Organizing for Homeland Security: The Homeland Security Council Reconsidered Page: 3 of 6
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Central Intelligence, and such other officials as the President may designate. Joint
meetings with the National Security Council were an option. This basic arrangement
remained in the Homeland Security Act ultimately adopted by both houses of Congress
and signed into law by the President on November 25, 2002.9 Title IX of the statute
reconstituted the HSC, located it within the EOP, and made it responsible for advising
the President on homeland security matters; assessing the objectives, commitments, and
risks of the United States in the interest of homeland security and making resulting
recommendations to the President; and overseeing and reviewing homeland security
policies of the federal government and making resulting recommendations to the
President. Still chaired by the President, the council's membership was modified to
include the Vice President, the Secretary of Homeland Security, the Attorney General, the
Secretary of Defense, and such other individuals as the President may designate. Joint
meetings with the National Security Council were an option.10
Thereafter, the HSC disappeared from the public record. It does not appear to have
complied with requirements for Federal Register publication of such basic information
as descriptions of its central organization; where, from whom, and how the public may
obtain information about it; "statements of the general course and method by which its
functions are channeled and determined"; and rules of procedure, substantive rules of
general applicability, and statements of general policy."1 No profile of, or descriptive
information regarding, the HSC or its members and staff has appeared, to date, in the
annual editions of the United States Government Manual.12
Similar conditions surround HSC resources. In late July 2003, House appropriators,
in their report on the Departments of Transportation and Treasury and Independent
Agencies Appropriations Bill, 2004, revealed that the Bush Administration had changed
the "Office of Homeland Security" account, previously listed for the EOP, to an account
for the "Homeland Security Council." The report also questioned the continued role of
OHS, saying "it is not clear what work remains that cannot be effectively performed by
the Department of Homeland Security." The account change also implied the shift of 66
staff personnel from OHS to the HSC, which the report questioned, "given the existence
and support of the Department of Homeland Security." The committee cut the President's
request of $8.3 million for the council to $4.1 million.13 Senate appropriators declined
to fund the HSC through the White House Office (WHO) account, as requested, and
recommended the $8.3 million sought by the President for the council in a separate
account for the HSC. They indicated that "the Homeland Security Council should be
funded as a separate account, which is consistent with the budgetary treatment of its
9 116 Stat. 2135.
10 116 Stat. 2258.
" 5 U.S.C. 552(a).
12 A profile of the council is available from the White House website at
13 U.S. Congress, House Committee on Appropriations, Departments of Transportation and
Treasury and IndependentAgencies Appropriations Bill, 2004, a report to accompany H.R. 2989,
108th Cong., 1St sess., H.Rept. 108-243 (Washington: GPO, 2003), p. 163.
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Organizing for Homeland Security: The Homeland Security Council Reconsidered, report, March 19, 2008; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc821285/m1/3/: accessed June 19, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.