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July 20, 2015
12:40 pm

“We express our condolences to the families of those members of the United States Marine Corps who were killed.”

Following the incident in Chattanooga, Tennessee last week, Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson Expressed his condolences and the condolences of the Department of Homeland Secuirty to the families of the members of the Marine Corps who were killed. Secretary Johnson also stated that the department was increasing security at certain federal facilities out of, an abundance of caution.  The safety and security of this nation and its people is the highest priority of this Department. You can read Secretary Johnson’s full statement here.

Deputy Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas joined the L.A. Dodgers to celebrate Cuban American Heritage night, throwing out the first pitch at last Sunday night’s baseball game. Originally from Havana, the Deputy Secretary is the highest ranking Cuban-American official currently serving in the Obama Administration. While in LA, Deputy Secretary Mayorkas met with DHS employees to express his thanks for their continued hard work and dedication in defense of the nation.

On July 14-16, Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Mayorkas traveled to Israel.  He met with his counterparts in the Israeli government to discuss many  homeland security issues including cybersecurity, law enforcement cooperation, immigration, and aviation security. During his meetings, Deputy Secretary Mayorkas underscored the importance of working with Israel to address shared security challenges and reiterated the Department’s commitment to improving aviation security and to sharing information with international law enforcement and our counterterrorism allies to ensure collective global security. On July 16, Deputy Secretary Mayorkas participated in a signing ceremony in Tel Aviv to promote cooperation on cybersecurity with Israel and joint cyber research and development.

On July 17-18, Deputy Secretary Mayorkas continued his overseas trip, with a visit to Stockholm. Deputy Secretary Mayorkas met with Swedish counterparts to discuss potentially expanding U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Preclearance operations to Stockholm Arlanda Airport. He also highlighted  the continued importance of working together with partner nations, like Sweden, to strengthen our security cooperation while facilitating lawful trade and travel.

On Tuesday the 14th, Secretary Johnson testified in a hearing entitled “Oversight of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security” before the House Committee on the Judiciary in Washington, D.C.

Secretary Johnson on Thursday traveled to Chicago on Thursday to meet with local community leaders to discuss the Department’s efforts with local law enforcement to keep communities safe.

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July 18, 2015
6:40 am

Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security joined the Los Angeles Dodger to celebrate Cuban Heritage Day

PHOTO OF THE WEEK: Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security joined the Los Angeles Dodgers to celebrate Cuban Heritage Day on Sunday at the Dodgers Stadium, where he threw out the ceremonial first pitch. Born in Havana, Mayorkas and his family fled Cuba as political refugees, eventually resettling in Los Angeles.

Photo courtesy of the Los Angeles Dodgers’ official photographer Jon Soo Hoo | Download High-Resolution Image (1190 x 1488)

July 13, 2015
11:55 am

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) began last week by honoring the U.S. Secret Service’s 150th anniversary. On July 5, 1865, the Secret Service was created by President Abraham Lincoln. DHS celebrated the Secret Service’s history of heroic service with a 150th Anniversary Reception and a congratulatory video message from Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson.

This week, Secretary Johnson also welcomed former U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) Vice Commandant Peter Neffenger as the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Administrator on Monday, July 6 during a ceremonial swearing in ceremony.. TSA Administrator Neffenger was officially sworn in on Saturday, July 4.

Another important DHS event this week occurred on Thursday, July 8, when Secretary Johnson delivered remarks entitled “Securing the .gov” at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. During his remarks, Secretary Johnson discussed the role of DHS in promoting national cybersecurity, both within government agencies and the private sector, and called on Congress to pass more extensive cyber legislation. He additionally focused on the issue of increasing cybersecurity while maintaining established freedoms, saying, “Cybersecurity must also be a balance between the basic security of online information and the ability to communicate with and benefit from the networked world.”

Also on Thursday, July 8, Secretary Johnson and Deputy Secretary Mayorkas met with members of the American Jewish Community in Washington D.C. They engaged in a roundtable discussion to envision collective approaches to countering violent extremism and later emphasized the Department’s priority of collaborating with local leaders to safeguard communities.

July 10, 2015
1:30 pm

U.S. Secret Service Director Joseph P. Clancy and Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh C. Johnson pause to reflect on the heroic actions of our Secret Service men and women lost in the line of duty

PHOTO OF THE WEEK: U.S. Secret Service Director Joseph P. Clancy and Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh C. Johnson pause to reflect on the heroic actions of our Secret Service men and women lost in the line of duty,  during the Secret Service Day of Remembrance Memorial Ceremony at the National Law Enforcement Officers  Memorial. This week, the Secret Service is celebrating its 150th anniversary of tradition and service to the nation.

Official DHS photo by Jetta Disco | Download High-Resolution Image (3936 x 2624)

July 9, 2015
4:33 pm

Recently, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has advanced several cybersecurity information sharing initiatives to help the private sector better secure itself against cyber threats. We’ve hosted an Information Sharing and Analysis Organization (ISAO) Workshop in Boston, June 9, expanded our Enhanced Cybersecurity Services (ECS) program, grown our Cyber Information Sharing and Collaboration Program (CISCP), and we’re deploying near-real-time information sharing capabilities. As exciting as these activities are, I’d like to step back to first principles and discuss why information sharing is so important. I will then explain how our information sharing programs work together to help our private sector customers achieve a common goal. 

Right now, our cybersecurity cost model is broken. Adversaries can often use the same attack against thousands of entities. It’s cheap for them to use the same tool and keep trying until they succeed. And eventually, they do. However, if the first targeted organization shares the identifying characteristics of the attack with all of its partners, who in turn share with their partners, even if the adversary’s first attack was successful, the rest of its targets will have the knowledge they need to protect themselves. In this model, the adversary must craft a unique attack method for each target and will experience significantly higher costs that may be unsustainable for all but the most sophisticated adversaries.

To achieve this goal, information must be shared widely and quickly. DHS is moving forward to make progress in both of these areas. We recently convened our first ISAO workshop, where participants from the private sector, academia, and government shared ideas and opinions about the challenges and opportunities associated with the creation of ISAOs. This perspective and input will be valuable as we implement Executive Order 13691: Promoting Private Sector Cybersecurity Information Sharing in the coming months.

ISAOs will allow organizations, regardless of what sector they fall under, to join together and share cybersecurity information with each other and DHS. As a result, ISAOs will significantly increase the breadth of the information sharing ecosystem. Cyber threat information will reach a far greater number of organizations, decreasing the likelihood that a single attack method will succeed against multiple targets.

Speed is equally as important as scale. If we can only share cyber threat information after the adversary has compromised an organization, we have not succeeded. Therefore, we are moving quickly to deploy Automated Indicator Sharing, which will allow organizations to share and receive cyber threat indicators in near- real-time, formatted to be used immediately for network defense (in a format known as STIX/TAXII). With Automated Indicator Sharing, cyber threat information can be shared and applied to network defenses before the adversary can launch an attack. Right now, the best way for an organization to participate in Automated Indicator Sharing is by joining our Cyber Information Sharing and Collaboration Program (CISCP). Along with Automated Indicator Sharing, CISCP provides participating companies with a number of other benefits, including analyst-to-analyst collaborations, detailed technical bulletins, and in-depth information exchanges.

Our goal at DHS is for all U.S. companies to participate in near-real-time information sharing, either directly or through an ISAO, to better protect their networks. Working together, we will make progress toward achieving this goal and reversing the cybersecurity cost model so that defenders move more quickly than our adversaries.

July 8, 2015
5:48 pm

This week, the U.S. Secret Service celebrates 150 years of service to the nation. Initially created by President Abraham Lincoln in 1865 to investigate counterfeit currency, the Secret Service mission has expanded to the protection of U.S. and visiting foreign leaders, as well as the U.S. financial system.

Secretary Johnson commemorated the Secret Service’s anniversary and its storied history at a reception on July 7, where he recognized the agency as the finest protection service in the world.  But for Secretary Johnson, his appreciation goes even further – as a Secret Service protectee, he is with them 24/7, and he views these dedicated men and women as members of his family.

To express his congratulations and gratitude, Secretary Johnson issued this video message. To the men and women of the Secret Service, he says, “You have my back, and I have yours.”

July 7, 2015
10:32 am

Last week, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) activities converged on an honorable theme: commemorating Independence Day through service to our nation. Throughout the week, DHS components and employees incorporated the spirit of Independence Day into their efforts, continued to carry out the unwavering DHS mission to protect the U.S., and reflected on how their service contributes to the success of our nation.

Beginning on Wednesday, July 1, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) held special naturalization ceremonies at iconic landmarks across the nation in honor of Independence Day. The more than 50 naturalization ceremonies culminated in a final July 4th ceremony at George Washington’s historic Mount Vernon. USCIS Director León Rodriguez delivered remarks, and was featured as the DHS Photo of the Week. In total, more than 4,000 citizenship candidates experienced their first Independence Day as new U.S. citizens this week, and many shared their heartfelt moments using the hashtag #newUScitizen on social media. Check out photos on USCIS’s Facebook page.

In the spirit of Independence Day, we asked DHS employees to reflect on why they servethe Department and the Nation. Many employees volunteered to share their stories leading to service and the inspiration that continues to motivate their patriotic efforts each day. You can read about Kevin Rankin of the Federal Protective Service,  Veronica Cruz Chacon of the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA), Gabriella Marino of the DHS Management Directorate, Kamryn Jaroszewski of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), Ivette and Anthony Maniece of the U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP). We are inspired by the selfless dedication and service of our men and women. Learn more about why #DHSServes here.

Finally, in an expression of our nation’s values, DHS announced a heightened effort to help some of the most vulnerable people in the U.S.: victims of human trafficking. The DHS Blue Campaign - the Department-wide effort to fight human trafficking - is further developing its public awareness messages to increase national understanding and reporting of the crime. New messages will inform travelers passing through major airports, truck stops, and motorist gas stations throughout the U.S. about the signs of human trafficking and how to contact law enforcement to help potential victims.

July 7, 2015
9:44 am

Submit a FOIA request anytime, anywhere

I am pleased to announce the release of a new mobile application to further simplify and enhance the process for submitting Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. The Department of Homeland Security is committed to transparency and accountability and the eFOIA app is the latest in a series of efforts that the DHS Privacy Office has taken to help modernize FOIA processes and improve the customer experience. In fact, this is the first FOIA mobile app in the entire Federal Government.

Using their mobile devices, requesters can now submit requests and check the status of existing requests anyplace, anytime.

eFOIA Mobile AppKey features of the new eFOIA app will allow users to:

  • Submit a FOIA request to any DHS Component
  • Check the status of FOIA requests
  • Access all of the content on the FOIA website, including the FOIA Library
  • Receive updates, changes to events--such as stakeholder meetings/conference calls held by the Department, and recently published documents

DHS receives the largest number of FOIA requests of any federal agency, and produces the largest number of responses. We are continually working to improve our FOIA program by deploying advanced technology both for submitting and processing requests. These efforts include an improved online FOIA submission form, as well as a recently launched online check status capability.

As a result of these efforts, we are starting to see a steady reduction in the FOIA backlog.  Since the beginning of Fiscal Year 2015, DHS has reduced its FOIA backlog by 20 percent, from 103,480 to 82,324 as of July 1, 2015.

The DHS Privacy Office created the eFOIA app in partnership with the DHS Office of the Chief Information Officer.

The free app is currently available for all Apple and Android devices.

Android App on Google PlayAvailable on the Apple App Store

July 6, 2015
6:46 am

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Director León Rodriguez speaks to attendees at a naturalization ceremony at George Washington’s Mount Vernon. Congratulations to each New U.S. Citizen, and happy Independence Day!

naturalization ceremony

Official photo by Jetta Disco |  Download High-Resolution Photo (6016 x 4016)

Categories: Immigration and Citizenship Services

July 4, 2015
10:28 am

This week, we’ve celebrated Independence Day by highlighting the dedicated service to our nation of employees from across the Department. Many employees volunteered first-hand accounts from about why they serve. Here is a short compilation. Happy Independence Day!

DHS Serves

  • It is extremely rewarding when you can not only assist a community but to teach them moving forward… I honestly feel like not only am I making a difference, but that I leave a community more resilient than when I arrived. – James Blais, FEMA
  • The simple reason is to give back and protect those at home… and to enjoy the freedoms often taken for granted with my friends, family, and peers. – John Carnegis, FEMA
  • I serve to prepare Americans for disasters in a way that is simple, timely, digital and accessible for everyone! – Jana Baldwin, FEMA
  • Every day I go to work knowing that what I do helps responders prepare for disasters, local emergencies and day to day operations. – Douglas Kahn, FEMA
  • I serve because I know that, at any given time, I will be helping someone rebuild their life and recover from devastation and mayhem… my career and passion is to serve, help, respond to and support our fellow citizens. – LaKeisha Brown, FEMA
  • I served our nation by helping to protect as an active duty military member for twenty years…. and I was again honored to serve in a civilian capacity for DHS by training our nation’s law enforcement professionals as digital forensic crime scene investigators. – Preston Farley, FLETC
  • I enjoy telling stories about the people of our agency and how their hard work and commitment impacts public safety every day. – Richard Rocha, ICE
  • I’m proud of the work I do… improving the effectiveness and efficiency of DHS operations and fulfilling our vision, which, in turn, helps uphold the public’s trust in government to do what is right. – Jim Crumpacker, MGMT
  • As a native New Yorker who grew up in the vicinity of ground zero, the horrible events of 9/11 are personal to me. This department is entrusted with great responsibilities to protect the homeland and I serve in my role to try to ensure that we don’t see a repeat of that awful day. – Brian Chu, MGMT
  • Public service is in my blood…I help protect precious resources so that every American can enjoy clean air, water and preserved history and culture for generations to come. – Heather Batson, NPPD
  • I’m proud of the strong partnerships and capabilities we have built and how together we are defending the systems that enable the American way of life. – Mark Bristow, NPPD
  • I was drawn to the DHS commitment to accountability and transparency. – Robert Davis, NPPD
  • I serve to enable our cyberspace defenses to have an increased understanding of the entire threat to U.S. network systems. – Deanne Harwood, NPPD
  • After serving 24 years in the Army, I decided to continue to serve, protect our freedom and defend our nation. – Ed Hotin, NPPD
  • I am proud to serve, research, collaborate, share information, and efforts to help my division collect and support the DHS mission. – Custrina Reeves, NPPD
  • Having the capacity to contribute to the safety and security of my country is an honorable task which gives me a great sense of purpose and pride. I serve at DHS because I can make a difference!  – Latousha Leslie, OHA
  • It makes me proud to be doing something significant in service to the community, to my family and friends, and to the USA. – Gary Warkentin, OHA
  • Public service is patriotism in action, executed daily. – Mary Hanson, S&T
  • I serve because S&T provides the ability to work with a broad range of skilled and committed homeland security practitioners. – John Price, S&T
  • I serve because I'm able to put to work all the knowledge and experience I gained during my Department of Defense days to help protect our Homeland Security Enterprise. – Sonja Rodriquez, S&T
  • I serve to ensure that people have access to a country where freedom reigns and physical safety is prioritized. – Adesulu Adewole, USCIS
  • Working for an agency that enables immigrants to become citizens is personally rewarding, and to see their faces when they are told that they are now U.S. citizens is very moving. – Anne Snaidman, USCIS

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