View Full Version: Dept. Of Homeland Security

Loose Change Forum > Latest News Section > Dept. Of Homeland Security

Pages: [1] 2

Title: Dept. Of Homeland Security
Description: Speeches, Laws, Testimony, Etc.


batmanchester - January 5, 2007 10:34 PM (GMT)
DHS Announces $1.7 Billion Available for Local Homeland Security Programs
Release Date: January 5, 2007

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
Contact: (202) 282-8010

Washington — The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released today fiscal year 2007 grant guidance (PDF, 10 pages - 102 KB) and application kits for five grant programs that will total roughly $1.7 billion in funding for state and local counterterrorism efforts. With the fiscal year 2007 funding, the department will have invested nearly $20 billion in local planning, organization, equipment, training, and exercises.

“This year’s grant process will be more user-friendly. There will be increased interaction with all applicants before we award the grants to ensure effective investment.” said Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff. “The funds will be distributed to reduce risk across the United States, not just in a handful of places. But, let me be clear that the communities facing the highest risk will receive the majority of the funds.”

The five programs that comprise the Homeland Security Grant Program (HSGP) encourage a regional approach to strengthening homeland security. Grant funding priorities include reducing risks of improvised explosive devices and radiological, chemical and biological weapons. They emphasize interoperable communications, information sharing and citizen preparedness. HSGP fiscal year 2007 funding totals are:

State Homeland Security Program (SHSP)- $509.3 million
Law Enforcement Terrorism Prevention Program (LETPP)- $363.8 million
Urban Areas Security Initiative (UASI)- $746.9 million
Metropolitan Medical Response System (MMRS)- $32.0 million
Citizen Corps Program (CCP)- $14.6 million
The department has refined its grants programs over the past year to increase transparency, provide a more streamlined and interactive application process, and tier certain core programs according to risk. In addition, the six highest risk UASI cities will be permitted for the first time to apply up to 25 percent of their award toward current state and local personnel dedicated exclusively to counterterrorism field operations.

HSGP risk-methodology considers a variety of factors, including intelligence assessments, population size and density, economic impacts, and proximity to nationally critical infrastructure such as international borders. More than 100 law enforcement, emergency management and homeland security experts from federal, state and urban areas will form peer review panels to assess this year’s grant applications. Upon completion of the review process, DHS expects to announce grant allocations by summer 2007.

http://www.dhs.gov/xnews/releases/pr_1168010425128.shtm

batmanchester - January 9, 2007 07:39 PM (GMT)
DHS Announces $445 Million to Secure Critical Infrastructure
Release Date: January 9, 2007

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
Contact: (202) 282-8010

Washington — The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released today fiscal year 2007 grant guidance and application kits for five grant programs that will total roughly $445 million in funding for state, local and private industry infrastructure protection initiatives. These five programs comprise the Infrastructure Protection Program (IPP), which to date have provided more than $1.5 billion in grants to strengthen security at critical facilities ranging from chemical plants to mass transit systems and seaports.

“We’re investing resources where risk is greatest and where the funds will have the most significant impact,” said Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff. “This year’s grants reflect a rigorous, disciplined approach that places risk first, driven by hard analysis from the intelligence community and supported by common sense.”

IPP fiscal year 2007 funding totals have increased by $46 million over last year. Specific totals include:

Port Security Grant Program: $201.2 million
Transit Security Grant Program: $171.8 million
Buffer Zone Protection Program: $48.5 million
Intercity Bus Security Grant Program: $11.6 million
Trucking Security Grant Program: $11.6 million
Port Security Grants
Eight port areas qualify for Tier I, or highest risk status, in fiscal year 2007. They will receive a combined total of $120 million, or roughly 60 percent of total Port Security Grant Program funding this year. The remaining U.S. ports are included within three additional risk tiers, and will compete for the additional 40 percent of available funds. Grant funding priorities include training, exercises, activities to mitigate the risk of improvised explosive devices, and employee credentials and access controls.

Tier I Port Security Grant Program areas are:

New York-New Jersey: $27.1 million
New Orleans: $17.3 million
Houston-Galveston: $15.7 million
Los Angeles-Long Beach: $14.7 million
Puget Sound (Seattle-Tacoma area): $12.2 million
Delaware Bay (Philadelphia, Wilmington, Del., and Southern New Jersey): $11.3 million
San Francisco Bay: $11.2 million
Sabine-Neches River (Port Arthur-Beaumont, Texas): $10.9 million
Transit Security Grants
Eight major urban areas qualify for Tier I, or highest risk status, in fiscal year 2007. They will receive a combined total of $141 million, or roughly 90 percent of total Transit Security Grant funding available for rail and bus systems this year. Grant funding priorities include securing underground and underwater systems, reducing the risks of improvised explosive devices and radiological, chemical and biological weapons, as well as training, exercises and public awareness campaigns.

Transit Security Tier I major urban areas are:

New York-Connecticut-New Jersey: $61 million
National Capital Region: $18.2 million
Boston: $15.3 million
San Francisco Bay Area: $13.8 million
Chicago: $12.8 million
Philadelphia: $9.7 million
Greater Los Angeles: $7 million
Atlanta: $3.4 million
In addition, Amtrak will receive $8 million under the Transit Security Grants Program to enhance intercity passenger rail security initiatives and to coordinate efforts with local and regional transit systems.

For the first time, Transit Security Grants will provide award recipients the flexibility to decide where they can better focus their resources. In the past, these awards were allocated in specific amounts for rail and separate amounts for bus.

Transit Security Grants will further fund enhanced security for 19 ferry systems in 14 regions. Those systems and eligible award amounts are:

Seattle:- $2,400,603
New York-New Jersey: $1,532,903
Houston: $599,793
San Francisco Bay Area: $586,714
North Carolina: $429,685
Connecticut-New York: $414,350
Boston: $400,960
Alaska-Washington: $352,040
New Orleans: $325,000
Martha’s Vineyard, Mass.: $274,120
Jamestown, Va.: $235,444
Delaware-New Jersey: $155,807
Greater Los Angeles: $122,581
IPP grant guidance was also announced today for the Intercity Bus Security Grant Program, $11.6 million; the Trucking Security Grant Program, $11.6 million; and the Buffer Zone Protection Program, $48.5 million; supporting effective critical infrastructure security investments at the state and local level.

DHS has refined its grants programs over the past year to increase transparency and provide a more streamlined and interactive application process. The department expects to award IPP grants in spring 2007.

http://www.dhs.gov/xnews/releases/pr_1168366069190.shtm

batmanchester - January 12, 2007 10:31 PM (GMT)
Secretary Chertoff Announces New Members of the Homeland Security Advisory Council
Release Date: January 12, 2007

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
Contact: (202) 282-8010

Washington — Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff appointed five new members to the Homeland Security Advisory Council (HSAC) and its senior advisory committees on Jan. 11 during their quarterly meetings. Judge Louis Freeh and Robert Woodson, Sr. were recognized as the newest members to the council.

The HSAC State and Local Senior Advisory Committee adds a new appointment with Washington State Senator Joe Zarelli.

Jean Spence, Executive Vice President, Global Technology and Quality, Kraft Foods Inc., will serve on the HSAC Private Sector Senior Advisory Committee.

The HSAC Emergency Responders Senior Advisory Committee will add former Sheriff Dan Corsentino of Pueblo, Colorado to its membership.

"I value the advice of the Homeland Security Advisory Council and the Senior Advisory Councils," said Secretary Chertoff. “These five appointments will only augment the knowledge and experience of our membership, assisting in our efforts to draw on the expertise of leading citizens as we strive to strengthen the protections that keep America safe.”

The Homeland Security Advisory Council is the Secretary's primary council and is comprised of experts from state and local governments, first preventer and responder communities, academia and the private sector, and provides advice and recommendations to Secretary Chertoff on homeland security issues.

New members of the Homeland Security Advisory Committee are:

Judge Louis Freeh, former Director of the FBI and currently President of The Freeh Group. Freeh served as FBI Director from September 1993 to June 2001.

Robert L. Woodson, Sr., is the President of the Center for Neighborhood Enterprise, which he founded in 1981. He has pioneered the unique community-based Violence-Free Zone initiative which is successfully reducing youth violence in schools and neighborhoods. A young civil rights activist in the 60's, in the 1970's he directed the National Urban League's Administration of Justice division and then served as a Resident Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.

New Member of HSAC's State and Local Officials Senior Advisory Committee:

Joe Zarelli, of Ridgefield, Wash., is serving his third four-year term as a State Senator. Senator Zarelli is currently the ranking member on the Ways & Means; International Trade and Economic Development; and Rules Committees. Senator Zarelli is the President of JP Zarelli, Inc., specializing in Business Development and Risk Management services. He served seven years in the Navy and been a Clark County foster parent since 1986.

New Member of HSAC's Private Sector Senior Advisory Committee:

Jean Spence, Executive Vice President, Global Technology and Quality Kraft Foods Inc. She is responsible for all research, product and packaging development, nutrition, quality, food safety & security and scientific affairs worldwide.

New Member of HSAC's Emergency Responders Senior Advisory Committee:

Dan Corsentino is the former Sheriff of Pueblo County, Colorado. The Sheriff served for sixteen years as the County's elected Sheriff. He also served as the Secretary of the National Sheriff's Association.

http://www.dhs.gov/xnews/releases/pr_1168622109095.shtm

batmanchester - January 24, 2007 07:32 PM (GMT)
Statement by Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff on the Resignation of the General Counsel
Release Date: January 23, 2007

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
Contact: (202) 282-8010

Phil Perry has announced his resignation as General Counsel at the Department of Homeland Security, effective February 6. I have continually relied on Phil for trusted counsel and sound analysis on the most complex and pressing issues that we face. He has been an outstanding general counsel and a highly-effective advocate in dealings with interagency partners and the Hill.

Phil is an exceptional attorney who has served the President since the beginning of the Administration in 2001, initially at the Department of Justice as Acting Associate Attorney General and Principal Deputy Associate Attorney General, where he managed the department's five civil litigating divisions. He later served, from 2002-2003, as General Counsel of the White House Office of Management and Budget, where he provided legal advice on the Administration's major legislative, regulatory, management and appropriations initiatives. Phil returned to public service in the spring of 2005 as General Counsel at the Department of Homeland Security, where he has provided steady and indispensable advice to senior leadership and directed more than 1,500 attorneys throughout the department.

I am grateful for Phil's years of service to the American people and his commitment to building a stronger and more integrated department, and I thank him for his many contributions to the security of the homeland. I regret to see him leave, although I look forward to our continued friendship.

http://www.dhs.gov/xnews/releases/pr_1169643362155.shtm

batmanchester - January 24, 2007 07:33 PM (GMT)
Passport Requirement for Air Travel Begins Today
Release Date: January 23, 2007

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
Contact: (202) 282-8010

Beginning today, citizens of the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Bermuda are now required to present a passport to enter the United States when arriving by air from any part of the Western Hemisphere.

The department expects a smooth transition to the new passport requirement based on the current numbers of travelers arriving at U.S. airports with passports. Over 90 percent of U.S. citizens, 97 percent of Canadians, and virtually 100 percent of Mexicans and Bermudans flying to the United States over the past week arrived with passports.

The air requirement is part of the departments of State and Homeland Security's Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative. This change in travel document requirements is the result of recommendations made by the 9/11 Commission, which Congress subsequently passed into law in the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004.

The only acceptable alternative documents to a passport for air travel will be the Merchant Mariner Document (MMD) and the NEXUS Air card. The MMD, or "z card", is issued by the U.S. Coast Guard to U.S. Merchant Mariners. The NEXUS Air card is issued to citizens of Canada and the United States, lawful permanent residents of the United States and permanent residents of Canada who meet certain eligibility requirements. The NEXUS Air card will only be accepted when used in conjunction with the NEXUS Air program at certain airports. The MMD card will only be accepted when used on official business by U.S. Citizen Merchant Mariners. All active duty members of the United States Armed Forces traveling with military identification will be exempt from the requirement to present a valid passport when entering the United States. Legal Permanent Residents of the U.S. may re-enter on their I-551 Permanent Resident Card.

A separate proposed rule addressing land and sea travel will be published at a later date with specific requirements for travelers entering the United States through land and sea border crossings. As early as Jan.1, 2008, citizens traveling between the United States and Canada, Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean, and Bermuda by land or sea may be required to present a valid passport or other documents as determined by the Department of Homeland Security to enter the United States.

http://www.dhs.gov/xnews/releases/pr_1169569034747.shtm

batmanchester - February 2, 2007 12:09 AM (GMT)
Testimony of Robert Mocny, Acting Director, US-VISIT Program Department of Homeland Security, Before the Senate Committee on the Judiciary Subcommittee on Terrorism, Technology and Homeland Security
Release Date: January 31, 2007

Chairman Feinstein, Ranking Member Cornyn, and distinguished members of this committee, thank you for inviting me to describe the operation of the US-VISIT program, which has just marked its third anniversary.

In those three years, US-VISIT has significantly strengthened our nation's immigration and border security capabilities to a level that simply did not exist before. I am proud of our dedicated team of professionals, who are working hard to solve some difficult challenges facing our nation.

And I am proud that many are supportive of the program's progress. For example, some governments expressed apprehension when we first launched the program. Now, many of those same governments are seeking our expertise as they work to establish their own biometrics-based border management programs. US-VISIT has clearly become the standard for the rest of the world.

The backbone of US-VISIT is our innovative use of biometrics, which enhances our capacity to know definitively who is coming into our country and to crack down on fraudulent document use. With biometric identification technologies at its base, US-VISIT has revolutionized our ability to verify that travelers are who they say they are and do not pose a threat to the United States.

US-VISIT also provides immigration and law enforcement decision-makers with critical information when and where they need it.

But perhaps the best way to evaluate the success of US-VISIT is to look at what we have achieved against our four goals: to enhance the security of our citizens and visitors; to facilitate legitimate travel and trade; to ensure the integrity of our immigration system; and to protect the privacy of our visitors.

In terms of enhancing security, since January 2004, we have processed more than 76 million visitors, and in that time have intercepted approximately 1,800 immigration violators and people with criminal histories — based on biometrics alone.

US-VISIT also provides the infrastructure for the State Department's BioVisa program, which consular officials use when they process a person applying for a visa to the United States.

Biometrics are also depriving potential terrorists of one of their most powerful tools: the ability to use fraudulent or stolen identification documents to enter the country. This means that biometrics also protect travelers by making it virtually impossible for anyone else to claim their identities should their travel documents be lost or stolen.

US-VISIT also tracks and records changes in immigration status and matches entry and exit records to determine overstays. ICE officials have made more than 290 arrests based on US-VISIT overstay information. US-VISIT uses and maintains the Arrival and Departure Information System — ADIS, which has grown to be the definitive immigration status system that provides overstay information for subsequent action.

Regarding our second goal, facilitating legitimate travel and trade, US-VISIT's biometrics-based capabilities, while enhancing security, have not increased wait times at our ports of entry.

US-VISIT has also strengthened the integrity of our immigration system, our third goal. We continue to work with the FBI to achieve interoperability between their fingerprint database and DHS'. We are piloting a program that will provide federal, state and local law enforcement officers biometrics-based access to criminal and immigration information.

We are also moving from the collection of a 2-fingerprint to a 10-fingerprint standard. This will help us collect more accurate and actionable information on those attempting to enter our country.

We also recognize that keeping “bad people” out is not enough; we must ensure that those few people who remain in the country as a threat to our nation's security do not go undetected. This brings me to perhaps our greatest challenge — the development of biometric exit procedures that address our goals of security and facilitation of travel and trade at three very different environments: air, sea and land. Over the past 2 years, we have been evaluating new and evolving technologies that allow us to definitively know when a traveler has left the country.

Through pilot programs at 14 air and seaports, we have learned that the technology to record a traveler's departure works, but that to be most effective, it must be integrated into the existing travel process. We have already reached out to the travel industry to identify the best way to integrate exit procedures into the traveler's current airport experience.

The land border poses its own unique challenges. Assistant Secretary Barth adequately explained these challenges. But you should know that we have been pursing possible solutions there as well.

US-VISIT recently completed a test of Radio Frequency Identification or RFID technology at five land ports of entry, proving that vicinity-read RFID technology is a viable solution to meeting the multiple challenges of the land border environment. But as cited in the recent GAO report and our own findings, more work needs to be done.

Finally, we are achieving our mission without compromising our 4th goal of protecting the personal privacy of our visitors. Privacy is part of everything we do, and is essential to our mission.

But US-VISIT's job is not done. Challenges remain, especially regarding a solution to exit procedures. We've proven the skeptics wrong in the past, and we believe we can do it again going forward. Thank you again for your support and for the opportunity to testify here today.

http://www.dhs.gov/xnews/testimony/testimo...0348170488.shtm

batmanchester - February 5, 2007 10:05 PM (GMT)
Fact Sheet: U.S. Department of Homeland Security Announces Eight Percent Increase in Fiscal Year 2008 Budget Request
Release Date: February 5, 2007

President Bush’s fiscal year 2008 budget request for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) represents $46.4 billion in funding, which is an increase of 8 percent over the FY 2007 level – excluding funds provided in emergency supplemental funding. The request targets five areas that are essential to preserving freedom and privacy, meeting future challenges, and fulfilling our mission of securing America.

Continue to Protect our Nation from Dangerous People
Protecting our nation from dangerous people continues by strengthening border security; developing fraud resistant identification and biometric tools; creating an interoperable architecture for the Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) program, the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI), and Real ID requirements; and achieving full database interoperability between DHS, the FBI, and the Department of State.

Total funding of $1 billion will support the SBInet program deployment and create an integrated infrastructure and technology solution for effective control of the border that includes fencing and virtual barriers to prevent illegal entry into the United States.


Total funding of $778 million will provide for 3,000 additional Border Patrol agents as well as facilities to house the agents, support personnel, and equipment necessary to gain operational control of our borders. This will keep us on track to achieve the President’s goal of doubling the Border Patrol by the time he leaves office.


Total funding of $252 million is requested for implementation of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) at land ports of entry. The requested resources will advance the WHTI goal of ensuring that all people arriving at U.S. ports of entry have a valid and appropriate means of identification and can be processed in an efficient manner.


An increase of $146.2 million for the Unique Identity initiative will establish the foundational capabilities to improve identity establishment and verification with the transition to 10-Print and Automated Biometric Identification System (IDENT) and Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS) interoperability. The funding will provide the capability to biometrically screen foreign visitors requesting entry to the United States through the collection of 10-print capture, rather than the current two, at enrollment. US-VISIT, along with the departments of State and Justice, will be able to continue efforts to develop interoperability between DHS’ IDENT and Justice’s IAFIS systems.


An increase of $224.2 million in funding will support the Transportation Security Administration's screening operations. This includes the Transportation Security Officers (TSO), Document Checkers, Career Progression Program, and procurement and installation of checkpoint support and explosives detection systems. TSA has evolved its TSO workforce to be highly responsive and effective in addressing the variety of potential threats, such as those presented in August 2006 by liquids, aerosols and gels. In FY 2007 and FY 2008, TSA plans to add an important layer of defense for aviation security by assuming responsibility for document checking.


An increase of $38 million in funding will support development and initial operating capability for the Secure Flight system. This includes funding for hardware procurement, operations ramp-up and training, and network interface engineering between the Secure Flight and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Advanced Passenger Information System (APIS) network. Secure Flight will strengthen watch list screening and vet all domestic air travelers.


An increase of $28.7 million for the ICE Criminal Alien Program (CAP) will ensure the safety of the American public through the addition of twenty two CAP teams. These teams will continue the mission of identifying and removing incarcerated criminal aliens so they are not released back into the general population.


An increase of $16.5 million in funding will support the Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) which will establish an integrated, credential-based, identity verification program through the use of biometric technology. In order to gain unescorted access to the secure areas within the nation’s transportation system, transportation workers who need access to these areas will go through identity verification, a satisfactory background check and be issued a biometrically verifiable identity card to be used with local access systems. The TWIC final rule has very recently been issued, and initial enrollment for this program is scheduled to begin in March 2007.


An increase of $788.1 million for the Coast Guard’s Integrated Deepwater System. This funding will: complete the acquisition of four National Security Cutters; fund engineering and design costs for the Replacement Patrol Boat; and purchase four additional Maritime Patrol Aircraft. These long-awaited upgrades to its fleet will strengthen the Coast Guard’s ability to safeguard our seaports from terrorists seeking to enter the country or transport dangerous weapons or materials.


Total funding of $30 million for the Employment Eligibility Verification (EEV) program will sustain the expansion of the program to provide increased interior enforcement of our immigration laws and more robust worksite enforcement, allowing employers to remove the guesswork involved with hiring new employees.


Continue to Protect our Nation from Dangerous Goods
We are aggressively working to improve maritime cargo security, including enhancing domestic and overseas container scanning. In addition, the Department is dedicating funding to improve technology and reduce costs to the BioWatch program, a key element in its comprehensive strategy for countering terrorism. The following initiatives are fundamental to the Department achieving our goal of protecting the nation from dangerous goods:

Total funding of $178 million will provide for the procurement and deployment of radiation portal monitors, including next-generation Advanced Spectroscopic Portal (ASP) systems. The requested resources will assist the Department in achieving its goal of screening 98 percent of all containers entering the United States by the end of FY 2008.


An increase of $15 million is requested for the Secure Freight Initiative that is designed to maximize radiological and nuclear screening of U.S. bound containers from foreign ports. Secure Freight includes a next generation risk assessment screening program and an overseas detection network, while merging existing and new information regarding containers transiting through the supply chain to assist customs and screening officials in making security and trade decisions.


An increase of $47.4 million is requested for the Acceleration of Next-Generation Research and Development program which will increase funding across multiple research, development, and operations program areas.
Protect Critical Infrastructure
Central to the Department’s mission is supporting effective critical infrastructure security investments at the federal, State, and local levels. The President’s Budget requests funding for initiatives that continue to support strengthening national chemical plant security; protecting high risk rail shipments; and cultivating mutually beneficial partnerships with industry owners and operators. These key funding requests are critical elements to guarding the nation’s infrastructure:

An increase of $30 million will provide for the Securing the Cities Implementation initiative. DHS will begin the implementation of strategies developed through the analytical work done in FY 2006 and FY 2007 in support of the initiative in the New York region. Activities included in the development of regional strategies include analyses of critical road networks, mass transit, maritime, and rail vulnerabilities. The Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO) will engage state and local partners in additional urban areas beginning in FY 2008 to tailor strategies and lessons learned from the New York region to meet requirements specific to these regions.


An increase of $21.9 million will support the newly formed Science and Technology (S&T) Office of Innovation to provide increases to program development and leap-ahead technologies that address some of the highest priority needs of the Department. The technologies being developed will be used to create a resilient electric grid to protect critical infrastructure sites, detect tunnels along the border, defeat improvised explosive devices, and utilize high-altitude platforms or ground-based systems for detection and engagement of MANPADS in order to offer alternative solutions to installing systems on aircraft.


An increase of $15 million for a total of $25 million will improve Chemical Site Security and regulate security of chemical plants. The funding will be used to manage training of inspector staff, assist desk personnel and other administrative staff. Funds will also be spent on assisting chemical facilities with vulnerability assessments.


An increase of $3.5 million will expand TSA’s National Explosive Detection Canine Team program by approximately 45 teams to support the nation’s largest passenger transportation systems in both mass transit and ferry systems.


An increase of $35.6 million for the Presidential Campaign will enable the U.S. Secret Service to provide the appropriate level of resources to adequately protect the candidates and nominees during the 2008 Presidential Campaign while sustaining other protective programs.


Build a Nimble and Effective Emergency Response System and Culture of Preparedness
Remaining in a state of readiness is crucial to the Department’s ability to deter and respond to acts of terror or other disasters. The following funding requests will strengthen the department’s ability to build an effective emergency response system and culture of preparedness.

An increase of $100 million will provide for FEMA’s Vision Initiatives that will enable the agency to intensify and speed the development of core competencies central to achieving disaster readiness, response and recovery. A combination of staffing increases, new technologies, and targeted investment in equipment and supplies, will increase FEMA’s mission capacity in the areas of Incident Management, Operational Planning, Continuity Programs, Public Disaster Communications, Hazard Mitigation, Disaster Logistics, and Service to Disaster Victims. In addition, the requested increase will support FEMA’s plan to transform its approach to business operations and project management, enabling the development and integration of information systems, policies, internal controls, and processes necessary to effectively build, manage, and support the agency’s core competencies to ensure mission success.


A total of $3.2 billion will be available for State and local preparedness expenditures as well as assistance to firefighters in FY 2008. Of this amount, $2.2 billion is requested for DHS to fund grant, training and exercise programs. In addition, in coordination with our State Preparedness Grant Program, we will be co-administering the $1.0 billion Public Safety Interoperable Communications (PSIC) grant program, in partnership with the Department of Commerce. Funds requested through these programs will (1) provide critical assistance to State and local homeland security efforts, (2) support resources available through other federal assistance programs that center on first responder terrorism preparedness activities, and (3) deliver ample support to all State and local first responder organizations to obtain the equipment, training, and other resources required to protect the public in the event of a terrorist attack or other major incident.


A realignment of $132.7 million in base resources will establish a Deployable Operations Group and strengthen the Coast Guard’s overall response capability. The alignment of Coast Guard’s deployable, specialized forces under a single command will improve and strengthen Coast Guard’s ability to perform day-to-day operations and respond to maritime disasters and threats to the Nation.


A total of $48 million is requested to further professionalize FEMA’s disaster workforce by converting Cadre of On-Call Response Employee (CORE) positions with 4-year terms into permanent full-time employees. This transition will stabilize the disaster workforce, allowing for the development and retention of employees with needed program expertise and increased staffing flexibility to ensure critical functions are maintained during disaster response surge operations.


An increase of $12 million for the Nationwide Automatic Identification System will continue funding for this vital project that significantly enhances the Coast Guard’s ability to identify, track and exchange information with vessels in the maritime domain, especially those vessels that may threaten our nation.
Strengthen and Unify DHS Operations and Management
DHS is continuing to strengthen departmental operations to improve mission success. A variety of critical investments will help us accomplish this goal.

An increase of $139 million in premium processing fees will transform and improve USCIS Business processes and outdated information technology systems. This investment will support automation of USCIS operations and improve processing times, increase security and fraud detection, improve customer service and the replacement of paper-based processes and antiquated technology. Additionally, $124 million in anticipated application fee revenue will be committed to upgrade and maintain the USCIS information technology environment.


A total of $17 million in new funding within ICE and CBP will help improve the internal oversight of personnel. This oversight is especially critical as the workforces of these organizations continue to expand.


An increase of $120 million for the DHS Consolidated Headquarters Project will further consolidate executive program leadership of the Department in a secure setting. This will foster a one-DHS culture and enhance the flow of information while optimizing our prevention and response capabilities across the spectrum of operations.


An increase of $9.6 million for the Office of the Chief Procurement Officer will establish the staffing requirements necessary to properly award and administer department-wide acquisition programs to ensure effective delivery of services and proper procurement and contracting procedures in compliance with all federal laws and regulations governing procurements.


A total of $99.1 million will continue to support the Inspector General activities to serve as an independent and objective inspection, audit, and investigative body to promote economy, efficiency, and effectiveness in DHS programs and operations.

http://www.dhs.gov/xnews/releases/pr_1170702193412.shtm

batmanchester - February 7, 2007 07:42 PM (GMT)
FY 08 Budget Priorities: Protecting the Nation from Dangerous People

Securing our borders remains one of the keys to the security of our nation. Not everybody who enters the country to visit here or do business here or to work here is a dangerous person or someone who is going to harm us. In fact, most individuals who come to this country do it for economic reasons. In a post-9/11 world, we have to make sure that dangerous people do not get in.

Progress in Securing Our Borders
Over the last year, we have made important progress toward the goal.

Ending catch and release—when a majority of non-Mexicans apprehended at the border were released on their own recognizance—to catch, detain and return. We now have a near a zero release rate for non-Mexicans caught at the border.
Adding hundreds of new Border Patrol agents and significant new infrastructure at the border.
Beginning work building a virtual fence across the border with the SBInet contract.
Working with the National Guard so that they could support the Border Patrol through Operation Jump Start.
Increasing in work site enforcement—716 criminal arrests, and more than 3,600 administrative apprehensions.
Decreasing numbers of arrests all along our southwest border as we stepped up enforcement.
Decrease in arrests of non-Mexicans crossing border over same period year before

Q3 2006
48% ↓

Q4 2006
68% ↓

Q1 2007
58% ↓



FY08 Budget for Expanded Border Control Efforts
The fiscal year 2008 Budget request supports expanding these efforts substantially.

$1 billion for the SBInet program to support the deployment of integrated infrastructure and technology solutions across our land borders—fences, sensors and surveillance equipment.
$778 million for 3,000 additional Border Patrol agents. By the end of the calendar 2008 we will have 18,319 agents on the border, growing from about 9,000 in 2001.
$78 million to support state and local law enforcement training to help us detect, detain, and remove illegal migrants. This is 50 percent more than fiscal year 2007.
Add $146 million in fiscal year 2008 for the Unique Identity Initiative; collecting 10 fingerprints from foreign visitors and improving data sharing between US-VISIT's and the FBI's fingerprint programs.
$252 million to implement the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) at land ports of entry to ensure all people arriving at U.S. ports of entry have a valid identification while keeping the lines moving.
$224.2 million to support the Transportation Security Administration's screening operations, including additional support for explosive detection, shifting checking of documents from airline staff to TSA and more career opportunities for the Transportation Security Officers (TSO).
$38 million additional funding to strengthen watch list screening and vet all domestic air travelers through the Secure Flight system.
$28.7 million increase to identify and remove incarcerated criminal aliens so they are not released back into the general population via the ICE Criminal Alien Program (CAP).
$16.5 million to support the Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) to verify that transportation workers with access to secure areas meet security criteria.
$788.1 million for the Coast Guard’s Integrated Deepwater System to strengthen the Coast Guard’s ability to safeguard our seaports from terrorists seeking to enter the country or transport dangerous weapons or materials.
$30 million for the Employment Eligibility Verification (EEV) program will sustain the expansion of the program to provide increased interior enforcement of our immigration laws and more robust worksite enforcement, allowing employers to remove the guesswork involved with hiring new employees.

http://www.dhs.gov/xabout/budget/gc_1170797368531.shtm

batmanchester - February 8, 2007 08:39 PM (GMT)
Michael Chertoff, Secretary United States Department of Homeland Security, Before the United States House of Representatives Subcommittee on Homeland Security Committee on Appropriations
Release Date: February 8, 2007

Mr. Chairman, Congressman Rogers, and Members of the Subcommittee:

As this is my first opportunity to appear before the 110th Congress, let me start by saying that I look forward to working with this Subcommittee in not only securing the appropriate resources, but making sure that we use them in the most effective and efficient manner to protect the homeland and the American people. While we have had many successes, there are numerous challenges that still remain. I am here today to ask for your partnership and support as we face these challenges. We may not see eye to eye on all issues, but we certainly agree that our interests are best served when we work together to achieve our common goal of securing this great Nation.

I am pleased to appear before the Subcommittee today to highlight some of our key accomplishments of the last year and present President Bush's FY 2008 budget for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Five years after September 11, 2001, DHS is more dedicated than ever to our vision and accomplishing our mission. September 11, 2001, will forever be etched in our souls as we remember the lives lost, the terror felt, the sacrifices made, and the courage shown. As a result of the deliberate and malicious acts of our enemies that occurred on that day, the Department was formed and charged with the significant responsibility of securing America. As we approach our fourth anniversary on March 1, 2007, we recognize that the Department has endured challenges, yet bravely stood in the face of our Nation's enemies, diligently building systems to secure our homeland with urgency, flexibility and resolve.

We must focus on the greatest risks and be flexible to changing threats, disciplined in our use of resources, and fully committed to building a Department that will meet future challenges, preserve freedom and privacy, and protect the American people. To achieve this, we will place considerable attention over the next two-year period on the following five goals:

We have already made great progress in each of these areas, and with the FY 2008 Budget, we will continue that momentum. Let me highlight some of our key accomplishments along with initiatives and ongoing programs in our FY 2008 budget request.

Overall, the FY 2008 budget request for the Department of Homeland Security represents an eight percent increase over FY 2007, with a total request of $46.4 billion in funding. The Department's FY 2008 gross discretionary budget is $37.7 billion, an increase of eight percent. Gross discretionary funding does not include funding such as Coast Guard's retirement pay accounts and fees paid for immigration benefits. The Department's FY 2008 net discretionary budget is $34.3 billion, which does not include fee collections such as funding for the Federal Protective Service (ICE), aviation security passenger and carrier fees (TSA), credentialing fees (such as TWIC - TSA), and premium collections (National Flood Insurance Fund, FEMA). It should also be noted that the FY 2008 President's Budget request reflects the Notice of Implementation of the Post–Katrina Emergency Reform Act of 2006 (P.L. 109-295) and of Additional Changes Pursuant to Section 872 of the Homeland Security Act of 2002, provided to Congress on January 18, 2007.

Goal 1: Protect our Nation from Dangerous People
Goal 2: Protect our Nation from Dangerous Goods
Goal 3: Protect Critical Infrastructure
Goal 4: Build a Nimble, Effective Emergency Response System and a Culture of Preparedness
Goal 5: Strengthen and Unify DHS Operations and Management
Conclusion
I am sure you will recognize that with the support of Congress, the Department has had many successes. I have outlined many of them in my testimony today and how they relate to the Department's five goals. We have also learned from our experiences certain things that we could have approached differently to get better results. As we move forward to face the many challenges ahead, those lessons learned will be at the core of our planning and implementation efforts. I am looking forward to working in partnership with the 110th Congress to build on our many accomplishments and focus on getting the desired results.

Thank you for inviting me to appear before you today. I look forward to answering your questions and to working with you on the FY 2008 budget and other issues.

http://www.dhs.gov/xnews/testimony/testimo...0954411014.shtm

batmanchester - February 9, 2007 08:23 PM (GMT)
FY 08 Budget Priorities: Protecting Critical Infrastructure
The third major priority focus is the interior of the country--protecting the infrastructure and systems that keep our nation and our economy running smoothly from an attack inside the United States. The federal government does not own most of the nation's critical infrastructure -- the dams, the bridges, the transportation systems, the electrical and the nuclear facilities. The Department needs to work in partnership with the private sector and with state and local government to evaluate vulnerabilities in these systems, increase protection, and build resiliency in the event of an attack or disruption.


Progress Protecting Critical Infrastructure
Over the last year, we have made important progress toward the goal.

New chemical site regulation authority and proposed regulations to protect high-risk rail shipments in transit in and around our major urban areas
Site visits and vulnerability assessments at critical infrastructure sites and facilities across the country.
Set national priorities, goals, and requirements--the National Infrastructure Protection Plan--to help ensure that our government, economy, and public services continue in the event of a terrorist attack or other disaster.
$1.5 billion in grants specifically to protect critical infrastructure such as mass transit, inter-city bus, and rail security.


FY08 Budget Request to Protect Critical Infrastructure
$30 million for the Securing the Cities Implementation initiative. Activities include the development of regional strategies, analyses of critical road networks, mass transit, maritime, and rail vulnerabilities.
$21.9 million to support the new Science and Technology Office of Innovation to develop technologies to create a resilient electric grid, detect tunnels along the border, defeat improvised explosive devices, and protect against shoulder-launched surface-to-air missiles (MANPADS).
$15 million increase for a total of $25 million to improve Chemical Site Security and regulate security of chemical plants.
$3.5 million to expand TSA’s National Explosive Detection Canine Team program by approximately 45 teams.
$35.6 million to support the Secret Service in protecting candidates and nominees during the 2008 Presidential Campaign.

http://www.dhs.gov/xabout/budget/gc_1171020651600.shtm

batmanchester - February 13, 2007 08:49 PM (GMT)
DHS Awards Contracts for IT Commodities
Release Date: February 13, 2007

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
Contact: (202) 282-8010

Washington — The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced 11 contract awards today under its FirstSource initiative. The FirstSource procurement is a 100 percent small business set-aside that establishes department-wide Information Technology (IT) commodities contracts with the following companies:

All Points Logistics, Inc.
Computer World Services Corp.
EG Solutions LLC
Government Acquisitions, Inc.
GovPlace
iGov
Multimax Array
NCS Technologies, Inc.
Net Direct Systems, LLC
ST Net-Apptis
Wildflower International Ltd
FirstSource will provide DHS with access to a wide variety of IT commodity products. The FirstSource contracts include, but are not limited to: networking equipment, wireless technology, imaging products, voice recognition technology, diverse business hardware and software, and other IT resources; on-line data reporting services for order, delivery, warranty, asset, and spend tracking; and associated product maintenance, installation, and support.

“These contract arrangements will help us speed up the delivery of IT commodities and ensure that we have a flexible and cost-effective process moving forward," said Scott Charbo, DHS Chief Information Officer. “It will also help further the integration of our information technology systems across the department, which is one of our most important goals.”

The FirstSource program complements the Enterprise Acquisition Gateway for Leading Edge Solutions (EAGLE) program, which completed its final source selection in September with the award of 53 contracts – 28 of which were to small businesses.

The Enterprise Solution Office, within the Office of Procurement Operations’ Information Technology Acquisition Center, will serve as the program office for the FirstSource contracts.

For more information regarding the FirstSource and EAGLE Programs please visit www.dhs.gov/openforbusiness and select the “Information Technology Acquisition Center” link.

# # #

This page was last modified on February 13, 2007

http://www.dhs.gov/xnews/releases/pr_1171394539380.shtm

batmanchester - February 13, 2007 08:51 PM (GMT)
Remarks by Secretary Michael Chertoff at the National Emergency Management Association Mid-Year Conference
Release Date: February 12, 2007

Alexandria, Virginia
National Emergency Management Association Mid-Year Conference

Secretary Chertoff: I see we have a full house. Every time I see a gavel, it makes me want to slam it. Reminds me of what it was like to be a judge.

Well, I'm really delighted to welcome all of you here. I want to thank Al Ashwood for introducing me. I know Oklahoma has had a particularly tough year last year with Mother Nature. I also believe wick Andrews is here. Oh, there he is, in the back. I want to recognize him. He's, of course, been a valuable member of the HSAC [Homeland Security Advisory Council]. And I also want to make note of the fact that I'm delighted to be accompanied for this speech by George Foresman and Dave Paulison, both of whom I know you know very well and respect very much.

This is a great opportunity, in February, well in advance of hurricane season, but evidently not so far in advance of a looming snowstorm, to be meeting with state emergency managers. And since the snowstorm, I think, is going to hit us right here, the emergency managers from Virginia and Maryland don't need to go back to their home states. You can just manage the emergency tomorrow from where you sit.

I know that Under Secretary Foresman spoke to you a little bit earlier today about setting risk-based priorities to defend our country. And I know Director Paulison will be speaking to you very shortly after I conclude about his priorities for FEMA. So I hope that when you leave this conference, you'll have not just a better sense of the department's work and our mission as we go into 2007, but an appreciation of our full commitment to work in partnership with emergency managers and with NEMA all across the country to improve emergency preparedness and response.

It's been a year since I came to talk to you about the department. Last February, of course, we were still very much in the throes of post-Katrina activity, trying to assimilate all the lessons that emanated from that unparalleled catastrophe. And I think that what you'll see in the past year is a great deal of assimilation of those lessons, and a lot of building towards what we believe will be a 21st century FEMA.

And in the year that's past, I've had an opportunity, of course, to meet with a significant number of you one on one, either here in Washington or traveling in your own states, so I can hear your thoughts, your advice, get a perspective on what works and what doesn't work in your own states, and identify areas where we can continue to build and strengthen our partnership.

All of these interactions are very important. What matters at the end of the day are the facts on the ground and how people who have the responsibility for managing an event on the ground are being supported.

So we are very interested in your straightforward advice about how we can strengthen our lines of communications, how we can build a more integrated emergency response capability, what our gaps are, what your needs are, and what our goals for the future should be.

And we remain committed, of course, to the following proposition: Response to emergencies in the first instance rests with state and local responders. There is no desire to supplant you and make this a federal responsibility. So although we want to be present in a supporting role, we want to be able to work with you, we are not interested in stepping on your toes or pushing you out of the way.

I thought what I would do in my remarks today is talk about three areas where I think we are focused on for 2007. The first of these are Homeland Security grants, to talk a little bit about the purpose of the grants, how we set our funding priorities at DHS and what we're trying to achieve. The second is interoperability, a subject that has been much discussed in Washington over the last year and that will be an area of particular focus for us in 2007 and 2008. And finally, of course, I know you're keenly interested in the result of the reorganization of FEMA, which was mandated by Congress, and which will be effective on March 31st of this year.

I know that George Foresman has talked to you a little bit about that, I know Dave Paulison will have a lot more to say, but I think it may be helpful if I give you a little bit of my perspective as the Secretary.

Now, again, I'm going to reiterate the fact that we know that the vast majority of disasters and emergencies are managed at the local and state level. You all know your communities, you all know your geography, you all know the particular types of challenges that you face, and therefore it makes sense to manage these systems at the level which is most close to where the action is.

We do recognize, though, that the scale and scope of certain kinds of events, whether natural or man-made, does require federal intervention and coordination. And so our goal with DHS is to make sure that we have built the capabilities and partnerships ahead of schedule to ensure an effective and coordinated response at all levels.

You know and I know the name of the game is planning, planning and planning. You always have to improvise, but if your plans are sound, if you have trained to the plan, if you have exercised to the plan, if you've built your capabilities to the plan, then your chances of a successful response, even with the need to adapt to unforeseen circumstances, are much better than if you're trying to build your plan in the middle of the emergency.

So a great deal of what our emphasis is going to be this coming year, as it was the last year, is joint planning, training and exercising; joint execution and unity of effort; and a common framework for emergency management.

Now, we have made a lot of progress over the last year in achieving these goals. The President and Congress directed us, and we in fact did review emergency plans in 131 cities and states to identify gaps and make recommendations. And I say emergency plans because although the initial impulse was to look at these as evacuation plans, we all recognize that evacuation is not the correct solution in every kind of emergency; in some emergencies you want shelter in place, for example.

Having conducted that evaluation, we've been working with you and your other colleagues in state and local government to conduct training and exercises, we've increased compliance with the National Incident Management System, and we are in the middle of revising the National Response Plan.

Very importantly, we've assessed communications interoperability across the nation and made specific recommendations for improvement, which we expect to back up with over $1 billion in funding during the next 18 months.

We're working internally to make sure FEMA is capable of doing its job. We've boosted FEMA's equipment, training, professionalism, and improved its response time. In fact, earlier this month, we saw evidence of these improved capabilities in FEMA's response to Florida's tornadoes. During that series of events, communication with federal, state and local partners was strong; help arrived quickly; victims' claims were processed quickly -- the average turnaround time to review an application for assistance, determine eligibility and conduct an inspection was less than one day, and most awards were disbursed within two days, with an average replacement award of $27,000.

Two elements illustrate the kind of partnership that made that possible. One was a skilled emergency management agency under the leadership of Craig Fugate, and second was FEMA's own work under Dave Paulison and Admiral Harvey Johnson to improve its capabilities and speed its processes.

So let me talk, first of all, about grants. In the broader context, we continue to build capabilities as we move forward through our Homeland Security grants programs. In fact, if we look overall since 9/11, we have allocated nearly $20 billion to state and local partners in grants. And that's, by the way, just our department, that's wholly apart from money that we put in through other programs -- for example, the work your Army Corps of Engineers does in strengthening infrastructure. It's apart from the assistance in kind that we bring to states through the work of such disparate organizations as the Coast Guard and Customs and Border Protection. It reflects, though, a very significant measure of direct assistance that's been put in the hands of first responders.

Just this past year, we awarded $2.6 billion in preparedness grants to protect urban areas and critical infrastructure, purchase equipment, and conduct training and exercises.

Now, under the President's proposed budget for fiscal year 2008, plus other legislation, there will be an additional $3.2 billion available to our state and local partners in their hands by 2008. This reflects a commitment by the President and by the department to continue to fund preparedness and response across the country. The $3.2 billion includes funding that equals or exceeds the amounts provided by Congress last year for Emergency Management Performance Grants, Citizen Corps Grants, Urban Area Security Initiative Grants, Port Security Grants, rail transit grants, Intercity Bus Security Grants, and Buffer Zone Protection.

I know the EMPG [Emergency Management Performance Grants] program in particular is of interest to this group. And Al Ashwood, on behalf of FEMA, has made a point of underscoring the importance of this program, and that's why we have equaled or exceeded it in the President's proposed budget for 2008.

The question I get asked a lot is, how do we set funding priorities? Well, we use risk management. That's what Congress has directed us to do, and that's what we do do. We look at threat, vulnerability and consequences, obviously within the legal standards and parameters that are set by the individual funding programs.

Now, we understand that every state and every community has needs, but at DHS we have a responsibility to look at the total picture of risk across the country and to set priorities, just as you do in your own states working with your governors. I recognize that risk management is not a recipe for making everybody happy, but what it does do is ensure that our resources are put to the best possible use to address risks, particularly where the federal government has an ability to add value.

Now, I also want to say that we are interested and available to listen to constructive criticism, and we have, in fact, made changes each year in response to criticism and advice we've received from the field. We've listened to concerns about the grant process. One of the things we did this year as opposed to last year is there was a lot of push for getting the guidance out earlier rather than later. This year we got the guidance out substantially earlier than last year, and next year we're going to try to get the grant guidance out earlier still. So that's an example of our willingness and our eagerness to be responsive.

We've also tried to provide more specific guidance for the kinds of things we're most worried about so that we can meet our overall goals. These are things, for example, like NIMS training and implementation, supporting the National Preparedness Goal and target capabilities list. We are focused on high-risk cities and areas, but we're not neglecting the rest of the country. We're taking a balanced approach.

And here I want to be very clear about something. I get to hear everybody's views on the issue of grants, and if I tell you that there is no single topic that gets political leaders more excited than grants, you will not be surprised. I will also tell you that I hear a whole bunch of people who tell me, you ought to put all the grant money in five cities, that's it. That's where all the federal money ought to go. You can guess where they come from. And then there's a lot of people who say you ought to spread it evenly; there's risk everywhere in the country; there's got to be money put every single place in the country.

And we've evaluated that, and we've taken what I guess I would described as a middle position. We do, by and large, in the grants that permit risk-based funding, put most of the money, a significant proportion of money in those areas that are at highest risk. But we also resist the temptation to put all the money there and make sure that money is allocated in other areas as well so that we raise the general baseline capability across the board.

And I also want to say, there will come a point in time when the capabilities are built in the highest-risk areas, I envision we will begin to put more of the money in areas that are in comparatively lower risk so we continue to make sure we're elevating the general baseline level, even as we are following the prescription that we do look at risk as our primary determining factor.

Now, let me be clear, this is not an issue that is without controversy. And you may see things, obviously, in a different perspective, for example, than the Homeland Security advisors in New York and Los Angeles. Our responsibility is, subject to the guidance of Congress, of course, to balance this in a way that is risk-oriented, that focuses upon what is cost-effective, and that is as transparent as possible.

Another area which I do want to emphasize is the emphasis on regionalism as an approach to giving grants out. Last year, with respect to our Urban Area Security Grants, we pushed for a more regional approach. And I will tell you, there was a certain amount of grumbling about that. But the feedback we got at the end of that period of time was that the operators actually believed that regionalism was helpful.

Now, as we've come up on this grant season, I've read some political officials say they don't like regionalism. They don't like the fact that a city is going to have to share with its neighbors. And I understand, of course, why people who are running for political office are focused on which political jurisdiction gets the money. But I will tell you, I was just at the emergency operations center in Arlington County down the road here a few hours ago, and I was talking to the operators there about what they thought was important, in terms of what enables them to do the job. And what I heard from them was, regionalization -- regional compatibility and interoperability with communications, regional planning, regional ability to coordinate, regional response capability.

So, when I'm given a choice between listening to people who are political and listening to people who are operational, I'm going to be listening to the people who are operational on these very important issues of preparedness.

Now, of course, one big issue is interoperability. And as I've said, part of the money that's going to be available to be spent in 2008 will include $1 billion in interoperability grants that we're going to co-administer with the Department of Commerce. This was a priority identified by the 9/11 Commission, and I know it remains a priority for emergency managers.

There was a lot of urban legend about this issue, so we decided the way to get ground truth was to actually go out and do a survey -- first a baseline survey where we asked communities to come back and assess themselves, in terms of how much and how well they're able to use their communications equipment, and then a survey which we conducted over the 75 largest urban and metropolitan areas. And we put out a baseline scorecard that looked at three things: governance, standard operating procedures and equipment, all three of which, as you know, are critical to having interoperability.

The good news is we found that there was a lot of progress that had been made, including the availability of equipment now, gateways and other kinds of equipment, that allow us to bridge the gap among different kinds of systems with different kinds of frequencies. But we also recognize that there's a lot more work to be done, and that one of the biggest obstacles to command level interoperability is governance -- the ability, in other words, to reach agreement among all the players in the region on what their language is, what their protocols are, and what their procedure is.

Now, in many places, cities and counties have done a lot of work to achieve that level of interoperability, including governance, that we need to have all across the country. And, as I say, the National Capital Region, where we're located now, is a prime example, because they learned the lesson during the Air Florida crash about 25 years ago, when everybody arrived at the scene of the emergency and nobody could talk to one another.

But now everybody's got to get to the same level, and therefore, building on the baseline, we've required all 75 urban and metropolitan areas to develop tactical, interoperability communications plans. The plans have been submitted and exercised, and base on those exercises, we were able to give out the scorecards we talked about.

At the end of this year, based on what we've been able to assess, we're going to look to have plans that are put in place and finalized, and that will identify additional resources that we can then fill the need for by using the money I've described.

What we're asking you to do is to use the process of finalizing the plans this year to honestly and candidly assess what are the remaining barriers to interoperability. Is it governance, that everyone's going to have to get in a room and reach an agreement? Is it standard operating procedures, and everyone's going to have to get trained to the standard operating procedures? And if it's equipment, then we need to know what is the equipment shortfall, and we can provide the funding.

We recognize that interoperability is not going to be solved by Washington. It's going to need the nation's governors and their Homeland Security advisors and the emergency managers to lead these efforts in every state.

Our grant guidance directs state and local communities to focus applications, therefore, on identifying and closing gaps to get to where they need to be on the baseline of interoperable incident-level communications. And of course, we know that doesn't mean or necessarily even counsel in favor of every single firefighter and EMT and police officer talking to one another, but it does mean you have to have tactical-level incident interoperability.

In order to make sure that we are a one-stop shop for you in doing this job -- and let's get this done in the next 18 months. I mean, we've talked about it endlessly, and this is something I would really like to see us get done in 2008 -- we've created a new Office of Emergency Communication at DHS. This new office, which is part of our National Protection and Programs Directorate, will work closely with FEMA, with all the other DHS components, including the operational components, and our federal agency partners to integrate federal delivery of communications assistance, services and solutions to state, local and tribal governments and first responders.

To date, just to remind you, we've spent almost $3 billion on this; there's another $1 billion coming. We have the money to do the job; we need to get our heads together and get it done.

Finally, let me say a few words about FEMA. At last year's conference, I told you we were dedicated to retooling FEMA's capabilities in four areas: logistics, claims management/customer service, communications and debris removal. We've made progress in each of those areas, including getting FEMA a new professional leadership, not only at the very top level, but at the regional levels as well.

By March 31, we will have implemented Congress' FEMA reforms. And as part of that, we've taken the opportunity to look within FEMA itself so that we don't merely go back to the legacy structures that we had previously, but to make sure that we are equipping FEMA with the kind of organization that will let it move forward in the future.

Part of that is increased emphasis on logistics, as well as a robust Preparedness Directorate and a Mitigation Directorate that will help fully integrate all elements of what we do in emergency -- mitigation, preparedness and response in a seamless system that should get everybody better prepared nationally for natural disasters as well as for terrorist attacks.

I also want to emphasize that we recognize, particularly with the focus that we have on global diseases and pandemic flu, that health is going to be an increasing element of a combined approach we have to take to emergencies. You may well find yourselves, as emergency managers, working closely with your public health counterparts, as well as the traditional other first responders, if there is a major pandemic flu outbreak in the United States of America.

We've created an Office of Health Affairs in order to coordinate medical preparedness efforts and to make sure we have a strong linkage with Health and Human Services.

Now, let me be really blunt about this: If we get a pandemic flu, it will tax all of us. It will also require a new way of doing business. It's not going to be just an emergency services issue, it's not going to just be a police issue, it's not going to be just a traditional public health issue. It is going to involve all of those professions, as well as a very significant emphasis on continuing to keep our critical infrastructure up and running. Therefore, some of the traditional cultural barriers between these different disciplines are going to have to come down, and we're going to have to build sets of plans that are vertically and horizontally comprehensive, so that when people need the full spectrum of assistance that they would require in a pandemic flu, we can all play our part. That means stepping back from pride of authorship and really treating this as a kind of a team commitment that would be unprecedented in, I think, American history.

Finally, let me make it clear that one of the great lessons from Katrina that we learned is, you can't just show up and introduce yourself when the emergency is underway. And that's why, consistent with the lessons learned report, which the administration put out at around the time I spoke to you last year, we're substantially enhancing our FEMA regional offices. We now have full-time experienced managers in all of the 10 regions for the first time in as long as people can remember; we've got a National Advisory Council we've got set up, we're going to populate to make sure we have a back-and-forth with the community; and we're going to have Defense Department and preparedness capabilities in these regional offices so we can do comprehensive planning at the regional level, as well as at the national level.

Finally, as you all know, we're going to have to still bang the drum for preparedness in all of our communities -- at the family level, at the business level, and at the individual level. Everybody understands, everybody in this room sure understands, that help is not going to be there in the first hour. And the kind of planning and preparedness that each of us can do is an important part of what not only allows us to do our job in an orderly way, but make sure that emergency personnel can address those who can't help themselves first, as opposed to addressing the needs of those who could have helped themselves if they had bothered to do it. So this is what I call civic responsibility, and I think it's one which we want to continue to emphasize.

I want to thank you for your partnership. I want to thank you for your criticism, when it comes; it's constructive. And I want to thank you for your support when it comes as well. Congress has made it very clear that they want to continue to review and oversee the progress of the federal government, states and local communities in preparing for emergencies and disasters. And so we're going to be under the microscope, and I think we should welcome that oversight.

Achieving demonstrable progress will require close collaboration, but it's critical if we're going to maintain the faith of Americans in their government as a principle source of assistance and help in time of need.

I want to thank, again, Albert, and I want to thank NEMA for hearing us, for working with us, not only on a day of a conference like this, but throughout the course of the year. And I want to thank each and every one of you individually for the work that you do every single day on behalf of the citizens of your own states.

I hope we can have a no-hurricane year or virtually no-hurricane year this year, like last year. But, while I hope for the best, I prepare for the worst, and that's what we're going to be doing.

So we look forward to working with you over the next year in order to achieve what we all want, which is the best level of preparation possible.

Thank you.

I've got about five minutes. You all have some questions, if you just introduce yourself and tell me where you're from, I'll answer. I guess I covered everything. Either that or it's a very bashful group.

Question: Mr. Secretary, thank you for coming. My question, in the face of no other question, would be, what are your thoughts on what we should be telling citizens, in terms of individual preparedness? We talked about, as you said, help is not going to be here within the hour, and may not be in 72 hours. What's your thoughts on what central message we should be delivering to our citizens?

Secretary Chertoff: This is actually a very complicated question, because it's a balance between giving them information that is important, and not so overloading them that they throw their hands up in despair and therefore they don't do anything.

The approach we've tried to take is, first of all, we have a website and we've put out in the website, Ready.gov, some of the basic kinds of things one ought to have on hand for an emergency. Obviously there are different recipes in different parts of the country -- things you might have in a warm climate with hurricanes are not necessarily going to be useful in Wisconsin. But I think any state can put together that list.

A second really important part is the planning piece, getting people to understand they've got to make their own plans, like where do we meet if we're separated; where do we go if our house is somehow inaccessible to us. There was a rather amusing but telling advertising campaign we did with the Ad Council, where they go to families and they ask individual members of the family, what's your plan? And everybody goes, oh, we have a plan, and then the father says, we're going to meet at the library; the mother says, we're going to meet at home; and the siblings say, one of them has that they're going to be at Aunt Maggie's house, and the other one says we're going to meet down at City Hall. And it does force people to think a little bit about that.

You know the basic things you need to have, in terms of radios and whatnot. The hardest piece, I think, is going to be this -- and it's particularly true if we get something unusual like a pandemic flu -- we're going to have get people conditioned, but also work with the media to get a responsible chain of public communication about what steps to take in the case of an emergency. It's great to have your hand-cranked or your battery radio, but if the media doesn't work with us to make sure a clear and accurate message gets out, the radio is not going to help you. And one of the things I would urge you to do is talk to your local media. Make sure you've identified and they've identified an authoritative voice to speak on behalf of the authorities, whether it be a public health issue or a hurricane or an earthquake or something like that so there is ground truth, and people aren't searching all over the cable networks to find people coming out of the woodwork with cockamamie advice. So that's kind of what we're looking at, and I think it's something you all might consider as well.

Question: Good afternoon, Mr. Secretary. We had discussed with Governor Bush last year some of the challenges we faced with undocumented citizens and trying to perform a humanitarian mission at the same time, the restrictions Congress has put on the federal programs.

I know that the President has tried to address this, and Congress was not very receptive. Do you get a sense that this Congress may be more receptive? Because, again, in trying to fulfill a humanitarian mission with our federal partners, it almost seems like we have a contradiction. Some of the resources would actually be an enforcement issue, and it makes it rather difficult to help people in that time of need without creating an unnecessary fear that they're going to face immediate deportation just reaching out for assistance.

Secretary Chertoff: I think this has been a very controversial, very emotional issue. And I think the general rule we have followed, as a rule of thumb, is we perform humanitarian functions irrespective of -- we don't ask for documentations when we pull people out of rivers. It is true that when you get the things, for example, like benefits, such as your individual assistance or your claims for damaged property, that is something that requires citizenship. But I think that -- I think what you've underscored is the fact that the failure to resolve this immigration issue comprehensively has had a ripple effect across the entire country and has made everybody's jobs challenging, because we're trying to balance two competing issues.

And I know the President said this here in the State of the Union, and he's really committed to trying to get this thing done this year. And I'm hopeful that we can address the whole package, including, obviously, the issue you've raised this coming calendar year.

Question: Mr. Secretary, where do you see the balance between the Real ID Act requirements in the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, and also those issues that the Native American nations have with being able to freely cross the northern border because of their aboriginal issues on both sides of their family grounds?

Secretary Chertoff: Three complicated questions, which I will try to speak about briefly. Let me tell you what the vision is. There was a lesson from the 9/11 Commission that -- and I think this is almost their words -- phony documentations are a terrorist weapon. But to be honest, it's more than just a terrorist weapon. It is also a weapon in the hand of people who prey on individuals through identify theft and other kinds of fraud.

It doesn't take a lot of skill these days to fabricate a license or to fabricate another document. And many of us rely upon our documents as the principle way we protect our identities, if not our lives.

So we took the mandate of the 9/11 Commission, we've tried to build a sensible but nevertheless comprehensive system of protecting our identities, and we've done it in a couple ways. First, we do need to make sure that when people cross our border we have some real knowledge of who they are. We've put into effect the passport rule for the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, which, I'm delighted to say, notwithstanding all the fears that were expressed, has worked virtually flawlessly in the last month since it's been introduced, meaning almost everybody who has taken an air trip in the western hemisphere outside of the United States has had a passport with them. They got the message, it was clearly communicated, and as a consequence, everybody has benefited.

We're going to move next year to do this with respect to the land borders, but we're looking at a couple of options, including a pass card, a less expensive form of passport-type card that the State Department will issue, and we're looking at the possibility of using driver's licenses, if they meet particular standards, that could be used to cross the border. And we've got a pilot program in the state of Washington that's working on that.

That goes to the larger question of our internal driver's licenses. Congress has mandated over the next several years migrating to a system where we have driver's licenses that can be used as identification for federal purposes, if they meet certain standards, in terms of security and the validation.

We're working with the motor vehicle associations and with a lot of the states on what this is going to look like, and we're hoping very soon to put a proposed regulation out.

Again, eventually, this might allow us to do double-duty or triple-duty, have the same license also be used to cross the border, and be used for a whole host of other purposes where you now have to carry different identification.

So there is a vision here at the end of the day for a form of document, personal document, that is more secure, more convenient, and more protective of privacy than the current system, where we rely on a whole lot of documents of uncertain security.

Like any other big migration to a new standard, it's going to take work and it's going to be a little inconvenient. And what we are going to try to do is manage this process, as we managed the first stage of WHTI, in a way that makes the inconvenience as minimal as possible, smoothes the transition over a period of time, but doesn't delay it so much that people begin to fail to take it seriously, and tries to come up with a low-cost alternative that is as inexpensive as possible. But I can't deny the fact that it will be -- cost some money, it will take some work, and it will take some time.

So here's the bottom line. We have a choice to make in the country. We went through 9/11. Every day, people get their identities stolen when their driver's licenses or other documents are forged. If we're satisfied with that system, if we're satisfied taking our chances with people coming in with phony documents and stealing our identities, then we should do nothing. We should ignore the 9/11 Commission recommendations; we should say, you know what, we'll take our chances, we feel lucky. But if we do want to learn the lessons from the past, and we do want to increase the level of security, then we do have to bite the bullet.

And let me just conclude -- to get off the soapbox -- with one last comment. All of you, as emergency managers, understand exactly the kind of thinking I'm talking about. In all of your domains, whether you have levees in your state or you have earthquake-prone areas with building codes, you know there comes a moment when you have to make a decision: Am I going to invest the money and the effort to prepare myself and build resiliency and protection so that when a bad thing happens, I've maximized my chance of surviving it without a lot of cost and a lot of heartache? Or am I going to continue to kick the investments down the road, because they're hard to make, because they don't provide a short-term fix that makes everybody happy, and just hope that when the ax falls, it's not going to be on my watch? I think if there's any lesson of the last five years, it's this: kicking the can down the road is gambling with the futures of our children and our grandchildren. True, Rome wasn't built in a day, and we're not going to fix all these things in a day, but we do owe the American people, whether it be in this area or in all the areas you worry about, a disciplined plan that will move us to a greater level of safety and security so that when the ax does fall, we've built ourselves the kind of protections and resiliency that the public has a right to expect.

Thank you.
http://www.dhs.gov/xnews/speeches/sp_1171376113152.shtm

batmanchester - February 17, 2007 05:02 PM (GMT)
DHS Forms Partnership with NSF for Academic Research Initiative on Domestic Nuclear Detection
Release Date: February 16, 2007

Washington — The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) recently issued a potential $58 million, over five years, in grant opportunities for colleges and universities that will focus on detection systems, individual sensors or other research relevant to the detection of nuclear weapons, special nuclear material, radiation dispersal devices and related threats. The program is called the Academic Research Initiative and will foster frontier research and build the nation’s intellectual capital in nuclear sciences.

“This Academic Research Initiative is a critical element in building the Nation’s intellectual capital in nuclear detection capability,” said DNDO Director, Vayl S. Oxford. “Continued advances in science and technology are a key element in the long-term effort to protect the Nation against nuclear attacks.”

Proposals submitted to NSF through the Fastlane electronic system, or through Grants.gov, will be reviewed through NSF’s merit-based process using panels of peer reviewers and experts recruited jointly by NSF and DNDO. Seven NSF units will be participating in the effort including five directorates and two additional offices. Spanning multiple academic disciplines, this broad expertise will form a comprehensive platform for fundamental research on domestic nuclear detection.

The National Science Foundation is an independent federal agency created by Congress in 1950 to promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare; to secure the national defense. With an annual budget of about $5.58 billion, NSF is the funding source for approximately 20 percent of all federally supported basic research conducted by America's colleges and universities. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 1,700 universities and institutions.

The Domestic Nuclear Detection Office is a jointly staffed office established to improve the nation’s capability to detect and report unauthorized attempts to import, possess, store, develop, or transport nuclear or radiological material for use against the Nation, and to further enhance this capability over time.

# # #

This page was last modified on February 16, 2007

http://www.dhs.gov/xnews/releases/pr_1171664755063.shtm

batmanchester - February 22, 2007 09:00 PM (GMT)
DHS Launches Traveler Redress Inquiry Program
Release Date: February 21, 2007

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
Contact: TSA Public Affairs, (571) 227-2829

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced today the launch of the DHS Traveler Redress Inquiry Program (DHS TRIP). Travelers can now seek redress and resolve possible watch list misidentification issues with any of the department’s component agencies at an easy to use and easy to access online location at http://www.dhs.gov/trip.

“We’re making travel more efficient and secure by offering a convenient redress process,” said Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff. “This is a win-win program. Eliminating false-positives makes the travel experience more pleasant for legitimate visitors, and it frees up our front-line personnel to apply even greater scrutiny of those individuals who truly present safety and security risks.”

DHS TRIP provides a way for legitimate travelers to address situations where individuals believe they have been incorrectly delayed, denied boarding, identified for additional screening, or have otherwise experienced difficulties when seeking entry into the country. The program also facilitates redress information sharing among the department’s component agencies and creates internal performance measures to monitor progress.

DHS TRIP enables travelers to outline their concerns in a single request via a secure Web site. The information received will be shared with applicable DHS component agencies, such as the Transportation Security Administration and U.S. Customs and Border Protection, as well as with the Department of State and when appropriate with airport and airline operators. Information will be shared in accordance with the provisions of the Privacy Act of 1974 (5 U.S.C. § 552a), and as established in the Privacy Impact Assessment published for DHS TRIP.

In addition to offering DHS TRIP, the department has taken a number of other steps to make the screening process more efficient and secure, to include the recent completion of a name-by-name review of the No-Fly list to ensure that only individuals currently posing a threat are included.

http://www.dhs.gov/xnews/releases/pr_1172073065966.shtm

batmanchester - February 22, 2007 09:01 PM (GMT)
DHS Announces Proposed Passport Flexibility for U.S. and Canadian Children at Land and Sea Borders
Release Date: February 22, 2007

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
Contact: (202) 282-8010

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced today its intent to propose, as part of the forthcoming Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI), significant flexibility regarding travel documents required for U.S. and Canadian children as part of WHTI requirements for U.S. land and sea border entry in 2008.

As early as January 1, 2008, U.S. citizens traveling between the United States and Canada, Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean, and Bermuda by land or sea will be required to present a valid passport or other WHTI compliant documents, as determined by the Department of Homeland Security.

This proposal, which will be subject to public comment as part of the rulemaking process on the WHTI, would allow U.S. and Canadian citizens, ages 15 and younger with parental consent, to cross the border at land and sea ports with a certified copy of their birth certificate as an alternative to a passport or other WHTI compliant identity card. U.S. and Canadian citizen children, ages 16 through 18, traveling with public or private school groups, religious groups, social or cultural organizations or teams associated with youth athletics organizations would also be able to enter, under adult supervision, with a certified copy of their birth certificate.

The initial phase of WHTI travel document requirements went into effect last month, obligating all air travelers, regardless of age, to present a passport for entry to the United States. The DHS proposal announced today does not affect the requirements for air travel.

The Department of State will soon issue final regulations that will allow it to issue to U.S. citizens a lower cost alternative to a passport, the Passport Card. DHS will continue to issue WHTI compliant border crossing documents for frequent border crossers under its trusted traveler programs.

The Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 mandated the WHTI travel document requirements. A formal proposed rule addressing land and sea travel will be published at a later date, with additional details on requirements for travelers entering the United States through land and sea border crossings.

http://www.dhs.gov/xnews/releases/pr_1172167923684.shtm

batmanchester - February 23, 2007 09:09 PM (GMT)
DHS Announces Proposed Passport Flexibility for U.S. and Canadian Children at Land and Sea Borders
Release Date: February 22, 2007

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
Contact: (202) 282-8010

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced today its intent to propose, as part of the forthcoming Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI), significant flexibility regarding travel documents required for U.S. and Canadian children as part of WHTI requirements for U.S. land and sea border entry in 2008.

As early as January 1, 2008, U.S. citizens traveling between the United States and Canada, Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean, and Bermuda by land or sea will be required to present a valid passport or other WHTI compliant documents, as determined by the Department of Homeland Security.

This proposal, which will be subject to public comment as part of the rulemaking process on the WHTI, would allow U.S. and Canadian citizens, ages 15 and younger with parental consent, to cross the border at land and sea ports with a certified copy of their birth certificate as an alternative to a passport or other WHTI compliant identity card. U.S. and Canadian citizen children, ages 16 through 18, traveling with public or private school groups, religious groups, social or cultural organizations or teams associated with youth athletics organizations would also be able to enter, under adult supervision, with a certified copy of their birth certificate.

The initial phase of WHTI travel document requirements went into effect last month, obligating all air travelers, regardless of age, to present a passport for entry to the United States. The DHS proposal announced today does not affect the requirements for air travel.

The Department of State will soon issue final regulations that will allow it to issue to U.S. citizens a lower cost alternative to a passport, the Passport Card. DHS will continue to issue WHTI compliant border crossing documents for frequent border crossers under its trusted traveler programs.

The Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 mandated the WHTI travel document requirements. A formal proposed rule addressing land and sea travel will be published at a later date, with additional details on requirements for travelers entering the United States through land and sea border crossings.

http://www.dhs.gov/xnews/releases/pr_1172167923684.shtm

batmanchester - February 28, 2007 08:22 PM (GMT)
DHS Awards $194 Million to States for Emergency Management
Release Date: February 27, 2007

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
Contact: (202) 282-8010

FY 2007 Emergency Management Performance Grant Allocations

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has released $194 million to help states and local governments prepare and implement emergency management activities through the Emergency Management Performance Grant (EMPG) program. Emergency managers have been awarded more than $750 million since fiscal year 2004 through the program.

"The department remains steadfast in its commitment to providing this critical assistance to the nation's emergency management community," said Under Secretary George Foresman. "These resources will help state and local officials to sustain or strengthen the effectiveness of emergency management programs nationwide."

State emergency management agencies use EMPG funds to enhance their emergency management capabilities in a range of areas that include planning, equipping, and training, conducting exercises, and providing for all-hazards emergency management operations. In addition, EMPG funds are used to pay for personnel who write plans, conduct training and exercise programs, maintain emergency response programs, and educate the public on disaster readiness.

EMPG funding supports state emergency management programs based on needs identified through the Emergency Management Accreditation Programs Process, the Nationwide Plan Review or other emergency management assessment processes, and address the national priorities outlined in the Interim National Preparedness Goal.

For information on the fiscal year 2007 EMPG, please visit www.dhs.gov.

http://www.dhs.gov/xnews/releases/pr_1172607027848.shtm

batmanchester - March 5, 2007 12:08 AM (GMT)
DHS Issues Proposal for States to Enhance Driver’s Licenses
Release Date: March 1, 2007

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
Contact: (202) 282-8010

Notice of Proposed Rulemaking: REAL ID

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced today its proposal to establish minimum standards for state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards in compliance with the REAL ID Act of 2005. The REAL ID requirements are a result of recommendations made by the 9/11 Commission, which Congress passed into law, and will enhance the security and integrity of driver’s licenses.

“Raising the security standards on driver’s licenses establishes another layer of protection to prevent terrorists from obtaining and using fake documents to plan or carry out an attack. These standards correct glaring vulnerabilities exploited by some of the 9/11 hijackers who used fraudulently obtained drivers licenses to board the airplanes in their attack againstAmerica,” said Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff. “We will work closely with states to implement these standards and protect American’s privacy against identity theft and the use of fraudulent documents. We are also pleased to have been able to work with Senator Susan Collins, and I believe that the proposed regulations reflect her approach.”

The department’s proposed regulations set standards for states to meet the requirements of the REAL ID Act, including: security features that must be incorporated into each card; verification of information provided by applicants to establish their identity and lawful status in the United States; and physical security standards for locations where licenses and identification cards are issued.

As proposed, a REAL ID driver’s license will be required in order to access a federal facility, board federally-regulated commercial aircraft, and enter nuclear power plants. Because states may have difficulty complying before the May 11, 2008, deadline, DHS will grant an extension of the compliance deadline until December 31, 2009. States that have received extensions will, over the course of the waiver period, submit proposed timetables for compliance.

DHS also announced that up to 20 percent of a state’s Homeland Security Grant Program funds can be used to help implement REAL ID. This additional flexibility will be made available during the current 2007 grant cycle.

In May 2005, President Bush signed the "Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act for Defense, the Global War on Terror, and Tsunami Relief Act” into law. Among the provisions contained in the law was the REAL ID Act.

The proposed regulations have been submitted to the Federal Register for a 60-day public comment period. To view the proposed regulations, go to www.dhs.gov.

http://www.dhs.gov/xnews/releases/pr_1172765989904.shtm

batmanchester - March 5, 2007 12:09 AM (GMT)
Remarks By Secretary Chertoff At A Press Conference On REAL ID
Release Date: March 1, 2007

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
Contact: 202-282-8010
Washington, D.C.

Secretary Chertoff: Good morning, everybody. One of the first and most important priorities at the Department of Homeland Security is to protect America from individuals who are trying to do us harm. When we investigated the infamous attacks of September 11, 2001, one of the things that we discovered was that 18 of the 19 perpetrators had been issued U.S. identification documents, including state driver’s licenses, and that some of these documents had been obtained fraudulently.

Two of the hijackers, Hani Hanjour and Khalid al-Mihdhar obtained the paperwork for their Virginia driver’s licenses by handing $100 to an illegal alien in a convenience store parking lot. And then, that alien signed the forms attesting that these two hijackers were local residents. And, it was that fake ID, those phony driver’s licenses that enabled these hijackers and others to rent cars, board planes, and otherwise take the steps they needed to carry out their murderous plans.

Not surprisingly, the September 11th Commission spoke directly to this issue when it wrote these words. And I quote, “At many entry points to vulnerable facilities, including gates for boarding aircraft, sources of identification are the last opportunity to ensure that people are who they say they are and to check whether they are terrorists.” The commission specifically urged the federal government to, set standards for the issuance of sources of identification such as driver’s licenses.

Now, in 2005, Congress acted on the commission’s recommendation, passing the Real ID Act to require Washington to work with the individual states to create new standards to secure driver’s licenses. The Real ID Act aims to make it harder for dangerous people to obtain licenses fraudulently and to make it easier for law enforcement and counterterrorism authorities to detect documents that have already been falsified. In doing so, the Real ID Act gives law enforcement and counterterrorism officials a critical new tool to prevent terrorism and to protect our homeland.

Consistent with this piece of legislation and with the 9/11 Commission recommendations, therefore, the Department of Homeland Security is announcing today a rule that proposes specific minimum standards for state issued driver’s licenses and identification cards to be accepted for federal purposes such as air travel. And, I want to say in particular that in formulating the proposal that we’re announcing today we were delighted to work closely with governors and members of Congress. I want to single out Senator Susan Collins who made some very important contributions and whose advice was critical to our formulating the approach that we have taken here today.

Now here’s how these standards are going to work. It’s very simple and it’s really a matter of common sense. Applicants for driver’s licenses are going to need to bring documents to their state Department of Motor Vehicles offices in order to validate or prove five things: who they are, what their date of birth is, what their legal status is in the United States, their social security number and their address. None of this stuff is top secret stuff.

In order to confirm this information, you’re going to need certain kinds of documents to prove you are who you say you are. So to confirm identity and date of birth and legal status there will be a number of different kinds of documents that can be presented, such as passports, or birth certificates, or permanent resident cards. To provide proof of social security number, citizens will need their social security card or some other valid document, like a W-2 form. And to provide proof of address, applicants are going to need documents issued within the last year, like a utility bill or something of that sort. So that’s what people who want to obtain licenses or renew licenses are going to have to bring to their state motor vehicle offices under this Real ID Act proposal.

What’s going to happen at the Department of Motor Vehicles? Well, they’re going to have to take a photo of the applicant. They’re going to have to scan or copy the relevant documents that the applicants are providing, and then they’re going to have to go through a commonsense process to verify the accuracy and the legitimacy of the documents.

Now what are the ways they can do this? Well, first they can check with the government agency that issued the document. So, for example, when a DMV office wants to authenticate a social security card or a number, that office will go to the Social Security Administration database. Forty-seven states are now capable of authenticating social security numbers in that fashion, and under Real ID every state will be required to do so.

Now this verification process, however necessary, is of course not sufficient to address the entirety of the problem. We can’t have a truly secure identification system based on driver’s licenses unless we make sure that the states are protecting the information they’re collecting as well as the places where the licenses are being produced and issued. And that’s why, as part of today’s rule, we are requiring the states to prepare a comprehensive security plan to safeguard their DMV offices, their driver’s license storage and production facilities and their databases and systems.

In other words, states have to have procedures in place so you can’t hack into the database and steal the information or break into the warehouse and steal the cards or somehow get into the DMV office and get the critical documents. And of course, we have to make sure that the cards themselves, the licenses themselves, are hard to tamper with and difficult to counterfeit or duplicate for fraudulent purposes. So, we’re going to set some standards out for the states to achieve that, as well.

Finally of course, we want to ensure, as many states do, that drivers can’t hold a lot of different licenses in different jurisdictions with different names. So our rule proposes that each state check to make sure no other state is also licensing the same person. And by the way, we do that nowadays for commercial driver’s licenses.

Taken together, what these measures will do is make our states and our entire country stronger, safer and better protected against terrorism and against other threats, including identity theft. And this is, again, part of the cardinal, one of the cardinal recommendations of the 9/11 Commission that we are now taking a giant step forward to implement.

Now, how are states going to comply with Real ID? Well, the law required a May 11, 2008 deadline, and there were already a number of states that are making progress to getting Real ID compliant, states as big as California and smaller states like Alabama and North Dakota. And I want to commend these states for their efforts to make the benefits of Real ID a reality for their citizens.

But, we also know, because we’ve had a lot of extensive consultation in preparing this rule, whether it be with motor vehicle officials or governors or members of congress, we know that a number of states are going to have difficulty meeting the deadline. And in part that’s due to the fact that this rule has taken quite a bit of time to get out. And there is a provision in the statute that does allow us to grant extensions if states have a justification for the request.

Therefore, based on that provision, I’m announcing today that states may seek justifiable extensions and obviously they have to prepare, ultimately, prepare a plan for compliance. And, those extensions will give the states that request through December 31, 2009 to come into compliance. Which means the first compliant cards from those states would be issued starting January 1, 2010.

Now as I’ve said, our Real ID proposal is aimed at enhancing security, but it does it in a way that promotes individual rights and also respects the functions of our states. We’re creating basic, simple standards. These standards give the states a lot of discretion and the power to continue to exercise their policy choices about who drives and the conditions under which they’re allowed to drive. For example, it’s the states not the Feds who are going to decide what kind of qualifications you need to drive a car.

And what’s equally clear is that our standards actually promote personal privacy because we all know that stolen and phony driver’s licenses are a powerful tool in the hands of identity thieves, and that affects the personal privacy of every single American. Therefore, under our proposal, states actually are going to have clear standards to meet, to protect the privacy of the information they collect from licensed applicants.

We require, for example, that each state can conduct name based and fingerprint based criminal history record checks and financial responsibility checks on those DMV employees who can affect the identity information that appears on the license, who have access to the production process or who manufacture the licenses or the cards.

This is, again, it’s kind of basic, common sense. Who, which one of us is going to feel comfortable if the local folks down at the DMV office have criminal records or are in a situation where they’ve committed fraud in the past? Are we going to really want to give them our personal identification and just cross our fingers and hope for the best? No, we want to make sure that every state has the kind of measures that many states already have to assure the privacy and security of the information each of us is giving to our Department of Motor Vehicles.

I always want to dispel the notion that the Real ID Act or our standards mandates anything like a Big Brother kind of database or style of government. We at the Department of Homeland Security in the federal government will not build, will not own, and will not operate any central database containing personal information. The data will continue to be held at the state level as it has traditionally been since they began to issue driver’s licenses. And by improving the quality of the documents, we’re going to make it very, very much harder for people to forge them, counterfeit them, or alter them.

At bottom, our approach here is an approach of partnership, a partnership between Washington and the states where we have mutual obligations and we help each other as well. I think we all have to agree that in a post September 11th world every level of government, not just the federal government, has the right and the responsibility to take steps to make sure we’re protecting our society.

Now this is obviously going to involve money. It’s going to cost money because security does cost money. And I dare say that it’s money well spent – rather to be a penny wise rather than a pound foolish. And we certainly know the consequences that phony ID can inflict upon innocent victims, as we saw dramatically on September 11th.

We are, however, going to try to pitch in and help the states with some of the costs. In recognition of the burden and recognizing also that this is program that’s going to be implemented over a number of years, we have decided that up to 20 percent of the total state homeland security program funding available for this fiscal year, which totals about $100 million in total, will be available for states to implement Real ID. We hope that will at least help them in some respect to defray the costs. Obviously a lot of the burden will still fall on state budgets however.

Here’s the bottom line. Secure identification that can’t be exploited and can’t be forged by terrorists or criminals is exactly what we need to prevent another terrorist attack on our soil and to protect Americans from a whole host of criminal activities which currently victimize them. That’s what the 9/11 Commission told us in certain terms. That’s what Congress mandated in passing the Real ID Act, and that is what we are implementing with the proposed regulations we’re issuing today.

By enacting this legislation and making it a reality, we as a nation are shutting a window of vulnerability that has been exploited and could continue to be exploited to hurt us. As part of our commitment to protecting America, and I think that is, at least as far as I’m concerned, job one for this department, for this United States.

And now I’m happy to take some questions.

Question: All the states will be able to fully implement this on May 11, 2008. A lot of them have complained that the databases aren’t even available for them to do all of this checking that they need to do of the documents.

Secretary Chertoff: Some of the databases are available. The Social Security database is available. Many states actually have databases now where they’re digitizing their birth certificates. I know a number of states are quite far along so I anticipate that a number of states will be able to achieve or come close to achieving May 11, 2008.

But that’s precisely why we built in this opportunity for extensions. If a state comes to us and says, look, we’ve got a plan, we’re moving forward, but we’re going to need more time, we will grant that extension. The idea here is not to set an impossible bar, it is to set an ambitious but realistic time line so we get the job done properly but also so that we avoid simply kicking the can down the road indefinitely.

Question: But do you really think that there will be some states that can implement?

Secretary Chertoff: You know, I’m not a soothsayer. I think there are states that are far along, and I think there are states that can either implement or come close to implementing by May 11th, but, time will tell. And if we have to give extensions, we’ll give extensions. That’s why I’ve announced the extensions.

Yes.

Question: I wanted to know, other than the 20 percent measure you talked about, do you expect in the future to be working with states to find some more federal funds that can be appropriated to help them out?

Secretary Chertoff: I think there’s about $30 million or so that already has been appropriated, that we’re going to be using for purposes of helping the states build the general architecture which they will share. As to what happens in future years, you know, I can’t predict future budgets, but obviously we’re mindful of the expense.

I also want to make a point though. In the end, this is about safeguarding licenses that are provided by states to their own citizens. This is going to improve the quality of service. Many states want to get there on their own anyway. What we’re doing is providing a level of standardization that I think is going to help make it interoperable.

That, by the way, also helps law enforcement because it allows the law enforcement to be able to work more readily with licenses from other states. So although obviously there’s a burden on the states, it also reflects the fact that secure driver’s licenses are a state responsibility. We want to help them in any way that we can, but it’s something that we’re going to have to do in partnership.

Yes.

Question: Mr. Chertoff, can you tell me – in a press release today, Senator Collins says that you’re going to reinstitute the negotiated rulemaking process. Can you tell me how far that’s going to go in terms of fleshing out the details of future implementation of this?

Secretary Chertoff: Well, I want to be precise. We’re in a comment period. The advisory group that had been put together eventually to do a negotiated rule making, many of whom, by the way, we consulted over the last 18 months. We will bring them in and certainly want to hear their comments on the rule. And you know the reason we have a comment period is to take comments. And based on the merit of the advice, we’ll come up with a final rule.

Yes.

Question: Secretary, we’re making rules right now for this and also the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative. Is there any – have you given any more thought since you announced those rules for WHTI to whether states who have Real ID compliant licenses, especially those along the borders, will be able to use those licenses in lieu of the passport cards or passports for those journeys across land borders?

Secretary Chertoff: I think I’ve said all along, that would be a great idea. I mean that would require that the state choose to put into its license the characteristics that are necessary. I can tell you I’ve spoken to the government of Washington. They’re working on a pilot that, I think, aims at doing that.

Look, the idea here is to make it simple and to ultimately create both a choice but also interoperability among screening tools, which I think is both convenient, protects privacy and promotes security.

Question: Two questions. Will there be an extension on the other end in terms of when all existing licenses therefore have to be replaced? I think it was something like five years that the states had to do that. And secondly will there be some measure to prevent the magnetic strips from being read? There’s concern that companies might start to collect that information and then invade the privacy of –

Secretary Chertoff: Well, let me deal with the first issue. Right now we’re still looking at trying to get this done in the five year period. So obviously we’ll take comments on it, but we’re balancing here between the desire to get it done efficiently and not making it unreasonable. But also every year we don’t have it is a year of vulnerability, so we got to close that window. We got to do it in a way that’s sensible. We can’t afford to shilly-shally about it.

The magnetic strips, these aren’t RFID. You’d have to actually take the strip and run it into a reader. Now, that raises the following question. Right now when you hand your license to somebody in a bar, they already have the capability to read the license. It’s called your eyes. So when I’ve handed my license to people if I wanted to cash a check or something and they copy down the information on it, they got the information.

There clearly has to be rules against anybody who takes information down to make sure they don’t misuse it, but I don’t think that technology increases the threat to privacy. Whether you read the card and copy it down or whether you run the magnetic strip through like you do with a credit card, I think the bottom line is the person who gets the card can read the information. The key is they have to be prohibited from misusing the information. And I think that’s, you know, that’s where we ought to be focusing our attention.

Question: Will there be a prohibition?

Secretary Chertoff: That’s not within the domain of our authority. But certainly states that want to put in privacy legislation to prevent, for example, people from misusing licenses, I mean I think a lot of states have that now.

The problem with people misusing license information has been around for 20 years. People who’ve erroneously or wrongfully gotten online and taken DMV information has been a problem around for years. So if we’re going to deal with the issue of people who lawfully come into access or lawfully get access to DMV information to prevent them from misusing it, we ought to deal with that as a privacy problem.

I don’t think that technology makes it worse. In fact, I actually think it makes it better.

Question: You said that you’re going to allow up to 20 percent of the state’s Homeland Security Grant Funds to be used. Is that a new purpose for the grants; up until now they would not have been able to use that?

Secretary Chertoff: Correct, correct.

Question: Related to the grant issue, do you think it’s feasible for there to be a public tracking system for states to report to how they spend their grant money, something that the public or Congress could monitor?

Secretary Chertoff: If you’re asking me technologically is it possible, I mean a state is capable of putting anything they want on the web.

Question: Would it be something that DHS could do themselves for the state to report to?

Secretary Chertoff: You know, I think we obviously want to make sure we track and we do track that funds are spent according to the goals that we set and according to the agreements that we reach with the states.

We are transparent about it. I don’t know if there’s any particular proposal to take any step about putting it on the web or not, but we’re obviously accountable to Congress at the end of the day.

Question: The states have been using this figure, $11 billion over five years, for the cost. I’m wondering if you’ve come up with your own cost estimate of what it would be?

Secretary Chertoff: I think that the states, in terms of the actual costs, the cash costs to the states, in discounted dollars, I think the states are about right. I think we estimate it about the same. Obviously that’s discounted to present dollars. We’re talking about over five years of rollout, so it may be more money spread out over time. But if you did it current dollars, it would be about what the states said.

We also, for reasons too complicated for me to explain, also calculate what they call opportunity costs for the individuals who have to go every – someone calculates the amount of time it takes to find your birth certificate and get in the car and drive to the DMV and then they put a dollar figure to that. So you’ll see that in the rule as well.

I think the most interesting figure is this. If we were to take the amount of money the states are going to pay when they issue a license and ask what additional costs, above and beyond the normal costs will be born by the individual as a consequence of these measures, we’ve estimated that to be around $20. So, that’s – we’re basically – it’s going to be like a $20 privacy fee and security fee if, in fact, states choose to pass that on to their citizens.

And I think that it’s obviously not a trivial amount of money, but the question is, is it a reasonable amount of money that people should pay to prevent people from getting on airplanes or getting in buildings and killing Americans, and also, by the way, so that we can be confident that our licenses are harder to clone and harder to counterfeit and harder to forge. And I think most people would say, you know, that’s pretty reasonable – that’s $20 well spent.

Question: Can you go into just a little bit of what the states will have to prove that they’re on a time table, that they’re trying to comply? I mean this sounds like it could get into a whole complicated new bureaucracy.

Secretary Chertoff: It’s not meant to become – look, we’re looking to have – we’re not looking to have them prove things. We’re looking to have them come forward and say, look, we have a plan here; we have a disciplined process to go forward to get to the plan; we estimate we’re going to need some more time. And by the way, we’re not expecting to get these requests tomorrow because we know states are going to have to look at the regulation and there’s going to be back and forth.

So this is a collaborative process. This is not the United States government jamming the states. And we’re assuming the states are operating in good faith because I still think, at the end of the day, this is good for the citizens of every state. I mean every citizen, it seems to me, is better off if they know that their license is harder to forge, their identity is harder to steal and their life is safer in a federal facility.

So rather than get into arm wrestling, I’m assuming we’re all going to work together in good faith. And I’m confident that that’s going to be what happens.

Question: Critics say that the negotiated rulemaking set up in 2004 would have resulted in standards by now and we’d be farther along. So I’m wondering what was wrong with that process? Why did it need to be supplanted with the 2005 law that you’re acting under now?

Secretary Chertoff: Congress passed a law. So I’m not a member of Congress.

You’ll have to ask people who were involved in dealing with the negotiation. The goal, I think, has always been the same. It’s a 9/11 Commission recommendation.

I think we did an awful lot of discussion with the very people who would have been in the negotiated rulemaking. So I think at the end of the day, we’ve achieved the same result. As Senator Collins said, we’re going to bring the advisor group back in. So we’re going to get to the same place, and I’m always happy that we can do that. And I was happy to have a very – you know, Senator Collins is very persuasive and did a good job of coming up with some reasonable proposals and we’re happy to adopt them because that’s – we listen and when things make sense, we adopt them.

Question: Mr. Secretary, the governor of Virginia said on Monday that he was afraid this would mean that a lot of states would have to buy a whole bunch of new equipment and technology. Do you think the technology is there and that states are already using it right now?

Secretary Chertoff: I think the governor of Virginia; I think Governor Kaine will be relieved that I don’t think it’s going to require a lot of new technology.

A lot of states have the technology that you need. We’re not being very prescriptive. What we will need to do is build connectivity so that states can interact and have interoperability. We always think interoperability is a good thing, and I think we can help a little bit with that from the federal government standpoint.

But this is something – I can’t tell you that no state is going to have to make an investment because you’re going to have upgrade, for example – some states are going to have to upgrade the quality of their card stock and things of that sort. I don’t think this is going to, though, require a tremendous retooling of the capital.

You know, they’ll have to hire some more people to do the intake, but I think this is a flexible approach and one that will allow most states to work with us so that it’s not a huge hassle for them.

One more.

Question: On the requirement to integrate with Social Security, Immigration, State Department, other databases, will those be a requirement or any other further effort to speed that along or do the rules speak to what happens if those databases aren’t ready?

I guess this is a follow-up to Pam’s question. If the federal cost is $11 billion and the federal government is proposing to put in about $100 million, $130 million, that’s one percent. You’ve seen these former Homeland Security officials recommend $1 billion. What’s your thought on that? Is there a larger – what’s the fair federal share to this?

Secretary Chertoff: Let me do the second thing real quick and then I’ll come back to the first. When we talk about the expense, we’re talking about a number of years. So let’s compare apples to apples, not apples to bushels of apples. For this year we’re talking about $100 million. I can’t tell you what future budgets will be like, but we’re talking about a process of implementation that’s going to take place over, you know, five, six, seven years including the extension. So when you talk about $10 billion, you’re talking about over that period of time. If you were to take it – and I know this is a very rough figure, per year, then it’s not quite so much of a delta.

As far as the first database issue is concerned, a lot of states do the Social Security already. With respect to the birth certificates, a significant number of states, using by the way federally funded program, so there’s other federal money coming into this, are in the process of digitizing their birth certificates. There, it’s simply going to be a question of connecting into existing databases. And with respect to the State Department, you know, you’re going to have a lot of documents that are self-authenticating like passports.

One of the reasons we built a little flexibility in is if we need to make adjustments in light of experience and unanticipated problems we could make those adjustments. Again, the idea here is not to jam the states, but it is to make sure that we move briskly and efficiently to a goal that I think we all believe is important.

Thanks very much.
http://www.dhs.gov/xnews/releases/pr_1172834392961.shtm

batmanchester - March 5, 2007 12:11 AM (GMT)
Testimony of Paul A. Schneider, U.S. Department of Homeland Security Under Secretary For Management, Before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Homeland Security Subcommittee on Management, Investigations, and Oversight
Release Date: March 1, 2007

Thank you Mr. Chairman, Congressman Rogers and members of the Subcommittee. It's a pleasure to appear before you today for the first time as the Under Secretary for Management.

I have been the Under Secretary for Management for two months. For the previous three and one half years I was a defense and aerospace consultant doing work for NASA, FAA, DOD, Coast Guard and others. Prior to this I was a career civil servant for 38 years. I began my career at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard as a project engineer in 1965 working on nuclear submarines. My last three government positions were Senior Acquisition Executive at the National Security Agency (NSA), Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Research, Development and Acquisition) and Executive Director and Senior Civilian of the Naval Sea Systems Command, the Navy's largest shore establishment.

I am here today to discuss the major management and programmatic challenges the Department faces and areas I will focus on as the Under Secretary for Management.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has continued to designate transforming DHS as high risk. Their report and other Inspector General reports address, in large part, the status of the integration of DHS' varied management processes, systems and people in areas such as information technology, financial management, procurement, and human capital, as well as administrative services. The GAO report said DHS has made some progress in management integration, but still needed a comprehensive strategy. GAO noted that in such a strategy, DHS would integrate planning across management functions to identify critical interdependencies, interim milestones and possible efficiencies. As the Under Secretary for Management, I support the strategy proposed by the GAO. The GAO indicates some of the plans and directives already issued by DHS could be used in building the needed integration strategy. I am reviewing the DHS progress against each of the elements of the integration strategy to confirm that the effort is headed on the right track. My role is to direct this effort and to be the forcing function across the Department.

The most significant challenge we have is to continue the effort that was started with the creation of the new Department: merging 22 agencies with approximately 180,000 people and turning it into the most effective force to protect our country. This effort requires effective and efficient use of financial and human resources, enabling technology, strong processes and superb management. These are the challenges that are the focus of my efforts.

The major elements of our strategy are:

Improving acquisition and procurement throughout the Department.
Strengthening the requirements and investment review processes.
Acquiring and maintaining human capital.
Seeking efficiencies across the enterprise in operations and the use of resources.
Making the key management systems, such as financial and information technology, world class.
Our approach has a common thread through all of these areas. That is to ensure that there is a comprehensive and integrated strategy with specific and measurable goals, and that these goals support the activities and priorities of the Department. On a practical level, we will ensure the success of this strategy by having a team with the right knowledge, skills and abilities to support these programs, the overall transformation and integration efforts. Our progress will be measured against metrics and milestones.

Acquisition and Procurement
The Department of Homeland Security is just beginning or is in the midst of many crucial acquisitions that are vital to the success of DHS. That is why Chief Procurement Officer Elaine Duke and I are working to strengthen acquisition and procurement by institutionalizing solid processes. To this end we are:

Strengthening the requirements and investment review processes by improving the Joint Requirements Council (JRC) and Investment Review Board (IRB) process.
Reviewing the major programs and investments to ensure that the requirements are clear, cost estimates are valid, the technology risk is properly assessed, schedules are realistic, the contract vehicles are proper, and the efforts are well managed.
Building the capability to manage complex efforts by ensuring that program offices are properly structured and staffed with the right people, and the right skills, to ensure efficient and effective program management and oversight; and aggressively hiring where we have known shortages.
To date, the Department's focus has been on procurement. Procurement, however, is only one element of acquisition management. Acquisition also includes understanding operational and life-cycle requirements, such as formulating concepts of operations, developing sound business strategies, exercising prudent financial management, assessing trade-offs, and managing program risks. Best practice acquisition management is executed by teams of professionals who understand and are able to manage the entire life-cycle of a major program effort. DHS has a shortage of people that are experienced in program management, including its related functional areas (e.g. acquisition logistics, cost analysis). I will focus on this area as one of my major priorities by identifying needed skills and processes and considering expedited delivery of training in key disciplines for those individuals involved in the management of the Department's major programs.

We have established a department-wide real property asset management plan with performance metrics to govern investment decisions regarding our buildings, structures and land. We are expanding this approach to all tangible assets through the investment review process with an Asset Management and Services Board with representation by the component chief administrative officers.

Contracts
DHS' $12 billion procurement budget provides for the development, fielding and support of significant homeland security capabilities. For example, US Coast Guard contracts are providing aircraft and ships from the Integrated Deepwater System (IDS) and search and rescue capability from the Rescue 21 program. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) contracts are providing additional capabilities via the Electronic Baggage Screening Program (EBSP) and Transportation Worker Identification Credentialing (TWIC) program. Consistent with the SBI Strategy, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is developing and fielding the capabilities at and between our nation's ports of entry to gain effective control of our borders.

Our model for using contractors has been to address immediate staffing shortfalls. Because the Department has launched a number of new large scale initiatives, our acquisition workforce requires skill sets and experience that are very different from an ordinary acquisition program. Prior to DHS' establishment in 2003, the Department's components did not have major acquisitions like the USCG's Deepwater program, which require large mature and experienced acquisition support services such as those that exist in the Department of Defense for major weapons systems and ship-building. To reduce our reliance on contractors, for fiscal year 2007 and 2008 we are focusing on developing a mature acquisition workforce through targeted recruiting and advanced training programs. Our goal is to build our own pipeline of people from within the Department and we've begun to do this.

Also, it is worth noting that DHS has exceeded the Administration's goal for small business prime contracts as well as our own goal of 30 percent. I am happy to report that in fiscal year 2006, 34.6% of the procurement dollars went to small business prime contractors. Of that 34.6%, 12.1% went to small, minority owned businesses.

Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Federal Human Capital Survey (FHCS)
DHS did very poorly on the OPM Federal Human Capital survey. Through the survey results, managers and line employees alike delivered a clear message that the leadership has heard loud and clear. Leadership teams across DHS are committed to identifying the underlying reasons for DHS employee dissatisfaction and are seeking ways to address them directly.

As initial steps toward improving employee satisfaction both at the headquarters and within the operating components, we have already identified the need for better communication throughout the workforce, continued emphasis of performance management training at the individual supervisor and employee level and implemented improved recognition of good performance. Although the general results of the survey were disappointing we are encouraged by the fact that DHS employees have passion for our mission. 89% percent of employees report that they believe the work they do is important, and 80% percent like the work that they do. This is a strong foundation to build upon for improvement.

We will continue to evaluate the detailed results of the survey, analyze the practices of Departments that are recognized for their high performance, and use this information to develop additional steps that will lead to DHS' employee satisfaction. This summer, we will conduct another survey of our workforce to ensure that our efforts are on track with addressing key employee concerns.

Additionally, the leadership team in each operating component and headquarters unit will discuss details of the survey with our workforce in order to gather employee suggestions and recommendations that will inform the way forward.

Human Capital
We are aggressively moving towards building a world-class organization by continuing to hire and retain a talented and diverse workforce. There has been considerable publicity about the Department's initial efforts to implement the Max HR personnel management system, mostly resulting from recent court decisions regarding the labor relations portion of the system. In consideration of the recent court decision on collective bargaining, we are considering next steps in this area.

In the meantime, our Chief Human Capital Officer Marta Brito Pérez and I are broadening our efforts to encompass a wider range of human resource effectiveness with an initial focus on performance management. A performance-based management system compensates and rewards employees based on merit, that is, their performance and contribution toward the achievement of the Department's mission. Moreover, a performance-based management system requires work on everyone's part, as staff members at all levels of the Department to collaborate and define requirements, establish targets towards desired results, and agree on management methods for measuring and evaluating success. Based on the results of the OPM survey this is the area we need to focus on first.

Building a performance based, results oriented culture at DHS is very important. It will foster an environment of open communication and feedback between the supervisor and employee.

To date, we have implemented the new performance management program to over 14,000 employees, trained over 13,000 supervisors to ensure they develop the skills needed to administer the new program, and implemented a new automated system to facilitate the new performance management process. We will continue to expand coverage of the new performance management program as it will allow us to work seamlessly across components with the goal of aligning the work we do with the overall strategy, vision and values of the Department.

In addition to establishing a performance-based management program, we will soon be deploying a "performance-based" pay pilot in the Intelligence & Analysis component for non-bargaining unit employees. We chose this component because we are competing with the private sector and other government agencies for the same talent and it will give us experience and employee feedback before we proceed with a wider implementation.

Other efforts underway are captured in a recently developed two year Human Capital Operational Plan. Key goals in the human capital area include:

Developing career paths to broaden career opportunities for employees.
Implementing an automated recruiting system to improve our hiring efficiency.
Providing learning and development programs for DHS employees at all levels.
Promoting a leadership environment that encourages and supports cross-developmental opportunities.
In addition, we will be improving our hiring processes by educating our hiring managers and human resource officials on the flexibilities that are currently available as well as implementing an enterprise E-recruitment system. We have established a Department-wide branding initiative and will implement proactive recruitment strategies to fill 979 mission support vacancies that cross component lines in areas such as information technology, acquisition, and human resources.

We are well on our way to achieving our hiring targets in our frontline mission critical occupations as well. In ICE, we have already filled over 50% of the 1,477 authorized positions for this fiscal year. As the President committed to last year, we are looking to have 17,819 Border Patrol Agents by the end of FY08 and 18,319 by the end of 2008.

Our recruitment strategies will be designed to ensure that DHS reflects our Nation's diversity. The percent of Hispanic females and males in the DHS workforce is 4.59 and 12.11 respectively Hispanic males are employed at twice their rate in the National Civilian Labor Force. The percent of African-American females is 7.63, and for males is 6.86, which also exceeds CLF percentages. However, we must do better in ensuring our leadership ranks reflect the Nation's diversity. The Secretary, Deputy Secretary, and I are committed to ensuring that the talent pool for Senior Executive Service positions, in particular, is representative of our Nation as a whole.

Financial Management
The Department has many substantial challenges to overcome in its effort to improve its financial management processes. Chief Financial Office David Norquist and I are working to make measurable, demonstrable progress in the following areas:

To improve systems and processes eventually leading to sustainable clean audit opinions.
To provide assurance about our internal controls over financial reporting via a sound internal controls program.
To provide greater visibility into DHS' financial activity through timely accurate and useful financial related data.
To provide efficient financial management services.
Success in these areas rests upon a framework of people, policies, processes, systems and assurance. We have efforts underway in each of these areas which include: aggressive hiring and development programs; the "Internal Controls over Financial Reporting (ICOFR) Playbook" — a corrective action plan that addresses identified audit weaknesses; the development of a comprehensive set of financial management policies which represent the best practices of the Federal Government; and a plan to continue the migration and reduction in the number of our financial management systems.

Of particular importance are internal controls. Sound internal controls are essential to effectively meeting the Department's mission. DHS must have a process in place by which it can test whether our internal controls are well designed and operating effectively on a continuous basis. This means that management must move away from reliance on what outside auditors determine is wrong, and be able to independently prevent and address issues before they become problems.

Additionally, we are working to ensure that the Department's grant programs have the necessary internal controls in place, are adhered to, and that funds to State and Local first responders are monitored to achieve success with measurable outcomes.

Information Technology
The Department has established and institutionalized Department-wide business processes and systems for managing information. The DHS Chief Information Officer (CIO) Scott Charbo, heads the CIO Council, whose membership includes the CIOs from all of the DHS components. The council works to standardize business practices where it makes sense across the Department in order to improve information sharing. These efforts will improve our IT operations and reduce costs by eliminating duplicative IT systems. At this time, more than 60% of information management investments are managed through earned value principles.

Moreover, the DHS CIO has established program management offices (PMOs) to oversee selected major investments. In addition, DHS has awarded the EAGLE and FirstSource contracting agreements, the largest contracting vehicles in the Federal Government for the procurement of IT and program management services, which should result in more streamlined and cost-effective procurements.

The Department's Enterprise Architecture Board (EAB) reviews investments at various stages in the IRP and CPIC cycles.
The EAB has published the DHS Enterprise Architecture Version 2.0 to be consistent with best business practices. The Homeland Security Enterprise Architecture 2006 was rated "green" by OMB and rated 5th of 27 in the Federal Government for maturity by GAO. The enterprise architecture informs the creation of DHS strategic plans and all investment reviews.
Consolidation of major networks and systems continues, reducing seven wide-area networks and creating one common e-mail operation.
The first 24,000 square feet of the primary data center has been opened. The next 40,000 square feet is under construction and due to open in July. We have migrated systems and more are scheduled to move. The RFP for the second DHS data center has been released.
The Chief Information Officer is working to unify and improve DHS' IT security that is essential to accomplishing our mission. The DHS CIO and Chief Financial Officer (CFO) are working through the Internal Controls Assessment Project to bring information security policy and actions to the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) standards. We are executing a plan to fix identified FISMA deficiencies.

When we held our first IT security conference (Fall 2005), certification & accreditation (C&A) completion was approximately 22%. We have since increased C&A completion to 95% (Fall 2006), which reflects a 73% increase.
A baseline list of systems has been integrated into our budget and procurement process.
Security controls testing increased from 54% to 87% of DHS systems.
Annual DHS-wide IT security awareness stands at 88% with training for certain specialized job functions at 97%.
Key policies and procedures have been revised to assure protection of personal identifiable information.
Consolidated Headquarters
DHS' mission demands an integrated approach, yet the Department's legacy facilities are dispersed in more than sixty locations with 7.1 million Gross Square Feet (GSQF) of office space throughout the National Capital Region (NCR). This dispersal adversely impacts critical communication, coordination, and cooperation across the Department. Consolidating executive leadership in a secure setting of no less than 4.5 million GSQF of office space for policy, management, operational coordination, and command and control capabilities at the St. Elizabeths campus is vital to the long-term success of the Department. It will ensure a unity of effort and command for the Secretary as well as build a culture and a spirit which are essential to having a happy and productive workforce.

Without federal construction at St. Elizabeths, DHS will continue to be housed in more than 50 locations in the National Capital Region (NCR). If the project is not funded, the cost to continue housing DHS in leased space is approximately $5.1 billion based on a net present value (NPV) analysis. The St. Elizabeths development NPV is $4.1 billion ($3 billion program investment), a $1 billion dollar NPV difference providing an equivalent annual cost advantage of $63,953,000.

Moreover, Congress' approval of this project would reverse the current situation where DHS is currently located in 70 percent commercially leased space and 30 percent government owned space.

Consolidating our facilities will increase efficiency and communication, as well as help foster a "one-DHS" culture to optimize prevention and response capabilities across the Department. I request that Congress support this effort by authorizing and appropriating the funding for DHS' consolidation at St. Elizabeths West Campus.

Authority of the Under Secretary for Management
Throughout the process that ultimately led to my Senate confirmation, the question has been raised as to whether the Under Secretary for Management has sufficient authority to do the job. My answer is an unqualified, yes. I have sufficient authority to direct the type of sustained leadership and overarching management integration and transformation strategy that is needed Department-wide. Under section 701 of the 2002 Homeland Security Act, and internal Departmental directives and delegations, there is a very clear mandate of management authority for the USM. I also have the full support of the Secretary and Deputy Secretary. The Secretary has advised me that if there is any authority that I need that I don't have to do my job, he will provide me that authority. In addition to the statute, I operate with the Department's leadership fully knowing the job I am chartered to do, and that I operate with the full authority of the Secretary to get it done.

Conclusion
Secretary Chertoff has expressed that one of his key goals for DHS is to strengthen DHS core management, policy and operational integration. I think DHS has come a long way since its inception in management and we will continue to improve by institutionalizing management processes and procedures over the next few years. I know from my 2 months on the job that we have major challenges ahead but I look forward to them with energy and enthusiasm. Thank you for your leadership and your continued support of the Department of Homeland Security and its management programs. I look forward to working together in shaping the future and success of DHS. Thank you for this opportunity to be here today and I am happy to answer any questions that you may have.

http://www.dhs.gov/xnews/testimony/testimo...2871419107.shtm

batmanchester - March 5, 2007 12:12 AM (GMT)
Homeland Security Tests First Responder Credential Capabilities
Release Date: March 2, 2007

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
Contact: (202) 282-8010

Washington — The Department of Homeland Security Office of National Capital Region Coordination (DHS ONCRC) and the Department of Defense Pentagon Force Protection Agency (DoD PFPA) joined public and private sector participants Feb.15 in a demonstration to validate the functionality of the First Responder Authentication Credential (FRAC). The demonstration, known as Winter Storm, was a multi-jurisdictional test to verify the integration and interoperability of credential system attributes such as qualifications, authorizations, certifications, and privileges.

“Winter Storm provided further validation of the technological advancements that will enable the nation to meet the goal of developing a unified credentialing system for first responders,” said Thomas Lockwood, director of the Office of National Capital Region Coordination. “Such advancements will ensure that emergency personnel are better equipped to respond to incidents across the nation in an expedited fashion. Winter Storm demonstrated that new ground is being broken on this important effort to build a standardized program to improve the methods, capabilities and coordination of emergency responders throughout the nation.”

More than 50 organizations, in over 20 locations across the United States, including the National Capital Region, actively participated in Winter Storm. Participants and observers viewed details on a commercially available mapping program that gave local, regional, and nationwide emergency operation centers real-time situational awareness of first responders.

Winter Storm is a follow-on event to Winter Fox, a multi-jurisdictional demonstration co-hosted by DHS ONCRC and DoD PFPA in February 2006 that tested the interoperability and usability of the credential system through simulated emergency incidents at federal, state and local facilities. Both demonstrations are part of the DHS’ First Responder Partnership Initiative that is working to provide federal and non-federal first responders with a standardized identity management process and common credential that will enable access to government buildings and incident areas in the event of a terrorist attack or other all hazards events.

Since September 11, there has been a critical demand for a common authentication credential for first responders; not only during an all-hazards event, but day-to-day for physical and logical access. The Office of National Capital Region Coordination has made great strides to advance the credentialing program through the cultivation of interagency and multi-jurisdictional partnerships with federal and non-federal agencies.

The Office of National Capital Region Coordination oversees and coordinates federal programs for and relationships with state, local and regional authorities in the National Capital Region. It is responsible for a total of 6,000 square miles of the National Capital Region, including 12 local jurisdictions, two states, the District of Columbia, three branches of federal government, 231 federal departments and agencies and 340,000 federal employees.

http://www.dhs.gov/xnews/releases/pr_1172866131042.shtm

batmanchester - March 9, 2007 12:55 AM (GMT)
Secretary Chertoff Tightens Post-Employment Restrictions for Senior DHS Officials
Release Date: March 8, 2007

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
Contact: (202) 282-8010

Washington — The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Michael Chertoff announced a change in policy today that bars all former senior DHS officials from representing a non-federal entity before any part of DHS for one year after they leave federal employment. This change applies to Senior Executive Service and other non-General Schedule employees who earn more than 86.5 percent of Executive Schedule II pay ($145,320 in Pay Year 2007).

"Whatever the component agency or office, the leaders of this department are first and foremost senior DHS officials," said Secretary Chertoff. "There should be no doubt about the integrity of our leadership and the motivation for their service to our country. The American public rightfully expects and deserves that the mission focus be job-one."

Since November 2004, DHS has been separated into eight agencies for the purpose of enforcing a one-year bar applicable to senior officials. This meant that a senior employee leaving one agency was barred from representing another party to that agency for one year, but could approach any of the other seven agencies within the department, unless the employee was involved as a government employee with a specific matter either personally and substantially, or as a responsible superior. At the recommendation of Secretary Chertoff, the Director of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics rescinded the waiver to 18 U.S.C. § 207, making DHS one agency for purposes of this ethics restriction.

Notice of the change was made in the Federal Register on March 8, 2007. The change will take effect 90 days from that date, on June 7, 2007, and will apply to employees who leave the government after that date.

http://www.dhs.gov/xnews/releases/pr_1173370911052.shtm

batmanchester - March 12, 2007 10:02 PM (GMT)
National Computer Forensic Institute Unveiled
Release Date: March 9, 2007

For Immediate Release
U.S. Secret Service Public Affairs
Contact: (202) 406-5708

Washington — The U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Alabama state officials unveiled today the National Computer Forensic Institute in Hoover, Ala., that will assist in the field of computer forensics and digital evidence analysis. The institute will be developed by the U.S Secret Service and is partially funded by the department’s National Cyber Security Division. It will serve as a national cyber crimes training facility where state and local police officers, as well as prosecutors and judges, will be offered training and equipment.

“The same technologies that are a part of every-day life in the twenty-first century are routinely used by criminal groups for their nefarious activities,” said Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff. “This institute will turn the tables on these criminal groups and equip law enforcement with sophisticated skills to use the same technologies in combating criminal activity.”

Law enforcement agencies routinely encounter computer or digital evidence and the level of training for state and local police departments is diverse. The National Computer Forensic Training Institute will provide training and tools for state and federal law enforcement to meet the challenges ahead.

“Today’s high tech environment presents new challenges to law enforcement as cyber criminals exploit computers and the Internet to threaten our banking, financial and critical infrastructures,” said Secret Service Deputy Director Brian Nagel. “As a result, law enforcement has been propelled into technologically non-traditional terrain requiring highly specialized skills and innovative applications of traditional investigative strategies. It is imperative to address the changes in technology by providing training on cyber-investigative techniques and by sharing current expertise among federal, state and local officers.”

The facility will include classrooms, a computer forensic lab with an advanced research and development area, an evidence vault, storage and server rooms, public education exhibit space, and a conference room. Training will be based on the current U.S. Secret Service curriculum and include: basic electronic crimes investigation, network intrusion investigation and computer forensics.


Well known for protecting the nation’s leaders, the U.S. Secret Service is also responsible for protecting America’s financial infrastructure. The Secret Service electronic crimes program is an integral part of the agency’s efforts in combating high-tech electronic and computer crimes.

http://www.dhs.gov/xnews/releases/pr_1173477460607.shtm

batmanchester - March 14, 2007 10:02 PM (GMT)
Remarks by Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff at a Military Naturalization Ceremony
Release Date: March 12, 2007

Washington, D.C.
Walter Reed Army Medical Center

Well, I want to thank Director Gonzalez for inviting me to host this very meaningful ceremony and for his kind of words of introduction. I want to thank General Schoomaker for hosting this as well as all the members of the staff of Walter Reed for the work they do every day, day in and day out, to serve our warriors who come back from the battlefield. And, I want to thank the four service members, three soldiers and one Marine that have become the new American citizens today.

This ceremony is probably one of the most enjoyable duties that I’ve had the opportunity to perform in any public capacity. And, it certainly gives all of us quite a bit to think about when we think about the meaning of citizenship and what these young men and women have gone through to become American citizens.

You know, Eduardo and Angel were born in Mexico, Dwishnicka was born in Haiti, and Carlos was born in Portugal. In many ways, they reflect the face of America. As the Latin saying says, e pluribus unum; out of the many, one. And, the genius of this country, as reflected in today’s ceremony, is that we are able to assemble from around the world those who are the most noble, the most courageous and the most worthwhile, bring them, with their very diverse backgrounds, into the single unity of American citizenship where they each contribute something unique to making this country what it is.

In this case, each of our new citizens not only came to America, but actually came and joined our armed forces. Each of them went to Iraq. And today, each of them now have the opportunity to be citizens of the country they have served so well. For family members who are here, I know this is a wonderful day; you must be very proud, and I offer you my congratulations and my best wishes for what I hope will be a raucous celebration when the ceremony is over.

You know, it is a ceremony like this that causes us to think about what a great privilege it is to be an American. And, it might be said that those who are born here probably appreciate less than those who come voluntarily how meaningful it is to be an American. But, one thing I can tell you is that people around the world struggle to become Americans, and I think the four here who have become citizens today reflect some of the reasons why that struggle is a benefit to this country.

This country has always been a beacon of freedom, opportunity and hope for a better life. And by any measure, America has brought untold blessings to people who have come here and made this country their home. But it’s also true that immigrants have been a blessing to America. From the beginning, proud immigrants have blessed our economy, enriched our culture and strengthened our communities. But, of all those who come from around the world to be citizens, you four who have become citizens today have done something even more.

In the oath you took today, you swore to do what you already have done, which is to put on the uniform of our country’s armed forces and serve to defend her freedom. Before you became citizens you stepped forward to defend the country that you love, and before you took your oath today you were fulfilling it every single day on the battlefields of Iraq. You put duty, you put honor, and you put country ahead of yourselves. You put your life, and your safety on the line for millions of Americans that you’ve never even met, and you’ve proven yourself willing to pay the ultimate sacrifice for this country.

On behalf of the President, and a grateful nation, once again, I thank you deeply for your sacrifice. I also wanted to note with gratitude that the President has helped make this wonderful day possible. Some of you may know that less than a year after September the 11th, the President issued an executive order rewarding service such as that rendered here with an expedited route to citizenship.

And again, I want to address those who are working here at Walter Reed. Thank you for continuing your strong commitment to the important work that you do, notwithstanding some of the current difficulties. Thank you for the way in which you commit yourself to the honorable tradition of caring for brave heroes like those that we’ve sworn in today and everybody else who is in this compound. These are all men and women who have paid a price in the course of serving their country.

The President has rightly stated that we have a moral obligation to provide the best possible care and treatment to every single serviceperson who walks through these doors, and I am confident that whatever the challenges this hospital has faced in the past, those challenges will be surmounted and that when the dust settles, Walter Reed will emerge a stronger, better place to serve courageous men and women like those being honored here today.

One of the reasons I am confident in that is because I know it’s part of our national character as Americans to view problems as not only challenges, but as opportunities, opportunities to do better and make our world better. That’s why after we were attacked on September 11th we resolved not only to defend ourselves from further attacks and to defeat our enemies, but to take up leadership in the fight for the right of others to enjoy the very same freedoms that we do ourselves.

Today, more than five years after September 11th as we stand on the front lines in the war against terror, Americans like these continue to defend our ideals and to ensure that freedom’s blessings extend around the world for generations to come. So, for those who have been sworn in as citizens today, we’re honored that you’ve joined us in carrying out this sacred mission, we’re grateful for your service, moved by your sacrifice, inspired by your courage, and humbled by your devotion to your adopted home.

Today you have become citizens of that home, citizens with equal stature, and equal rights with everybody else who is an American citizen. You know, one of the things that might be said about this country is that we’re all guests here, we’re all joined here, and we’re all on equal footing. There’s nobody here who is the landlord. We are all common owners of this country, and you have now assumed part of that common ownership and part of that stake in this great land.

So, on behalf of President Bush, let me again congratulate you. Let me again thank you, once more, on behalf of the country. God bless you. God bless all of your family members and loved ones, and God bless America.

http://www.dhs.gov/xnews/speeches/sp_1173794158326.shtm

batmanchester - March 14, 2007 10:04 PM (GMT)
DHS Awards High-Tech Research Contracts to 22 Small Businesses
Release Date: March 13, 2007

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
Contact: (202) 282-8010

Washington – The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Science and Technology (S&T) directorate announced the selection today of 22 small businesses to participate in technology contracts that will increase innovation and creativity in research and development in homeland security solutions. A total of 23 projects will be funded through the department’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program with individual firms receiving up to $100,000 in one of five research areas for up to six months.

“I am pleased to announce this sixth set of awards to small businesses to develop innovative technology that will help meet the department’s mission to protect the homeland,” said Jay M. Cohen, Under Secretary for S&T. “We are already seeing excellent results from the first set of awards of April 2004, and I am confident that our SBIR program will continue to make great research contributions.”

In Phase I, firms will define the scientific, technical and commercial merit of a particular concept. Firms whose concepts prove successful in Phase I may be invited to apply for a two-year Phase II award, which will not exceed $750,000, and furthers development of the original concept into a prototype stage.

Participation in the SBIR program is restricted to for-profit, small businesses in the United States with 500 or fewer employees, including all affiliated firms. Small businesses selected to enter negotiation for Phase I awards are:

System for Designing and Evaluating Chemical or Biological Agent Sensor Networks
Applied Nanotech, Inc. — Austin, Texas
Peerless Technologies Corporation — Fairborn, Ohio
RhinoCorps, Ltd. — Albuquerque, N.M.
Toyon Research Corporation — Goleta, Calif.
Mobile Peripheral Device for Biological Analysis
Diagnostic Biosensors, LLC — Minneapolis, Minn.
Lynntech, Inc. — College Station, Texas
Physical Optics Corporation — Torrance, Calif
Westrack, LLC — Prescott, Ariz.
Advanced Unattended Ground Sensors (UGS) Technologies
Biophan Technologies, Inc. — Santa Clara, Calif.
MCQ, Inc. — Fredericksburg, Va.
Systems & Process Engineering Corp. — Austin, Texas
Toyon Research Corporation — Goleta, Calif
TPL, Inc. — Albuquerque, N.M.
3-D Visualization System to Show First Responders and Assets within Building Structures in Urban Areas for Situational Awareness
21st Century Systems, Incorporated — Omaha, Neb.
Architecture Technology Corporation — Eden Prairie, N.M.
BALFOUR Technologies, LLC — Bethpage, N.Y.
Kutta Consulting, Inc. — Phoenix, Ariz.
UtopiaCompression Corporation — Los Angeles, Calif.
Automated Scenario/Script Builder for Simulation-Based Training Systems
Charles River Analytics, Inc. — Cambridge, Mass.
Continuity Solutions, LLC — Reston, Va.
Intelligent Systems Technology, Inc. — Santa Monica, Calif.
Rite-Solutions, Inc. — Middletown, R.I.
Quimba Software — San Mateo, Calif.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology (S&T) Directorate serves as the primary research and development arm of the Department, utilizing the Nation’s scientific and technological resources to provide federal, state and local officials with the technology and capabilities to protect the homeland. The S&T Directorate’s Office of Innovation/HSARPA administers the DHS SBIR/STTR programs on behalf of both the S&T Directorate and the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office.

http://www.dhs.gov/xnews/releases/pr_1173820924254.shtm

batmanchester - March 22, 2007 09:48 PM (GMT)
Remarks by Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, U.S. Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Thad Allen And Drug Enforcement Administration Administrator Karen Tandy at a Press Conference Announcing the Coast Guard’s Record Maritime Cocaine Seizure
Release Date: March 21, 2007

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
Contact: 202-282-8010
Washington, D.C.

Secretary Chertoff: Well, good afternoon, everybody. I'm glad you were able to join us here today. I'm here with Admiral Allen, the Commandant of the Coast Guard, and his staff, to celebrate what is truly a tremendous accomplishment by the Coast Guard. It's also an interagency accomplishment, and I'm delighted to welcome Administrator Karen Tandy of the Drug Enforcement Administration, and to thank her for her partnership with us; and also Alex Turner, the section chief of the Gangs and Criminal Enterprise section of the FBI, and thank the Bureau for their tremendous collaborative work with us.

Most important, I'd like to take a moment and thank the men and women of the Coast Guard for their selfless dedication carrying out their critical mission, safeguarding our nation's shores, ports and waterways, and protecting our citizens and our way of life.

Of course, in addition to their many national security and safety missions, the men and women of the Coast Guard have a responsibility to work with other agencies to stem the flow of illegal narcotics into this country.

And so I'm proud to announce that, working with DEA, the Coast Guard in the last few days made the largest maritime cocaine seizure in our nation's history, and I think what may be certainly among the top, if not the top, seizures ever in the nation's history.

Through a comprehensive interagency effort, over 42,000 pounds of cocaine – that's over 21 tons of cocaine – were seized from a vessel approximately 20 miles off the coast of Panama on March 17th. That's nearly $300 million wholesale value in illegal drugs that were prevented from entering our country.

This seizure breaks the Coast Guard's previous record of 30,000 pounds, which had been set in 2004, and brings the Coast Guard's total cocaine seizures for this fiscal year to 197,000 pounds, nearly 49,000 more pounds than at the same time in the last fiscal year.

I want to thank the crew members of the Coast Guard cutters Sherman and Hamilton, who intercepted and boarded the Panamanian-flagged vessel Gatun, and discovered the drugs hidden in two containers. In fact, for Captain Charley Diaz, with whom I had the opportunity to speak a couple days ago, and the crew of the Sherman, this seizure was their third drug interdiction in two months at sea.

This operation is an outstanding example of the value of teamwork and coordination among federal agencies such as the DEA, Coast Guard, and other Homeland Security and Department of Justice components. I also want to thank the government of Panama for its very important assistance and continued cooperation.

Were it not for the continued efforts of these federal and international partners, millions of dollars and millions of pounds of illegal drugs would be pouring into the cities and states by now, generating huge profits to fund nefarious activities and increasing the horrors of narcotics abuse and addiction in our society.

Using intelligence and sharing information among various federal, state, local and international organizations, we are putting enormous pressure on drug traffickers, human smugglers and others who violate our laws, and we are making it increasingly difficult for them to carry out their operations, whether by land, by sea or by air.

Our strategy of expanding our perimeter of protection and patrol is becoming more effective as we continue to seize larger amounts of drugs and illegal contraband well before they reach our shores.

Once again, I want to compliment the dedicated men and women of the Coast Guard for this tremendous accomplishment, as well as those of the DEA and other Department of Justice officials, whose efforts made this historic seizure possible.

With continued intelligence and tough enforcement, we will make more seizures in the future, and will work to set even greater records of detecting and interdicting drugs and other contraband coming into the United States. Through collaboration, we've been able to strengthen our counter-narcotics efforts and send a strong message to drug traffickers where it hurts: in their pocketbook.

Now I'll turn it over to Admiral Allen.

Admiral Allen: Thank you, Mr. Secretary, and congratulations to my interagency partners that are here with us.

Let me summarize the case for you. On March 17th, a Coast Guard C-130 aircraft, which was on patrol in the Eastern Pacific Ocean off of Panama, sighted the Panama flagged merchant vessel Gatun approximately 20 miles off the Panamanian coast. The Coast Guard's 11th district in Alameda, California, invoked a bilateral agreement we have with the country of Panama that allowed us to enter the contiguous zone of Panama and take enforcement action against the vessel.

The government of Panama quickly responded to our request – terrific international partner – and we had the Coast Guard cutter Sherman and the Coast Guard cutter Hamilton nearby. Once on board, we discovered a number of bales in two containers, again, totaling more than 42,000 pounds.

This evening, the Sherman will arrive in Panama and turn over custody of three Panamanian crew members and a representative sample of cocaine to the Panamanian government for prosecution under our bilateral agreement, and the remaining 11 non-Panamanian detainees and contraband will be forwarded to the middle district of Florida in Tampa for further action.

It is noteworthy that the cutter Sherman executed this intercept despite significant mechanical difficulties. They had a casualty to one of their main diesel engines and they were operating basically on one of two shafts. They had lost their water-making capability in their evaporators and were actually shuttling parts back and forth with a helicopter from shore, even as the boarding team was put on board. The Coast Guard cutter Hamilton nearby provided extra security forces for the boarding and were able to execute it.

If I were to give you the messages from what happened off the coast of Panama this last weekend, it would be that this does not happen alone. The Coast Guard cannot execute these types of missions without the incredible support of our interagency partners and our international partners, in this case the country of Panama. We were operating out there with some very old equipment – 40-year-old cutter – and we're in the process of recapitalizing these ships and aircraft through our Deepwater program; we need to continue that. And finally, to continue with record-breaking seizures, we need to share information, cooperate at every level, and the folks that are here before you today are outstanding partners in doing that, and it's a pleasure to call them not only colleagues but friends.

Karen Tandy, the podium is yours.

Administrator Tandy: Good afternoon. It is a real honor to stand with the United States Coast Guard, Admiral Allen and Secretary Chertoff, as well as the FBI today. For those of you who are keeping score, let's recap where we are in the war on drugs, because it's been victory after victory over the past two months.

Three days ago, as you've heard, the U.S. Coast Guard, as a result of joint DEA and Panamanian law enforcement information, made the largest maritime seizure of drugs the world has ever seen. On the high seas of the Eastern Pacific, bound for Mexico, the freighter Gatun was stopped before it could deliver the now 21 metric tons of cocaine, denying Mexican traffickers what amounts to $300 million worth of wholesale-level cocaine, $600 million at a retail level, and severely disrupting this transportation organization.

That was three days ago. Six days ago, in an unrelated operation, our Mexican law enforcement partners, working closely with DEA, seized $205 million in cash from methamphetamine chemical traffickers. This was the largest cash seizure that's ever been made. It is beating a record that was set just two months ago, when Colombian authorities, working with DEA, seized $80 million in cash and gold in Cali, Colombia.

Sixty-one days ago, in an unprecedented action, 11 Mexican drug-trafficking leaders were extradited to the United States. Never before have so many high-level drug traffickers, including a violent kingpin from all four of Mexico's four drug – major cartels have been sent here to the United States for justice. Never, in the history of our countries.

That makes three big strikes in less than two months against the once untouchable and feared Mexican drug cartels that are responsible for so much of the drug supply in the United States. And that makes three big victories in the global fight against drugs.

DEA and our partners are shattering our own records as quickly as we make them, and more than that, we're shattering the drug organization's financial capability and operation ability.

Later today, as you've heard, 11 of those 16 traffickers who were arrested in relationship with the Gatun boarding are expected to arrive in Tampa for U.S. prosecution. The drug trafficking organization – this was a Mexican-based transportation cell that was transporting these 21 tons off of the coast of Panama – did so brazenly, although most traffickers conceal their drug poisons in the loads of legitimate cargo or in compartments. This organization did none of that. Now, they simply loaded bales of cocaine, as you've seen on the screen here, they simply loaded these bales of cocaine into cargo containers on the top of the deck of this freighter. They were hiding in plain sight on the main deck.

Their flagrant disregard of the international drug laws has now cost them their freedom, and it has landed us their most precious cargo: $300 million to $600 million worth of cocaine. And the Gatun was the one big fish that didn't get away.

Thank you.

Secretary Chertoff: We'll take some questions. Before we do, let me just make one observation. To help all of you connect the dots up, these blows against Mexican drug trafficking organizations not only keep drugs out of the country, but they strike at the economic engine that allows these organizations to acquire weapons and carry out acts of violence and terrorize people in Mexico through their use of force and armed means.

So striking at this kind of drug trade really does advance not only our national security but the national security of Mexico. It's a win-win for everybody on an international level.

Questions.

Question: Two quick ones, just to clarify. How many of those 11 guys who are going to arrive in Tampa are Mexican citizens? And have you identified which Mexican drug cartel this cocaine has --

Administrator Tandy: As to your first question, it is my understanding that the 11 who will be prosecuted in the United States arriving later today are all Mexican nationals. And the investigation is continuing, as to the cartel connections to this particular load of cocaine.

Question: The press release mentioned that this was the result of good, actionable intelligence, and then in your statement, you talked about this cutter being out on routine patrol. Was there intelligence that led the Coast Guard to look for these specific drugs or this vessel?

Secretary Chertoff: I don't think we're going to be any more specific, because to the extent you rely on intelligence, it only works if you keep it confidential. I think generally, our activities, we do use intelligence as an important element of what we do. But we are also obviously always out patrolling as well.

Question: Well, can you – could I just rephrase it then – can you say that you expected to find what you found?

Admiral Allen: The cutter Sherman was under the tactical control of Joint Interagency Task Force South [JIATF], which is an element of U.S. Southern Command. And under legislation passed in the 1980s, DOD supports us through detection and monitoring. Once the targets are identified, then those assets are shifted to Coast Guard control, and we exercise our law enforcement authority. In this case, both the Sherman and the Hamilton, and the Coast Guard C-130 surveillance aircraft were operating under the JIATF South. The airplane made the sighting of the vessel that cued the boarding that followed.

Question: Mr. Secretary, what do you think it says that there was no attempt to disguise this shipment that was so brazenly being shipped? What do you think that says about the cartel's fear of interdiction?

Secretary Chertoff: I think the cartels have – notwithstanding the fact that as Administrator Tandy said, we've had a series of very recent notable successes – I still think they operate with a mentality of impunity, where they think they can get away with what they're doing. That is changing, though, because I think what we've done, and frankly what President Calderón has done in Mexico, in these extraditions that were recently accomplished, is beginning to send a message that we are more effective and that their sense of being invulnerable is being significantly degraded.

But the fact is, it's a very lucrative business, where the drug cartels make billions of dollars. And I think it's – the flagrant way in which they behave is a pretty good window into what is in their head. But I do think that the steps we've taken, just in the last couple months – and I want to emphasize the steps that the Mexican government has taken – strike me as exactly the way to turn that mentality around. But I want to warn you, experience shows that as you get more effective against criminal organizations, they get more violent. So as we've seen violence, I think that's an unhappy indicator of the fact that they are beginning to sense the threat to their livelihood, and that is going to cause a certain amount of reaction.

Question: (Inaudible) lately by the U.S. government. However, President Calderón recently complained, I think, in an interview with The Washington Post that this report by the U.S. is basically symbolic, in the sense that it's very, small in the war against drugs. Is the U.S. listening seriously to these kind of remarks, and is the U.S. government seriously considering perhaps increasing its support, either financial, (inaudible) resources to the Mexican government, specifically in (inaudible)?

Secretary Chertoff: Well, we've been very eager to work with the Mexican government and lend assistance to them. We obviously have to be invited in. We're pleased that President Calderón and his senior national security team has been reaching out. I had an opportunity to go down to Mexico a few weeks ago; I know Administrator Tandy did, and other officials, and we're looking forward to working with our counterparts in Mexico to see what we can do specifically to help them do what they are doing in order to make sure they're securing their country against these illegal and violent drug cartels.

Question: But you haven't identified any specific area that you can help them?

Secretary Chertoff: I think there are a number of ways we can help them, and I'm looking forward to continuing to work with my counterparts to figure out what is it that they specifically need, what it is we have available, and how it is we can work cooperatively in the most effective way.

Administrator Tandy: I would just like to add to that, from DEA, we've been working extremely closely with the Calderón government, in particular Attorney General Medina Mora and other Cabinet officials in Mexico. And specifically with regard to assistance, you don't have to look farther than the $205 million record seizure that was made in Mexico City six days ago. For that seizure, that was directly related to the support that DEA has been giving to our Mexican counterparts, in terms of training regarding methamphetamine. The $205 million was related to precursor chemicals used in the manufacture of meth. It was, in part, the training that they received, as well as other assistance from DEA, that enabled them to make that seizure.

The assistance that we have given Mexico extends well beyond that. We've trained some 2,000, just in the last year, 2,000 Mexican law enforcement and prosecutors, specifically regarding methamphetamine production and trafficking and prosecutions, as well as chemical control.

We also have donated to Mexico eight clandestine lab trucks to use in their enforcement operations against the manufacturing of methamphetamine in Mexico. And that is just as to methamphetamine. Our history with Mexico and support to Mexico, in terms of training, as well as other assistance, extends for many, many years beyond this.

Question: A quick follow-up on that. One specific complaint of the Mexican government is that U.S. is not doing enough to stop the arms trafficking to Mexico from the U.S. side. And I wonder if any of you, Secretary, can tell us is the new strategy to stop the arms manufactured in the U.S. going to Mexico? Most of the narcotraffickers use 90 percent guns made in U.S.

Secretary Chertoff: We have been – when I was down there in Mexico a few weeks ago, we talked about this issue. We are working with the Mexican government on a strategy to identify how it is we can interrupt the flow of illegal arms into Mexico. Obviously a big part of that is to find a way so that the Mexicans, when they inspect people coming across the border, can target those people who are shipping illegal guns in.

Question: Mr. Secretary, is this the same operation that was announced a couple of days ago in Panama, in coordination with the Panamanian --

Secretary Chertoff: Is which the same? This?

Admiral Allen: Yes, it was.

Question: Is that a way to (inaudible)?

Administrator Tandy: I would just – a couple of things. It was seized, as we've said, three days ago. What's happening today is a more accurate count of the cocaine. As you may recall, the early reports were at lower levels; the processing of that seizure has results in a more accurate count as to the amount of cocaine involved, as well as today, this afternoon, the 11 defendants are expected to arrive in the United States. So it is continuing to be current every day with new events involved.

Question: Mr. Secretary, a follow-up on Bob's question about the brazen attitude of these cartels. Could it perhaps be traced to the fact that they believe it's easy to get away with? The Pentagon, in its recent budget report to Congress, said that it is detecting only 22 percent of actionable maritime events because it lacks optimal – the optimal number of assets. They talk about 62 percent of maritime – or maritime surveillance is down 62 percent; Blackhawk helicopters are being rededicated to support troops in battle; deactivation of radar balloons along the southern border. How big a role is all this playing?

Secretary Chertoff: Well, first of all, I can't comment on the Navy department's budget; that's out of my domain. I think that there's always a challenge. It's a big ocean, and detection and interdiction is always a challenge. I think if you look back over the history of what we've done over the last few years, we've been quite successful. But obviously there's still a big drug problem in this country. What we have to do is work to continue to enhance the quality of our assets – I think Admiral Allen talked about that a little bit – the quality of our targeting so we are more precise in what we're able to do. And international cooperation is a big deal, too. When we have good working relationships with countries like Mexico and Panama, that's very helpful. And we have to continue to press on countries all over Latin America to make sure that they are working with us, in terms of helping us identify and interdict illegal drugs.

Question: Can you speak to that – the reduction of assets, please?

Question: Yes, and is it putting pressure on the Coast Guard?

Admiral Allen: Well, I think it's important to understand the difference between an activity level and an outcome. We are in the four or five-year period right now of unprecedented seizures on behalf of the Coast Guard and the maritime domain. And in some cases, we may have fewer assets than we had the year before, but it relates to how do you leverage those assets you got into the effect; we are seizing more drugs. So the effect we want to achieve is being achieved. Now, there are other opportunities out there we can exploit, but the force multipliers that are so extremely important to us are things like this bilateral agreement with Panama that authorizes -- once we've discussed it with them – that authorizes us to enter their customs waters and take enforcement action on their behalf. And it's the interagency sharing of information, and the way all that comes together, joint interagency task force south, that allows us to cue in on the targets.

http://www.dhs.gov/xnews/releases/pr_1174566428378.shtm

batmanchester - March 22, 2007 09:50 PM (GMT)
Remarks by Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff to the American Association of Port Authorities
Release Date: March 20, 2007

Washington, D.C.
American Association of Port Authorities

Secretary Chertoff: That was a great introduction, because it properly acknowledged what, in fact, my greatest accomplishment is: marrying up. I want to acknowledge Warren McCrimmon, the Chairman of the U.S. delegation, Allen Domaas, and also Kurt Nagle, who welcomed me here.

As I was listening to the invocation, I was desperately trying to figure how I was going to top the raising of the thing there. I tried to see if I could make the chandeliers shake or something. That is a very tough act to follow, Father, very tough.

I appreciate the opportunity to be here with members of the American Association of Port Authorities, including those of you representing U.S. ports, and those of you from South and Central America, the Caribbean, and Canada.

We at the Department of Homeland Security appreciate your partnership, although we do have considerable authority when it comes to securing our ports, using our authorities in the Customs sphere and in the Coast Guard sphere. We don't actually own the ports, I'm sure you'll be pleased to hear, and we don't manage them. And that's good.

So it does have to be a partnership, when we talk about securing the ports. And, I want to thank you first for the tremendous cooperation that you have shown our department and our member agencies. I've had an opportunity to visit a number of the ports, and I'm always impressed by the close working relationship between our agencies and the people who have the responsibility for running the ports day to day.

Because of our collaboration, we've made significant advances since September 11th protecting our ports, and the billions of dollars of commerce that enter our country every year through the maritime domain. We've done this through new international maritime standards and security regulations, new technology and infrastructure improvements, and through new grant funding.

Of course, the port authorities, the terminal operators, and the port stakeholders have also made substantial investment, which reflects the fact that investments in security ultimately make good business sense.

Today, I would like to talk about three areas of port security that are critical areas for our department: first, keeping dangerous cargo out of the country and from entering our ports; second, strengthening the security of the infrastructure of our ports through the use of grant funding, as well as the work of the Coast Guard and Customs and Border Protection; and third, our plans for the Transportation Worker Identification Credential, which is designed to secure us against the possibility of infiltration from within.

Let me begin by discussing some key principles that apply to port security and, in fact, to all homeland security. First, we do not believe in security at any cost. We believe in risk management, which means looking at threats, vulnerabilities and consequences, weighing what are the risks we should be most concerned about, considering the measures we are looking to undertake, in terms of whether they are cost beneficial, and then weighing that in terms of making up a strategic plan.

We also believe in layered security. That's recognition of the fact that there's no magic bullet for security, whether it be our ports or elsewhere. Any single approach can fail. Therefore, the right answer is to build layers of security that build rings of protection. What that does is it counts on redundancy and on randomness as allies in building a total security network.

And this approach recognizes, of course, that ports themselves are part of a large network, a network that extends across the globe and requires us to measure security at every point from the element of manufacture, where you first take that which is going to be shipped and assemble it, all the way through to the ultimate delivery at the destination of the person who is receiving the consignment.

A third element of our strategy is to recognize that every port is different. A cookie-cutter approach to security will not work, and we don't want our security measures to do more harm than good. One of my favorite proposals is that which says we are derelict because we don't physically inspect every single container that comes into the country. How many here want us to do that? I guess I have my answer. We know that to do that would be to destroy the ports. We have to, in fact, use a risk-managed approach and a layered approach and a cost-beneficial approach to triage and select those elements of the container supply chain that we should take a close look at while letting the vast majority of flow go unimpeded.

Another area where we want to use common sense, for example, is the suggestion about doing all of our scanning for radiation overseas. That, again, is a very interesting proposal; it's one that in many places is a very good idea and we are working, as I'll explain shortly, to do that. But again, a cookie-cutter that says we must do it everywhere would fail to take account of our need to accommodate the requirements, legal and regulatory, of our foreign partners, as well as the fact that the footprint and architecture of ports are not identical. Ports with a lot of transshipment are much harder to do scanning in than ports with a large physical footprint where everything comes in through a central portal.

So, using all of these concepts, we have to apply a strategy to the objectives I've outlined to come up with a common-sense way to maximize port security, but always making sure that we are not damaging the system of maritime trade that we're trying to protect.

So, let me turn to the first of these elements of strategy: keeping dangerous cargo from entering the ports from the maritime side. How do we keep dangerous cargo from entering the ports? Well, first we have to extend our reach, and that's consistent with this approach of layered security. Our Container Security Initiative is now active in more than 50 overseas ports, accounting for 85 percent of container traffic bound for the United States. This includes nine CSI ports in the Western Hemisphere – ports in Canada, Brazil, Argentina, Honduras, the Dominican Republican, Jamaica and the Bahamas; and four more CSI ports will come online later this year in Colombia and Panama. This begins the process of inspection, in many cases, overseas before containers are loaded on a ship.

Our Secure Freight program is increasing the data we collect on containers that are going to transit the international supply chain. What that does is give us better information in order to select what containers we have to look at. And we are now testing the feasibility of overseas scanning for radiation to prevent the entry of WMD into our maritime domain. And again, that's the approach of trying as much as possible to move the scanning, where practicable, overseas at the earliest point at which containers enter the international freight domain.

As part of this effort to continue to extend our reach, we're working with six foreign ports, including Puerto Cortez in Honduras, to install radiation detection equipment to scan cargo for radiological and nuclear emissions. Construction began in Port Cortez in November, and operational testing will begin next month.

This program of overseas scanning has already exceeded the requirement of the Safe Ports Act to conduct 100 percent scanning of cargo in at least three foreign ports. And what it will do is test the viability of integrating this suite of scanning in some of the world's largest and most complicated port environments. What we learn during this first rollout is going to help inform everything we do as part of this general enlargement of our security envelope through the Secure Freight program.

Secure Freight is also, by the way, a great example of international cooperation, which is indispensable in securing the supply chain, because it can't work without the cooperation of multiple international actors.

We need to continue to work together to educate members of our own Congress on the nature and interdependence of the global supply chain, and to make sure that mandates that sound good as sound bites don't get imposed in a way that actually cripples the maritime trade, which is an engine of our very successful economy.

I also should point out though, that as part of our layered approach, we have built and enhanced our capabilities of scanning at our U.S. domestic ports, as well. In our own U.S. ports, which are ports that you all own and manage, we are now scanning more than 90 percent of the cargo for radiation, and we're going to reach 98 percent at our major seaports by the end of this year, and almost 100 percent for all ports of entry, sea and land, by the end of 2008. This is from the year 2000, where we scanned exactly zero percent. So that is a huge, huge revolution in our capability to protect this country from people smuggling in nuclear or radiological materials.

What about the port itself? Well, our principal vehicle for dealing with the ports is, of course, grants, which enable you to strengthen port infrastructure, and our expenditures in terms of the Coast Guard and Customs and Border Protection, and that equipment which we actually deploy at the ports. And I want to look at this holistically, because a lot of times I see stories in the paper that say, well, we spend billions of dollars on aviation, but we only spend millions on the ports.

That number undercounts the fact that our port security, while certainly grants are important to it, is not entirely dependent upon grants. A big amount of what we do to invest in port security is in-kind investment in the form of the Coast Guard –represented here by Admiral Allen, the Commandant – and Customs and Border Protection. If you were to take all of what we invest in port security over the last few years, you would see we've spent over $10 billion on port security.

The President's budget for fiscal year 2008 continues this very robust support for port security, including port security grants. We're requesting that Congress give us $210 million for port security, building upon more than $800 million in port security grants that has been distributed since 9/11, a total of over $1 billion. These grant funds are being used to build capabilities in and around port areas, covering the full spectrum of prevention, protection, response and recovery.

Let me give you some examples. We awarded the Port of New York over $77 million to secure facilities within its area, including $18 million to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to enhance surveillance capabilities and harden facilities against attack. We awarded the Port of Los Angeles in Long Beach, the largest container port in the U.S., over $91 million for similar work, including $8 million to build a new command and control center that will support federal, state and local security personnel with 24/7 surveillance capability.

And we've provided Washington State Ferries and the Staten Island Ferries $18 million, and $16 million, respectively, to fund physical enhancements to vessels and terminals, and increase monitoring capabilities.

This fiscal year, in which we're in the middle of distributing grants, we've released our grant guidance several months ahead of last year, and the majority of the grant funds we've already identified, $120 million, will be available to the eight, tier-one ports or port areas that we consider to be at the highest risk. This is consistent with our risk-based approach which looks at putting the most resources against those areas where threat, vulnerability and consequence give us the greatest risk.

As part of this, we've continually worked with stakeholders, including you, to refine and strengthen our risk analysis. We've placed greater emphasis on geographic risk, focusing on a regional approach so that we can cluster individual ports and analyze them as part of a single area, to reflect geographic proximity and the interdependency of assets, shared risk and shared waterway. That's an approach we've used, for example, up in northern California, and it's an approach we've used in Virginia in the Hampton Roads region. That's why 102 ports we identified as critical this year were clustered into 72 areas that align with our area maritime security strategies and our Coast Guard security operations.

And we continue to work with grant applicants to ask them to focus on key priorities and capabilities in the requests they make for money. We want to fund projects that increase awareness in and around port areas; address the significant threat posed by improvised explosive devices through USS Cole style attacks; expand training and exercises; implement the TWIC credential and access control process; and support our overall national preparedness priorities.

This year, more than ever, it's a collaborative process, and we want to continue to work with you to give the American taxpayer the most value for the taxpayer dollar.

So I've talked about keeping dangerous cargo out of the maritime domain, and protecting and strengthening the infrastructure. How do we prevent people coming within and posing a threat by masquerading as legitimate employees or service personnel? Well, we're doing that by developing the Transportation Worker Identification Credential, to make sure those who come into our ports are not a security risk, that they are authorized to do the work there, and that they are not using fraudulent or stolen credentials. TWIC will be a tamper-resistant, biometric credential for our nation's transportation workers, including port workers.

We estimate about three-quarters of a million port workers will be issued TWIC cards and that they will be required for all individuals who expect unescorted access to secure areas of MTSA-regulated facilities and vessels. TSA is responsible for conducting the security threat assessment on TWIC applicants, which includes a check against terrorist watch lists, an immigration status check, and an FBI fingerprint-based criminal history records check.

We issued the first set of regulations for TWIC in January, and the rule becomes effective in a matter of days, after which we expect to begin enrolling port workers. TWIC is going to have an immediate security benefit in terms of having a standard secure credential.

In successive months we'll be working on the more complicated issue of access control and use of TWIC readers. Many of you helped in developing the reader standard and will be involved in upcoming pilot tests. We will take what we learn from those tests and incorporate them into a second set of rule makings on access control requirements.

We recognize it's a complicated undertaking- it takes place in a demanding operational environment. But by taking this in stages: background checks first, credentials next, and then access readers third, we've been able to rapidly move forward while ensuring that we are carefully evaluating technology and operational impact at every step of the process.

Let me conclude by talking about an issue that perhaps stands outside of all of these, and that is the question of resiliency. As important as it is to protect ports, it is equally important to be resilient so we can resume operations if, in fact, an attack is successfully carried out. When we look at the experience of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, we saw tremendous damage to the port structures, as well as all the pain and suffering and loss of human life. Among other things, 1,800 aids to navigation were destroyed by the hurricanes, and the storm caused significant silting of the navigable waterways, and led to the sinking of 2,900 vessels in the region.

In order to make that recovery, one lesson out of Katrina is that planning is critical. In order to recover ports from the kind of damage we've seen in Katrina and Rita – and this is one of the lessons learned from those hurricanes – we have to plan ahead of time about how to resume operations. And that has to be a joint effort, one undertaken not only with the federal government, but with you who own the assets and employ the people who work in the ports.

Admiral Allen, who is here today, has made maritime disaster recovery one of his top priorities as Commandant of the Coast Guard. And, in August of last year, the Coast Guard held a national maritime recovery symposium to begin addressing resiliency issues with the industry on a large scale. This event was an important step for developing a national approach to recovery planning. We need to identify issues and develop alternative solutions for recovery of the marine transportation system after an incident, whether it be manmade or natural.

The Coast Guard and CBP are working on national protocols for the resumption of trade, as we speak. This process includes the input from multiple agencies, including the Department of Transportation, TSA, and the Department of Defense. The private sector also has a major role in this process, and will be included through the Maritime Sector Coordinating Council and other outreach efforts, through out National Response Plan, the National Infrastructure Protection Plan, and the Maritime Infrastructure Recovery Plan. This will be an important focus for all of us in the months ahead.

We have done a lot in partnership with you to protect our ports without sacrificing the mobility of goods and the people that make our ports work in the first place. But we have more to do. I appreciate all you've done both in the U.S. and across the Western Hemisphere to balance trade and security, protect our ports and maritime cargo, but doing so while ensuring continued prosperity. We will remain your steadfast partners in this balanced effort to increase security and enhance prosperity. And we look forward to working with you in the time to come.

Thank you very much.

http://www.dhs.gov/xnews/speeches/sp_1174503082769.shtm

batmanchester - March 27, 2007 12:14 AM (GMT)
Aircraft Cargo Screening Program to Begin at Cincinnati / Northern Kentucky Airport
Release Date: March 26, 2007

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
Contact: 202-282-8010

Washington — The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will begin testing air cargo screening technologies this spring at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG) as part of the department’s previously announced $30 million Air Cargo Explosives Detection Pilot Program (ACEDPP). The CVG pilot program is designed to test the screening of significant amounts of cargo within an air cargo facility and will focus on areas to include assessing the flow and speed of cargo screening.

The ACEDPP was launched in June 2006 and is currently conducting pilot programs at the San Francisco International Airport (SFO) and at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. Testing of this nature will provide critical knowledge to help the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) make future decisions on air cargo and assist in technological research and development planning for the nation’s air cargo security infrastructure. DHS is interested in data that illustrates economic and operational impacts to air carriers from enhanced screening levels. Deployed technology at SFO includes x-ray systems, explosive trace detectors, and automated explosives detection systems. At Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, the focus is on detecting hidden intruders and stowaways.

While DHS expects new ideas to emerge from the testing to bring about future improvements, some advancements have already been made. As part of its advanced air cargo research and development program, DHS is funding the development of new systems that can screen entire pallets to look for explosives.

ACEDPP is a DHS-collaboration between the Science and Technology directorate and TSA. In addition to local airport and TSA personnel, organizations involved in the tests are the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and the Transportation Security Laboratory.

http://www.dhs.gov/xnews/releases/pr_1174939478443.shtm

batmanchester - March 27, 2007 12:15 AM (GMT)
DHS Awards $8.8 Million for Exploratory Research on Advanced Nuclear Detection Technology
Release Date: March 26, 2007

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
Contact: 202-282-8010

Washington — The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO) announced ten contract awards today totaling $8.8 million to nine companies that will perform exploratory research in advanced nuclear detection technology. The Exploratory Research Program is designed to transform nuclear detection technology by funding aggressive research and development that is unconstrained by pre-existing user expectations and initial technical risks.

The nine companies selected are: Alliant Techsystems Incorporated, Mission Research Division; Canberra; EIC Laboratories, Incorporated; General Electric Global Research Center (two awards); Physical Optics Corporation; Radiation Monitoring Devices, Incorporated; Rapiscan Systems Corporation; Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC); and Westinghouse Electric Company.

Each contract consists of multiple phases, including an advanced technology demonstration, before potentially transitioning to a systems development and acquisition program. Successful technologies will be deployed to provide port-of-entry (POE) and non-POE radiological and nuclear detection capability.

Earlier this year, DHS announced the award of Exploratory Research Cooperative Agreements with Academia totaling approximately $3.1 million to make significant advances in basic nuclear detection technology. Seven universities were awarded cooperative agreements: California Institute of Technology, Florida Institute of Technology, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, State University of New York at Stony Brook, University of Michigan, University of Nebraska at Lincoln, and Washington University.

http://www.dhs.gov/xnews/releases/pr_1174940537634.shtm

batmanchester - March 27, 2007 10:41 PM (GMT)
DHS Provides First Responders $34.6 Million in Equipment and Training Programs
Release Date: March 27, 2007

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
Contact: 202-282-8010

Washington — The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced today the award of $34.6 million in equipment and training to first responders across the nation as a part of the fiscal year 2006 Commercial Equipment Direct Assistance Program (CEDAP). DHS awarded more than 2,000 direct assistance grants to ensure that law enforcement and emergency responders receive specialized equipment and training to meet their homeland security mission.

“CEDAP is yet another mechanism for the department to work with our local homeland security partners in strengthening this nation’s ability to prevent, protect, respond and recover from a natural disaster or terrorist attack,” said George Foresman, Under Secretary for Preparedness. “This program enhances state and local communities’ capabilities as well as arms their first responders with the tools to build stronger regional coordination.”

CEDAP offers equipment in the following categories:

personal protective equipment;
thermal imaging, night vision, and video surveillance tools;
chemical and biological detection tools; information technology and risk management tools; and
interoperable communications equipment.
This program also focuses on smaller communities and metropolitan areas not eligible for the Urban Areas Security Initiative grant program. Awardees are required to receive training on their awarded equipment either on-site or at a CEDAP training conference.

DHS has provided more than $69.7 million in equipment and training to law enforcement and fire departments through CEDAP since the program’s inception in 2005

For more information on CEDAP and other DHS grant programs visit www.dhs.gov.

http://www.dhs.gov/xnews/releases/pr_1175027617227.shtm

batmanchester - March 28, 2007 10:36 PM (GMT)
Hon. Jay M. Cohen, Under Secretary, Science and Technology Directorate, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Before the U.S. House of Representatives, Appropriations Committee, Subcommittee on Homeland Security
Release Date: March 28, 2007

Introduction
Good Morning Chairman Price, Ranking Member Rogers, and distinguished Members of the Subcommittee. It is an honor to appear before you today to update you on the progress of the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T Directorate) and discuss how the President’s Budget Request for Fiscal Year 2008 will position us to develop and transition technology to protect the Nation from catastrophic events.

The S&T Directorate is committed to serving our customers, the components that comprise the Department of Homeland Security — and their customers — the hardworking men and women on the front lines of homeland security, especially the first responders, who need ready access to technology and information to perform their jobs more efficiently and safely. I am honored and privileged to serve with the talented scientists, engineers and other professionals who support these dedicated Americans in our shared mission to secure our homeland and defend our freedoms.

First and foremost, I am very appreciative of the leadership of the Congress in its support of the S&T Directorate, and of me personally, as I assumed the role of Under Secretary for Science and Technology last August. The informed counsel of Committee Members with homeland security oversight, and that of their staffs, has been invaluable to my efforts to position the S&T Directorate for accountability, tangible results and success, both for today and in the future.

Also, thank you for your vote of confidence in the Directorate, evidenced by the decision to appropriate $848 million in FY 2007. This has been enormously helpful in my efforts to better align people with our mission to develop a robust science and technology capability to protect the Nation as Congress envisioned in the enabling legislation for the Department. We look forward to working with the 110th Congress in a bipartisan and non-partisan manner to use science to better secure the Nation.

I am also grateful for the leadership of the President and Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and for the vision and guidance that the Secretary and Deputy Secretary Michael Jackson have contributed to the realignment process.

The First 180 Days – Aligned and Open for Business
My first six months on the job have been focused on laying the foundation in organization, people, and processes to enable the Directorate to skillfully apply the resources you have wisely provided in ways that best serve the American people and better secure our homeland. I am pleased to report that we are “open for business,” and your support of the President’s FY 2008 Budget Request will allow us to build upon that momentum.

As I’ve said on many occasions, the S&T Directorate must excel in four key areas if we are to accomplish these goals: We must get the organization, the people, the books, and the program content right. These four “gets” are the cornerstones of the realignment effort and we’ve made significant progress in each of these areas. In addition to the four gets, the four Bs — bombs, borders, bugs and business — provide the thematic approach to help keep us focused on the priority areas for the S&T Directorate.

I have realigned the S&T Directorate to help it fulfill its potential of becoming the customer-focused, output-oriented, science and technology management organization that Congress intended it to be and the Nation deserves. I thank Congress for its support of the new organizational structure that, in turn, is supportive of a broad and balanced range of activities that are aimed at identifying, enabling and transitioning new capabilities to our customers to better protect the nation. We have organized our program management into six technical divisions that are led by veteran S&T Directorate staff members and linked to three research investment portfolio directors in a “matrix management” structure. The technical divisions are focused on the enduring homeland security disciplines of Explosives; Chemical and Biological; Command, Control & Interoperability; Borders and Maritime Security; Human Factors; and Infrastructure Protection and Geophysical Sciences. The portfolio directors — Director of Research, Director of Transition, and Director of Innovation/Homeland Security Advanced Research Projects Agency (HSARPA) — provide cross-cutting coordination of their respective aspects of the investment strategy within the technical divisions.


Office of the Under Secretary for Science & Technology

I am pleased to report that today the S&T Directorate has a strong leadership team in place with all key positions filled. Since August, we have also welcomed 20 new highly qualified subject matter experts and professionals to the S&T Directorate, including three former DHS S&T employees who had previously left the Directorate and who have returned. Overall, we are 66 percent staffed and plan to have 100 percent of staff in place by the end of 2007.

I have made significant strides in “getting the books right” by holding the S&T Directorate to a high standard of fiscal responsibility. Toward this end, I have established an Office of Strategy, Policy & Budget Division led by the S&T Chief Financial Officer that has put in place the systems and protocols that will enable the S&T Directorate to be fully responsive and transparent in the budget development process and in the sound fiscal management of S&T appropriations. This new office is enhancing the efficiency of S&T operations by integrating related functions of policy, planning, programming, budgeting and execution. Centralizing financial oversight has enabled the S&T Directorate to implement corrective actions to address financial management deficiencies and accelerate the distribution of funds to DHS Laboratories, Department of Energy National Laboratories, private industry and academia. As a result, the S&T Directorate has committed 47 percent of its FY 2007 budget compared to 6 percent at the same time last year, significantly accelerating the distribution of funds to DHS Labs, DOE Labs, industry and academia, which will result in accelerated technology development and delivery to keep our Nation safer.

In other developments, I have added a director of Special Programs to work in select, mission-critical areas. And a new director of Test & Evaluation and Standards is building upon the S&T Directorate’s previous work in homeland security standards and adding test and evaluation capabilities to advance this effort and draw greater industry participation in developing new technologies for homeland security applications throughout DHS. We have also established a Corporate Communications Office to inform and engage our customers and their customers in the S&T Directorate’s broad investment portfolios.

I also know that we must look beyond our Department, indeed beyond our nation’s borders, for solutions in combating domestic terrorism. Therefore, consistent with DHS enabling legislation, I have established Interagency and International Program Offices responsible for, respectively, coordinating with other Executive Branch agencies to reduce duplication and identify unmet needs, and coordinating our international outreach efforts to help us tap into science and technology communities across the globe for solutions to counter domestic terrorism. Embedded S&T Directorate liaisons in Europe, the Americas and Pacific/Asia are casting a wide global net to identify the most viable homeland security solutions and their providers.

Last December, we saw the “physical manifestation” of our restructuring plan spring to life with the relocation of 340 of our staff members within the Directorate. Staff are now physically co-located within their new organizational alignments. At the same time, I issued the first S&T Organization and Requirements Manual (STORM) that defines functions, duties and responsibilities for the administration and management of the Directorate. The STORM tells our customers who we are and how we function so they may better understand the capabilities we can bring to bear in support of their protective missions.

Throughout this process, it was very important to me personally that S&T staff be kept informed of our plans for the realignment and that they have a forum for asking questions and expressing their views and concerns. Since last August, I have held four “All Hands” meetings at regular intervals to brief all S&T staff, including teleconference links with staff in other locations such as the Transportation Security Laboratory in Atlantic City, Plum Island Animal Disease Center, and the Environmental Measurements Laboratory in New York City. These meetings also allow me to recognize the achievements of staff members, to answer questions and solicit input, and, most importantly, express my gratitude for their excellent work and for all the cooperation, support and patience they have exhibited during this transitional period.

During the first six months of my tenure as Under Secretary for Science and Technology, I have focused on building the organization, team and processes that are necessary for any science and technology management organization to succeed. While our effort to completely institutionalize these changes continue, we now have a foundation in place that allows us to focus on delivering products to our customers as we execute our FY 2007 appropriation. The S&T Directorate is striving to be effective, cost-efficient, responsive, agile and flexible, and with your support of the President’s FY 2008 Budget Request we will build on our current momentum.

Customer / Output Focused
The S&T Directorate functions as the science and technology manager within the Department. We invest in science and technology that supports DHS components in their efforts to protect our homeland against catastrophic events – technology that makes the Nation safer. In the last six months, we have established meaningful working relationships with our DHS operational component customers. As they appear before you this year, I encourage you to ask them about the ways that S&T is addressing their operational needs. Thanks to the support of the Congress and the leadership of the Department, we are gaining significant momentum, and I humbly ask for your continued trust and support so that we can build on those efforts.

The S&T Directorate develops and manages an integrated program of science and technology, from basic research through technology transition to customers that are the operating components of DHS, State, local and tribal governments, first responders and private sector entities. The managers of this program are predominantly active scientists and engineers in the many disciplines relevant to Homeland Security. They are guided by a multi-tiered investment strategy and review process based on higher guidance, the stated needs of our customers, and technology opportunities.

The President’s FY 2008 Budget Request includes $86 million for the basic research portfolio which addresses the long-term R&D needs for the Department in sciences of enduring relevance to Homeland Security. The transition portfolio, designed to provide mission-capability relevant technology in support of the Department’s acquisition programs, is driven by customer needs through a DHS customer-led IPT process. The President has requested $343 million in FY 2008 for this effort. The Director of HSARPA administers the $73 million innovation portfolio (includes the Small Business Innovation Research program) to promote revolutionary changes in technologies with a focus on prototyping and deploying technologies critical to homeland security. This portfolio, balanced around risk, cost, impact and time to delivery, produces capabilities of high technical quality responsive to homeland security requirements.


DHS Science & Technology Investment Portfolio

Basic Research (> 8 years)
The S&T Directorate’s basic research portfolio addresses long-term research and development needs in support of DHS mission areas that will provide the Nation with an enduring capability in homeland security. This type of focused, protracted research investment has the potential to lead to paradigm shifts in the nation’s homeland security capabilities.

The S&T Directorate’s basic research program enables fundamental research at our universities, government laboratories and in the private sector. Approximately $95 million is allocated for basic research in FY 2007 and $86 million, 13 percent, is allocated in FY 2008. Eventually, I would like up to 20 percent of the S&T Directorate budget allocated for basic research. It is critical that basic research be funded at consistent levels from year to year to ensure a continuity of effort from the research community in critical areas that will seed homeland security science and technology for the next generation of Americans and prevent technological surprise.

Product Transition (0 to 3 years)
The centerpiece of the S&T Directorate’s product transition portfolio are Capstone Integrated Product Teams (IPT) that function in mission-critical areas to identify our customers’ needs and enable and transition near-term capabilities for addressing them. These Capstone IPTs engage DHS customers, acquisition partners, S&T technical division heads, and end users as appropriate in our product research, development, transition and acquisition activities.

The IPT process enables our customers to identify and prioritize their operational capability gaps and requirements and make informed decisions about technology investments. The S&T Directorate, in turn, gathers the information it needs to respond with applicable technology solutions for closing these capability gaps. The science and technology solutions that are the outcome of this process, referred to as Enabling Homeland Capabilities, draw upon technologies that can be developed, matured, and delivered to our customer acquisition programs within three years.

Capstone IPTs have been established in 10 major areas: Information Sharing/Management; Cyber Security; People Screening; Border Security; Chemical/Biological Defense; Maritime Security; Explosive Prevention; Cargo Security; Infrastructure Protection; and Incident Management (includes first responder interoperability).


DHS Requirements/Capability Capstone IPTs


The S&T Directorate’s product transition/IPT process ensures that appropriate technologies are engineered and integrated into the DHS acquisition system for our customers. Approximately $343 million is allocated for product transition for FY 2008, a little over 50 percent of my budget.

The IPT process has created an excellent forum for the S&T Directorate to gain a better understanding of the most important issues of our customer agencies. Another tangible benefit of this Capstone IPT process has been improved coordination in addressing common functional challenges across the Department. This is due in large measure to the enthusiastic participation of DHS agency heads such as TSA Administrator Kip Hawley, Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan, and Border Patrol Chief David Aguilar and many other DHS leaders who have all personally chaired the IPTs relevant to their interests.

In FY 2008, the S&T Directorate plans to transition or transfer four programs that pre-date the IPT process. These programs have reached technical maturity and will be transferred to other DHS agencies who will be responsible for their continued operation. The budget request reflects the transfer to the Office of Health Affairs of the operations portions of BioWatch 1 & 2, the Biological Warning and Incident Characterization (BWIC) system, and the Rapidly Deployable Chemical Detection System, totaling $84.1 million. Moving the operations portions of BioWatch out of S&T allows us to focus on completing the development of BioWatch 3. BioWatch is a bio-aerosol monitoring system designed to provide cities the earliest possible detection of a biological attack. BWIC interprets warning signals from BioWatch and public health surveillance data using incident characterization tools (e.g., plume and epidemiological models) to quickly determine the potential impacts a release may have. Together, these two systems provide emergency personnel with the information they need to respond effectively and initiate life-saving medical countermeasures. In addition, the FY 2008 budget request reflects the transfer of the SAFECOM program to the National Protection and Programs Directorate, totaling $5.0 million.

It is important that the S&T Directorate also engage the emergency responder community and address operational issues to help them do their jobs more quickly, effectively and safely. S&T’s Technology Clearinghouse and TechSolutions initiatives provide direct support to emergency responders’ technology needs. The Technology Clearinghouse, created in accordance with a provision of the Homeland Security Act of 2002, is designed to be a "one-stop shop" for access to technology information for Federal, State, and local public safety and first responder communities. TechSolutions provides a Web-based mechanism for responders to register their input regarding capability gaps that need to be addressed to help them in their jobs. S&T responds by identifying existing technology that may meet the need, or if nothing is available, proceeding with the rapid prototyping of an appropriate solution to be fielded in less than 18 months. S&T also houses the Office for Interoperability and Communications, which aims to increase levels of emergency responder interoperability by developing tools and methodologies, as well as advancing standards that emergency response agencies can put into effect.

Innovative Capabilities (2 to 5 years)
S&T’s Innovation/HSARPA portfolio supports a key goal of mine for the Directorate in its efforts to put advanced capabilities into the hands of our customers as soon as possible. It has made important inroads in research areas aligned with our DHS customers. Toward this end, S&T has introduced two important new initiatives. One of these, Homeland Innovative Prototypical Solutions (HIPS) are designed to deliver prototype-level demonstrations of game-changing technologies within two to five years.

The second initiative, High Impact Technology Solutions (HITS), is designed to provide proof-of-concept solutions within one to three years that could result in high-payoff technology breakthroughs. While these projects are very high-risk, they offer the potential for “leap-ahead” gains in capability should they succeed. While projects are separately budgeted in “Innovation/HSARPA” (based on moderate to high risk with a high payoff, if successful), ALL are executed within the six technical divisions.

The S&T Directorate also continues to manage an active Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) program on behalf of DHS that currently issues two solicitations each year and generates multiple awards for the small business community. The first solicitation for FY 2007 opens in mid-February and the second solicitation is planned for release in May. The solicitations will address topics in areas that are aligned with the six technical divisions.

The Innovation/HSARPA portfolio is receiving $60 million in FY 2008 funding for the innovative/leap-ahead HIPS and HITS projects. Because of the short timeline for HIPS and HITS, we anticipate that these projects will respond to the urgent needs of the DHS components for solutions to fill capability gaps.

Enabling U.S. Leadership in Science & Technology
University Based Centers of Excellence
The S&T Directorate is developing a robust, results-oriented network of Homeland Security Centers of Excellence (COEs) to leverage the independent thinking and ground-breaking capabilities of the Nation’s colleges and universities. The COEs are conducting multidisciplinary research and education, each focused on an area critical to homeland security. The Office of University Programs is providing the communications and infrastructure to produce, share, and transition the Centers’ research results, data, and technology to customers and end users.

Currently, seven pre-existing COEs connect experts and researchers at more than 80 colleges and universities, including several Minority Serving Institutions (MSI). More than 20 partners representing industry, laboratories, think tanks, nonprofit organizations, and other agencies also participate. University Programs is coordinating COE efforts with other S&T Directorate-sponsored, university-based initiatives. Under the new S&T organizational construct, existing COEs are being strategically aligned with at least one S&T division, or to Directorate-wide activities such as Operations Analysis and the Homeland Security Institute, in a structure that will best support the Divisions’ fundamental research and development activities and other requirements.

We are proceeding with plans to establish four additional COEs over the next two fiscal years to help round-out the Directorate’s need for university-based fundamental research. The new COEs will combine the research missions of some existing COEs and add new research areas under the division-aligned construct to meet DHS needs. S&T has released Broad Agency Announcements (BAAs) regarding plans to establish new COEs in the areas of explosives detection, mitigation, and response; border security and immigration; maritime, island, and extreme/remote environment security; and natural disasters, coastal infrastructure and emergency management. The competitive selection process is designed to ensure that institutions of high quality and academic merit participate from as many areas of the United States as practicable.

DHS Scholars and Fellows Program
DHS education programs are helping to attract and nurture future scientific leaders for the homeland security workforce and to strengthen the expertise of our existing labor pool. University Programs is engaging high-performing students through the DHS Scholars and Fellows program. Increasingly, S&T’s scholarships and fellowships will become aligned to the Centers of Excellence and to the DHS mission. During this period of transition, we will honor our commitments to all currently participating Scholars and Fellows.

The FY 2008 budget requests $38.7 million for S&T’s University Programs, which includes the Homeland Security Centers of Excellence and the Scholars and Fellows Program.

Office of National Laboratories
In carrying out its mission, the S&T Directorate works to develop, sustain, and renew a coordinated network of DOE National Laboratories, Federal laboratories and University Centers, the infrastructure needed by multi-disciplinary teams of scientists, engineers and academics to discover, develop and transition homeland security capabilities to operational end-users.

The FY 2008 budget request includes $88.8 million for the Office for National Laboratories (ONL), through which the S&T Directorate’s laboratory facilities programs are executed. ONL provides the Nation with a coordinated, enduring core of productive science, technology and engineering laboratories, organizations and institutions, which can supply knowledge and technology required to secure our homeland. In addition to oversight of laboratory operations in direct support of the Department and its missions, ONL also has the specific responsibility for coordinating homeland security-related activities and laboratory-directed research conducted within the DOE National Laboratories.

Industry Participation in DHS Science & Technology
Industry is a valued partner of DHS S&T and its continued participation in developing solutions for homeland security applications is vital to our effort to safeguard the nation. Consistent with S&T’s new structure, our Innovation/HSARPA portfolio and six technical divisions will be releasing BAAs that seek industry participation to address specific challenges in their respective areas. For example, Innovation/HSARPA has already posted BAAs seeking expertise in tunnel detection technologies, container security (SAFECON program), and a mobile screening laboratory to support human screening R&D in the field.

Innovation/HSARPA plans to release six additional BAAs shortly to address areas that include critical infrastructure protection, hostile intent detection and other key areas. No later than spring 2007, we intend to issue a BAA for longer-term efforts that cover our complete innovation topic area portfolio.

No one knows where good ideas come from and for that reason I have been personally proactive in both seeking out and receiving technology briefs and opportunities. This is a culture I am working to instill throughout the DHS S&T Directorate.

The Support Anti-terrorism by Fostering Effective Technologies (SAFETY) Act of 2002, administered in the S&T Directorate, is proving to be a valuable tool in expanding the creation, proliferation and use of cutting edge anti-terrorism technologies throughout the United States. Over the past year we have made significant improvements in implementing the Act, including a revised, streamlined Application Kit; new coverage for emerging technologies that are undergoing test and evaluation; increased use of pre-application teleconferences between SAFETY Act technology evaluators and applicants to review requirements and answer questions prior to submitting a full application; and procedures to expedite applications for technologies involved with pending government procurements. In 2006, 65 unique technologies and services were approved for coverage under the Act, with approximately 40 currently under evaluation. I am mindful of the interest in this program in the Congress and across the Nation.

As part of our outreach efforts to encourage greater industry participation, the Directorate is hosting the first Homeland Security Science & Technology Stakeholders Conference, May 21-24. The conference will inform government, industry and academia of the direction, emphasis, and scope of the research investments by the S&T Directorate, and provide information about business opportunities. The conference will present the Directorate’s new organization, explain how to do business with the DHS S&T research enterprise, and provide visibility into new and emerging technologies through an Innovation Gateway Marketplace. I hope you will join us for this event at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center.

FY 2008 Budget Overview
Science and Technology Directorate’s budget request of $799.1 million includes $142.6 million for Management and Administration (M&A) and $656.5 million for research, development, testing and evaluation. M&A funds federal employees’ salaries, benefits, travel, and other expenses at Headquarters and the S&T laboratories. This staff maintains oversight of S&T’s extensive day-to-day technical and administrative operations. M&A also funds business operations, including working capital fund, and management support. Research, Development, Acquisition and Operations supports the needs of the operational components of the Department and is categorized to match the new S&T organization.

The $25.9 million requested for Borders and Maritime Security will support technology development for the Secure Border Initiative (SBI), a comprehensive multi-year plan to secure America’s borders. This Division is providing the tools, processes, and manpower to ensure SBI implementation is effective and affordable. We are working directly with the SBI program executive office to provide a transformation strategy for SBI; develop the next generation of modeling and analysis tools for strategic planning; and provide systems engineering support. The Division will also develop and transition technologies to industry to reduce risk and support border security programs like SBInet, a technology acquisition program under the Customs and Border Protection SBInet Program Management Office.

We are also developing technologies to ensure the integrity of cargo shipments with known origins, and to better target suspicious shipments, and to enhance the end-to-end security of the supply chain – from the manufacturer of goods to final delivery. One of the most significant potential terrorist threats to the Nation is the vast numbers of shipping containers that flow through our borders each year, most of which enter without physical inspection. Technologies and processes developed within this area will assure government customs and shippers of the integrity of shipping containers and its cargo and communicate the container’s status as well as security information. By employing a system-of-systems approach, this will deliver technological capabilities to DHS customers and end users that address supply chain vulnerabilities. These capabilities are directed toward enhanced physical security and information management, and bound by a security architecture which encompasses the world’s supply chain.
The $228.9 million requested for Chemical and Biological will provide the basic knowledge, technologies and systems needed to protect against possible chemical and biological attacks on the Nation’s population, agriculture or infrastructure. The greatest emphasis is on those biological attacks that have the greatest potential for widespread catastrophic damage to the population. These include – but are not limited to – aerosolized anthrax, and smallpox.

The Division conducts material threat and risk assessments on both naturally occurring and engineered agents; conducts experiments to close major scientific knowledge gaps that could have a large impact on how the Nation responds to a biological attack; and provides scientific support to the intelligence community. As such, the primary output is an intelligence-informed, scientific characterization and prioritization of the bio-terrorist risks to be used by the Homeland Security Council and partnering agencies (e.g. DHHS, EPA, USDA, and the Intelligence Community).

Based on this knowledge, we are developing effective measures for deterrence, detection, and mitigation of biological terrorism acts against the U.S. population, infrastructure, and agricultural system. This includes developing tools to meet Federal, State, and, local emergency responder needs such as operational models to support Interagency Modeling and Atmospheric Assessment Center (IMAAC).

The Division is developing next-generation, biological-threat-agent detectors that recognize the signatures or fingerprints of biological agents. These detectors will be incorporated into the BioWatch system to substantially increase the system’s capabilities and significantly reduce the response time. Other significant program activities include developing biological aerosol detection and sensor systems for monitoring the Nation’s critical infrastructure such as government buildings, airports, subways, office buildings, shopping malls, sports arenas, hotels and hospitals. These “detect-to-protect” systems detect biological agents within minutes (acting as reliable ‘smoke alarms’) to protect high value facilities and their occupants. Many of the technologies being developed in this program will be manufactured and used by the private sector.

Chemical countermeasures work enhances the Nation’s capability to anticipate, prevent, protect from, respond to and recover from chemical terrorist attacks. The chemical threat spectrum comprises a broad array of chemicals, to include chemical warfare agents, toxic industrial chemicals, and non-traditional agents (NTAs). NTAs include highly toxic materials that have seen development interest by foreign entities but are not yet fully developed as weapons. The barrier to proliferation of critical NTA information into rogue states and terrorists is increasingly thin. Existing and emerging chemical warfare agents can potentially be used against virtually any civilian target resulting in significant loss of life and impedance in the use of key infrastructure. Chemical countermeasures addresses these threats by: enabling comprehensive understanding and analyses of chemical threats; developing pre-event assessment, discovery, and interdiction for chemical threats; developing warning, notification, and timely analysis of chemical attacks; optimizing technology and process for recovery from chemical attacks; and enhancing the capability to identify a chemical attack’s source.
The $63.6 million requested for Command, Control and Interoperability will fund programs focused on cyber security; communications, compatibility and interoperability; and knowledge management.

Cyber security research, development, testing and evaluation is focused on improving the security of the existing cyber infrastructure and providing a foundation for a more secure infrastructure through coordinated efforts with other Government agencies and private industry. Cyber attacks on U.S. information networks can have serious consequences such as disrupting critical operations, causing loss of revenue and intellectual property, or loss of life. The Division also addresses cyber security requirements from internal Department customers in support of the DHS’s operational missions in critical infrastructure protection. It also addresses related aspects of national security and emergency preparedness telecommunications.

Communications, interoperability and compatibility programs within Command, Control and Interoperability strengthen interoperable wireless communications, improve effective information sharing, and develop tools to enhance overall coordination and planning at all levels of government. Currently, the Nation’s capacity for interoperable communications is hindered by suboptimized planning and coordination, and Office for Interoperability and Compatibility, and Integrated Federal, State and local information sharing are working to strengthen and integrate interoperability and compatibility.

We are also developing knowledge management tools to reduce the risk of terrorist attacks and to prepare for and respond to natural and man-made disasters. This will provide new capabilities for the DHS Intelligence & Analysis Directorate and the DHS information enterprise for the integration, management, analysis, and dissemination of actionable information. This knowledge management research provides tools and methods to handle massive amounts of information that is widely dispersed in a great variety of forms. Being able to find such information, understand its meaning, and then use it to assess an actual threat and determine the level of risk before an attack or incident occurs is the best way to save lives and preserve our way of life.
The $63.7 million requested for Explosives will fund programs focused on the detection, mitigation, and response to explosives threats such as improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and suicide bombers. The Division employs a broad range of existing and emerging approaches to detect and lessen the impact of explosive materials. These include baggage-screening devices as well as the capability to identify explosives residue. Terrorist events like the Madrid rail bombing, the London Underground attack, and the recent disclosure of planned attacks on U.S.-bound flights from the United Kingdom, all involved explosive threats. Those events underscore the operational need for a unified approach to the detection of, response to, and mitigation of explosive threats across all modes of transportation.

In explosives detection, we are improving existing explosive detection methods, developing new technologies, and integrating improvements and technological developments into both deployed and new systems. Detection is a key defense against successful attacks. For example, the Check Point Program applies to multiple venues where real or virtual portals exist. Historically, airports have received the most attention, but similar portal situations can be found at rail stations and cruise ship terminals. Check point programs address suicide bombers, carry-ons, leave-behind IEDs, and vehicle-borne IEDs. The two other principal programs in this area are checked baggage and cargo. Like aviation, rail and ship modes share checked baggage and cargo screening challenges.

The check point program addresses the risk of catastrophic loss of mass transit resulting from small IEDs detonated in passenger cabins and the catastrophic loss or hostile takeover of mass transit resulting from the presence of certain weapons in passenger cabins. The principal objective of the program is developing advanced technology for integration with future check point systems to detect explosives and concealed weapons, while meeting requirements for automation, efficiency, and cost reduction. Longer-term objectives include applying systems integration and a seamless flow of information with reduced impact to the checkpoint operations environment. The program also strives to upgrade currently deployed technologies to address emerging threats and concealment methods.

The checked baggage program identifies and develops the next generation of checked baggage screening systems, and supports continuous improvements toward the Congressionally directed goal of 100-percent screening of aviation checked baggage by electronic or other approved means with minimum or no impact to the flow of people or commerce. Checked baggage will focus on continuing work with Manhattan II by conducting system development and integration of the Manhattan-II checked baggage program, complete the preliminary system architecture test and evaluation, and conduct detection-technology test and evaluation.

The cargo program is developing the next generation of air cargo screening systems, with transition targeted for FY 2011.
The $12.6 million requested for Human Factors will apply the social and behavioral sciences to improve detection, analysis, and the understanding of threats posed by individuals, groups, and radical movements. This knowledge will support the preparedness, response and recovery of communities impacted by catastrophic events and to advance national security by integrating human factors into homeland security technologies. Further this will enhance the capability to control movement of individuals into and out of the United States and its critical assets through accurate, timely, and easy-to-use biometric identification and credentialing validation tools.
The $24.0 million requested for Infrastructure and Geophysical will develop technical solutions and reach-back capabilities to improve State, local, tribal, and private sector preparedness for and response to all hazardous events impacting the population and critical infrastructure.

The Division’s focus is on identifying and mitigating the vulnerabilities of the 17 critical infrastructure sectors and key assets that keep our society and economy functional. The Division models and simulates the Nation’s critical infrastructures to determine how various scenarios will affect each sector, provides decision support tools to guide decision makers in identifying gaps and vulnerabilities, and develops predictive tools and methods to aid in preparing for and responding to various catastrophes. Additionally, the Division focuses on responder preparedness and response capabilities that improve the ability of the Nation to prepare for, respond to, and recover from all-hazards emergencies. Applying the best available science and technology for the safety and security our emergency responders and homeland security professionals ensures they may effectively perform their jobs–saving lives and restoring critical services.

The Division is also developing a capability that will enable owners and operators of the most vital critical infrastructure sites to implement affordable and reliable blast and projectile mitigation measures improving capabilities to withstand these threats. The program is developing suites of advanced materials, design procedures, and innovative construction methods that can be used to protect critical infrastructure and key resources.

In addition, the Division is developing decision-making and information-sharing tools to aid responders. This will dramatically enhance the information management and information sharing capabilities of incident commanders and emergency responders as emergencies increasingly demand more highly coordinated responses.
The $73 million requested for Innovation/HSARPA, 59.9 million of which will focus on homeland security research and development (R&D) that poses a risk of failure, but if successful would lead to significant technology breakthroughs that would greatly enhance DHS operations; the remainder includes the SBIR program. HSARPA carries out its activities in two areas: (1) Homeland Innovative Prototypical Solutions, which are designed to deliver prototype-level demonstrations of game-changing technologies in two to five years. These programs are moderate risk, but offer high pay-off and (2) High Impact Technology Solutions, which are designed to provide proof-of-concept answers that could result in high-payoff technology breakthroughs. Though there is a considerable risk of failure, these projects offer the potential for significant gains resulting from success.
The $88.8 million requested for Laboratory Facilities will fund operation of the S&T laboratory facilities, including Plum Island, the Transportation Security Lab, Environmental Measurements Laboratory, the Chemical Security Analysis Center, and the National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasures Center. Laboratory Facilities also funds design work on the National Bio and Agrodefense Facility and upgrade of the Plum Island facility.
The $25.5 million requested for Test & Evaluation and Standards funds two areas Test and Evaluation (T&E) and Standards. T&E works across DHS and ensures that systems meet the capability needs of users, validates performance and provides measurable improvement to operational capabilities. Effective testing and evaluation programs provide crucial information to decision makers for acquisition and deployment of technology. Standards are consensus based measures – from basic specifications to performance criteria – that give DHS and its customers confidence that technology and systems will perform as required. The S&T Directorate works across DHS and with numerous external partners to build consensus and support development of needed standards.
The $24.7 million requested for Transition programs will expedite technology transition to deliver near-term products and technologies to meet DHS component requirements. This area also funds the Office of the SAFETY Act Implementation, transition support programs such as the Technology Clearinghouse, and the S&T Directorate’s international and interagency programs.
The $38.7 million requested for University Programs will allow the S&T Directorate to engage the academic community to support current DHS priorities and enhance homeland security capabilities by providing ground-breaking research, analyses and educational approaches. The program is designed to bring together the best scientific talent and resources from U.S. academic institutions to help solve complex and technologically challenging homeland security problems facing our Nation. Program activities simultaneously focus on building homeland security expertise in the academic community, creating strategic partnerships, and fostering a new generation of homeland security experts.

The program works to:
Strengthen U.S. scientific leadership in homeland security research;
Generate and disseminate knowledge and technical advances to aid homeland security frontline professionals;
Foster a homeland security culture within the academic community through research and education programs; and
Build a highly-trained science and engineering workforce dedicated to homeland security that will sustain progress over time.

This program invests in two areas: the university-based Centers of Excellence, and student Scholarships and Fellowships intended to build and develop the next generation of academic researchers in disciplines that are relevant and essential to homeland security.
Conclusion
In conclusion, I am pleased to report that the S&T Directorate is well positioned today to mobilize the nation’s vast technical and scientific capabilities to enable solutions to detect, protect against and recover from catastrophic events.

Our plans for restructuring the organization have been implemented and it is indeed gratifying to see that they appear to be working as we advance to the critical phase of product transition. Increasingly, our DHS customers are recognizing the substantial value that S&T’s technical expertise brings to their operations. We have engaged them, eliciting participation at the highest levels, to join us at the table to work constructively on solutions for countering the formidable threats this nation faces.

We appreciate the many demands on the taxpayers’ precious dollars and you have my commitment that the S&T Directorate will be wise stewards of the public monies you have entrusted to us. We are steadfast in our resolve to serve the best interests of the nation by investing in the talent and technology that will provide America with a sustainable capability to protect against acts of terror and other high-consequence events for generations to come.

Members of the Subcommittee, I thank you for the opportunity to meet with you today to discuss a newly realigned Science & Technology Directorate that is meeting homeland security challenges with a renewed sense of purpose and mission. I look forward to working with you throughout the 110th Congress.

http://www.dhs.gov/xnews/testimony/testimo...5109753037.shtm

batmanchester - March 28, 2007 10:37 PM (GMT)
Science and Technology Directorate Establishes TechSolutions Program to Support Emergency Response Community
Release Date: March 28, 2007

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
Contact: 202-282-9772

The Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology (S&T) directorate has established a program, TechSolutions, to support the first responder community by accelerating delivery of emerging technologies. TechSolutions is designed to collect technological requirements and provide solutions for first responders.

“No one understands the needs of first responders better than first responders,” said Jay M. Cohen, Under Secretary for S&T. “Every day, hundreds of law enforcement officers, fire fighters, emergency medical services personnel and bomb-squad members think, ‘there’s a better way to do this,’ and we want to hear from them.”

S&T’s commitment to spiral development and rapid prototyping ensures funding for selected proposals within 45 days, and a solution demonstrated within 12 months of funding. Costs of the solutions should be commensurate with the proposal, but less than $1 million per project. Solutions also should deliver up to 100 percent of identified requirements, and first responders will partner with the department from start to finish.

First responders are encouraged to submit ideas that would aid the first responder community by increasing efficiency and on-the-job safety at: www.dhs.gov/techsolutions.

http://www.dhs.gov/xnews/releases/pr_1175112507974.shtm

batmanchester - March 29, 2007 11:01 PM (GMT)
DHS Provides More Than $490 Million To America’s Firefighters
Release Date: March 29, 2007

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
Contact: 202-282-8010

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced today the start of the fiscal year 2007 application period for the Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) program. More than $492.3 million will be awarded this year to fire departments and nonaffiliated emergency management organizations across the nation, bringing the total provided through this program since 2004 to roughly $2.2 billion.

“America’s firefighters play a pivotal role in keeping our communities safe and our country secure,” said Deputy Secretary Michael Jackson. “Local fire departments respond to a wide array of emergencies every day that require special skills, the safest equipment and place responders at great risk of injury and death. The AFG program provides federal resources to supplement local commitments towards ensuring the ability of America’s fire service to be ready for the full range of 21st Century risks.”

AFG awards assist first-responder organizations in purchasing response equipment, personal protective equipment, and vehicles. Awards are allocated through two AFG programs. The Operations and Safety program prioritizes funding for activities such as training, equipment, personal protective equipment, wellness and fitness, and health and safety modifications to stations and facilities. The Vehicle Acquisition program prioritizes funding for assets such as brush trucks, tankers and tenders, rescue vehicles, ambulances, aerials, foam units, and fireboats.

AFG awards are determined on a competitive basis. Fire service professionals representing the nine major fire service organizations select the applications that best fulfill AFG program priorities. Applicants will be encouraged to submit projects that involve more than one jurisdiction and further integrate regional response capabilities.

This application period ends May 4. Applications are available online at three locations: www.firegrantsupport.com, www.usfa.fema.gov and www.grants.gov.

http://www.dhs.gov/xnews/releases/pr_1175180978570.shtm

Stronghold1 - April 3, 2007 10:33 PM (GMT)
DHS Releases Comprehensive Regulations for Securing High Risk Chemical Facilities
Release Date: April 2, 2007

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
Contact: 202-282-8010

Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards Interim Final Rule

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security today released an interim final rule that imposes for the first time comprehensive federal security regulations for high risk chemical facilities. The department sought and reviewed comments from state and local partners, Congress, private industry, and the public to develop consistent guidelines using a risk-based approach. The new rule gives the department authority to seek compliance through the imposition of civil penalties, of up to $25,000 per day, and the ability to shut non-compliant facilities down.

“The safety and security measures that we take need to be tough and balanced,” said Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff. “We will significantly reduce vulnerability at high-consequence chemical facilities, taking into account important efforts in certain states.”

The department will require owners of chemical facilities housing certain quantities of specified chemicals to complete a preliminary screening assessment that determines the level of risk associated with the facility. If a chemical facility preliminarily qualifies as high risk, its owners will be required to prepare and submit a security vulnerability assessment and site security plan. Submissions will be validated through audits and site inspections. The department will provide technical assistance to facility owners and operators as needed. Security standards will be required to achieve specific outcomes, such as securing the perimeter and critical targets, controlling access, deterring theft of potentially dangerous chemicals, and preventing internal sabotage.

Covered facilities contacted by the department will have 120 days from the publication of the regulation in the Federal Register to provide information for the risk assessment process. Other requirements follow that time period. Additional facilities will follow a similar timeframe after future Federal Register publications.

Some states have existing laws for regulating chemical facilities. Only state laws and requirements that conflict or interfere with these regulations, or the purpose for the regulations, will be preempted. Currently, the department has no reason to conclude that any existing state laws are applied in a way that would impede the federal rule.

In proposing a regulation for comment and then publishing an interim final rule prior to April 4, the department has met an aggressive timeline set by Congress.

The final regulation will be published later this week in the Federal Register, and is available at: www.dhs.gov.

http://www.dhs.gov/xnews/releases/pr_1175527925540.shtm

mynameis - April 4, 2007 08:04 PM (GMT)
Statement by Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff on Senior Leadership Appointments

Release Date: April 4, 2007

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
Contact: 202-282-8010

I am pleased to announce the following appointments within the National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD)

Robert D. Jamison will serve as the Deputy Under Secretary for the National Protection and Programs Directorate. Robert will help lead our national efforts to protect our critical infrastructure and prevent attacks on it and improve the resiliency of essential cyber-security and communications capabilities.

Robert has served the department since 2005 as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). I have come to rely upon Robert’s sound counsel and expertise in his role as TSA’s chief operating officer. He is a proven leader and has my utmost respect for his tireless work and innovative management skills. As a member of the department’s leadership team, Robert has done outstanding work to strengthen TSA’s security capabilities.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will continue to benefit from Robert’s considerable management experience, which includes senior leadership positions at the U.S. Department of Transportation from 2001 to 2005 in the department’s railroad and transit administrations, 12 years with United Parcel Service, and as the Senior Operations Officer for the American Red Cross.

Robert A. Mocny will serve as the director of the United States Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology (US-VISIT) program. Robert has been the Deputy Director of US-VISIT, and has recently served as the program’s Acting Director. He will continue to oversee the important work of US-VISIT, balancing the security of our citizens and visitors through biometric authentication, while facilitating legitimate trade and travel.

Robert has an impressive background on immigration and naturalization, DHS systems integration issues and is a valuable member of the DHS team. He knows the program inside-and-out and has the vision and expertise to take US-VISIT to the next level.

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)

Christopher T. Geldart will serve as the director of the Office of National Capitol Region Coordination (ONCRC) within FEMA where he will oversee and coordinate federal programs and domestic preparedness initiatives for state, local and regional authorities in the National Capital Region.

I welcome Chris to the DHS team and look forward to working with him in this vital position. Chris brings a wealth of knowledge on state homeland security issues and recently led Maryland’s Homeland Security Program Executive Office.

While serving within the Maryland Office of Homeland Security, Chris designed and led the efforts to improve the state’s all hazards prevention, protection, response, and recovery capabilities. His work in this arena, including an important role to protect Maryland’s critical infrastructure, will allow him to make an immediate impact at DHS and hit the ground running.

###
This page was last modified on April 4, 2007


This page was last modified on April 4, 2007

Minor League Baseball and Boy Scouts Step Up to the Plate to Encourage Families to Prepare for Emergencies

Release Date: April 4, 2007

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
Contact: 202-282-8010

2007 Season Participating Minor League Baseball Teams and Schedule of Ready Games (PDF, 2 pages - 10 KB)

Minor League Baseball and the Boy Scouts of America are teaming up with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Ready Campaign for the fourth consecutive year to educate and encourage Americans to prepare for emergencies. Forty-nine baseball teams are joining many local Boy Scout councils in stepping up to the plate and encouraging fans to prepare for all types of emergencies, including natural disasters and potential terrorist attacks.

“We appreciate continued support of Minor League Baseball and the Boy Scouts in helping us to spread the Ready message to American families,” said Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff. “Through the assistance of these organizations, millions of baseball fans will learn how to get an emergency supply kit, make a family emergency plan and be informed about the different types of emergencies that can occur.”

Boy Scouts and community organizations will distribute emergency preparedness brochures throughout the 2007 season at team-sponsored Ready Nights across the country. The brochures and educational materials are available at www.ready.gov and provide valuable information to help individuals and families prepare for emergencies. Teams will also feature the Ready public service announcements on their scoreboards and in game programs.

“Like baseball, preparing for emergencies takes practice,” said Mike Moore, president and CEO of Minor League Baseball. “Our organization is proud to be part of Homeland Security’s efforts to educate Americans on how to prepare for emergencies through the Ready Campaign.”

Local Boy Scouts taking part in this effort can work toward earning their Emergency Preparedness merit badge and a Good Turn for America Award, which fosters joint community service projects between the Boy Scouts and organizations like the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

“Every year, Boy Scouts across the country take a Scout Oath in which they pledge to ‘help other people at all times,’” said Roy L. Williams, chief scout executive of the Boy Scouts of America. “Our relationship with Homeland Security is a natural fit for our Scouts because one of the most important ways we can help our communities is by providing our neighbors with the resources to always be prepared.”

The Ready Campaign is a national public service advertising campaign produced by the Ad Council for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Ready is designed to educate and empower Americans to prepare for and respond to potential terrorist attacks and other emergencies. Individuals interested in receiving a "Get Ready Now" brochure may call 1-800-BE-READY or visit www.ready.gov for more information.

###
This page was last modified on April 4, 2007


Statement by Homeland Security Deputy Secretary Michael Jackson on the Appointment of Tom Lockwood as Senior Advisor for Credentialing Interoperability

Release Date: April 4, 2007

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
Contact: 202-282-8010

I am pleased to announce the appointment of Tom Lockwood as Senior Advisor for Credentialing Interoperability with the Department of Homeland Security’s Screening Coordination Office. In his new capacity, Tom will build on his pioneering success in developing common interoperable credentials for public and private sector first responders by working on key secretarial screening initiatives including fostering interoperability of credentialing systems for federal, state, and local governments.

Tom has served as director of the Office of National Capital Region Coordination since May 2004. He has played an invaluable role in overseeing and coordinating federal programs and strengthening ties with state, local and regional authorities in the National Capital Region. Tom has earned the respect of senior leadership throughout the department for his work to advance and execute the region’s domestic preparedness activities.

Prior to joining the department, Tom was the Homeland Security Advisor and Deputy Director of Maryland’s Office for Homeland Security where he served on several executive boards including the U.S. Attorney Maryland District’s Anti-Terrorism Task Force, Department of Homeland Security’s National Capital Region Senior Policy Group, Maryland Maritime Security Group, Maryland Terrorism Forum, Washington Council of Government’s National Capital Region Emergency Preparedness Council, and National Emergency Management Association’s Homeland Security Committee.

I am grateful for his service to the department and the American public, and I congratulate him on this promotion.

###

This page was last modified on April 4, 2007

http://www.dhs.gov/xnews/index.shtm

mynameis - April 12, 2007 03:45 AM (GMT)
Radiation Detection Testing Underway at Two Foreign Sea Ports

Release Date: April 11, 2007

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
Contact: 202-282-8010
NNSA Public Affairs, 202-586-7371

The departments of Homeland Security (DHS) and Energy (DOE) announced today that operational testing is underway in Honduras and Pakistan to strengthen global supply chain security by scanning shipping containers for nuclear or radiological materials before they are allowed to depart for the United States. The tests represent the initial phase of the Secure Freight Initiative announced Dec. 7, 2006, which involves the deployment of nuclear detection devices to six foreign ports.

“Terrorists and criminals use global shipping networks, and we are deploying multiple layers of advanced technology to counter their tactics,” said Homeland Security Deputy Secretary Michael Jackson. “Secure Freight creates a global nuclear detection network with shippers, carriers and foreign allies, to head off the worst possible form of attack, a nuclear or dirty bomb on our soil. We are deeply grateful to the governments of Honduras and Pakistan, as well as our other Secure Freight Initiative partners, for their strong leadership on this effort.”

“As we continue our partnership with DHS and our international allies, we continue to strengthen our national security. It is through this important work at foreign ports that we improve the overall security of the global maritime shipping network and hinder terrorists from smuggling in a nuclear device or dangerous material into a U.S. port,” said Thomas D'Agostino, DOE National Nuclear Security Administration acting head. “By teaming up with DHS in this important effort, NNSA is helping to bring our extensive overseas nuclear security and detection expertise to strengthen a key layer of our national defense.”

Secure Freight Initiative testing in Puerto Cortes, Honduras, started on April 2, 2007. Tests in Port Qasim, Pakistan, the first port to participate in Secure Freight Initiative, began in March of this year. Four other Secure Freight Initiative ports are expected to initiate tests this year. They are: Southampton in the United Kingdom; Salalah in Oman; Port of Singapore; and the Gamman Terminal at Port Busan in Korea.

Data gathered from overseas scanning of U.S. bound containers will be transmitted in near real-time to U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officers working in overseas ports and to the National Targeting Center. The data will be combined with other risk assessment information to improve analysis, targeting and scrutiny of high-risk containers. All alarms from radiation detection equipment will be resolved locally, and protocols are being developed with host governments that may include instructing carriers not to load a container until the risk is fully resolved.

DHS and DOE, through its National Nuclear Security Administration, will contribute roughly $60 million to the Secure Freight Initiative for the installation of radiation detection devices and communications infrastructure that transmit data back to the United States. DOE will invest approximately $4 million in Puerto Cortes for detection devices and an integrated communications system that links new assets with existing equipment.

###

This page was last modified on April 11, 2007

http://www.dhs.gov/xnews/releases/pr_1176319613900.shtm


Statement by Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff on the Appointment of J. Edward Fox as Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs

Release Date: April 11, 2007

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
Contact: 202-282-8010

I am pleased to announce my appointment of J. Edward Fox as Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs at the Department of Homeland Security. One of this department's most important tasks is to communicate clearly and effectively with the American public and stakeholders, and Ed brings more than 25 years of experience in external affairs to my senior leadership team.

Ed joins the department from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), where he served as Assistant Administrator for Legislative and Public Affairs. Prior to his tenure at USAID, Ed was in the private sector as President and CEO of Fox & Associates, Vice President of the Carmen Group, and Managing Director of Government and International Affairs for a large national law firm. He previously served the Reagan Administration as Assistant Secretary for Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs at the Department of State and in the White House as Special Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs. Ed is a graduate of Ohio State University and holds a masters degree from George Washington University.

I look forward to Ed's many contributions to the security of our homeland by providing the public and stakeholders with candid, informative and timely information about the department's programs, policies and operations.

###

This page was last modified on April 11, 2007

http://www.dhs.gov/xnews/releases/pr_1176320071763.shtm


mynameis - April 18, 2007 12:54 AM (GMT)
Statement by Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff on the Appointment of Anne P. Petera as Assistant Secretary for Intergovernmental Programs

Release Date: April 17, 2007

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
Contact: 202-282-8010

I am pleased to announce the appointment of Anne P. Petera as Assistant Secretary for Intergovernmental Programs at the Department of Homeland Security. Anne brings considerable experience in state government and management expertise to my senior leadership team, and I will rely on her heavily to forge even stronger ties with state and local partners.

Anne joined the department last year as Senior Advisor to the Under Secretary for Management after 10 years of service to the Commonwealth of Virginia as Director of Administration in the Office of the Attorney General, Secretary of the Commonwealth in former Governor Gilmore's Cabinet and Chairman of Virginia's Alcoholic Beverage Control Board. She brought more than 20 years of private sector experience in banking and real estate to her duties in the Commonwealth. Anne is a graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University and has been active on numerous state and university boards.

The Office of Intergovernmental Programs is established within the National Protection and Programs Directorate. The office will comprise elements of the previous Office of State and Local Coordination and will continue to serve as my primary conduit for coordinating with state and local governments.

I congratulate Anne on this well deserved promotion and look forward to her leadership and commitment to enhance the critical role that state and local governments play in securing our homeland.

###



This page was last modified on April 17, 2007

http://www.dhs.gov/xnews/releases/pr_1176820423860.shtm



DHS Announces $29.1 Million Available For National Preparedness Training Initiatives

Release Date: April 17, 2007

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
Contact: FEMA Public Affairs, 202-646-4600

The Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced the availability today of $29.1 million to eligible state, local, tribal, and territorial governments, national associations, higher education institutions, non-profit organizations, and private sector businesses as a part of the 2007 Competitive Training Grant Program (CTGP). This program awards funds to competitively selected applicants to develop and deliver innovative training programs for high priority national homeland security training needs.

CTGP provides funds to support training initiatives that are national in scope and further the department’s mission of preparing the nation to prevent, protect against, respond to, and recover from catastrophic events. The emphasis this fiscal year is on the development and delivery of courses in one of the following five focus areas:

* Public communications
* Executive leadership of homeland security programs
* Intergovernmental coordination and planning
* Managing homeland security risks
* Legal issues in preparation, response, and recovery

Eligible entities must apply for funding through the Grants.gov portal, accessible at www.grants.gov, no later than 11:59 pm EDT on May 4. Registering with Grants.gov is a one-time process, but first time registration could take 3-5 business days to validate, confirm, and receive a user name and password. It is highly recommended to start the registration process as early as possible.

Since 2003, CTGP has developed more than 40 training programs targeting areas like community outreach; vulnerable populations and special needs; intelligence, information sharing, and fusion centers; cyber-terrorism; agriculture; regional collaboration and continuity of operations planning; transit, port and infrastructure protection; rural communities; law enforcement; and mass casualty.

For further information on CTGP and other DHS programs, visit www.dhs.gov.

###

This page was last modified on April 17, 2007

http://www.dhs.gov/xnews/releases/pr_1176844091954.shtm



DHS Announces Fiscal Year 2007 CEDAP Application Period

Release Date: April 17, 2007

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
Contact: FEMA Public Affairs, 202-646-4600

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced today the start of the application period for approximately $33.7 million in equipment and equipment training awards for first responders through its 2007 Commercial Equipment Direct Assistance Program (CEDAP). Since its inception in fiscal year 2005, more than $69.7 million in equipment and equipment training has been awarded through CEDAP to law enforcement agencies, fire, and other emergency responders.

Eligibility for the CEDAP is limited to law enforcement agencies, fire, and other emergency responder organizations with specific financial and capability needs. Equipment and equipment training awards are offered in five categories: personal protective equipment; thermal imaging, night vision, and video surveillance tools; chemical and biological detection tools; information technology and risk management tools; and interoperable communications equipment.

CEDAP equipment awards are integrated with state planning processes for regional response and asset distribution. Each state’s administrative agency has the opportunity to review applications submitted by first responder organizations within their state to ensure that equipment requests are consistent with their state homeland security strategy.

Prospective applicants may review the program solicitation through the Responder Knowledge Base at www.rkb.mipt.org. The application submission period is open via the web site from April 25 through 11:59 p.m. EDT, May 29.

CEDAP is highly competitive and designed to complement the department’s other grant programs. The program strengthens regional response, mutual aid, and interoperable communications capabilities across the nation by providing local homeland security partners essential equipment and equipment training that they may not otherwise be able to afford.

For more information on CEDAP and other DHS grant programs visit www.dhs.gov.

###



This page was last modified on April 17, 2007

http://www.dhs.gov/xnews/releases/pr_1176843691552.shtm

mynameis - April 20, 2007 03:18 AM (GMT)
Statement for the Record, Jeffrey W. Runge, M.D., Acting Assistant Secretary for Health Affairs and Chief Medical Officer, Office of Health Affairs before the House Committee on Homeland Security, Subcommittee on Emerging Threats, Cybersecurity, and Science & Technology

Release Date: April 18, 2007

Longworth House Office Building
(Remarks as Prepared)

Introduction

Good afternoon, Mr. Chairman, Ranking Member McCaul and distinguished members of the Subcommittee. Thank you for the opportunity to describe the role of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) under Project BioShield.

Project Bioshield Overview

The Project BioShield Act of 2004 (PL 108-276) amended the Public Health Service Act to provide protections and countermeasures against biological, chemical, radiological, or nuclear agents that may be used in a terrorist attack against the United States by giving the National Institutes of Health contracting flexibility, infrastructure improvements, expediting the scientific peer review process, and expanding the Food and Drug Administration authority to allow the use of unapproved medical countermeasures in a declared emergency.

Today, Project BioShield is a $5.6 billion program designed to stimulate the development of medical countermeasures for natural or chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear threats for which there are no existing commercial markets. Both DHS and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) have major responsibilities under the Project BioShield Act.

DHS Responsibilities Under Project Bioshield

In accordance with section 319F-2©(2) of the Project BioShield Act of 2004, it is the DHS’ responsibility, in consultation with HHS and other agencies, to assess current and emerging threats of natural or chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear agents, and to determine which agents present a significant material threat to the U.S. population.

To fulfill this responsibility, DHS conducted detailed modeling of threats, vulnerabilities, and consequences for various plausible scenarios of a terrorist attack. As a result of this work, DHS identified 12 biological threats, plus radiological and nuclear devices, meeting the statutory requirement to merit a Material Threat Determination (MTD). As of September 20, 2006, DHS completed the MTD list based on detailed assessments of the agents with inputs from the intelligence, law-enforcement, scientific, and public-health communities. This MTD list will be updated, as needed, based on the outcomes of biennial Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) risk assessments.

Accompanying each MTD is a Population Threat Assessment (PTA). The PTA estimates the size of the population exposed by the agents identified in the MTDs to gauge the impact on the population and national infrastructure if that particular agent was released for a given high consequence plausible scenario. As of December 2006, DHS completed the PTAs of all MTDs. Moreover, DHS remains engaged in ongoing threat assessments and communicates regularly with our Federal partners to ensure we have accurate, up-to-date material threat information.

The Transition of Responsibility To HHS

Once the MTDs are issued and PTAs are completed for any given threat, the results are shared with HHS for consequence modeling to support the procurement of appropriate countermeasures. HHS created the Public Health Emergency Medical Countermeasures Enterprise (PHEMCE), under the direction of the HHS Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, to identify, develop and acquire medical countermeasures that will improve public health emergency preparedness, including preventing and mitigating the adverse health consequences associated with the priority CBRN threats identified by DHS. On the PHEMCE Executive Governance Board (EGB), whose members are the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institutes of Health, and the Food and Drug Administration. DHS serves as an ex officio member along with the Department of Defense, the Homeland Security Council, the Office of Science and Technology Policy, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and the Office of the Vice President.

Upon identification of countermeasures that meet the eligibility requirements to warrant use of the Special Reserve Fund (SRF) the Secretary of DHS and the Secretary of HHS jointly request that OMB release funds to HHS from the SRF, to acquire the countermeasures. DHS has worked with HHS to expedite the implementation of BioShield by clarifying roles and responsibilities and by establishing mechanisms to improve efficiencies in this process.

Under section 319F-2© (7) © of the Public Health Service Act, as amended, HHS is ultimately responsible for managing the countermeasure procurement process including the negotiation of terms and entering into contracts for research, development, acquisition, procurement, storage and distribution of countermeasures.

The Future of the Bioshield Enterprise

DHS is confident that the Secretary of HHS’ plan for the future of BioShield will result in addressing the appropriate needs of the Nation in terms of preparedness. In order to address the above, improvement in transparency to the program’s stakeholders was in evidence at the meeting held in September of 2006. The Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act of 2006 (PL 109-417) provided a missing piece to HHS’ ability to stimulate the development of needed countermeasures with the authorization of the Biomedical Advanced Research & Development Authority to help companies through the advanced development process, if funded appropriately. The formation of the Public Health Emergency Medical Countermeasures Enterprise will provide the HHS Secretary with expert advice to make his decisions in collaboration with the interagency and its respective stakeholders. The PHEMCE strategic plan is a key step in defining, in a transparent way, how BioShield will carry out its business moving forward.

What is still missing from the enterprise is a commitment from the Nation’s medical industry as a whole to invest in our biodefense. We must find ways to involve the private sector more broadly in this priority for our Nation. The ability of our private sector to thrive depends on their safety and security. It would be a worthy investment in time, talent and treasure for companies large and small to come to the table, even without the promise of large returns on their monetary investments. We thank the Congress for giving us a wide range of innovative acquisition and other authorities to pave the way for increased private investment. We will need to rely on the ingenuity and creativity of the American enterprise to reach a condition of security from bioterrorism.

Conclusion

Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for the opportunity to speak to you today on the role of DHS under the Project BioShield Act. I am happy to answer any questions the Subcommittee may have.

###

This page was last modified on April 18, 2007

http://www.dhs.gov/xnews/testimony/testimo...7000008541.shtm

mynameis - April 26, 2007 02:07 AM (GMT)
Remarks by Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff at a Press Availability with Senator John Cornyn, Representative Henry Cuellar and Members of the Southwest Border Sheriff’s Coalition

Release Date: April 24, 2007

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
Contact: 202-282-8010
Washington, D.C.

Secretary Chertoff: Well, good morning, everybody. I'm delighted to be joined here by Senator Cornyn and Congressman Cuellar from Texas, Sheriff Gonzalez from Zapata, Texas; Sheriff Ogden from Yuma, Arizona; I think our Commissioner Ralph Basham and Chief David Aguilar from the Border Patrol.

We've just had the opportunity, thanks to the good offices of Senator Cornyn and Congressman Cuellar, to meet with the Southwestern Border Sheriff’s Coalition. This coalition represents the sheriffs who are part of the front line at the Southwest Border that deal with the problems of human trafficking, drug trafficking and violence that impacts the citizens who are in the very southwestern part of the United States.

We've had the opportunity to talk about how we can continue to work together and build on our partnership, securing our borders and ensuring the sovereignty and security of our country. And for me it's been important to hear their front line observations about what is going on as we deal with some of the challenges of the Southwest Border.

I want you to know, sheriffs, and I want other sheriffs and the citizens to know that we have a complete alignment of interest and a shared vision of what we need to do with the border, which is to get full control of the border and make it a safer and more prosperous place for the people who live there.

And I think I speak for all the participants at today's meeting in talking about how important partnership is in making sure we can achieve what we have to get done at the border. Partnership between federal, state and local law enforcement, partnership between all elements of law enforcement to make sure that we bring all the resources that we have to deal with this very challenging problem.

Our commitment to this partnership is expressed through a number of critical programs. For states that seek our help in helping to establish law and order at the border, we have funding through Operation Stonegarden, training through our 287 program and joint enforcement through our Border Enforcement Security Task Forces.

Operation Stonegarden gives states, and through the states, local communities, the flexibility they need to protect their citizens against threats that come from the other side of the border.

Through the 287 program, our immigration and customs officers provide designated state and local law enforcement personnel with training that they can use to help enforce immigration laws. Some of this helps us, of course, move convicted felons more quickly out of the country and back to their home countries when they are here illegally. In fact, just yesterday we had a conference call regarding 287 talking to a number of communities, not just at the border, but around the country about how we can better leverage this program.

And through the Border Enforcement Security Task Forces along the Southwest border, we have been able to work together with local law enforcement to attack the criminal organizations that sustain drug trafficking and human trafficking and cause so much of the violence and the law enforcement problem that is at the Southwest Border.

This is designed to target using intelligence, where the money is, where the armaments are, what the leadership is so that we can have a strategic focus in how we bring our law enforcement resources to bear on the challenge of border violence and border drug trafficking and human smuggling.

Now, of course, this is part of a large strategy, and one in which the federal government has an important responsibility and therefore plays the lead role. The President, as you know, committed last year, and we are on track to deliver on this commitment, to put more than 18,000 boots on the ground border patrol at the border, most of them at the Southwest Border, but the end of calendar year 2008.

And while we're waiting for those resources to arrive, the President has jump-started the process of putting boots on the ground by having approximately 6,000 National Guard at the border to provide additional resources to the Border Patrol eyes on the ground, back room support, and other kinds of important assistance so that we can really maximize the impact we have at the border.

I've had an opportunity to go down to Arizona and Texas, Southern California and New Mexico to look first hand at what we are doing at the border to make a real difference. I've talked to the National Guardsmen who are delighted to be carrying out a mission to protect our country along the Southwest Border. I have watched, and I've even made a modest contribution, to building some of that fencing in those areas of the border where fencing is appropriate, particularly in Yuma, Arizona, where it's adding a lot of value in preventing people from streaming across the border.

And beyond mere physical, hard fencing, there's virtual fencing. The use of 21st century technology to really multiply the law enforcement effect of the Border Patrol in the Southwest. We're talking about integrating unmanned aerial systems. We're talking about integrating ground-based radar, tower-based radar, which is about to go up in Arizona, and building a system of comprehensive surveillance and communication that allows us to detect people who cross illegally, and then to move the resources to the place of detection so we can interdict them, apprehend them, and send them back home again.

And by the way, since we're talking about not just the apprehending but sending back home, I'm delighted to say we have continued to adhere to our promise of ending catch-and-release at the border. We now return everybody that is deportable and we detain them until we get them back. That has had a huge impact on the number of non-Mexicans that are trying to cross into the United States from the southwest.

Have these initiatives shown results? Well, we've been tracking this. This year alone, the number of people apprehended has fallen by nearly 30 percent, which is indicative of the fact that we are beginning to dry up that flow across the border. If we look at each quarter since we began this program last summer and compare it with the same time period in the prior year, we see consistent decreases – 13 percent, 38 percent and 25 percent – showing that we are getting some momentum. And we see even more dramatic decreases in the number of non-Mexicans because we've ended catch-and-release.

Now I'm the first person to tell you, we have not reached the point where we can declare victory. In fact, I will tell you that as we push harder on the criminal organizations, they will push back. There will be more violence. They are fighting to maintain their illegal business. That is not going to, however, deter us from continuing to put the pressure on. We're going to put more resources down there. We're going to work with the local law enforcement and give them more help, because we are not going to lose this war against illegal traffickers. We're going to win it.

The final piece I need to put into perspective is of course this is part of a large picture, and that's why we're working very hard with members of Congress, including the members here, on immigration reform that will deal with the problem in its totality. That means we've got to deal with interior enforcement, we've got to make sure employers stop hiring illegal workers, and we've got to find a humane, fair and reasonable solution to the undocumented migrants we have here and the labor needs that are currently being satisfied through illegal immigration.

If we can deal with this problem in its totality, if we can take economic migrants and deal with them in a way that is fair, tough and reasonable, then we can focus our resources on the people we most want to keep out of this country, who are the drug-dealers, the criminals and those who pose a threat to our homeland security.

So, I want to thank you all for coming. Now I turn to Senator Cornyn.

Senator Cornyn: Thank you. For too long, the federal government has simply failed to live up to its responsibilities to deal with our broken border. And I'm glad to tell you that under the leadership of Secretary Chertoff, that's changing.

And thanks to the strong leadership of the commissioner, and the chief, and now the great work of the Southwest Border Sheriff’s Coalition, which the Secretary and I and Congressman Cuellar met with today, we're seeing a kind of partnership that I think gives me great hope that we will be able to bring a reasonable solution to this tremendous challenge.

This is important to recognize that Washington, D.C., which is a long way away from our international border, frankly, doesn't have a great understanding of the challenges along the border. Secretary Chertoff, the commissioner, and the chief do understand because they've been there. They haven't just read about it in novels or seen it depicted in movies.

They've been there, and most importantly, they've been talking to the people in the border communities to try to understand what the reality is and how to work together to try to find common sense solutions.

To me, it's a great honor to be part of people trying to find realistic solutions working across the aisle here in Washington, D.C., to solve a problem. That's what I happen to believe my constituents sent me to Washington to do.

And so it's an honor to work with these great public servants and who are demonstrating really the kind of leadership our country needs on one of the most urgent issues of the day, and that is our broken immigration system and our broken border, which as we know, allows people to come across without any kind of distinction; those who want to work, but also those who want to do us harm.

And we need to try to find a rational way of dealing with that and let law enforcement have the resources they need and a fair chance to try to focus their efforts on the criminal element and those who seek to do the American people harm.

So, thank you for your leadership, Mr. Secretary.

Secretary Chertoff: Thank you, Senator.

Representative Cuellar: Thank you very much. And I also want to thank Secretary Chertoff for the great work that he's been doing along with the chief and the commissioner, and of course the senator. I think by working in a bipartisan way, we can try to find the answer to what we see at the border. How do we balance border security without impeding trade and tourism, which is very important to us?

And the reason we're here meeting with the Southwest Border Sheriff’s Coalition is to help try to find an answer to that particular area – that is, being strong on border security without impeding trade and tourism.

I want to thank the Border Sheriff’s Coalition, because they took their time to come up here to become partners with the federal government, because we, just like the senator said, one of the things that we realize is that we can't do it by ourselves in the federal government. By establishing these coalitions and these partnerships, I think we can find that we can provide border security.

One of the things that we did ask the Secretary, and he is going to provide us is, is how do we expedite some of the dollars that are available right now where we can help these sheriffs do their work, where we can be part of the overall solution? And by doing that, we can work within the framework that we have available right now.

Later on we'll talk about some border legislation on how we can provide extra funding for the sheriffs. But we're trying to find not only the long-term solutions, but also the short-term solutions we have.

In conclusion, as the Secretary said, I certainly want to thank him and Secretary Carlos Gutierrez, because they have been reaching on behalf of the President to talk about the big picture. And the big picture has to do with immigration. Immigration, there's three parts. We have border security, number one, and this is where the border sheriffs come in. Number two, some sort of guest worker plan. And then the third part of it is what do we do about the 11 and 12 million undocumented aliens that we have here?

I know that tomorrow the Hispanic Caucus is going to meeting with the President to talk exactly about the three parts that are so important to us. But today, I do want to thank the border sheriffs for coming up here and being part of the solution to address border security without impeding both trade and tourism.

So, I certainly want to thank the Secretary, the senator, and of course our border sheriffs that are here took their time.

I believe at this time we have Zigi Gonzalez.

Sheriff Gonzalez: Well, thank you, Congressman Cuellar, and we, as the Border Sheriff’s Coalition, appreciate the opportunity to be here today. We thank Senator Cornyn, Congressman Cuellar for arranging this meeting with Secretary Chertoff.

It was no surprise to us Secretary Chertoff, of course, is very familiar with what's happening along the border. It was reiterated to us today. We appreciate the work that he is doing in protecting our great country. Again, we want to reiterate to the Secretary our strong commitment that we have as a coalition in continuing our working relationship with our federal partners, and again, continuing that relationship.

Secretary Chertoff, we appreciate you taking time from your very busy schedule. We know you're doing the best you can for our country, and we look forward to our continued working relationship, and thank you, sir.

Secretary Chertoff: Thank you very much. All right. I guess we'll take some questions.

Question: Customs and Border Protection has approached landowners in Roma, Texas, about building a fence – building fence there, and using land for fencing.

Can you tell us what the other communities are that will be approached for that 370 miles of physical fencing you want? And when that is done, will eminent domain models be used, or will you use the provision that was in the intelligence bill that suspends U.S. laws to allow you to build these kinds of border barriers?

Secretary Chertoff: Well, first of all, I'll let the chief talk specifically about communities, but let me say – put a few things in perspective. First of all, actually there is no law in the Intelligence Reform Act that suspends all U.S. laws. There's a law that allows environmental waivers with respect to environmental laws, but the Constitution continues to apply at the border. That was not suspended. So, eminent domain is actually the constitutional thing.

We want to work with communities. I think this is a very good illustration of the point that one size does not fit all. We're very sensitive to the fact that the lay of the land in Texas is different than Arizona. It's different than California.

The solution has to vary location-to-location. So we are very interested in working with landowners and communities to figure out what is a solution that fits our needs best, that works with the community best.

We've talked, for example, to the Texas mayors about in some areas what we need is to clear some of the brush and clear some of the vegetation so that the river can be used as a natural barrier. So we are trying very hard to make sure we operate within a framework that is mutually agreeable with the landowners and to make sure that we're not simply ramming something down their throat.

And so we're going to proceed in that manner, really trying to be in very much of a listening mode in terms of what their concerns are. Obviously, at the end of the day, we have to make sure we can satisfy our operational requirements. But we want to be good neighbors and good partners, as I've said.

I don't know, Chief, if you want to talk specifically about areas, or.

Chief Aguilar: There's three pieces to the question that you just asked. Basically – and these are the following answers. The border chiefs have worked with the communities out there to identify the very specific areas of the border that could utilize infrastructure as a means of controlling the illegal flow of drugs, narcotics and aliens into this country. That's one piece.

The second piece is the Secure Fence Act that has in fact been passed and is law now. We are working to build the 370 miles that we are committed to building under that, and then the third very important piece is the Secure Border Initiative that will utilize a virtual wall. It is that morphing of those three that we are going through now.

The outreach that commenced last week was Border Patrol agents basically going out there and educating and informing the community members that might – and I stress might – get impacted by these three components of what we're moving forward on. Okay.

Question: Can you tell us the other communities that might be impacted?

Chief Aguilar: Well, they'll be across the Southwest Border. Now – and again, the 370 miles are very defined by the Border Patrol chiefs working with the local communities. The Secure Fence Act actually delineates point-to-point some of those fence areas. I'd direct you to the Secure Fence Act on that.

Question: The Secure Fence that deals with the 700 miles –

Chief Aguilar: Yes.

Question: And you all are talking about 370.

Chief Aguilar: At this point, 370, yes.

Question: So are there specific communities within the 370 that you can identify?

Chief Aguilar: And that's where that morphing process comes into place, that we will make use of the virtual wall, as the Secretary was talking about.

Representative Cuellar: If I can just add, since it covers my – one of the counties I represent, as you know, the last Congress passed pretty much – as you can see, had a disagreement with that, had a problem with Congress getting a little crayon and saying from Laredo, put a fence all the way down to Brownsville from Eagle Pass all the way to Del Rio. I think the more prudent thing to do is to give the Secretary some flexibility where he can look at the terrain and other factors. And I think that is the approach that some members of Congress will be looking at, is give him the flexibility. Because we feel that the way it was done last time was not the most appropriate way. So we're hoping we can do that.

And also, I want to say this. Last time the Secretary was back from Laredo and we were with the senator, we asked him to make sure that they take input from the local communities.

And I think that's very important, because as they go out and talk to folks, we're hoping that we can get some of the local input. Because right now, we've still got to deal with the Secure Fence Act. And until there's a flexibility provided in there, we've still got to work under that Secure Fence Act that got passed last year.

Question: There are landowners all along the border that want to know whether or not eminent domain will be applied to their land, and that's what I guess I'm trying to get at. I understand the fence and the flexibility, but have you identified specific communities, like Roma, where you will go in, may use eminent domain?

Representative Cuellar: Right. And we'll let the department. But again, the point I'm trying to make very carefully is that we hope to provide that flexibility to the department as they address some of those issues on that issue, because we've still got to work under the current law that we have right now.

Secretary Chertoff: Yes?

Question: Some of the leadership of the National Border Patrol Council has expressed a loss of confidence in Chief Aguilar. One, can you speak to your level of support for him?

And, two, is there a problem within the ranks of the Border Patrol on a morale basis?

Secretary Chertoff: First of all, I have a tremendous amount of respect for Chief Aguilar, who has risen up through the ranks and has done a magnificent job of building the capability of the Border Patrol for the first time putting a national strategy in place which is showing real results.

And I understand the union, under its current leadership, traditionally takes the view that everything that the Administration does is bad. Remarkably, I thought Mr. Bonner, the head of the union, actually was arguing against hiring more Border Patrol agents, which I thought was a little puzzling.

I understand that there's a certain amount of unhappiness over the result of what happened in the prosecution of the two Border Patrol agents. That, of course, is a matter in the courts currently, and we let the courts move forward.

But none of this has to do with Chief Aguilar, who has been a magnificent leader. One of the things I did when I was down there the last couple of times was talk to people on the Border Patrol and ask whether, in particular, the issue with the two agents who were prosecuted, had an impact on morale. And I was told, and it was my perception that it had not; that there was an understanding that, you know, there's a process in place.

But I also made it unequivocally clear that we support our Border Patrol a hundred percent, including the right to defend themselves using all the tools available to them by law. Now, of course, they have to follow the law. But in my view, the obligation and the authority of the Border Patrol to protect themselves against violence cannot be compromised, and I've made it clear and I know the chief has made it clear that we will support the righteous use of force in self-defense and in accordance with the law, with the fullest extent of our ability to do so. And I think that has been what's important to the Border Patrol.

And I've asked the chief to monitor and make sure people feel they're capable of doing what they need to do to defend themselves and to carry out their mission and to be alert to anything that suggests any chilling effect over there.

Question: Yes. It's been five months since President Calderone took office in Mexico with a step-up in enforcement on drugs. I want to know whether something has changed both at the federal level and at the local level in their relationship with the Mexican police, Mexican government?

Secretary Chertoff: We have had a tremendous relationship with Mexican authorities under this new government. I had an opportunity to go down to Mexico, and meet with the members of the president's cabinet that deal with the issues involving border and security.

There's been unparalleled cooperation. And I have to say anybody looking at the kind of vigorous activity you see in Mexico, the extradition of the drug kingpins, tough enforcement actions against corrupt police officials, anybody who looks at that has to be confident that the president, the new president of Mexico and his administration are not only talking the talk, but they're walking the walk. They are really taking steps to do what they have to do, which is assert control over these criminal organizations in Mexico.

This is where we have a total community of interest. We will benefit, and the people of Mexico will benefit if we can work together to crack these criminal organizations, that traffic in drugs, that traffic in human beings, and that traffic in violence. And we very committed, and I know the President is very committed, President Bush is very committed, to working with our Mexican counterparts to helping them do what they need to do on their side of the border so we can do what we need to do on our side of the border.

Moderator: Two more questions.

Question: At the local level, have you seen any change?

Sheriff Gonzalez: We've always enjoyed a good relationship. In Zapata, we don't have a town or a river – or city, I'm sorry – across the river from us, but we've always enjoyed a good relationship with all our Mexican counterparts. And we continue to work in getting partnership with our federal agencies on the U.S. side, again, and with the Mexican counterparts.

Moderator: Last question.

Question: Secretary Chertoff, this question is for both you and Senator Cornyn. There are some reports out that say that Republicans are willing to make concessions in immigration reform and trying to get closer with the Democrats and trying to get a bill out. Are these concessions, or is there any truth in these reports? In particular about limiting the time that undocumented in this country would have to wait to get a green card and also in reducing fines?

Secretary Chertoff: I know you know that I am not going to start to respond to leaked speculation about discussions. The only thing I'm going to say is there's been a lot of bipartisan discussion to try to deal with this issue of immigration reform.

The President has been personally engaged in this, members of the cabinet and the White House Administration, senators and members of Congress from both sides. And it's very important we get this thing done. The public I think has gotten tired of complaining. They want to see solutions.

And I think that, you know, obviously, there will be a lot of speculation about what's going on. In the fullness of time when there's an agreement -- and I'm hopeful, quite hopeful there will be – about how to proceed with this, then I think, you know, more will be revealed. But I think a lot of speculation and trying to, you know, kind of read tea leaves is not particularly useful.

Senator Cornyn: I'm glad the Secretary answered that first.

Senator Cornyn: I do – there have been no agreements by anybody. But there have been very constructive negotiations and discussions going forward, starting with some general principles. And I think Congressman Cuellar hit on those principles.

The only one I would add to border security and the necessity of dealing with the labor shortages we have through a temporary worker program and some way to reconcile the status of the 12 mission people who are living here in the shadows is the importance of having a workable, enforceable system at the worksite.

Document fraud and identity theft are rampant, and make our current laws almost impossible to enforce. And so what the Secretary has been doing, spending a lot of time with people in the Senate and in the House trying to come up with a solution, and no one is going to 100 percent of what they want. I wish it were true that I could get 100 percent of what I want, but it's not going to happen.

What I do want is a workable system that can be enforced so we can regain the confidence of the American people that we're actually serious about passing laws and enforcing those laws. I think that's what we all want and I hope we'll achieve it.

Question: Secretary Chertoff, could I ask one –

Moderator: This is the last one.

Question: Thank you. Obviously, the Administration has put a statement out, a draft statement out on family reunification, and then a path to citizenship for temporary workers. Could you talk at all about the Administration's views on those two points? Then a follow-up in terms of clearing the backlog of legal immigrant – of applications from legal immigrants, and meeting border security requirements in 18 months, could you amplify at all about where you are on those?

Secretary Chertoff: Well, I can certainly say it's far from obvious the Administration put a statement out, because the Administration didn't put a statement out.

I mean, people leak various pieces of paper and then attribute them. I think what I said to the previous question stands. There's a lot of discussion. It's a complicated problem. And as Senator Cornyn said, you've got to deal with border security. That's got to be – there can't be any compromise on that. There's got to be real tough and effective worksite enforcement. We have to deal with the issue of labor needs. We also have to deal with the issue of undocumented workers.

Everybody is working hard, and these are issues that have been around for a long time. And, you know, at such time as there is agreement, and I'm hopeful that that time will be soon, but I'm not a soothsayer – at such time as there's an agreement, then what will be agreed upon will be revealed. Other than that, it's all speculation.

Moderator: Thanks very much, everyone.

###



This page was last modified on April 24, 2007

http://www.dhs.gov/xnews/releases/pr_1177510428257.shtm

mynameis - April 27, 2007 03:07 AM (GMT)
Testimony of Paul A. Schneider, Under Secretary for Management Before the U.S. House of Representatives

Release Date: April 26, 2007

Cannon House Office Building
April 25, 2007
(Remarks as Prepared)

Good morning, Mr. Chairman, Ranking Member Rogers and Members of the Subcommittee. I appreciate the opportunity today to discuss the Department's relationships with its Office of Inspector General (OIG) and the Government Accountability Office (GAO). As well, I look forward to clarifying some factual misunderstandings and describing how we intend to improve the process for cooperating with these investigative bodies.

As you know, I am the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Under Secretary for Management and have served as such for the past four months. Prior to this experience, I was a defense and aerospace consultant for 3-1/2 years and before that, I spent 38 years as a civil servant – working in various positions, including as the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research Development and Acquisition and as the acting Assistant Secretary for a period of time.

In four decades of government service, I have developed a deep appreciation of the investigative and audit work that Inspectors General and GAO conduct. It is through appropriate oversight that Government agencies can improve internal processes and programs.

The nature of the relationship with the DHS OIG and the relationship with the GAO are, of course, different. The OIG is a part of the Department, within the larger executive branch, and the IG is under the supervision of the Secretary of Homeland Security. The GAO is a part of the legislative branch. In the case of both the Department's OIG and the GAO, the Department seeks to handle information access issues in a harmonious manner in accordance with the law.

In this vein, it should be noted that DHS routinely makes its employees and supporting documentation widely available for open, free-flowing exchanges with the GAO and OIG. As the Secretary stated during his February 8 congressional testimony, cooperation with these entities is imperative.

As the Under Secretary for Management, I oversee the Audit Liaison Office at the Department, housed within the Office of the Chief Financial Officer. This Liaison Office helps to oversee the Department's efforts to coordinate and cooperate with the GAO and OIG. Moreover, the Liaison Officer regularly meets with his counterparts at DHS component agencies. In this way, the Department Liaison can communicate DHS goals and objectives with the components' liaison officers.

Although some critics have claimed that the liaison officers get in the way of the process, they are actually useful facilitators of the oversight and auditing functions. For example, the liaison officers help keep track of incoming requests and outgoing responses, thus avoiding unnecessary duplication, gaps, and inefficiency. The liaison officers understand the landscape of their respective component agency and thus ensure that the GAO and OIG obtain accurate information from knowledgeable personnel. The liaison officers in Washington, DC can also assist in providing physical access to field offices and facilities. Through the liaison offices, we aim to ensure proper accountability through a centralized, coordinated process, and we strive to provide complete, accurate and thorough responses to GAO and OIG requests.

The Department maintains Management Directives regarding its interactions and cooperation with the GAO and OIG. For instance, the Management Directive relating to the Office of Inspector General requires DHS employees to cooperate fully by disclosing complete and accurate information to the OIG and provide prompt access to "any files, records, reports, or other information that may be requested" by the OIG. The Management Directive on GAO similarly requires all DHS employees to work cooperatively with GAO. Therefore, we believe that the proper framework is already in place, as these Management Directives reflect solid concepts and principles of the Department's cooperation.

Nevertheless, it is these concepts and principles upon which we need to improve our execution. The Secretary has already acknowledged that the Department's responsiveness is not what it should be, and we are not as timely in our responses as we would like to be. We also recognize that there are serious concerns about the execution of the Department's Directives and objectives. Admittedly, the requirements of the Management Directives have not always been followed, and we need to improve these processes, as indicated by the remarks of the Comptroller General and the Inspector General during their testimony on February 6. While we understand certain of their frustrations, we do not agree with some of their factual assertions, including that lawyers attend every interview and review every document. That is simply not the case. Even so, we understand that we need to do a better job.

We are looking into numerous ways to improve the management processes of the Department, including the responsiveness to GAO and OIG. During his February 8 testimony, the Secretary acknowledged the need for greater information flow, and he has committed to improving this process. For example, the Secretary has already put in place a mechanism to create incentives for DHS officials to make information flow to Congress a top priority, and has required that employee performance reviews be linked to individual responsiveness to such requests. In a similar vein, we are considering better ways to communicate our expectations regarding GAO and OIG inquiries to our employees.

With respect to the OIG, we are only aware of one situation where the IG has complained about access issues. This instance related to the OIG's investigation of efforts to update the Coast Guard fleet (Deepwater). It is my understanding that this issue has been addressed and resolved. I will note that, while both the Comptroller General and the IG complained about the "tone at the top" at DHS, I have seen just the opposite. The Secretary promotes an atmosphere in which the Inspector General is called—and called early—in situations where his insight and advice can prevent problems for the Department down the road. This is evidence of a healthy relationship with our IG.

With respect to the GAO, quite frankly, we were a bit perplexed by the level of their complaint, especially given the substantial level of cooperation previously provided to GAO investigators. In general, we feel that the Department's cooperation with the GAO has been very good.

Nevertheless, it is important to keep these activities in the proper perspective of the Department's overwhelming efforts to cooperate with a wide variety of investigative and oversight bodies. The Department has assisted in providing information for over 250 OIG Management Reports, 1,350 OIG Investigative Reports, and 600 GAO reports and testimony. Each report requires extensive work to collect, prepare, coordinate, produce, review, and provide input. These efforts require substantial work-hours from the dedicated, hard-working employees of the Department who must also balance these efforts with their operational responsibilities to secure the homeland. In total, we have facilitated thousands of interviews and provided, quite literally, millions of pages of documents and other materials. Also, it is important to view this cooperation in light of the other extensive oversight by more than 88 congressional committees and subcommittees, and approximately 2,000 hearings and briefings provided by Department officials per year. The sheer volume of work product belies any notion that DHS has somehow slowed the process or shunned proper oversight.

Last Wednesday, I learned I would be the Department's witness for this hearing. In preparation, I read previous testimony, IG and GAO reports, met with representatives of all the DHS components and obtained an appreciation for the large numbers of audits that are currently underway; I also talked to the GAO and the IG. In my opinion, we do not provide consistent guidance across the Department, some of the operational components are using procedures and practices that were from their parent organizations before they became part of DHS; the use of liaison offices in each organization is somewhat inconsistent; and there is a general feeling that information provided will be used for "Gotchas." In light of my 40 years of dealing with GAO and IG organizations, I know that we can turn this around.

Looking ahead to the future, we will further improve the Department's management processes. Indeed, we are examining ways to improve the speed with which documents and information are produced in response to appropriate requests. This includes improving communications, training, and outreach to the fine employees of the Department; possibly revamping the organizational structure or placement of the Liaison Office; and providing additional or updated guidance to Department employees on how to interact with the OIG and GAO. We should make our expectations more clear to the people on the front lines. We must also improve our headquarters-level awareness of problems that arise as a result of GAO and IG engagements, and of any access issues that arise in the operational components, so that we can take expeditious action to resolve these matters quickly and satisfactorily.

As the Under Secretary for Management, I want to assure the Committee that we take this issue very seriously and are examining the best ways to improve our processes. I have worked with the GAO and IGs for nearly 40 years, and I am hopeful that I can bring my experience to bear here and affect the changes we all think are necessary. We need to do a better job of implementing the Department's stated principle of cooperation, and we will work with all DHS components to improve our implementation and execution. DHS welcomes input on how to better pursue its mission, and we look forward to working with the Subcommittee and other congressional bodies, as well as the Inspector General and Comptroller General, to better protect the Nation's homeland.

Thank you. I would be happy to address whatever questions the Members may have.

This page was last modified on April 26, 2007

http://www.dhs.gov/xnews/testimony/testimo...7613789228.shtm




Hosted for free by zIFBoards