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July 30, 2009
9:47 am
From the Washington Post, on the Secretary's speech in New York yesterday:

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano urged Americans on Wednesday to join a "collective fight against terrorism" that combines the efforts of individuals, companies and local, state and foreign governments.

Answering critics who have accused the Obama administration of downplaying the risk of terrorist attacks, Napolitano said the threat has not abated and outlined an approach that emphasizes burden-sharing as federal spending and political support for post-Sept. 11 security measures wane.

"I am sometimes asked if I think complacency is a threat. I believe the short answer is 'yes,' " Napolitano said, speaking to the Council on Foreign Relations in New York before visiting the World Trade Center site destroyed in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

"But I think a better question is this: Has the U.S. government done everything it can to educate and engage the American people? The answer is 'no,' " she said.

In what aides called a major counter-terrorism policy address, Napolitano noted that American hotels were targeted in bombings this month in Jakarta, six Americans were among 164 people killed in a commando-style assault in Mumbai in November and three Americans were among 54 killed in a Marriott Hotel in Islamabad in September.

To confront a terrorism threat that "is even more decentralized, more networked and more adaptive," she said, counter-terrorism efforts also need to exploit the values of "networks." For example, the nation needs better technology, training and linkages to share information with 780,000 local law enforcement agents, Napolitano said, promising to strengthen 70 state-run intelligence "fusion centers" that began under the Bush administration.


And from the New York Times:

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano called Wednesday for closer collaboration with foreign partners, more intensive cooperation between the federal government and local law enforcement officials, and greater involvement by civilians in watching for and responding to terrorist threats.

"For too long, we've treated the public as a liability to be protected rather than as an asset in our nation's collective security," Ms. Napolitano said in a speech to the Council on Foreign Relations in New York. "This approach, unfortunately, has allowed confusion, anxiety and fear to linger."

Ms. Napolitano, whose visit to New York included her first trip to ground zero, seemed intent in her speech on a shift of tone from that of the Bush administration, which critics say too often appeared to exaggerate threats and sow fear. But she unveiled no specific new initiatives in this regard.

She did say she had traveled 30,000 miles in just the last few weeks - "from Islamabad to Seattle" - while brokering international security agreements.

And she emphasized the importance of facilities, called intelligence fusion centers, that have been set up nationwide to improve communications between the local officials most likely to see the first signs of suspicious activity - like a flight school student showing interest in learning to take off but not to land a plane - and state and federal officials.


Public Events
8 AM EDT
CS&C Division Director Brenda Oldfield will speak at the 2009 Society for Science and the Public Fellows Institute.
St. Regis Hotel
923 16th and K Streets, NW
Washington, D.C.

10 AM CDT
CBP Office of Air and Marine will accept its first UH-60M helicopter and mark the occasion in a ceremony with the Army.
Redstone Army Airfield
Gate 8 Visitor Entrance, near intersection of Goss and Patton Road
Huntsville, Ala.

10 AM EDT
TSA Public Affairs Manager Jon Allen will participate in a media availability announcing a 60-day test of next generation imaging technology equipment at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport
Terminal Dr.
Cleveland, Ohio

12 PM EDT
NPPD Deputy Under Secretary Philip Reitinger will deliver a keynote address on the importance of cyber security for states at the National Lieutenant Governors Association (NLGA) Annual Meeting.
InterContinental Harbor Court Hotel
550 Light Street
Baltimore, Md.

1 PM EDT
CS&C Director of Software Assurance Joe Jarzombek will speak at the Information Security and Privacy Advisory Board (ISPAB)
The George Washington University
Cafritz Conference Center
800 21st St NW
Washington, D.C.

2:30 PM EDT
DHS Office of Management (MGMT) Under Secretary Elaine Duke will testify before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management, the Federal Workforce, and the District of Columbia
342 Dirksen Office Building
Washington, D.C.

3:30 PM PDT
CS&C Director of the U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) Mischel Kwon will participate in a panel discussion at the Black Hat conference.
Caesar’s Palace
3570 Las Vegas
Las Vegas, NV
Published by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Washington, D.C.
July 29, 2009
9:38 am
Secretary Napolitano just wrapped up a speech at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York on preventing terrorism. The Secretary talked about the "challenge of countering the threat of terrorism in our networked world of the 21st century, and what the Department of Homeland Security is doing to meet that challenge."

From her prepared remarks (we'll update from the transcript):

"I will therefore speak candidly about the urgent need to refocus our counter-terror approach to make it a shared endeavor . . . to make it more layered, networked and resilient . . . to make it smarter, and more adaptive.

And to get to a point where we are in a constant state of preparedness, not a
constant state of fear.

The challenge is not just using federal power to protect the country, but also enlisting a much broader societal response to the threat that terrorism poses.

A wise approach to keeping America secure should be rooted in the values that define our nation, values like resilience, shared responsibility, and standing up for what’s right.

These are values that led us to fight and win two world wars, and that were on display in the dark days after the September 11th attacks. We must embrace them again now.

So, how do we secure our homeland and stay true to our values?

With four levels of collective response.

It starts with the American people. From there it extends to local law enforcement, and from there up to the federal government, and then, finally, out beyond our shores, where America’s international allies can serve as partners in our collective fight against terrorism.

In the last four weeks alone, I have traveled nearly 30,000 miles—from Islamabad, Pakistan, to Seattle, Washington, engaging partners at each of those levels.

We’ve brokered international agreements, launched new partnerships, and challenged our citizens to play their part in our common security.

We do face a common threat – and it requires a collective response.

And we must face that threat, and coordinate that response, in an evolving and highly networked world.

This networked world takes on many forms.

The cyber network that runs our power grids, fires our critical infrastructure, and facilitates commerce is now itself a target, and is vulnerable to attack.

This networked climate forces us to rethink how best to protect our values and our security in a world where the tools for creating violence and chaos are as easy to find as the tools for buying music online or re-stocking an inventory.

We also live in a mobile world, with complex networks of people and information.

We can’t forget that the 9/11 attackers conceived of their plans in the Philippines, planned in Malaysia and Germany, recruited from Yemen and Saudi Arabia, trained in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and carried them out in the United States.

That’s why our homeland security network must be built to leverage “force multipliers”:

  • the cooperation of international allies;
  • the full powers of the United States federal government;
  • the vigilance of police on the beat; and
  • the untapped resourcefulness of millions of our own American citizens.

The Secretary has a full schedule for the rest of the day, with a visit scheduled to Ground Zero, a transportation security announcement at Grand Central Terminal, stops at New York City police and fire stations to meet first responders, and meetings with counterterrorism experts, first responders and law enforcement leaders to discuss homeland security issues related to New York’s state and local agencies.
Published by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Washington, D.C.
July 29, 2009
8:21 am
From the Wall Street Journal, on the Secretary's trip to New York:

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano is expected to outline Wednesday the Obama administration's domestic approach to preventing terrorist attacks -- a strategy that will rely in large measure on refining and expanding initiatives launched under President George W. Bush.

How to keep the U.S. safe and foil terrorists are charged issues that took a central role in last year's presidential campaign, when then-Sen. Barack Obama criticized the Bush administration's tactics. But Ms. Napolitano, in an interview this week, signaled that the Obama administration isn't contemplating a wholesale revision of the agencies or programs created under Mr. Bush to further antiterrorism efforts.

One element of Ms. Napolitano's approach, for example, will be the expansion of a pilot program started during the Bush administration to train police to report such suspicious behavior as the theft of keys from a facility that keeps radiological waste.

It is part of a much broader effort to significantly increase cooperation between her agency and state and local governments across the nation. Her aides say this is one area where her efforts will significantly exceed those of her predecessors in the Bush administration.


From Federal News Radio, on the department's new CIO:

The Homeland Security Department is bringing back a familiar face to be its chief information officer.

DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano today announces the appointment of Richard Spires to be CIO.

Spires is the former CIO and deputy commissioner for operations support at the IRS. He left government in July 2008.

Since Sept. 2008, Spires has owned his own consulting practice, according to his Linked In profile.

"Richard has an impressive record of managing large-scale IT programs and I look forward to working with him to find more efficient and innovative ways to help the department meet its strategic and information resource management goals," Napolitano says in a release.

Spires replaces Richard Mangogna, who left in March 2009. Margie Graves has been acting CIO since Mangonga left.

Spires will be responsible for managing and directing information management support processes, combining the functions of information technology and telecommunications to provide coordinated support strategies for meeting DHS-mission related information needs, DHS says in the release.


Leadership Events
9AM EDT
Secretary Napolitano will deliver remarks about homeland security and DHS’ approach to preventing terrorist attacks
Council on Foreign Relations
58 East 68th Street
New York, N.Y.



12 PM EDT
Secretary Napolitano will participate in a media availability following her meeting with counterterrorism experts, first responders and law enforcement leaders
Staten Island Ferry Terminal
Mezzanine Level
4 South Street
New York, N.Y.



1 PM EDT
Secretary Napolitano will make a transportation security announcement
Grand Central Terminal
Main Concourse
New York, N.Y.



2 PM EDT
Deputy Secretary Jane Holl Lute will testify before the House Committee on Homeland Security on “Beyond Readiness: An Examination of the Current Status and Future Outlook of the National Response to Pandemic Influenza.”
311 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, D.C.



Public Events
10:30 AM CDT
Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL) Senior Equal Employment Opportunity Manager Junish Arora will deliver remarks at the Examining Conflicts in Employment Law (EXCEL) conference
New Orleans Marriott Hotel
614 Canal Street
New Orleans, La.



10:45 AM CDT
Terry Adirim, M.D., Senior Advisor in the Office of Health Affairs (OHA), will deliver remarks during a special meeting of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices on Novel Influenza A (H1N1).
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Building 19, Room 232
1600 Clifton Road, NE
Atlanta, Ga.



1 PM PDT
U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Bertholf will lead the Elliot Bay Parade of Ships to start the Seattle SeaFair’s Fleet Week
Bell Harbor Pier 66
Seattle, Wash.
Published by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Washington, D.C.
July 28, 2009
4:31 pm
July 28, 2009
9:02 am
From the Associated Press, on the Secretary's visit to Washington yesterday:

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano got a tour Monday of a $4 million Olympics Coordination center that in six months should be a bustling hub of counterterrorism and security operations for the 2010 Winter Games in nearby British Columbia.

The tour at the command center in Bellingham, just south of the U.S.-Canadian border, was one of several stops in a jam-packed visit to the state.

Napolitano also visited the border crossing in Blaine, Wash. - the main entry into British Columbia from Washington. Later in the day, she met with federal and state government officials in Seattle to discuss port security and immigration, and visited Microsoft's headquarters in Redmond to talk about cybersecurity.

Napolitano said security of government Web sites is a key and new goal for Homeland Security, and the department has been recruiting staff across the country.

"I like to say in this area, we don't need to be playing catch up. We need to be leap-frogging,' she said. "We need to be thinking ahead of what the next line needs to be. This is such rapidly changing threat environment."


Interested in a career in cybersecurity? Check this out from CNet:

The U.S. government on Monday launched a national talent search for high school and college students interested in working in cybersecurity.

With the U.S. Cyber Challenge the goal is to find 10,000 young Americans to be "cyber guardians and cyber warriors," according to a statement from the Center for Strategic & International Studies, which is sponsoring the event.

…Candidates with promising skills will be invited to attend regional camps at local colleges beginning next year. The top candidates will be hired by the National Security Agency, the FBI, Defense Department, US-CERT, and the U.S. Department of Energy Laboratories.


Public Events
10 AM EDT
Alexander G. Garza, M.D., Presidential Nominee for the position of DHS Assistant Secretary for Health Affairs and Chief Medical Officer, will testify before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs about his confirmation
342 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC

2 PM MDT
Denver DSAC Paul Maldonado will participate in a press conference announcing the initial results of an ICE-led investigation of Salt Lake City’s largest immigration firm for fraudulently obtain H-2B employment visas for hundreds of unqualified alien workers
185 South Street
Salt Lake City, Utah
Published by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Washington, D.C.
July 27, 2009
2:23 pm

The Secretary met Friday with the National Security Preparedness Group (NSPG) to discuss the department's progress in implementing the recommendations outlined in the 9/11 Commission Final Report released five years ago this week. The NSPG includes former Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge, and is co-chaired by former 9/11 Commission Chair Thomas H. Kean and Vice Chair Lee H. Hamilton. The group held a press conference after the meeting, and that video is below.

 

 

July 27, 2009
9:39 am
From the Associated Press, on the National Level Exercise:

The government is conducting its first-ever nationwide exercise Monday aimed at preventing a terrorist attack.

The five-day exercise, being coordinated by the Homeland Security Department, will involve simulated "real life" scenarios, with a focus on preventing a terrorist from entering the U.S. to carry out an attack. Also participating will be officials from the Pentagon, office of the Director of National Intelligence as well as the Justice and State departments.

The exercise will take place at command posts and field locations in Washington, D.C., in addition to Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas and California.

Homeland Security spokesman Clark Stevens says the simulations will most likely not affect or be seen by the public.

Previous nationwide exercises have focused on terror response efforts rather
than prevention.


From the Associated Press, on preparations for the Olympics:

When the 2010 winter Olympics open in Vancouver next February, representatives of state, local and federal law enforcement and emergency response agencies will gather 45 miles south, at a new $4 million communications center at Bellingham International Airport.

Whether they'll have much to do there remains an open question. The Department of Homeland Security has called the facility a key site for counterterrorism and security operations leading up to the games, and officials say a key goal is to make sure travelers move across the border safely and quickly.

But in the past three years, estimates of how much traffic the Winter Games will generate in Washington state have dropped dramatically, from early guesses of 2,000 cars a day, roughly the equivalent of a busy summer day, to as few as 400, according to studies by the Whatcom Council of Governments.

"Even when we thought we were looking at an additional 2,000 cars a day, the Olympics traffic volume didn't seem like something that would overwhelm the resources in place," said Hugh Conroy, a project manager with the council who has studied the traffic implications of the games. "It's basically gone from being like a busy summer day to a busy winter day."


Leadership Events
8:45 AM PDT
Secretary Napolitano will participate in a media availability with Governor Chris Gregoire and U.S. Congressman Rick Larsen
2010 Olympics Coordination Center
3888 Sound Way
Bellingham, Wash.

10:30 AM PDT
Secretary Napolitano, Governor Gregoire and Congressman Larsen will tour the Peace Arch border crossing
Interstate 5 at the U.S.-Canada Border
Blaine, Wash.

12:45 PM PDT
Secretary Napolitano and Governor Gregoire will participate in a media availability
Joint Harbor Operations Center
U.S. Coast Guard Integrated Support Command
1519 Alaskan Way South
Seattle, Wash.

Public Events
9 AM CDT
Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Office of Air & Marine Operations will participate in a media availability to display the newly acquired Advanced Concept Demonstrator (ACTD) Vessel
CBP Brownsville Marine Unit
502 South Point Dr.
Port Isabel, Texas

10:00 AM EDT
USCG Station Miami Beach Commanding Officer, LT John Corbett, will participate in a media availability about diving and boating safety, harvesting regulations and closed areas for Florida's Mini-Lobster season
Coast Guard Integrated Support Command Miami Beach
100 Macarthur Causeway

1:20 PM EDT
Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Office of Cyber Security and Communications (CS&C) Rear Admiral Michael Brown will speak at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) luncheon
1539 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, D.C.

2:00 PM EDT
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Craig Fugate will testify before the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure about the role of federal government in disasters
2167 Rayburn Office Building
Washington, D.C.

3:05 PM EDT
Brenda Oldfield, Director of Cyber Education and Workforce Development for the National Cyber Security Division, will give a keynote speech at the 3rd Annual “Securing the eCampus” Conference
Hopkins Center for the Arts, Alumni HallDartmouth College
6041 Lower Level Wilson Hall
Hanover, NH
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Published by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Washington, D.C.
July 25, 2009
9:00 am

USCIS conducted a special naturalization ceremony last week for a man we’re referring to as Dr. Brown. Why was the ceremony so special, and why aren’t we using his real name? Well, Dr. Brown is the first nonimmigrant to become a citizen of the United States under the pilot Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest (MAVNI) program. MAVNI allows nonimmigrants to enlist in the Army and apply for citizenship even though they do not hold permanent resident status. So, Dr. Brown was the first, and his story is pretty incredible.

For starters, and as we already mentioned, that’s not actually his name; it’s a pseudonym used at the Army’s request to protect his family still in Pakistan. Dr. Brown, who qualified for the MAVNI program as a licensed medical professional, is also fluent in Urdu, Punjabi, and Hindi. He originally came to the U.S. on a student visa and later received a temporary visa to work as a dentist. He is the first member of his family to become a U.S. citizen, and the first to serve in the U.S. military. More impressive firsts.

USCIS and DHS worked with the Defense Department before the Army launched the pilot program to enlist up to 1,000 non-citizens earlier this year. USCIS continues to work with the Army to expedite possessing of naturalization applications from non-citizens joining the Army through this pilot program.

Dr. Brown told us he was not only impressed with USCIS’ efficiency in processing his application in less than a month, but that he was extremely honored to become a citizen of the United States – he said it was the best day of his life.

Dr. Brown: Welcome.
Published by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Washington, D.C.
July 24, 2009
4:21 pm
First of all, for those of you who average 47 seconds per visit to The Blog: you may want to stick around and give this post a full read. We’re breaking some news on The Blog today, and it involves your tax dollars.

Turns out our Office of Management just saved us a little money. Here was the official summary:
“In response to the Management Action Directive, Software Licenses, DHS’ Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO) consolidated all component requirements for Microsoft software licensing and maintenance into a single enterprise-wide
procurement…”

The Management Action Directive (try not to think too hard about the acronym) ordered that all Microsoft software contracts for our offices and components (ICE, CBP, USCIS, etc.) be merged into one contract for the entire department. Previously, each of the components negotiated separate contracts, so this solution saves - and I think this is the technical term - a BOATLOAD of money. The Coast Guard can check my math on that.

In layman’s terms, it’s $87 million dollars. Which is a lot, whether you’re a layman or otherwise.

Here’s the breakdown:
  • Software Licensing: $82M
  • 24 X 7 Problem Resolution Support: $5.1M
  • Training Vouchers: $315K
  • Packaged Services: $90K
  • Estimated Total Savings/Cost Avoidance: $87.5M

Where then, you might you ask, does this savings end up? The answer is simple: mission-critical activities. We’ll take the savings from the elimination of printed reports, periodical subscriptions, conferences and travel, and invest that money in programs that strengthen our borders, secure air travel, and provide cutting edge technology to improve our operational efforts. These are programs worthy of your tax dollars. This is smart spending.

We’ll keep you up-to-date on the Efficiency Review, because saving money can actually be interesting.

Published by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Washington, D.C.
July 24, 2009
1:05 pm
We were deeply shocked this morning to learn of the murder of a member of the DHS family: Border Patrol Agent Robert Rosas was shot and killed last night in the line of duty while on patrol in San Diego County, California. DHS is working with the FBI and local law enforcement on the investigation, and a manhunt is underway for the gunmen who killed Agent Rosas.

The Secretary's statement from earlier today:

“I am deeply saddened by the tragic death of one of our own. Agent Robert Rosas was gunned down while protecting our nation’s Southwest border. This act of violence will not stand—nor will any act of violence against the Border Patrol. I have directed that the full resources of the Department assist in the investigation to find and bring to justice those responsible for this inexcusable crime.

My thoughts and condolences are with Agent Rosas’ family and his fellow agents at this difficult time. I want to commend those in the law enforcement and first responder community in Southern California for so quickly responding to the scene and attempting to save Agent Rosas’ life. His death is a vivid reminder that we are engaged in a serious effort to secure our border and that thousands of Border Patrol agents and other DHS employees risk their lives every single day to protect and defend our nation.”
CBP flags across the country are at half-staff today in Agent Rosas' honor. Our thoughts are with his family and all who knew him.
Published by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Washington, D.C.

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