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September 18, 2015
3:32 pm

Secretary Johnson presents a Certificate of Citizenship to a new U.S. citizen who took the Oath of Allegiance this week at a special naturalization ceremony in San Francisco, California. As we conclude Constitution Week, we honor the thousands of new Americans who have committed to the responsibilities and privileges of citizenship.

photo of the week

Official DHS photo by Jetta Disco | Download High-Resolution Image (1620 x 1080)

September 15, 2015
4:52 pm

Last month, the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO) participated in the successful demonstration of a new nuclear forensics capability designed to help better identify perpetrators of terrorist nuclear attacks.  For this demonstration, led by the Department of Defense’s (DoD) Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), DNDO worked with the U.S. Air Force, the Department of Energy (DOE) National Nuclear Security Administration, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation to test the DTRA nuclear prototype system Discreet Oculus.  This demonstration, known as Mighty Saber 2015, took place from July 27 to August 21.  

Discreet Oculus is a research and development effort to design and deploy a ground-based system of seismic, acoustic, air pressure, radiation, light, and radio frequency wave sensors to detect signals from an urban nuclear weapon detonation.  These signals would be combined with other nuclear forensics data to help determine the characteristics of the purported weapon and shared with law enforcement partners and intelligence agencies.  Recently installed sensors in key metropolitan areas are part of a growing nationwide network to send information in real-time to a fusion center for analysis.

Following the demonstration, I joined officials from the White House, DoD, DOE, FBI, and the intelligence community, to discuss the results of this technology and plans for its implementation.  This technology will complement existing nuclear forensics capabilities that center on the collection and analysis of debris and air samples in the immediate aftermath of a nuclear detonation within the United States, in addition to existing ground- and space-based nuclear detonation detection systems.

The U. S. Government continues to develop formidable nuclear forensics capabilities in support of our policy to hold fully accountable any state, terrorist group, or other non-state actor that supports or enables terrorist efforts to obtain or use nuclear weapons.  DNDO is responsible for helping to ensure the nation’s nuclear forensics capability is ready to respond to a nuclear event.  Being prepared for the worst contingencies can help minimize the consequences for our nation, guide national responses, and deter attacks.  

September 15, 2015
3:53 pm

If you are eligible to naturalize, you should seriously consider applying for citizenship. USCIS Director León Rodríguez just took that message to Dallas, where he saw firsthand last week how organizations are helping to spread the word among permanent residents.

For instance, he stopped by the local Univision station which was hosting a special call-in event. Qualified volunteers were taking questions from callers seeking more information about the naturalization process. The volunteers were able to calm nerves, dispel myths and correct misinformation.

Director Rodríguez also spoke at the New Americans Campaign’s United for Citizenship Conference, held to welcome local and national partners and encourage collaboration. He noted that with millions of permanent residents eligible to naturalize, the potential contributions of these future citizens is tremendous. He co-chairs the White House Task Force on New Americans, which is working to implement a federal immigrant and refugee integration strategy. Ultimately the goal is to strengthen our nation’s fabric and our global competitiveness.

Like all Americans, we benefit when our newest citizens have the opportunity to live up to their potential and give back to society and the economy. Back in Washington, D.C., speaking at Jewish New Year services at a temple on Monday, Director Rodríguez recalled the biblical admonition to welcome the stranger, “for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.”

During the last decade, USCIS has welcomed more than 6.6 million new Americans. We are committed to meeting aspiring citizens halfway, by educating them about the rights and responsibilities of citizenship, helping them study for the citizenship test, and, wherever possible, reducing unnecessary barriers to naturalization.

Stay tuned -- in the coming days, USCIS will be announcing new steps that will enhance the process, like accepting credit cards to pay the fee for Form N-400, Application for Naturalization. We’ll also be announcing nearly $10 million in new grants for organizations around the country that help prepare permanent residents fulfill their dreams to become citizens. 

Will you be one of those new Americans?

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September 14, 2015
3:06 pm

By: Russ Deyo
Under Secretary for Management

Underpinning each of the Department of Homeland Security’s diverse missions is a pledge to uphold the highest accountability standards to the American public. One marker of this commitment is the Department’s accurate and timely public reporting of our performance on our top priorities. We’re proud that DHS has been recognized once again for outstanding transparency.

A U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) report released today reviewed how six Federal agencies reported their performance on top priority goals. Of the six agencies, DHS received a rating of “outstanding,” the highest possible score. The GAO also noted that DHS was the only agency reviewed to publically publish a comprehensive set of performance measure verification data with its annual performance report.

This recognition is just DHS’s latest accolade regarding performance reporting. Thanks to tremendous teamwork and dedication by our workforce and the leadership of the Office of the Chief Financial Officer, other remarkable accomplishments include:

  • Two consecutive clean opinions on the Department’s financial statements;
  • Two Certificates of Excellence in Accountability Reporting (CEAR) awards from the Association of Government Accountants, the highest recognition in federal government management reporting; and
  • This year, DHS had the Best-in-Class Summary of Performance information, which recognizes the Department as the best in reporting of performance information among all agencies considered for the CEAR award.

Every day, DHS employees across the Department work to advance our vital missions while upholding the highest standards of transparency and accountability. These recent honors confirm their efforts.

For additional information on the Department’s accountability and performance reporting, please visit DHS.gov

September 14, 2015
2:01 pm

Is it possible to capture hope, a feeling, or a story in six words? The idea of very short stories began in the 1900s, but has begun to take off on various social networks as people share their stories.

Today, we’re launching six-word essays for Citizenship Day and Constitution Week.

Here’s How it Works

Join the project by writing a six-word summary of what citizenship means to you. It can be a sentence or any six words that, together, express your thoughts. You can even share photos illustrating your essays. To get you started, here are examples:

  • Born and raised; I love it!
  • A new world, a new life.
  • Freedom, travel, culture, exploration, blessings, pride
  • Something much bigger than me, possibilities.
Are you up for the challenge? What are your six words? Share them in the comments below, on Twitter using #citizenship6, or as a comment on our Facebook post.
 
Throughout the week, we’ll retweet and share submissions on Twitter and Facebook. Afterward, we’ll pull together a collection of essays we like and share on our blog, The Beacon, and produce a slideshow for YouTube.

Who Can Participate

Everyone can participate: citizens of any country, living anywhere. Here are a few rules:
  • You can enter your six-word essay any time from Sept. 14-24, 2015.
  • You can’t enter a six-word essay that belongs to or has been copyrighted by someone else.
  • Don’t include:
    • Obscene, indecent, or profane language.
    • Threats or defamatory statements.
    • Hate speech directed at race, color, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, ethnicity, age, religion, or disability.
    • Advertising, promotion, or endorsements of products or services.
  • The topic of your six-word essay can’t be nudity, drugs, violence, or symbols or acts of hatred.
Now for a little legal language: by entering your six-word essay, you agree to all of the above, and you agree to allow us to use your essay worldwide without being compensated. We also reserve the right to not consider entries for any reason.
 
We look forward to seeing what you have to say!
September 11, 2015
4:22 pm

The bell tolls at the site where United Flight 93 crashed in Shanksville, Pa. on September 11, 2001. Today, on the 14th anniversary of the attacks, the names of those lost on Flight 93 were read aloud to honor their memory and to celebrate the unity and spirit of our nation.

The bell tolls at the site where United Flight 93 crashed in Shanksville, Pa. on September 11, 2001. Today, on the 14th anniversary of the attacks, the names of those lost on Flight 93 were read aloud to honor their memory and to celebrate the unity and spirit of our nation.

Official DHS photo by Barry Bahler | Download high-resolution image (640x480)

September 9, 2015
12:14 pm

When someone goes missing, the first few minutes and hours of the search are critical. A key to the success of search and rescue (SAR) teams is an aggressive, well-planned initial response. However, many times, first responders on scene in a missing person search don’t have the extensive training and development of initial search plans that specialized SAR teams have.

The Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) First Responders Group recently released a mobile app, developed with the support of SAR teams around the nation, that provides step-by-step instructions on search plans for first responders and response teams. It provides search guidance, protocols and strategies used by SAR teams around the nation.screenshot of the Lost Person Behavior App

The Lost Person Behavior mobile app was released this spring and is available to download (for a fee) from Apple iTunes, Google Play and Amazon.com. Since its release, the app has received two-five star reviews from the APCO International Application Community and has been used in actual SAR operations in Virginia.  

Using data from over 150,000 missing person cases across the country, the app provides guidance, tactical briefings, investigative questions, and statistics for over 40 different scenarios. These include lost hikers, hunters, children, missing vehicles, despondent individuals, dementia patients, and climbers. It also provides guidance for snow and water incidents.

 “The Lost Person Behavior app is designed to provide a step-by-step checklist for first responders as well as everyday citizens involved in search and rescue efforts,” said program manager Christine Lee. “The app incorporated the feedback from SAR teams across the country for the development a comprehensive set of data, such as what questions to ask and what resources to use. It provides the knowledge obtained from experienced SAR teams into the hands of someone who may never have had any training at all.”

The app identifies high probability areas where an individual goes missing so searchers can initiate rapid response. It also breaks down the categories of lost people with related behavior profiles and provides a checklist of questions to ask friends and family of missing individuals. Using this data, the app uses the data to provide initial search locations and has filters for ecoregion and terrain.

The Lost Person Behavior app was developed under SBIR initiatives by dbs Productions, Charlottesville, Virginia.

September 4, 2015
3:10 pm

DHS and TSA work with Amtrak and law enforcement partners to keep our nation’s passenger rail system safe every day. Operation RAILSAFE, which took place this week,  provides enhanced, visible law enforcement and security presence at train stations and along trains on selected high volume travel days.

DHS and TSA work with Amtrak and law enforcement partners to keep our nation’s passenger rail system safe every day. Operation RAILSAFE, which took place this week,  provides enhanced, visible law enforcement and security presence at train stations and along trains on selected high volume travel days.

Official DHS photo by Barry Bahler | Download High-Resolution Photo (2100 x 1395)

September 3, 2015
2:50 pm

Today I am pleased to announce our selection of the University of Texas at San Antonio as the Information Sharing and Analysis Organizations (ISAO) Standards Organization. The selection followed a competitive process to designate an organization to create standards to assist in the widespread establishment of ISAOs. ISAOs will serve as focal points for cybersecurity information sharing and collaboration within the private sector and between the private sector and government.

The University of Texas at San Antonio will work with existing information sharing organizations, owners and operators of critical infrastructure, federal agencies, and other public and private sector stakeholders to identify a common set of voluntary standards or guidelines for the creation and functioning of ISAOs, as provided by Executive Order 13691 – Promoting Private Sector Cybersecurity Information Sharing. In encouraging the rapid creation of ISAOs, the Executive Order expands information sharing by encouraging the formation of communities that share information not just within a sector but across a region or in response to a specific emerging cyber threat. 

ISAOs will contribute greatly to our national efforts to expand the breadth and speed of cybersecurity information sharing, which in turn is key to our shared effort to reduce the prevalence and impact of cybersecurity incidents. The ISAO standards developed by the University of Texas at San Antonio will reflect the most effective and innovative ideas from the public and private sectors. Through a public, open-ended engagement with business communities, civil society groups, and other stakeholders, the University of Texas at San Antonio will develop transparent best practices that align with the needs of all industry groups.

I highly encourage all organizations to support, partner with, and participate in the standards development effort. This support will ensure that the ISAO standards most effectively promote secure, rapid, and widespread information sharing that helps organizations detect and block increasingly sophisticated cybersecurity threats.

August 26, 2015
2:13 pm
By Shaun Donovan
Director of the Office of Management and Budget

Summary: Get the facts and data behind the programs the Obama administration has put in place in partnership with the communities they intend to serve, all across the country. As the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, it’s my job to oversee the implementation and enforcement of the President’s priorities across the Administration.

You might call us the nerve center where goals become initiatives, and initiatives become programs at work on the ground in local communities and states across the country.

With that in mind, let’s go back to basics for a second and focus on something we can all agree on:

Any plans that we want to make for improving communities across the country need to be hatched in partnership with those communities -- by the people who live in them, work in them, and stand to benefit from them.

OMB Place Map

This week marks ten years since the neighborhoods of New Orleans were left devastated by Hurricane Katrina. Since then, community partnerships with the federal government have helped revitalize those communities. They’ve made sure the city’s vital health clinic system stays funded and delivering high quality services. They’ve laid the groundwork to open the Loyola Avenue-Union Passenger Terminal Streetcar Line in the city’s business district. They’ve brought the number of homeless veterans in New Orleans to a functional zero by December of 2014 – more than a year ahead of the proposed goal. (Hear straight from a New Orleanian about the role open data played in the city's transformation.)

There are projects like these at work across the country, whether you realized it or not.

Over the course of the past six years, this Administration has been steadily creating programs in partnership with the communities they intend to serve – from southeastern Kentucky to Fresno to Detroit.

While there are a lot of things we have been up to from addressing climate change to poverty alleviation, we are taking a new approach -- one that relies on communities developing plans that best fit their needs rather than the laundry list of programs the government has. It’s pretty simple. First, we partner with communities by seeking out their plans or vision. Second, we take a one-government approach that crosses agency and program silos to support communities in implementing their plans for improvement. Finally we focus on what works, using data to measure success and monitor progress.

Nola Before

Construction and development of the Loyola Avenue-Union Passenger Terminal Streetcar Lines had stalled out, leaving low-income areas underserved for decades. A $45 million TIGER grant ensured the streetcar expansion was completed by 2013, and has connected residential neighborhoods -- including low-income communities -- directly with Amtrak and intercity bus service.

Fresno After

The plot of land at Belmont and Poplar Avenues was virtually abandoned. AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps has since installed water-saving irrigation, cleaned up the alleys, built a community garden, and planted native trees.

We wanted to give the American public a sense of exactly what that looks like – and give you the opportunity to take a look at what’s at work in your area. So today, we released a snapshot view of the Obama administration’s community-based initiatives. It combines datasets from initiatives across more than 15 Federal agencies – and we’re adding datasets and features as we continue building it.

Take a look – see what’s at work in your area.

Then, share how you’ve seen these programs at work in your community. If you’ve got a photo, share that with us, too.

From the start, this map has been built in the open, and source code is available on GitHub. We want to know what you think, and how we can improve it – so share your thoughts with us here.

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