Secretary Mayorkas delivered the following remarks to open the inaugural meeting of the Homeland Security Academic Partnership Council.
I just want to take the time to express gratitude to all of you for your willingness to take the time to serve on this Advisory Council.
You know, over the past 20 years, the threat landscape has evolved significantly from when our Department was first formed in the wake of the tragedy of 9/11. Our primary mission was to address the threat of the foreign terrorist that sought to enter the United States and do us harm.
While that threat persists, other threats have arisen on the landscape and take a great deal of our energy and attention to address the threat – the cyberattack from adverse nation-states or cyber criminals – whether it's the threat of the what we call the domestic violent extremist, the individual, already resident here in the United States, radicalized to violence because of an ideology of hate, antigovernment sentiment, personal grievance, false narratives – whether its adverse nation-states that seek to spread disinformation, steal our intellectual property – the threat landscape has evolved significantly.
And all of you, who have so generously agreed to devote your time to the work of this Department and the work of the education arena – all of you are best equipped and will be empowered to really address the intersection between the mission of Homeland Security and the mission of our education system.
We need to keep our schools, whether they be primary or graduate, public or private, safe and secure. And we need to… ensure that the people who work there, who study – students, teachers, everyone in the entire academic ecosystem – make sure they are safe and secure as well. And I am immensely grateful for your volunteerism in making sure that the academic environment is a safe and secure one for everyone.
I want to especially thank Elisa Villanueva Beard for agreeing to serve as chair, and Dr. Walter Bumphus for agreeing to serve as our vice chair.
And I must, at the very outset, express a bias that I have, and that is, I grew up in a home where the profession of teaching was the noblest of professions. It's a bias I carry with me, instilled in me by both parents, but especially by the example of my mother, who was a teacher.
I am incredibly grateful and eager to work with you. Rebecca, with that, I'll turn it back over to you.