Fully Featured & Customizable Free Forums
zIFBoards - Free Forum Hosting
Welcome to Loose Change Forum. We hope you enjoy your visit.


You're currently viewing our forum as a guest. This means you are limited to certain areas of the board and there are some features you can't use. If you join our community, you'll be able to access member-only sections, and use many member-only features such as customizing your profile, sending personal messages, and voting in polls. Registration is simple, fast, and completely free.


Join our community!


If you're already a member please log in to your account to access all of our features:

Name:   Password:


Pages: (3) [1] 2 3  ( Go to first unread post )

 Dept. Of Homeland Security, Speeches, Laws, Testimony, Etc.
batmanchester
Posted: Jan 5 2007, 05:34 PM


Advanced Member


Group: Gone
Posts: 1,534
Member No.: 331
Joined: 20-October 06



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
Top
batmanchester
Posted: Jan 9 2007, 02:39 PM


Advanced Member


Group: Gone
Posts: 1,534
Member No.: 331
Joined: 20-October 06



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
Top
batmanchester
Posted: Jan 12 2007, 05:31 PM


Advanced Member


Group: Gone
Posts: 1,534
Member No.: 331
Joined: 20-October 06



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
Top
batmanchester
Posted: Jan 24 2007, 02:32 PM


Advanced Member


Group: Gone
Posts: 1,534
Member No.: 331
Joined: 20-October 06



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
Top
batmanchester
Posted: Jan 24 2007, 02:33 PM


Advanced Member


Group: Gone
Posts: 1,534
Member No.: 331
Joined: 20-October 06



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
Top
batmanchester
Posted: Feb 1 2007, 07:09 PM


Advanced Member


Group: Gone
Posts: 1,534
Member No.: 331
Joined: 20-October 06



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
Top
batmanchester
Posted: Feb 5 2007, 05:05 PM


Advanced Member


Group: Gone
Posts: 1,534
Member No.: 331
Joined: 20-October 06



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
Top
batmanchester
Posted: Feb 7 2007, 02:42 PM


Advanced Member


Group: Gone
Posts: 1,534
Member No.: 331
Joined: 20-October 06



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
Top
batmanchester
Posted: Feb 8 2007, 03:39 PM


Advanced Member


Group: Gone
Posts: 1,534
Member No.: 331
Joined: 20-October 06



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
Top
batmanchester
Posted: Feb 9 2007, 03:23 PM


Advanced Member


Group: Gone
Posts: 1,534
Member No.: 331
Joined: 20-October 06



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
Top
batmanchester
Posted: Feb 13 2007, 03:49 PM


Advanced Member


Group: Gone
Posts: 1,534
Member No.: 331
Joined: 20-October 06



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
Top
batmanchester
Posted: Feb 13 2007, 03:51 PM


Advanced Member


Group: Gone
Posts: 1,534
Member No.: 331
Joined: 20-October 06



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
Top
batmanchester
Posted: Feb 17 2007, 12:02 PM


Advanced Member


Group: Gone
Posts: 1,534
Member No.: 331
Joined: 20-October 06



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
Top
batmanchester
Posted: Feb 22 2007, 04:00 PM


Advanced Member


Group: Gone
Posts: 1,534
Member No.: 331
Joined: 20-October 06



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
Top
batmanchester
Posted: Feb 22 2007, 04:01 PM


Advanced Member


Group: Gone
Posts: 1,534
Member No.: 331
Joined: 20-October 06



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
Top
batmanchester
Posted: Feb 23 2007, 04:09 PM


Advanced Member


Group: Gone
Posts: 1,534
Member No.: 331
Joined: 20-October 06



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
Top
batmanchester
Posted: Feb 28 2007, 03:22 PM


Advanced Member


Group: Gone
Posts: 1,534
Member No.: 331
Joined: 20-October 06



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
Top
batmanchester
Posted: Mar 4 2007, 07:08 PM


Advanced Member


Group: Gone
Posts: 1,534
Member No.: 331
Joined: 20-October 06



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
Top
batmanchester
Posted: Mar 4 2007, 07:09 PM


Advanced Member


Group: Gone
Posts: 1,534
Member No.: 331
Joined: 20-October 06



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
Top
batmanchester
Posted: Mar 4 2007, 07:11 PM


Advanced Member


Group: Gone
Posts: 1,534
Member No.: 331
Joined: 20-October 06



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
Top
0 User(s) are reading this topic (0 Guests and 0 Anonymous Users)
0 Members:
« Next Oldest | Latest News Section | Next Newest »
DealsFor.me - The best sales, coupons, and discounts for you

Topic OptionsPages: (3) [1] 2 3 



Hosted for free by zIFBoards* (Terms of Use: Updated 2/10/2010) | Powered by Invision Power Board v1.3 Final © 2003 IPS, Inc.
Page creation time: 0.0890 seconds · Archive