Over the past several years, DHS and our partners have evolved and strengthened our homeland security enterprise in order to better defend against evolving terrorist threats. This enterprise extends far beyond DHS and the many departments and agencies that contribute to our homeland security mission. A key part includes working directly with law enforcement, state and local leaders, community-based organizations, private sector and international partners.
Progress Made Since 9/11
Federal Government Partnerships
Within the federal government, many departments and agencies contribute to the homeland security mission. The nation's armed forces are on the front lines of homeland security by degrading al-Qa'ida's capabilities to attack the United States and targets throughout the world. The Director of National Intelligence, the Central Intelligence Agency, and the entire Intelligence Community, of which DHS is a member, are producing better streams of intelligence than at any time in history. The Administration has made critical enhancements to the federal watchlist systems and to the coordination of the Federal government's counterterrorism efforts. The Federal homeland security enterprise also includes the strong presence of the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), whose role in leading terrorism investigations has led to the arrest of more than two-dozen Americans on terrorism-related charges since 2009.
State, Local, Tribal, and Territorial Partners
DHS has focused on getting resources and information out of Washington, D.C. and into the hands of state and local law enforcement, to provide them with the tools to identify and combat threats in their communities. Because state and local law enforcement are often in the best position to notice the first signs of a planned attack, homeland security efforts must be integrated into the police work that they do every day, providing officers on the front lines with a clear understanding of the tactics, behaviors, and other indicators that could point to terrorist activity.
DHS supports these efforts through robust information sharing with public and private sector partners; fusion centers to build analytical capability at the state and local level; participation in the Nationwide Suspicious Activity Reporting Initiative – an Administration effort to train state and local law enforcement to recognize behaviors and indicators related to terrorism, crime and other threats, and FBI-led Joint Terrorism Task Forces (JTTF) that investigate terrorist threats. DHS also helps state and local partners build and sustain capabilities to prevent, protect against, respond to, and recover from threats or acts of terrorism through grant funding, training and technical assistance. In 2009, DHS designated Tribal liaisons in every operational component to work directly with tribal communities. In 2011, DHS announced a new Tribal Consultation Policy outlining the guiding principles under which all elements of the Department will engage with sovereign tribal governments.
Private Sector Outreach
The private sector is an integral component of the homeland security enterprise, and through the Department's private sector office, DHS has improved coordination of private sector engagement across the Department, facilitating more effective and rapid communication with key organizations and bolstering regionally-focused information sharing efforts. Since 9/11, DHS also has prioritized private sector preparedness through programs such as the Voluntary Private Sector Preparedness Accreditation and Certification Program (PS-Prep™), Ready Business, the development and deployment of new technologies, and by incorporating private sector partners from the outset when developing new policies, programs and initiatives.
DHS works closely with international partners, including major multilateral organizations and global businesses to strengthen the security of the networks of global trade and travel upon which the nation's economy and communities rely. DHS has enhanced the security of the aviation system, not only in airports throughout the United States, but also in airports abroad, by working directly with foreign governments, international organizations, and the aviation industry to raise aviation security standards. The Administration's global supply chain initiative is building on many of these partnerships, including work with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), World Customs Organization (WCO), and International Maritime Organization (IMO).
The public also plays a key role in our strengthened homeland security enterprise. Through the nationwide expansion of the "If You See Something, Say Something®" campaign, which was originally implemented by New York City's Metropolitan Transportation Authority, DHS is raising public awareness of indicators of terrorism and crime while emphasizing the importance of reporting suspicious activity to the proper law enforcement authorities. Recently, DHS replaced the color-coded alert system with the new National Terrorism Advisory System (NTAS)–a robust terrorism advisory system that provides timely information to the public and the private sector, as well as to state, local and tribal governments about credible terrorist threats and recommended security measures.
Implementing 9/11 Commission Recommendations
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and its many partners across the federal government, public and private sectors, and communities across the country and around the world have worked since 9/11 to build a new homeland security enterprise to better mitigate and defend against dynamic threats, minimize risks, and maximize the ability to respond and recover from attacks and disasters of all kinds.
Together, these efforts have provided a strong foundation to protect communities from terrorism and other threats, while safeguarding the fundamental rights of all Americans.
While threats persist, our nation is stronger than it was on 9/11, more prepared to confront evolving threats, and more resilient in the face of our continued challenges.
Read the Implementing 9/11 Commission Recommendations, Progress Report 2011