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Question 1a

· Using the government accountability office, review the current organization and describe its organizational design model.

· Using the government accountability office, identify a change that would help the agency to better serve its current mission. State your rationale for redesign.

Question 1b

· Review “NYPD’s Counterterrorism Division” in Chapter 9. Dickey is sharply critical of “the dangerously ill-conceived, mismanaged, and highly militarized global war on terror” and sees the success of the NYPD’s counterterrorism program as offering an alternative approach. Recommend one or two actions you would take to implement a different plan from Dickey and / or Kelly.

· Review “Problems and Applications in Chapter 9 and respond to scenario 2 about smuggling drugs. Assume that you are on Commissioner Lane’s team. Recommend one or two alternatives to the plan described and explain how you will evaluate the success of each recommendation.


Unless objectives are converted into action, they are not objectives; they are dreams.

Peter F. Drucker

In November 2001, weeks after Al Qaeda had successfully attacked New York City for the second time, newly appointed police commissioner Ray Kelly decided that NYPD would fight its own war against terrorism. The federal government had provided for the city’s protection in 1993 when the group later known as Al Qaeda attacked the World Trade Center, and the feds were also responsible when two planes devastated the Twin Towers. The time had come, Kelly believed, to make New York’s first line of defense the NYPD rather than the U.S. military or what cops call the “three letter guys”—the CIA, DHS, FBI, CIA, and NSA.

Specifically, Kelly took three bold actions: establish a counterterrorism division; dramatically expand the intelligence division (which had been essentially an escort service for visiting dignitaries) and hire a former senior CIA official, David Cohen, to run it; and increase the number of cops working with the FBI on the Joint Terrorism Task Force. But listing these three actions does not convey the enormity of the challenge Kelly faced. According to Cohen, in the early days of the Kelly regime, everything was intense and anything seemed possible. “It was like putting tires on a speeding car,” Cohen said.

Although NYPD might have 50,000 employees and a budget of nearly $4 billion, Kelly was essentially trying to transform a local police department into an organization that could compete on an international scale. If they were to make New York City safe again, Kelly and Cohen thought they needed to build something different from the federal agencies; that meant an organization with minimum bureaucracy and maximum flexibility. The result was basically a combination of crime fighting and intelligence gathering, a hybrid approach that has since become known as “intelligence-led policing.” Journalist Christopher Dickey explains, “The aim should be to gather information and intelligence, identify risk, and then manage the risks by intervening selectively to protect against the threat. Sometimes that means detaining a suspect, but use of information and intimidation to disrupt potential plots may be even more effective. Sometimes, all that’s required is to make a target harder to hit, or to put on a show that makes it seem so.”

Plans to do this type of policing were developed in morning meetings that Kelly held with the heads of the intelligence division and counterterrorism division every day at eight o’clock sharp. Because Kelly never missed a morning, Cohen never missed a meeting. From those meetings, Cohen said, “We created the playbook.”

Why would a city need its own CIA? Some would say New York City had no choice. Terrorists are obsessed with New York City, focusing on it, Dickey writes, “like a compass needle quivering toward magnetic north.” Consider this. The 1998 remake of Godzilla, starring Matthew Broderick, was largely rejected by American audiences, but Al Qaeda sympathizers abroad loved it. The scenes of Godzilla stomping across New York City, crushing everything in its path, were mesmerizing and inspiring. One captured terrorist leader warned of an attack against “the bridge in the Godzilla movie.” Interrogators had to rent the film to find out what he meant: the Brooklyn Bridge.

Moreover, organizations like the FBI and the CIA didn’t always share vital information. Therefore, NYPD began to get its intelligence its own way, posting cops with their counterparts in London, Paris, Amman, Montreal, Santo Domingo, Singapore, Tel Aviv, and other foreign cities. Once the division began to gather important information on its own, it could deal with the FBI and CIA from a position of strength. “There is no such thing as information sharing,” said Cohen. “There is only information trading.”

Language was the key. NYPD could not run informers in immigrant communities, much less undercover cops, if it didn’t have personnel who spoke the dialects. NYPD could not have the Cyber Intelligence Unit successfully patrol chat rooms if it didn’t have personnel who could talk about the same street corners and schools that others in the chat room knew. A record search showed that about 2500 department employees spoke a foreign language. The department’s Chinese speakers can converse in Fukienese as well as Mandarin; its Spanish linguists talk with Salvadoran, Guatemalan, Honduran, Puerto Rican, or Dominican accents. NYPD officers speak Russian, French, German, Farsi, Dari, and Pashto, too. In contrast, because of strict security clearance procedures, the CIA, the FBI, the U.S. military, and the U.S. State Department are weak in linguists.

Though language is hugely important in eliciting intelligence, the Counter Terrorism Division had other operations designed to prevent future attacks. For example:

OPERATION HERCULES. Every day, officers of different precincts go to a location that was chosen at random to provide a show of force to deter anyone out there who might be planning an attack. The heavily armed “Hercules team” also moves around the city at random protecting high-value targets and infrastructure and disrupting operational planning details of terrorists. The reason for this theatricality is that cops “have to make themselves seem all-powerful and all knowing.”

OPERATION NEXUS. The NYPD also involves business in counterterrorism. A program called Operation Nexus, begun in 2002, networked police officers “with businesses that might be exploited by terrorists. Companies that sold chemicals like hydrogen peroxide or nitrate fertilizers, the stuff of homemade bombs, needed to have their consciousness raised. But so did self-storage warehouses (where components and chemicals might be hidden), exterminators (poisons and sprayers), propane gas vendors (the canisters can serve as ready-made explosives), cell phone vendors (mobiles work as timers and triggers). … Some 80 different categories of businesses were deemed of interest to the police.”

OPERATION KABOOM. Inside the windowless Counterterrorism Bureau headquarters, the Special Projects Group, or “red cell,” plots terrorist attacks. The idea is to take several cops who have no particular experience with explosives and see what they can pull together from information on the Internet and from suppliers within a few hours’ drive of Manhattan. One model they used was the massive bomb detonated by the Irish Republican Army at Manchester, England, in June 1996. Disturbingly, the team was able to pick up 1200 pounds of ammonium nitrate—the same stuff used by the IRA—in Pennsylvania without incident.

In addition to language skills and various visible and undercover activities, the counterterrorism division has the technology to stay one step ahead of the enemy. On the ground, thousands of cops wear “personal radiation detectors” which are very effective at picking up minute traces of potentially dangerous rays. In addition to the city’s 300 square miles of land, there are 165 square miles of waterways—any of which would make good entry points for weapons of mass distraction. The counterterrorism boats don’t look different from other police boats on the water, but the classified technology they carry makes them unique. But the most high-tech tools are 1000 feet above the city, giving officers on the ground real-time intelligence. Dickey describes his ride one cold winter night in an unmarked NYPD helicopter:

The morning is clear in a way—in that way—that is always a little heartbreaking if you were here on September 11, 2001. There were police choppers in New York’s sky then, too, but not like this one, which can see so much from so far. It is a state-of-the-art crime-fighting, terror-busting, order-keeping techno-toy, with its enormous lens that can magnify any scene on the street almost 1000 times, then double that digitally; that can watch a crime in progress from miles away, can look in windows, and sense the body heat of people on rooftops or running along sidewalks, can track beepers slipped under cars, can do so many things that the man in the helmet watching the screens and moving the images with the joystick in his lap . . . is often a little bit at loss for words. “It really is an amazing tool,” he keeps saying. On the left-hand screen is a map of Manhattan. He punches in an address on the Upper East Side, my address. The camera on the belly of the machines swerves instantaneously, focuses, and there on the second screen is my building scene from more than a mile away now, but up close and personal from this surprising astral angle. The cameras and sensors are locked onto it, staying with it as the chopper turns and homes in.

Assess how well the NYPD has converted its objectives into actions. What actions besides those mentioned in the case would you recommend? What are the limitations or weaknesses in NYPD’s approach? Dickey is sharply critical of “the dangerously ill-conceived, mismanaged, and highly militarized global war on terror,” and sees the success of the NYPD’s counterterrorism program as offering an alternative approach. Do you agree or disagree?

SOURCE: Christopher Dickey, Securing the City: Inside America’s Best Counterterrorism Force—The NYPD (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2009).

Scenario 2

One particularly violent method of smuggling drugs across the U.S.-Mexican border is known as port running. Port runners would load up to 500 pounds of drugs in cars or small trucks, making little attempt to disguise or conceal it, and then drive up to the inspection booth at selected border crossing points. If the inspector asked for identification, or took too long, or asked to look in the trunk, or attempted to pull the vehicle over for secondary examination, the driver would accelerate away aggressively, smashing other vehicles out of the way if necessary and running down the inspector or anyone else foolish enough to get in the way—never mind the damage to the vehicle, the load was much more valuable. Port runners picked crossing points where, within half a mile of clearing the border, they could be lost in the backstreets of a densely populated urban area, making pursuit and arrest virtually impossible.

In January 1995, Deputy Commissioner Mike Lane formed a team to tackle the problem. The team had plenty of ideas about what to do. Enforcement agents preferred pursuit, arrest, and seizures; inspectors focused more naturally on changing inspection procedures; the intelligence group wanted to study the smuggling organizations and take them down. But most of that they had been doing already, and it was not enough. Besides, their charge was not to make arrests or break down smuggling organizations (although they were allowed to do those things if it helped); they had been charged with eliminating the problem of port running.

Assume that you are on Commissioner Lane’s team. Before working on an action plan, the team must determine how it would assess performance. How would it know if it was making progress, if not by numbers of arrest and seizures? Obviously a decline in the number of port-running incidents would be good, but even that would be open to interpretation. What is your plan, and how will you evaluate success? What were the alternatives to your plan, and why were they rejected?

SOURCE: Malcolm K. Sparrow, the Regulatory Craft (Washington, DC: Brookings, 2000).

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