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DHS' Progress in 2011: Fulfilling 9/11 Commission Recommendations

Highlighting Our Progress in 2011: Department of Homeland Security

Leading up to the 10th anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks, the DHS released a report highlighting the significant progress that DHS, along with its many partners across the homeland security enterprise, has made in fulfilling specific recommendations by the 9/11 Commission. The report details advancements in strengthening and evolving the homeland security enterprise to better defend against evolving terrorist threats, including:

Enhanced Information Sharing and Vetting Capability

  • In conjunction with the public and private sector as well as international partners, the Administration has developed a multilayered information sharing security strategy to target and identify both known and unknown individuals that may pose a threat to the U.S.
  • DHS works with the Terrorist Screening Center, the National Counterterrorism Center, the Joint Terrorism Task Force and other federal entities to analyze and coordinate travel-related data regarding the travel patterns of known or suspected terrorists. Today's travel-related databases along with threat-related intelligence have been essential in detecting, targeting, and interdicting known and suspected terrorists and suspicious cargo before it enters the U.S.
  • DHS and other federal partners have built a capacity to more extensively vet those individuals applying for visas, refugee status, or travel to the U.S. For example, through the Visa Security Program, which did not exist on 9/11 and is now operational at 19 posts in 15 countries, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), in conjunction with the Department of State (DOS), deploys trained special agents overseas to high-risk visa activity posts to conduct targeted, in-depth reviews of visa applications.
  • Today, state and major urban area fusion centers throughout the country serve as focal points at the state and local level for the receipt, analysis, gathering, and sharing of threat and vulnerability-related information.

Aviation Security Initiatives

  • Multilayered security measures are now in place to enhance aviation security including the prescreening of passengers; the deployment of new technologies; and training of airport security and law enforcement personnel to better detect behaviors associated with terrorism.
  • Through Secure Flight, DHS now prescreens 100 percent of the 14 million passengers flying weekly to, from, and within the U.S. against government watchlists.
  • All checked and carry-on baggage is now screened for metallic and non-metallic threats with enhanced technologies by more than 52,000 transportation security officers who are deployed at more than 450 airports across the country.
  • Transportation Security Administration's (TSA) Behavior Detection Officers utilize behavior observation and analysis techniques to identify potentially high-risk passengers and refer them for additional screening.
  • All commercial aircraft have hardened cockpit doors and Federal Air Marshals are deployed based on risk and intelligence to protect domestic and international flights made by U.S. carriers. The Federal Flight Deck Officer program, in which eligible flight crewmembers are authorized by TSA to use firearms to defend against violence, as well as the crew member behavior recognition and response training program, also provide additional layers of aviation security.


  • Through the use of mobile and fixed site technologies, first responders are more interoperable than ever before. Since 9/11, the federal government has made significant organizational changes and investments in training, technical assistance, acceleration of standards, and the development of new technology to improve emergency communications capabilities. This includes standardized plans, protocols, and procedures to improve command, control, and communications established by the National Emergency Communications Plan and Incident Command System.
Last Updated: 08/25/2022
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