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The Principle of Collaborative Distinction

2014 July 10
by Jason Nairn, CPP, CISSP

In a series of posts, I am outlining three principles that I believe apply to working relationships in homeland security.  This is a thought experiment presented for discussion and review.  These principles are derived from my own experience as a homeland security practitioner and are presented to highlight issues within the homeland security enterprise that I believe are interesting for further study and discussion.

While future posts may flesh out the details and background associated with the Principles, they will be presented in brief initially.

The Principle of Collaborative Distinction.

The Principle of Collaborative Distinction states that there are a number of individual disciplines within homeland security, each of which is essential to the proper functioning of a networked homeland security system.  Because of the broadness and complexity of homeland security, these disciplines can be seen as competing, as in for resources or authority, or as redundant, when in fact they are often complimentary.

As an example, it is proposed that Security Management and Criminal Justice are distinct disciplines of homeland security.  Each requires specialized knowledge and expertise and each values experience and trust.  In a collaborative relationship, professionals in these two disciplines can, symbiotically, develop effective solutions to key issues such as jurisdictional authority, security of privately-owned infrastructure, and resource limitations.

How can homeland security leaders encourage collaboration between disciplines that have similar capabilities but distinct roles?  The answer may lie somewhere in emphasizing the value of the individual disciplines which support the security of the homeland, including those in the private sector.

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