Bush Signs Executive Order for Faith-Based National Security
Just when you think you think it's impossible to be surprised by any BushCo action in the name of "National Security" there is now the bizarre addition of an Executive Order to create a center for faith-based initiatives within the Department of Homeland Security. Apparently, this makes sense with the way the Cheney misadministration is running the country and their total lack of any real concern on security issues, especially port security where still less than 5% of all shipping containers are searched. If you pray hard enough maybe someone will respond and take National Security seriously.
Setting aside reality-based questions related to what faith-based initiatives have to do with Homeland Security, I'm particularly intrigued by the order's stated purpose:
Sec. 2. Purpose of Center. The purpose of the Center shall be to coordinate agency efforts to eliminate regulatory, contracting, and other programmatic obstacles to the participation of faith-based and other community organizations in the provision of social and community services.Eliminate regulatory, contracting and other programmatic obstacles. Regulatory would be laws. Sounds to me like another Bush declaration that he is above the law or as it is written here, "programmatic obstacles".
Complete text of the Executive Order (posted by The White House):
For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
March 7, 2006
Executive Order: Responsibilities of the Department of Homeland Security with Respect to Faith-Based and Community Initiatives
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, and in order to help the Federal Government coordinate a national effort to expand opportunities for faith-based and other community organizations and to strengthen their capacity to better meet America's social and community needs, it is hereby ordered as follows:
Section 1. Establishment of a Center for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives at the Department of Homeland Security.
(a) The Secretary of Homeland Security (Secretary) shall establish within the Department of Homeland Security (Department) a Center for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives (Center).
(b) The Center shall be supervised by a Director appointed by Secretary. The Secretary shall consult with the Director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives (WHOFBCI Director) prior to making such appointment.
(c) The Department shall provide the Center with appropriate staff, administrative support, and other resources to meet its responsibilities under this order.
(d) The Center shall begin operations no later than 45 days from the date of this order.
Sec. 2. Purpose of Center. The purpose of the Center shall be to coordinate agency efforts to eliminate regulatory, contracting, and other programmatic obstacles to the participation of faith-based and other community organizations in the provision of social and community services.
Sec. 3. Responsibilities of the Center for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. In carrying out the purpose set forth in section 2 of this order, the Center shall:
(a) conduct, in coordination with the WHOFBCI Director, a department-wide audit to identify all existing barriers to the participation of faith-based and other community organizations in the delivery of social and community services by the Department, including but not limited to regulations, rules, orders, procure-ment, and other internal policies and practices, and outreach activities that unlawfully discriminate against, or otherwise discourage or disadvantage the participation of faith-based and other community organizations in Federal programs;
(b) coordinate a comprehensive departmental effort to incorporate faith-based and other community organizations in Department programs and initiatives to the greatest extent possible;
(c) propose initiatives to remove barriers identified pursuant to section 3(a) of this order, including but not limited to reform of regulations, procurement, and other internal policies and practices, and outreach activities;
(d) propose the development of innovative pilot and demonstration programs to increase the participation of faith-based and other community organizations in Federal as well as State and local initiatives; and
(e) develop and coordinate Departmental outreach efforts to disseminate information more effectively to faith-based and other community organizations with respect to programming changes, contracting opportunities, and other agency initiatives, including but not limited to Web and Internet resources.
Sec. 4. Reporting Requirements.
(a) Report. Not later than 180 days from the date of this order and annually thereafter, the Center shall prepare and submit a report to the WHOFBCI Director.
(b) Contents. The report shall include a description of the Department's efforts in carrying out its responsibilities under this order, including but not limited to:
(i) a comprehensive analysis of the barriers to the full participation of faith-based and other community organizations in the delivery of social and community services identified pursuant to section 3(a) of this order and the proposed strategies to eliminate those barriers; and
(ii) a summary of the technical assistance and other information that will be available to faith-based and other community organizations regarding the program activities of the agency and the preparation of applications or proposals for grants, cooperative agreements, contracts, and procurement.
(c) Performance Indicators. The first report shall include annual performance indicators and measurable objectives for Departmental action. Each report filed thereafter shall measure the Department's performance against the objectives set forth in the initial report.
Sec. 5. Responsibilities of the Secretary. The Secretary shall:
(a) designate an employee within the department to serve as the liaison and point of contact with the WHOFBCI Director; and
(b) cooperate with the WHOFBCI Director and provide such information, support, and assistance to the WHOFBCI Director as requested to implement this order.
Sec. 6. General Provisions. (a) This order shall be implemented subject to the availability of appropriations and to the extent permitted by law.
(b) This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by a party against the United States, its agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.
GEORGE W. BUSH
THE WHITE HOUSE,
March 7, 2006.