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October 25, 2010
1:55 pm
New Jersey Fusion Center
Secretary Janet Napolitano’s speech today to the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) in Orlando, Fla., is a good opportunity to update the American public on the important role that state and major urban area fusion centers are playing in keeping our country safe.

Fusion centers grew out of a recommendation of the 9/11 Commission, which found that the federal government had no systematic way for sharing information and intelligence with state and local governments.

Today, we have a national network of 72 recognized fusion centers – one in every state and 22 in major urban areas – and, with Department of Homeland Security support, they are being woven into the national and homeland security fabric of the United States.

What does that mean for the American people? It means you now have a dedicated and well-trained group of men and women in your own communities, working with DHS, FBI, and other federal partners, to keep your police officers, firefighters, public health and safety officials, and other first responders informed about terrorist, criminal, and other homeland security threats.

The DHS Office of Intelligence and Analysis, where I serve, takes information and intelligence from across DHS and the national Intelligence Community, processes and analyzes it, and then shares it with the fusion centers, often in joint products with the FBI. The fusion centers then disseminate it to the some 18,000 state, local, tribal, and territorial law enforcement organizations, and to thousands more first responders throughout the country. They also support the FBI-led Joint Terrorism Task Forces in their terrorism investigations.

Conversely, fusion centers provide the federal government with critical information and subjectmatter expertise from the state and local level, enabling the effective communication of locally-generated information about terrorism back to Washington.

Fusion centers have already proven their value in countering terrorist attacks. For example, they played important roles in the case of the attempted Times Square bombing by Faisal Shahzad and the plot to bomb New York subways by Najibullah Zazi.

DHS is working with each center to improve its baseline level of operational capability. Through the use of grant funding, each center is expected to achieve and maintain the capacity to receive and share threat-related information generated by the federal government, as well as the capacity to gather, assess, analyze, and share suspicious activity reports generated by local law enforcement and the private sector. These same baseline capabilities also ensure that fusion centers establish and maintain privacy and civil liberty protections.

In addition, the DHS Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, and the DHS Privacy Office, provide privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties training to all DHS intelligence officers before they deploy to the fusion centers, and support the training of all fusion center personnel nationwide.

Secretary Napolitano has talked about how our homeland security begins with hometown security.  Fusion centers are vitally important tools for keeping both our home towns, and our homeland, safe.

Bart R. Johnson
Principal Deputy Under Secretary for Intelligence and Analysis
Department of Homeland Security
Published by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Washington, D.C.
October 6, 2010
12:00 pm
Dentro de unas horas, la secretaria Janet Napolitano se sumará a John Morton, director del Servicio de Inmigración y Control de Aduanas de Estados Unidos (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement o ICE), para anunciar datos récord sobre los esfuerzos del gobierno del Presidente Obama por velar por el cumplimiento de las leyes del inmigración, entre ellos un número sin precedente de deportaciones de criminales extranjeros y de extranjeros en general en el año fiscal 2010, lo que refleja la atención de este gobierno a medidas sensatas y eficaces de aplicación de las leyes de inmigración que les dan prioridad a la deportación de los criminales extranjeros que representan una amenaza para la seguridad nacional o pública.

Específicamente, en el año fiscal 2010, el ICE alcanzó un récord en deportaciones en general de extranjeros ilegales, con más de 392,000 deportaciones en todo el país, la mitad de las cuales, más de 195,000, fueron de extranjeros criminales que representan una amenaza para la seguridad pública de la comunidad estadounidense.

En comparación con el año fiscal 2008, los récords del año fiscal 2010 representan un incremento de más de 23,000 deportaciones en general y 81,000 deportaciones de criminales, un aumento de más de 70 por ciento en deportaciones de extranjeros criminales con relación al gobierno previo.

Hemos alcanzado dichos logros al expandir el programa de Comunidades Seguras (Secure Communities), que usa información y servicios biométricos para identificar y deportar a extranjeros criminales en prisiones estatales y cárceles locales, y centrar nuestros esfuerzos por velar por el cumplimiento de la ley en los centros de trabajo en los empleadores que contratan a trabajadores ilegales a sabiendas y repetidamente. En pocas palabras, hemos cambiado fundamentalmente la estrategia del gobierno federal hacia las medidas para velar por el cumplimiento de las leyes de inmigración, y el anuncio de hoy demuestra que estamos obteniendo resultados concretos.

Matt Chandler, Secretario Adjunto de Prensa
Published by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Washington, D.C.
Category: En Español
October 6, 2010
12:00 pm
In a few hours, Secretary Janet Napolitano will join U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Director John Morton to announce record-breaking immigration enforcement statistics achieved under the Obama administration—including unprecedented numbers of criminal alien removals and overall alien removals in fiscal year 2010—reflecting this administration’s focus on smart and effective immigration enforcement that prioritizes criminal aliens who pose a national security or public safety threat.

Specifically, in fiscal year 2010, ICE set a record for overall removals of illegal aliens, with more than 392,000 removals nationwide—half of which, more than 195,000, were criminal aliens who pose a public safety threat to American communities.

The fiscal year 2010 records represent increases of more than 23,000 removals overall and 81,000 criminal removals compared to fiscal year 2008—a more than 70 percent increase in removal of criminal aliens from the previous administration.

We've achieved these milestones by expanding the Secure Communities initiative—which uses biometric information and services to identify and remove criminal aliens in state prisons and local jails—and focusing our worksite enforcement efforts on employers who knowingly and repeatedly hire illegal labor. In short, we’ve fundamentally changed the federal government's approach to immigration enforcement, and, as today's announcement demonstrates, we’re getting real results.

Matt Chandler, Deputy Press Secretary
Published by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Washington, D.C.
September 13, 2010
5:14 pm
By: FPS Inspector Glen Patrick
Explosive Detector Dog (EDD) teams, also known as K9 teams, are an integral part of any law enforcement organization. We rely on K9 sensibilities to swiftly identify and address threats—with accuracy, and importantly, mobility, that rivals even the most updated technology available. As the law enforcement agency responsible for the protection of over 9,000 federal facilities, the Federal Protective Service (FPS) routinely uses EDD teams to perform “sweeps” to ensure areas are clear of explosives. Whether we are clearing the perimeter for a national political convention or working with bomb technicians to respond to a suspicious package, FPS draws from its force of law enforcement officers, physical security personnel, and K9s to ensure the safety of the American public in and around federal facilities.

Federal facilities have always been attractive targets for criminals and terrorists. Many of these facilities house critical U.S. government functions, or are iconic American landmarks. With such an important protection mission, FPS is always searching for innovative solutions to stay ahead of those that would do harm in today’s dynamic threat environment.

Since the integration of EDD teams to FPS’ repertoire of security services, the agency has seen faster response times and broader impact to improving national security. There is no technology out there today that can search areas for explosives as fast and reliably as a K9. Our K9 teams can sweep areas and unattended items, and if cleared, they can get facilities back up and running with minimal disruption.

FPS Inspectors Glen Patrick and Will Turner with K9s Sasha and Rita.
The growing popularity and demand of FPS’ EDD program has allowed us to look at ways to grow the program with more skills and capabilities. We have recently added to a special K9 detection skill called Vapor Wake Detection (VWD). FPS VWD teams are made of K9 and handlers that are trained to detect bomb parts that are carried by a moving target. This means that we can detect explosives in more scenarios – from those placed in stationary locations like an office and vehicles, to those that are moving targets, such as those carried in bags or packages and by visitors.

K9s bring great success to FPS operations because they are adaptive to changing environments and interact well with human elements, including their handlers and the general public. FPS works daily to balance the tasks of achieving comprehensive security and ensuring convenient access of the public to services housed by federal facilities. FPS K9 teams are a seamless solution to this challenge because K9 presence is an effective deterrent to those that would do harm—in part because they are such a popular and effective means to detect explosive components everywhere.

Today, EDD teams are the most effective way to detect explosives, and FPS continues to make this service available widely by partnering with federal, state, and local officials.
Published by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Washington, D.C.
September 8, 2010
6:26 am

What We Talk About When We Talk About Preparedness

 Prepare. Plan. Stay Informed.
Every year during the month of September, the team—along with the entire Department—direct their energies toward building the preparedness of all Americans. What do we mean by preparedness? Simply put: to strengthen our defenses against emergencies of all kinds.

Simple steps you take to prepare yourself for emergency situations will help you stay calm when faced with a crisis, and help you recover faster should disaster strike.

Regardless of your family's preparedness level, is a great resource for getting started or learning more about ways to protect yourself. And if you're looking for a forum to share ideas and best practices, join the National Dialogue on Preparedness and share your ideas with the Local, State, Tribal, and Federal Preparedness Task Force.

Established at the direction of Congress, this task force was directed to take stock of the numerous efforts that have shaped preparedness policy, guidance, and investments since 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina, and to find ways to ensure that similar efforts in the future are efficient, streamlined and measurable.

We’re counting on your thoughts and ideas about the state of national preparedness to help inform the Task Force and their report to Congress.

So log in and submit your ideas ---the dialogue closes on September 10 – and join the many Americans that have already weighed in and played their part.
Published by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Washington, D.C.
August 26, 2010
4:59 pm
Written by: John Morton, Director, United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)

Too often, political posturing rather than facts dominates the debate surrounding immigration. But when you look at the facts, including record-breaking statistics, our record shows this Administration is serious about sensible and tough enforcement.

Let’s start with the facts. As required by federal law, one of Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) primary missions is to remove illegal aliens from this country. Under this Administration, ICE has focused its efforts on removing criminal aliens, recent border entrants, and immigration fugitives. The results have been unprecedented. Last fiscal year, ICE removed a record 389,000 illegal aliens from the United States, 136,000 of whom were criminals. So far this fiscal year, we have removed a record 170,000 criminals and have placed more people—criminal and non-criminal--in immigration proceedings than ever before.

The recent expansion of Secure Communities, which uses biometrics to identify criminal aliens in local jails and prisons, has significantly increased the number of criminal aliens subject to removal. To ensure these individuals who have been convicted of crimes such as assault, arson, drug trafficking, burglary, drunk-driving, do not pose further danger to our communities, ICE has implemented a policy to expedite the removal of convicted criminal aliens and ensure these cases are prioritized by our courts. Simply put, this is a common sense solution to ensure convicted criminal aliens are not released into our communities and address the record backlogs cases our courts currently have pending.
Published by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Washington, D.C.
August 26, 2010
1:29 pm

Cross-posted from The USCG Blog.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Written by: LTJG Stephanie Young

This week marks the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Coast Guard response operations in the aftermath of the storm surpassed that of any previous response with a total of 33,545 persons saved.

AST2 Faulkner oral history video

Click the above image to see a video account of just one of AST2 Faulkner's heroic rescues.

Aviation Survival Technician 2nd Class (AST2) Sara Faulkner joined the Coast Guard to save lives. As a rescue swimmer in Hurricane Katrina she did just that—52 times.

As Hurricane Katrina approached Florida as a Category 1 hurricane, then AST3 Sara Faulkner was deployed with an aircrew to Air Station Jacksonville in advance of the storm.

The aircrew waited on edge watching weather reports come in, when unexpectedly, the storm changed course. The suspense was broken by a phone call, ordering the aircrew to report back to Aviation Training Center Mobile – immediately.

Flying through the tail end of the hurricane, the HH-65 Dolphin helicopter and crew flew into the harsh conditions of the storm back to their home base. Upon arrival, a fresh aircrew jumped into the helicopter and took off. Faulkner and the aircrew, weighed with anticipation, were told to get rest, as they would be deployed without delay.

She reported to the air station the next morning, before the sun was up. As missions were being flown across dozens of gulf coast towns, her first mission was over Biloxi.

Her anticipation turned instantly to shock as the aircraft took off and she saw the destruction left behind from the violent hurricane.
"You could see the devastation already," said Faulkner. "You could see where winds had ripped the buildings completely apart. You saw buildings pulled out to sea. Mansions were gone and concrete slabs with stairs led to nothing."

As they arrived on scene, Faulkner's senses were heightened. Her ability to hear became critical due to distractions from the radios of at least ten helicopters flying around. Adding to the sheer volume of noise, her eyes became sharper as there was debris as far as she could see.

A dolphin helicopter hoists a rescue swimmer and survivor

An HH-65 Dolphin helicopter hoists a rescue swimmer and Katrina survivor to safety. This rescue was just one of the thousands that occurred in the Coast Guard's response and recovery efforts.

"There was clothing hanging in trees so you would think it was a person," said Faulkner. "But when we would fly over it, we would just end up seeing a sweatshirt or an item of clothing, and not people."
From the back of the helicopter, Faulkner and the flight mechanic heard a faint mumble. Looking at each other simultaneously, they knew they heard the word "mayday."

Amongst the flooded town, a yacht had been spotted, surrounded by residential homes and debris.
There were three women aboard the yacht. After their home flooded, they swam amongst the debris looking for shelter. Two were in their 50s, and the third was the mother of the two, in her 80s. Having no familiarity with marine radios they started pressing buttons – miraculously it worked.

One of the women was rescued by the local sheriffs boat, and two were rescued by the aircrew. As the two women were hoisted into the helicopter, their struggle with the storm was evident.

"All of their wounds were already infected," said Faulkner. "The mother was a diabetic and she was going into shock."

As a rescue swimmer and qualified EMT, Faulkner was able to treat the women before they were flown to safety.

Five years later, as an AST2 at Air Station Clearwater, Faulkner is still able to vividly recall what that first rescue meant to her.

"I joined the Coast Guard to be a rescue swimmer and save lives and it was on such a large scale," said Faulkner. "It was ugly at times and bad, but I was just glad to be there to help in any way I could."

Although this first rescue stands out in Faulkner's mind, the women Faulkner and the aircrew rescued that day were just a few of the thousands of rescues the men and women of the U.S. Coast Guard performed.

To read more about the men and women who were a part of the response and recovery missions related to Katrina visit here. To hear about another rescue Faulkner was part of, click here to watch a video of her performing her first balcony rescue.

Published by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Washington, D.C.
August 24, 2010
5:42 pm
Teresa Lustig, Program Manager, Science & Technology Directorate

We are up in Boston this week conducting a rather interesting experiment in the subway system. A team of scientific researchers, led by the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Science & Technology Directorate, are releasing plumes of gas and particle tracers in the tunnels of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA), known in Boston as “the T”, subway system that covers a good part of the Boston metropolitan area. The gases and particulates are harmless, of course, but can be easily detected by our sensitive equipment. More importantly, they can replicate how more harmful airborne substances could spread through the tunnels and, ultimately, the city above.

It’s a bit different from the way people usually think of the S&T Directorate. Most of the time folks think of us as trying out some new gadget designed to help DHS’s operational components and the nation’s first responders to be safer, faster, or more efficient. Well, we do that kind of stuff too, but it’s these knowledge products that can make a real difference.

What we learn from this experiment will, we hope, help our partners in law enforcement to establish response plans and make operational decisions in the face of an intentional or accidental release of nasty chemicals or biological agents. This could even help in local response to less-catastrophic events, such as dealing with smoke, fuel spills or other everyday chemicals.

The data we collect will help us determine where to place sensors and detection devices that can serve as rapid warning in the event of an incident. With a better understanding of the airflow dynamics that take place in underground tunnel systems, we can also apply what we learn to the development of new detection devices. The S&T Directorate has several programs working on devices for chemical, biological, radiological, and explosives detection.

This is actually the second series of such tests in “the T”. Last December, we and our partners from MBTA Transit Police, Argonne National Laboratory (ANL), Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory of the United Kingdom, the Chemistry Centre of Western Australia and our technology vendor conducted the same type of experiment amidst cold, snowy winter weather. This week’s comparative test during the hot, humid summer will show us how temperature, humidity and other weather factors influence the movement of airborne material.

This project, funded by S&T’s Chemical & Biological Division, is all part of the Department’s ongoing commitment to preparedness and helping to protect the nation’s critical infrastructure. Boston’s subway system is one of the oldest in the country. It was built in stages over generations, so has a variety of train cars and rail configurations. Conversely, Washington DC’s Metro system is one of the newer subways in the nation. We have conducted similar system-wide studies there in previous years. By looking at the data we collect from the two vastly different systems, we can apply what we learn to other subways systems across the nation and to our international partners—all in the effort to keep travelers safe.
Published by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Washington, D.C.
August 17, 2010
2:10 pm
Circuit BoardAs part of the sixth annual GFIRST conference, the National Cyber Security Division's (NCSD) Federal Network Security (FNS) branch is launching a more robust online resource for its partners.  The new web pages on explain FNS' authorities for building and executing a cohesive approach to reducing cybersecurity risks to Federal Executive Branch Agency networks and systems.

The GFIRST Conference, which takes place August 15-20, is the only event that brings together incident responders and cybersecurity professionals to exchange information and share best practices about the most critical security issues affecting the nation’s cyber infrastructure.  This year’s conference, in San Antonio, Texas, is being held in conjunction with the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center's annual meeting, as well at the InfraGard 2010 National Congress meeting.

Visit the website today and explore these vital programs in greater depth:
Published by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Washington, D.C.
August 5, 2010
5:01 pm
Cross-posted from The USCG Blog.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010
Written by: LT Connie Braesch
President Barack Obama

President Barack Obama phone call in the Oval Office to Admiral Robert J. Papp, Commandant of the Coast Guard, in recognition of the Coast Guard's 220th birthday, Aug. 4, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Today is a special day for our nation. As the Coast Guard celebrates its birthday, so does the President of the United States, Barack Obama.

The President honored the Coast Guard men and women stationed across the Gulf Coast, the nation and the world with a phone call and letter thanking them for the valued service they provide to the American public.

During the phone call, President Obama said:

Admiral Papp participates in a phone call from President Obama.

Admiral Robert J. Papp, Commandant of the Coast Guard, participates in a phone call from President Obama to wish Coast Guard men and women a happy 220th birthday. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Daniel Bender)

“I know that everybody within ear shot has been working extraordinarily hard. Not just to protect and clean up the Gulf but to help keep America safe and secure each and every day. I want all of you to know that I stand with you, as I stand with the Gulf communities, even as you continue the critical mission that you are on but also over the long term until the people of the Gulf have fully recovered from this most recent disaster.

It is a great privilege to share a birthday with the Coast Guard. I am full of admiration for the courage and the dedication and the hard work that each of you do.

I, obviously, am especially looking forward to celebrating sometime this month having finally killed the BP well and gotten the relief well completed. But, I want everybody to know that we could not have done this without you. We still have a lot of work to do. We’re going to need to recover fully in the Gulf and that’s going to take all the efforts of the Coast Guard. We still have a hurricane season ahead of us, which is going to involve all of you in one capacity or another.

Just know that your Commander in Chief is proud of you, the nation is proud of you, and we are very very appreciative of your service.

Happy Birthday Coast Guard and, again, it is a great privilege to share a birthday with you.”

President Obama's letter to the Coast Guard

President Obama's birthday letter to the Coast Guard. Click the photo to see the full-size document.

Published by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Washington, D.C.


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