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January 28, 2014
6:09 pm

Posted by Karen Neuman, Chief Privacy Officer, and Bobbie Stempfley, Acting Assistant Secretary for the Office of Cybersecurity and Communications

January 28 is Data Privacy Day, a nationwide effort to encourage everyone to protect their privacy and personal data online and educate them on how to do so. As we spend increasingly more time on the Internet at home, at work and on the go, it is essential that we know how to protect our personal information online.

Most of us use our mobile devices to check our email, read the news, and interact on social media Web sites. However, by connecting to the Internet via an unsecure network or downloading an app without knowing how our information will be used, we potentially jeopardize our personal data and put ourselves at risk to theft, fraud and abuse.

Everyone can guard against potential online risks by taking steps to protect our privacy and control our digital footprint using the following simple tips from the Department of Homeland Security’s Stop.Think.Connect.TM Campaign:

  • Secure your devices. Keep your devices from prying eyes. Set passcodes or pass phrases (long passwords) to be sure only you can access your smartphone, tablet or computer.
  • Only connect to networks you trust. Check the Wi-Fi settings on your mobile device and make sure you only connect manually to known and secure networks.
  • Secure your accounts. Passwords are no longer the only protection from would-be hackers. Enable two-factor authentication to add another layer of security. To learn more about two-factor authentication, click here.
  • Beware what you share. When you choose to share information with anyone in your networks, they can easily forward or post it somewhere else. Avoid sharing compromising photos and information.
  • Make passwords long, strong and unique. Passwords should be different for each account, have as many characters as allowed, and include numbers, symbols, and capital and lowercase letters. 
  • Think before you app. Before downloading a mobile app, understand what information (such as your location, access to social networks, etc.) the app will access and adjust your privacy settings appropriately. 
  • Back it up. Store digital copies of your documents, photos, music and other valuable information on an external hard drive. 

Data Privacy Day is led by the National Cyber Security Alliance, a nonprofit, public-private partnership dedicated to cybersecurity education and awareness, and advised by a committee of privacy professionals. 

For more information, including additional tips to stay safe online, please visit www.dhs.gov/stopthinkconnect.  

January 24, 2014
4:49 pm

Earlier today, in one of his first public speeches since becoming Secretary of Homeland Security last month, Secretary Johnson addressed the 82nd Winter Meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM). 

 Secretary Johnson addresses the U.S. Conference of Mayors

Addressing a crowded ballroom of more than 250 mayors from small and large cities across the country, the Secretary reiterated the Department of Homeland Security’s commitment to a strong local-state-federal partnership in securing communities.

Secretary Johnson addresses the U.S. Conference of Mayors

The Secretary highlighted DHS’s important collaboration with communities across the nation on a wide range of critical homeland security issues, including support for local law enforcement and first responders, information sharing, cybersecurity and the need for commonsense immigration reform. 

Secretary Johnson address the U.S. Conference of Mayors

Prior to his formal remarks, Secretary Johnson had an opportunity to personally talk with a number of mayors, including Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Houston Mayor Annise Parker, Laredo, TX Mayor Raul Salinas, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton, and St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman.

January 24, 2014
3:59 pm

Earlier this morning, Secretary Jeh Johnson joined USCIS Acting Director Lori Scialabba to welcome 468 new U.S. citizens at a special Naturalization Ceremony held at Northern Virginia Community College in Alexandria, Va.

Secretary Johnson presides over a naturalization ceremony

Secretary Johnson administered the Oath of Allegiance and delivered remarks to the citizenship candidates and their families and friends in attendance.

Secretary Johnson presides over a naturalization ceremony

Among the men and women participating in today’s ceremony was Staff Sergeant Oscar Roberto Chavez, an active duty member of the U.S. Air Force, who Secretary Johnson thanked for his service and recognized as a model for other candidates.

Secretary Johnson presides over a naturalization ceremony.

As Secretary Johnson underscored, the United States has a strong tradition as a welcoming nation, and DHS is committed to promoting the lawful immigration process, expediting administration of immigration services, and promoting the integration of lawful immigrants into American society.

Secreatry Johnson presides over a naturalization ceremony.

To learn more about USCIS and its programs, please visit their website and the USCIS blog: The Beacon.

 Photos courtesy of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

 

January 24, 2014
3:43 pm
Editor's Note: This blog was originally posted on the TSA Blog on January 24, 2014.
 
Posted by Bob Burns, TSA Blog Team
 
Every day, Transportation Security Officers interact with nearly two million travelers across the United States with a single goal in mind – ensuring the safety of the traveling public.

TSA had a busy year in 2013, screening 638,705,790 passengers in 2013 (over 1,700,000 per day), which is 1,123,668 more passengers than last year.

Sadly, this year marked the first incident where a TSA officer, Gerardo I. Hernandez, was killed in the line of duty at Los Angeles International Airport.

In many ways, Transportation Security Officers are the public face of our nation’s security. It is difficult work, requiring patience, stamina, and great attention to detail. It requires extensive training and constant vigilance. This year’s tragic incident reminds us that being on the frontline also comes with a great risk. It is a risk that the men and women of TSA undertake willingly knowing that in doing so they are serving a higher cause, and a noble one – protecting the men and women of the United States every day.

We wanted to share with you examples of the continued vigilance of TSA officers in protecting our nation’s transportation systems, including some of the most unusual items TSA caught at the checkpoints this year.

1,813 firearms were discovered in carry-on bags at checkpoints across the country, averaging nearly five firearms per day. Of those, 1,477 (81%) were loaded. Firearms were intercepted at a total of 205 airports with Atlanta (ATL) on top of the list for the most firearms intercepted (111) in 2013.

There was a 16.5% increase (257) in firearm discoveries from last year’s total of 1,556.

Top Five Airports for Gun Catches in 2013

Some of the Loaded Firearms Discovered in Carry-on Baggage in 2013
Some of the Loaded Firearms Discovered in Carry-on Baggage in 2013
  1. (ATL) - 111 Guns Discovered
  2. (DFW) - 96 Guns Discovered
  3. (IAH) - 68 Guns Discovered
  4. (PHX) - 66 Guns Discovered
  5. (DEN) - 51 Guns Discovered
 

Here are a few of the more notable firearm incidents:

Loaded Gun (BDL)
Loaded Gun (BDL)

A loaded .380 pistol with eight rounds was discovered on the lower left leg of a passenger at Bradley Hartford (BDL) after the weapon alarmed the Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT).

A loaded .45 caliber pistol with six rounds and one chambered was discovered strapped to the ankle of a Pittsburgh (PIT) passenger during a pat-down after he had opted out of AIT.

Loaded Gun (PIT)
Loaded Gun (PIT)

A .25 caliber firearm loaded with 10 rounds was discovered hidden under the lining of a carry-on bag at Cedar Rapids (CID).

A passenger at Salt Lake City (SLC) received a pat-down after an anomaly was detected during advanced imaging technology screening.

During the pat-down, officers discovered a fully loaded .22 caliber firearm inside his boot.

Loaded Gun (CID)
Loaded Gun (CID)
Using imaging technology, a .380 pistol loaded with seven rounds and one chambered was discovered in the pocket of a passenger at Dallas Fort Worth (DFW).

While resolving an alarm on checked baggage, officers at Boston Logan (BOS) discovered a fully disassembled 30-30 rifle concealed within the lining of the bag and taped to the straps. Police responded and ran a check on the serial number of the rifle, revealing that it had been stolen.

In what was believed to be an attempt to avoid declaring his firearms, a passenger at Houston (IAH) wrapped two guns in newspaper and placed them in a box of detergent powder in his checked baggage.

Seven undeclared firearms were found concealed in a checked toolbox at Miami (MIA).

A shotgun was discovered in a checked golf bag at Detroit (DTW).

An unloaded .45 caliber pistol and four magazines were hidden in a cassette deck in checked baggage.

 
Left to Right: Unassembled Rifle (BOS), Shotgun in Golf Bag (DTW), Seven Firearms in Toolbox (MIA), Guns In Detergent (IAH)
Left to Right: Unassembled Rifle (BOS), Shotgun in Golf Bag (DTW), Seven Firearms in Toolbox (MIA), Guns In Detergent (IAH)
In addition to firearms discovered this year, there were many unsafe items that passengers attempted to travel with this year including:
 
24 Pounds of Black Powder (MDW)
24 Pounds of Black Powder (MDW)

Ten canisters containing 24-pounds of black powder were discovered in checked baggage at Chicago Midway (MDW).

A live blasting cap was discovered along with an M60 fuse lighter in a passenger’s checked bag at the Manhattan Regional Airport (MHK) in Kansas.

Over nine ounces of black powder was discovered in a carry-on bag at Cleveland (CLE).

Blasting Cap and Fuse Initiator (MHK)
Blasting Cap and Fuse Initiator (MHK)

A camping stove fuel bottle with fuel was discovered in a passenger’s carry-on bag at San Francisco (SFO).

After causing an alarm in checked baggage, Officers found a 3.2 ounce flask of black powder, 22 feet of fuse, a large empty CO2 cartridge, and miscellaneous ammunition in a passenger’s bag at Anchorage (ANC).

While resolving an alarm in a checked bag at Honolulu (HNL), a TSA officer discovered two one-pound cans of black powder.

 
Left - Right / Top - Bottom: Black Powder & Fuse (ANC), Two Pounds of Black Powder (HNL), Nine Ounces of Black Powder (CLE), and Camping Stove Fuel (SFO)
Left - Right / Top - Bottom: Black Powder & Fuse (ANC), Two Pounds of Black Powder (HNL), Nine Ounces of Black Powder (CLE), and Camping Stove

 

TSA officers also find inert items that look very real. The problem with these types of items is that we don’t know if they are real, toys or replicas until we call out the explosive experts. Inert items can lead to disruption, closed terminals and checkpoints, which often result in canceled or delayed flights. Here are some of the more interesting inert items we’ve found so far this year:

 
Inert Suicide Vest (IND)
Inert Suicide Vest (IND)

 

After alarming in checked baggage, our officers discovered an inert suicide vest. The vest was a training aid used by an explosives instructor.

A passenger at Norfolk (ORF) had six inert pressure plates, 50 inert initiators, an inert land mine, inert explosives, and two initiation systems in the his bag.An inert Claymore mine was discovered in a checked bag at San Jose (SJC).

 

Inert IED (ORD)
Inert IED (ORD)

 

An inert bandolier line charge was discovered after it alarmed in checked baggage at Norfolk (ORF).

Seven inert blasting caps were discovered in checked baggage at Greenbrier County Airport (LWB).

Electric detonators and a block of inert C4 with duct tape and wires protruding were discovered in two separate incidents at Seattle (SEA) in checked baggage.
 

Inert Claymore Mine (SJU)
Inert Claymore Mine (SJU)

A gag retirement gift designed to look like an improvised explosive device was discovered on the X-ray at St. Petersburg / Clearwater (PIE).

Two inert C4 demolition explosives were discovered in the carry-on bag of a passenger at Honolulu (HNL).

An inert Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) training kit was discovered at Norfolk (ORF).

Two battery-charged initiators were discovered in a carry-on bag at Minneapolis (MSP).

Inert Bazooka Round (ORD)
Inert Bazooka Round (ORD)

A WWII era inert bazooka round was discovered in a checked bag at Chicago O’Hare (ORD).

An inert 20mm artillery round was detected in the carry-on bag at San Diego (SAN).

136 inert/novelty/replica grenades were discovered this year at TSA checkpoints and checked baggage locations.

 

Just A Few of the 136 Inert/Novelty/Replica Grenades Discovered in 2013
Just A Few of the 136 Inert/Novelty/Replica Grenades Discovered in 2013
 
Left - Right / Top - Bottom: Battery Charged Initiator (MSP), IED Training Kit (ORD), Inert Blasting Caps (LWB), Inert C-4 (HNL), Gag Gift (TPA)
Left - Right / Top - Bottom: Battery Charged Initiator (MSP), IED Training Kit (ORD), Inert Blasting Caps (LWB), Inert C-4 (HNL), Gag Gift (TPA)

 

Live Smoke, Stun, and Incendiary Devices:

Smoke Grenade (IAD)
Smoke Grenade (IAD)
 
A live smoke grenade was discovered under the lining of a carry-on bag at Washington Dulles (IAD).
A live flashbang grenade was discovered in a carry-on bag at Portland (PDX).

A live smoke grenade was discovered in checked baggage at Washington Dulles (IAD).

 

Flash Bang Grenade (PDX)
Flash Bang Grenade (PDX)

A live “sting ball” riot control grenade was discovered in checked baggage at John Wayne (SNA).

Live smoke and flare canisters were discovered in a checked bag at Phoenix (PHX).

 

Flare Gun (HOU)
Flare Gun (HOU)

A 3-ounce Can of CS Teargas was discovered in a carry-on bag at Atlantic City (ACY).

A passenger at Houston Hobby (HOU) had a flare gun and six loose flares in his carry-on bag.

562 stun guns were discovered in carry-on bags in 2013.

 
 
 
Left - Right: Smoke and Flare Canisters (PHX), Flare Gun (MDW), Teargas (ACY), Flare (JNU), Smoke Grenades (PWM)
Left - Right: Smoke and Flare Canisters (PHX), Flare Gun (MDW), Teargas (ACY), Flare (JNU), Smoke Grenades (PWM)
 
Here are a few of the more notable knife incidents:
Non-metallic Dagger (SLC)
Non-metallic Dagger (SLC)

A non-metallic dagger was discovered on a passenger at Salt Lake City (SLC) after he alarmed Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT). During the pat-down, the dagger was found hanging by fishing line around his neck and under his shirt.

Tactical Spike (DSM)
Tactical Spike (DSM)

Officers at Des Moines (DSM) discovered an 8-inch non-metallic tactical spike in a passenger’s sock after he alarmed Advanced Imaging Technology.

Knife (BUR)
Knife (BUR)

A knife was discovered concealed in the lower back area of a passenger who alarmed the advanced imaging technology at Burbank (BUR).

Some Of The Throwing Knives and Stars Discovered in 2013
Some Of The Throwing Knives and Stars Discovered in 2013
Some of The Knives and Swords Discovered in 2013
Some of The Knives and Swords Discovered in 2013

The year also provided the need for travelers to surrender a few odd items:

Human Skull (FLL)
Human Skull (FLL)

While searching clay pots in a checked baggage location at Fort Lauderdale (FLL), our officers discovered human skull fragments! While the fragments weren’t a security threat, they did slow screening down a bit since the area quickly became a crime scene!

A mace was discovered in a carry-on bag at Chicago Midway (MDW). This wasn’t a plastic mace; it was solid wood and metal.

A traveler’s checked bag blew open with three foot high flames and smoke at Atlantic City (ACY) . The cause? A large leaking can of hairspray was ignited by the spark of a lighter when the bag was loaded onto the rollers. No one was injured.

 
Mace (ACY)
Mace (ACY)
There were many instances last year where travelers attempted to hide items, or the items they packed were disguised to look like other items. Our officers regularly find sword canes, credit card knives, belt buckle knives, comb/brush knives, knives hidden in shoes, knives hidden in thermoses, and knives hidden under the bag lining near the handle mechanism. But, here are a few of the instances that stood out:
 
Pen Knife (DFW)
Pen Knife (DFW)

A knife concealed within an ink pen was discovered at Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW).

A multi-tool was discovered inside a computer hard drive at Birmingham (BHM).

Pen Knife (DFW)
Multi-tool In Hard Drive (BHM)

A knife was sewn into the lining of a bag at Dulles (IAD).

A bladed multi-tool was found in a package of socks at Albuquerque (ABQ).

Ammunition Hidden Under Pull Handle (ORF)
Ammunition Hidden Under Pull Handle (ORF)

Nine rounds of .45 caliber ammunition were found in the pull-handle of a carry-bag at Norfolk (ORF).

Pepper spray designed to look like a lipstick case was discovered in Phoenix (PHX).

A stun gun concealed in a cane was discovered at Los Angeles (LAX).

Pepper Spray Lipstick (PHX)
Pepper Spray Lipstick (PHX)

A knife was found in a toothbrush holder at Lihue (LIH).

A knife was discovered in the battery compartment of a laptop computer at Oakland (OAK).

A knife was discovered inside a pillow at Midland (MAF).

Knife In Knee Brace (IAH)
Knife In Knee Brace (IAH)

A lipstick knife was discovered at San Antonio (SAT).

A knife was discovered inside a passenger’s knee brace at Houston (IAH).

Two kitchen knives were discovered in an automotive air filter box wrapped in plastic with the air filter at Houston Intercontinental (IAH).

An 8-inch knife and a 6-inch knife were detected wrapped in plastic bags under a false bottom in a carry-on bag at Guam (GUM).

A stun gun disguised to look like lipstick was discovered at St. Louis (STL).

 
Some Of The Cane Swords Discovered In 2013
Some Of The Cane Swords Discovered In 2013
 
Left to Right / Top to Bottom: Cigarette Pack Stun Gun (MCO), Brush Dagger(OGG), Knives Concealed in Air Filter (IAH), Credit Card Knife (ABQ), Lipstick Knife (SAT), Comb Knife (DTW), Knife in Shoe (IAD), Belt Buckle Knife (EWR), Stun Gun Cell Phone (JAN), Comb Knife (CHS), Lip Stick Stun Gun (LAS), Key Knife (IAD), Razor Concealed in Cell Phone (TPA), Credit Card Knife (BWI), Lipstick Stun Gun (STL), Stun Gun Cell Phone (LAX), Knife in Shoe (SAN), Cell Phone Stun Gun (DEN)
Left to Right / Top to Bottom: Cigarette Pack Stun Gun (MCO), Brush Dagger(OGG), Knives Concealed in Air Filter (IAH), Credit Card Knife (ABQ), Lipstick Knife (SAT), Comb Knife (DTW), Knife in Shoe (IAD), Belt Buckle Knife (EWR), Stun Gun Cell Phone (JAN), Comb Knife (CHS), Lip Stick Stun Gun (LAS), Key Knife (IAD), Razor Concealed in Cell Phone (TPA), Credit Card Knife (BWI), Lipstick Stun Gun (STL), Stun Gun Cell Phone (LAX), Knife in Shoe (SAN), Cell Phone Stun Gun (DEN)
Miscellaneous Items - Left to Right / Top to Bottom: Compound Bow in Carry-on (PHX), Finger Spikes (BHM), Bang Stick (KOA), BB Machine Gun (EWR), Novelty Bomb (PHX), Stun Knuckles (DEN), Gun Clock (SEA)
Miscellaneous Items - Left to Right / Top to Bottom: Compound Bow in Carry-on (PHX), Finger Spikes (BHM), Bang Stick (KOA), BB Machine Gun (EWR), Novelty Bomb (PHX), Stun Knuckles (DEN), Gun Clock (SEA)

 

You can also read more about important steps TSA has taken to move away from a one-size-fits-all approach to security, and towards a more risk-based security posture in our year-end blog post, TSA Reflects on 2013.

 

 

January 24, 2014
2:59 pm

Earlier this week, Secretary Jeh Johnson traveled to the Southwest border – his second time visiting the region since taking office on December 23 – to see border security operations in Texas and Arizona first hand.

On Tuesday, Secretary Johnson was in McAllen, Texas where he met with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) personnel and received briefings on DHS’s efforts to secure the border while facilitating travel and trade.

Secretary Johnson visits Texas.

CBP personnel gave Secretary Johnson tours of the border operations along the Rio Grande River, in the Rio Grande Valley and at the Port of Anzalduas.

Secretary Johnson visits Texas

While in Texas, he also met with state and local law enforcement officials. Throughout the trip, Secretary Johnson thanked the men and women of DHS who work every day to secure our borders and made clear that the border in this region continues to evolve and must be a continued area of focus for the Department.

Secretary Johnson visits Texas.

On Wednesday, Secretary Johnson traveled to Arizona for more briefings on border operations, and meetings with more state and local law enforcement officials and other stakeholders.

 Secretary Johnson visits Arizona

Secretary Johnson, joined by U.S. Representative Ron Barber (pictured above), met with CBP personnel and  took an aerial tour of the border. Secretary Johnson also visited the Hedglen Forward Operating Base, and received briefings from CBP and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials at the Joint Field Command office in Tucson.

Secretary Johnson visits Arizona.

Of his visit to Arizona, Secretary Johnson said, “DHS personnel work every day to keep our nation safe and our border secure. While progress has been made, there is more to do and I look forward to continuing to work with our partners in Arizona towards our common goal of a secure border that facilitates trade and supports local businesses.”

You can read more about Secretary Johnson’s visit to the Southwest border on our website by visiting here and here.

January 22, 2014
3:57 pm

Yesterday I was honored to participate in the Major County Sheriffs’ Association winter meeting.  Having served as a federal prosecutor for twelve years, first as an Assistant United States Attorney and then as the United States Attorney for the Central District of California, I am well aware of the noble and extraordinary work that local law enforcement performs in our communities throughout the nation.

Meeting with Sheriffs from across the country yesterday, I had the opportunity to hear about the challenges they face as they work to keep their communities safe.  We discussed ways to continue to build on our important partnership and areas where the Department of Homeland Security can provide additional support and assistance in that endeavor.

DHS values its partnership with local law enforcement and over the past five years has taken significant steps to develop this relationship.  Through our Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, for example, we have trained approximately 23,000 state, local, tribal, and international law enforcement personnel each year.  We have provided personnel, training, technical assistance, technology, and grant funding to support more than 75 state and major urban area fusion centers.  It is our goal to help ensure that law enforcement officials around the country have the information and resources they need to keep their communities safe.

We are committed to strengthening our partnership with local law enforcement.  As the new Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security, I am immensely proud to serve the many men and women across the Department who work with local law enforcement on the front lines every day to keep our nation safe and secure.

I am grateful to the Major County Sheriffs’ Association for allowing me to participate in its winter meeting yesterday.  I was proud to be amongst so many of our local law enforcement leaders.  I look forward to our work together.

January 16, 2014
1:50 pm

Posted by Philip A. McNamara, Assistant Secretary for Intergovernmental Affairs

The Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Office of Intergovernmental Affairs is proud to welcome Dr. David Munro as its new Director of Tribal Affairs.  As the Tribal Affairs Director, Dr. Munro will lead and oversee the Department’s continuing efforts to coordinate and consult with the nation’s 566 federally recognized Tribes, further strengthening our government-to-government relationships. Dr. Munro will also serve as the main point of contact at DHS for engagement with Indian Tribes and the national Tribal associations and will coordinate and support the implementation of the DHS Tribal Consultation Policy.

Under this Administration, DHS and our components, such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency, have continued to engage tribal officials in regular and meaningful collaboration.

Coming from the Morongo Band of Mission Indians in Southern California, where he served as the Director of the Office of Emergency Management and Grants Administration since 2006, Dr. Munro brings a wealth of knowledge and extensive experience in working with Tribal governments, and an understanding of the unique relationship between the U.S. government and the nation’s Indian Tribes. In his previous role, Dr. Munro was responsible for the Tribe’s emergency management program, coordinating response, recovery, preparedness, and mitigation activities of the third largest Indian reservation in California.

Prior to his tenure at the Morongo Band of Mission Indians, Dr. Munro served in the City Manager’s Office in Yucca Valley, California. His duties included disaster preparedness, intergovernmental and legislative affairs program management, strategic planning coordination, grants management, and contract and franchise management.

Following a ten year career in the United States Marine Corps, Dr. Munro received an appointment as an Environmental Protection Officer for the Department of the Navy.

Dr. Munro earned his Ph.D. in Public Policy and Administration with a specialization in Homeland Security Policy and Coordination. His dissertation and research work focused on Tribal homeland security grant allocation processes. He also holds an MBA and is a Certified Emergency Manager (CEM®).

We are excited to have Dr. Munro here at DHS, and we look forward to continuing our commitment to working with tribes and tribal governments to make our nation more safe, secure and resilient.

January 14, 2014
2:30 pm

Today, I was proud to participate in the Human Trafficking Survivor Forum and Listening Session hosted by the White House, Department of Justice (DOJ), Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS). During the event, the Administration announced the release of the Federal Strategic Action Plan on Services for Victims of Human Trafficking in the United States, recommitting our efforts to continuing our fight to stop human trafficking and aid victims of this heinous crime.

Jointly developed by the White House, DHS, DOJ, and HHS, this plan highlights the work of our Departments to combat human trafficking, and describes the steps that federal agencies will take to ensure that all victims of human trafficking in the United States are identified and have access to the services they need to recover, including steps to create a victim services network that is comprehensive, trauma-informed, and responsive to the needs of all victims.

At DHS, we work across our missions to combat human trafficking every day:

  • U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations investigates incidents of human trafficking, arrests traffickers, protects victims, and provides short-term immigration relief for foreign victims;
  • U.S. Customs and Border Protection interdicts traffickers, protects victims, and disrupts human trafficking schemes at our borders;
  • U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services provides long-term immigration relief to foreign victims of human trafficking through its T and U visas; and,
  • The Federal Law Enforcement Training Center coordinates with the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Office of Health Affairs to develop human trafficking awareness training for law enforcement and first responders. 

DHS coordinates and unites these initiatives under the DHS Blue Campaign.

January is National Human Trafficking and Slavery Prevention Month. The Federal Strategic Action Plan on Services for Victims of Human Trafficking in the United States reaffirms the American values of freedom and equality by strengthening services for victims of human trafficking – an important step in continuing our fight for justice.  

To learn more about DHS’s efforts to combat human trafficking and what you can do, visit www.dhs.gov/bluecampaign and read the Federal Strategic Action Plan here

January 13, 2014
1:24 pm

Posted by Suzanne Spaulding, Acting Under Secretary for the National Protection and Programs Directorate

Protecting and ensuring the continuity of critical infrastructure in the United States is essential to our nation's national security, public health and safety and economic prosperity. At the same time, growing interdependencies across the systems that control our infrastructure, particularly information and communications technologies, have increased vulnerabilities across a range of physical and cyber threats that can include extreme weather, aging infrastructure, industrial accidents, or acts of terror. 

In the face of this evolving risk environment, President Obama issued an Executive Order and Presidential Policy Directive (PPD) in February 2013, underscoring the need for our nation to think broadly about the way we manage critical infrastructure, not just in terms of physical measures but also focusing on security and resilience across these important and often interdependent systems.

Today, I had the opportunity to host a call with critical infrastructure owners and operators and stakeholders from around the country to discuss a key piece of the PPD. Working collaboratively with our partners from across all levels of government, the private sector, non-governmental organizations, and academia, we have updated the National Infrastructure Protection Plan (NIPP). NIPP 2013 is based on a set of priorities, developed together by the public and private sectors, that integrates cyber and physical security to better protect our nation’s critical infrastructure.

It describes a shared vision in which physical and cyber critical infrastructure remain secure and resilient, while vulnerabilities are reduced, potential impacts are minimized, threats are promptly identified and disrupted, and response and recovery efforts hastened. The goals outlined in NIPP 2013 reflect expected outcomes from a proactive and inclusive partnership among all levels of government and the private and non-profit sectors to leverage existing capabilities and develop new capabilities to strengthen security and resilience by more effectively assessing and managing risks, and enhancing national preparedness. 

Members of the critical infrastructure community who participated in helping to craft this important plan are vital partners that have enabled progress toward our shared objective and on which we will continue to rely going forward.  Together, our continued commitment and cooperation will be important to reduce risk and ensure the security and resiliency of our nation’s critical infrastructure. 

To learn more about the NIPP 2013, please visit www.dhs.gov/nipp.

January 2, 2014
4:18 pm

Posted by the TSA Blog Team

Editor's note: This blog was originially posted to the TSA Blog on December 31, 2013.

2013 was an important year for TSA, as we continued to move away from a one-size-fits-all approach to security, and towards a more risk-based security posture. At the heart of this effort has been our focus on expanding expedited screening opportunities to eligible members of the traveling public. Let’s take a look at some of the significant steps we have taken toward that goal and new ways we share TSA information over the last year. 

TSA Precheck Logo
 

TSA Pre✓™ Expansion: Most importantly, 2013 saw the TSA Pre✓™ program dramatically expand to nine participating airlines and 113 airports.  TSA Pre✓™ allows low-risk travelers to experience faster, more efficient screening and leave on their shoes, light outerwear and belt, and keep their laptop in its case and 3-1-1 compliant liquids/gels bag in their carry-on. Since its launch in October 2011, more than 30 million passengers have experienced TSA Pre✓™. 

TSA Pre✓™ Application Centers Launch: In December, TSA launched its first of many TSA Pre✓™ Application Centers which expanded the expedited screening program to a larger population of travelers. This new application program allows pre-approved, low-risk travelers the opportunity to apply for expedited screening in select screening lanes at participating U.S. airports. There are currently 11 TSA Pre✓™ application centers, and TSA has planned to open more around the country in 2014. 
 

Member of U.S. Military at TSAprecheck desk.
 

TSA Pre✓™ for Members of the Military: As a result of the ongoing partnership between TSA and the Department of Defense, TSA Pre✓™ expedited screening was extended to all U.S. Armed Forces service members. Service members, including those serving in the U.S. Coast Guard, Reserves and National Guard, may now enjoy the benefits of this expedited screening program at all 113 participating airports when flying on any of the nine participating airlines. 

TSA Spanish-Language Site: The new Spanish-Language site offers information about TSA’s screening process and security procedures to Spanish speaking travelers. The Spanish language site contains the same helpful traveler information and tips that are available on tsa.gov, and is the TSA’s next step in its plans to easily connect with passengers in their native language and ensures that Spanish speaking passengers have the most current information and security updates available.

As we look back at 2013, we also remember Transportation Security Officer Gerardo Hernandez, who was killed in the horrendous attack at LAX.  Officer Hernandez’s death reminds us of the risks the brave men and women of TSA face every day as they work to protect the traveling public. We will continue to honor Officer Hernandez’s memory as we move into 2014 – working each day to keep the traveling public secure. 
 

 

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