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Testimony of Bart R. Johnson, Acting Under Secretary for Intelligence and Analysis before the Subcommittee on Intelligence, Information Sharing, and Terrorism Risk Assessment on "I&A Reconceived: Defining a Homeland Security Intelligence Role"

Release Date: 
September 24, 2009

Cannon House Office Building
(Remarks as Prepared)

Introduction

Chair Harman, Ranking Member McCaul, and distinguished Members of the Subcommittee, thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today to discuss the new strategic vision for the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) Office of Intelligence and Analysis (I&A), and our recent efforts to align its intelligence and information sharing functions to advance the mission of the Department.  I am pleased to report our progress to you. 

On May 18, 2009, I was honored to be appointed the Principal Deputy Under Secretary for I&A by Secretary Janet Napolitano, and am currently serving in the capacity of Acting Under Secretary and Chief Intelligence Officer (CINT) for DHS.  In the 16 weeks since my appointment, I&A has made great strides in supporting the Secretary's priorities and further developing a robust, integrated intelligence capability for the Department.

During my short time in this position, I have benefited greatly from many meetings and exchanges with you, distinguished Members of this Subcommittee, and other Members of Congress.  I was especially pleased to appear before this Subcommittee in June to discuss the President's Fiscal Year 2010 budget request for DHS I&A.  During that hearing, and in follow-up discussions, I gained invaluable insights into Congress' perspective on the challenges and opportunities facing I&A.

DHS I&A was established to meet the critical homeland security intelligence and information needs of customers not previously recognized as stakeholders by the national intelligence hierarchy – our state, local, tribal and private sector partners.  We are still a maturing organization, developing relationships with new customers, and doing so in a field that was virtually nonexistent before Sept. 11, 2001.  We have much work ahead of us as we continue to improve and perfect our performance. 

Since I came on board, I&A has started laying the groundwork for future success by assessing its efforts and adjusting, as warranted, to successes, failures, and changing circumstances.  This continuous process will be a hallmark of the organization for the foreseeable future.  I&A's partnership with the Congress has helped facilitate these refinements, enabling innovation and optimizing the organizational structure to best fulfill I&A's broad mission responsibilities.  In addition, I am committed to ensuring that all of I&A's efforts protect the privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties of our citizens.  
Today, I will highlight the critical steps I&A has taken to incorporate congressional insights into I&A's refocused way-ahead, as well as provide details on our progress to date.  While this strategic vision does not comprise a detailed strategic plan for I&A, a formal strategic plan is being developed and will be forthcoming.  I&A senior leadership has made significant progress in bolstering I&A's focus and efficacy.  It is my main priority to expand upon those successes.  I&A senior leadership, including myself, will be accountable for meeting the benchmarks in the strategic plan so that Congress will be able to assess our progress. 

The I&A Strategic Vision

As Secretary Napolitano has publicly stated, the number one responsibility of the Department is combating terrorism.  This is the main reason Congress created DHS, combining the missions, functions and personnel of 22 legacy agencies into one Department.  To that end, the primary mission of I&A is to be the recipient of information and developer of intelligence, in coordination with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and other interagency partners, providing first preventers with the situational awareness needed to prevent a terrorist plot.  I&A is charged with leading departmental efforts to provide this kind of intelligence and information in a functional, useable form to state, local, tribal and private sector partners—and getting functional intelligence and information back to national intelligence and law enforcement users—on a real-time basis.  I&A is also committed to supporting the other broad areas of the Department's responsibility: securing our borders; ensuring smart and tough enforcement of our immigration laws; preparing for, responding to, and recovering from disasters; unifying and maturing the Department into “One DHS”; and protecting the nation's critical infrastructure.

I&A's overarching vision in this regard is to be the trusted leader in meeting our nation's homeland security intelligence needs.  This vision drives our core focus of strengthening the Department's and our partners' ability to protect the homeland by accessing, integrating, analyzing, and sharing timely and relevant intelligence and information, while preserving civil liberties and privacy.  Accordingly, I&A's primary customers are clear: the Secretary; state and local fusion centers and state, local, territorial, and tribal authorities; Department components; the private sector; the Intelligence Community (IC); and other federal departments and agencies.

During my last appearance before this Subcommittee, I laid out several guiding principles for I&A to attain this vision: we must provide the Secretary with the informed and objective intelligence and information needed to make policy and planning decisions about Department priorities; we must share information with our state, local and tribal partners; we must foster a more coordinated DHS Intelligence Enterprise (IE); and we must rigorously protect the privacy and civil liberties of the people we serve.  I also pledged at that hearing that I would come back to you with a framework for how I&A will meet these important priorities.  I am pleased to report that in the past few months, I&A has made substantial progress in defining priority missions, improving management processes, and determining the best structure for I&A to meet its priorities.  These high-level principles mark an important starting point and will drive I&A's continuing evolution toward establishing best practices and a formal strategy, which observers inside and outside the Department will be able to use to assess progress. 

In consultation with Department leadership and our state, local and tribal partners, I&A has further refined its guiding principles into several new strategic goals.  These will, in turn, drive the more detailed mapping, planning and assessing work in the months ahead. 

I&A's strategic goals are likewise driven by the priorities of the President, including the National Strategy for Information Sharing and the National Intelligence Strategy, as well as Secretary Napolitano's mission priorities for the Department.  They are further informed by the Department's ongoing Quadrennial Homeland Security Review (QHSR) and the many elements of the Secretary's DHS Efficiency Review and One DHS Initiative.  I&A's strategic goals conform to the Homeland Security Act of 2002, the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004, the Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007, and all other relevant statutes and directives of the Congress. 

The strategic goals can currently be summarized as follows: 

  • Goal 1:  Be the premier provider of homeland security intelligence, which entails building, supporting, and integrating a robust information-sharing capability focused on getting intelligence and homeland security-relevant information to those who need it, when they need it.
  • Goal 2:  Strengthen existing partnerships and forging new ones.
  • Goal 3:  Operate as a single integrated team focused on mission and customers.
  • Goal 4:  Enable the mission by maximizing performance and accountability, including protecting privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties.

These goals, in turn, are reinforced by newly promulgated organizational values:  integrity, respect, customer service, continuous improvement and learning, and leadership.

Having described the highest-level guiding priorities for I&A, I will now describe the specific steps that will translate these goals into an organizational reality. 

Executing the Strategic Vision

The new direction of I&A is dictated by the needs of the Department and of our partners, and we need to be prepared to implement concrete initiatives, aligned to the I&A goals, to upgrade our business operations and better meet the Secretary's priorities for the Department and I&A specifically.  To this end, I have directed that any I&A realignment must demonstrate how it will enhance I&A's ability to fulfill its strategic goals.  I want to make clear that these goals drive the organizational change necessary for I&A's future success.

At the first I&A senior leadership meeting that I held in June 2009, my leadership team and I reached consensus on the need for I&A to realign capabilities and resources to better meet mission priorities.  The discussion was interactive and productive, and primarily focused on the need to build on success, identify areas that need more focus, and establish a collaborative atmosphere. 

We were unanimous in our belief that changing the organization to better meet the mission was necessary, but that any change should be well-informed, based on sound reasoning, and the result of a truly deliberative process. 

I will now review some of the key initiatives and reforms underway in four different areas for which I&A has major responsibility: our State and Local Fusion Center program, our analysis processes, our management practices (and the new Plans, Policy, and Performance Management element charged with streamlining I&A processes), and Operations. 

Support to State and Local Fusion Centers

One of the primary reasons for I&A's existence is to strengthen the sharing and dissemination of useful intelligence and information between the federal government and our state, local, tribal and private sector partners.  I take this responsibility seriously, and it is infused into the I&A strategic goals. I&A will provide increasingly functional and useable intelligence and other information to these partners. Fusion centers are and will continue to be the critical delivery vehicle for this intelligence.   

As Secretary Napolitano has said, while a great deal of information sharing is occurring today—among and between agencies and departments at all levels of government—the key for protecting the Homeland from attack is disseminating useable intelligence and information to our state, local, tribal and private sector partners, getting similar intelligence and information back from those partners for analytic work by I&A and the IC, and ensuring this two-way exchange happens on a real-time basis.  

Our efforts to date have been substantial and include unprecedented outreach by I&A.  In June, the intelligence officer assigned to the Arizona Counter Terrorism Information Center (ACTIC) worked with its Terrorism Liaison Officer Program to solidify ACTIC's partnership with the Tohono O'odham Nation, marking the first formalized information sharing relationship between a fusion center and a Tribal partner.   The Tohono O'odham Nation covers 65 miles of border with Mexico, making it a key partner in information sharing related to border threats and trends.  In addition, I&A assigned two intelligence officers to the Oklahoma Information Fusion Center to assist with the recent 2009 National Level Exercise (NLE-09).  Both I&A officers originated from fusion centers outside of Oklahoma.  Officials from the Oklahoma fusion center praised the officers' efforts during NLE-09, in fulfilling key roles and educating the fusion center's analysts on DHS products and services.  As a result, the Oklahoma fusion center looks forward to the permanent assignment of a deployed DHS intelligence officer.  Similar exchanges are occurring at fusion centers across the country.  Such appreciation and advocacy for the DHS program to support fusion centers is critical to sustaining and expanding homeland security partnerships with state, local and tribal entities. 

There are currently 72 fusion centers up and running around the country (a substantial increase from 38 centers in 2006).  I&A has deployed 39 intelligence officers to fusion centers nationwide, with another five in pre-deployment training and nearly 20 in various stages of administrative processing.  I&A will deploy a total of 70 officers by the end of FY 2010, and will complete installation of the Homeland Secure Data Network (HSDN), which allows the federal government to share Secret-level intelligence and information with state and local partners, at all 72 fusion centers.  These fusion centers are I&A's primary means for engagement with state and local partners.  Having spent most of my professional life in the New York State Police, I know first-hand how valuable fusion centers are to multiplying the effectiveness of our homeland security and law enforcement efforts. 

To ensure that we in I&A are doing all we can to meet our goals of supporting two-way information flow with state, local, tribal and private sector partners, the Secretary directed I&A to outline a Department-wide initiative to strengthen the baseline capabilities and analytic capacity of state and major urban area fusion centers.  The proposal our office developed articulates that fusion centers must be better able to:

  • Operate at a more consistent level;
  • Rapidly identify and disseminate information regarding emerging terrorism, criminal, and other homeland security threats; and
  • Support and enhance a state and urban area intelligence platform for risk-based, information-driven decision making by state, local, tribal, territorial and federal homeland security and law enforcement officials.

Central to this proposal is the establishment, at the Secretary's direction, of a new Joint Fusion Center Program Management Office (JFC PMO).  The JFC PMO will lead a unified Department-wide effort to develop and implement survey tools to ensure state, local and tribal customers are provided the opportunity to define and identify the types of homeland security-related information they need, and the format in which they need it.  The JFC PMO will also develop mechanisms, in coordination with federal, state, local, tribal and territorial authorities, to improve the capability of state and major urban area fusion centers to gather, assess, analyze and share locally generated and national information and intelligence, in order to provide complete pictures of regional and national threats and trends.  Department intelligence production and dissemination processes, in turn, will be streamlined to better support these consumer-driven needs.  While I&A will manage the JFC PMO on a day-to-day basis, the Secretary has made it clear that all relevant DHS components will be involved, and will have new responsibilities when it comes to providing coordinated support to fusion centers. 

The JFC PMO will be managed by I&A on behalf of the Department and staffed by personnel assigned from various components and offices across DHS.  This entity will leverage the existing Information Sharing Governance Board to ensure Department-wide coordination in this effort, as well as the capabilities of our other valuable federal partners, such as the FBI.  We are readying various implementing documents to make this proposal a reality. 

I&A is also supporting the fusion centers by partnering with the DHS Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL) to provide training for new and current fusion center analysts. In addition, CRCL, the DOJ Office of Justice Programs and I&A are working together to create a multifaceted privacy and civil liberties training program to support all personnel at the fusion centers.

Every day across the country, state, local, tribal and territorial law enforcement and other officials gather information in the course of their work of providing emergency and non-emergency services to their communities.  This information may serve as the first indicator of a potential threat to our national security.  I&A must have the structures and processes in place to ensure complete and accurate analysis of threat information to facilitate timely warnings to all our homeland security partners to prevent a threat from materializing.  I&A's new initiatives to support fusion centers across the country will help ensure that the needs of state, local, tribal and territorial governments drive I&A intelligence activities. 

Analysis

I&A has the unique statutory role of providing analytic intelligence and information products in a functional, useable form to state, local and tribal governments and other key customers.  A key priority for I&A's refocused Analysis element is to align specific topics of intelligence analysis to the needs and requirements of core customers, and to ensure that the products resulting from that analysis are focused, timely and relevant.  Our internal review identified terrorism, border security, cyber, counterintelligence, and violent extremism as primary areas of analytic focus for I&A.

After a comprehensive evaluation of I&A's analytic capabilities and functions, we determined that I&A needed to strategically realign its analytic and production resources and efforts more tightly with the priorities of the Secretary and the new National Intelligence Strategy.  Accordingly, I&A's analysis and production resources will be prioritized to:

  • Realign analytic resources to improve and expand support to our state, local and tribal consumer base.
  • Develop an analytic capability and methodology for assessing Suspicious Activity Reporting data.
  • Create a centralized analysis group to meet the intelligence and information needs of the Secretary and Department components, including improved coordination and information sharing.
  • Augment our border security analytic capability.
  • Strengthen our collaboration and consultation with other producers of intelligence and information products.

We recognize that I&A should not attempt to be an expert in all areas, especially when sound analysis is already being conducted elsewhere in the IC.  Therefore we will emphasize collaboration with interagency partners in some areas, including:

  • Analysis of Weapons of Mass Destruction.  I&A will maintain a focused, senior in-house expertise and ensure surge capacity, in coordination with the FBI.
  • Violent Radicalization.  I&A will realign to collaborate with the National Counterterrorism Center and other federal agencies for substantive reporting on violent radicalization.
  • Domestic Terrorism.  I&A will work with the FBI and other law enforcement partners to identify analytic and other reporting relevant to our state, local and tribal consumer base.
  • Health Security.  I&A will work closely with the DHS Office of Health Affairs, in addition to the Departments of Health and Human Services and Defense as well as other relevant agencies, to identify analytic and other relevant reporting.

We will also commence a comprehensive consumer outreach effort to make sure what we are producing is what our customers at the state, local, territorial, tribal and private sectors want, at the time they want it, and in the form they need it.  This will include leveraging best practices at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) and elsewhere in production planning and customer service.

In addition to the realignment of our analytic capabilities and functions, I&A is incorporating CRCL and the Privacy Office in the review of all intelligence products, including products created by I&A analysts working for state, local and tribal fusion centers.  Lessons learned from I&A product review will continue to be incorporated into CRCL's fusion center personnel and I&A analyst training programs.

The dedicated staff of I&A strives every day to provide accurate, actionable and timely intelligence and information to support our broad consumer base.  Our realignment of I&A's analytic activities is designed to adopt systemic intelligence production planning, and to fully utilize programmatic funding and personnel investments made available by the Secretary's June 2009 decision to end the National Applications Office.  In short, this new analytic element will maximize the impact of our analysis to provide the most value added to our primary consumer base. 

Plans, Policy, and Performance Management

I&A is a relatively new organization that is still maturing its management and business processes.  To build on past success, we are realigning disparate activities that were previously dispersed throughout I&A under the leadership of a new Deputy Under Secretary for Plans, Policy and Performance Management (PPPM).  This will give new emphasis to activities that were lower priority in the past, and stands up new activities that were unprecedented for the organization.  The establishment of PPPM demonstrates I&A's commitment to developing and implementing fair, transparent and collaborative decision making processes, rationalizing resource allocation to priority missions, and assessing whether investments are leading to preferred outcomes. 

I&A continues to foster high standards for accountability, collaboration, transparency and respect for normal business planning and management behaviors.  Although I&A has taken significant steps to address some of the organizational gaps that previously existed, more work is needed. The establishment of PPPM institutionalizes a unified management structure for I&A to transparently develop and implement planning and decision making processes that foster predictable, informed and contextual program planning and management execution.  We are doing this in coordination with our counterparts in the DHS Office of Policy and ODNI, among others.   

This new I&A element will enable more streamlined and integrated strategic planning, programming, and budgeting life cycle processes.  PPPM will further the Department's intelligence mission by providing Intelligence Enterprise (IE)-wide management guidance.  PPPM's responsibilities include developing and unifying applicable strategies, plans and policies using collaborative outreach, advocacy and strategic futures analyses, leading to an integrated DHS IE focused on its mission and its customers.  PPPM will also develop a detailed I&A strategic action plan that will include a mapping of all organizational activities and performance management metrics to measure program execution and effectiveness.  This, in turn, will institute valid metrics to measure success and create a systemic cycle that facilitates organizational improvement.

The 9/11 Act amended the Homeland Security Act and created the Under Secretary for Intelligence and Analysis (U/SIA).  The U/SIA also serves as the Department's CINT, with the authority to lead and manage the Department's intelligence and information sharing enterprises.  This authority is exercised largely through the Homeland Security Intelligence Council (HSIC).  The HSIC is comprised of all the intelligence chiefs in the DHS IE, and serves as the U/SIA's formal advisory and decision-making body on departmental intelligence matters.  The role of the HSIC will become even more crucial regarding implementation of key 9/11 Act authorities.  The U/SIA is statutorily required to provide the head of each DHS intelligence component with guidance on intelligence activities underway in the Department for efficacy and mission focus, as well as to present the Secretary with a unified recommendation for the further cultivation of a Department-wide Intelligence Enterprise.  I appreciate the support of the intelligence heads that I have received so far and I look forward to working with them in the future. I commend the diligent work of the Chair, the Ranking Member and the Subcommittee for helping us realize these intelligence-related authorities, which are so critical to integrating the Department's intelligence functions and providing focused, unified support to key homeland security partners. 

Operations

Finally, I&A's realigned Operations element will also be well positioned to help I&A's refocused mission flourish.  Operations encompasses missions and program responsibilities formerly housed in I&A's Mission Integration element, as well as specific programs migrated from what was I&A Analysis and Production.  The new Operations element will maximize the effectiveness of our knowledge management, counterintelligence, mission support and training, collection requirements, and external operations programs.  The focus of Operations will also help to strategically align programs to I&A goals and priorities, as well as to achieve programmatic efficiencies. 

The Operations element will better align I&A's information technology capabilities with the needs of our analysts and our state, local, tribal and private sector stakeholders with the information they need to keep the homeland safe.  This program includes new focus on the Homeland Security State and Local Intelligence Community of Interest (HS SLIC) web portal, which is an exceptional forum for analyzing homeland security-related information and a critical tool for information sharing and collaboration between the Department and our partners.  A new HS SLIC office will receive additional support for its program management responsibilities, thereby ensuring that our stakeholders have the best system possible for sharing valuable homeland security-related information.  The Deputy Under Secretary for Operations is in the process of refocusing efforts within the Knowledge Management Division to make it more efficient and responsive to I&A customers. 

Intelligence training is a critical capability that will enable fulfillment of I&A's strategic goals, and Operations will build on past I&A success in training.  I am determined to prevent the ever-increasing demand for vital training and professional development services from outstripping our ability to deliver, and am therefore increasing the size of I&A's intelligence training staff.  I&A currently provides a core suite of intelligence training courses for a broad spectrum of intelligence personnel, including state and local analysts and component personnel in the DHS IE.  Our entry level Basic Intelligence and Threat Analysis Course (BITAC) is the hallmark of our training success.  We are proud of the level of participation received from within the Department, graduating 192 students in three years.  As a testament to this success, we were recently asked by U.S Customs and Border Protection and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement – both components of the DHS IE –  to train a large cadre of their new hires over the next year. 

In addition, state, local and tribal law enforcement officers and other representatives are able to use applicable homeland security grant program funds to participate in BITAC. 

I&A has also established a mentorship program, embedding seasoned government personnel throughout our workforce to help ensure that our analysts develop and maintain the analytic tradecraft habits critical to the practical application of skills learned in the classroom.  This program is intended to support the establishment of a culture of disciplined analytic work in I&A.    

To better align reporting between our state, local and tribal partners and the I&A requirements management process, I moved I&A's Reports Officer Branch into our new, bolstered Collection Requirements Division.  This transfer will allow for a more streamlined effort that will result in empowering state, local and tribal partners to drive I&A's intelligence and information products, and expediently providing answers to these customers. 

Finally, I&A established a new External Operations Division, which has the mission of ensuring management oversight of several high-level, interagency outreach programs in which I&A is a participant.  These include the Single Point of Service program that handles information needs transmitted by our state, local and tribal partners, and support of elements such as the Joint Analysis Group and the FBI's Terrorist Screening Center.

Immediate Way Forward

These first steps taken by my leadership team are only a beginning.  I fully expect that I&A will be able to further refine its organization now that our strategic foundation is set.  In conjunction with my senior management team and I&A functional leaders, I will be directly accountable for evaluating our areas of responsibility.  We will continue to mature our management and business standards; move towards more proactive, collaborative and prioritized planning processes; and ensure that all activities align with core I&A missions and goals.  I&A has commenced a top-to-bottom review of the organization, which when completed, will lead to a more efficient, effective and focused organization. 

I&A's efforts to gather, assess, analyze and share intelligence and information will continue to be guided by the dual imperatives of protecting the Nation from those who wish to do it harm, and protecting our privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties.  All discussions and efforts to reprioritize I&A resources and capabilities will comply with binding strategic guidance, including I&A strategic goals, the National Strategy for Information Sharing, the Secretary's priorities, and the White House's guidance on Fiscal Year 2011 investment priorities for the Federal Information Sharing Environment.  The latter guidance includes three specific investment priorities for which I&A has major implementation roles:  Suspicious Activity Reporting, State and Major Urban Area Fusion Centers, and implementation of the Controlled Unclassified Information Framework. 

Conclusion

I appreciate your inviting me to appear before you to apprise you of our progress in defining and executing the strategic vision of I&A.  While our office has taken significant strides, I&A is not a finished product, and more time will be required before we are functioning optimally.  Nonetheless, we are on the right track and have strategically aligned the organization to more effectively support core customers.  Developing the first-ever strategic action plan will be a crucial step toward strengthening the strategic alignment of I&A activities.  We expect to deliver this plan to you by the end of 2009. 

It has been less than three months since I appeared before this Committee and pledged to move swiftly, smartly and decisively in the development of plans to refine I&A's focus.  With your support, the leadership of Secretary Napolitano, and the fine men and women of I&A, I believe that I have honored this pledge.  I look forward to keeping the Committee apprised of I&A's progress as we continue to move forward. 

Thank you for this opportunity and I look forward to your questions.

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