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June 29, 2009
8:51 am
Monday, June 29th Morning Roundup - Featured News and Public Events




From Homeland Security Today, on the Secretary's European trip:



The focal point of the trip, Napolitano explained, will be to extend collaborative relationships with a variety of nations on counter-terror initiatives.


Napolitano stressed a need to “keep focus on the counter-terrorism aspect” of the Department.


Napolitano said that while in Ireland she plans to evaluate aviation preclearance operations. Shortly afterward in the UK she plans to meet with the new home secretary Allen Johnson and the new transportation secretary Lord Andrew Adonis on a number of issues, including cyber security, violent extremism and civil aviation security.


From the San Diego Union-Tribune, on a ICE gang sweep:



Dozens of violent gang members, including several criminal aliens, were arrested this week in a countywide sweep targeting street gangs largely made up of foreign-born members, authorities announced Friday.


The weeklong law enforcement effort, dubbed "Operation Community Shield," resulted in 65 arrests in San Marcos, Vista, Escondido, Poway and San Diego, Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials said.


Agents took into custody street gang members and associates belonging to 19 local street gangs and one member of a Los Angeles gang.


Several of those arrested had previous convictions on weapons and domestic violence charges, some will be prosecuted on new charges including drug offenses and violations of gang injunctions, and several others will face criminal prosecution on federal felony charges, including re-entry after deportation, officials said.


Public Events


10 AM EDT



June 28, 2009
12:56 pm

Secretary Napolitano paid a visit to a Customs and Border Patrol facility in Shannon, Ireland today. She thanked them for their service and pledged to do all she could on this trip to make sure that the aviation preclearance agreements between Ireland and the US are in place and implemented by the end of July. Stay tuned over the next few days for frequent updates on her trip.
Published by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Washington, D.C.
June 27, 2009
5:30 pm

As you can see Secretary Napolitano touched down moments ago in Shannon, Ireland, kicking off her European trip. She has several meetings scheduled over the next few days in Ireland, mainly focused on aviation preclearance operations. We'll keep you updated. Don't forget to check out some of the Secretary's thoughts on what she hopes to accomplish on this trip.
Published by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Washington, D.C.
June 26, 2009
5:03 pm
So it's been almost two weeks since we launched "The Blog @ Homeland Security." We've been posting some regular content, like the Morning Roundup, some highlights of the Secretary and Deputy Secretary’s travel, and of course, a lot of our statements and press releases. We've also started to get down to the purpose of the blog: transparency.

We've seen a lot of supportive comments roll in, and, naturally, we've seen some criticism as well. It's true, official blogging isn't easy. Look at this as an evolving discussion, a work in progress.

Secretary Napolitano just posted some thoughts on the Leadership Journal about her upcoming trip to Europe and Kuwait. We encourage you to check it out, and keep checking the blog while she's traveling. We'll be dedicating most of our posts next week to tracking her trip. We'll have some guests talking about how her trip, stop by stop, is connected to our efforts here at home.

Thanks for your interest. We're doing this because the President issued a call for transparency when he assumed the office, and Secretary Napolitano wants to answer it. And keep leaving comments – we're listening.
Published by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Washington, D.C.
June 26, 2009
4:19 pm
Map of Europe, North Africa and Middle EastYesterday I announced my upcoming trip and some of the initiatives we’ll be advancing with our overseas partners, especially with respect to our counter-terrorism mission.

We recently signed several important agreements with our European allies to improve information sharing and enhance collaboration on the development of science and technology. My trip, which begins this Saturday and will include visits to Ireland, Britain, Portugal, and Spain, with a final stop in Kuwait to visit our Coast Guard operations, will build on these and other efforts.
  • In Ireland I will assess preparations for aviation preclearance operations, which are scheduled to begin on July 29.

  • In the UK, I’ll be meeting with the new Home Secretary and the new Transport Secretary on a number of issues, including cyber-security, science and technology collaboration, countering violent extremism, and civil aviation security.

  • In Portugal, we will discuss ways to improve and increase information sharing to counter threats in both of our countries.

  • And in Spain we will discuss enhancing the security of air travel between our two countries, building off of the recent agreements we’ve made to improve criminal information sharing and science and technology cooperation.
In addition to these issues, we will focus on matters of interest to both the United States and European Union as a whole, including the protection of privacy while improving law enforcement and security cooperation, and the Visa Waiver Program and its security enhancements.

We have a strong partnership with Europe when it comes to fighting terrorism and other forms of transnational crime. In the coming weeks, I’ll be talking more about our counter-terrorism efforts both at home and abroad, especially as we approach the 5th anniversary of the release of the 9/11 Commission Report on July 22.

It will be a good opportunity to assess how far we’ve come in our fight against terrorism, our work to secure our country – and what steps remain.

Janet Napolitano
Published by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Washington, D.C.
June 26, 2009
2:08 pm

Secretary Napolitano sat down with some reporters and bloggers yesterday to answer questions and talk about her upcoming overseas travel and priorities for the summer. Reporters were free to ask questions on any topic – and so, the Secretary discussed counterterrorism, cybersecurity, PASS ID, and a number of other issues. We put the highlights together in the video below for your viewing pleasure. Check it out.
 

Click here for a transcript of the Secretary's remarks.

June 26, 2009
1:13 pm
An admission: Efficiency isn’t the juiciest topic to blog about. It’s not easy to write about a dollar saved here, and a dollar saved there, and then expect to keep you interested and awake until the end of the post. I imagine most people hear the words “government spending” and begin to roll their eyes, envisioning boxes of over-priced hammers and rooms of underutilized computers.

When Secretary Napolitano was appointed, she made it her mission to do a top-down review of how this department spends your money. As the Governor of Arizona, she did something similar, saving Arizona almost $1 billion. And that’s in a state where the annual budget is about $10 billion.

So, from existing government contracts, to software, to office space, we are taking a detailed look at every dollar we use at the department. The goal is to engage in smart spending. We began the Efficiency Review less than three months ago, and have already identified savings throughout the department. Here’s a snapshot of the new initiatives we hear about each week:
  • TSA: $433,000 in software savings

  • USCG: $1.7 million in contract consolidation savings

  • USCIS: $165,000 in equipment savings

  • CBP will achieve a 25 percent reduction in energy costs at their new Border Patrol Sector Station in El Paso using "green" construction methods.

  • ICE: $61,000 in savings by utilizing government vehicles instead of private rentals and more than $40,000 annually by eliminating subscriptions to publications available on-line.

The Secretary just delivered a message to department employees, thanking them for their work and continued commitment in making this a leaner, more efficient, and thereby effective department. We’ll bring you more updates on the review as it happens.

Published by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Washington, D.C.
June 26, 2009
9:22 am
Friday, June 26th Morning Roundup - Featured News and Public Events

From the Washington Times, on President Obama's commitment to immigration reform:

President Obama told lawmakers Thursday he wants to sign an immigration bill this year or early next year even though they don't have the votes yet to pass it -- and just in case they fail, the administration is ramping up talk of other actions it's taken to help immigrant rights.

Embracing yet another heavy lift for his legislative agenda, Mr. Obama convened an immigration summit at the White House and told members of Congress he will stand behind them as they try to craft a compromise. The lawmakers promised to fend off attacks from both sides of the political spectrum and craft a bill that cracks down on employers and legalizes illegal immigrants.

"After all the overheated rhetoric and the occasional demagoguery on all sides around this issue, we've got a responsible set of leaders sitting around the table who want to actively get something done and not put it off until a year, two years, three years, five years from now," Mr. Obama said.


From the Associated Press, on Secretary Napolitano's upcoming trip to Europe and Kuwait:

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano leaves this weekend for meetings with officials in Europe and Kuwait on counterterrorism issues.

At a meeting with reporters Thursday, Napolitano said she will be meeting with her counterparts in Britain as well as officials in Spain, Ireland and Portugal.

Napolitano also said she is particularly interested in what the British do in their de-radicalization programs. In Kuwait she said she will be looking at U.S. Coast Guard operations there.

Napolitano leaves on Saturday.


Public Events

10 AM EDT
Deputy Under Secretary for National Protection and Programs Philip Reitinger will participate in a panel discussion at the “Google D.C. Talks: Developing a National Cybersecurity Strategy” summit
1101 New York Avenue NW, 2nd Floor
Washington, D.C.

9 AM PDT
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Chief Financial Officer Rendell Jones will deliver remarks during a naturalization ceremony at the Los Angeles Sports Arena
Los Angeles Sports Arena
3939 South Figueroa Street
Los Angeles, Calif.

9:30 AM Local
Chief Privacy Officer Mary Ellen Callahan will participate in a roundtable discussion about DHS’ privacy compliance processes and practices
Field Fisher Waterhouse
35 Vine Street
London, England
Published by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Washington, D.C.
June 26, 2009
7:16 am
President Barack Obama talks with members of Congress to discuss immigration, Thursday, June 25, 2009, in the State Dinning Room of the White House. From left; Rep. Silvestre Reyes, D-Texas, Rep. Luis Guitierrez, D-Ill., Rep. Nydia Velazquez, D-N.Y., Rep. James Clyburn, D - S.C. the president, Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt. Official White House Photo by Pete Souza (President Barack Obama talks with members of Congress to discuss immigration, Thursday, June 25, 2009,
in the State Dinning Room of the White House. From left; Rep. Silvestre Reyes, D-Texas, Rep. Luis Guitierrez,
D-Ill., Rep. Nydia Velazquez, D-N.Y., Rep. James Clyburn, D - S.C. the president, Vice President Joe Biden,
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt. Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Secretary Napolitano was at the White House yesterday with the President and members of Congress working on identifying a way forward on comprehensive immigration reform. From the White House blog:
While Congressional leaders are working to tackle the complexities of immigration reform, the Administration has already taken steps to improve the system. The FBI has cleared much of the backlog of immigration background checks, the Department of Homeland Security is speeding up citizenship petitions and in conjunction with the Department of Labor, they are working to crack down on employers who are exploiting illegal workers. The President also announced a new collaborative effort that will utilize technology to improve legal immigration:

"Today I'm pleased to announce a new collaboration between my Chief Information Officer, my Chief Performance Officer, my Chief Technologies Officer and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Office to make the agency much more efficient, much more transparent, much more user-friendly than it has been in the past.

In the next 90 days, USCIS will launch a vastly improved Web site that will, for the first time ever, allow applicants to get updates on their status of their applications via e-mail and text message and online. And anybody who's dealt with families who are trying to deal with -- navigate the immigration system, this is going to save them huge amounts of time standing in line, waiting around, making phone calls, being put on hold. It's an example of some things that we can do administratively even as we're working through difficult issues surrounding comprehensive immigration.


And the idea is very simple here: We're going to leverage cutting-edge technology to reduce the unnecessary paperwork, backlogs, and the lack of transparency that's caused so many people so much heartache." --More on the White House Blog.
At the President’s direction, Secretary Napolitano will convene a group of leaders from the White House and Congress to begin identifying the way forward on comprehensive immigration reform.
Published by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Washington, D.C.
June 25, 2009
12:00 pm
For those who missed it, check out the video from earlier this week of FEMA Adminstrator Fugate's roundtable discussion on community service and preparedness. The discussion centered on the President's United We Serve initiative, and took place at a Denver fire house.



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Visit Serve.gov for more information on how to get involved. jxmkp7t2sb
Published by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Washington, D.C.

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