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The Homeland Security Department relaunched its Web site Wednesday and became the first Cabinet-level agency to follow the tech-savvy White House directives on social media.
President Barack Obama's aides have been urging agencies to add interactive components to their Web sites, such as videos and blogs. But it's been a slow start for a team that harnessed the Internet during the presidential campaign to organize supporters and deliver the White House.
The White House touted the Homeland Security Department's online presence as a model for other agencies. The department redesigned its own Web site to offer more opportunities for citizens to interact and launched a YouTube channel to post online videos.
From Federal News Radio, on the department's 9/11 Commission progress report:
Five years to the day the 9/11 Commission issued its report, the Homeland Security Department released a progress report outlining the advancements it has made.
The Commission identified intelligence failures occurring before the 2001 terrorist attacks. It also suggested recommendations to help prevent a similar attack.
Among DHS's new policies, initiatives and grants created since 9/11, the progress report reflects the department's focus on enhanced science and technology.
DHS says in a release it has increased transportation security by conducting 100 percent screenings for all checked and carry-on baggage through more than 500 explosive detection systems deployed to every major U.S. airport.
11:00 AM EDT
Secretary Napolitano, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Education Secretary Arne Duncan , John Brennan and Dr. Anne Schuchat will participate in a media availability
U.S. Capitol Visitor Center, Upper Atrium
1:20 PM EDT
Secretary Napolitano will deliver remarks at the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) and the Asset Forfeiture Program National Leadership Conference
Omni Shoreham Hotel
2500 Calvert Street
10 AM EDT
USCIS Deputy Associate Director of National Security and Records Verification Gerri Ratliff will testify before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Government Management, Organization and Procurement about E-Verify
2154 Rayburn House Office Building
10 AM EDT
TSA Federal Air Marshal Service (FAMS), Office of Law Enforcement Director Robert Bray will testify before the House Committee on Homeland Security Subcommittee on Management, Investigations, and Oversight about personnel challenges faced by FAMS
311 Cannon House Office Building
Today, the department proudly unveiled an updated dhs.gov. We've been working on the "new look and feel" for sometime, and we're happy to finally share it with you. The new design and navigation reflects Secretary Napolitano's five major responsibilities, and makes it easier for users to find information. We relied on extensive user input and search analysis to help us in the redesign, and want your feedback. Check it out.
“Social media plays an increasingly large role as we engage with the public, especially in the event of an incident or disaster,” said DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano. “These new tools help us communicate directly and facilitate immediate dialogue about the Department’s security efforts across the nation and around the world.”
Check out the new look at dhs.gov, and our new Youtube channel.
So, it's five years later. Where are we, as a department, on implementing those recommendations, and how do we plan to move forward?
Secretary Napolitano today released a report outlining the department's progress on the Commission’s recommendations. You can check out the highlights on dhs.gov, or you can read the full report.
On Friday, Secretary Napolitano will meet with members of the National Security Preparedness Group—a bipartisan coalition of national security experts including former DHS Secretary Tom Ridge and co-chaired by former 9/11 Commission Chair Thomas H. Kean and Vice Chair Lee H. Hamilton.
Just back from the summer meeting of the National Governors Association, Gov. John Baldacci said Tuesday he is endorsing the Pass ID proposal of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.
"We need to strengthen our driver's licenses, and we need to require a lawful presence requirement," he said. "It eliminates the fees currently assessed to states to use existing federal databases. It eliminates all the data-sharing mandates. It adds flexibility to the states."
Baldacci said the Pass ID legislation is designed to replace the controversial Real ID law that Maine and other states have opposed. While governor of Arizona, Napolitano opposed Real ID but said the new proposal fixes the problems she saw in the Real ID law.
"Pass ID provides a strong yet flexible framework for states to implement secure identification," she said. "I am proud to join our nation's governors in supporting Pass ID - a cost-effective, common-sense solution that balances critical security requirements with the input and practical needs of state governments."
From the Grand Rapids Press, on a USCIS naturalization ceremony in Michigan:
New United States citizens stand for the administration of the oath during the naturalization ceremony at the Gerald R. Ford Museum Tuesday afternoon.
The multi-hued group gathered Tuesday at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum proved the point: Citizenship is more coveted than ever.
Approximately 80 immigrants from 52 countries as varied as Somalia, Chile and India raised their right hand for the oath of citizenship, as record numbers are doing.
Department of Homeland Security data show the number of immigrants naturalized in the United States grew from about 660,000 in 2007 to more than 1 million in 2008 -- an increase of roughly 58 percent.
A decade ago, about two-thirds of the eligible immigrants who had been in the United States for more than 20 years were naturalized. Now, about three-quarters of such long-term residents have become citizens.
9:15 AM EDT
Acting Director of the National Cyber Security Division Dr. Peter Fonash will deliver remarks at the Pre-Solicitation Conference Certification and Accreditation and Other Security Services event MITRE-3 Headquarters
7515 Colshire Drive
10 AM EDT
USCIS Service Center Operations Deputy Chief Robert Kruszka will testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee about the EB-5 (investor visa) regional center program
226 Dirksen Senate Office Building
10:30 AM EDT
TSA Public Affairs Manager Lara Uselding will participate in a media event about the deployment of Advanced Imaging Technology
Port Jefferson Ferry Terminal
102 West Broadway
Port Jefferson, N.Y.
11:30 AM CDT
U.S. Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Thad Allen will deliver remarks at the National Naval Officer’s Association Professional Development and Training Conference
Westin Galleria Houston
5060 West Alabama St.
1:55 PM EDT
NPPD Deputy Under Secretary Philip Reitinger will deliver remarks at the DHS Science and Technology (S&T) Directorate Cyber-Physical Systems Security Workshop
Hilton Newark Penn Station-Gateway Center
The bald eagle is revered by the Department just as it is by all Americans. As the symbol of our country, it is on the Great Seal of the United States of America and is represented on the Department’s seal as well. From the outset, therefore, we have demonstrated an unwavering commitment to preserving the eagle habitat.
The eagles’ nest is not on the St. Elizabeths Campus property. However, GSA worked with the Fish and Wildlife Service in developing the project’s Master Plan to identify and preserve a buffer of land associated with the eagle habitat. The Environmental Impact Statement further determined that redevelopment of the St. Elizabeths West Campus would not have any kind of adverse impact on the eagles. Most importantly, there is no development planned in the buffer area.
A new access road for the 14,000 DHS employees who will work at St. Elizabeths will run along the western St. Elizabeths property line and through the National Park Service (NPS) Shepherd Parkway, directly adjacent to Route 295. The access road does not run through the protected zone for the eagles. Our plan has the access road located as close to the property line and route 295 as possible, which maximizes the distance from the eagle protection zone. GSA has offered to transfer the eagle protection acreage on the St. Elizabeths West Campus to the NPS as mitigation for the impact of the new access road running through their property.
We will monitor construction and development activities to ensure the habitat remains intact. And we will continue to responsibly develop St. Elizabeths to meet our mission, while respecting its rich heritage, its National Historic Landmark status, and all of our neighbors - including the residents of Ward 8 and our nesting eagles. We look forward to the day when the American and Department of Homeland Security flags will fly at St. Elizabeths along with the eagles.
Under Secretary, Management
It was a big day yesterday for the third National Security Cutter (NSC), Stratton. The Coast Guard and industry partners not only laid the keel, marking the beginning of the ship’s construction, but also announced the cutter would be sponsored by the First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama.
As the cutter’s sponsor, the First Lady’s initials were ceremoniously welded into the keel during yesterday’s events. Serving as Stratton’s sponsor is an extension of Mrs. Obama commitment to supporting America’s men and women in uniform and their families. The NSC Stratton is also the first white-hull patrol cutter to be named after a woman in 20 years and only one of about 10 Coast Guard cutters with a female namesake.
From the Wall Street Journal - An op-ed co-written by Secretary Napolitano and Attorney General Holder:
Five years ago this week, the bipartisan National Commission on Terrorist Acts Upon the United States released the "9/11 Commission Report," a comprehensive review of the circumstances and actions leading up to, including, and following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. The Report's concluding chapter offered a set of recommendations to dramatically refocus the federal government's efforts to prevent and prepare for future terrorist attacks.
While the scope of the Commission's recommendations was comprehensive, the ultimate goal was straightforward: in order to protect the American people, the many components within our government responsible for national security and law enforcement had to break old habits and communicate with one another more effectively.
Though clear in principle, the goal of interagency cooperation had proven elusive in
practice. Before the attacks of 9/11, federal counterterrorism efforts were impeded by the failure to share key information. As a result, law enforcement officials-the men and women who often serve as the first line of defense against potential attacks-did not always receive the tools and intelligence they needed.
From USA Today, on immigration enforcement:
The Department of Homeland Security is changing the way it tackles illegal immigration, in many cases remaking or rescinding Bush administration policies.
The changes put heavier emphasis on employers, including more investigations of hiring records and fines for violations, says John Morton, assistant secretary for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in DHS.
"We have to come to grips with the market for illegal labor," he says. "To get there, we have to move beyond individual cases."
The arrests of hundreds of illegal workers at a time in raids at factories and meatpacking plants were a visible component of President George W. Bush's immigration enforcement strategy.
The largest workplace raid under the Obama administration was in February, when 28 illegal immigrants were arrested at an engine manufacturer in Bellingham, Wash.
Guidelines issued since then make it clear that raids targeting employees won't be a priority. The agency still will arrest illegal immigrants as it conducts investigations, Morton says, but "we are going to place our focus . first and foremost on the employer."
From the Associated Press, on a first for the Coast Guard and for the First Lady:
In a first for a first lady, Michelle Obama is sponsoring a future Coast Guard cutter.
Construction of the cutter Stratton began Monday in Pascagoula, Miss., when the U.S. Coast Guard and Northrop Grumman laid the ship's keel at the defense contractor's shipyard.
As sponsor, Mrs. Obama promises to be involved in the life of what the service is calling a "national security cutter."
The White House says Mrs. Obama's decision is an extension of her commitment to support servicemembers and their families. The Coast Guard says it's the first time a president's wife has signed on as a sponsor.
Stratton is named after Capt. Dorothy Stratton. She was director of the Guard's women's Reserve during World War II.
2 PM EDT
National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD) Office of Cybersecurity and Communications Director Sean McGurk will testify before the House Committee on Homeland 311 Cannon House Office Building
2 PM EDT
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Acting Deputy Director Mike Aytes will testify before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Refugees and Border Security about E-Verify
226 Dirksen Senate Office Building
We’ve posted a few stories at this point about the Department’s involvement with the President’s service initiative, United We Serve. A few days ago, a great story by Lisbeth R. went up on Serve.gov about her involvement with Citizen Corps. Citizen Corps is FEMA’s national service program: their goal is to increase the capacity of American communities to respond in emergency situations, and they’ve set up all sorts of opportunities for people to make their families, their homes, and their communities safer.
Since the Real ID Act was passed by Congress four years ago, criticism of this legislation to increase the security of driver's licenses has arisen from many sources, including state governments, privacy groups and travel agents.
The federal law was passed as a response to 9/11. Its purpose was to prevent terrorists from easily obtaining false licenses, enabling them to set up bank accounts, rent living quarters and otherwise blend into American society unnoticed.
Although its intention was good, the Bush administration followed its usual pattern - quickly writing legislation and pushing it through a Republican-controlled Congress without thinking much about problems that could arise.
The National Governors Association has endorsed an alternative to Real ID that is backed by Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. She was governor of Arizona when that state, along with many others, protested Real ID as too expensive and unworkable from technical and privacy standpoints.
From the Biloxi Sun Herald, on FEMA Administrator Fugate's remarks to the National Governors Association:
The hurricanes of 2004 and 2005 taught residents and officials along the Coast many lessons, but the most important is that federal, state and local governments need to work together to respond and recover.
FEMA Director Craig Fugate told governors from across the country Sunday all levels of government need to work as a team to coordinate response to disasters and see who can help most in different areas.
Fugate was the head of Florida's emergency management department in 2004 when four hurricanes struck that state. He also offered help to Mississippi in 2005 when Hurricane Katrina struck.
He spoke Sunday as part of a panel discussion on emergency preparedness, along with representatives from Motorola and Travelers Insurance.
"Too often the disaster we prepare for is the last one when we need to look at the ones in the future," he said at the National Governors Association summer meeting.
The conference wraps up today at the Coast Coliseum and Convention Center.
3 PM PDT
Secretary Napolitano will participate in a media availability at the Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference
Hyatt Regency Monterey Resort
Regency Conference Center, Regency Terrace, Main Floor
5 PM PDT
Secretary Napolitano will deliver remarks at the Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference
Hyatt Regency Monterey Resort
Regency Grand Ballroom
1 PM CDT
U.S. Coast Guard Rear Admiral James Rabago will lay the keel for the Third National Security Cutter Stratton at the Northrup
1000 Access Road