WASHINGTON – Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad F. Wolf visited the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to meet with leadership to discuss current situations the agencies are monitoring. Following these discussions, Acting Secretary Wolf departed for Honduras where he is participating in bilateral meetings on regional security and migration.
At CISA, Acting Secretary Wolf met with Director Christopher Krebs and CISA senior leadership for a discussion on the current cyber threat landscape and CISA’s ongoing election security efforts.
Although there are currently no specific, credible threats against our homeland, DHS encourages all Americans to be vigilant and has issued a Bulletin describing the current threat landscape with Iran. DHS continues to monitor the situation and works with our partners to ensure the safety of the American people.
Iran has a history of leveraging asymmetric tactics to pursue national interests beyond its conventional capabilities, and its use of offensive cyber operations is an extension of that doctrine. CISA is urging all organizations to assess their cyber readiness and take steps to protect their networks and assets, including adopting a state of heightened awareness, increasing organizational vigilance, confirming reporting processes, and exercising incident response plans. On Monday, CISA released the latest CISA Insights on steps all organizations can take to protect mitigate potential threats.
In addition, the Acting Secretary discussed the growing threat of ransomware and CISA’s outreach and support to governments and businesses. CISA has targeted state and local governments and small businesses with recommendations, tools and assistance to protect their networks against ransomware and other threats. This included developing Cyber Essentials, a guide for leaders of small businesses as well as leaders of small and local government agencies to develop an actionable understanding of where to start implementing organizational cybersecurity practices.
Finally, today’s discussion concluded with a discussion of election security and resilience. The entirety of the U.S. government is focused on protecting the 2020 elections from foreign interference. As part of this effort, CISA is working with all 50 states and more than 2,300 local jurisdictions, sharing the latest threat information, providing cybersecurity services and expertise, and developing and exercising incident response plans.
At FEMA, Acting Secretary Wolf met with FEMA senior leadership for a discussion on the recent earthquakes in Puerto Rico and the agency’s response.
Last night, President Trump approved Puerto Rico’s request for an emergency declaration allowing direct federal assistance for emergency measures to protect lives, property and public health after the recent series of earthquakes. This assistance is for all 78 municipalities in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.
FEMA has been in constant communication with Governor Vázquez and Commonwealth officials and is working with local government representatives to determine the extent of impacts on individuals and public facilities, and the types of federal assistance that may be needed. FEMA personnel is on the island and its National Response Coordination Center and FEMA Region II’s Regional Response Coordination Center are both conducting 24-hour operations. FEMA has also deployed an Urban Search and Rescue Team, Incident Management Team, and additional communications personnel through its Mobile Emergency Response Support (MERS) capabilities.
DHS and FEMA continue to support the government of Puerto Rico with their complex and ongoing recovery efforts from Hurricanes Irma and Maria and to ensure everyone is better prepared for disasters that could impact the island, at all levels.
Acting Secretary Wolf is in Honduras to meet with the President of Honduras and senior government officials to discuss regional security and migration. The central message of the visit will be centered around the fact that security and prosperity go hand-in-hand. The delegations will discuss the implementation of the four agreements signed in September, curbing mass migration from the region, and other relevant topics. Honduras has been a strong partner to the United States in confronting the illegal migration.