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  4. DHS Advances Support for Tribal Nations, Receives Recommendations from Tribal Leaders

DHS Advances Support for Tribal Nations, Receives Recommendations from Tribal Leaders

Release Date: January 17, 2024

During first in-person meeting of the Tribal Homeland Security Advisory Council, Tribal leaders from across the country shared perspectives on homeland security policies and practices that affect Tribal Nations and indigenous communities.

Last week, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas convened tribal representatives to discuss key challenges facing their communities, including the accessibility of Department of Homeland Security (DHS) grants, improving cyber resilience, and best practices to address the crisis of missing and murdered indigenous people. Subcommittees of the Tribal Homeland Security Advisory Council (THSAC) presented their recommendations to the full Council on ways the Department can address these challenges. This was the THSAC’s first in-person meeting since forming on September 7, 2022.   

The Subcommittee on Accessibility to DHS Grants recommended that DHS improve access to grant programs for tribes and tribal communities. Key policy recommendations from the committee include the establishment of a more accessible grant and application process with more flexibility and improving the consultation process with tribes to ensure grant priorities match the needs of tribal communities. The subcommittee also proposed a few legislative recommendations that would require Congressional action.  

The Subcommittee on Cybersecurity recommended that DHS improve accessibility to cybersecurity resources for tribes and tribal communities. Key recommendations included addressing the talent deficit of tribal cybersecurity professionals and providing equity assessments in rural regions to understand cybersecurity vulnerabilities in Tribal Nations. 

The Subcommittee on Addressing the Crisis of Missing and Murdered Indigenous People (MMIP) recommended that DHS improve its role in support of Executive Order 14053, which tasked the Department with providing support to federal partner agencies, including the Department of Justice, Department of the Interior, and the Department of Health and Human Services, with their efforts to combat the crisis of MMIP. Key recommendations include the creation of a secure, updated, and centralized Tribal Nation Platform for data collection and networking, and the consolidation of victim and survivor services under one platform to improve available resources.  

The Tribal Homeland Security Advisory Council enables Tribal leaders to advise the Secretary on homeland security policies and practices that affect Indian Country and indigenous communities, in areas including emergency management, law enforcement, cybersecurity, domestic terrorism and targeted violence, and border security. The Council engages with DHS agencies and offices to produce recommendations and reports for the Secretary. The Council is charged with collaborating on all matters of homeland security.  

The Tribal Homeland Security Advisory Council is one of four Councils of outside experts that provide advice and recommendations to the Secretary on matters related to various aspects of homeland security. The Faith-Based Security Advisory Council provides advice and recommendations to the Secretary and other senior leadership on matters related to protecting houses of worship, preparedness, and enhanced coordination with the faith community. The Homeland Security Academic Partnership Council provides strategic and actionable recommendations to the Secretary on campus safety and security, improved coordination, research priorities, hiring, and more. Members represent higher education associations, campus law enforcement, two- and four-year colleges and universities, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Hispanic-Serving Institutions, Tribal Colleges, and Asian American and Pacific Islander-Serving Institutions. And the Homeland Security Advisory Council, comprised of private sector leaders, produced a record eight reports in 2023 for the Council on critical topics ranging from Customer Service to AI. These recommendations led to the development of new initiatives, like the Supply Chain Resilience Center, customer experience improvements across component agencies, and critical AI policy. 

To learn more about the Council, please visit https://www.dhs.gov/tribal-advisory-council

Learn more about the Biden-Harris Administration’s efforts to better support tribal nations.

Last Updated: 01/17/2024
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