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Strategic Planning in the Homeland Security Organization

Introduction

Strategic planning refers to an organized focus of an organization in the future. It is the determinant of where the organization is going to be in the future, the means to get there, and how it will be sure that it will get there. Some may confuse the focus of the strategic plan with that of the business plan. The focus of a business plan is on specified product, program or service while that of the strategic plan is on the whole or the entire organization. The models of the strategic plan may be based on goals, issues, organic and scenario. The SWOT (strengths, weaknesses opportunities and threats) analysis of an organization is critical in formulating the strategic plans. Just like any other organization, the Homeland Security employs strategic planning in effecting its performance aimed towards meeting its strategic goals which open a path or direction for the organization in reaching its vision with the capabilities at hand. The strategic plan helps in improving Homeland Security’s performance leading to the organization meeting its future goals (Rea & Kerzner, 1998).

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Why strategic planning is important for homeland security organizations

Strategic planning plays a major role in any organization as it puts its focus on the need to understand the development and implementation of the emerging technologies, stakeholder’s needs, competitions from other organizations by comparing their positions and initiatives with those of their competitors. The Homeland Security can analyze its missions, goals and allocating of resources by employing strategic planning in its operations. Since strategic planning puts more emphasis on the future implications of the decisions made at present, the Homeland Security is in a position to adopt in the ever-changing environment (Bryson, 2011).

Strategic planning acts as a direction of the Homeland Security in achieving its goals and mission statements. The missions help to differentiate the organization from the other competing organizations. It also shapes the internal systems of Homeland Security including the culture, technological skills and policies. With strategic planning, the administrators of the organization easily understand and get committed to the strategies, and this leads to the efficiency and transparency of the Homeland Security.

In homeland security, strategic planning reflects the core principles which were identified in the OGP (open Government Plan) that include public participation, transparency and collaboration. The strategic plans outline the missions of the Homeland Security. This is also applied to the department’s efforts in the provision of critical assistance for the security and prosperity of the nation. Strategic planning is used in maturing and strengthening DHS as an institution. In improving its performance measures and accountability, strategic planning is a necessity. Homeland Security also employs strategic planning as a departmental management tool for strategically achieving responsibilities that are in management documents (United States Department of Homeland Security handbook, 2004).

Analysis of the potential pitfalls associated with strategic planning for homeland security organization

Despite having so many advantages or benefits, strategic planning is also associated with potential pitfalls. In this case, it is both time consuming and costly, it is naturally prescriptive, it lacks flexibility, it is associated with excessive formalization in the process, and it lacks realism, initiative loss to organizations among others. In the Homeland Security organization, the experience of the above potential pitfalls associated with strategic planning is common just like to any other organization. To start with, strategic planning is time consuming and costly. The Homeland Security raise huge amounts to cater for the strategic plan which is also time consuming to develop, operate and maintain. Strategic planning in the Homeland Security such as the ABS models need large amounts of data for applications in order to enhance its capabilities. It requires many individuals to get involved, research time, resource reallocation, and organizational change among other things. This leads to much wastage of time and money since the models require huge amounts (Charvat, 2012).

Strategic planning in Homeland security is also prescriptive. It lacks the ability to anticipate contingencies that are un-welcoming. It is difficult for the homeland security to identify critical issues that may affect the organization. The strategic plan puts more focus on passivity and not engagement, technical expertise and not understanding of the public and on classified information instead of on transparency. Another pitfall of strategic planning in the Homeland Security organization is that it lacks the flexibility. Once the strategic plan has been developed, changing it by either expanding it or contracting it becomes a problem since it has no room for that. Strategic planning is also associated with lots or excessive formalization in the process. It becomes difficult since it may need people who can think differently to generate new ideas. This may affect some administrators who are opposing the new activities or tasks (Camillus, 1986).

If the administrators in the homeland security happen to develop a bad strategic plan due to poor assumptions, optimistic projections that are overly and other poor decisions, it is most likely that serious problems will be encountered by the organization. Strategic planning is known to be impossible to implement. If the top administrators in the homeland security fail in supporting the strategic plan, implementation becomes hard. Moreover, some administrators in the homeland security may resist the strategic plan due to lack of knowledge about it, hence see it as of no meaning (Drejer, 2002).

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An analysis of the desirable characteristics of a regional homeland security strategy

There are six desirable characteristics of a regional homeland security. The first one is purpose scope and methodology. This characteristic addresses the reasons as to why the strategy was produced, its milestone and the ways and trends of its development. With this desired characteristic, the documents become more useful to the entities that are supposed to be guided by it. Moreover, the characteristic is important when it comes to oversight of the organization (Jenkins, United States & United States, 2009).

The second desirable characteristic of a regional homeland security is the problem definition and risk assessment. With the common definitions, inter-governmental operations are made effective. The expenditure monitoring makes accurate due to the elimination of problems. When vulnerabilities including risks are comprehensively assessed, the key factors external to an organization that can affect the organization can easily be identified.

The third desirable characteristic of a regional homeland security is the performance measures, goals, subordinate objectives and activities. This characteristic addresses the goals the strategy wants to achieve, the procedures, priorities, milestones and measures of performance to help gauge the results. Performance measures, priorities and milestones which help with entity implementations are better identified and this further facilitates accountability and oversight.

The other aspects of the regional Homeland Security include resources, risk management and investments. This addresses the cost of the strategy, the types of resources and where the resources will be generated. It also focuses on the investments target which is based on balancing reduction of risks with costs.

The fifth desirable characteristic of the regional homeland security is about the roles of the organization, its responsibilities and coordination, which addresses those responsible in the strategy implementation, their role in comparison with others and the mechanisms they employ in their effort’s coordination.

The sixth desirable characteristic of the regional homeland security is integration and implementation which address the relationship of the strategy with other strategy’s goals, objectives and activities. In addition, it expounds on how the strategy can be associated with subordinate levels of the government. The information in the desirable characteristic help builds organizational roles and responsibilities.

An analysis of the roles and responsibilities of private and public sector organizations for homeland security strategic planning

The private and public sector organizations play major roles for homeland security strategic planning. In this case, they improve the protection of the public in an effective way. The private and public partnerships help the Homeland Security in various aspects. These include aspects related to staffing and technology integration among others. In hiring, the Homeland Security benefits from the private and public sector in addressing the human resource needs effectively. The independent HR activities are critical in enticing new personnel into the Homeland Security. The private sector can enhance the Homeland Security staff promptly compared to when the government is working in exclusion of the private sector.

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In addition, the private and public trust acts facilitates the adoption of new technologies. The department of homeland security initiated a SECURE program that gives away to the private sector research and development without financial assistance. The FutureTECH programs help improve machineries that exist. Thus, the Homeland Security is assisted to meet its projected needs through such partnerships.

An analysis of various strategic planning models and the best approach for homeland security organizations

The strategic planning models include; vision based planning models, issues based, alignment strategic, scenario based and real time, organic and inter-blended strategic. In vision based strategic planning model, the mission, vision and goals are established. Then the strategies are crafted, the actions for each strategy are developed, a profile showing mission, vision, goals, strategies and actions is developed and lastly, the implementation is monitored and evaluated.

In issue based strategic planning, major issues confronting an organization are identified; each issue is explored so as to develop an appropriate solution. Then the profile is developed, and implementation is monitored and the road map reviewed. In scenario based strategic model, factors in the business environment that may change are identified; the archetypes of scenario that may change are identified, appropriate strategies and action are then depicted, development of a profile follows and so on. The other strategic planning models follow the same trend (Bryson, 2011).

Conclusion

Strategic planning helps organizations plan for the future with its current available resources. The Homeland Security organization employs strategic planning, which enhances its competitiveness. In this case, it equips itself with the necessary needs such as the development and implementation of the emerging technologies. Despite being of great importance to organizations, strategic planning has limitations that may affect organizations negatively. However, the pitfalls associated with it can be overcome. The private and public sector in partnership with the Homeland Security help the organization to benefit a lot in terms of staying firm in a competitive edge. There are several strategic planning models and approaches which help organizations to focus on issues that are affecting them.

References

Bryson, J. M. (2011). Strategic planning for public and nonprofit organizations: A guide to strengthening and sustaining organizational achievement. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Camillus, J. C. (1986). Strategic planning and management control: Systems for survival and success. Lexington, Mass: Lexington Books.

Charvat, J. P. I. A. G. (2012). Homeland Security Organization in Defence Against Terrorism. Ios Pr Inc.

Drejer, A. (2002). Strategic management and core competencies: Theory and application. Westport, Conn: Quorum Books.

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Jenkins, W. O., United States., & United States. (2009). National preparedness: FEMA has made progress, but needs to complete and integrate planning, exercise, and assessment efforts. Washington, D.C: Government Accountability Office.

Rea, P. J., & Kerzner, H. (1998). Strategic planning: A practical guide. New York [u.a.: Wiley.

United States Department of Homeland Security handbook. (2004). Washington, DC: International Business Publications USA.

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