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September 27, 2013
10:56 am

Posted by Donna Roy, HSIN Program Director

Yesterday, I was joined by DHS colleagues and stakeholders to celebrate the launch of the next generation of the Department of Homeland Security’s Homeland Security Information Network (HSIN). HSIN Release 3 (R3) improves our ability to support law enforcement, emergency managers, and first responders with the tools and resources they need, as we work together to make our nation safer, secure, and more resilient. For example, in support of security operations for Super Bowl XLVII, more than 500 HSIN users visited the site over 20,000 times to share information related to their mission and facilitate coordination between federal, state, local, tribal, territorial, international and homeland security partners.

Over the past year, the HSIN Program Management Office has worked with HSIN users to make important updates to the HSIN platform technology and improve the program’s capabilities and services. New capabilities of HSIN R3 include enhanced security features, as well as GIS mapping that enables users to share geographical information. HSIN is the trusted network for federal, state, local, tribal, territorial, international, and private sector partners to share information critical to homeland security mission operations.

HSIN allows our homeland security partners to manage operations, analyze data, and share information by  receiving breaking news related to their missions, share geographical information, hold secure web conferences, communicate securely through a trusted network.

To learn more about HSIN, visit our web page

September 26, 2013
12:51 pm

Posted by Acting CRCL Officer Tamara Kessler

Today, we commemorate the 40th anniversary of the passage of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 – a foundational piece of civil rights legislation that commits the Federal government to ending discrimination against persons with disabilities in federal employment and in federally-conducted and federally-assisted programs and activities. 

At the Department of Homeland Security, we are committed to continued progress in providing full inclusion and equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities.  Whether a person with a disability is traveling through an airport, crossing into our country at a border, becoming a naturalized citizen, or rebuilding their life following a disaster,  DHS has an obligation to ensure nondiscrimination and equal opportunity under the Rehabilitation Act.  Our efforts to meet this obligation are led by the DHS Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL), which coordinates the Department’s compliance with and enforcement of the Rehabilitation Act. 

To commemorate the anniversary of the law’s passage, CRCL has collaborated across the Department to develop and release a number of products to build on prior achievements:

  • A new Management Directive that establishes policy and implementing mechanisms in DHS for ensuring nondiscrimination for individuals with disabilities served by DHS-conducted programs under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.
  • A video that looks back at the importance of the Rehabilitation Act and looks forward to reinforce the Department’s commitment to strengthening implementation of the Rehabilitation Act throughout DHS.
  • A Guide to Interacting with People Who Have Disabilities to assist DHS personnel, contractors and grantees in their interactions with individuals with disabilities.
  • A dedicated webpage with disability-related information and resources for providing equal opportunity for persons with disabilities in DHS programs and activities.

Earlier this year, CRCL established the DHS Disability Access Working Group to further the Department’s commitment to the principles of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.  Through this Working Group, DHS components are working together to share strategies for effective communication, program and physical accessibility, and reasonable accommodation for individuals with disabilities.  

You can learn more about the Department’s efforts to provide equal opportunity and full inclusion for individuals with disabilities by visiting our Disability Policy webpage.

September 23, 2013
1:02 pm

On Friday, Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Rand Beers joined Vice President Joe Biden and other U.S. officials in Mexico City, Mexico for the U.S.-Mexico High Level Economic Dialogue.

“Strong international partnerships are critical to our global competitiveness as our countries and societies become more connected and dependent upon shared systems of transportation, commerce, and communications,” said Acting Secretary Beers. “We look forward to our continued partnership with the Mexican government as we work together to facilitate legitimate trade and travel while protecting our citizens."

During the High Level Economic Dialogue, Acting Secretary Beers, Vice President Biden and other U.S. officials met with Mexican officials to advance strategic economic and commercial priorities central to promoting mutual economic growth, job creation, and global competitiveness. The United States and Mexico work closely together to ensure a safe and secure border region, which is critical to both nations’ economic competitiveness and national security. 

Read about Acting Secretary Beers’ visited to McAllen, Texas and Mexico City yesterday, here.

September 18, 2013
5:23 pm

Posted by Ron Hewitt and Martha Benson on September 16, 2013 at 02:47 PM EDT

Editor's Note: This was originally posted on the White House blog.

Broadband access is essential to the Nation’s global competitiveness. It drives job creation, promotes innovation, expands markets for American businesses, and supports improved education, health care, and public safety. Today, however, too many areas still lack adequate access to this crucial resource.
 
One way the Administration is working to bolster broadband deployment is by reducing barriers for companies to install broadband infrastructure on Federal properties and roads. The Federal Government owns or manages nearly 30 percent of all land in the United States, including 10,000 buildings nationwide. These properties can provide excellent pathways for deployment of broadband infrastructure. That’s why, last year, President Obama signed an Executive Order to make broadband construction projects along Federal roadways and properties cheaper and more efficient.
 
Today, we are announcing new steps to build on this progress, including the launch of several new tools and resources to help make it easier for companies to build out high-speed Internet, particularly in underserved communities, and the release of a progress report on implementation of the President’s Executive Order. Both the tools and the report were developed by a Federal Working Group made up of 14 Federal agencies charged with managing Federal properties and roads.
 
Some of the tools and resources for broadband carriers released today, in response to recommendations from the Working Group, include:
  • An interactive mapping tool that allows carriers and communities to view and identify opportunities to leverage Federal properties for the deployment of high-speed Internet networks. For example this map can help the wireless industry identify Federal rooftops where commercial antennas can be placed to support wireless networks. The national map includes data on broadband availability, environmental or historic information, property locations, and contact information so companies can easily obtain more information. The map was built with open government data, displayed in a new way to make it easier for carriers to take advantage of Federal assets in planning or expanding their networks. 

Broadband Map of Federal Property

This interactive map displays Federally owned buildings and lands, with point of contact information, where a commercial antenna installation might be sited. The map also contains several layers of data useful to broadband deployment. The map layers offers visibility into, for example, the location of National parks, protected wilderness areas, and lands of tribal significance. (Screenshot from 9/16/13)

  • A “Dig Once” guide, which includes best practices and policies to help carriers time their broadband deployment activities to periods when streets are already under construction—an approach that can reduce network deployment costs along Federal roadways by up to 90 percent.

  • A new broadband inventory toolkit that can serve as a one-stop shop for companies to access permitting forms, lease agreements, and other Federal broadband application documents from various agencies. This web page will make it easier for carriers to navigate the process for accessing Federal lands and properties, which can involve multiple Federal and state agencies that have their own processes for granting access to their assets. In addition, the General Services Administration, as directed in the Executive Order, is working to implement common forms and templates across agencies, such as a single master application for deploying broadband on Federal properties, to provide multiple broadband service providers and public-safety entities with streamlined business documents for the deployment of wireline and wireless facilities on Federal property. Going forward, the Department of Agriculture is also working to develop an on-line electronic application form to further streamline the process.

  • In the coming weeks, we will also be launching an online broadband projects platform, located on the Department of Transportation’s Federal Infrastructure Projects Permitting Dashboard , which will allow agencies to identify and expedite key broadband projects and to publicly track their status.

These are just a few examples of advances resulting from the Working Group’s efforts over the past year to identify challenges in deploying broadband infrastructure and develop solutions to improve the process.
 
While much work remains ahead, the Obama Administration is committed to continued collaboration across all levels of government and with the private sector and general public to help accelerate broadband deployment and drive meaningful community outcomes.
 
Ron Hewitt is the Director for the Office of Emergency Communications at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Martha Benson is the Public Buildings Service Assistant Commissioner at the General Services Administration’s Office of Real Property Asset Management. Ron Hewitt and Martha Benson are the Co-Chairs of the Broadband Deployment on Federal Property Working Group.

 

September 17, 2013
6:38 pm

Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Rand Beers today was joined by White House Cabinet Secretary and Assistant to the President Danielle Gray and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Director Alejandro Mayorkas to welcome 25 new U.S. citizens at a special naturalization ceremony held at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History.

DHS/USCIS Naturalization Ceremony

Acting Secretary Beers administered the Oath of Allegiance to the newest United States citizens.

DHS/USCIS Naturalization Ceremony

The new citizens naturalized during today’s ceremony hailed from: Bolivia, Bulgaria, Egypt, France, Ghana, Honduras, India, Iran, Iraq, Jamaica, Mauritania, Mexico, Morocco, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Portugal, Sierra Leone, Taiwan, United Kingdom, Uruguay, Venezuela, and Vietnam.

DHS/USCIS Naturalization Ceremony

DHS/USCIS Naturalization Ceremony

This special ceremony is one of more than 180 citizenship events being held across the country to celebrate Constitution Day and Citizenship Day. USCIS will welcome more than 18,000 new citizens during these celebrations, from September 16 through September 23. Museums, historic libraries, government landmarks and national park sites will provide the backdrop for this week-long celebration of citizenship and the achievements of our newest citizens.

DHS/USCIS Naturalization Ceremony

Constitution Day and Citizenship Day is celebrated each year on Sept. 17 in remembrance of the signing of the Constitution in 1787. Since 1952, Citizenship Day has been celebrated in conjunction with Constitution Day. Congress first underscored the significance of U.S. citizenship in 1940, when it designated the third Sunday in May as “I Am an American Day.” In 2004, Congress changed the designation of this day to "Constitution Day and Citizenship Day."

For more information on this morning’s Naturalization Ceremony, visit here. And to learn more about USCIS’ Constitution Day and Citizenship Day Celebrations, visit here.

September 17, 2013
10:18 am

Today 25 candidates will become U.S. citizens during a special Constitution Day and Citizenship Day naturalization ceremony at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C.

You can take part in this special ceremony as the American dream is realized for these new citizens. The livestream begins at 11 a.m. Eastern Time today on the USCIS website.

While you watch the ceremony we encourage you to share your thoughts and congratulations with your fellow Americans by following DHS (@DHSgov) and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services on Twitter (@USCIS) and using #newUScitizen.

U.S. Department of Homeland Security Acting Secretary Rand Beers will administer the Oath of Allegiance; USCIS Director Alejandro Mayorkas will present the candidates for citizenship; and Danielle Gray, Cabinet Secretary and Assistant to the President, will deliver congratulatory remarks. Sree Sreenivasan, Chief Digital Officer for the Metropolitan Museum of Art, will give keynote remarks.

Watch the livestream: www.uscis.gov/live/citizenshipday

September 13, 2013
1:35 pm

Posted by James A. Dinkins, Homeland Security Investigations Executive Associate Director
 

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) launched a new smartphone app today, designed to seek the public's help with fugitive and unknown suspect child predators. This app is the first of its kind in U.S. federal law enforcement.

The Operation Predator App enables those who download it to receive alerts about wanted predators, to share the information with friends via email and social media tools, and to provide information to HSI by calling or submitting an online tip. Additionally, the app enables users to view news about arrests and prosecutions of child predators and additional resources about ICE and its global partners in the fight against child exploitation.

ICE's Office of Public Affairs developed the app with special agents from HSI's Cyber Crimes Center (C3) and field offices across the country in order to seek the public's help with information about child predators wanted for criminal prosecution. Currently, the Operation Predator app can be downloaded from Apple's App Store or iTunes. ICE is also planning to expand compatibility to other smartphones in the near future.

ICE HSI mobile applicationICE HSI mobile app

HSI's Victim Identification Program seeks to rescue child victims of sexual abuse and exploitation and bring the perpetrators to justice. These investigations are part of Operation Predator, a nationwide HSI initiative to protect children from sexual predators, including those who travel overseas for sex with minors, Internet child pornographers, criminal alien sex offenders and child sex traffickers.

HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-347-2423 or by completing its online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock by investigators.

For more information from ICE on the Operation Predator App, you can watch this video, or visit here.

 

September 9, 2013
4:46 pm

On Friday, September 6, Secretary Janet Napolitano bid farewell to DHS at a ceremony in Washington, DC. Vice President Joe Biden, Attorney General Eric Holder and Acting Deputy Secretary Rand Beers delivered remarks and thanked the Secretary for her service to DHS and to our Nation. Beers will now serve as Acting Secretary of Homeland Security.

 Vice President Biden delivers remarks.

 Attorney General Holder delivers remarks.

Acting Secretary Beers delivers remarks.

In attendance at the farewell event were employees from across DHS; federal, state, local and private sector partners; law enforcement colleagues; and international friends and partners. Among these guests were former Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff, members of the Cabinet and members of the President’s National Security Team.

DHS employees, partners and friends attend the Farewell Ceremony.

Seven DHS employees -- representing the more than 240,000 DHS employees serving across the country and around the world -- presented Secretary Napolitano with United States and DHS flags as a token of appreciation.

Secretary Napolitano reflected on her time with DHS and shared some of her memories from the past four and a half years during her remarks. Secretary Napolitano said, “The men and women of DHS have performed their jobs bravely these past four-and-a-half years.  Every day, seeing your dedication and commitment – and that of your families – has been a great source of inspiration to me. And I know after I leave, you will still be committed to the mission, you will still continue to perform, and you will still serve this country with the tireless dedication you’ve had during my time here. I hope you will accept my sincere gratitude for your efforts. It has been an honor and privilege to serve with you, and call you my colleagues.  I thank you from the bottom of my heart, and I wish all of you the very best in the future."

Secretary Napolitano delivers remarks.

September 6, 2013
2:40 pm

Did you know the Department of Homeland Security’s Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO) works with domestic and international partners to improve capabilities to deter, detect, respond to, and attribute radiological and nuclear attacks? When requested by our partners, DNDO implements domestic nuclear detection efforts to mitigate radiological and nuclear threats.  

Just last weekend, DNDO deployed a Mobile Detection Deployment Unit (MDDU), marking over 100 deployments – this time to the Baltimore Grand Prix, where the unit assisted the Baltimore City Fire Department (BCFD) Hazmat Operations Team with event security operations. The BCFD Hazmat Operations Team worked with various local, state and federal organizations to scan the event for potential radiological and nuclear threat indicators. This MDDU is a part of DNDO’s Mobile Detection Deployment Program (MDDP), which is designed to supplement first responders’ existing radiological and nuclear detection and reporting capabilities, especially in support of large scale events nationwide such as big sporting events.

Each Mobile Detection Deployment Unit contains radiation detection equipment for emergency responders, housed in a mobile trailer. The equipment includes portable backpack radiation detection units, high and low-resolution radiation identification hand-held instruments, and personal detection devices. Each unit is accompanied by technical support staff to train personnel on the use of equipment and to help integrate these capabilities into existing operations.

August 29, 2013
12:09 pm

Posted by Tamara Kessler, Acting Officer for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties

Yesterday marked the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, a historic event that brought participants from across the country to Washington, DC to march for social and economic equality. On this day, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his now famous “I Have a Dream” speech, a speech that would inspire profound change in American history.

This monumental event set the stage for the passage of groundbreaking civil rights legislation, beginning with the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.  Many more civil rights protections followed in critical areas such as education, employment, housing, and disability rights, to name a few. 

A number of these civil rights protections are embedded in the work we conduct here at DHS.  The Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL), ensures that safeguards of individual rights and liberties are in place for everything the Department does, because we know that a safe and secure homeland means also ensuring that civil rights and liberties remain protected. 

Each and every day:

  • Our Office of Equal Employment Opportunity and Diversity strives to ensure that all employees and applicants for employment at DHS enjoy equal opportunity and employment decisions free from unlawful discrimination.
  • Our Antidiscrimination Group engages in policy work to ensure fair and equitable treatment of individuals and guards against discrimination based on race, color, national origin, disability, sex, and age in DHS programs and activities.
  • Our Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Impact Assessments evaluate DHS policies to determine if they impact the rights and liberties of those affected by a given initiative.
  • Our Community Engagement Section works with diverse communities throughout the country whose civil rights and civil liberties may be affected by our policies and actions, informing them of avenues of redress.
  • Our Compliance Division investigates and resolves complaints filed by the public alleging abuses of civil rights or civil liberties, including racial, ethnic, or religious profiling. 

We continue to support the Department’s mission to protect the nation while preserving individual liberty, fairness, and equality under the law, inspired by those men and women who marched on Washington 50 years ago who forever changed the landscape of civil rights in our country.   

Read more about the work CRCL does to protect civil rights and civil liberties here.

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