You are here

2020 State of the Homeland As Delivered by Acting Secretary Chad Wolf

Release Date: 
September 9, 2020

The Department of Homeland Security is bound by one mission, one creed. Answering the call, often times in the most arduous of environments and difficult of circumstances, to safeguard the American people, our homeland, and our values from all threats, all the time—both today, tomorrow, and in the months and years to come.

We are one team. One mission. One DHS.

We stand—ready to rise and ready to face the next challenge that threatens our homeland.

Our mission is anything but easy. It is one that is increasingly complex and expansive: one that transcends borders, mission-sets, and threat-streams.

While much has changed since the Department was created after 9/11, one thing remains constant: the dedicated men and women of DHS who rise to meet every threat with unwavering professionalism, precision, and passion. 

It was a privilege to join your ranks at the Department’s founding, and it is the honor of a lifetime to lead this team.

To each of you here —and across America — serving alongside you as Acting Secretary is an honor no words can capture. Let me try by saying this: I know your strength. I know your commitment.

Nothing can intimidate you. Not cyber attacks or transnational criminal activity. Not a global pandemic or the pains of civil unrest. Not Mother Nature’s storms. And not those malign actors seeking to bring storms of their own to our shores.

To the Department’s leadership here today: your job is not easy. It is not glamorous. You get no write-ups in glossy magazines. Instead, you get many words written about you or shouted at you. Here are two that you hear too seldom: “Thank you.” Thank you for showing up every day and working hard for the American people. They know. I know. And on their behalf, I say thank you.

As we recognize and celebrate the work of today, we also acknowledge the contributions of past leaders who forged and helped establish our Department.

I would like to recognize a few of them who are here with us today:

  • Kirstjen Nielsen – former Secretary
  • Admiral Jim Loy – former United States Coast Guard Commandant, TSA Administrator and Deputy Secretary
  • Elaine Duke – former Under Secretary of Management, Deputy Secretary and Acting Secretary
  • Claire Grady – former Under Secretary of Management and Acting Deputy Secretary
  • Tom Homan – former Acting Director of ICE

Thank you for being here. On behalf of a grateful nation and a grateful Department, thank you for dedicating time and talent in service.

As one DHS team, today we gather to survey the State of our Homeland. With a steady voice,

  • We will state the threats we face; in absolute confidence;
  • We will share how we will meet and defeat them; and
  • We will show how we will strengthen the resilience of our borders, our infrastructure, and our way of life.

Let me say at the outset: thanks to the resolve, ingenuity, and technical prowess of the men and women of DHS, and the unwavering support of President Trump, America is more prepared and more equipped to tackle threats to the Homeland than ever before.

The mission sets of the components that comprise DHS—from USCIS to the Secret Service—are distinct and important. They are diverse. But the dedication of our workforce is uniformly strong.

As we prepare today for tomorrow’s dangers, I am confident the State of our Homeland is secure in the steady hands of the men and women of DHS.

We cannot gather as family in September and fail to remember that day 19 years ago. The smoke has long since disappeared over New York, Shanksville, and the Pentagon, right across the Potomac from where we gather today. But for us, the skies of September are never clear.

We rose from the ashes of that day with one purpose: to protect America. Here, liberty and the rule of law live together and sustain one another. DHS stands against all enemies seeking to weaken or destroy them.

For more than 17 years after the Department was founded, our resolve to safeguard the Homeland has never been stronger.

But the threats have changed. They are more complex. More sophisticated. We were established in 2003. Before iPhones existed that could be used to control drones. Before terrorists used cryptocurrency to fund their evil plots. Before foreign nation states used Twitter to proliferate their disinformation campaigns.

Our challenges today are unimaginably different than those of our past. Threats shift. And so must we.  

Through the trials, obstacles, and successes of nearly two decades, we have learned many lessons and honed our abilities to accomplish our singular

mission of protecting the homeland. This ongoing process of growth and improvement has prepared the Department to address the threats of today.

DHS was created with adaptability in mind, to ensure our government’s efforts to defend the nation were, in the words of President Bush, “comprehensive and united,” crafted to “analyze threats,” “guard our borders and airports, protect our critical infrastructure, and coordinate the response of our Nation to future emergencies.”

In 2020, where threats are dynamic, this need for operational flexibility is paramount.

Thanks to the support of Congress, the innovation of DHS employees, and the support of the American people, we are better prepared than ever before to meet the dangers of our time, though we still have much to do.

DHS has been able to leverage, coordinate, and surge the Department’s resources at a moment’s notice.

From Coast Guard medical teams deploying to the border, to ICE and CBP buttressing the Federal Protective Service’s defense of federal property, to FEMA marshaling the response efforts of CISA, CBP, TSA, US Coast Guard and Secret Service in the wake of hurricanes and COVID-19, this agility is precisely what DHS was designed to accomplish.

The American people do not want a Department that shies away from challenges just because they are controversial or difficult.

The varied objectives of DHS have placed us at the center of nearly every major challenge and crisis. Thanks to the leadership of President Trump, over the last four years we’ve addressed obstacle after obstacle head-on, overcoming the vast array of threats facing our nation.

Amidst this shifting series of challenges, a vocal and ill-informed minority has clamored to paint recent DHS actions as examples of mission drift or politicization. They could not be more wrong.

Rising to meet evolving threats means our tactics, actions, and strategies may change—but our mission never does. DHS must not, and under this Administration will not, permit baseless sensationalism to deter our commitment to secure America.

I can confidently say, if the Department did not exist, every effort, every response and every action to secure our Homeland would have been slower, inefficient and less effective. 

Within the last year alone, we have faced—both as a nation and a department—new and unprecedented threats. DHS was established for years like this.

We’re using authorities previously granted by Congress, but never before used as we face evolving and novel threats.

Let’s remember what this Department has been able to achieve in the last year alone: 

  • We are leading the federal government’s response to a global pandemic;
  • We are protecting federal buildings and federal law enforcement officers from an emerging threat of violent rioters;
  • We are combatting crises at the Southern Border such as human trafficking, drug smuggling, and unprecedented illegal migration flows;
  • We are fortifying our economic security by tightening our immigration system, preserving free and fair trade, and thwarting the growing threats posed by China now and in the future; and
  • We are identifying and preventing malign foreign actors and nation states from interfering in our elections and protecting our election infrastructure.

Against each of these challenges, the Department has marshaled our resources, tapped our authorities, and unified our efforts to safeguard the American people and our way of life.

Yet, we will not rest on yesterday’s successes. Our eyes are on the horizon. On the future.

As we look ahead, terrorism, criminal actions threatening public safety, natural disasters and pandemics will remain threats to the Homeland.  They always will.

But today we are also seeing nation-states  launching new aggressive tactics here in the Homeland through cyber and economic means.    And rest assured, the Trump Administration is taking the necessary actions to ensure they don’t succeed.

Of all the threats DHS has confronted in the last year, the COVID-19 pandemic has posed one of the most formidable, rapidly evolving and uniquely challenging.

Due to what we now know was China’s irresponsible response, COVID-19 was permitted to become the worst global pandemic in more than 100 years. Along with the World Health Organization, their actions were inept, their response too slow.

In stark contrast, President Trump’s decisive and rapid action led our federal government to pursue a Whole-of-America response, which continues to deliver results through a locally-executed, state-managed, and federally-supported strategy.

And when the federal government needed expertise in incident management, they turned to FEMA.

Utilizing their experience, FEMA quickly got to work prioritizing tasks, putting structure to a growing crisis and working with our interagency partners to make certain the full weight and breadth of the U.S. federal government was being brought to the fight. 

FEMA’s tireless efforts implementing critical initiatives—those saving lives and those replenishing lost wages—deserve our highest commendation.

FEMA processed the first ever nationwide emergency declaration under the Stafford Act. This was in addition to simultaneous major disaster declarations granted to all 50 states, 5 territories, and the District of Columbia.

Putting this effort in perspective – FEMA was essentially responding to a category 5 hurricane in every state, territory, and the District of Columbia – all at the same time. It’s truly an unprecedented level of emergency support and response needed across America.

Under President Trump’s direction, we utilized the Defense Production Act to procure more than 220 million respirators from 3M, saving American lives. By taking historic action to better collaborate with the private sector, we have helped deliver and allocate billions of pieces of scarce PPE to our frontline healthcare workers and first responders.

But it doesn’t stop there. Most recently, FEMA has played a leading role easing the economic burden COVID-19 placed on millions of Americans.

In August, in the absence of Congressional action, President Trump authorized FEMA to use $44 billion from the Disaster Relief Fund to alleviate the effects of lost wages, allowing states to make supplemental payments to those receiving unemployment insurance compensation. FEMA acted in short order. As of September 8, FEMA has already provided more than $29 billion to 47 states for Lost Wages Assistance. A truly phenomenal feat.

From the very beginning of this pandemic to this very moment, FEMA continues to marshal the power of the federal government to assist our people in their time of need.

However, the Department’s response to COVID-19 is not exclusive to FEMA. From the outset, this Administration proactively stemmed the spread of the pandemic.

President Trump, working through DHS, placed travel restrictions on China and worked to implement further travel restrictions on an additional 30 countries to help slow the spread. And working with our neighbors to the north and south, CBP has successfully protected countless Americans through travel restrictions at our land Ports of Entry while simultaneously facilitating the trade we need to support our economy.

Our other DHS components have also worked diligently in this environment to serve Americans in various ways:

  • CISA, supporting our private sector partners, removed obstacles as they worked to keep supply chains fully operational, and issued essential workers guidance on how to keep frontline employees healthy and at work;
     
  • Our Science & Technology Directorate curated the latest research and data on COVID-19, keeping policymakers and decision makers abreast of the latest scientific information;
     
  • ICE HSI launched Operation Stolen Promise, leveraging its experience in global trade and criminal analysis to investigate financial fraud schemes, the importation of prohibited pharmaceuticals and medical supplies, cyber fraud, and other illicit activity associated with the virus; and
     
  • And CBP has proactively combatted the criminals exploiting this pandemic for profit by seizing over 12 million counterfeit face masks, thousands of FDA-prohibited COVID-19 test kits, and thousands more unapproved medications that could pose harm to the American public. 

DHS will remain vigilant in supporting the public health and economic well-being of the American people.

Responding to COVID is not the only mission that would have been hard to predict at the beginning of the year. Today, the Department is resisting the civil unrest that is gripping certain cities across our country. 

Let me be clear, those who seek to undermine our democratic institutions, indiscriminately destroy businesses, and attack law enforcement officers and fellow citizens are a threat to the Homeland. I want to be clear on that point. 

The Department has experienced this firsthand in Portland, Oregon, where violent opportunists repeatedly targeted and attempted to burn down a federal courthouse – the seat of justice in downtown Portland. 

Federal law in this area is unequivocal and compels action. The Secretary of Homeland Security shall protect the buildings, grounds, and property that are owned, occupied, or secured by the Federal Government and the people on that property. I have made clear that we will never abdicate this moral and legal duty.  

Our Federal Protective Service protects nearly 9,000 federal properties across the country. In almost every one of those areas we receive assistance from local officials when federal buildings are targeted and attacked. Unfortunately, this cooperation did not happen in Portland. 

This is a city where local leadership played partisan politics with public safety, allowing attempts of arson and violence against federal law enforcement officers, and the destruction of federal property to occur with impunity.

For nearly two months, while defending the federal courthouse, our federal officers were assaulted with sledgehammers, commercial grade fireworks, rocks, metal pipes, IEDs, and more. As Portland officials refused to cooperate with DHS, our law enforcement officers suffered over 240 separate injuries.

After 60 days of this violence, the Governor of Oregon finally offered the assistance of state law enforcement. To be clear - that offer should have happened on the 1st day of violence, not the 60th.

Some politicians and media figures have brazenly characterized the extreme violence in Portland as “mostly peaceful.” Our Constitution protects the natural right to freedom of speech and peaceful assembly. The Department supports the exercise of everyone’s First Amendment rights. There is, however, no Constitutional right to loot, to burn, or to assault law enforcement officers or fellow citizens.

Let me repeat, there is NO Constitutional right to burn cities to the ground and assault the men and women of law enforcement.

I am proud of the work we are doing in Portland and around the country. DHS, working with the Department of Justice and other federal law enforcement, will make sure that those choosing to break the law—in any city—will be held accountable.

The vast majority of reasonable Americans are also proud of the work of law enforcement. We cannot and must not fall victim to the delusion of a fringe minority of Americans who are opposed to the honorable men and women who wear the badge and swear to protect our communities. Americans see the violence against our officers and are not falling for this false narrative.

To our law enforcement colleagues watching today: I could not be prouder of your sacrifice and professionalism.

It has been disappointing to see so-called “experts” criticize our response in Portland without knowing the facts on the ground. It’s unsettling that these self-appointed experts rush to criticize the uniformed men and women of DHS working to save lives and defend federal property, even before they condemn the violent behavior of a rioting mob.

Scoring cheap political points by abandoning those risking their lives to preserve law and order should never be the way our Homeland Security community operates.

As President Theodore Roosevelt rightly observed in 1910, “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood.”

Every day, DHS professionals are in that arena while others sit on the sidelines and criticize. They have that right, and DHS law enforcement proudly helps ensure they can exercise that right safely.

But, make no mistake, there is more work to be done as we see groups, right here at home, seeking to tear down our government institutions and our way of life.

I’m proud to say that DHS has taken unprecedented actions to address all forms of violent extremism, to specifically include threats posed by lone offenders and small cells of individuals.

Last year, the Department released a comprehensive strategy that contextualizes the threats from violent extremists and lays out the DHS mission in preventing such violence.  We secured – with the help from Congress – additional funding in FY 2020 for these initiatives.  And the President requested a 300% increase in funding for DHS-wide efforts in this area in his FY 2021 Budget Request. 

Just this week, we are releasing an implementation plan that outlines dozens of separate actions across the DHS enterprise designed to combat domestic terrorism and soon we will announce our Terrorism Prevention grant recipients. 

Let me be clear – DHS stands in absolute opposition to any form of violent extremism. Whether by white supremacist extremists or anarchist extremists. We will continue our daily efforts to combat all forms of domestic terror.

 

The work of DHS is as diverse as it is important.

Whether in cyberspace or at the border, DHS is unflinching in its resolve to secure America’s territorial sovereignty – through strong border security and bringing integrity back to our immigration system.

These are difficult issues that require difficult decisions. Many administrations – Republican and Democrat alike – have chosen to make improvements around the edges. Only weighing in when a crisis occurs and almost never making the hard decisions. 

Homeland security does not come easy and it does not come without debate. 

From the early days of this Administration, President Trump articulated what most Americans intuitively knew – we need stronger border security and we needed to put an end to long-standing fraud and abuse in our immigration system. 

So, we got to work. We started with the premise that it is better to stop criminal activity before it gets to America. Specifically, we began by pushing our  borders out and keeping Americans safe through a layered approach that includes: more effective screening of those who are seeking entry into our country, securing unprecedented international cooperation, fully applying the law to all those who break it, reforming our broken immigration system and—last but certainly not least—building the border wall system. 

One of the most fundamental responsibilities of any sovereign nation is to know exactly who is entering their country and for what purpose.

The U.S. is the world’s most generous and welcoming country, but, unfortunately, there are evil people who seek to travel to the U.S. with the intent of harming and killing Americans.

Despite the progress we have made since 9/11, we remain heavily dependent on the paperwork and documentation of a prospective traveler. 

That is why the Department, along with our interagency partners, developed a process for evaluating the information sharing cooperation, identity management practices and travel related risk associated with each country in the world. 

We identified the lowest performing countries, put them on notice and for those unable or unwilling to meet our standards, we issued common sense travel restrictions.

Because of this process, we saw multiple countries begin sharing information with us that they had never done before. I am proud of the work the Department has done to raise the security baseline around the world.

We are working closely with our partners in Central America – providing them the resources and capacity to address the illegal flow of migration and allowing their foreign nationals to seek protection closer to home. 

Over the last 18 months we have signed and implemented security and asylum cooperative agreements with our partners, and we are slowly restoring functionality to our broken immigration system.

In 2019 under President Trump’s leadership, Mexico stepped up its efforts along known migration routes, and we continue to work with Mexico to this day on partnerships to reduce illegal crossings.

These historic agreements with our partners in the Western Hemisphere have helped curb illegal migration and make all of our countries more secure.

For those who do attempt to illegally enter at our southern border, we have made tremendous progress building a state-of-the-art border wall system.

Having an effective barrier at our southern border was, at one time, considered a common-sense and bipartisan approach to homeland security. Over 80 Senators in the United States Senate at the time voted for the Secure Fence Act of 2006.  Many of those Senators are still in the U.S. Senate today – some complaining loudly about President Trump successfully implementing what they themselves voted for back in 2006.

Let’s remember - we provide the very best equipment to our military troops fighting our adversaries overseas every single day. There is no reason to not provide the very best equipment to the men and women of the US Border Patrol so that they can protect here at home. 

And while politics may have changed, the facts have not. They cannot. Effective border barriers simply work. The new border wall system allows the U.S. government to decide where border crossings take place - not cartels and not human traffickers.

Where effective border wall systems have been constructed – the results speak for themselves.  Where wall goes up, the number of illegal crossings—and crime—goes down. 

While our opponents used every conceivable roadblock – from Congress to the courts – to stop our progress, I could not be more proud to stand alongside President Trump and deliver results that protect the American homeland

Since January of this year, we have constructed over 300 miles of new border wall system.

And I am proud to report that by the end of this calendar year we will reach over 450 miles.  

This new wall system is unlike anything we’ve had before. It provides capabilities to the men and women of the Border Patrol who need it to protect America. This wall is a testament to a key promise made—and kept—by President Trump and this Administration.   

As hundreds of new miles of border wall system are constructed, they push cartels to traffic their goods at locations precisely where DHS is best equipped—at Ports of Entry. Here, we have the infrastructure, staffing, and technology to better detect and interdict their deadly contraband. No longer are cartels able to walk across the border unimpeded.

We are hard at work on deploying Non-Intrusive Inspection equipment at ports of entry – and by 2023 we expect to expand NII screening of commercial vehicles from 15% to 72% and the screening of personal vehicles from 1% to 40%. 

Since President Trump took office, we have seized more than 4 million pounds of hard drugs like fentanyl, cocaine, and methamphetamine.

That means the Trump Administration has annually seized roughly twice as many pounds of these hard drugs as the previous Administration.  Put another way, President Trump’s Administration is on track to seize roughly the same amount of drugs in his first term alone as the amount of drugs seized in the entire 8 years of the last administration.

Those are narcotics that will never enter and devastate our communities, and their seizure takes billions of dollars from the pockets of cartels.

We are also working to close many of the legal loopholes that have been identified and exploited by those seeking entry.

We have all but ended “catch and release,” which served as a magnet to those who have wished to exploit our immigration system time and time again.

What we inherited was a situation with loopholes so large that most illegal aliens who were caught could expect to be released within our borders and then live and work for years without any consequences for their actions. That was both indefensible on its own terms, harmful to illegal aliens themselves - particularly those with meritorious claims -  and also deeply corrosive to the rule of law in America.

Under the Migrant Protection Protocols, grounded in a law passed by Congress in 1996, aliens entering or seeking admission to the U.S. from Mexico—illegally or without proper documentation—will be returned to Mexico and required to wait outside of the U.S. for the duration of their immigration proceedings. 

MPP helps promote a safer and more orderly process along the Southwest border, discourages individuals from making meritless asylum claims, and enables expeditious immigration results.

America is a generous nation. Thus, it has also been a top priority for this Administration to preserve our asylum system for genuine asylum seekers. Those seeking economic opportunity by exploiting our generous asylum laws hamper and delay people who truly qualify for asylum and should be granted this relief as soon as practicable.

Strong border security and immigration enforcement is a win for Americans, a loss for organized crime, and a rebuke to those who wish to dissolve not just America’s borders, but the rule of law.

The Administration’s message is simple: If you are a human trafficker, a drug smuggler, or any criminal seeking to break our laws and illegally enter the United States—you will find no sanctuary in this country.

We still have more work to do, but looking back, we are here because this Administration did something uncommon here in DC: we did precisely what we said we would do.

Reforming our immigration system helps to secure the homeland—both directly and by supporting other vital efforts.  As I’ve said many times before, economic security is homeland security. 

 

We directly support economic security every day here in the Homeland by keeping commercial airline travel safe and secure, facilitating commercial trade through our ports of entry, keeping our networks free from economic disruptions and safeguarding our ports and inland waterways that process nearly 90% of all goods coming into our country. 

While there is much to talk about here, let me focus on how the lawful flow of goods and services fuels our economic growth, is responsible for good American jobs, and raises living standards.

Our trade enforcement protects American businesses and consumers, and it ensures that we are globally competitive. CBP enforces our trade laws, and implements Special Trade Remedies with quotas and exclusions to protect vital U.S. industries that are especially vulnerable to unfair labor practices. We will not let illicit actors threaten American innovation, our economy, or our business competitiveness, and we protect the livelihoods of American workers and the health and safety of consumers, every day.

As critical as trade is to our prosperity, it is also targeted for exploitation by terrorists and criminals. Our dedicated law enforcement officers are able to disrupt terrorist financing, target fraud and counterfeits, and ensure trade transparency.

Addressing threats at the earliest possible point is essential to strengthening the security of our country and enables us to improve the free flow of legitimate goods.

Since 9/11, DHS has significantly expanded its ability to track and disrupt terrorist and criminal financing by taking action to combat bulk cash smuggling and close weaknesses in our financial, trade, and transportation sectors.

We are also countering mass-marketing fraud, investigating organized retail crime rings, and fighting human smuggling and human trafficking organizations.

Successful trade facilitation is what makes the United States globally competitive, ensuring that the supply chain is efficient, cost effective, and safe.

While COVID has highlighted many things over the last six months, perhaps most importantly it has reminded us that even the most dominant economy is fragile.

Surveying emerging threats of the last year, one menacing actor continues to evolve—China.

Their relentless barrage of attacks aimed at undermining American workers, American economic dominance, and the American way of life cannot be allowed to stand—and under this Administration, they won’t.

China has leveraged every aspect of its country including its economy, its military, and its diplomatic power, demonstrating a rejection of western liberal democracy and continually renewing its commitment to remake the world order in its own authoritarian image.

Their tactics are sometimes pernicious, but always harmful to the American worker and American economy.

From intellectual property theft and stealing trade secrets that rob from American innovators … to harvesting personal data to turn a profit, shattering the privacy of Americans of all ages … to exporting unjust business practices in the form of state backed enterprises that harm American entrepreneurs … to hacking attempts to penetrate and compromise American organizations conducting COVID research …  to abusing student visas to exploit American academia, the actions of China may be unabating, but they are not unthwartable.

Let me be clear, DHS has and will continue to play a critical role in the United States Strategic Approach to China.

We are blocking visas for certain Chinese graduate students and researchers with ties to China’s military fusion strategy to prevent them from stealing and otherwise appropriating sensitive research.

We are targeting illicit Chinese manufacturers who have exploited the COVID-19 pandemic by producing fraudulent or prohibited PPE and medical supplies that especially endanger our front-line workers.

We are preventing goods produced by slave labor from entering our markets and demanding that China respect the inherent dignity of each human being.

At our borders and our ports of entry, we are leveraging technology and innovation to target and interdict deadly Chinese-made fentanyl before it can destroy American communities and take American lives.

DHS is working with our interagency and industry colleagues to protect our information and communications infrastructure from intellectual property theft and nefarious data collection by China.

In response to the massive undertaking ahead, I ordered the establishment of the Department’s own China Working Group in order to uniformly prioritize and coordinate the Department’s response to these evolving threats

China’s efforts to exploit the COVID-19 pandemic, to sabotage free and fair trade, and abuse our immigration system will be met with resolute determination of a Department committed to putting America first.

Under this Administration, DHS has tackled difficult issues and made historic strides in better securing the homeland.

Our newest component – the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency – is at the forefront guarding against nation-state actors’ cyber-enabled espionage and malicious influence activity aimed at all levels of government and industry.

As we approach the 2020 election, we remain steadfast in protecting this essential American process. 

CISA has doubled down both on their efforts across the federal government and in partnering with local election leaders across the country to make sure our elections are safe and secure.

Elections are a bedrock of our Constitutional republic, and securing them is paramount to accurately expressing the will of the American people.

To protect the integrity of our representative government, our ultimate goal must be to ensure that American voters decide American elections.

In light of new levels of organized efforts by Russia in 2016 to disrupt and deceive, the Department strengthened U.S. efforts to rebuff the aggressive and meddlesome behavior of any nefarious state actor.

Signed into law by President Trump, CISA has made extraordinary and rapid strides bolstering the security of this most sacred democratic process.

CISA leveraged unique cybersecurity technical services by funding the Election Infrastructure Information Sharing and Analysis Center that deploys and monitors intrusion detection systems on election infrastructure across all 50 states.

The results were historic - 2018 was the most secure election in the modern era.

Not resting on its laurels, CISA has only increased its protection in scope and impact as it pursues the goal of an ever-more secure election in 2020.

They have dedicated tremendous resources into the Protect 2020 project, understanding that American voters themselves are key to bolstering resilience. They’re educating citizens about the vital importance of being prepared, participating, and being patient on election day.

Beyond our shores, we face an ever-changing threat landscape as the governments of China, Iran, and Russia target our election systems, each with its own separate and nefarious motives and tactics.

But we are ready. This Administration continues to hold these nation-states accountable for their actions, assigning attribution where appropriate, and taking aggressive punitive measures, including sanctions against hostile intelligence services targeting election systems, oligarchs running troll farms, and others attempting to spread disinformation.

The right to choose one’s own leaders is rare in the course of history. The Department recognizes this fact and will continue to uphold the integrity of this indispensable American tradition.

The men and women of DHS are committed to defending and securing the American creed.

Yes, the wiles of our enemies will shift. Yes, DHS will adapt at every turn. 

But in one way, we will keep constant: we won’t let up.

We’ll hold to what doesn’t change: the fundamental goodness of our people, our country, and the values that made us great. America is worth protecting. In the long march of history, nowhere else has the human heart had so good a chance to live as we were created to live:

Free. Safe. And able to use that liberty to make the world better than we found it.

Emerging from the horror of 9/11, the burden of grief and sorrow taught us to prepare for any adversity, not because we fear what trials may come, but because we know who we are as a people —independent and dedicated to the proposition that all people are created equal.

I believe these American values called to the men and women of DHS. It’s why you’re here. You apply yourselves to their defense daily -- with integrity, vigilance, and respect. You ensure every coming day is more secure than the one before.

I am privileged to work beside you, and humbled to lead among you. Every victory of this Department is yours.

Thanks to you, this Department will safeguard the American homeland, our people, and our way of life.

We stand—ready to rise and ready to face the next challenge that threatens our homeland.

Thank you.

The video can be viewed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o2o-NsymK7E&feature=emb_title

Last Published Date: September 9, 2020
Back to Top