On Tuesday, June 23, Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson met with Chinese Customs Minister Yu Guangzhou to further their April 2015 discussion in Beijing on a range of homeland security-related priorities. Tuesday’s meeting resulted in the joint signing of a Declaration of Principles, which will increase China’s customs security through the Container Security Initiative (CSI) and highlighted the importance of international customs partnerships. Later that day, Secretary Johnson issued a statement congratulating Vice Admiral and current Vice Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) Peter Neffenger on his Senate confirmation to be the next Administrator of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). Secretary Johnson said, “I have utmost faith in Pete Neffenger, and I am confident he will be a strong leader of TSA.”
On Wednesday, June 24, Secretary Johnson issued a statement on reforms to family residential centers, after determining that substantial changes were needed regarding the detention of families with children. Secretary Johnson said, “Once a family has established eligibility for asylum or other relief under our laws, long term detention is an inefficient use of our resources and should be discontinued.” Secretary Johnson also released a statement on Wednesday saluting the U.S. Secret Service (USSS) for their work to apprehend alleged cybercriminal Ercan Findikoglu.
Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) Under Secretary Dr. Reginald Brothers traveled to Chicago on Wednesday, June 24 to discuss partnership and technology development opportunities with the Chicago Police Department and the Chicago Office of Emergency Management and Communications. He continued his Chicago visit on Thursday, June 25, by presenting on industry partnerships and the adaptation of commercial technologies for emergency situations at a Techweek Chicago event.
On Thursday, June 25, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Deputy Director Dan Ragsdale, U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch and Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez announced the launch of the Anti-Trafficking Coordination Team (ACTeam) Phase II initiative. After Phase I’s success, this new phase will continue streamlining efforts to combat human trafficking. This collaboration will forge a powerful force of federal law enforcement resources to thoroughly address this national issue.
Also on Thursday, Deputy Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas gave remarks as a Keynote Speaker at the Security Innovation Network Innovation Summit entitled “Connecting Wall Street, Silicon Valley and the Beltway” at The TimesCenter in New York City.
On Friday, June 26, Deputy Secretary Mayorkas delivered closing remarks at the Organization of American States General Assembly multi-sector conference entitled, “Major Sporting Events: the Crossroads of security and Socio-Economic Development.” Deputy Secretary Mayorkas discussed the unifying nature of major sports events and the necessity of protecting the large crowds they attract.
Also on Friday, Secretary Johnson released a statement recognizing the Department of Homeland Security’s accomplishment of receiving at “A+” grade on the Small Business Administration’s Annual Small Business Procurement Scorecard. He also highlighted that DHS is the only agency to receive an “A” grade for six years in a row.
Lastly, Secretary Johnson issued a statement on Friday in support of France, Kuwait, and Tunisia as they mourn those killed in recent terrorist attacks.
As part of our efforts to share timely and actionable cyber threat information with the private sector, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has expanded the Enhanced Cybersecurity Services (ECS) program beyond those entities classified as “critical infrastructure” to all interested U.S.-based public and private organizations. ECS solves a difficult challenge for the U.S. government: sometimes, the government has information so sensitive that the information is classified. If information is classified, we cannot share it broadly with the private sector to let companies protect themselves.
The solution is ECS. Through ECS, DHS shares sensitive and classified cyber threat indicators from across government with Commercial Service Providers (CSPs). In turn, these CSPs, use this information to protect their customers from cyber threats. CSPs are thus a managed security service: a company can pay to receive the security service that these CSPs offer.
ECS provides an invaluable layer of defense to augment an organization’s existing capabilities for protecting against unauthorized access and data exfiltration.
Until recently, this program was only available to those companies that DHS certified as “critical infrastructure.” With this expansion, CSPs are able to offer ECS services available to all interested U.S.-based public and private organizations.
Since its launch in 2013, ECS has detected more than 800,000 indicators of malicious cyber activity. It has proven to be a highly effective part of a layered defense, and I recommend it for any organization seeking to implement additional protections against sophisticated threats.
There are currently three approved ECS CSPs: AT&T, CenturyLink, and Verizon. U.S.-based companies interested in participating in ECS can reach out to one of these CSPs and learn more about the program:
DHS does not endorse any one particular service or business.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) welcomed 24 refugees from 10 countries as they were sworn in as new U.S. citizens on June 20 at the Bullock Texas State History Museum in Austin, TX. World Refugee Day is observed on June 20 each year, and was established in 2001, the 50th anniversary of the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees.
Official DHS photo by Elaine Buldoc, U.S. Customs and Immigration Services, San Antonio | Download High-Resolution Image (5312 x 2988)
Deputy Assistant Secretary, Office of Cybersecurity & Communications
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
America needs a strong cyber workforce to keep up with evolving technology and increasing cybersecurity risks. To help meet this need, DHS has expanded access to the Federal Virtual Training Environment (FedVTE) – an online training center featuring a wide range of cybersecurity courses – to state, local, tribal, and territorial (SLTT) government employees across the country.
Sponsored by DHS and supported by the Department of Defense’s Defense Information Systems Agency, FedVTE provides:
- Government-wide, on-demand access to cybersecurity training to help the workforce maintain expertise and foster operational readiness;
- Courses ranging from beginner to advanced levels;
- Training available at no cost to users; and
- Training accessible from any internet-enabled computer.
On average, FedVTE delivers more than 35,000 hours of training per month and in 2014 alone, FedVTE saved the federal government approximately $72 million in training costs.
DHS is coordinating outreach about the program to SLTT governments through the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center (MS-ISAC), which is a part of the nonprofit Center for Internet Security. With a mission to improve the overall cyber security posture of SLTT governments, the MS-ISAC is the focal point for cyber threat prevention, protection, response, and recovery for the nation's SLTT governments. SLTT government personnel are be able to access the system at fedvte.usalearning.gov. SLTT government personnel can also contact email@example.com with any account approval questions.
The FedVTE expansion to SLTT governments is led by the DHS SLTT Cybersecurity Engagement Program in conjunction with the DHS Cybersecurity Education & Awareness Branch. For more information about FedVTE, please visit the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Careers and Studies portal at: http://niccs.us-cert.gov/training/fedvte.
Swearing in the newest class of HEROs. The @ICEgov HERO Corps program enables wounded, ill or injured members of the U.S. military the chance to continue serving their country in the fight against child predators.
Official photo by Barry Bahler | Download High-Resolution Image (2100 x 1500)
World Refugee Day is June 20. This day is always special to employees of USCIS as we play a critical role in resettling refugees from around the globe. This year marks the 10th anniversary of our refugee corps, which has grown to include 88 officers and 22 supervisors, who are based in Washington, D.C., but also travel around the world to interview refugee applicants. The men and women of the USCIS Refugee Corps provide resettlement opportunities to qualified refugees from around the globe while ensuring the integrity of the refugee program and our national security. Working in cooperation with the Department of State, the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program resettled 69,987 in the United States during fiscal year 2014.
Our director, Leόn Rodríguez, made a video in honor of the importance of World Refugee Day and the hard work of all people working to help refugees from around the globe.
PHOTO OF THE WEEK: Connecting survivors with the assistance they need. Survivors of the Houston floods speak with FEMA representatives at the Mobile Registration Intake Center at Spring Branch Middle School, as Secretary Johnson looks on. For more on the federal assistance reaching impacted people and communities, visit www.fema.gov/disaster/4223.
Official DHS photo by Barry Bahler | Download High Resolution Image (2100 x 1500)
On May 28, 2015, the Los Angeles Mayor’s Office and the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO) hosted a demonstration of radiological and nuclear detection capabilities in the Los Angeles and Long Beach area.
The detection capabilities are part of DNDO’s Securing the Cities (STC) program, a DHS effort that assists metropolitan areas as they build and establish regional and sustainable program structures that enable agencies to detect, interdict, and report on nuclear and other radioactive materials that are out of regulatory control. The program was initiated in the New York City, Jersey City, and Newark region as a pilot and later expanded to the Los Angeles and Long Beach area in 2012. The National Capital Region is the third implementation of the program and DHS intends to expand the program to a fourth location by the end of 2015.
During the demonstration, law enforcement partners from the Los Angeles Police and Fire Departments simulated a scenario where patrol officers encountered an alarm on a routine traffic stop and adjudicated the alarm with support from the Southern California Radiological Intake Center (SCRIC). The SCRIC dispatched additional personnel with spectroscopic personal radiation detectors to resolve the alarm. Following the demonstration, attendees had the opportunity to view detection equipment including personal radiation detectors, mobile systems on a Los Angeles Port Police patrol vessel, backpack detection systems, and radiological isotope identification devices.
The STC program is possible because of the congressional support and the important efforts of our state and local partners including those in the Los Angeles and Long Beach area. We were honored to be joined at the event by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard, Congressman Ted Lieu, and partners from the Los Angeles Fire Department, Los Angeles Police Department, Los Angeles Port Police, Orange County Sheriff’s Department, Los Angeles County Fire Department, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, and Los Angeles World Airports Police.
Collaboration between DHS and local agencies in the Los Angeles and Long Beach area will help to further secure the region. We look forward to enhancing the regional capabilities and continuing these valuable partnerships with the Los Angeles Mayor’s Office and law enforcement agencies in the area.
PHOTO OF THE WEEK: U.S. Immigration and Enforcement (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) officers arrest a criminal foreign fugitive in Irvine, Calif. 27 foreign fugitives with active Interpol alerts were arrested across the US this week by ERO and the U.S. Marshals Service in support of ICE's public safety mission to identify, locate, arrest, and remove international criminal fugitives. Five were wanted for homicide, two for kidnapping, one for raping a child and one for human sex trafficking.
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Assistant Secretary, Office of Infrastructure Protection
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Assistant Secretary, Occupational Safety and Health Administration
U.S. Department of Labor
Assistant Administrator, Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
The small town of West, Texas will never be the same after April 17, 2013, when the community was deeply shaken by a powerful explosion the West Fertilizer Company storage and distribution facility that killed fifteen people and injured more than 160. Investigators found that the explosion was caused by improperly stored Ammonium Nitrate.
In response, President Obama issued Executive Order 13650 Improving Chemical Facility Safety and Security in August of 2013. The order asks the Tri-Chairs of the Chemical Facility Safety and Security Working Group (the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Labor, and the Environmental Protection Agency), to work closely together to improve the of safety and security of chemical facilities across the country. The chairs have worked diligently over the past two years on the following areas:
- Strengthening community planning and preparedness;
- Enhancing federal operation coordination;
- Improving data management;
- Modernizing policies and regulations; and
- Incorporating stakeholder feedback and developing best practices.
The working group knows that stakeholders are essential to managing and mitigating the risks of potential chemical facility hazards and has engaged in a robust stakeholder outreach effort to identify successes and best practices. This outreach included engagement across all levels of government, with owners and operators, industry associations, labor organizations, and communities affected by chemical plant disasters.
One year ago, the working group released a status report to the president, entitled Actions to Improve Chemical Facility Safety and Security – A Shared Commitment, which summarized the Working Group’s actions, findings and lessons learned, challenges, and short and long-term priority actions to that point. Last year’s status report was a milestone, not an end-point.
Today we are releasing another update to highlight actions that have been taken since the release of the Final Status Report last year. These highlights include:
- Developing an on-line training module on the key requirements under Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA);
- Initiating a multi-organization working group to identify a list of government approved training courses for first responders and emergency planners, Training Repository;
- Institutionalizing a Federal Working Group to improve communication and coordination between agencies;
- Establishing Regional Working Groups in all ten Federal Regions;
- Incorporating chemical facility safety and security data into the EPA’s facility registry service (FRS);
- Reissuing the Chemical Advisory: Safe Storage, Handling, and management of Ammonium Nitrate to incorporate stakeholder comments and concerns and the latest practices in ammonium nitrate safety;
- Hosted a public webinar to share updates on EO activities taken in November 2014 with the next webinar planned for June 19, 2015; and
- Launching actions to modernize OSHA’s Process Safety Management Standard and EPA’s Risk Management Program.
Safety and security are a shared commitment. We are committed to preventing more incidents like those in West, Texas, and ensuring that every worker comes home to their family safe and healthy at the end of every shift.