Donald Kettl, professor of public affairs and political science, has proposed a streamlined alternative to President George Bush’s proposed Department of Homeland Security.

Kettl is co-author of a new paper offering alternative ideas about how to implement Bush’s plan. Kettl and Gregory Treverton, a senior policy analyst at RAND, were commissioned to write the paper for The Century Foundation’s Homeland Security Project.

Kettl, who serves as executive director of The Century Foundation’s Working Group on Federalism Challenges in Homeland Security, endorses a fundamental restructuring of the nation’s homeland security system. But he recommends changes to Bush’s proposal that he says would increase the effectiveness of the department and enhance its ability to protect the American people.

The streamlined alternative would give the new department greater flexibility in preventing and responding to threats, Kettl says. Among the differences from the president’s proposed department:

– A stronger intelligence unit. Kettl and Treverton say a proposed Bureau of Homeland Security Assessment should be a domestic counterpart to the CIA, with authority to get other intelligence agencies to provide information. The agency would help bridge the divide between the CIA and FBI while maintaining oversight meant to protect against abuses of civil liberties.

– A separate Bureau of Infrastructure Protection. Kettl and Treverton propose separating the intelligence unit from the protection of the nation’s infrastructure would clarify missions without undermining coordination.

– Leave alone agencies devoted to chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear countermeasures. Combining all this work in one area could undermine laboratories and government agencies devoted to a wide range of research. Kettl and Treverton advocate greater coordination among these organizations but say their independence is crucial to retaining maximum flexibility in responding to threats.