US flag signifying that this is a United States Federal Government website   Official website of the Department of Homeland Security

U.S. Flag and Keyboard

Blog

April 25, 2013
1:02 pm

The Federal Law Enforcement Training Center’s (FLETC) mission is to “train those who protect our homeland.” To carry out this mission, the FLETC serves as an interagency law enforcement training organization for 91 federal agencies or partner organizations. Throughout 2013, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is commemorating its tenth anniversary by recognizing key initiatives and employees who have contributed to successes while considering new and innovate ways to achieve its mission. In recognition of this important milestone, leaders from across the Department will be discussing the work they’ve done over the previous decade as well as their current efforts and plans for the future.

Building on these engagements, I recently answered questions about the past, present and future of the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center. The men and women of FLETC look forward to continuing our service and mission to provide fast, flexible and focused training to secure and protect America.

How did FLETC operate before the creation of DHS?

Since it was established in 1970, the FLETC has provided basic and advanced training to federal, state, local, rural, tribal, territorial, and international law enforcement personnel. With decades of experience meeting the training needs of multiple law enforcement communities, the FLETC was poised to embrace a broadened mission when it formally transferred from the Treasury Department to the Department of Homeland Security in 2003.  Over the past forty years, approximately 1,000,000 law enforcement officers and agents have been trained at FLETC. During FY 2012, almost 70,000 students received FLETC training.

How has FLETC changed since its incorporation into the Department?

The transition to DHS prompted a refocusing of many FLETC training programs as well as the creation of new ones to meet emerging needs, such as anti/counter-terrorism, flying armed, intelligence awareness and critical infrastructure protection. The rapid advancement of technology and the borderless nature of many crimes highlighted a need for enhanced training in technical areas such as computer forensics, cyber investigations, and financial fraud. The recognition that terrorism can occur anywhere at any time led to a rural training initiative that ensures officers working in the most remote areas have access to critical training.

As the law enforcement landscape becomes increasingly complex, we constantly seek emerging training needs  in areas such as human trafficking, drug-endangered children, and countering violent extremism.  The importance of proactively identifying new technologies to enhance training prompted us to integrate advanced simulators into firearms, driver, maritime, and interview training.

What have been some milestones for the FLETC, and how do you see it evolving in the next 10 years?

We recognize the critical role state-of-the-art facilities play in providing realistic training. In 2004, the FLETC began constructing a Counter Terrorism Operational Training Facility designed to provide an immersive environment to address evolving threats.   Most recently, we opened an Intermodal Training Facility where frontline law enforcement personnel experience scenario-based training to better deter and combat threats across major transportation modes; and soon will open a 35+ acre complex named Danis City, an urban/suburban training facility featuring realistic venues and a high-tech forensics lab.

These and other innovations are needed to connect with new generations of students, who only know a world where technology is omnipresent. The FLETC looks very different than it did only 10 years ago, as we aim to ensure our students are more prepared than ever before.

April 25, 2013
11:21 am

Last week, Secretary Napolitano met with Mexican Secretary of the Interior Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong, furthering the collaboration between the United States and Mexico on our shared responsibility for issues related to migration, border security, and facilitating legitimate travel and trade.

“The threats we face increasingly cross international boundaries, and strong international partnerships are critical to the region’s security,” said Secretary Napolitano. “We are committed to working with our partners in Mexico to facilitate legitimate trade and travel while securing and managing our borders.”

During their meeting, Secretaries Napolitano and Osorio Chong discussed the ongoing partnership and cooperation between the United States and Mexico to ensure a safe and secure border region, which is critical to both nations’ economic competitiveness and national security.

Secretaries Napolitano and Osorio Chong also signed several arrangements to enhance law enforcement collaboration along our shared border, as well as to identify and share best practices related to emergency management.

Additionally, Secretaries Napolitano and Osorio Chong highlighted the ongoing bilateral commitment to ensuring effective enforcement of both nations' immigration laws, specifically thorough institutionalization of the Interior Repatriation Initiative (IRI).  This initiative, announced as a pilot program in October 2012, provides humane, safe and orderly repatriation of Mexican nationals to the interior of Mexico and ultimately to their hometowns, instead of returning them to towns on the U.S.-Mexico border.Last week, Secretaries Napolitano also met with Mexican Secretary of Foreign Relations Jose Antonio Meade Kuribreña to discuss the shared commitment of both nations to ensuring the region's security, including collaborating on the enforcement of both nations’ immigration laws, enhancing information sharing, developing programs and initiatives to facilitate legitimate travel and trade, and continuing efforts to ensure a more safe, secure and resilient global supply chain.

April 22, 2013
11:19 am

The outpouring of support and generosity of the American public in the aftermath of last Monday’s explosions in Boston speaks to both our compassion and resilience as a country.  But unfortunately, as we’ve seen previously, high profile news stories and tragedies can also lead to a variety of Internet scams and online risks.

Newly created websites and twitter accounts may try to take advantage of those looking to contribute to fundraising efforts. Others could target individuals interested in simply learning more details about the incident.  For example, emails that appear as if they have been sent from a legitimate news or charitable organization may in fact be phishing attempts.

Here are a few ways you can protect yourself from online scams and phishing techniques:

  • Only donate money to known, credible fundraising charities.
  • Exercise caution when clicking on email links or interacting with social media accounts that claim to represent the best interests of those involved in this incident.
  • When searching for updates on the story, it is safest to go directly to trusted news sources rather than conducting general search engine queries.

If you suspect you have received a phishing email, please send it to the U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) at phishing-report@us-cert.gov.

For more information on protecting yourself and your information online, visit www.dhs.gov/StopThinkConnect.

April 12, 2013
10:36 am

Cyberspace is woven into the fabric of our daily lives.  According to recent estimates, this global network of networks encompasses more than two billion people with at least 12 billion computers and devices, including global positioning systems, mobile phones, satellites, data routers, ordinary desktop computers, and industrial control computers that run power plants, water systems, and more. While this increased connectivity has led to significant transformations and advances across our country – and around the world – it also has increased the importance and complexity of our shared risk. 

The Internet is truly a public place and once you post something online, it can be accessed by anyone, and you may have no control over what they might do with that information.  To help you stay safe online, the U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) has the following tips for publishing information online:

  • View the Internet as a novel, not a personal diary – Make sure you are comfortable with anyone seeing the information you post online. Expect that people you have never met will find your information; even if you are using privacy settings, write it with the expectation that it is available for public consumption.
  • Be careful what you advertise –When deciding how much or what information to reveal online, realize that you are broadcasting it to the world. Supplying your email address may increase the amount of spam you receive. Providing details about your hobbies, your job, your family and friends, or your past may give strangers enough information to exploit.
  • Realize that you can't take it back – Once you publish something online, it is available to other people and to search engines. Even if you try to change or remove a page, a status update, or picture, someone may have already saved a copy or a screenshot of the page. Some search engines "cache" copies of web pages; these cached copies may be available after a web page has been deleted or altered.

Before you publish something on the Internet, determine what value it provides and consider the implications of having the information available to the public.

Cybersecurity is a shared responsibility, and all of us are called upon to “ACT” or Achieve Cybersecurity Together. For more information, please visit www.dhs.gov/stopthinkconnect.

April 11, 2013
10:31 am

Throughout 2013, we are commemorating the tenth anniversary of the Department of Homeland Security. In recognition of this important milestone, leaders from across the Department and its component agencies will be discussing their beginnings, their present operations, and what’s to come.

I recently sat down to answer questions about the present and future of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in recognition of the Department of Homeland Security’s tenth anniversary. For ten years, USCIS has been securing America’s promise as a nation of immigrants and a beacon of hope and opportunity.

What is USCIS’s mission, and how was this mission fulfilled prior to DHS?

On March 1, 2003, with the creation of DHS, USCIS officially assumed responsibility for the delivery of U.S. immigration services and benefits. We benefit from a legacy of more than 100 years of federal immigration and naturalization administration.

Since 2003, the agency has naturalized almost 700,000 individuals each year, helped unite families and provide shelter to those in need of humanitarian relief, and introduced people from all over the world who contribute to our rich and diverse cultural and economic landscape.  At the same time, the agency has guarded the integrity of our immigration system and helped safeguard our nation’s security.

What have been some important milestones for USCIS?

In the past ten years, USCIS’s workforce has enabled the agency to fulfill its core obligations while breaking new ground and achieving milestones. As USCIS enters its second decade, it has successfully implemented the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program and instituted the provisional waiver program to alleviate the hardship that immigrant families suffer in separation.  Additionally, USCIS has mobilized its workforce to reach out to individuals in underserved communities, bringing the immigration system’s resources and opportunities to them.  These people include victims of violence against women and the plight of human trafficking, among other crimes.  USCIS has launched a campaign to educate vulnerable populations who could fall victim to immigration fraud schemes, while deterring the would-be wrongdoer and punishing the culpable. The agency launched E-Verify and its valuable Self-Check tool, and has overseen the program’s growth as a key component of the government-wide effort to ensure a lawful workforce and workplace.

How does USCIS operate today?

With offices in over 23 countries, USCIS uses its international footprint to expand its outreach to members of our nation’s Armed Forces and to naturalize those members wherever they may be deployed.  Through the creation of the Fraud Detection and National Security Directorate, USCIS has elevated and strengthened its profile as a critical stakeholder in the fight against terrorism and as guardian of the immigration system’s integrity.  Through increased language access and a redesigned website also available in Spanish, USCIS communicates more effectively to a broader array of people.

What do you see as the future of USCIS?

The agency looks to the next ten years equipped with citizenship resources and guides for new Americans, a foundation of unprecedented transparency and engagement, and a new and expanding electronic filing system. USCIS is poised to reinvent itself as a leader of technological innovation in Government, carrying forward its proud service as administrator of our identity as a nation of immigrants and a beacon of hope and opportunity.

April 9, 2013
9:24 am

This morning, I joined Senior Advisor to President Obama Valerie Jarrett and Attorney General Eric Holder at the White House Forum on Combating Human Trafficking where we announced the Administration’s latest effort to combat the hidden crime of human trafficking and help victims of human trafficking. During the Forum, we released a draft Federal Strategic Action Plan on Services for Victims of Human Trafficking, which will be open for public comment for 45 days.

Developed collaboratively with Federal partners including the Departments of Justice, Health and Human Services, and Labor, and with leadership and guidance from the White House, this plan will better coordinate efforts across the Federal government to identify, rescue, and support victims. You can view the Plan and provide your comments here. When final, the Plan will complement and advance anti-trafficking efforts already underway at DHS.

Nearly three years ago, we launched the DHS Blue Campaign to unite the Department’s effort to combat human trafficking and leverage our relationships with other federal agencies, state, local, tribal and territorial law enforcement, non-governmental organizations, the private sector, and international partners. 

Last year alone, we received more tips through the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) tip line than ever before, investigated a historic amount of cases and rescued more victims of human trafficking, and provided support to over 1,200 human trafficking victims. We have also expanded our victim assistance program, and will continue to make combating human trafficking a priority.

Working together, we can take comprehensive action to stop this terrible crime, rescue victims, and put perpetrators behind bars. We look forward to receiving your feedback. 

To learn more about human trafficking and what you can do, please visit www.dhs.gov/bluecampaign and the Blue Campaign Facebook page.

 

April 9, 2013
8:47 am

Secretary Napolitano will deliver remarks on the Department’s efforts to combat human trafficking at the White House this morning. Watch live here:
 

 

April 5, 2013
5:21 pm

Originally posted by the Office of National Drug Control Policy

This afternoon, Director Kerlikowske joined Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano in Tucson, Arizona. They inspected border security operations at the Southwest border, met with state and local stakeholders and highlighted the significant progress achieved at disrupting illegal drug trafficking and improving operations along the Southwest border.

As part of the visit, Director Kerlikowske released a progress update on Administration efforts to strengthen border security. Some of the highlights include:

  • Increased weapons and drugs seizures. During 2009-2012, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) seized 39 percent more drugs, 71 percent more currency, and 189 percent more weapons along the Southwest border as compared to fiscal years (FY) 2005-2008.
  • More boots on the ground. DHS has increased the number of personnel on the ground from approximately 9,800 Border Patrol agents in 2001 to more than 21,000 today.
  • Technology and infrastructure. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has expanded the use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems from California to Texas and has completed 651 miles of fencing along the key trafficking areas.
  • Reducing drug demand. As part of its commitment to reduce the demand for drugs in the U.S., ONDCP has funded 18 Drug-Free Communities within 100 miles of the border in Arizona, California, New Mexico, and Texas. These coalitions provide outreach services to young people to prevent drug use before it begins.
President Obama announced in January of this year that strengthening border security is one of the key principles for common sense immigration reform. These principles will continue to build upon this progress by investing in the ports of entry; helping our officers and agents focus on public safety threats; making it harder for transnational criminal organizations to operate; encouraging immigrants to pursue a pathway to earned citizenship; holding employers accountable; and strengthening the integrity of the immigration system.

The passage of the President’s proposal will help ensure that officers and agents along the border are better able to strengthen public safety and combat national security threats including drug trafficking.

For more information on Obama Administration efforts to bolster border security and create an immigration system for the 21st century, go here. To read a fact sheet on strengthening border security, go here.
April 4, 2013
11:46 am

Posted by Adm. Bob Papp, Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard

Throughout 2013, we are commemorating the tenth anniversary of the Department of Homeland Security. In recognition of this important milestone, leaders from across the Department and its component agencies will be discussing their beginnings, their present operations, and what’s to come.

In recognition of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)’s tenth anniversary, I took the opportunity to answer questions about the past, present and future of the Coast Guard. The exceptional dedication of the men and women of this Department has greatly improved our Nation’s safety, security and resiliency, and the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) is proud to be part of the DHS team.

What is the Coast Guard’s mission, and how did the Coast Guard function prior to the creation of DHS?

The Coast Guard is responsible for the safety, security and stewardship of our Nation’s waters.  We protect those on the sea, protect the nation from threats delivered by sea, and protect the sea itself.  Coast Guardsmen conduct these duties along 95,000 miles of coastline, 4.5 million square miles of maritime Exclusive Economic Zone (the ocean area where a country has rights over the exploration and use of marine resources, typically extending 200 nautical miles offshore) , and on the high seas where we identify threats and prevent them from reaching our shores. 

We have been conducting these missions since 1790, serving under the Department of Treasury for most of our history, the Department of the Navy during both World Wars, and the Department of Transportation prior to the formation of DHS.

How does the Coast Guard operate today? Since the creation of DHS, what has changed for the Coast Guard?

Following the attacks of September 11, 2001 the Coast Guard received new authorities through the Maritime Transportation Security Act and the International Ship and Port Facility Security Code to carry out its missions and strengthen our Nation’s security.  As a component of DHS, we also increased the capabilities of our forces to counter threats unique to the maritime environment through expansion of our cutters, boats, aircraft and Deployable Specialized Forces. The Coast Guard also became a member of the national intelligence community, able to leverage capabilities across government to identify threats and monitor the maritime domain.

Improvements to our Service since our inclusion in DHS, coupled with our long-standing unique capabilities, authorities and partnerships positioned us well to lead the response to disasters such as Hurricane Katrina, the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, and Hurricane Sandy. 

What does the future look like for the Coast Guard?

As I look toward the horizon I remain optimistic, despite the challenges we face as a Nation.  The Coast Guard is focused on continuing our recapitalization efforts and sustaining our front line operations, while also addressing emerging and dynamic challenges such as the new maritime frontier in the Arctic. The Coast Guard’s missions are expansive—as are waters for which we are responsible—and we remain Semper Paratus, Always Ready as part of DHS to ensure the Nation’s homeland security.

April 2, 2013
10:48 am

DHS is mindful that one of its missions is to ensure that privacy, confidentiality, civil rights and civil liberties are not diminished by the Department’s security initiatives.  Accordingly, the Department has implemented strong privacy and civil rights and civil liberties standards into all its cybersecurity programs and initiatives from the outset. In order to protect privacy while safeguarding and securing cyberspace, DHS institutes layered privacy responsibilities throughout the Department, embeds fair information practice principles into cybersecurity programs and privacy compliance efforts, and fosters collaboration with cybersecurity partners.

On February 12, 2013, President Obama signed an Executive Order on Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity.  The Executive Order clears the way for more efficient sharing of cyber threat information between government and the private sector, while directing federal departments and agencies to incorporate robust privacy and civil liberty protections into all of their cybersecurity activities.    The Executive Order’s privacy protections are based upon the widely-accepted Fair Information Practice Principles, and other applicable privacy and civil liberties frameworks and polices. The Administration has a strong commitment to privacy in cyberspace, including last year unveiling a “Privacy Bill of Rights” based on the Fair Information Practice Principles to protect consumers online.

There are eight Fair Information Practice Principles that serve as the framework for integrating privacy protections into everything we do:

  • Transparency
  • Individual Participation
  • Purpose Specification
  • Data Minimization
  • Use Limitation
  • Data Quality and Integrity
  • Security
  • Accountability and Auditing

Using these principles, DHS ensures privacy is an integral part of its operations, starting from a program’s early development and continuing through its implementation.

DHS is committed to protecting privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties. Successfully implementing the Executive Order and protecting the nation’s cyber and physical infrastructure will require the Department to be transparent.  As part of this commitment to transparency, DHS posts its privacy impact assessments and privacy compliance reviews online.  The Executive Order also requires regular assessments, and public reporting, of privacy and civil liberties impacts across the federal government.

The President’s actions mark an important milestone in the Department’s ongoing efforts to coordinate the national response to significant cyber incidents while enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of our work to strengthen the security and resilience of critical infrastructure.  In developing the Executive Order, the Administration sought input from stakeholders of all viewpoints in industry, government, and the advocacy community.  Their input has been vital in crafting an order that incorporates the best ideas and lessons learned from public and private sector efforts while ensuring that our information sharing incorporates rigorous protections for individual privacy, confidentiality, and civil liberties.  Indeed, as we perform all of our cyber-related work, we look forward to engaging all of our stakeholders to achieve cybersecurity together.

Pages

Back to Top