You are here

Blog

May 26, 2011
2:22 pm
Posted by Coast Guard Compass

Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Bob Papp is briefed by Eighth Coast Guard District Commander Rear Adm. Mary Landry as he tours the Coast Guard Cutter Greenbrier and the cutter support team at the Natchez Moorings May 20, 2011.  U.S. Coast Guard Photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Patrick Kelley.
Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Bob Papp is briefed by Eighth Coast Guard District Commander Rear Adm. Mary Landry as he tours the Coast Guard Cutter Greenbrier and the cutter support team at the Natchez Moorings May 20, 2011. (U.S. Coast Guard Photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Patrick Kelley.)


Last Friday, I had the opportunity to see first-hand many areas devastated by Mississippi River flooding. I also got to see Coast Guard men and women in action, engaging their unique skills, authorities and capabilities to protect people who have been impacted by these rising waters. It was reminiscent of last summer when I began my term and we were embroiled in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill cleanup.
Disaster response highlights the Coast Guard’s special blend of statutory duties, military organization and versatile maritime hardware that makes us indispensable. So it’s fitting that yesterday, when the first year of my term as Commandant was concluded, Coasties were spread across Louisiana and Mississippi delivering our valuable services to those in need – this is who we are, this is our way, this is what we do.

Adm. Bob Papp addresses the staff of the Deepwater Horizon/BP unified command center May 29, 2010. Admiral Papp, took command of the Coast Guard May 25, and toured the facilities and units that responded to the nation's worst oil spill. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Gary Rives.
Adm. Bob Papp addresses the staff of the Deepwater Horizon/BP unified command center May 29, 2010. Admiral Papp took command of the Coast Guard May 25 and toured the facilities and units that responded. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Gary Rives.)
Now, as I reflect back, I would like to share with you my thoughts on some ongoing initiatives started in May 2010 to strengthen the Coast Guard’s ability to perform its regular duties, provide interagency support and conduct disaster response. While I present these in the framework of the four principles embedded in my service vision, you will find they relate directly back to the recently published Commandant’s Direction.

First and foremost, Coast Guard men and women should have a clear and stable organizational structure, and the tools they need to safely perform their job. Anything less draws energy from the force and costs the service in the long run. This is the basic premise behind my principle of Steady the Service. Along these lines, we have made real progress, including:

• We continue to implement the Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2010 that provided us authority to finish organizational realignment of the service, enhance the safety of U.S. ports and waterways and improve the acquisition of assets.
Adm. Bob Papp talks with players of the Bears football team before a game at the Coast Guard Academy in New London, Conn.  The Coast Guard Bears played their rivals from the Merchant Marine Academy in a game known as the Secretary's Cup.  U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class NyxoLyno Cangemi.
Adm. Bob Papp talks with players of the Bears football team before a game at the Coast Guard Academy in New London, Conn. The Coast Guard Bears played their rivals from the Merchant Marine Academy in a game known as the Secretary's Cup. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class NyxoLyno Cangemi.)
• We have worked hard to develop a state-of-the-art mission support organization by solidifying headquarters support directorates, standing up depot level logistics commands and unifying field mission support in base commands.

• We are recapitalizing our major assets: four of eight national security cutters are built, under construction or contracted and a fifth is included in the President’s 2011 budget request; the offshore patrol cutter is being designed; seven fast response cutters are under construction; aging aircraft and boat replacements continue; and Rescue 21 continues to be deployed.

More is expected from Coast Guard men and women today than ever before. Technology has changed and mission requirements have expanded resulting in the erosion of some fundamental expertise since I joined the fleet in 1975. Therefore, I established my principle of Honor our Profession to regain focus on individual professionalism. Some examples of what we are doing to meet this need include:

• We revamped officer promotion board and assignment guidance to emphasize professional competence and the importance of command, as well as implemented the Career Retention Screening Panel to manage enlisted career progression.

• We are developing a new concept of operations for performing Coast Guard missions and growing expertise for operating in the Arctic where diminishing ice is providing access for tapping undiscovered oil and gas, and harvesting fish stocks.

• We have established proficiency as the skill level our people must strive to achieve and renewed the focus on the Coast Guard’s core competencies of airmanship and seamanship.

There is much greater demand for Coast Guard services than our current capacity can deliver, which makes my Strengthen our Partnerships principle a vital service imperative. And demand is growing. We will only meet the demand by working together and finding joint solutions to old ways of doing business. Here are a few examples:

Adm. Bob Papp meets with personnel aboard Coast Guard Cutter Frank Drew March 17, 2011. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Patrick Kelley.
Adm. Bob Papp meets with personnel aboard Coast Guard Cutter Frank Drew March 17, 2011. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Patrick Kelley.)
• We continue to implement the Marine Safety Performance Plan which enhances our ability to work alongside industry in preventing accidents, and their potentially devastating results, from happening.

• We are an active participant in the newly created National Ocean Council, working with federal, state and local partners to provide effective stewardship of the oceans, coastal areas and Great Lakes.

• We have started the transformation of some sector command centers into interagency operations centers to improve multi-agency coordination and management of port security.

The most important ingredient to our success is our people. This is why my Respect our Shipmates principle has special meaning for me. With this in mind, I declared 2011 as the, “Year of the Coast Guard Family,” to bring special attention to the needs of families. A few examples of the great work we are pursuing in this area include:

• We established three new full-time ombudsman positions, one at headquarters and one at each area, to guide the program, address ombudsman issues and support volunteer ombudsmen in the field.


Adm. Bob Papp meets with members of the Washington D.C. chapter of the Association of Naval Services Officers at Coast Guard Headquarters Nov. 18, 2010. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Patrick Kelley.
Adm. Bob Papp meets with members of the Washington D.C. chapter of the Association of Naval Services Officers at Coast Guard Headquarters Nov. 18, 2010. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Patrick Kelley.)
• We have fully supported the President’s 2012 budget request to improve critical housing shortfalls, access to affordable high-quality childcare and better align the Coast Guard with Department of Defense standards.

• We have aggressively worked alongside the Department of Defense toward certification and full repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell so that gay and lesbian Americans can serve without fear of retribution in our service.

• We are renewing emphasis on the Coast Guard family through outreach to retirees to ensure they remain connected as they are a strength for us in local communities.

Over the past year, we’ve made tremendous progress, but there is still much to be done. I’m looking forward to continuing this work. I remain committed to our people, heritage and missions. They define our service. I am delighted, honored and privileged to be your Commandant. I look forward to the next three years of working together to ensure the success of our Service as it continues to protect those on the sea, protect America from threats delivered by sea and protect the sea itself.

Semper Paratus,

Adm. Bob Papp
Commandant
Adm. Bob Papp meets with the crew of Coast Guard Station Washington March 17, 2011. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Patrick Kelley.
Adm. Bob Papp meets with the crew of Coast Guard Station Washington March 17, 2011. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Patrick Kelley.)
Published by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Washington, D.C.
May 26, 2011
9:00 am
Posted by Ivan K. Fong, General Counsel

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) plays an important and essential role in the life of American businesses and consumers.  Whether preventing terrorism and enhancing security, securing and managing our borders, enforcing and administering our immigration laws, safeguarding and securing cyberspace, or responding to and ensuring resilience to disasters of all kinds, DHS has a challenging set of missions that requires us to balance our responsibilities to ensure safety and resilience while expediting and streamlining security processes, travel, and commerce whenever possible.

As part of that commitment, DHS was pleased to join President Obama’s call this year to create a 21st-century regulatory system that is simpler and smarter.  DHS continues to increase efficiency, transparency, and accountability in the regulatory process, and we remain committed to seeking public input, identifying what works and what doesn’t, and ensuring the use of the best science in our regulatory activities.

Today, DHS is releasing its Preliminary Plan for Retrospective Review of Existing Regulations.  The Preliminary Plan results from significant public input.  The goal of our Preliminary Plan is to identify obsolete, unnecessary, or inefficient regulations and to eliminate or fix them as appropriate.   We look forward to continued public feedback during the 30-day comment period on our Preliminary Plan.

Here are some examples of the types of regulations and other actions where improvements are in process, or that are candidates for retrospective review:

  • Employers that seek to petition for H-1B workers often expend considerable effort and resources to prepare a complete petition and supporting documentation, only to learn later that the statutory cap for such workers had been reached.  DHS has proposed a rule to remedy this situation that, if made final, would require such employers to first file an electronic registration with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to be informed whether the numerical limitation has been reached, resulting in a significant reduction in unnecessary work and associated costs for both the petitioner and USCIS.   
  • DHS recently replaced the paper version of a U.S. Customs and Border Protection form for non-immigrant visa waiver arrivals and departures with an electronic system, thereby substantially reducing the burden for air travelers arriving in the U.S.  DHS also reduced the burden on U.S. and international aircraft operators by assuming responsibility for checking passengers against government watchlists through the Transportation Security Administration’s Secure Flight program, fulfilling a key 9/11 Commission recommendation.  We estimate that these actions, both of which were taken after substantial public input, will reduce paperwork reporting burdens by over 1 million hours each.
  • USCIS’s broad Transformation Initiative includes immigration regulations that will restructure the way USCIS operates and modernize its IT systems to, among other things, reduce reliance on paper forms and streamline immigration processes. 

We look forward to continued feedback from the traveling public, businesses, and other stakeholders about regulations that may have outlived their usefulness, do not work as intended, or simply don’t make sense.  We remain fully committed to our mission to ensure the safety and resilience of the American people, while doing so in a smart, efficient, and cost-effective way.

Please visit www.whitehouse.gov/regulatoryreform to view DHS’s plan, as well as other plans from around the federal government.
Published by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Washington, D.C.
May 25, 2011
1:20 pm

May 24: FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate meets with the Greater Ozarks Red Cross leadership team at the Red Cross shelter at Missouri Southern State University. (Photo courtesy of the American Red Cross, more photos)

Our thoughts and prayers are with the families in Oklahoma, Kansas, Arkansas and other states impacted by tornadoes last night.

In Oklahoma, FEMA already has staff on the ground, including a Federal Coordinating Officer embedded with state officials at the Oklahoma Emergency Operations Center, and in Arkansas, we also have a Federal Coordinating Officer embedded with state officials at their Emergency Operations Center. FEMA also has proactively placed two Incident Management Assistance Teams on stand-by to assist with coordination efforts, should they be needed and requested by the state.  Damage assessments are beginning in the affected states and will give us a better sense of the scope of the damages. We stand ready to support the response and recovery efforts.

In addition, we continue to support the emergency management team in Joplin, Mo. and Minneapolis, Minn. from Sunday night’s deadly tornado outbreak.  In Joplin, specifically, we currently:

  • Have a Mobile Emergency Response Support Team on the ground providing self-sustaining telecommunications, logistics, and operations support elements
  • Are assisting the state with technical advice on debris removal,
  • Have an IMAT team on the ground to coordinate with state and local officials to identify potential needs,
  • Are coordinating with the Department of Health and Human Services on meeting hospital and medical needs, and
  • Are working with the Department of Housing and Urban Development in establishing housing priorities.

Here’s an excerpt from a statement by Administrator Fugate this morning on the developing situation:

These historic storms have highlighted the incredible resolve of the American people, especially the first responders, emergency workers, firefighters, volunteers and neighbors who have been working around the clock for days to respond to these storms and conduct search and rescue efforts. Their efforts have been extraordinary. To all of these heroes across the country, we thank you for your efforts and will do whatever we can to support you as our work continues in the days, weeks and months ahead.

We urge all Americans in regions where additional severe weather is expected today to continue to listen to the instructions of your state and local officials and monitor your local news for emergency updates. If you haven’t already, pick a safe location, such as a storm cellar or a basement, where you and your family can stay until the weather passes. It’s essential that everyone who can get themselves out of harm’s way does.

We will continue to provide our latest updates on this blog, so check back often, and get prepared for tornadoes at Ready.gov/tornadoes.

May 24, 2011
2:52 pm

Posted by FEMA Public Affairs

To help manage the generous outpouring of support for Joplin, Mo., tornado survivors, disaster recovery experts have established some simple ways to help, whether volunteering or making donations.

Along with our partners at the Missouri Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster, here are some specific ways to help those impacted by the recent storms and tornadoes.

Donate or Volunteer

The Missouri State Emergency Management Agency has established a web portal to coordinate donations and volunteers. Keep in mind that cash is the preferred method because it offers voluntary agencies the most flexibility in obtaining the most-needed resources and pumps money into the local economy to help businesses recover as well

Those in Missouri can also call 2-1-1 in most areas for information on volunteering their time or making a donation. This 2-1-1 service, operated by the United Way, is available through much of Missouri. For those who are out of state or unable to get through on 2-1-1, call 1-800-427-4626. Those with medical skills interested in volunteering can go online at http://www.showmeresponse.org/.

Remember, unsolicited donated goods such as used clothing, miscellaneous household items, and mixed or perishable foodstuffs require helping agencies to redirect valuable resources away from providing services to sort, package, transport, warehouse, and distribute items that may not meet the needs of disaster survivors.

Sheltering

Missourians who need disaster information, shelter information or referrals are urged to call 2-1-1, or 800-427-4626, or go to www.redcross.org for a list of open shelters. For individuals with a hearing loss, call 7-1-1 or use Video Relay Service to reach 2-1-1 or 800-427-4626.

Helping survivors in other states

For those who have been affected in Minnesota or other states outside Missouri or those who want to help can visit www.fema.gov/volunteer-donate-responsibly.

Other Resources

If you or someone you know is looking for a friend or relative who may have been affected the storms, visit www.Redcross.org/safeandwell.

May 19, 2011
4:42 pm
President Obama, joined by Secretary Napolitano, Admiral Papp and others, addressed the graduating class of the United States Coast Guard Academy and praises members of the Coast Guard for their bravery and willingness to take risks to protect others.



President Obama with two Coast Guard Officers and their father. (USCG Photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Patrick Kelley)

President Obama, Secretary Napolitano, and Admiral Papp at the Coast Guard Academy 2011 Commencement. (USCG Photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Patrick Kelley)

The Coast Guard Academy Class of 2011 Cadets preparing to receive their commissions. (USCG Photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Patrick Kelley)

Learn more about the United States Coast Guard Academy or opportunities with the Coast Guard.

Published by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Washington, D.C.
May 17, 2011
10:45 pm


Today we published an expanded list of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) degree programs that qualify eligible graduates on student visas for an Optional Practical Training (OPT) extension—an important step forward in the Obama administration's continued commitment to fixing our broken immigration system and expanding access to the nation's pool of talented high skilled graduates in the science
and technology fields.


By expanding the list of STEM degrees to include such fields as Neuroscience, Medical Informatics, Pharmaceutics and Drug Design, Mathematics and Computer Science, the Obama administration is helping to address shortages in certain high tech sectors of talented scientists and technology experts-permitting highly skilled foreign graduates who wish to work in their field of study upon graduation and extend their post-graduate training in the United States. 


Under the OPT program, foreign students who graduate from U.S. colleges and universities are able to remain in the U.S. and receive training through work experience for up to 12 months. Students who graduate with one of the newly-expanded STEM degrees can remain for an additional 17 months on an OPT STEM extension. 


This follows President Obama's recent remarks in El Paso, Texas, where he reiterated his strong support for new policies that embrace talented students from other countries, who enrich the nation by working in science and technology jobs and fueling innovation in their chosen fields here in the United States, as a part of comprehensive reform.  




May 17, 2011
1:40 pm
Posted by Public Affairs
Today we announced that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is partnering with the Pentagon Force Protection Agency (PFPA) to expand the “If You See Something, Say Something™” public awareness campaign to help ensure the safety and security of Pentagon employees, visitors, and commuters.

The "If You See Something, Say Something" campaign is a simple and effective program to engage the public and key frontline employees to identify and report indicators of terrorism, crime and other threats to the proper transportation and law enforcement authorities.

Every citizen plays a role in identifying and reporting suspicious activities and threats.  Expanding the “If You See Something, Say Something™” campaign to the Pentagon will help us protect the men and women defending our country, and is an important part of our efforts to secure our nation and engage the American public in keeping our country safe and resilient.

Over the past ten months, DHS has worked with its federal, state, local and private sector partners, as well as the Department of Justice, to expand the “If You See Something, Say Something ™” campaign and the Nationwide Suspicious Activity Reporting (SAR) Initiative — an administration effort to train state and local law enforcement to recognize behaviors and indicators related to terrorism, crime and other threats; standardize how those observations are documented and analyzed; and expand and enhance the sharing of those reports with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and DHS—to communities throughout the country.

Partnerships with the "If You See Something, Say Something" campaign have recently been launched by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the National Football League (NFL), as well as in several states including Colorado, Minnesota and New Jersey, more than 9,000 federal buildings nationwide, Walmart, Mall of America, the American Hotel & Lodging Association, Amtrak, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, the general aviation industry, and state and local fusion centers across the country.

In March, Secretary Napolitano unveiled the “If You See Something, Say Something ™” public awareness video:


Published by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Washington, D.C.
May 16, 2011
2:09 pm

Today, FEMA, along with other federal, state, local, private sector and other partners will kick off a week-long functional exercise, the capstone event of National Level Exercise 2011 (NLE 11), a White House-directed, Congressionally mandated cycle of planning and preparedness events.

The NLE 11 functional exercise, which will simulate a catastrophic earthquake in the New Madrid Seismic Zone, is scheduled to take place at venues in the national capital region and throughout the central U.S. These exercise activities are being carefully balanced with the current flooding and tornado-related disasters that FEMA and its partners are responding to, and adjustments have been made to exercise plans accordingly.

Published by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Washington, D.C.
May 15, 2011
2:30 pm

Posted by Blogger Bob, TSA Blog Team

Secretary Napolitano visited the Transportation Security Operations Center (TSOC) also known as the Freedom Center.As part of her CBS Evening News interview with Katie Couric discussing Osama bin Laden retaliation threats, Secretary Napolitano visited the Transportation Security Operations Center (TSOC) also known as the Freedom Center. 

The Freedom Center can be seen in the interview, and I’m guessing some of you might want to know a little more about it. I know it piques my interest when I see an operations center full of computers and giant displays. It makes me want to push buttons and stuff. Anyway,  it’s our main information center, where analysts monitor the entire transportation network and connect TSA with the Department of Homeland Security, Federal Aviation Administration, FBI, and other law enforcement and security agencies. When an incident happens such as a plane being diverted, a bomb threat, airspace violation, etc, the TSOC is fully involved in these types of scenarios.

TSOCYou might wonder what that is in the photo that secretary Napolitano is being shown in the photo. It’s a memorial composed of a World Trade Center girder, Pentagon stone, and  a fragment from the wreckage of Flight 93. It serves as a reminder of why we do what we do and what we’re trying to prevent and all TSOC employees pass by it every day when they arrive at their jobs.

May 12, 2011
2:23 pm

Today we published an expanded list of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) degree programs that qualify eligible graduates on student visas for an Optional Practical Training (OPT) extension—an important step forward in the Obama administration's continued commitment to fixing our broken immigration system and expanding access to the nation's pool of talented high skilled graduates in the science
and technology fields.

By expanding the list of STEM degrees to include such fields as Neuroscience, Medical Informatics, Pharmaceutics and Drug Design, Mathematics and Computer Science, the Obama administration is helping to address shortages in certain high tech sectors of talented scientists and technology experts-permitting highly skilled foreign graduates who wish to work in their field of study upon graduation and extend their post-graduate training in the United States. 

Under the OPT program, foreign students who graduate from U.S. colleges and universities are able to remain in the U.S. and receive training through work experience for up to 12 months. Students who graduate with one of the newly-expanded STEM degrees can remain for an additional 17 months on an OPT STEM extension. 

This follows President Obama's recent remarks in El Paso, Texas, where he reiterated his strong support for new policies that embrace talented students from other countries, who enrich the nation by working in science and technology jobs and fueling innovation in their chosen fields here in the United States, as a part of comprehensive reform.  


Published by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Washington, D.C.

Pages

Back to Top