- Biological Threats & Biodefense Policy
- Counterterrorism Policy
- Cyber Security
- Emergency Preparedness & Response
- Foreign Investment & Trade
- Immigration, Border Security, Refugee & Asylum
- Law Enforcement & Information Sharing
- Nuclear/Radiological/Chemical Threats and Science & Technology Policy
- Regulatory Coordination Policy
- Transportation, Cargo & Infrastructure
- Visa Waiver Program
The Office of Policy Development ensures the coordinated development of all policy matters before the Department.
The Office of Policy Development:
- Supports the Secretary in the identification, development, and implementation of the Department's policy objectives.
- Regularly interacts with Department entities such as Legislative Affairs, Public Affairs, the Chief Privacy and Civil Liberties Officers, the General Counsel, and the Department's agencies to ensure effective and coordinated development of Department policy.
- Serves as principal representative for the Department in promoting the policies before the White House and other cabinet agencies.
- Works with foreign governments and institutions, stakeholders in the affected private sector industries, think tanks, and media to identify potential concerns and solutions.
Policy Development comprises 11 units:
Biological Threats & Biodefense Policy
Biological Threats & Biodefense Policy is responsible for developing, coordinating, and facilitating policies governing activities related to bioterrorism awareness, prevention, protection, response and recovery. Focus is on today's bioterror threats from aerosolized anthrax and plague as well as catastrophic natural disease threats such as pandemic flu. This unit also looks ahead at new biological discoveries and the convergence of bio and nanotechnologies to get ahead of future biological threats to the homeland.
Counterterrorism Policy serves as the Departmental policy lead for interagency counterterrorism efforts and as such is the primary Department policy liaison to the National Security Council (NSC) and other national-level counterterrorism policy coordinating bodies. Key issues include countering violent extremism, disrupting terrorist travel and finance, and preventing terrorists from acquiring and using weapons of mass destruction.
Cyber Security provides substantive policy guidance related to national cyber risk governance and management. It helps to develop departmental policy positions and negotiate these positions within the interagency. It helps to refine roles and responsibilities for the various cybersecurity missions assigned to the Department. It integrates and mediates cybersecurity efforts across components, identifies mission risks and responsibility gaps and overlaps, and contributes to strategic guidance and budgeting processes. The division also evaluates cybersecurity legislation and addresses topical policy issues including those related to security of sensitive on-line personal information.
Emergency Preparedness & Response
Emergency Preparedness & Response is responsible for developing and coordinating Department-wide policies and plans for preparedness, response and recovery missions, as well as the federal emergency management mission within the Department's overall incident management function. Issue areas include improving the National Preparedness Goal, ensuring consistency across incident management strategy and policy, and strengthening international and private sector preparedness.
Foreign Investment & Trade
Foreign Investment and Trade (FIT) is responsible for developing and coordinating policies on trade-related matters as well as on national security matters pertaining to foreign acquisitions of U.S companies and assets. FIT serves as the Department’s representative for the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), Team Telecom, the Trade Policy Staff Committee, and Trade Policy Reviews.
Immigration, Border Security, Refugee & Asylum
Immigration, Border Security, Refugee & Asylum is responsible for the development, evaluation, integration and advocacy of Department policies in all mission areas related to immigration and border security matters. Key activities include regulatory development reflecting a Department- and government-wide position on immigration matters; coordinating cross-cutting interior and border enforcement activities impacting border security; creating an effective visa process that secures America's borders while facilitating legitimate travel; and developing integrated policy on refugee and asylum issues. The division also coordinates intra-departmental policy concerning refugees, asylum seekers, and other broad immigration issues.
Law Enforcement & Information Sharing
Law Enforcement and Information Sharing serves as the Department policy lead for law enforcement policy coordination and information sharing capability enhancement. Law Enforcement addresses a broad range of policy matters relating to the law enforcement mission of the Department.
Information Sharing focuses on building the cultural, organizational and technological infrastructure for sharing mission-relevant intelligence, law enforcement and other homeland security information in a timely, effective manner both within the Department and with federal, state, local, international and private sector mission partners.
Nuclear/Radiological/Chemical Threats and Science & Technology Policy
The Division is responsible for developing, coordinating, facilitating, and evaluating the effectiveness of policies and programs related to countering nuclear, radiological, and chemical threats. The scope of the office ranges across awareness, prevention, protection, response, and recovery. Also included are policies related to research, development, testing, and evaluation efforts that supply technologies for all homeland security applications.
Regulatory Coordination Policy
Regulatory Coordination Policy is responsible for intra-office and intra-departmental coordination, identification, evaluation and development of DHS regulatory initiatives. The goal is to ensure that the Department adopts regulations that most effectively serve U.S. national security interests.
Transportation, Cargo & Infrastructure
Transportation, Cargo & Infrastructure is responsible for developing, implementing, and coordinating policy relating to the security of our national transportation systems (aviation, mass transit, passenger rail, freight rail, highway trucks, buses, pipelines and maritime), the global cargo supply chain, key resources, and critical infrastructure. The unit is developing system-wide approaches to reduce security risks within the nation's transportation networks. Key areas of emphasis include international and domestic commercial and general aviation, mass transit security, international and domestic supply chain security, strategies for maritime security, resumption of trade following a transportation disruption, and small vessel (less than 300 gross tons, approximately 150') security.
Visa Waiver Program
The Visa Waver Program Office is responsible for the development, coordination, and oversight of Visa Waiver Program policy issues. The division conducts security assessments on existing and pending member countries to ensure compliance with statutory and other requirements. There are currently 35 countries involved with the program.