On the Frontlines of Homeland Security
By Mark Donahue
NLU Alumni Magazine
Bob Tuohy (B.A. Applied Behavioral Science ‘93), deputy director of the Homeland Security Studies and Analysis Institute (HSSAI), has had a front-row seat for the evolution of the nation's domestic security effort.
The HSSAI is a research institute operated by Analytic Services Inc. (a not-for-profit public service corporation) on behalf of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The HSSAI conducts studies that address some of DHS’s most difficult problems to help the department function better. Previously, Bob spent nearly 30 years working for the Department of Defense and was a senior technology executive there before jumping into the private sector as one of the first advisors to DHS.
Bob, 59, acknowledged that while private defense contractors once played a larger part in helping DHS get its arms around its mission when it was formed in 2002, the department is relying less on contractors today. He said that DHS currently has an initiative to move work from contractors back in-house. He added that as a federally funded research and development center, the HSSAI has a special contractor designation, and he expects it will have a long-term role in filling the gap between work done by DHS employees and by commercial firms.
In the immediate future, Bob echoed what many in and around federal government are saying in the wake of the "fiscal cliff" crisis: 2013 will be defined by budget concerns. As DHS's studies and analysis institute, he said, HSSAI is in a position to give the department the analytical underpinnings to make tough budget and investment decisions. "It is easy to make investment decisions when the budget is flush," he said. "It takes careful consideration to make smart decisions when money is tight."
Keeping up on the multitude of DHS efforts is central to the HSSAI mission, and for Bob it makes the job worthwhile."I like the eclectic nature of the studies we conduct," he said."Everything from how best to secure the borders, to what the future workforce of FEMA should look like, to how the department should make investment decisions keeps me interested and intrigued all the time."
Read more from the Winter 2013 NLU Alumni Magazine