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Statement for the Record of Caryn A. Wagner, Under Secretary and Chief Intelligence Officer, Office of Intelligence and Analysis, before the Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence House Committee on Homeland Security, "The DHS Intelligence Enterprise - Past, Present, and Future"

Release Date: 
June 1, 2011

Chairman Meehan, Ranking Member Speier, and distinguished Members of the Subcommittee, thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today to discuss my role as the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Chief Intelligence Officer (CINT) and the collaborative efforts of the DHS Intelligence Enterprise.

DHS is a complex organization with a broad, diverse set of missions. Intelligence is an important supporting factor in most, if not all, of these missions. Departmental intelligence programs, projects, activities, and personnel--including the intelligence elements of our seven key operational components, as well as the Office of Intelligence and Analysis (I&A)--make up the DHS Intelligence Enterprise (IE). I&A is charged with ensuring that intelligence from the DHS IE is analyzed, fused, and coordinated to support the full range of DHS missions and functions, as well as the Department's external partners. The operational components, most of which predate the creation of the Department, have intelligence elements that provide support tailored to their specialized functions and contribute information and expertise in support of the Department's broader mission set.

The Homeland Security Act of 2002 made the then Assistant Secretary for Information Analysis responsible for establishing intelligence collection, processing, analysis, and dissemination priorities, policies, processes, standards, guidelines, and procedures for the intelligence components of the Department. As part of the Department's 2005 Second Stage Review, the Assistant Secretary was designated as the DHS Chief Intelligence Officer (CINT) to accomplish that mandate. The Assistant Secretary was subsequently elevated to Under Secretary for Intelligence and Analysis (U/SIA) by the Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007, which also strengthened the influence of the CINT role.

The CINT is responsible for leading and managing the activities of the DHS IE, and furthering a unified, coordinated, and integrated intelligence program for the Department. One of the CINT's first leadership actions was to develop Management Directive (MD) 8110, which delineates the CINT's authorities to oversee, define, and evaluate the Department's intelligence activities and services. As a result of the Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007, the heads of DHS intelligence components are required to advise and coordinate with the CINT to support the mission of the Department.

The CINT provides planning and programmatic guidance to the IE, conducts programmatic reviews, and provides formal input to the Secretary regarding intelligence-related budget requests from the Components. The CINT's planning and programmatic guidance focuses Departmental resources and efforts toward priority intelligence and information sharing needs to expand enterprise capabilities, develop capacity, and improve intelligence support to the DHS IE. In 2012, the CINT focus areas are training, secure connectivity, and collaboration across the IE.

To ensure the DHS IE works together to support the DHS mission, the CINT regularly engages with the Components through weekly secure video teleconferences (SVTCs) to coordinate on threat reporting and planned production. Perhaps the most important and successful integration mechanism the CINT employs, however, is the Homeland Security Intelligence Council (HSIC).

The HSIC was created in 2005 to serve as the DHS IE's decision-making and implementation oversight body. The HSIC is composed of the heads of DHS's intelligence components. HSIC members provide advice and assistance; coordinate the implementation of programs; and report to the CINT on intelligence matters related to (a) strategy and policy, (b) leadership and coordination, (c) training and career development, (d) budget, management, and implementation, and (e) evaluation and feedback. The HSIC is empowered to establish subordinate boards and working groups to accomplish its oversight and program coordination responsibilities.

The HSIC meets monthly to discuss current issues, receive strategic-level information briefings, and provide guidance. This forum provides a regular opportunity for HSIC members to inform and solicit feedback from their counterparts on new initiatives and to provide updates on existing programs. Subordinate working groups provide periodic updates on their progress and accomplishments.

HSIC working groups are established as needed to address the dynamic requirements of the DHS IE. Chaired by the members of the DHS IE, the working groups are charged with developing action plans based on guidance from HSIC. Working groups can be short- or long-term, and focus on systemic and programmatic issues or on substantive intelligence topics. For example, the HSIC helped develop specific questions for U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers to ask certain types of travelers or border crossers, and to identify intelligence and technology gaps to support counter-tunnel investigations and operations. In addition to coordinating the monthly HSIC meeting and following up on HSIC working group programs and activities, the CINT staff collects input from the DHS IE for compilation into two reference tools, the Intelligence Enterprise Catalog (IEC) and the Homeland Security Intelligence Priorities Framework (HSIPF).

The IEC contains information on DHS IE assets, capabilities, and resources around the country and the globe. While not yet comprehensive, it serves as a useful reference point for the CINT and DHS IE when making decisions related to resource planning and current operations. The HSIPF aggregates the DHS IE's intelligence priorities for the CINT to help the HSIC make informed IE-wide planning decisions. It serves much the same purpose for the DHS IE as the National Intelligence Priorities Framework (NIPF) does for the national intelligence community. We continually refine the HSIPF to ensure it accurately captures DHS IE priorities and aligns most effectively with the NIPF.

As post-9/11 operational necessity drove DHS' formation from disparate legacy agencies, complex new departmental responsibilities obliged us to work together in enterprise fashion and forge a collaborative OneDHS intelligence culture. The DHS IE leaders represented on the HSIC have contributed their operational component experience and perspective to shape innovative intelligence methods in support of departmental policy, programs, and operational needs. The following initiatives and programs are outgrowths of the cooperative, collegial spirit of the DHS IE as embodied in the HSIC.

DHS Terrorism Task Force (DTTF)

The acting CINT stood up the DHS Terrorism Task Force (DTTF) to bring together representatives from across the DHS IE to rapidly disseminate information, garner feedback and/or solicit input to strategic-level issues.

The DTTF, which is led by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), ensures that all information resident in each of the Components' unique systems is identified and shared within the Department and the IC. The DTTF hosts a weekly SVTC to discuss current intelligence and threat updates, ensuring that the DHS IE is operating in unity to achieve the Department's mission.

The DHS Watchlisting Cell (WLC) was established within I&A in October 2010 to serve as the focal point for Department-wide watchlist nominations to the National Counterterrorism Center and the Terrorist Screening Database (TSDB). The WLC reached full operational capability on January 31, 2011. The WLC was placed in the DTTF to leverage established channels of communication with the Components and because of the time-sensitive aspect of watchlisting.

The WLC is an improved construct to fulfill requirements directed by Homeland Security Presidential Directive 6, which states that every department or agency in the Executive Branch must have a mechanism in place to nominate for watchlisting all identifying and/or derogatory information on known or suspected terrorists in its possession. The WLC leverages intelligence and operations elements throughout DHS to ensure that all nominations are comprehensive; transmitted in a timely, coordinated and standardized manner; and meet established criteria for submission to NCTC.

Homeland Intelligence Reporting

In 2010, the HSIC established the Homeland Security Intelligence Report Working Group (HIR-WG) to evaluate and optimize the production, review, and publication process of the Department's intelligence reports. Until the establishment of the working group, there was no DHS-wide policy for intelligence reports addressing component-specific limitations, statutory obligations, mission-specific needs, or production prioritization methods. DHS IE components noted that reporting thresholds were being applied inconsistently or subjectively, often hampering reporting timelines, production rates, and collaborative efforts. Additionally, there were no standardized or written processes for the writing, production, submission or clearance of intelligence reports. Through a phased approach, the HIR-WG completed a comprehensive review of the existing HIR program, processes, and policies gathered from existing documentation, working group meetings, interviews and surveys. Additionally, the HIR-WG examined the efficiency and effectiveness of the current operating models, the review and clearance process, reporting thresholds and definitions. Subsequent findings have led to the formation of 13 recommendations designed to establish training/certification, dissemination, auditing and reporting threshold standards across the DHS IE. These improvements championed by the HSIC help to guarantee that our internal and external stakeholders receive key threat information in a timely manner, while ensuring compliance with all applicable laws and policies. Intelligence reports are our primary vehicle for communicating information collected by the DHS IE to the broader intelligence community for incorporation into all-source products.

CTAB and NTAS

The Counterterrorism Advisory Board (CTAB) is the Department's mechanism for coordinating and integrating all aspects—intelligence, operations, and policy—of its counterterrorism mission, which spans operational components and headquarters elements. The Secretary appoints a Coordinator for Counterterrorism to chair the CTAB – currently the Under Secretary for the National Protection and Programs Directorate – while the Under Secretary for Intelligence and Analysis/CINT and Assistant Secretary for Policy are vice-chairs. The CTAB is also responsible for recommending to the Secretary that an alert be issued under the National Terrorism Advisory System (NTAS). The CINT, working with the DHS IE, is responsible for monitoring threats to the homeland to determine if it reaches a level of specificity that might merit convening the CTAB to discuss issuing such an alert. When that happens, the CINT will consult both internally and externally to the Department before recommending that the CTAB be convened. The HSIC will serve as the mechanism for ensuring that key components are fully involved in the threat recommendation to the CTAB.

Counterintelligence Working Group

The HSIC Subcommittee on Counterintelligence (the CI Working Group or CI-WG) supports the development of CI policies and procedures across the Department. Component representatives meet monthly to identify those areas requiring immediate attention and to establish necessary DHS-wide CI policy, instructions, and procedures. By integrating the analytical and operational elements of DHS's CI Program, the CI-WG postures the Department to effectively identify, understand, and counter foreign intelligence activities.

The Secretary has directed I&A to lead the Department's counterintelligence program. The CI-WG is working in concert with the Office of the Director of National Intelligence to establish a CI-focused Insider Threat Program, which includes an IT-enabled audit/monitoring capability, and is standardizing CI awareness training. The CI-WG has also developed a CI Program Directive, codifying the Secretary's decision to consolidate the Department's CI effort, and drafted a CI Implementing Instruction and CI Security Classification Guide. These documents will further help integrate Component efforts and execute an effective CI program across the Department.

Intelligence Career Force Management Board

The Intelligence Career Force Management Board (ICFMB) is comprised of both human capital and professional development personnel from across the DHS IE. Charged with providing strategic direction and guidance in managing the DHS intelligence workforce, the board successfully produced a plan of action to address the Department's high intelligence workforce turnover rates, uneven training, and lack of career development tools. The plan of action includes 11 initiatives aimed at reenergizing and refocusing the workforce through the establishment of cross-component career paths, common hiring standards, integrated training and training resources for common functions, and shared career development tools. These initiatives continue to support and move the DHS IE closer to its vision of a unified, diverse, agile, responsive, trained and mission-ready DHS IE workforce, capable of supporting the many missions and operations of the Department, as well as the Department's state, local, tribal, territorial, private sector and intelligence community customers.

Currently, the Board is working to complete a DHS IE curriculum assessment, which will provide a three-year outlook on course offerings, training requirements, and required resources for DHS IE leadership planning and budgeting purposes. The Board is also developing a baseline GS-0132 job description and a standard, anonymous exit interview that will give managers across the DHS IE greater insight into how, as an enterprise, we can strengthen our workforce.

The Future of the DHS IE

The next frontier for the DHS IE is to begin to undertake enterprise-wide planning. This year will mark the first time the entire DHS IE will collaborate to produce a single Program of Analysis, which will help to ensure that, with respect to analytical efforts, redundancies are avoided, opportunities for collaboration are identified from the outset, and any overlap is carefully considered in light of the different approaches each Component may choose to take on a specific issue. The goal is to ensure that the DHS IE expends its intelligence resources in an effective and efficient manner and that all mission requirements are adequately covered. Also, as recommended by CBP, we are currently exploring the feasibility of a Departmental intelligence doctrine.

The development and acquisition of new intelligence tools and systems is an area for additional collaboration. We are making great strides retrofitting existing databases and networks to interoperate across the DHS IE; the next step is to more closely coordinate our planning for new systems to ensure they are built from the ground up to be more collaborative.

Conclusion

Since the establishment of the DHS CINT, Departmental intelligence integration and efficiency has continuously improved, providing increasingly unified intelligence support to the DHS mission. Key to these improvements has been the HSIC, which serves as the main unifying and integrating body of the DHS IE. Using this forum, senior intelligence leaders from across the Department have worked to educate each other on the individual intelligence component missions and functions to better identify areas of improvement and opportunities for cooperation. The HSIC allows the DHS IE to synergize our missions, especially in the areas of counterterrorism and border security. Working with our partners in the intelligence community, the CINT leads and manages the activities of the DHS IE, and furthers a unified, coordinated, and integrated intelligence program for the Department. It is through the collaborative efforts of the DHS IE that we leverage our collective strengths and proactively provide intelligence that supports the Department's mission to secure the homeland. This partnership is a valuable asset that we must vigilantly cultivate and promote to ensure its success.

Thank you for the opportunity to testify before you today. I would be happy to answer any questions you may have at this time.

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