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Acting Secretary Duke: We Are Rethinking Homeland Security For A New Age

Release Date: 
November 30, 2017

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
Contact: 202-282-8010

Says the Fundamentals of Terrorism Have Evolved

WASHINGTON – Today, Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke testified before the House Committee on Homeland Security for a hearing on World Wide Threats: Keeping America Secure in the New Age of Terror.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is addressing the evolving threat landscape and moving past traditional defense and non-defense thinking. DHS is enhancing its approach to homeland security and bringing together intelligence operations, interagency engagement, and international action in innovative ways.

In her written testimony submitted to the committee, Acting Secretary Duke said, “Acts of terrorism and mass violence against soft targets have become so frequent that we associate them with the names of cities that have been victimized: Paris, San Bernardino, Brussels, Orlando, Istanbul, Nice, Berlin, London, Barcelona, and most recently in New York City on Halloween.” As a result, DHS is enhancing coordination with state and local officials. In her oral testimony, Acting Secretary Duke stated, “I also want to make clear today that DHS is not standing on the sidelines as these threats proliferate. And we will not allow frequent terrorism to become the new normal.”

Additionally, DHS is “raising the baseline” of the United States’ security posture by examining everything from traveler screening to information sharing, and setting new standards to close security vulnerabilities. Acting Secretary Duke said, “At the Department, we are building an action-oriented, results-centric culture. We are pushing our border security strategies and pressing foreign partners to enhance their security so that terrorists, criminals, and other threat actors are stopped well before they reach our shores.”

The Acting Secretary’s full written testimony can be found here, oral testimony as prepared here, and excerpts below.

Acting Secretary Duke on Rethinking Homeland Security for a New Age:

“We are seeing a surge in terrorist activity because the fundamentals of terrorism have changed. Our enemies are crowd-sourcing their violence online and promoting a “do it yourself” approach that involves using any weapons their followers can get their hands on. We saw this just last month right here on our own soil when a terrorist killed and wounded pedestrians in New York City using a rented vehicle. But New Yorkers rallied, and they refused to be intimidated by this heinous attack.

“I also want to make clear today that DHS is not standing on the sidelines as these threats proliferate. And we will not allow frequent terrorism to become the new normal.

“The primary international terror threat facing our country is from global jihadist groups. However, the Department is also focused on the threat of domestic terrorism. Ideologically-motivated violence here in the United States is a danger to our nation, our people, and our values.

“We are tackling the overall terror threat to the United States head-on... [W]e are rethinking homeland security for a new age. There is no longer a “home game” and an “away game.” The line is blurred, and the threats are connected across borders.

“That’s why DHS is moving towards a more integrated approach, bringing together intelligence, operations, interagency engagement, and international action like never before.”

Acting Secretary Duke on Raising the Baseline of Our Security Posture

“We are also strengthening everything from traveler screening to information sharing. We now require all foreign governments to share critical data with us on terrorists and criminals—and to help us confidently identify their nationals. We must know who is coming into our country and make sure they do not pose a threat. That is why I recommended—and the President approved—tough but tailored restrictions against countries that pose a risk and which are not complying with our requirements.

“And we are trying to stay a step ahead of emerging threats. We are planning next to launch a new Office of Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction next week, to consolidate and elevate DHS efforts to guard against chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear threats.

“Separately, our Global Aviation Security Plan is making it harder for terrorists to target U.S.-bound aircraft with concealed explosives or by using corrupted insiders.

“At the same time, we are rededicating ourselves to terrorism prevention to keep terrorists from radicalizing our people. And our newly reorganized Office of Terrorism Prevention Partnerships will lead the charge.

“Finally, we have stepped up DHS efforts to protect soft targets, which will not only help better defend our country against terrorists but against tragedies like we have witnessed in Las Vegas and Texas.”

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Last Published Date: November 30, 2017
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