Mandates and Management Challenges in the Trenches: An Intergovernmental Perspective on Homeland Security


Kiki Caruson is an assistant professor of political science and McKnight Fellow in the Department of Government and International Affairs at the University of South Florida. Her research concentrates on the presidential management of American foreign policy, the implementation of homeland security policy, and intergovernmental relations in the context of national security. She is the author of a number of journal articles concerning foreign policy and homeland security. E-mail:

Susan A. MacManus is the Distinguished University Professor of Public Administration and Political Science in the Department of Government and International Affairs at the University of South Florida and a Reubin O’D. Askew Fellow of the Florida Institute of Government. She routinely designs and analyzes surveys for local governments, professional associations, think tanks, and the media. Her research on intergovernmental issues has appeared in numerous books and journals. E-mail:


Scholars and practitioners agree that homeland security policy implementation is contingent on a strong system of intergovernmental relations. The responsibilities associated with the homeland security mission, often mandated, cut across federal, state, and local boundaries. Local-level stakeholders are especially important players in the implementation process. This article presents a local perspective on the way intergovernmental relations have changed—and the reasons for those changes—since 9/11. Results of a survey of county and city officials in Florida provide evidence that intergovernmental cooperation has improved as a result of federal and state mandates. These results are refined by an analysis of the effects of specific local characteristics and the quality and quantity of vertical and horizontal networks on intergovernmental cooperation and local preparedness. Homeland security appears to be a policy area in which mandated cooperation and coordination—in a time and place of urgency—have actually strengthened the intergovernmental system.