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August 4, 2015
9:00 am

August 4th marks the 225th anniversary of the creation of the U.S. Coast Guard. Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson congratulates the men and women of the U.S. Coast Guard on this remarkable anniversary, and extends his gratitude for their unfailing service to this nation, in a new video message.

 

By signing the Tariff Act on August 4, 1790, President George Washington gave Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton the authority to build ten single-masted sailing ships, called revenue cutters, and were estimated to cost only $1,000 each. The U.S. Coast Guard traces its roots to this day and celebrates the foundation laid by these early revenue cutters and the crews that selflessly served to protect our shores and guard the revenue that kept our country strong.

Ever since, the mission of the U.S. Coast Guard has continued to expand and evolve.  The service that began as the enforcers of revenue and piracy laws and rescued mariners in distress has become the defenders of America’s 95,000 miles of coastline, supporting nearly all of our nation’s maritime interests.

Today, the U.S. Coast Guard fights transnational criminal organizations, intercepts the illicit drug trade, facilitates the flow of maritime commerce on our waterways, guards the increased human activity in the Arctic, and monitors cyber threats that endanger our digital systems.

The Department of Homeland Security works to support these missions, and 225 years on, the men and women of the U.S. Coast Guard continue to live up to “semper paratus – always ready,” each and every day.

Congratulations Coasties, we salute you!

July 31, 2015
5:09 pm

Secretary Johnson speaks to interns on Capitol Hill

Secretary Johnson spoke to Congressional interns on Capitol Hill and shared his thoughts on the importance of public service as part of the Congressional Summer Intern Lecture Series. During his time as a student at Morehouse College, Secretary Johnson himself interned twice on Capitol Hill.

Official DHS photo by Barry Bahler | Download High-Resolution Image (2100 x 1397)

July 31, 2015
10:07 am

Today the Stop.Think.Connect. campaign announced the addition of several new members to its partner program. Over the last several months, the AARP, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), the United States Postal Service (USPS), and the Small Business Administration (SBA) have joined the campaign. This has enabled the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Stop.Think.Connect. to directly convey their online safety messages to AARP’s nearly 38 million members as well as millions more people through the campaign’s 180 partners.

The addition of AARP, VA, USPS, and SBA to the Stop.Think.Connect. campaign’s extensive partners significantly strengthens our ability to deliver critical cybersecurity messaging to help keep more Americans safe online. We are grateful for the support from these organizations and are confident that their partnership will benefit their members and customers by encouraging safer online behavior.

Stop.Think.Connect. partners represent a range of non-profit organizations; Federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial governments and agencies; as well as academic institutions. In 2015, more than 20 new partners have joined the campaign. Every campaign partner receives tools and resources to help their stakeholders understand online risks and promote safe online habits among Americans.

More about our new partners:

  • With nearly 38 million members, AARP works to support its members regarding healthcare, retirement planning, affordable utilities, and protection from financial abuse.
  • The Department of Veterans Affairs strives to provide our Nation’s veterans with the support, benefits, and services they have earned through their military service.
  • The United States Postal Service employs over 600,000 Americans and provides trusted postal services across the country and internationally.
  • The Small Business Administration helps Americans start and grow businesses, providing aid and counsel to and protecting the interests of small business owners.

The Stop.Think.Connect. campaign is a national awareness effort led by DHS, in partnership with the National Cyber Security Alliance and the Anti-Phishing Working Group. For more information about the Stop.Think.Connect. campaign, please visit www.dhs.gov/stopthinkconnect.

July 30, 2015
5:18 pm

President Obama and I are committed to sensible and effective enforcement of our immigration laws to safeguard our borders and protect public safety and national security.

That is why, as part of the executive actions the President announced last November, we ended the controversial Secure Communities program. This was a program by which our immigration personnel lodged orders known as “detainers” to hold individuals in local jails, so that they could be handed directly over to federal authorities for enforcement purposes after their time in local custody. The goal of the program was to make it easier to identify and remove convicted criminals. But, in many instances the program led to the transfer of those who had been in this country for years, and had simply been picked up and charged with a minor offense, without a conviction. As a result, the Secure Communities program became embroiled in political and legal controversy. And, in reaction, a rapidly expanding list of city, county and state governments enacted laws and directives that limit or outright prohibit their cooperation with federal immigration enforcement personnel. The consequences nationwide have, regrettably, included notorious cases in which dangerous individuals on whom we placed detainers were released to the streets, and committed more serious crimes.

We have now acted to stop this ineffective program. We have ended the Secure Communities program, and are replacing it with a new “Priority Enforcement Program.” Our overarching goal, which we believe is shared by every governor, mayor, state legislature, city council and county commission, is keeping our streets safe. The President and I want to better focus our immigration enforcement resources on convicted criminals over undocumented immigrants who have been here for years, have committed no serious crimes, and, have, in effect, become peaceful and integrated members of the community. To do this, however, requires that we go where removable, dangerous criminals are most often found -- behind bars.

Our new Priority Enforcement Program is a balanced, common-sense approach to help us achieve this goal. It removes the controversy that consumed the Secure Communities program. With some limited exceptions, we are replacing detainers with “requests for notification” and are no longer requesting the transfer of someone based merely on a warrant or arrest—we’re going to stay focused on our top priorities, like those who have been convicted of serious crimes. The program will better ensure the premise of our criminal justice system, that individuals are innocent until proven guilty. For those who have been convicted of a serious crime, and are removable from the country, we want to deport them as soon as possible so that our communities are as safe as possible.

But, the federal government cannot make a success of this new policy alone. We need a partner in state and local law enforcement. It is for this reason that I and other officials of the Department of Homeland Security have set out across the country to meet with state and local officials, including those in law enforcement, to show them our new policy, and encourage them to work with us again. I am pleased by the vote by the Los Angeles Board of Supervisors, encouraging the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department to work closely with DHS and ICE to implement the new PEP program. We will continue to work with the Sheriff’s office and local elected officials in Los Angeles and across the country to implement PEP in a way that supports community policing and public safety while ensuring that ICE takes custody of dangerous individuals before they are released into the community. ICE is also committed to engaging with community members and providing the public with more information about the PEP program.

We must work together to enforce our immigration laws in a smart and cooperative way, in line with our enforcement priorities, and for the sake of the public safety we are all pledged to protect.

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This first appeared in Sheriffs Magazine.

July 28, 2015
1:20 pm

Posted By: Soraya Correa, Chief Procurement Officer

Last month, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) formally committed to using the General Services Administration’s (GSA) One Acquisition Solution for Integrated Services (OASIS) contracts for the acquisition of the Department’s professional services needs in the future.   By adopting OASIS as part of our strategic sourcing program, DHS will take advantage of the work GSA has done to improve the proposal evaluation and negotiation processes, ordering lead times, and promote transparency.  OASIS will eventually replace the Department’s Technical, Acquisition, and Business Support Services (TABSS) contracts, which successfully meet the Department’s current needs but expires in two  years. DHS programs can continue to use TABSS but can also begin using OASIS to meet their longer term needs. Leaders across DHS and GSA are committed to ensuring a smooth transition.   

Efficiency and cost were the key factors in DHS’s decision to use OASIS in lieu of awarding new contracts to replace TABSS.  At DHS, the use of strategic sourcing initiatives has helped save the Department hundreds of millions of dollars and contributed to the Department’s sixth-straight “A” grade on the Small Business Administration’s annual Small Business Procurement Scorecard. 

To learn more about OASIS, visit:  www.gsa.gov/oasis 
To learn more about TABSS, visit:   www.dhs.gov/tabss

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July 28, 2015
1:00 pm

Last week, the Department of Homeland Security and the Chemical Sector Coordinating Council co-hosted the 9th Annual Chemical Sector Security Summit in Alexandria, Va. More than 500 government and industry stakeholders attended sessions that focused on strengthening chemical security and resilience across the country. The annual summit  brought together industry experts, owners, operators, and government officials to share best practices, lessons learned, and identify ways to enable risk-informed decision-making. 

Highlights from this year’s summit included a keynote address from Amy Pope, Deputy Homeland Security Advisor and Deputy Assistant to the President at the National Security Council, where she discussed the vital role of the private sector in national and homeland security issues, both as owners and operators of critical infrastructure and as a fundamental part of the Nation’s economy.

The dynamic threat environment was a focus of day two, with presenters from the DHS Office of Intelligence & Analysis and the Industrial Control Systems Cyber Emergency Response Team (ICS-CERT) briefing participants on homegrown violent extremism, domestic terrorism, and cyber threats to industrial control systems. These briefings set the stage for the 2015 Chemical Sector Security Plan, which underscores the ongoing collaboration between government and industry to ensure chemical facilities are secure and resilient. The plan features voluntary risk management actions, information sharing activities, international engagement, and training and exercises. These initiatives and preparedness efforts describe actionable measures to manage risks and mitigate disruptions.

With the multi-year authorization established by the Protecting and Securing Chemical Facilities from Terrorist Attacks Act (CFATS Act of 2014), many of this year’s sessions featured discussions on the current success and continued maturation of the CFATS program, including a CFATS update by David Wulf, Director of the Infrastructure Compliance Security Division, which leads the implementation of the program. CFATS is an important part of our nation’s counterterrorism efforts as we work with our industry stakeholders to keep dangerous chemicals out of the hands of those who wish to do us harm. Since the CFATS program was created, DHS has actively engaged with industry to identify and work with high-risk chemical facilities to ensure they have security measures in place to reduce the risks associated with the possession of chemicals of interest. While there is still work to be done, DHS has approved site security plans for nearly two-thirds of the highest-risk regulated facilities.

We continue to take critical steps in bringing together public and private stakeholders with a vested interest in reducing the risks associated with the handling and storage of chemicals. A panel of representatives from the National Security Council, DHS, Environmental Protection Agency and Occupational Safety and Health Administration, highlighted this shared commitment and discussed progress against the Executive Order on Chemical Facility Safety and Security, focusing on how Federal partners have worked to strengthen community planning and preparedness; enhance federal coordination; improve data management; modernize policies and regulations; and incorporate stakeholder feedback and develop best practices.

This year's Summit once again brought government and industry together to share a diverse array of voluntary programs and resources in a way that I believe will lead to further progress and a safer nation.  I want to thank all involved for a valuable and productive summit, and I call on government, industry, and individuals to continue to collaborate and innovate as we celebrate successes and confront new challenges.

July 24, 2015
1:11 pm

On July 26, 2015 we celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) – the landmark civil rights law that broke down barriers to access and equality for individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life.  The ADA’s impact is far reaching and extends to employment, schools, transportation, and a range of public and private services and programs.

At the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), equal opportunity and full inclusion is critical to fulfilling our core missions.  Whether traveling through an airport, crossing into our country at a border, becoming a naturalized citizen, or rebuilding following a disaster, DHS is committed to providing equal access for individuals with disabilities in our workforce and our programs and activities.  The Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL) leads our efforts with a focus on:

  • Recruitment We utilize Schedule A Hiring Authority, the Operation Warfighter program, and the Wounded Warrior program, among others, to assist in recruiting and hiring individuals and veterans with disabilities.  We are pleased to have more than 11,000 employees with disabilities contributing to the homeland security mission each day.
  • Accessibility – The DHS Disability Access Working Group shares and coordinates strategies for effective communication, program and physical accessibility, and reasonable accommodations.  Accessibility improvements are underway at the DHS headquarters, which include installing additional ramps and curb cuts, enhancing automatic doors, and improving lighting and signage in buildings and on the grounds.
  • Integration – DHS policy and implementing mechanisms ensure nondiscrimination for individuals with disabilities served by our programs.  With guidance and oversight from CRCL, this year each DHS component will designate a disability access coordinator; initiate a self-evaluation of their programs and activities; and develop and implement a plan to strengthen integration and compliance with disability laws. 

Additionally, we are proud of the work that is being accomplished across DHS components that include but are not limited to: 

  • TSA provides information and resources on screening to assist travelers with disabilities through its TSA Cares program. TSA also delivers training and technical assistance to its frontline workforce on successful interactions with individuals with disabilities.
  • The DHS Office of Accessible Systems and Technology provides IT-related reasonable accommodations and support for DHS employees with disabilities and the public.  It also operates the DHS Accessibility Helpdesk, which provides technical assistance to employees and customers.

Learn more about the Department’s work and progress by visiting our Disability Access webpage.   

July 24, 2015
12:31 pm

ribbon cutting

PHOTO OF THE WEEK: DHS Deputy Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Director Sara Saldaña, and ICE Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Executive Associate Director Peter Edge cut the ribbon on the newly expanded ICE Cyber Crimes Center in Fairfax, VA. The expanded center will provide ICE HSI with enhanced operational and training capabilities, helping to meet the growing cyber mission of the agency and fight cybercrime.

Official DHS Photo by Josh Denmark | Download High-Resolution Image (1200 x 800)

July 23, 2015
3:37 pm

Authors: Dr. Phyllis Schneck, Deputy Under Secretary for Cybersecurity and Communications
Dr. Andy Ozment, Assistant Secretary for Cybersecurity and Communications
Richard Struse, Chief Advanced Technology Officer, National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center

We are pleased to announce that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has transitioned the STIXTM and TAXIITM specifications for the automated exchange of cybersecurity data to the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS).

The selection of OASIS guarantees that the entire family of STIX/TAXII specifications will always be freely available to anyone around the world. OASIS is a non-profit consortium that drives the development, convergence, and adoption of open standards for the Internet.

The transition, led by DHS, brought together a record number of organizations from around the world to participate in the new OASIS Cyber Threat Intelligence (CTI) Technical Committee. The CTI Technical Committee will oversee development and promote adoption of standards that enable cyber threat intelligence to be analyzed and shared among trusted partners and communities. This work will support automated information analysis and sharing for cyber security situational awareness, real-time network defense, and sophisticated threat characterization and response.

The CTI Technical Committee is chaired by Richard Struse, Chief Advanced Technology Officer, of DHS’s National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center (NCCIC).   The impact of this work will be the prevalence of cyber threat indicators being shared and correlated worldwide in near-real-time, making networks and electronic devices safer and smarter.

This transition is the culmination of three years of work in collaboration with the private sector to define, develop, and implement a robust set of technical specifications to advance the state of the practice in computer network defense. From the inception of these efforts, DHS has maintained that STIX and TAXII would be transitioned to an internationally-recognized standards development organization once the specifications reached an appropriate level of maturity. That day has come, and the transition to OASIS represents an exciting next step in the continued advancement and evolution of STIX and TAXII.

OASIS has an excellent track record in successfully transitioning accepted technical specifications to voluntary consensus standards and in recognizing and building on that existing work. In addition, the global membership of OASIS mirrors the diversity of the STIX/TAXII community and includes a wide variety of government entities, technology vendors, academic institutions, and end-user organizations that have been so critical to the success of the specifications. The transition of STIX and TAXII to OASIS provides greater transparency and stakeholder participation in the development process which will help ensure the stability and continuing viability of STIX and TAXII as true international standards. These changes have the potential to significantly increase adoption and use of STIX and TAXII and thereby strengthen global cybersecurity practices.

This transition allows DHS to concentrate our efforts on ensuring the widest and most effective implementations of STIX and TAXII to achieve our mission. Through the CTI Technical Committee and other mechanisms, DHS will continue to play an active role and support the development of critical documentation, tools and application programming interfaces.

The only thing that is changing is that the direction of STIX and TAXII will now be in the hands of a robust global community committed to its success. We are confident that this transition marks the beginning of an even more vibrant and successful cybersecurity ecosystem built on STIX and TAXII that will yield significant improvements in the overall security of our cyber infrastructure.

July 22, 2015
2:31 pm

Today, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Blue Campaign marks five years of collective effort to end the heinous crime of human trafficking in the United States. During this short period, the DHS Blue Campaign has served as the unified voice for the Department’s efforts to combat human trafficking, bringing together the resources and capabilities across DHS to protect victims and bring traffickers to justice.  Of course, we do not do this alone.  We work closely with our governmental and law enforcement partners, as well as those service providers and non-governmental organizations that work each day to assist victims of human trafficking.  Ending human trafficking in the United States requires the collective resolve of all corners of our nation, and we are grateful to work alongside our committed partners in this effort. 

blue campaign

Blue Campaign Chair Maria Odom, Deputy Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, U.S. Representative Ted Yoho, and White House National Security Council Senior Director Alice Hill participate in the commemoration. Not pictured: U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar.

To date, the DHS Blue Campaign, through DHS components such as the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, and Customs and Border Protection, has provided training to federal human trafficking task forces, more than 10,000 state, local, and campus law enforcement professionals, over 2,000 foreign law enforcement partners, and approximately 50,000 airline employees. These are all professionals on the front lines each day who can help identify victims of human trafficking.

Over the past five years, the Blue Campaign has become a national leader on anti-trafficking training, creating and delivering high quality human trafficking training across the country for federal, state, local, tribal, territorial, and campus law enforcement.  We have teamed up with our public and private sector friends and partners around the country to ensure that important information about human trafficking is being shared with individuals, families, and communities, from truck stops along our nation’s highways all the way to the Super Bowl.  Finally, we have implemented a nationwide public awareness campaign, displaying awareness materials in 13 major U.S. airports; creating and sharing tools for law enforcement, educators, judges, and health care professionals; and airing our Public Service Announcement around the country over 50,000 times.  Our goal is to better equip the American public to recognize and report the indicators of human trafficking.  Just this week, DHS announced a new partnership with South Carolina’s Office of the Attorney General, and we continue to look for more partners in our shared fight to end human trafficking in the United States.

Yesterday, we were privileged to be joined by U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar, U.S. Representative Ted Yoho, White House National Security Council Senior Director Alice Hill, and Blue Campaign Chair Maria Odom, to commemorate the five year milestone of the DHS Blue Campaign at an event in Washington, D.C.

Yesterday’s event was an opportunity to celebrate the Blue Campaign’s fifth anniversary and recognize the hard work of those committed to the fight against human trafficking.  More importantly, however, it was an opportunity to recommit ourselves to this important effort, and chart the course for the next five years of our work.  Attendees participated in small group discussions on private sector outreach, law enforcement training, public awareness, research and technology, and interagency collaboration.

blue campaign

Judge and White House National Security Council Senior Director Alice Hill founded the Blue Campaign in 2010

One important aspect of the work ahead of us will be to implement the recently-enacted Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act.  With passage of this bill, Congress handed to us a powerful tool, requiring that DHS personnel receive training on how to deter, detect, and report instances of potential human trafficking.  Secretary Johnson and I are committed to fulfilling the promise of this new law.  We will do so quickly and comprehensively, and are grateful to our Congressional partners for their unwavering commitment to ending human trafficking in the United States.             

In five years, the DHS Blue Campaign has made great strides in our efforts to combat human trafficking. I am humbled by the great work of the men and women of DHS, and across the government, who combat this terrible crime each day. As we forge ahead, we will continue to expand our growing network of partners, train more law enforcement, further raise public awareness, and ultimately identify and rescue more victims of human trafficking.

There is much more to be done and we cannot do this alone; we need your help. I encourage you to visit www.dhs.gov/bluecampaign to learn more, get involved, and join us in the fight against human trafficking.

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