from efforts to overcome public demand for overreaction to threats in defense and regulatory policy. John Mueller will discuss his recent research into counterterrorism policy, focusing on how to use cost‐​benefit analysis to evaluate homeland security programs.