The Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) recently completed its latest iteration of the Women in Law Enforcement Leadership Training Program in Lima, Peru where 38 female police officials from Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, Peru, and Uruguay participated in a five-day program on topics such as work-life balance, leadership, and effective communication skills. The program started at the U.S. Embassy in Lima with opening remarks from Ambassador Rose M. Likins, who underscored the importance of fostering the development of female law enforcement leaders around the world.
(from left) FLETC Assistant Director for Training Dominick Braccio; Commander Jeaning Calmell del Solar, Peruvian National Police; and FLETC Deputy Assistant Director Val Atkins participate in a panel discussion.
To date, 218 women from 25 nations have benefited from the knowledge and skills conveyed in this program. The wide spectrum of individuals we are reaching makes me confident that we are making a difference in advancing the rights of women across the globe and developing future leaders that will strengthen international security.
Already, we have heard feedback from some participants on how the program has had a positive impact on both their personal and professional lives. Thessa, a prosecutor from the Philippines, wrote in an email to our team here at FLETC applauding the program for “the great opportunity, the priceless knowledge, tools and insights.”
|Attendees at the Women in Leadership Training in Lima, Peru.|
I have had the honor to be able to take part in several of the training programs and saw firsthand how much the participants value our efforts. The heartfelt enthusiasm and motivation of these women at the end of each training session truly shows the value of the program, and I look forward to the next session in Budapest later this year.
The Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) Dr. Cedric Alexander, Federal Security Director at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, was recently elected 2nd Vice President to the National Organization for Black Law Enforcement (NOBLE). This is the first time a Department of Homeland Security employee has held this distinctive honor.
Dr. Alexander, who celebrates five years with TSA this September, is also a 10-year member of NOBLE. He was sworn in at NOBLE’s 36th Annual Conference and Exhibition in Little Rock, Arkansas. As a Federal Security Director with TSA, Dr. Alexander works in partnership with federal, state and local law enforcement partners to secure our nation’s transportation system. In his role as 2nd Vice President, Dr. Alexander will further his collaboration with the law enforcement community by working with NOBLE’s committees and initiatives to ensure the organization’s mission and objectives move forward.
“I am extremely honored to have been elected into this position,” said Dr. Alexander. “NOBLE is a tremendous organization with an expansive network of law enforcement and security professionals. I look forward to representing TSA in my new role.”
Founded in 1976, NOBLE’s 57 chapters and 4,000 members span across the nation and include members of the law enforcement and criminal justice communities. The organization’s mission is “to ensure equity in the administration of justice in the provision of public service to all communities, and to serve as the conscience of law enforcement by being committed to justice by action.”
DHS announced that Pia Carusone, former Chief of Staff to Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, has been appointed as the new Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs. Pia brings a wealth of experience in communications and homeland security issues in Congress and in her new role, will advise the Secretary on all matters related to public affairs, as well as oversee strategic and internal communications. Pia and her team will be responsible for coordinating the public affairs activities of all of the Department’s components and offices, and serve as the federal government’s lead public information office during national emergencies or disasters.
Pia served as Congresswoman Giffords’ Chief of Staff from March 2009 until her resignation in January 2012. During her tenure, she oversaw all border security and homeland security issues for the office. After the Tucson shooting, Pia served as the national spokesperson for the Congresswoman and her family. Pia is a native of Saratoga Springs, NY and a graduate of Bard College.
Pia replaces Matt Chandler, who had been serving as Acting Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs. Matt has been named Director of Communications. He has been with DHS since March 2009, and previously served as the Department’s Press Secretary and Deputy Press Secretary.
Every year, millions of men, women, and children are enslaved in countries around the world, including the United States. Victims are lured with false promises of well-paying jobs or are manipulated by people they trust, ending up forced or coerced into prostitution, domestic servitude, farm or factory labor, or other types of forced labor.
According to the International Labor Organization, an estimated 20.9 million people are victims of forced labor globally. From law enforcement, to educators, to transportation workers, everyone can play a role in combating human trafficking by taking a few minutes to learn the signs of human trafficking and how to report suspected cases of human trafficking.
Today, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Blue Campaign hosted its bi-annual stakeholder meeting, bringing together academia, healthcare experts, first responders, faith-based organizations, law enforcement, and members of the public and private sectors to discuss ongoing efforts to prevent and combat human trafficking. During the meeting, participants discussed efforts to support victims, raise awareness of human trafficking, and increase collaboration on anti-human trafficking initiatives and resources.
DHS launched the Blue Campaign in 2010 to more effectively combat human trafficking through enhanced public awareness, victim assistance, and law enforcement investigations aimed at increasing prosecution.
Want to learn more? Law enforcement and the general public can educate themselves on the indicators of human trafficking through DHS' Human Trafficking page.
If you suspect that a person may be a victim of human trafficking, please call the ICE Homeland Security Investigations tip line at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE (1-866-347-2423 or report it online at www.ice.gov/tips.
Few events attract more online clicks, views, and downloads than the Olympics, but athletes aren’t the only ones getting ready for London. With the 2012 Summer Olympic Games just around the corner, cyber criminals and online scammers are sure to be on the prowl, hoping to take advantage of Internet users who let their guard down with offers of discounted tickets, free merchandise, exclusive videos, or breaking news.
Hackers frequently take advantage of large, highly-publicized events and popular news stories to get users to click on fraudulent links and unknowingly download malware or other viruses onto their computers, smart phones, tablets, and other wireless devices. Hackers often use search engine optimization tricks to ensure that malicious sites appear on a search result page for certain keywords, and use clever tricks to convince Internet users to give out their credit card and personal information.
- Update and run anti-virus and anti-spyware software regularly
- Use spam filters and firewalls
- Only download apps and software from reputable sources – if you can’t verify where it’s coming from, don’t download it
- Don't click on links promising deals that you weren't expecting, and scrutinize links carefully when searching for Olympic-related pages
- Don’t open emails from unknown individuals or organizations or that have attachments or links, and never click an embedded link in an unsolicited email
- Never provide your personal information or credit card numbers unless you can verify a site’s authenticity
Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. For more information on protecting your computer and yourself, visit the Stop.Think.Connect.™ campaign.
Today, we are more connected to the Internet than ever before. We depend on a vast array of interdependent networks for communication, travel, powering our homes, running our economy, and obtaining government services. With so much of our daily lives dependent on cyberspace, cybersecurity has become an increasingly important part of DHS’ mission, just as it has become a larger priority for state and local governments, businesses, and individuals.
DHS continues to demonstrate our commitment to building the best cybersecurity team in the world by recruiting some of the most talented and experienced professionals available. Since its creation, the Department has increased its cybersecurity workforce by more than 600 percent while working with universities to develop and attract talent through competitive scholarships, fellowships, and internship programs.
When I joined DHS about six months ago, I quickly realized that we could build on the strong foundation of the Department’s cyber workforce with new skills and leadership to grow and adapt in the face of an evolving cybersecurity environment.
It’s impossible to mention all of the dedicated cybersecurity professionals at DHS, but I’d like to highlight a few recent additions that have propelled us to higher standards and increased our capability as a department:
- Mike Locatis is the new Assistant Secretary for Cybersecurity and Communications and comes to DHS from the Department of Energy where he was the Chief Information Officer. He has a breadth of cybersecurity and communications experience across nearly every level of government and the private sector and has a history of charting organization transformations in the federal government.
- Rosemary Wenchel has joined us as the new Deputy Assistant Secretary for Cybersecurity Coordination. She will coordinate joint cybersecurity efforts between DHS and the Department of Defense. Rosemary will also work with the Science and Technology Directorate to ensure the Department’s cybersecurity research and development efforts are fully coordinated with policy and operations. She served previously in DOD where she was responsible for Departmental activities pertaining to policy development, guidance, and oversight of Information Operations.
- John Streufert joined DHS in January as the Director of our National Cybersecurity Division (NCSD). John came to DHS from the Department of State (DOS), where he earned national accolades for the successful implementation of state of the art security solutions in federal departments, and transformed DOS’ security posture while enabling it to execute a world-wide mission.
- Larry Zelvin just joined us as Director of the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center, DHS’ 24x7 center to coordinate cyber awareness across government and the private sector. Larry has experience at the National Security Staff and the DOD, where he has led interagency and stakeholder outreach related to operations.
- Dr. George Moore is the new Technical Director for NCSD and also comes to us from the Department of State. Dr. Moore is a renowned expert in areas of standards and security controls and will be helping develop programs to bring new levels of security to the Federal Government
- Danny Toler is our Director of Network Resilience and a recognized expert in transitioning IT delivery toward solutions that are more holistic and integrated. Danny came from the Department of State, and his leadership will be crucial in helping us develop cloud and managed security service solutions that result in new levels of efficiency across the government.
- Ron Hewitt is the new Director of the National Communications System. A recently retired Rear Admiral from the U.S. Coast Guard, Ron has an incredible track record of bringing together diverse communities to work together toward a common goal, particularly in the areas of information technology, communications, and first responders.
- Tom Baer has come aboard as the Deputy Director of US-CERT. Hailing from the Federal Bureau of Investigation where he was their Chief Information Security Officer, Tom is an expert in the areas of forensics and analysis and, with impressive leadership credentials, he is charged with broadening outreach efforts and intergovernmental coordination for US-CERT.
These new members of our vast cybersecurity team bring a wide array of experience and skills. Building on the successes of our strong and robust team, we are taking the DHS cybersecurity program to new levels that will ultimately enhance the security and safety of our nation.
Over the past few weeks firefighters from local, state, and federal agencies have been tirelessly working to battle several large fires across the country. Most importantly, we want to recognize their sacrifice and determination to protect lives and property. Thousands of first responders from all levels of government have come together to bravely fight the blazes on the front lines.
FEMA continues to coordinate closely with our state, local, and tribal partners as the fire fight continues. In 10 instances since June 1, FEMA has made financial assistance available to support the firefighting efforts for fires in Montana, Utah, Colorado, and New Mexico. This assistance is provided through Fire Management Assistance Grants (FMAGs).
FMAGs provide financial assistance so firefighters and first responders can focus all their efforts on reducing the negative impacts of the fire. An FMAG authorization makes FEMA funding available to pay 75 percent of the state's eligible firefighting costs, under an approved grant structure.
Items eligible for FMAGs can include expenses for field camps; equipment use, repair and replacement; mobilization and demobilization activities; and tools, materials and supplies.
In case you’re interested in the specifics, the program allows for the “mitigation, management, and control” of fires burning on publicly or privately owned forest or grasslands which threaten such destruction as would constitute a major disaster. FMAGs are provided through the President's Disaster Relief Fund and made available by FEMA to assist in fighting fires that threaten to cause a major disaster.
A note on FMAGs: These grants do not provide assistance to individual home or business owners and do not cover other infrastructure damage caused by the fire.
Other federal partners, such as the U.S. Forest Service and Department of Interior, are working through the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) to provide the necessary assets such as fire engines, helicopters, air tankers and military support to help suppress the fires. You can find more about the federal government's role at inciweb.org.
Due to summer temperatures and dry conditions, the threat of wildfires will likely continue in the coming weeks and months. If you’re in an area that may be impacted by wildfires, remember these safety tips:
- Create a emergency kit and plan to ensure your home, family, or business is prepared for wildfires.
- Listen to and follow the guidance of state and local officials. If authorities order an evacuation, leave immediately, follow evacuation routes announced by local officials.
- Create an area of “defensible space” around your home. Clear items that will burn from around the house, including wood piles, lawn furniture, barbecue grills, tarp coverings, etc.
- If you’re caught in the open during a wildfire, the best temporary shelter is in a sparse fuel area. Clear fuel away from the area while the fire is approaching and then lie face down in the depression and cover yourself. Stay down until after the fire passes.
The Federal government released The Digital Government Strategy on May 23, 2012. This 12-month action plan for the deployment of new technology is designed to enable the delivery of digital information and services anytime, anywhere, on any device, safely and securely-throughout the Federal workforce and to the American public. This strategy was made possible through the collaboration of many throughout the federal government including, the Federal Chief Information Officer's Council, the Federal Web Managers Council, and representatives from numerous departments and agencies. My thanks go to Federal Chief Information Officer (CIO) Steve VanRoekel and Federal Chief Technology Officer (CTO) Todd Park for their leadership in the development of this strategy.Cloud computing and the continual evolution of mobile devices, collaboration tools, computing power advances, and social media expansion are revolutionizing Information Technology (IT). These advances are changing the way business is conducted inside and outside the Federal government. Not only is this an exciting and novel transformation, it also brings a true opportunity to deliver real innovation with less.
As CIO of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), I know firsthand that the establishment of common standards and platforms and the use of new mobility capabilities are critical to leveraging data to meet the mission needs of this Department. Composed of 22 components, DHS is one of the largest Federal agencies. This size and diversity requires effective information sharing through advanced technology with sound security to support the Department's critical mission. I will highlight two DHS initiatives underway-shared platform and mobility-that support the new digital government strategy.
DHS also is committed to embracing mobility.
The use of laptops, smart phones, and tablets in government agencies continues to rapidly grow. Mobile computing enables the implementation of effective telework across the Federal government to ensure the continuity of operations as well as reduce management costs and the Federal government's footprint, which ultimately leads to higher-performing and more efficient organizations.
Workplace as a Service (WPaaS) will provide a virtual desktop interface that looks and feels like a traditional desktop while leveraging the power, security, and data provided by the department's two Enterprise Data Centers. This virtual desktop enables DHS personnel to perform their mission wherever there is access to the Internet or the DHS internal network, including through the use of handheld devices like smart phones and tablets. WPaaS delivers multiple benefits by replacing traditional desktops and laptops with virtual computing that provides as-needed operating systems and applications at monthly, pay-per-use service with scalability-all supported by a robust security model. WPaaS promises to reduce operating costs, increase operational flexibility, and simplify administrative management, while efficiently using resources by eliminating surpluses of outdated and underutilized equipment.
Future-ready, digital government.
The essential elements of interoperability and openness, reduced and transparent operational costs, strategic planning from the outset and effective portfolio and program governance ultimately enable the government to move to and effectively capitalize on new technologies in the 21st century. The Digital Government Strategy provides a solid execution plan to leverage the power of today's technologies and provide more open, efficient, and effective services for the American public.
Editor's Note: This blog was originally posted on CIO.gov.