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August 21, 2009
6:09 pm

The Secretary, along with 25 senior officials at the Department, were instructed by Red Cross officials today on CPR and basic first aid.

Watch the video below for the Secretary's remarks from today's training.

Then check our ready.gov for more information on how you can be prepared at home and at work.

August 21, 2009
11:48 am
The Atlantic is calmer today than it was the beginning of the week. Both Ana and Claudette have dissipated completely, and Hurricane Bill is becoming less organized, though still a large storm.

Here's the current situation as reported by the National Hurricane Center (NHC):

Hurricane Bill

Currently Hurricane Bill is located 695 miles Southeast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. Bill is traveling 18 MPH and is gradually turning north-northwest. If you live on the coast of New England you should be monitoring the forecast in your area.

Bill has been lowered to a category two hurricane. The maximum sustained winds are currently 110 MPH, though the National Hurricane Center cautions that there could be fluctuations in intensity over the next two days.

Click here for the latest public advisory on Bill.

All information in the above posted was drawn from the National Hurricane Center
Published by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Washington, D.C.
August 20, 2009
10:17 am
From the Associated Press, on yesterday's H1N1 guidance:

Government officials are calling on U.S. businesses to help manage swine flu this fall by getting vaccines to vulnerable workers and encouraging employees with symptoms to stay home.

Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said Wednesday that employers should develop plans for managing both seasonal and swine flu. Businesses should encourage employees who are at-risk for swine flu to get the vaccine as soon as it becomes available. First in line are pregnant women, health care workers and younger adults with conditions such as asthma.

The government is trying to prepare for the possibility of a widespread outbreak this fall, which could hurt businesses along with the broader economy by keeping workers home. Unlike regular seasonal flu, the H1N1 virus which causes swine flu has not retreated during the hot and humid summer months, and so far has infected more than 1 million Americans.

Locke briefed reporters on recommendations for U.S. businesses at a press conference alongside Homeland Security chief Janet Napolitano and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.


From the North County Times in California, on ICE Assistant Secretary Morton's visit to San Diego yesterday:

A top-level official with the Department of Homeland Security said in San Diego on Wednesday that the agency would more strictly focus its enforcement efforts on arresting illegal immigrants with criminal histories.

In recent years, the agency has been criticized by immigrant rights activists for using raids ostensibly aimed at targeted individuals who were a threat to national security or community safety, but also arresting illegal immigrants nearby, known as collateral arrests.

John Morton, the assistant secretary for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, who was in San Diego on Wednesday, said that the agency would more tightly focus the program on criminal immigrants but would not give a "free pass" to those who have been ordered to leave the country by an immigration judge.

"If we're going to have any kind of system that works and has credibility, there's got to be enforcement," Morton said.


Public Events
2:30 PM Local
U.S. Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Thad Allen will testify before the Senate Committee on Appropriations, Subcommittee on Homeland Security about the Coast Guard’s Arctic Presence
University of Alaska Anchorage
Consortium Library Lew Haines Memorial Room (Room 307)
3211 Providence Drive
Anchorage, Alaska
Published by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Washington, D.C.
August 19, 2009
4:50 pm
Secretary Napolitano joined Secretaries Gary Locke of the Department of Commerce and Kathleen Sebelius of the Department of Health and Human Services this morning to announce new guidelines for businesses in preparation for flu season. The guidelines were released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Secretary Napolitano stated, “Ensuring business continuity is important to our cooperative efforts to keep Americans safe.”
The guidelines stress the importance of frequent hand washing and routine cleaning of common areas. The guidelines also strongly suggest that employers be flexible with sick leave policies, understanding that employees may have to stay home with a sick family member. They also recommend that employers take time to review current sick leave policies with their employees.

More guidelines for employers and families are available online at flu.gov.
Published by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Washington, D.C.
August 19, 2009
12:02 pm
The National Hurricane Center (NHC) is issuing multiple daily advisories on Hurricane Bill, this season’s first hurricane. They are also keeping an eye on the remnants of Tropical Depression Ana. Details on both storms below.

Here's the current situation as reported by the National Hurricane Center (NHC):

Hurricane Bill


Hurricane Bill is currently located 380 miles east-northeast of the Leeward Islands and is moving west-northwest at 18 MPH. It is expected to travel on this trajectory today and Thursday.

Hurricane Bill is a category four hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 135 MPH with higher gusts. The current forecast indicates that Hurricane Bill could strengthen in the next 24 hours.

Large swells caused by Hurricane Bill could begin to affect the Eastern Coast of the United States Friday and Saturday. Check with your local national weather forecast office for possible weather advisories in your area.

Click here for the latest public advisory on Bill.

Ana

The showers and other remnants of Tropical Depression Ana are gradually diminishing. There is a less than 30 percent chance of this system reforming into a tropical cyclone again.

Click here for the latest public advisory on Ana.

All information in the above posted was drawn from the National Hurricane Center
Published by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Washington, D.C.
August 19, 2009
9:21 am
From the Times-Picayune, on the Secretary's announcement in New Orleans on Monday:

Southern University at New Orleans, which has clawed its way back to 85 percent of its pre-Hurricane Katrina enrollment, will get $32 million in additional grants to rebuild four academic buildings on its original campus, U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said Monday in front of a receptive faculty conclave.

The secretary's announcement ends a long-running dispute between the flood-ravaged school and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the primary source of rebuilding money for state and local government entities.

The grants will bring SUNO's post-storm federal aid to $92 million. And it underscores a federal commitment to rebuild the institution's Pontchartrain Park campus on Press Drive, rather than moving the entire university to the makeshift lakeside campus that opened in temporary buildings after Katrina.

The anticipated construction on the original 17-acre campus -- combined with ongoing projects on the Lake Campus -- should result in a more impressive physical plant for SUNO than the 11-building, 3,600-student campus that flooded almost four years ago. The university already has partially refurbished six buildings, and it has broken ground on a new technology building, a business school and a $44 million residential complex.


From the Yuma Sun, on the Border Patrol's arrest of a wanted gang member:

Two Border Patrol agents nabbed a wanted gang member after spotting him during a bicycle patrol in San Luis, Ariz., Monday evening.

BP said several arrest warrants had been issued for the suspect who had been on the run from the San Luis Police Department for some time.

According to BP, on Aug. 12 agents assigned to the Yuma Station bike patrol unit assisted SLPD with a domestic violence call. The subject fled the scene before agents arrived.

"The Border Patrol agents were asked to help a police officer respond to the domestic violence call because he was alone," said Laura Boston, Border Patrol agent with the Yuma Sector Public Affairs.

The agents were later informed by San Luis police that the subject was a known member of the Plaza Barrio Wild Gang in that city and had several active felony warrants for domestic violence, dangerous drugs and felony flight.


Leadership Events
11 AM EDT
Secretary Napolitano will participate in a media availability to announce H1N1 business guidance
Department of Commerce
Main Auditorium
1401 Constitution Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20230

Public Events
2:15 PM EDT
NPPD Supervisory Program Analyst Ryan Oremland will present an update on the National Emergency Communications Plan at the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) International Annual Conference and Expo
Hilton Pavilion 6
Las Vegas Hilton
3000 Paradise Road
Las Vegas, Nev.

3:45 PM EDT
NPPD Office of Emergency Communications (OEC) Director Chris Essid will deliver remarks about the OEC and the National Emergency Communications Plan at the APCO International Annual Conference and Expo
Conrad Room
Las Vegas Hilton
3000 Paradise Road
Las Vegas, Nev.

4:40 PM EDT
ICE Assistant Secretary John Morton will be participating in a pen and pad with San Diego-area media
185 West F Street
2nd Floor
San Diego, California
Published by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Washington, D.C.
August 18, 2009
10:14 pm
Secretary Napolitano will appear live on two radio shows tomorrow, and NPR's Weekend Edition this Sunday. The shows and websites are below. Tune in.

Beth and Bill: 9:20 AM tomorrow morning

KGO News Talk: Tomorrow morning

Secretary Napolitano's NPR Weekend Edition interview will air this Saturday.
Published by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Washington, D.C.
August 18, 2009
3:00 pm
Secretary Napolitano was in New Orleans yesterday to announce more than $32 million in funding for the rebuilding of four educational buildings at the Southern University at New Orleans (SUNO). The $32 million will be used to replace SUNO’s Old Science, New Science, Multipurpose and Clark education buildings--all damaged beyond repair during Hurricane Katrina.

“Expediting the recovery process for local communities affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita continues to be a top priority for the Department,” said Secretary Napolitano. “These public assistance funds represent our commitment to helping residents of the Gulf Coast rebuild as quickly and effectively as possible.”

Secretary Napolitano made the announcement during a visit to SUNO, where she was joined by Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Craig Fugate and Federal Coordinator for Gulf Coast Rebuilding Janet Woodka to discuss Gulf Coast rebuilding efforts with federal, state and local partners.

“Today’s announcement is one more example of the great strides FEMA’s Louisiana Transitional Recovery Office has made in expediting assistance to New Orleans and Louisiana,” said FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate. “Under the guidance of the President and Secretary Napolitano, FEMA’s Louisiana Transitional Recovery Office director Tony Russell and his team have worked closely with the state on rebuilding and recovery projects such as SUNO, and we look forward to continuing and strengthening this important partnership.”
In the seven months since Secretary Napolitano was sworn in, FEMA has obligated more than $895 million in public assistance funds for Louisiana recovery—including more than $404 million for education, $130 million for public works, $49 million for public safety and protection, $54 million for health care, $217 million for public infrastructure and $40 million for debris removal.

“This is an example of what can be done when federal agencies, the state, and local officials come together as partners,” said Woodka. “The Administration is committed to continuing to work with all those who have a stake in moving New Orleans and the Gulf Coast forward.”
Published by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Washington, D.C.
August 18, 2009
12:38 pm

We’re taking a moment today to feature an important conference coming up at the end of the month. Yes, there are a lot of government conferences every year, and truthfully, we don’t spend a lot of time highlighting them. This blog wouldn’t be a blog anymore if we did; it would be a…well I don’t know, it would just be someplace where conferences are posted. The GFIRST National Conference, however, stands out as one we want to get on the radar for folks outside of the general government conference circuit.

GFIRST focuses on cybersecurity, and brings together dedicated professionals to participate in information-sharing groups, learn about the latest trends and preemptive measures, and listen to expert speakers discuss the latest in cybersecurity news. GFIRST organizers and speakers will use five pillars to communicate the conference’s message. They are:

  • Threat
  • Vulnerability
  • Attack & Detection
  • Mitigation
  • Reflection

Click here to learn more about how these five pillars guide the discussion on cybersecurity. If you’re a cybersecurity professional, think about coming to the GFIRST conference – you can register onsite. The 5th Annual GFIRST National Conference takes place in Atlanta, Georgia this year from August 23rd-28th, and is hosted by US-CERT, the United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team. US-CERT is a partnership between DHS and the public and private sectors, and charged with protecting the nation's Internet infrastructure by coordinating defense against and response to cyber attacks.

The conference will have nearly 100 sessions with six seminar tracks, based on the GFIRST5 pillars, plus one more: Computer Hacking and Intellectual Property (CHIP). This is the third consecutive year that the GFIRST Conference will serve as a venue for the Justice Department’s CHIP to hold its Coordinators’ Conference.

Senior cybersecurity officials from DHS and the private sector will speak at the conference, including: Philip Reitinger, Deputy Undersecretary of the National Protection and Programs Directorate and Director of the National Cybersecurity Center, and Greg Schaffer, Assistant Secretary of the Office of Cybersecurity and Communications. Dave DeWalt, President and Chief Executive Officer of McAfee, Inc. will also address the conference.

For more information on the 5th Annual GFIRST National Conference, please visit: http://www.us-cert.gov/GFIRST.

Published by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Washington, D.C.
August 18, 2009
9:25 am
From the Associated Press, on the Secretary's trip to New Orleans yesterday:

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said Monday the Obama administration was honoring its pledge to cut red tape and speed the flow of rebuilding aid to the Gulf Coast, with more than $895 million in infrastructure funds set aside for Louisiana since President Barack Obama took office.

The latest pledge of money - $32 million - was announced during her second visit in five months to Southern University at New Orleans, which was virtually wiped out by Hurricane Katrina nearly four years ago. Only a few buildings have been renovated to date, and some classes and school activities are still held in trailers at a nearby campus.

The money is to replace four buildings. The school and Federal Emergency Management Agency had previously not come to terms on the level of damage caused by the Aug. 29, 2005 storm and levee breaches.

"It's really awesome," Chancellor Victor Ukpolo said.

Shortly after taking her post earlier this year, Napolitano ordered a fresh look at hurricane recovery efforts that had been marred by red tape, finger-pointing and hard feelings by officials at all levels. The review prompted, among other things, joint federal-state teams to resolve project disputes.


From USA Today, on a new set of charges for a known hacker:

Federal authorities in New Jersey on Monday charged accused TJX hacker Albert Gonzalez and two unnamed Russians with also cracking into the computer systems of Heartland Payment Systems, 7-Eleven, Hannaford Bros. and two unidentified companies.

Gonzalez, 28, of Miami, is now at the epicenter of the largest data breach criminal case in U.S. history. He was previously charged on May 2008 and August 2008 by federal authorities in eastern New York and Massachusetts, suspected of breaching data systems linked to more than 2,500 stores owned by the TJX (TJX) retail chain, parent of T.J. Maxx. TJX reported losing more than 94 million payment card transactions. Gonzalez pleaded not guilty and is awaiting trial.

He faces the Heartland charges beyond that. "This investigation marks the continued success of law enforcement in tracking down cutting-edge hacking schemes," Ralph Marra, acting U.S. Attorney of New Jersey said in a statement.


From the Wall Street Journal, on preparing for H1N1:

With about 55 million U.S. children heading back to school in the next few weeks, concerns are growing that the H1N1 swine flu will spread even further than it already has. Identified by scientists four months ago, the virus has already turned up in nearly every corner of the world, from Argentina to Iran. It defied public-health officials' predictions of a lull in the warm summer months, proliferating in military units and children's summer camps.

More than two million people are believed to have contracted the new flu in the U.S.; 7,511 had been hospitalized and 477 had died as of Aug. 13, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. World-wide, 177,457 people have been confirmed with the disease, and 1,462 deaths had been reported as of Aug. 12, according to the World Health Organization.

A vaccine against the new flu is under development, but it is unlikely to be widely available before the flu season gets under way. That could leave many people scrambling to protect themselves and their children.

Here is what you need to know:

How dangerous is the H1N1 swine flu?


Public Events
2 PM Local
U.S. Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Thad Allen will participate in a media availability about Arctic Domain Awareness
Fairbanks International Airport
General Aviation Hanger
6459 Airport Way
Fairbanks, Alaska
Published by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Washington, D.C.

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