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June 19, 2015
7:20 pm

Swearing in the newest class of HEROs.

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)

June 19, 2015
4:38 pm

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.

You can learn more about World Refugee Day at the UNHCR website. To learn more about USCIS’ mission to help refugees, visit our Humanitarian page

There are over 16,700,000 refugees worldwide. 960,000 refugees in need of resettlement in 2015. 27 countries resettle and 67% submitted for resettlement resettled in the U.S.. USCIS processed refugees in 56 countries. 61 different nationalities of refugees resettled to the U.S. since FY2015 and less than 1% submitted by UNHCR to third countries for resettlement. World Refugee Day: 606,000 refugees resettled in the U.S. since the inception of the Refugee Corps.

June 12, 2015
7:22 pm

Connecting Survivors with the Assistance they Need

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)

June 12, 2015
5:01 pm

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.

Press conference

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.

Display of detectors

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.

Press Event

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.

Demonstration segment

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.

June 10, 2015
3:27 pm

ICE Photo

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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June 9, 2015
3:51 pm

Caitlin Durkovich
Assistant Secretary, Office of Infrastructure Protection
U.S. Department of Homeland Security

David Michaels
Assistant Secretary, Occupational Safety and Health Administration
U.S. Department of Labor

Mathy Stanislaus
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.

June 9, 2015
12:44 pm

Kathryn Brinsfield, Assistant Secretary for Health Affairs

As part of our mission, the DHS Office of Health Affairs works to ensure that first responders around the nation have the tools, information and resources they need to respond to incidents in their communities. In recent years, improvised explosive device (IED) and active shooter incidents reveal that some traditional practices of first responders need to be realigned and enhanced to improve the survivability of victims and the safety of first responders caring for them. To this end, OHA has drafted and released the “First Responder Guidance for Improving Survivability in Improvised Explosive Device and/or Active Shooter Incidents” to help address this issue.

OHA was supported in this effort by the White House, and partnered with several federal agencies, including the Departments of Defense, Health and Human Services, Justice and Transportation, to develop these recommendations. Based on best practices and lessons learned from civilian and military incidents, this guidance focuses on the medical response to IEDs and/or active shooter incidents with recommendations for hemorrhage control, personal protective equipment, and response and incident management. The recommendations presented will help to save lives by mitigating first responder risk, and improving the emergent and immediate medical management of casualties encountered during IED and/or active shooter incidents.

In February 2014, DHS brought a variety of first responder groups together so that unique solutions and perspectives that work for each community could be discussed and considered for adoption.  Representatives from state and local fire service, law enforcement, emergency medical services, emergency management, and a number of federal organizations participated in subject matter expert presentations, as well as panel and group discussions, on response to IED and active shooter incidents.

I hope that all first responders will find the guidance beneficial and apply pieces of it to their communities.

For more information or to obtain a copy of the guidance, please visit http://www.dhs.gov/publication/iedactive-shooter-guidance-first-responders.

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June 9, 2015
12:33 pm

Today, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) brought together participants from the public and private sectors and academia in Boston for the first Information Sharing and Analysis Organization (ISAO) Workshop. This event provided a forum to discuss potential ISAO models, requirements, and possible limitations. Feedback from this session will be compiled into a Workshop Readout Report that outlines ideas from the workshop’s participants to inform future ISAO standards and best practices. DHS will hold additional ISAO workshops this summer to solicit further feedback from the stakeholder community.

Information Sharing and Analysis Organizations address two key questions raised by the private sector:

  • How can companies share information if they do not fit neatly into the sector-based structure of the existing Information Sharing and Analysis Centers (ISACs)?
  • If a group of companies wants to start an information sharing organization, what model should they follow? What are the best practices for such an organization?

ISAOs will allow companies and other entities to share information with each other on a voluntary basis and to robustly participate in DHS information sharing programs even if they do not fit into an existing critical infrastructure sector.

Over the last few months, DHS has been working to accelerate its cybersecurity information sharing efforts.  We have made significant progress in improving the scale, scope, and speed of information sharing and will continue to provide updates on our various initiatives.

If you are interested in participating in future ISAO Workshops, please contact ISAO@hq.dhs.gov. More information about DHS ISAO efforts and engagements can be located at www.dhs.gov/isao.

May 27, 2015
8:20 am

A U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) employee along with one of our valued partners have been named as recipients of 2015 International Information System Security Certification Consortium, Inc. (ISC)² U.S. Government Information Security Leadership Awards (GISLA). These prestigious awards, presented annually by the ISC², recognize individuals and teams whose initiatives, processes, and projects have significantly improved the security posture of their federal, state, or local department or agency or the Federal Government as a whole.

Office of Cybersecurity and Communications, Continuous Diagnostics and Mitigation (CDM) program manager and requirements and acquisition support branch chief John Simms was awarded the Technology Improvement Award for his innovative approach to rapidly deploy nearly $60 million of CDM tools to 21 agencies through a product-only task order focused on those agencies that could immediately benefit from additional tools. His effort not only supported rapid security improvement for those agencies, but resulted in $26 million in cost avoidance and an average of 30 percent reduction of GSA IT Schedule 70 prices. Through his efforts, John ensured that the critical capabilities necessary to meet emerging cyber threats government-wide were acquired to protect federal networks while saving taxpayer dollars.

The runner-up for the Technology Improvement Award was also from DHS’s Office of Cybersecurity and Communications: Preston Werntz, senior strategist leading the Trusted Automated Exchange of Indicator Information (TAXII) server program. Preston was nominated for leading the TAXII pilot, which tested automated delivery of Structured Threat Information eXpression (STIX) indicators to enable cyber threat information sharing in near-real time.

The CERT Coordinating Center (CERT/CC) Vulnerability Research and Coordination team from the Carnegie Mellon University Software Engineering Institute was awarded the Most Valuable Industry Partner Award. This key partner, who works closely with DHS’s United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT), won the award for pioneering efforts in vulnerability research automation for existing and emerging computing domains. Their efforts have significantly improved the larger US-CERT mission of improving information security and providing value to industry partners.

Finally, DHS’s Industrial Control Systems Cyber Emergency Response Team (ICS-CERT) was the runner-up for the Community Awareness Award for their Action Campaign to educate partners about two cyber exploitation campaigns caused by Black Energy and Havex malware.

Congratulations to John, Preston, the ICS-CERT team and our partners who were well-represented among the 2015 GISLA winners and finalists. These awards are a testament to the excellent and important work our employees across the Department do every day to improve the cybersecurity posture of the entire Federal Government and enhance the security of our Nation’s critical networks.

May 22, 2015
2:59 pm

Celebrating the U.S. Coast Guard Academy class of 2015

Celebrating the U.S. Coast Guard Academy class of 2015. This year’s commencement speaker was President Barack Obama. As one of the smallest of the five federal service academies, the Coast Guard Academy offers a quality higher education experience that emphasizes leadership, physical fitness and professional development. Cadets devote themselves to an honor concept and go directly into positions of leadership in service to others.

Photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Patrick Kelley  |  Download High-Resolution Image (960x640)

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