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Get this from a library! Homeland security – what and whither. [Clinton Brooks]
Airport Security Is Killing Us
This week marks the beginning of the busiest travel time of the year. For millions of Americans, the misery of holiday travel is made considerably worse by a government agency ostensibly designed to make our journeys more secure. Created in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the Transportation Security Administration has largely outlived its usefulness, as the threat of a terrorist attack on the U.S. homeland continues to recede. These days, the TSA’s major role appears to be to make plane trips more unpleasant. And by doing so, it’s encouraging people to take the considerably more dangerous option of traveling by road.
The attention paid to terrorism in the U.S. is considerably out of proportion to the relative threat it presents. That’s especially true when it comes to Islamic-extremist terror. Of the 150,000 murders in the U.S. between 9/11 and the end of 2010, Islamic extremism accounted for fewer than three dozen. Since 2000, the chance that a resident of the U.S. would die in a terrorist attack was one in 3.5 million, according to John Mueller and Mark Stewart of Ohio State and the University of Newcastle, respectively. In fact, extremist Islamic terrorism resulted in just 200 to 400 deaths worldwide outside the war zones of Afghanistan and Iraq—the same number, Mueller noted in a 2011 report (PDF), as die in bathtubs in the U.S. alone each year.
Yet the TSA still commands a budget of nearly $8 billion—which is why the agency is left with too many officers and not enough to do. The TSA’s “Top Good Catches of 2011,” reported on its blog, did include 1,200 firearms and—their top find—a single batch of C4 explosives (though those were discovered only on the return flight). A longer list of TSA’s confiscations would include a G.I. Joe action doll’s 4-inch plastic rifle (“it’s a replica”) and a light saber. And needless to say, the TSA didn’t spot a single terrorist trying to board an airline in the U.S., notes Bruce Schneier.
According to one estimate of direct and indirect costs borne by the U.S. as a result of 9/11, the New York Times suggested the attacks themselves caused $55 billion in “toll and physical damage,” while the economic impact was $123 billion. But costs related to increased homeland security and counterterrorism spending, as well as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, totaled $3,105 billion. Mueller and Stewart estimate that government spending on homeland security over the 2002-11 period accounted for around $580 billion of that total.
The researchers quote Rand Corp. President James Thomson, who noted most of that expenditure was implemented “with little or no evaluation.” In 2010, the National Academy of Science reported the lack of “any Department of Homeland Security risk analysis capabilities and methods that are yet adequate for supporting [department] decision making.” In short, DHS (and the TSA in particular) is firing huge bundles of large denomination bills completely blindly.
There is lethal collateral damage associated with all this spending on airline security—namely, the inconvenience of air travel is pushing more people onto the roads. Compare the dangers of air travel to those of driving. To make flying as dangerous as using a car, a four-plane disaster on the scale of 9/11 would have to occur every month, according to analysis published in the American Scientist. Researchers at Cornell University suggest that people switching from air to road transportation in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks led to an increase of 242 driving fatalities per month—which means that a lot more people died on the roads as an indirect result of 9/11 than died from being on the planes that terrible day. They also suggest that enhanced domestic baggage screening alone reduced passenger volume by about 5 percent in the five years after 9/11, and the substitution of driving for flying by those seeking to avoid security hassles over that period resulted in more than 100 road fatalities.
That’s not to say TSA employees bear responsibility for making the roads more dangerous—they’re just following incentives that reward slavish attention to overbearing and ambiguous rules over common sense. And don’t blame the officials of Homeland Security, either. They’re merely avoiding the far greater backlash associated with doing nothing than with doing something—even if nothing is probably the right course in a lot of cases. Instead, the blame lies somewhere among the politicians, the media, and the electorate, who will happily skewer officials over a single fatal plane incident while ignoring car crashes, gun homicides, and even bathtub accidents, which kill far more Americans than terrorism does.
If Americans really care about saving lives this Thanksgiving travel season, for goodness’ sake, don’t beef up airport security any further. Slashing the TSA will ensure that more people live to spend future holidays with loved ones.
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Homeland Security Has Spent $430 Million on Radios Its Employees Don’t Know How to Use
by Theodoric Meyer
ProPublica, Nov. 21, 2012, 3:15 p.m.
Getting the agencies responsible for national security to communicate better was one of the main reasons the Department of Homeland Security was created after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
But according to a recent report from the department’s inspector general, one aspect of this mission remains far from accomplished.
DHS has spent $430 million over the past nine years to provide radios tuned to a common, secure channel to 123,000 employees across the country. Problem is, no one seems to know how to use them.
Only one of 479 DHS employees surveyed by the inspector general’s office was actually able to use the common channel, according to the report. Most of those surveyed — 72 percent — didn’t even know the common channel existed. Another 25 percent knew the channel existed but weren’t able to find it; 3 percent were able to find an older common channel, but not the current one.
The investigators also found that more than half of the radios did not have the settings for the common channel programmed into them. Only 20 percent of radios tested had all the correct settings.
The radios are supposed to help employees of Customs and Border Patrol, the Transportation Security Administration, the Coast Guard, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Secret Service, and other agencies with DHS communicate during crises, as well as normal operations.
DHS officials did not immediately respond to questions from ProPublica about what effect the radio problems could have on how the agency handles an emergency.
The $430 million paid for radio infrastructure and maintenance as well as the actual radios.
In a response letter to the report, Jim H. Crumpacker, the Department of Homeland Security’s liaison between the Government Accountability Office and the inspector general, wrote that DHS had made “significant strides” in improving emergency communications since 2003. But he acknowledged that DHS “has had some challenges in achieving Department-wide interoperable communications goals.”
The recent inspector general’s report is the latest in a string of critical assessments DHS has received on its efforts to improve communication between federal, state and local agencies. The Government Accountability Office reported in 2007 that the Department of Homeland Security had “generally not achieved” this goal.
DHS has assigned a blizzard of offices and committees to oversee its radio effort since 2003, which the inspector general’s report claimed had “hindered DHS’ ability to provide effective oversight.”
Also, none of the entities “had the authority to implement and enforce their recommendations,” the report concluded. Tanya Callender, a spokeswoman for the inspector general, said the current office overseeing the effort hadn’t been given the authority to force agencies to use the common channel or even to provide instructions for programming the radios.
The inspector general recommended DHS standardize its policies regarding radios, which DHS agreed to do. But it rejected a second recommendation that it overhaul the office overseeing the radios to give it more authority.
“DHS believes that it has already established a structure with the necessary authority to ensure” that its various agencies can communicate, Crumpacker wrote in his response letter.
This should be the nail in the coffin for DHS.
That entire operation is a sham.
Fire every last one of these idiots!!!
And this is the same ‘sector’ that just took-over 1/6 of the USA’s economy. Can’t wait for Obamacare to fully ‘kick-in’.
Guess the real objective was never to ‘change’ anything, just ensure uniform misery for all…
Hey, there was money to be made. This is the United States and the easiest way to steal big money is to bilk the government. That’s the way the free market works.
Why doesn’t PP name the company that sold the radios to DHS? Because PP is a Wall Street Journal-style operation. Blame the government, spare Big Business.
Might a one page memo be able to tell how to use the radio? The solution seems simple but then I am not part of a bureaucracy/
ONE WORD: I N C O M P E T E N C Y !!!!!!!
Just another example of government waste. I bet that one could find cronyism in the selection/buy of the radios. How difficult is it to learn how to use handheld radios? Could it be that those receiving just didn’t bother? Perhaps the design of the radio discouraged folks from carting them around.
Committees to monitor committees, bureaucracy up the wazoo, no one it seems willing to think out-of-the-box, no one it seems willing to make decisions when a rule or regulation is not in their handbook. Is the DHS culture one that does not promote reporting of abuses and systemic issues?
Over nine years, $450 million to date, where is Senate over site? Where was GAO in the past 9 years?
Janet and her reports had their heads in a cloud and that I think intentional,
DHS budget needs to be cut by the 450 million at minimum and those on the committees, management, procurement fired and their salary’s returned to the Treasury. Senate committee for over site of DHS should be replaced by other members. Could the Senate members be complicit in acts of cronyism? Let’s fire Janet.
9 years! How difficult is training. Simple instructions—if employees unable to understand the instructions perhaps they should not be in the positions that require the use of the radios and what about those employees managers?
Out of control, crooked Government!
This is really surprising and it does reflect poor management process and procedure. *HOWEVER*…. it is quite easily remedied with a brief, Three Step Training Process: Training Session 1.) Train the Trainers for each department; Session 2.) Train the Troops. Step 3.) Conduct random tests to evaluate user competence and feed the results back to the trainers. One, 4 hr session at each step should do it -except for the mandatory ongoing random testing.
You have to judge this in the right context. The point is not to have security, communications, or weapons that work—the point is spend lots of money, funneling that money to crony capitalists who kick back some of it as bribes (aka campaign contributions) to Congress. Now, doesn’t that make sense??
James T. York
I am in a communication batallion and deal with emergency radios every day (also retired DHS & former police/fire). Most people think radio is the magic “Dukes of Hazard” CB radio that works on all frequencies, all modes, all power settings and then speaks only to the desired recipiant. Radio is very complicated and requires much study and licensed skill to use. A simple, “Push to Talk” radio works fine for non-licensed users but when you try to make a radio system that will talk around the world to everyone, you are building a very complicated system. These radios are dependant on repeaters and computer centers just like cell phones. Programming these Advanced Land Mobile radios requires an advanced programming technician and an advaced user. If the user is not clear on what is meant by “frequency” or “Peak Envelope Power” it is like expecting a teenager to shift gears on a 16 speed Kenworth. There is no substitute for training and practice. However, many people have no interest in com and so never master the radios. Give classes and next month it is the same thing all over again—“How do I turn this on?”—No interest-no Practice-no mastery. This is why the military relies on communications people with special qualifications and does not expect other personnel to use anything beyond a cell phone. (Technically, some systems work exactly like a cell phone with all the attendant limits like “NO BARS!” and no “Roaming!!”.) —- “Can you hear me now?” (Ever try to get 200 cops to pistol qualify to minimums? Only about 5% will qualify “MASTER”, but they work at it. Some never qualify and lose their billet. Same thing for radio communications. There is no simply way. Train, practice, credential. —Jim, “Wolfpack 7” or KL3CJ
James T. York
James T. York
Private corporations as well a public agnecies need com. This was usually handled with simplex radio—one channel—push to talk. The problem is in communication with other corporations and agencies. That is difficult and requires “Multiplex” radios. At this point training gets intense. I am tired of corporate adminstrators telling me no to”bother them” with “Details. This is not a government vrs private thing—thay are all the same on this issue. The desire to have every radio talk to every other radio is just not technically practical. In fact, there is limited programming memory availible so when an agent travels outside his area, his radio may not properly programmed to connect with repeaters and computers in another state or jurisdiction. People who are not technically qualified usually expect more than can be delivered. These advanced systems work well but only when used by people who understand the technology. The more you try to make it simple, the more complicated it gets. Corporations spend millions on systems that don’t work as their administrative staffs won’t train either. Jim
Thank you, Mr. York, for your informed and thoughtful comment. Refreshing after the knee-jerk anti-government tirades.
Steven JF Scannell
The president runs the executive branch. The DHS is just a harebrained scheme leading to more confusion than we had already. Fewer layers of management is best. I see it’s no surprise to anyone that the handling of Hurricane Sandy, wasn’t the greatest. Back to the drawing board.
Accept that yes, there really are over 120,000 DHS employees with radios. Raise you hand if you think they should all be using the same channel at the same time. Raise your hand if you think anyone would be able to communicate ANYTHING if they were all using the same channel.
Right. If your hand is up, you’re an idiot.
Under no circumstances will a GS-7 with CBP ever jump on the radio to talk directly to FEMA. That’s not how the chain of command works, and you’re damn right the chain of command matters during emergencies. At most airports of any significance, CBP *alone* is using at least three different channels to avoid cross-talk during regular operations. Jim’s comment above is right on the money: the front line works (maybe) two channels and the inter-agency stuff goes up to the inter-agency communication center (where officers from different agencies are sitting next to each other).
We learned one thing, and one thing only from this study: the OIG can’t report statistics worth a damn. Nowhere in the report does it reveal how they created this sample of “479 DHS employees”. It might be random sample, it may include employees who have never used a radio, and it may include employees who should not be meddling with the inter-agency band. It’s not even clear whether the OIG left their offices in DC to conduct this study.
What a complete waste of taxpayer $, & crock of **** this little boondoggle has cost Americans. No one is safer either BTW, but the country sure is digging the debt hole even deeper, sadly enough for future generations.
It’s high time we got rid off all the Pork Barrel projects that the Washington, DC crowd is forcing off on the rest of the nation! Pathetic…
Meant to say “got rid of”, I added an extra f by mistake.
James T. York, thanks for an informed & thoughtful response.
I am part of a Military Emergency Response Communications Unit, and can confirm that I had 2.5 years of training in HF, VHF, UHF, Microwave and Satellite communications before I was even ALLOWED to touch STARS radio.
I can also confirm that the system works. I was called for active duty during Hurricane Sandy, and we used STARS to communicate with 15 National Guard teams that were deployed across 300 miles of coastal area.
But it is important to note that STARS is merely one of many communication tools that we use. It’s primary function is to enable communication when local power is out, landline and cellphone service are disrupted, and local Internet access is unavailable.
So there may be 123,000 DGS employees that can’t use the radios…but believe me, in a large-scale emergency, when primary communication lines are down, you don’t want them to! You want trained operators who can relay essential messages across whatever communication paths are available.
From what I have seen these yawhoos could not work two cans with a string ! It takes a year to train tobe able to work a system ! 95% of the people are not able to be trained !
America is waking
This nation has been harmed beyond a quick recovery
from multinationals and other corporations sending
our entire industries overseas for cheap labor more profit.
State revenues have been affected.
Deficits are created by lack of jobs.
A plant moves that loses revenue for cities and states.
58,000 closed in first decade of this century.
One sources estimates we lost $245 Billion in manufacturing wages
in that sordid decade due to loss of 5.5 Million mfg jobs.
China has been the big cheese encouraging movements into large modern plants built and subsidized by the government. End China currency manipulation. That is est. to get us 1 million jobs.
It’s not uncommon for the manufacturer to pre-program these types of communications radios. All you have to do is include that as a prerequisite to the purchase order. It’s a no-brainer, but maybe that’s indicative of the problem. At any rate, all companies hold seminars for employees to gain the necessary knowledge and technical skills required to perform their jobs efficiently, as a matter of the profit-driven corporate mindset …………. but, then I realize we’re talking about a government agency. I digress.
Homeland Security severely reduces our freedom. This government agency needs to go away – along with the “Patriot Act”
I worked with the government in DC for nearly two decades. Early on, it used to drive me crazy that every single thing that I saw was hopelessly wasteful and ineffective. Then someone explained it to me. Whereas I looked on it as wasteful that countless billions were spent without achieving the stated goal, he noted that in DC, the actual goal is the spending of the money itself. Bureaucracies exist to grow and exert power – not to serve. Spending money allows them to expand their ranks, thereby allowing promotions and raises for those in charge of more workers. Spending the money offers ample opportunities for bribes and kickbacks.
Viewed in this better light, you can see that DHS is incredibly successful at achieving their real goal.If you don’t like it, leave the country; otherwise, put on a gown and enjoy the asylum.
DHS is a huge pool of agencies and services which have been lumped together to fight terrorism. Many of them come with all sorts of rivalries and a whole bunch of jurisdictions. Being able to communicate with each other, should they need to, is vital. Having a radio which allows them to do so is a must. Remember the firefighters in the Towers on 9/11? Their radios didn’t work properly when they needed it the most. There aren’t any details about the how and whys of the radio that was chosen but obviously it wasn’t the right kind. This is a terrible waste of taxpayer dollars for something so basic.
Oh please this is just one more display of this administration and it’s lack of ability. Nobody is slightly surprised. Par for the course under Obama. Try telling us real news, like The Obama administration has done something, anything , close to well.
I’m afraid most of you are either missing the point of this entirely or misunderstanding what is going on with nhs generally. To compare nhs to the healthcare plan Is either disingenuous or incredibly naive. Everyone benefits (or at least will be effected by) the healthcare bill and thus will demand at least marginal service from providers. On the other hand, nhs was set up by a bunch of crooks who want the government to be, “so small you could drown it in a bath tub” so what better way to ensure this than to profoundly break it, while making tons of cash for so-called security contractors. Nhs does not improve people’s lives in any discernible way and through propagandistic media policies, the military industrial complex has convinced the people who do support it that hero worship of oppressors and murders is the only valid reaction. Surprisingly, people have grown skeptical of this mantra and with help from stories like this people will soon realize that nhs is what should be ended, and programs like healthcare for all is what we should fund.
minds me of the time a cop fired a teargas round inside the sf cop shop. most people need keepers. then there was the time at the range when a drunk cop blew a hole in the trunk of his cop car. most people cant properly use any technical material. terminal case…
Here’s a sure bet for you. In the midst of the fiscal cliff, as we debate cuts in real programs that help real Americans, as we debate new taxes that no one can afford, our lovely Congress will find a way to spend millions more on this pork barrel program buying more stuff that doesn’t work.
Too bad,, we could have some real money to spend on real people’s real problems if we just got rid of the entire Department of Homeland Security. And probably be more secure in the bargain without these Keystone Cops wasting our money.
The funny part is that anyone could buy radios that talk to each other at Radio Shack. Or, there’s this newfangled invention called cell-phones they might want to investigate.
© Copyright 2012
Pro Publica Inc.
||The examples and perspective in this article deal primarily with the United States and do not represent a worldwide view of the subject. Please improve this article and discuss the issue on the talk page. (November 2011)|
Homeland security is an umbrella term for security efforts to protect states against terrorist activity. Specifically, is a concerted national effort to prevent terrorist attacks within the U.S., reduce America’s vulnerability to terrorism, and minimize the damage and recover from attacks that do occur.
The term arose following a reorganization of many U.S. government agencies in 2003 to form the United States Department of Homeland Security after the September 11 attacks, and may be used to refer to the actions of that department, the United States Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, or the United States House of Representatives Committee on Homeland Security.
Homeland defense (HD) is the protection of U.S. territory, sovereignty, domestic population, and critical infrastructure against external threats and aggression. (Definition will be incorporated into JP 3-26 upon its approval). Not to be confused with Homeland security.
In the United States
In the United States, the concept of “Homeland Security”extends and recombines responsibilities of government agencies and entities. According to Homeland security research, the U.S. federal Homeland Security and Homeland Defense includes 187 federal agencies and departments, including the United States National Guard, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the United States Coast Guard, Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, the United States Secret Service, the Transportation Security Administration, the 14 agencies that constitute the U.S. intelligence community and Civil Air Patrol. Although many businesses now operate in the area of homeland security, it is overwhelmingly a government function.
The George W. Bush administration consolidated many of these activities under the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS), a new cabinet department established as a result of the Homeland Security Act of 2002. However, much of the nation’s homeland security activity remains outside of DHS; for example, the FBI and CIA are not part of the Department, and other executive departments such as the Department of Defense and Department of Health and Human Services play a significant role in certain aspects of homeland security. Homeland security is coordinated at the White House by the Homeland Security Council, currently headed by John Brennan.
Homeland security is officially defined by the National Strategy for Homeland Security as “a concerted national effort to prevent terrorist attacks within the United States, reduce America’s vulnerability to terrorism, and minimize the damage and recover from attacks that do occur”. Because the U.S. Department of Homeland Security includes the Federal Emergency Management Agency, it also has responsibility for preparedness, response, and recovery to natural disasters.
According to the U.S. Office of Management and Budget and Homeland Security Research Corporation, DHS Homeland security funding constitutes only 20-21% of the consolidated U.S. Homeland Security – Homeland Defense funding, while approximately 40% of the DHS budget funds civil, non-security activities, such as the U.S. coast guard search and rescue operations and customs functions. The U.S. Homeland Security is the world largest Homeland counter terror organization, having 40% of the global FY 2010 homeland security funding.
The term became prominent in the United States following the September 11, 2001 attacks; it had been used only in limited policy circles prior to these attacks. The phrase “security of the American homeland” appears in the 1998 report Catastrophic Terrorism: Elements of a National Policy by Ashton B. Carter, John M. Deutch, and Philip D. Zelikow.
Homeland security is also usually used to connote the civilian aspect of this effort; “homeland defense” refers to its military component, led chiefly by the U.S. Northern Command headquartered in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
The scope of homeland security includes:
- Emergency preparedness and response (for both terrorism and natural disasters), including volunteer medical, police, emergency management, and fire personnel;
- Domestic and International intelligence activities, largely today within the FBI;
- Critical infrastructure and perimeter protection;
- Border security, including both land, maritime and country borders;
- Transportation security, including aviation and maritime transportation;
- Detection of radioactive and radiological materials;
- Research on next-generation security technologies.
Conflicts exist between bodies of international law (ratified by the United States or not) and those applied under “homeland security”. One example is the notion of an unlawful combatant. The United States government has created a new status that addresses prisoners captured by a military force who do not conform with the conditions of the Convention. While the United States has only been a signatory to portions of the Geneva Conventions, much international law is based upon it.
- Airport security
- Civil defense
- High policing
- Infrastructure security
- Port security
- Supply chain security
- Boundaries of Security Report
- Homeland Security Act
- Homeland defense
- Center for Homeland Defense and Security (in California)
- Terrorism in the United States
- Texas Virtual Border Watch
- Surface and Air Transportation Programs Extension Act of 2011
- ^ a b FAS.ORG: Air Force Doctrine Document 2-10, 21 March 2006, pp.9-10, defines both terminologies.
This document complements related discussion found in Joint Publication 3-26, (JP 3-26), Joint Doctrine for Homeland Security.
- ^ HomeLandSecurityResearch.com: Homeland Security and Defense Structure
- ^ Dale Jones and Austen Givens (2010). O’Leary, Rosemary; Van Slyke, David; Kim, Soonhee. ed. Public Administration: The Central Discipline in Homeland Security in The Future of Public Administration Around the World: The Minnowbrook Perspective. Georgetown University Press. pp. 67–78.
- ^ The National Strategy For Homeland Security
- ^ U.S. Office of Management and Budget. Analytical Perspectives, Budget of the United States Government, Fiscal Year 2011. ISBN 978-0-16-084798-1
- ^ Homeland Security Research Corporation. U.S. HLS-HLD Markets – 2011-2014
- ^ Homeland Security Research Corporation. Global Homeland Security, Homeland Defense & Intelligence Markets Outlook – 2009-2018
- ^ Human Rights Brief: A Legal Resource for the International Human Rights Community http://www.wcl.american.edu/hrbrief/09/3guantanamo.cfm
- ^ List of parties to the Geneva Conventions
- United States. Committee on Homeland Security of the House of Representatives. (2008). Compilation of homeland security presidential directives (HSPD) [110th Congress, 2nd Session. Committee Print 110-B]. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office.
- Homeland Security from UCB Libraries GovPubs
- Rudy Giuliani, ‘The Resilient Society,’ City Journal, Winter 2008
- U.S. National Strategy for Homeland Security
- Homeland Security: A Selected Bibliography
- Congressional Research Service (CRS) reports on homeland security
- Government Accountability Office (GAO) reports on homeland security
- Comprehensive homeland security links (USAF Air War College site)
- Canadian Ministry of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness
- Homeland Security Institute Weekly Bulletin
- Naval Postgraduage Center for Homeland Defense and Security
- Homeland Security Newswire – News Wire Publications
- Homeland Security Network (HSN) – Information Backbone for First Responders
Every year, the International Criminal Police Organization, better known as INTERPOL, comes together at its General Assembly to discuss the organization’s priorities and to elect the members of its governing board—the Executive Committee.
How Do I…?
- The White House
- Launched a comprehensive, cutting-edge strategy to fight transnational organized crime.
- Presented President Obama’s National Strategy for Counterterrorism in a speech at SAIS named “Ensuring al-Qa’ida’s Demise.”
- The Administration successfully has managed several natural disasters and ongoing relief efforts, including deadly tornados in Joplin, MO and Tuscaloosa, AL. The DHS played a lead role in federal response efforts following the BP oil spill in the Gulf.
- Announced a new U.S.-Mexico border initiative.
- Concluded cyberspace policy review.
- Concluded Surface Transportation Security Assessment.
The President’s highest priority is to keep the American people safe. He is committed to ensuring the United States is true to our values and ideals while also protecting the American people. The President is committed to securing the homeland against 21st century threats by preventing terrorist attacks and other threats against our homeland, preparing and planning for emergencies, and investing in strong response and recovery capabilities. We will help ensure that the Federal Government works with states and local governments, and the private sector as close partners in a national approach to prevention, mitigation, and response.
The National Security Strategy, released May 27, 2010, lays out a strategic approach for advancing American interests, including the security of the American people, a growing U.S. economy, support for our values, and an international order that can address 21st century challenges.
Defeat Terrorism Worldwide
Administration also intends to provide $5 billion in assistance through the Shared Security Partnership over the next several years to enhance the ability of our partners to improve their own security and work with us to defeat terrorism worldwide.
Strengthen Our Bio and Nuclear Security
Attacks using improvised nuclear devices or biological weapons, as well as outbreaks of a pandemic disease, pose a serious and increasing national security risk, We will focus on reducing the risk of these high-consequence, nontraditional threats:
- Ensuring that decision-makers have the tools they need to manage disease outbreaks by linking health care providers, hospitals, and public health agencies. By building on America’s unparalleled talent and through international partnerships, we can create new drugs, vaccines, and diagnostic tests, and manufacture them more quickly and efficiently.
- Strengthening our nuclear security by enhancing our nuclear detection architecture and ensuring that our own nuclear materials are secure. By establishing well-planned, well-rehearsed, plans for coordinated response, we will also ensure a capability that can dramatically diminish the consequences of chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear incidents.
Improve Intelligence Capacity and Information Sharing
Gathering, analyzing, and effectively sharing intelligence is vital to the security of the United States. In order to prevent threats, including those from terrorism, we will strengthen intelligence collection to identify and interdict those who intend to do us harm. The information we collect must be analyzed as well as shared, and we must invest in our analytic capabilities and our capacity to share intelligence across all levels of government. As we grow our intelligence capabilities, the President is also committed to strengthening efforts to protect the privacy and civil rights of all Americans.
Ensuring a Secure Global Digital Information and Communications Infrastructure
The United States is an increasingly digital nation where the strength and vitality of our economy, infrastructure, public safety, and national security have been built on the foundation of cyberspace. Despite all of our efforts, our global digital infrastructure, based largely upon the Internet, is not secure or resilient enough today and future purposes. Effectively protecting cyberspace requires strong vision and leadership and will require changes in policy, technology, education, and perhaps law.
- Soon after taking office, the President called for a comprehensive review of the security and resiliency of the global digital infrastructure, a top priority in his administration.
- By harnessing the efforts of all parts of the U.S. Government in partnership with academia, the private sector, the civil liberties community, international partners, the Congress and state and local governments, the United States will continue to innovate and adopt cutting edge technology, while enhancing national security and the global economy.
Promote the Resiliency of our Physical and Social Infrastructure
Ensuring the resilience of our critical infrastructure is vital to homeland security. Working with the private sector and government partners at all levels will develop an effective, holistic, critical infrastructure protection and resiliency plan that centers on invest¬ments in business, technology, civil society, government, and education. We will invest in our Nation’s most pressing short and long-term infrastructure needs, including modernizing our electrical grid; upgrading our highway, rail, maritime, and aviation infrastructure; enhancing security within our chemical and nuclear sectors; and safeguarding the public transportation systems that Americans use every day.
Pursue Comprehensive Transborder Security
To address transnational threats effectively, we must take a comprehensive approach to securing our borders, including working with international partners, state and local governments, and the private sector. The President supports efforts to develop and deploy technology to maximize port security without causing economic disruption, and enhancing the security of key transportation networks—including surface, air, and maritime networks—that connect our nation and the world. However, we must also work to address issues such as immigration that are directly related to our ability to effectively secure our borders.
Ensure Effective Incident Management
The Obama Administration has already effectively managed several domestic events, including severe winter ice storms throughout the Midwest and record flooding in North Dakota and Minnesota. Our goal is to improve coordination and to actively listen to the concerns and priorities at all levels of government. In doing so, we can create better evacuation planning guidelines, increase medical surge capacity, and increase Federal resources and logistics to better support local emergency planning efforts. Additionally, we will develop detailed interagency contingency plans for high-risk attack and disaster scenarios and test these plans through realistic exercises. Finally, we support efforts to provide greater technical assistance to local and state first responders and dramatically increase funding for reliable, interoperable communications systems.
Subcommittee on Oversight, Investigations, and Management Chairman McCaul Releases Report on Drug Cartels and Hezbollah Terrorist ThreatNov 15, 2012 Press ReleaseNov 14, 2012 Press Release
Rep. Jeff Duncan (SC)
Rep. Jeff Duncan represents South Carolina’s 3rd Congressional District. He is currently serving on the Subcommittee on Oversight, Investigations, and Management among others.
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REGION: North America TOPIC: Terrorism Online NewsHour Posted: May 15, 2003 The Homeland Security Act The creation of the Homeland Security Department amounted to the largest overhaul of the federal government in more than 50 years. This monumental task was aimed at consolidating much of the government’s domestic anti-terrorism and protective services to ensure better coordination, development and deployment.Congress passed the Homeland Security Act creating the department in November 2002. The move came some five months after President Bush urged the government to undertake “dramatic reform” to meet the terrorist threat in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks in New York, Virginia and Pennsylvania.According to the president’s National Homeland Security Strategy published in July 2002, the new department’s main objectives are to guard the nation’s borders, prevent domestic terrorist attacks, create a national defense strategy, and reduce damage from natural disasters and terrorist acts.The new department employs some 180,000 federal workers from 22 existing federal agencies to perform a variety of security-related duties — from agricultural research to port safeguarding to disaster assistance. The administration has one year to complete the mammoth task of melding together the various federal agencies into a single department.President Bush officially inaugurated the department on Jan. 24 with former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge at its helm. Ridge had previously served as Mr. Bush’s domestic security adviser, having opened the White House’s first-ever Homeland Security Office on Sept. 21, 2001.
The new department will consist of four sub-agencies: border and transportation security, emergency preparedness, technology and intelligence. The Coast Guard and Secret Service, two agencies transferred in from the Transportation and Treasury Departments, respectively, will now operate within the Homeland Security Department, but will function independent of its subdivisions. The Department now includes a fifth agency, management, which oversees budget, human resources, and other personnel issues.
The department also effectively consolidates the Transportation Security Administration, formerly part of the Transportation Department; parts of the Customs Service, formerly of the Treasury Department; the Immigration and Naturalization Service and parts of the FBI, formerly of the Justice Department; and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, among others.
The department will not include the FBI or the CIA — two intelligence agencies that drew harsh criticism from Congress and others in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks. However, it will collect and analyze information gathered by the FBI, CIA, and other U.S. intelligence agencies related to domestic security.
A number of the component agencies will be transferred into the new department on March 1. The act says the department should be fully consolidated by Sept. 30.
According to the Homeland Security Act, the new department’s responsibilities include:
Border & Transportation Security
The Border and Transportation Security directorate brings together the government’s border security and transportation agencies, comprising some 156,169 employees with an estimated budget of $18 billion.
The division’s top priority is to manage and guard the nation’s borders and transportation systems, including those inside U.S. territories overseas. The BTS consolidates several of the largest federal agencies, such as the INS and its Border Patrol force; the law enforcement units of the Customs Service; and the Transportation Security Administration. These agencies officially transferred to the Homeland Security Department on March 1, 2003.
The Justice Department’s Office of Domestic Preparedness, which coordinates with local and state emergency response agencies in crisis situations, also joins the Border and Transportation Security division.
The Coast Guard, formerly of the Department of Transportation, will act independently within the Homeland Security Department, reporting directly to the secretary. The Coast Guard will coordinate and work closely with the Border and Transportation Security directorate, since their missions to guard ports, transportation infrastructure and U.S. borders overlap.
By June, the U.S. Agriculture Department’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service — which regulates and protects the nation’s food supply and agricultural imports — is scheduled to move over to the department in an effort to better coordinate a national defense policy.
Similarly, the department is expected to absorb the Federal Protective Service of the General Services Administration, which manages security for federal government buildings, a task coinciding with the department’s overarching mission to safeguard the nation and its infrastructure.
The Homeland Security Act effectively disbands the INS as it existed under the Justice Department, separating its immigration, naturalization, and visa services into one agency separate from another that houses its border security and law enforcement units. Under the act, the Homeland Security secretary has the authority to grant or deny visas for U.S. immigration.
Emergency Preparedness & Response
The Emergency Preparedness and Response division oversees domestic disaster preparedness training and provides federal support for recovery from terrorist acts and natural disasters.
The directorate is responsible for ensuring a high standard of readiness among the nation’s emergency response teams and for formulating a federal emergency response plan for natural disasters, attacks and hazards.
The division integrates the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the FBI’s National Domestic Preparedness Office and the Energy Department’s Nuclear Incident Response team, among others.
Currently, numerous groups have developed disparate federal response plans; the EPR seeks to streamline the myriad plans into one “all-hazards” plan for the country.
This division also coordinates with state, local, and public safety organizations to develop a comprehensive national crisis management system to respond to terrorist attacks and natural catastrophes. In case of a national emergency, the EPR has authority to command federal response teams as they work with teams on the local and state levels.
According to Mr. Bush’s 2004 budget, the EPR division has roughly $6 billion with which to work. Approximately 5,300 employees are expected serve under the EPR.
Chemical, Biological, Radiological, & Nuclear Countermeasures (Science and Technology)
This division, officially known as the Science and Technology directorate, will head national efforts to prepare for and respond to terrorist threats involving weapons of mass destruction and develop plans to guard the U.S. against such catastrophic attacks.
The group is charged with establishing a national emergency strategy and guidelines for state and local governments as well as chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear attack response teams. The guidelines aim to synchronize the myriad emergency strategies currently in place into a single response procedure.
In addition, the division is responsible for developing diagnostics, vaccines, antibodies, antidotes and other countermeasures designed to mitigate the nation’s vulnerabilities to WMD attacks.
The division incorporates the government’s scientific research organizations, including the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and the Plum Island Animal Disease Center of the USDA, in order to consolidate federal science and technology research agencies and better coordinate their work related to domestic security.
The Plum Island Animal Disease Center, located off of Long Island, New York, works to protect the U.S. food market from highly infectious foreign animal diseases, such as foot-and-mouth disease, and is the only place in the U.S. where such diseases are studied. The Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, which started as a nuclear weapons design facility in 1952 at the University of California, develops advanced defense technologies and conducts research in energy, environment, biosciences, and basic sciences as related to international and national security.
A third research institution, the National Bioweapons Defense Analysis Center, will be created specifically for the Homeland Security Department, set up with some $420 million previously earmarked for the U.S. Defense Department.
This branch employs some 598 agents with the requested budget of $803 million.
Information Analysis & Infrastructure Protection
This division is responsible for collecting and analyzing information and intelligence data relevant to domestic security obtained from multiple organizations, such as the CIA, FBI, National Security Agency, Defense Intelligence Agency, and the Justice Department’s Drug Enforcement Agency, among others.
The directorate has two main units: Threat Analysis and Warning and Critical Infrastructure Protection.
The division centralizes all information relevant to domestic security in an attempt to resolve some of the errors made in intelligence-gathering and analysis before the Sept. 11 terror attacks.
The agencies reshuffled into the Homeland Security Department will seek to collectively assess information, identify threats, communicate appropriate response actions and coordinate with other federal, state, and local officials.
The Threat Analysis and Warning unit is charged with compiling information from disparate intelligence resources to identify and assess current and potential threats against the U.S., evaluate the nation’s vulnerability against those threats, and to issue appropriate warnings and recommend preventative, or protective, actions.
The Critical Infrastructure Protection will also evaluate domestic security information, specifically items dealing with the nation’s internal systems.
The unit will oversee protection of the nation’s food markets, water systems, health and sanitation systems, emergency services, energy (electrical, nuclear, gas and oil, pipelines, dams), transportation (air, road, rail, ports, waterways), information and telecommunications, and banking and finance infrastructure. It will also guard U.S. energy, transportation, chemical, defense industries, postal and shipping systems, and national monuments and icons.
Officials in this unit are expected to develop a policy to protect these high-risk targets and mitigate damage and potentially catastrophic consequences.
With a requested budget of $829 million, this sub-division brings together some 976 employees from the Commerce Department’s Critical Infrastructure Assurance Office, the General Services Administration’s Federal Computer Incident Response Center, the Defense Department’s National Communications System, the FBI’s National Infrastructure Protection Center, and the Energy Department’s National Infrastructure Simulation and Analysis Center and Energy and Security Assurance Program.
The CIAO, FCIRC, and NIPC focus on security for computer, Internet, and information technologies; the NISAC (operated by Sandia National Laboratories and Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico) oversees the development of technology to protect energy infrastructures; and the NCS provides analysis for communications during crises situations.
Other Provisions For Domestic Security:
The Secret Service, like the Coast Guard, stands apart from the four main directorates and reports directly to the secretary. The Bush administration’s 2004 budget earmarked around $1.3 billion for the Secret Service, which has some 6,111 agents.
The Bush administration requested roughly $6.8 billion for the Coast Guard, the largest unit of the Homeland Security Department with 43,639 members.
The secretary must also appoint a senior counter-narcotics officer to coordinate narcotics interdiction efforts with other federal agencies, and to track and sever links between terrorism and illegal drug trafficking, which the Bush administration believes funds terrorist organizations.
The department is also responsible for the Homeland Security Advisory System, which issues warnings based on terrorist threats, activities and potential attacks.
What Critics Say:
The Homeland Security Act explicitly forbids creating the controversial, and heavily criticized, Citizen Corps program called Operation TIPS (Terrorism Information and Information System), which critics said would have enabled the department to act as a domestic intelligence agency.
While the American Civil Liberties Union praised Congress for rejecting the TIPS provision and the proposed national identification card system, the civil rights group warned the legislation contained several serious setbacks to civil liberties protections, such as the right to privacy and obstructing the public’s access to information.
Laura W. Murphy, director of the ACLU’s Washington office, criticized the bill for permitting the department to withhold “critical infrastructure” information from public scrutiny. The bill exempts infrastructure information deemed particularly sensitive to national security from the Freedom of Information Act and, Murphy notes, “goes so far as to impose criminal penalties for government officials who disclose this information.”
“As a result, officials who blow the whistle on threats to public health (uranium stockpiling or tainted blood) or private sector incompetence (poor maintenance of railroad tracks or computer networks) could become criminals,” the ACLU said in a press statement released on Nov. 13, 2002.
The Center for Democracy and Technology, a free-speech and technology advocacy group based in Washington, D.C., says the legislation greatly “undermin[es] privacy online” through the Cyber-Security Enhancement Act (CSEA). This provision enables government officials to obtain citizens’ electronic information (like e-mail, voice mail messages, phone records, and Internet transactions) from telecommunication companies in case of “an immediate threat to a national-security interest.” Telecommunication companies traditionally have refused to turn over client information unless government authorities have court-approved warrants.
Computer hackers found guilty of engineering cyber-attacks could receive a maximum life sentence, the CSEA provision says.
According to the legislation, the Homeland Security Department is not directly involved in the Defense Department’s Total Awareness Information office headed by John Poindexter, the former national security adviser under President Reagan who was indicted and later pardoned for his role in the Iran-Contra deals. Nevertheless, the act grants the department access to intelligence obtained by the TIA office, which critics, such as New York Times columnist William Safire, deride as characteristic of “Big Brotherism.” Congress also moved to limit the TIA, removing much of the budget for the new agency in its appropriations bill.
The act has also sparked protests over its indemnification provision that restricts citizens from filing class-action lawsuits against government contractors, such as vaccine-manufacturer Eli Lily and Co.
The provision is intended to offer incentives to companies involved in creating vaccines to fight potential terrorist weapons like anthrax and smallpox, and to protect them from the high costs of liability.
Additional Features Of Homeland Security Act:
The legislation won accolades from civil liberties groups like the ACLU for establishing a civil rights watchdog for the whole department and a privacy ombudsman to oversee the department’s intelligence division.
A large part of the Homeland Security Act includes provisions designed to improve the training, management and work environment for federal employees. The act requires each federal agency to designate a chief human capital officer who will help develop better employee incentives and human resources policies, such as training programs and more competitive hiring, promotion and compensation policies. The management directorate is responsible for such matters.
While the act devotes such attention to improving government management of agencies, such as the CIA and FBI, critics charge the legislation strips certain employees of union-protection.
In fact, the act states that all agencies transferred to the Homeland Security Department will be covered by the federal civil service labor-management relations law, unless the employees or agency is primarily involved in intelligence, counterintelligence, or investigative work directly related to terrorism investigation, as a large number of department employees are.
–The Treasury Department’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms is transferred to the Justice Department.
–The legislation tightens restrictions on possession of explosive materials and toughens penalties for illegal possession of explosives.
– The act outlines several new provisions related to the Transportation Security Administration. It says the TSA can now train pilots on how to carry and use firearms to defend aircraft, crew and passengers if necessary against terrorists or criminals. The act also says that only U.S. citizens and nationals will be employed as airport screeners — excluding those who immigrated to the U.S.
– Compiled by Liz Harper for the Online NewsHour
Main: Domestic Security Archive The USA Patriot Act The Homeland Security Act Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Domestic Surveillance Questions Gathering Intelligence Immigration and Registration The Homeland Security Advisory
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