Native Americans play a critical role in homeland security – helping secure our borders, protect critical infrastructure, share information about threats, and prepare for and respond to disasters and emergencies. Tribes are important partners to the Department, and that's why today we took an important step forward to enhance our engagement with tribes across the United States.
Building on the Department's first-ever Tribal Consultation Policy announced by Secretary Napolitano last year, today we unveiled a new Tribal Consultation and Coordination Plan. This plan is a direct result of President Obama's Memorandum on Tribal Consultation signed in November 2009 that called for deeper engagement across the federal government with tribal officials.
The Tribal and Coordination Plan will ensure regular and meaningful collaboration with our tribal partners on a host of important issues. For example, it includes hiring a full time tribal liaison to work directly with tribes and serve as their point of contact for matters related to the Department. Under the plan, we also will actively encourage tribal law enforcement inclusion in state and local fusion centers, where they will work side by side with federal, state and local law enforcement to share information.
In addition, we will continue to engage tribes in the development of the Department's regulatory policies, grant programs, and other initiatives impacting tribes so that that their voices are heard and they have a seat at the table during the policy-making process. And we're going to continue to work closely with tribes to improve emergency management collaboration and planning.
In developing this new plan, we reached out to all 564 federally recognized tribes to make sure their views were reflected in the final document. The release of this new plan of action marks the beginning of a new phase of engagement with tribes and Indian Country, and the Department is pleased to be working closely with such important partners to our nation's security.
For more information about our work with tribes, or to read the new Tribal Consultation and Coordination Plan, please visit "Secretary Napolitano Unveils DHS Tribal Consultation and Coordination Plan."
Assistant Secretary, Office of Intergovernmental Affairs