Maybe it's appropriate to be talking about national security on Dec. 7 - the anniversary of Pearl Harbor for you younger readers. But the rules are much different now than they were during that fateful period 60-plus years ago.
On today's anniversary, Missouri Homeland Security Director Tim Daniel resigned from the post he has held for three years. Gov. Bob Holden created the Homeland Security post on the state level as the first in the nation in response to the Sept. 11 attack.
But the question is "Does Missouri really need another layer of law enforcement as Homeland Security?" I've consistently said we do not.
Holden named Missouri National Guard leader Brig. Gen. Dennis Shull as the interim Homeland Security director. If incoming Gov. Matt Blunt decides to maintain the post, he may well appoint a new director in just a month or so.
A measure failed in the Missouri Legislature last year that would have required Missouri to maintain the post as long as the federal government maintains a similar national office. Holden created the post under executive order which means the governor has total control over the future of the office.
I've always felt that the Missouri Highway Patrol along with county and local law enforcement officers are better able to coordinate homeland security measures if needed. But realistically, I wonder just how concerned we should be in Missouri over a terrorist attack. Granted, if under some circumstances Missouri should become a terrorist target, then coordination of law enforcement would be essential. But I question if another layer of state bureaucracy actually improves our chances.
I would urge Gov.-elect Blunt to take a hard look at the Homeland Security post. If he truly believes in smaller government, that might be an excellent place to start with a downsizing effort.