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Monday, March 1, 2010

Deepening DHS Engagement with Tribal Partners

Department of Homeland Security Seal
Native Americans play a critical role in homeland security – helping secure our borders, protect critical infrastructure, share information about threats, and prepare for and respond to disasters and emergencies. Tribes are important partners to the Department, and that's why today we took an important step forward to enhance our engagement with tribes across the United States.

Building on the Department's first-ever Tribal Consultation Policy announced by Secretary Napolitano last year, today we unveiled a new Tribal Consultation and Coordination Plan. This plan is a direct result of President Obama's Memorandum on Tribal Consultation signed in November 2009 that called for deeper engagement across the federal government with tribal officials.

The Tribal and Coordination Plan will ensure regular and meaningful collaboration with our tribal partners on a host of important issues. For example, it includes hiring a full time tribal liaison to work directly with tribes and serve as their point of contact for matters related to the Department. Under the plan, we also will actively encourage tribal law enforcement inclusion in state and local fusion centers, where they will work side by side with federal, state and local law enforcement to share information.

In addition, we will continue to engage tribes in the development of the Department's regulatory policies, grant programs, and other initiatives impacting tribes so that that their voices are heard and they have a seat at the table during the policy-making process. And we're going to continue to work closely with tribes to improve emergency management collaboration and planning.

In developing this new plan, we reached out to all 564 federally recognized tribes to make sure their views were reflected in the final document. The release of this new plan of action marks the beginning of a new phase of engagement with tribes and Indian Country, and the Department is pleased to be working closely with such important partners to our nation's security.

For more information about our work with tribes, or to read the new Tribal Consultation and Coordination Plan, please visit "Secretary Napolitano Unveils DHS Tribal Consultation and Coordination Plan."

Juliette Kayyem
Assistant Secretary, Office of Intergovernmental Affairs

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Thursday, February 18, 2010

International Information Sharing: Advancing Security and Protecting Privacy

Plane in sky against sunset
One of the most important realities highlighted by the attempted Christmas Day terrorist attack is that in this day and age, aviation security is a responsibility shared among nations. The attempted terrorist had an itinerary that spanned three countries, and citizens of 17 countries were traveling on board that flight.

In light of this attack, we are working with our international partners to bolster global security measures and standards for aviation security. Part of this effort is sharing the kind of information needed to keep terrorists off airplanes. We have a good template for future information-sharing accords in the agreements we already have, which maintain high privacy standards while sharing important security information.

For example, DHS has an agreement with the European Union to allow air carriers to share Passenger Name Record (PNR) data with DHS so we can determine whether people traveling to and from the United States have ties to terrorism. This data protects not only U.S. citizens, but any person traveling to the United States –so the continued partnership of our European allies on this program is vital. Earlier this week, as part of a regular review process, expert representatives of the European Union conducted a review of the effectiveness and privacy protections of this agreement, and even saw the system in action at Dulles International Airport near Washington.

This kind of information sharing is critical to securing the international aviation system. Last month I went to Spain to meet with my European colleagues on how we can improve aviation security, and this week I’m traveling to Mexico to discuss how countries in this hemisphere can work collaboratively toward this goal.

Because the U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) does not conduct screening at foreign airports, I am committed to strengthening coordination with international partners to implement stronger and more effective measures to protect air travel while continuing to protect privacy.

Our efforts will follow the lead of our past actions to improve security, where we have created effective systems, set high standards, and met them.

Janet Napolitano

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Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The DHS Open Government Initiative

Share your idea.
In recent days, the Department of Homeland Security has taken a major step toward its priority to create a more open, transparent, efficient, and effective government. As part of President Obama's Open Government Directive, we have now launched the DHS Open Government Initiative.

The Administration has set four goals for its Open Government effort, calling them the "cornerstone of an open government." The goals DHS will seek are:
  1. improving transparency by providing more information and data about the Department's activities in a timely and accessible manner;
  2. increasing participation by utilizing new tools and strategies to encourage input and feedback from the public;
  3. expanding collaboration with our many partners, both inside and outside government; and
  4. encouraging innovation to find new ways to make the government more open and efficient and save taxpayers money.
The Department of Homeland Security wants your input on our Open Government Plan. How should we increase our transparency to the public? What is the best way to foster a culture of participation? Do you have ideas to help increase collaboration? We want to hear your thoughts and ideas.

The online participation tool will be available until March 19, 2010. You can contribute your own ideas and rate idea others have submitted.

Chris Cummiskey
Chief of Staff, Management Directorate

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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Making Progress on Enhancing Aviation Security

Photo: Alexander WallnöferLast week, I was in Toledo, Spain, and Geneva, Switzerland, to meet with our European counterparts and aviation industry leaders on one of the Department of Homeland Security's major priorities: working with our international partners to strengthen aviation security standards following the attempted terrorist attack against Northwest Flight 253 on December 25th.

The attempted attack underscores that boarding a plane in one airport can give you access to almost any airport in the world. This means that we need a truly global approach to aviation security. While the failed bombing attempt took place on a U.S. bound flight, it involved at least four airports on three continents, and threatened the lives of citizens from 17 countries.

In Toledo, I found broad consensus on this point and a clear sense of urgency to take immediate action to strengthen security measures. Specifically, my European counterparts and I signed a joint declaration affirming our collective commitment to strengthening information sharing and passenger vetting, deploying additional proven security technologies, and bolstering international aviation security standards.

I found a similarly strong consensus in Geneva where I met with the leaders of the airlines that are part of the International Air Transport Association — which represents approximately 230 airlines and more than 90 percent of the world's air traffic. We agreed that government and the private sector must work collaboratively both to develop enhanced international security standards and–most importantly — to effectively implement them.

These meetings were the first in a series to bring about international agreement on stronger aviation security standards and procedures. Over the next few months, the International Civil Aviation Organization is facilitating several regional aviation security meetings where we will build on the progress we made in Toledo and Geneva.

Together, we can and will strengthen an international aviation system that, for half a century, has served as an extraordinary engine for progress and prosperity for the United States and around the world.

Janet Napolitano

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