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Collaboration at the Department of Homeland Security

The Department of Homeland Security leverages resources within federal, state, local, territorial, and tribal governments, coordinating multiple agencies and programs into a single, integrated effort focused on protecting the American people and their homeland. In 2010, DHS completed the first-ever Quadrennial Homeland Security Review (QHSR), which established a unified, strategic framework for homeland security missions and goals. Subsequently, DHS conducted a Bottom-Up Review (BUR) to align our programmatic activities and organizational structure to better serve those missions and goals.

Protecting the United States from terrorism is the cornerstone of homeland security. DHS’ counterterrorism responsibilities focus on three goals: preventing terrorist attacks; preventing the unauthorized acquisition, importation, movement, or use of chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear materials and capabilities within the United States; and reducing the vulnerability of critical infrastructure and key resources, essential leadership, and major events to terrorist attacks and other hazards.

Secretary Napolitano led a global initiative to strengthen the international aviation system through partnerships with governments and industry, investments in new technology, and enhanced targeting measures. Secretary Napolitano also launched the nationwide expansion of the “If You See Something, Say Something®” campaign—a simple and effective program to raise public awareness of indicators of terrorism, crime and other threats and emphasize the importance of reporting suspicious activity to the proper transportation and law enforcement authorities. The campaign was launched in conjunction with the Nationwide Suspicious Activity Reporting (SAR) Initiative, an administration effort to train state and local law enforcement to recognize behaviors and indicators related to specific threats and terrorism-related crime and report and share information on suspicious incidents or activity nationally so it can be analyzed to identify broader trends. DHS also continued to strengthen the national network of State and Major Urban Area Fusion Centers.

DHS secures the nation’s air, land and sea borders to prevent illegal activity while facilitating lawful travel and trade. The Department’s border security and management efforts focus on three interrelated goals: effectively securing U.S. air, land, and sea borders; safeguarding and streamlining lawful trade and travel; and disrupting and dismantling transnational criminal and terrorist organizations.

DHS has continued to deploy historic levels of personnel, technology, and resources to the Southwest border while entering into new agreements with our state, local, law enforcement, and international partners to increase information sharing and bolster cooperative efforts to crack down on transnational threats while facilitating travel and trade.

DHS also launched the Blue Campaign to Combat Human Trafficking, which includes an innovative computer-based training for state and local law enforcement officers; an international print, video, and radio public awareness campaign; a multi-lingual domestic public awareness campaign in 50 foreign language newspapers; victim assistance materials distributed at ports of entry; and a new DHS website, www.dhs.gov/humantrafficking, which provides comprehensive anti-human trafficking materials and resources for human trafficking victims, law enforcement officers, concerned citizens, NGOs, and the private sector.

DHS is focused on smart and effective enforcement of U.S. immigration laws while streamlining and facilitating the legal immigration process. The Department has fundamentally reformed immigration enforcement, prioritizing the identification and removal of criminal noncitizens who pose a threat to public safety and targeting employers who knowingly and repeatedly break the law.

DHS announced new initiatives to strengthen the efficiency and accuracy of the E-Verify system, including an informational telephone hotline for employees seeking E-Verify information; and new training videos focusing on E-Verify procedures and policies, employee rights and employer responsibilities in English and Spanish. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has also launched an Online Detainee Locator System to assist family members and attorneys in locating detained noncitizens in ICE custody. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services launched the Citizenship Resource Center on USCIS.gov, a free one-stop resource that provides students, teachers, and organizations with citizenship preparation educational resources and information.

DHS has the lead for the federal government to secure civilian government computer systems and works with industry and state, local, tribal and territorial governments to secure critical infrastructure and information systems. DHS analyzes and reduces cyber threats and vulnerabilities; distributes threat warnings; and coordinates the response to cyber incidents to ensure that our computers, networks, and cyber systems remain safe.

DHS provides the coordinated, comprehensive federal response in the event of a terrorist attack, natural disaster or other large-scale emergency while working with federal, state, local, and private sector partners to ensure a swift and effective recovery effort. The Department’s efforts to build a ready and resilient nation include bolstering information sharing; providing grants, plans and training to our homeland security and law enforcement partners; and facilitating rebuilding and recovery along the Gulf Coast.

FEMA launched a new mobile website, m.fema.gov, which allows people to use their smartphones to access critical information regarding emergency preparedness and what to do before and after a disaster. Disaster survivors can also use this tool to apply for federal disaster assistance directly from their smartphones. FEMA also launched a series of public service advertisements in English and Spanish to promote preparedness and direct individuals to ready.gov and listo.gov for tools and resources.

The Department of Homeland Security was formed in the wake of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, as part of a deliberate and determined national effort to safeguard the United States against terrorism. DHS became the third-largest Federal department, bringing together 22 different Federal agencies, each with a role in this effort. DHS has taken significant steps to create a unified and integrated Department, focusing on accountability, transparency and leadership development to enhance mission performance.

DHS delivered the first ever Quadrennial Homeland Security Review (QHSR) Report to Congress on February 1, 2010 and the first ever Bottom Up Review, a comprehensive examination of the activities and business processes of DHS to Congress on July 1, 2010. Between July 16 and October 4, 2009, more than 20,000 stakeholders from all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia participated in the National Dialogue on the QHSR. The valuable comments and ideas solicited were used directly to inform the study groups tasked with writing the QHSR for the Department of Homeland Security.

Through the Department-wide Efficiency Review, DHS has cut costs, saved time and energy, and continued to improve the way we do business - including identifying over $1 billion in cost avoidances and cuts, enabling us to sustain frontline operations and become a leaner, smarter agency better equipped to protect the nation.

Last Updated: 05/05/2023
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