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DHS Statement On Attack In Barcelona

Thu, 08/17/2017 - 14:08
Release Date: August 17, 2017

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

Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke has been briefed on the situation in Barcelona, Spain and is being kept apprised of developments. DHS has reached out to Spanish authorities, and the Department is standing by to support our allies as they respond to and recover from this horrendous attack. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and those affected.

We will not let terrorism become the new normal. Instead, such acts of violence only harden our resolve to fight back against violent extremists, bring them to justice, and dismantle their networks. DHS will continue its efforts to raise the baseline of our security across the board and to work with foreign partners to help them do the same.

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Topics:  International Keywords:  international, Counter-Terrorism Response

Statement by Acting Secretary Elaine Duke on Incident in Charlottesville

Sat, 08/12/2017 - 18:41
Release Date: August 12, 2017

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

DHS personnel have been in contact with Virginia state and local law enforcement to offer any assistance necessary to deal with today’s horrible violent incident in Charlottesville. What we have seen today has no place in our society. DHS will continue to work closely with our state and local partners across the country to counter violent extremism in all forms.

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DHS Acting Secretary Elaine Duke Visits Tennessee Fusion Center

Mon, 08/07/2017 - 16:57
Release Date: August 7, 2017

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

NASHVILLE, TENN.— Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke today visited the Tennessee Fusion Center (TFC) where she met with TFC staff and law enforcement as well as homeland security executives from the state of Tennessee. She also received an operational brief and tour of the facility. Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam met her upon arrival to the facility.

The TFC routinely collaborates with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to share intelligence and support investigative efforts.  In particular, the TFC has shared unique state and local law enforcement data – such as information available in their state gang database - to support a range of efforts including human trafficking, fraudulent identities, narcotics smuggling, and counterterrorism. This information has led to the arrests of human smugglers and traffickers, wanted fugitives, and individuals attempting to exploit minors, and has also provided unique insights on trends and tactics related to illegal narcotics across the state of Tennessee.  For example, earlier this year the Tennessee Bureau of Investigations (TBI) along with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) announced the arrests of more than 42 individuals for their involvement in human trafficking. This operation, known as “Someone Like Me,” was a joint effort with ICE/HSI, TBI, the Memphis Police Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigations, the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, prosecutors with the Shelby County District Attorney’s office and nonprofits.  Additionally, information shared by the TFC has supported the identification and watchlisting of known or suspected terrorists.

“Fusion centers were established post-9/11 across the country to facilitate coordination among national security partners, and are a critically important method for DHS to share information and analysis with our state and local partners,” said Acting Secretary Duke. “Their grassroots intelligence and analytic efforts better position our country to identify and address emerging trends and threats, especially at the local level, and allows us to mutually support state and federal investigations.”

The brief provided to Acting Secretary Duke during the visit discussed Tennessee’s collaboration with the DHS Office of Intelligence and Analysis, as well as ICE/HSI on various investigations involving gangs, human trafficking, as well as their efforts to dismantle criminal organizations importing illegal narcotics such as methamphetamine and fentanyl into the U.S. ICE/HSI attributed much of their success in Tennessee to their strong partnerships with the TBI, the TFC, the Tennessee Highway Patrol, and other agencies across the State.  Throughout Tennessee, DHS components work together with their state and local partners daily to ensure the safety and security of the 6.5 million people who live there.

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Topics:  Critical Infrastructure Security, Economic Security Keywords:  HSI, Acting Secretary Duke, critical infrastructure

DHS Acting Secretary Elaine Duke Discusses Public Event Security with Venue Managers

Mon, 08/07/2017 - 15:41
Release Date: August 7, 2017

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

NASHVILLE, TENN.— Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke today delivered remarks at the International Association of Venue Managers (IAVM) VenueConnect 2017 conference in Nashville, Tennessee. Acting Secretary Duke reaffirmed the Department of Homeland Security’s commitment to partnering with private sector venues to ensure the safety of the American public. Excerpts of Acting Secretary Duke’s remarks as prepared are below.

“The places where we gather—our stadiums and concert halls, our fairgrounds and convention centers—are living symbols of our free society.  Freedom of expression.  Freedom of assembly.  And freedom to cheer for whichever team we choose.   

“But recently, the world has watched in horror as these symbols of free society have come under attack…

“As ISIS loses ground in Syria, terrorists affiliated with—or inspired by—the group are bringing the battleground to our city streets. 

“Our friends in the UK know firsthand how barbaric our enemies really are.  We saw this all too clearly in the attack on Manchester Arena on May 22.  An Ariana Grande concert with more than 14,000 fans—many not even old enough to drive.  What should have been a fun night with friends and family was shattered by a radicalized young man filled with hate, and his homemade bomb full of shrapnel. 

“Last week, I had the privilege of touring AT&T Park in San Francisco to see firsthand how you—venue operators--secure large venues and special events.  It also showed me how DHS works alongside our private sector partners. 

“The tour was a timely reminder that security is a shared responsibility and the public and private sector must work together to make these places more secure and resilient. 

“Effective security doesn’t stop or start at the fence line and instead requires close coordination between law enforcement, venue owners and managers, and emergency management…

“Terrorists use the element of surprise in their attacks to maximize damage.  Through we can’t always prevent attacks, we can be ready to respond.  And we especially encourage those who organize public gatherings to take four proactive steps to prepare for a worst case scenario.  They are Connect, Plan, Train, and Report.”

DHS works closely with private sector and community partners to help them protect themselves through initiatives such as DHS’s Hometown Security.  Hometown Security is designed for small and medium-sized businesses, and people who organize public gatherings that extremists might consider soft targets.  The goal is to protect restaurants, clubs, grocery stores, sporting events, places of worship, and other places where people gather.  The Hometown Security portal on DHS.gov makes it easy to find free, useful information that helps communities enhance their security.

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Topics:  DHS Enterprise, Economic Security, Essential Security Support, Federal Building Security, Land Keywords:  Acting Secretary Duke, private sector, public-private partnership

DHS Statement on Explosion at Minnesota Mosque

Sat, 08/05/2017 - 21:55
Release Date: August 5, 2017

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

WASHINGTON— Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke is aware of the explosion today at a mosque in Bloomington, Minn. We are in close contact with federal, state and local authorities and local community leaders as the investigation into this matter continues. The Department of Homeland Security fully supports the rights of all to freely and safely worship the faith of their choosing and we vigorously condemn such attacks on any religious institution. We are thankful that there were no injuries, but that does not diminish the serious nature of this act.

 

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DHS Acting Secretary Elaine Duke's Statement on Celebrating the U.S. Coast Guard's 227 Years of Service

Fri, 08/04/2017 - 17:48
Release Date: August 4, 2017

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

This Year’s Theme is “Honoring the Past, Securing the Future”

WASHINGTON— Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke today released the following statement on the United States Coast Guard’s 227th birthday: “Today, Coast Guard men and women stationed around the globe will celebrate 227 years of service by honoring their rich history and looking ahead to a future of dedicated service to our nation.

“The Coast Guard stands ready to protect U.S. security and economic interests whenever and wherever called upon- in our coastal waters, the Arctic region and abroad. Notably, the brave men and women of the Coast Guard operate thousands of miles below our southern border, securing our country from transnational organized criminals, human smugglers and terrorist threats before they reach our shores and harm our citizens.  Their efforts are a critical part of the department's mission to protect the homeland and the American people.

“We are grateful for these extraordinary men and women – active duty, reserve, civilian, and auxiliary – who proudly serve in critical jobs afloat, ashore, and in the air to protect our maritime interests and national security, as well as save lives every day. Thank you for continuing to ensure our nation’s safety, security, and prosperity.”

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Keywords:  coast guard

DHS Hosts Hurricane Briefing with President Trump, Vice President Pence, and Hurricane State Governors

Fri, 08/04/2017 - 12:12
Release Date: August 4, 2017

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

DHS is Coordinating Preparedness on all Levels of Government 

WASHINGTON – Today, the Department of Homeland Security hosted a hurricane briefing for President Donald J. Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, cabinet officials, and hurricane state governors. The purpose of the briefing, held at Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) headquarters in Washington, DC, was to discuss the nation’s preparedness for hurricane season. Donald J. Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke, FEMA Administrator Brock Long, and other federal agency leaders all attended. They were joined via teleconference by the governors from states with a high risk of hurricanes.

During the meeting, the President was briefed on the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season forecast by the acting director for the National Hurricane Center. Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Duke discussed the government-wide year-long hurricane preparedness efforts, working with all levels of government, the private sector, and individuals – highlighting the shared responsibility of preparedness.  FEMA Administrator Long discussed the nation’s readiness posture for hurricane response and the Agency’s response and recovery capabilities.

“Natural disaster preparedness is a joint effort between state and local partners, the American people, and the federal government.  We at DHS and FEMA are ready to respond quickly, efficiently, and effectively when a disaster occurs,” said Acting Secretary Duke.  “We take this responsibility seriously, and like today will continue to coordinate closely with our state and local partners to support our nation’s collective ability to respond.”

Several governors briefed out on their state-specific preparedness efforts, as well as ongoing coordination with their federal counterparts.

“Incidents begin and end locally, and FEMA’s role is to support the efforts and capabilities of states, local governments, tribes, and territories impacted by disasters,” said Administrator Long.  “FEMA stands ready to coordinate federal capabilities in our shared responsibility for response and recovery. Every level of government and each individual has a role to play.”

The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 through November 30.  More information on safety measures the public can take can be found at http://www.ready.gov/hurricanes.  The FEMA App (available in English and Spanish) puts safety tips, directions to shelters, emergency supply checklists and more, into the palms of users’ hands.

 

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Topics:  Plan and Prepare for Disasters Keywords:  FEMA, Hurricane, National preparedness, President, response and recovery, ready.gov

DHS Delivers Northern Border Threat Analysis Report to Congress

Thu, 08/03/2017 - 10:05
Release Date: August 3, 2017

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

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Homeland Security delivered to the Congress the Northern Border Threat Analysis Report describing the current threat landscape on the U.S.-Canada border and analyzing national security and other threats across the air, land, and maritime domains. The report was prepared in accordance with the reporting requirements of the Northern Border Security Review Act.

Although the Northern and Southern borders of the United States differ greatly in terms of climate, threat environment, and volume of cross-border flows, some of the same technological resources and border enforcement methods are effectively deployed at both borders. DHS also collaborates with other federal, state, local, and tribal partners, as well as our Canadian partners, to address border security-related issues. Intelligence coordination and sharing is critical for successful northern border operations.

This report offers a preliminary description of the Department’s capabilities and gaps for our operations on the Northern border. DHS intends to build on the preliminary assessment offered in this report by updating its Northern border strategy and writing a corresponding implementation plan. The updated strategy will include measures that will allow DHS to evaluate progress toward addressing capability gaps on the Northern border. Upon completion, these documents will enable DHS to begin a formal capability assessment and generate requirements which will guide the Department’s approach to making investments that will make the U.S.-Canada border more secure.

Current strategic guidance for DHS northern border operations is derived from several sources, including the 2014-2018 DHS Strategic Plan, the 2014 Quadrennial Homeland Security Review (QHSR), and the 2012 Northern Border Strategy.

To read the full public Executive Summary, click here.

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Topics:  Border Security Keywords:  Northern border security, Canada-United States partnership, Border Security, QHSR

Statement By Acting Secretary Of Homeland Security Elaine Duke On Legislation To Create A Merit-Based Immigration System

Wed, 08/02/2017 - 15:08
Release Date: August 2, 2017

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

WASHINGTON – The immigration system of the United States must encourage the admission of the best and the brightest from around the world. The RAISE Act embodies the President's vision for a merit-based immigration system that would better serve our national interest.

The men and women of the Department of Homeland Security are committed to enforcing the existing immigration laws of our nation, including our current system which admits more than 1.1 million legal immigrants per year. We look forward to an immigration structure that is better for American workers, the American economy, for American security, and better for legal immigrants and their immediate families.

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Topics:  Immigration and Citizenship Services Keywords:  immigration

DHS Acting Secretary Elaine Duke Discusses Public Venue Security at AT&T Park

Tue, 08/01/2017 - 18:54
Release Date: August 1, 2017

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

DHS is Coordinating Closely with Private Sector Partners on Venue Security

WASHINGTON – Today, Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke met with security officials at AT&T Park in San Francisco to discuss how DHS works alongside our private sector partners and local law enforcement on public venue security. Acting Secretary Duke reaffirmed DHS’s commitment to partnering with large venue security teams to ensure the safety of the American public.

“The Department of Homeland Security is proactively working with our private sector partners to ensure the safety and security of public venues and gathering places,” said Acting Secretary Duke. “As we saw in the tragic attack at Manchester Arena, high profile events make attractive targets for terrorists. DHS will continue to make public venue security a top priority, while striving to minimize potential inconveniences to the public.”

DHS works alongside professional sports leagues and public assembly venues to develop several programs for the safety, security, and resilience of sporting stadiums including everything from sharing threat information, training for hourly employees on recognition of suspicious activity around the venue, to unmanned aerial system awareness, and patron screening best practices guides.

Beyond the work with these venues, DHS also works to assist communities nationwide, reaching small and medium size businesses that attract large numbers of people, including but not limited to restaurants, clubs, grocery stores, places of worship and other venues often located near larger entertainment venues.  The Hometown Security portal on DHS.gov makes it easy to find free, useful information that helps communities and businesses enhance their security. 

 

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Topics:  Federal Building Security, Law Enforcement Partnerships Keywords:  law enforcement, Hometown Security, mass gatherings; large-scale public events

Pursuant to Executive Order on Public Safety, Departments of Justice and Homeland Security Release Data on Incarcerated Aliens

Tue, 08/01/2017 - 11:53
Release Date: August 1, 2017

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

WASHINGTON – President Trump’s Executive Order on Public Safety in the Interior of the United States requires the Department of Justice and Department of Homeland Security to collect relevant data and provide quarterly reports on data collection efforts. The data in this release shows a significant prison population of incarcerated aliens.

Below is a summary of data collected under Section 16 of the Order, which directs “the Secretary [of Homeland Security] and the Attorney General . . . to collect relevant data and provide quarterly reports” regarding the following subjects: (a) the immigration status of all aliens incarcerated under the supervision of the Bureau of Prisons; (b) the immigration status of all aliens incarcerated as federal pretrial detainees; and (c) the immigration status of all convicted aliens in state prisons and local detention centers throughout the United States.

Information Regarding Immigration Status of Aliens Incarcerated Under the Supervision of the Federal Bureau of Prisons

The Department of Justice’s Bureau of Prisons (BOP) has an operational process for maintaining data regarding foreign-born inmates in its custody. On a daily basis, BOP supplies this information to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). ICE, in turn, analyzes that information to determine the immigration status of each inmate and provides that information back to BOP.

As a part of satisfying the Justice Department’s second quarterly report of this information, below is information regarding aliens currently incarcerated under the supervision of BOP.[1] This information is current as of June 24:

Out of the 187,855 inmates in BOP custody, 42,034 are foreign-born.  The breakdown of the 42,034 aliens is as follows:   

  • 19,749 (46.9%) are aliens who have received final orders of removal;
  • 21,121 (50.2%) are aliens who are under ICE investigation for possible removal;
  • 1,157 (2.8%) are aliens whose cases are pending adjudication before an Immigration Judge in the Executive Office of Immigration Review (EOIR); and
  • Seven (.0002%) are aliens who have been granted relief.

 

Information Regarding the Immigration Status of Aliens Incarcerated as Federal Pretrial Detainees

The U.S. Marshal Service (USMS), the Department of Justice’s component charged with the housing and care of federal pretrial detainees, recently instituted a program to capture data regarding the immigration status of these detainees. 

Based upon records current as June 14, USMS identified 12,005 “self-reporting” foreign-born prisoners (aliens) out of 50,135 arrested and detained at USMS facilities. Further details follow for the 50,135 detained aliens:

  • 9,857 (82.1%) are aliens who have received final orders of removal;
  • 2,047 (17.1%) are aliens whose cases are still pending adjudication before an Immigration Judge in the EOIR; and
  • 101 (.8%) are aliens still pending adjudication (ICE has charged these aliens as removal cases, but a final disposition has not yet been reached.)

Immigration Status of All Convicted Aliens Incarcerated in State Prisons and Local Detention Centers throughout the United States

The Department continues to progress towards establishing data collection of the immigration status of convicted aliens incarcerated in state prisons and local detention centers through its Office of Justice Programs (OJP), Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS).

 

[1] The previous report is available at: https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/pursuant-executive-order-public-safety-department-justice-releases-data-incarcerated-aliens-0

 

 

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Topics:  Immigration Enforcement Keywords:  Department of Justice, public safety, immigration statistics, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement

DHS Acting Secretary Duke Joins Tech Companies, UK Home Secretary Rudd to Discuss Combating Online Terrorist Recruitment

Tue, 08/01/2017 - 09:17
Release Date: August 1, 2017

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

SAN FRANCISCO – Today, Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke will join leaders from internet and technology companies at the inaugural meeting of the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism in San Francisco, Calif. The meeting is part of the Department’s ongoing efforts to work collaboratively with the private sector to counter terrorist recruitment and radicalization. Acting Secretary Duke will be joined by her counterpart in the United Kingdom, Home Secretary Amber Rudd.

“The internet provides terrorists with a virtual safe haven to recruit followers in our communities and plot against us,” Acting Secretary Duke said. “The Department is eager to work with our private sector partners to fight back against terrorist propaganda and to support their efforts to remove dangerous content and terminate known terrorist accounts. Additionally, internet and tech companies play a critical role in amplifying credible voices to counter the false narrative of groups like ISIS and al Qaeda. We cannot cede the digital battlespace. The Department will continue to partner with industry to confront this challenge, while protecting free speech and privacy.”

In June, Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter and YouTube announced the formation of the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism in an effort to make online platforms hostile to terrorists and violent extremists.
 

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Topics:  Countering Violent Extremism Keywords:  cve, countering terrorism, ISIS

DHS Issues Waiver to Expedite Border Construction Projects in San Diego Area

Tue, 08/01/2017 - 07:48
Release Date: August 1, 2017

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

WASHINGTON – The Department of Homeland Security has issued a waiver to waive certain laws, regulations and other legal requirements to ensure the expeditious construction of barriers and roads in the vicinity of the international border near San Diego.  The waiver will be published in the Federal Register in the coming days.

This waiver is pursuant to authority granted to the Secretary of Homeland Security by Congress and covers a variety of environmental, natural resource, and land management laws.

The Department has exercised the waiver authority in Section 102 of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (IIRIRA), as amended, on five previous occasions from 2005 to 2008.

The waiver covers certain border infrastructure projects in the United States Border Patrol’s San Diego Sector, one of the busiest sectors in the nation. In fiscal year 2016 alone, the United States Border Patrol apprehended more than 31,000 illegal aliens and seized 9,167 pounds of marijuana and 1,317 pounds of cocaine in the San Diego Sector.

The sector remains an area of high illegal entry for which there is an immediate need to improve current infrastructure and construct additional border barriers and roads. To begin to meet the need for additional border infrastructure in this area, DHS will implement various border infrastructure projects. These projects will focus on an approximately 15-mile segment of the border within the San Diego Sector that starts at the Pacific Ocean and extends eastward, to approximately one mile east of what is known as Border Monument 251.

Congress provided the Secretary of Homeland Security with a number of authorities necessary to carry out DHS’s border security mission. One of these authorities is found at section 102 of the IIRIRA.

Section 102(a) of IIRIRA provides that the Secretary of Homeland Security shall take such actions as may be necessary to install additional physical barriers and roads in the vicinity of the United States border to deter illegal crossings in areas of high illegal entry into the United States. In section 102(b) of IIRIRA, Congress has called for the installation of additional fencing, barriers, roads, lighting, cameras, and sensors on the southwest border. Finally, in section 102(c) of IIRIRA, Congress granted to the Secretary of Homeland Security the authority to waive all legal requirements that the Secretary, in his sole discretion, determines necessary to ensure the expeditious construction of the barriers and roads authorized by section 102 of IIRIRA.

The Department is implementing President Trump’s Executive Order 13767, Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements, and continues to take steps to immediately plan, design and construct a physical wall along the southern border, using appropriate materials and technology to most effectively achieve complete operational control of the southern border.

While the waiver eliminates DHS’s obligation to comply with various laws with respect to covered projects, the Department remains committed to environmental stewardship with respect to these projects. DHS has been coordinating and consulting -- and intends to continue doing so -- with other federal and state resource agencies to ensure impacts to the environment, wildlife, and cultural and historic artifacts are analyzed and minimized, to the extent possible.

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Topics:  Border Security, Immigration Enforcement Keywords:  Border Security, immigration enforcement

Statement from Press Secretary Dave Lapan on Homeland Security Leadership

Fri, 07/28/2017 - 19:07
Release Date: July 28, 2017

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

WASHINGTON – Secretary Kelly remains the Secretary of Homeland Security until Monday, July 31, at which time Deputy Secretary Elaine Duke will become acting Secretary.

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Topics:  DHS Enterprise Keywords:  Secretary John Kelly, Secretary Kelly

Statement from Secretary John F. Kelly

Fri, 07/28/2017 - 18:46
Release Date: July 28, 2017

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

WASHINGTON – I have been fortunate to have served my country for more than 45 years - first as a Marine and then as the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. I am honored to be asked to serve as the Chief of Staff to the President of the United States.

To the tremendous men and women of DHS, I thank you for the opportunity to serve as your Secretary. When I left the Marines, I never thought I would find as committed, as professional, as patriotic a group of individuals. I was wrong. You accomplish great things everyday defending our nation and I know your exceptional work will continue.

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Topics:  DHS Enterprise Keywords:  Secretary John Kelly, Secretary Kelly

Statement for the record of OPE for a House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on National Security hearing titled “Combating Homegrown Terrorism”

Thu, 07/27/2017 - 00:00
Release Date: July 27, 2017

2154 Rayburn House Office Building

Good afternoon, and thank you for the opportunity to speak with you today. My name is George Selim, and I lead the Office for Community Partnerships (OCP) for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). We are focused on terrorism prevention efforts, also known as countering violent extremism (CVE).

In my ten-plus years of working in the terrorism prevention space in the Executive Branch – including at the Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security, and the National Security Council staff – I have seen how important our communities are to accomplishing this mission. I have personally worked with civic leaders and local agencies and citizens who have raised concerns about individuals in their neighborhoods – tips and insights we may not have received otherwise – and with many patriotic community leaders who have sought to stand up and be part of the solution in countering terrorist recruitment and radicalization to violence in their communities. I have worked with leaders from a variety of localities across the United States, such as Chicago, Illinois; Dearborn, Michigan; and Columbus, Ohio, as well as many other cities, and I have engaged with a range of international stakeholders, such as from Somalia, Jordan, and Indonesia – and the most common question I get from local leaders no matter from where they originate is, “How can I help?”

Terrorism prevention efforts complement traditional counterterrorism investigative and prosecutorial processes, focusing on the disruption of the beliefs of violent extremists (e.g., violent ideology) and their will to act on those beliefs by taking criminal or violent actions (i.e., mobilization). Community-based training and engagement programs can be used to mitigate recruitment and interdict individuals radicalizing to violence earlier in the process – in that way contributing to the safety of the homeland. It must be a priority to reduce recruiters’ ability to influence vulnerable individuals, and we must work to increase the likelihood that communities are inhospitable to terrorist recruitment.

Historically, OCP has pursued a number of activities to advance the terrorism prevention mission. We have engaged with stakeholders around the United States to open the doors to dialogue and build trust. We work with other departments and agencies to provide Community Awareness Briefings that demonstrably increase the understanding of how terrorist groups recruit and inspire violence. My office has deployed field staff to more than a dozen cities nationwide to bolster engagement with and between governmental organizations, not least of which are state and local law enforcement agencies, as well as community and civic organizations. Additionally, we have engaged young people through the internationally recognized public-private partnership titled, “Peer to Peer: Countering Extremism.” “Peer to Peer,” featured in last week’s New York Times,1 challenges teams of students from colleges and universities to develop and implement social media programs targeting the narratives and online recruiters of violent extremism.

In 2015, DHS worked with Congress to secure first-of-its kind funding for a CVE Grant Program (CVEGP) that supports communities seeking to do more to combat the ongoing threat of terrorism. My office developed the CVEGP following the FY2016 Omnibus Appropriations bill, signed in December 2015. We became the program office for administering this funding in conjunction with FEMA’s Grant Programs Directorate (GPD). OCP reviewed other grant programs both within and outside DHS for best practices to emulate in creating the CVEGP. We consulted closely with FEMA, DHS Financial Assistance Program Office (FAPO), the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and Congress to ensure the program adhered to programmatic standards and met Congressional intent. DHS released the Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for the CVEGP on July 6, 2016, less than six months from the original appropriation. DHS is not aware of any other grant program that has more expeditiously opened the application period for a new grant program, and indeed the program has been recognized for its quality, leading other grant programs to consult my office for best practices.

The application period closed on September 6, 2016. Of the 212 complete applications we received by the deadline, my office deemed 197 applications as eligible to proceed for consideration.2 The 197 applications requested more than $100 million in funds and represented 42 states, territories and the District of Columbia, across five focus areas.3 Each individual application received a review and scoring by a panel comprised of four subject matter experts, including an external (i.e. non-federal) expert. The review and scoring process took several weeks. The NOFO instructed the review panel to consider seven criteria to evaluate the strength and merits of each individual application.

Once all the scores were finalized and tabulated into a total score for each application, OCP convened a senior leadership review panel that reviewed the scoring results in each of the five focus areas. The senior leadership review panel also considered optimizing the use of funds, ensuring diversity of applicant type, achieving geographic diversity, avoiding duplication of similar projects, and meeting funding targets by focus area. While preparing a final recommendation memo for consideration by both the Assistant Administrator of FEMA’s GPD and my office, FEMA staff with experience working with previous DHS Secretaries on other grant programs recommended that OCP present the Secretary of Homeland Security with several options on how best to allocate the grant funding across the five focus areas. These options were rooted in the recommendations from the senior leadership review.

Some procedural delays arose before the Secretary made final selections, including the need to conduct security reviews before final selection. OCP established such a process using DHS resources, including those available from the DHS Intelligence & Analysis (I&A) and Customs and Border Protection’s National Targeting Center. The DHS vetted application data of potential grantees against the Terrorist Screening Database and other criminal databases based on information provided in the grant applications. While not legally required, the Acting Chief Privacy Officer also ordered a Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) on the security review process. While the PIA provided transparency, it created a delay in providing recommendations to the Secretary. Only applications from non-profit organizations included in recommendations to the Secretary were run through the security review process. Government agencies and institutions of higher education were not included, due to their existing institutional controls that prohibit the misuse of grant funds for the purposes of criminal activity or terrorism.

Ultimately, then-Secretary Johnson made a determination on funding that was a combination of the options presented to him, which was in line with the NOFO and within the Secretary’s grant making authority in Section 102(b) of the Homeland Security Act of 2002.4 Secretary Johnson publicly announced the selection of intended awardees on January 13, 2017. My office anticipated at least 30 days from the announcement to make all of the formal award offers to allow time for finalizing budgets and other administrative tasks.5 Within a few days of the start of the Administration, OCP and FEMA were instructed to continue certain administrative tasks associated with the CVEGP process, but not to make final award offers until the new DHS leadership could review the CVEGP. This was consistent with guidance given to other ongoing grant programs.

The review was comprehensive. New DHS leadership examined the goals of the program, the process, and how the grant program would measure its own efficacy. As a result of the review, and consistent with the authorities granted to the Secretary and outlined in the NOFO, the Department considered three additional factors among the applicant pool, including the applicant or proposal’s level of engagement with law enforcement in the community, the proposal’s likelihood of effectiveness, and the proposal’s level of resource dedication or long-term sustainability. In the end, the application of these factors resulted in some changes to the list of intended awardees. In total, 12 applications announced in January were not offered an award, 7 new applications were offered an award, and 7 applications received increased funding amounts from what was announced in January.

Combined, the 26 projects funded in the CVEGP are designed to make our communities more resistant to terrorist recruitment and radicalization to violence. The Department looks forward to assessing the projects on an ongoing basis to identify best practices and effective tools to keep extremists from luring more impressionable people toward violence. The grants support a range of activities, including awareness campaigns, engagement and trust-building, intervention efforts, and direct opposition of terrorist narratives. The awardees span communities across the United States and focus on all forms of violent extremism.

In conclusion, our team recognizes that now comes the hard part. We are excited to see these awards move from application to action, to use proven methods that protect law enforcement and the communities they serve, including sustainable methods to provide benefits, well beyond the grants’ end dates. As these programs commence next month, my team is working with all 26 project teams to ensure that the awardees detail their progress towards their goals. The robust performance measures incorporated in these grant projects by the terms of their awards will add to the data on existing programs to help us continually assess which projects have the most success and show the most measurable outcomes. We will share the results from these grants publically so that other communities, the public, and Congress can learn first-hand what works and what does not in terms of terrorism prevention.

1 Nixon, Ron. “Students Are the Newest U.S. Weapon Against Terrorist Recruitment.” New York Times. 18 July 2017.
2 Projects were ruled ineligible if they did not purport to conduct activities eligible under the funding opportunity, such as projects exclusively hosted overseas, or projects that were exclusively research proposals, and projects without a nexus to preventing or intervening into radicalization to violence or recruitment to violent extremism.
3 The FY 2016 CVE Grant Program organizes eligible activities into five focus areas that current research has shown are likely to be most effective in countering violent extremism: (1) developing resilience, (2) training and engaging with community members, (3) managing intervention activities, (4) challenging the narrative, and (5) building capacity of community-level non-profit organizations active in CVE.
4 Specifically, the NOFO states that “[t]he results of the senior leadership review will be presented to the Director, Office for Community Partnerships and the Assistant Administrator, FEMA GPD, who will recommend the selection of recipients for this program to the Secretary of Homeland Security. Final funding determinations will be made by the Secretary of Homeland Security, through the FEMA Administrator. The Secretary retains the discretion to consider other factors and information in addition to those included in the recommendations.”
5 Notice of Funding Opportunity DHS-16-OCP-132-00-01 Page 5 “Anticipated Funding Selection Date:10/30/2016 Anticipated Award Date: No later than December 1, 2016”

 

Topics:  Countering Violent Extremism Keywords:  Office for Community Partnerships, OCP, CVE Grant Program, CVEGP, cve

Written testimony of FEMA for a House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Oversight and Management Efficiency hearing titled “Employee Misconduct: How Can FEMA Improve the Integrity of its Workforce?”

Thu, 07/27/2017 - 00:00
Release Date: July 27, 2017

210 House Capitol Visitor Center

Good Morning, Chairman Perry, Ranking Member Correa, and members of the Committee. I am David Grant, Acting Deputy Administrator of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Thank you for this opportunity to meet with you today to discuss ways in which FEMA is improving its disciplinary and misconduct policies and procedures.

From June 2016 through July 2017, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) conducted a performance audit of FEMA’s process for handling allegations of employee misconduct. GAO reviewed FEMA’s misconduct policies and procedures, data on misconduct cases, and the extent to which FEMA shares misconduct data with the DHS Office of Inspector General (DHS OIG).

The GAO report recognized how FEMA already has effective and efficient misconduct policies and procedures applicable to employees hired under Title 5 of the U.S. Code (covering traditional federal civilian employees) and employees hired through the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (Stafford Act). FEMA records data regarding misconduct cases and outcomes to ensure timely adjudication of misconduct cases, verify misconduct cases are treated in a similar and equitable manner, and for auditing purposes. Finally, there is already a process for FEMA to share misconduct data with DHS OIG.

GAO has not finalized the report; however, the contains the following recommendations to enhance efficiency: misconduct policies regarding Surge Capacity Force (SCF) personnel should be documented; additional guidance on the disciplinary and appeal process for Reservists should be provided; the range of penalties associated with specific acts of misconduct should be communicated; the quality and consistency of misconduct data should be improved; and FEMA should study misconduct data to identify any patterns or trends for further action.

In my testimony today, I will discuss how FEMA is working to improve its misconduct process. FEMA is taking active steps to formalize the misconduct process for SCF employees, provide additional guidance on how Reservist misconduct is reviewed and addressed, and improve the quality of data associated with misconduct cases.

FEMA’s Disaster Workforce

In assessing FEMA’s process for handling misconduct, it is helpful and important to recognize and understand the unique features of FEMA’s workforce. Most federal, civilian employees are hired under authorities set forth in Title 5 of the United States Code, which are standard for most of the federal government. As a consequence and feature of the special needs and circumstances of FEMA’s emergency management mission, however, FEMA utilizes authorities and arrangements beyond those in Title 5. To effectively and efficiently respond to disasters, FEMA augments its permanent Title 5 workforce by appointing temporary employees through the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (Stafford Act). FEMA has also partnered with the National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) to create FEMA Corps, a dedicated volunteer unit of AmeriCorps that supports FEMA’s mission. In addition, in response to particularly catastrophic events, FEMA may activate the Surge Capacity Force, comprising specially designated, non-FEMA, Department of Homeland Security personnel, to reinforce FEMA personnel in support of Stafford Act functions when necessary.

The Stafford Act grants FEMA the authority “to appoint and fix the compensation of such temporary personnel as may be necessary, without regard to the provisions of Title 5, United States Code, and governing appointments in the competitive service.” FEMA uses this Stafford Act appointing authority to hire Reservists, who are intermittent employees serving under two year appointments. Reservists are activated and deployed in support of disasters as response and recovery needs require. When not activated or deployed, Reservists remain in a non-duty/non-pay status allowing FEMA to field sufficient disaster personnel in a cost effective manner.

In 2012, FEMA partnered with the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) to strengthen the nation’s disaster response capacity by establishing a FEMA-devoted unit of 1,600 service corps members, within the AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps, to aid in disaster preparedness, response, and recovery activities. Upon completion of an initial orientation by NCCC and FEMA, FEMA Corps members are deployed to help individuals, families, and communities recover following the initial impact of a disaster. Projects include working directly with disaster survivors, providing support to disaster recovery centers, and sharing valuable disaster readiness and mitigation information with the public.

The Post-Katrina Emergency Management Reform Act of 2006 (PKEMRA) requires the Secretary of Homeland Security to establish a Surge Capacity Force of Department of Homeland Security employees, who are not FEMA employees, and employees of other federal agencies that could deploy in response to natural disasters, acts of terrorism, and other man-made disasters. DHS headquarters and its components, as well as other partnering federal agencies, designate employees to serve on the SCF and ensure such employees are ready to deploy within 48 hours of a warning, alert, or no-notice activation.

In very rare circumstances, a disaster of extraordinary size may require the DHS Secretary to activate the SCF. During a declared disaster, the DHS Secretary will determine if SCF support is necessary. If the SCF is required, the Secretary will then authorize FEMA to task and deploy SCF personnel from DHS components and other federal agencies to support disaster operations. The SCF was successfully activated by former DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano, at the request of former FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate in response to Hurricane Sandy. Approximately 1,150 SCF personnel were activated to assist FEMA’s disaster response efforts, providing critical support to Individual Assistance, Disaster Survivor Assistance, and Logistics mission areas.

Disciplinary Process for Disaster Personnel

The vast majority of FEMA’s disaster personnel effectively and honorably serve the nation providing critical assistance to communities, first responders, and disaster survivors to respond to and recover from disasters and emergencies. In rare instances when a FEMA employee, or an individual representing FEMA, is accused of misconduct, FEMA takes immediate action to address the allegations.

Using the authority granted by the Stafford Act, FEMA created unique policies and procedures for taking disciplinary actions against Reservists to meet FEMA’s mission requirements. The Stafford Act affords FEMA the latitude to devise a disciplinary process outside of the requirements of Title 5. The process in place allows for disciplinary cases to be quickly initiated, reviewed, and finalized. FEMA employs an internal appeals process for Reservist disciplinary cases to confirm appropriate action is taken in response to acts of misconduct. The process ensures Reservists are subject to a fair and equitable disciplinary process, while minimizing the impact of the disciplinary process on disaster operations.

While FEMA does not have written policies and procedures specifically for guiding misconduct investigations involving SCF personnel, if such cases arise, the Office of Chief Counsel, the Office of the Chief Component Human Capital Officer, and the Office of the Chief Security Officer are empowered to take necessary actions to address misconduct and would follow FEMA’s existing policies and procedures for conducting misconduct investigations that apply to FEMA personnel. With regard to taking disciplinary action against SCF personnel as a result of misconduct investigations, it is important to note that SCF personnel are not FEMA employees. FEMA does not have the authority to take disciplinary actions regarding these individuals because SCF personnel remain officially employed by their sponsoring organization (e.g., DHS headquarters, component, other federal agency) while engaging in activities on FEMA’s behalf. The sponsoring organization would be responsible for effecting any appropriate disciplinary action against its SCF personnel.

Development of FEMA’s Misconduct Policy

Over the past several years, FEMA made significant strides in documenting and improving the disciplinary and misconduct policies and procedures.

Prior to 2012, FEMA did not have written or established policies or procedures on how to conduct employee misconduct investigations. Although FEMA had a process for imposing disciplinary action, FEMA did not have a uniform process for investigating the facts surrounding a misconduct allegation to determine whether disciplinary action was warranted. Rather, the Office of the Chief Component Human Capital Officer (OCCHCO) Labor and Employee Relations Branch conducted ad hoc investigations to clarify the factual circumstances associated with a misconduct allegation. On some occasions, the Office of the Chief Security Officer (OCSO) would assist OCCHCO to gather necessary witness statements. Alternatively, an attorney with the Office of Chief Counsel (OCC) General Law Division would investigate a misconduct allegation in the process of reviewing a disciplinary action.

In 2012, OCC, OCCHCO, and OCSO collaborated in creating FEMA Directive 123-19, Administrative Investigations Policy (Administrative Investigations Directive), and an accompanying manual, FEMA Manual 123-19-1, Administrative Investigations (Administrative Investigations Manual), establishing a process for the three offices to receive complaints of employee misconduct, send complaints to the DHS Office of Inspector General as required by DHS policy, and direct misconduct investigations within FEMA. The Administrative Investigations Directive and Manual require the three offices to meet weekly and review all known complaints to ensure complaints are properly investigated. The Administrative Investigations Directive and Manual also institute a formalized process for appointing investigators and finalizing investigative reports, which are reviewed by the OCCHCO Labor and Employee Relations Branch for potential disciplinary action.

In practice, if there are misconduct allegations against SCF personnel, the misconduct investigation process would follow the current investigations process for FEMA employees. FEMA would notify the parent organization of the allegation. Simultaneously, depending on the nature and credibility of the allegation, the SCF personnel may be demobilized and returned to their employing agency. Any additional information gathered through the investigations process would be provided to the employing agency for that agency’s consideration in its determination of what action to take.

Currently, the Administrative Investigations Directive and Manual are undergoing a periodic review and update as mandated by FEMA policy. The updated version of the directive and manual will streamline some of the processes and are expected to be finalized and signed in 2017.

GAO Recommendations

Although FEMA has an effective misconduct process in place for Title 5 and Stafford Act employees, GAO has recommended that FEMA take additional steps to clarify the process and improve data associated with misconduct cases. The GAO report makes several recommendations to improve managing misconduct. FEMA agrees with those recommendations, and has already initiated several lines of effort that will address GAO’s concerns when fully implemented.

Recommendation 1: Document policies and procedures to address potential Surge Capacity Force misconduct.

Proper documentation of the misconduct process for SCF personnel helps to ensure a consistent and reliable investigation process. Although FEMA would apply its existing administrative investigation procedures to allegations against SCF personnel, the FEMA policies governing those procedures do not specifically state that they apply to investigations of SCF personnel. Ensuring that application of the existing administrative investigation procedures to SCF personnel is spelled out clearly, in writing, will help eliminate any potential confusion. DHS charged FEMA with developing a human capital plan for the SCF to address this issue and other human capital related aspects of deploying the SCF.

Recommendation 2: Document Reservist misconduct policies and procedures, to include disciplinary actions and appeals currently in practice at FEMA.

FEMA is committed to providing employees subject to allegations of misconduct a fair and equitable process for addressing such allegations. FEMA already applies a consistent process for reviewing misconduct allegations involving Reservists and taking appropriate disciplinary actions, but FEMA can do more to make employees aware of the process. To address employee perceptions, FEMA will issue additional guidance regarding the disciplinary process for Reservists.

Recommendation 3: Communicate the range of penalties for specific misconduct offenses to all employees and supervisors.

FEMA is committed to communicating with employees and providing guidance on the disciplinary process, while ensuring FEMA complies with applicable privacy laws and regulations. Such information will increase the perception among supervisors and employees that the disciplinary process results in fair and equitable decisions. FEMA’s Office of the Chief Component Human Capital Officer drafted a Table of Penalties, which is undergoing agency review. FEMA anticipates the new Table of Penalties will be approved and finalized in the near future.

Recommendation 4: Improve the quality and usefulness of the misconduct data it collects by implementing quality control measures, such as adding additional drop-down fields with standardized entries, adding unique case identifier fields, developing documented guidance for data entry, or considering the adoption of database software.

The Office of the Chief Component Human Capital Officer, the Office of Chief Counsel, and the Office of the Chief Security Officer are working together to provide consistent and accurate misconduct data. FEMA is working on securing funding to purchase a case management system that supports FEMA’s misconduct process. Until sufficient funding can be secured, FEMA is modifying its existing tracking tools to include drop-down fields in order to provide standardized data entries and include a column to cross reference any case referred to DHS OIG, received from the DHS OIG, or investigated by OCSO.

Recommendation 5: Once the quality of data is improved, conduct routine reporting on employee misconduct trends.

Stakeholders managing the disciplinary and misconduct processes are constantly seeking ways to improve the investigation process, identify misconduct trends for strategic remediation, and ensure consistent and fair results. FEMA already provides trend analysis to program areas upon request; however, FEMA is currently seeking to acquire a system that enables additional analytic capabilities. Analyzing misconduct data will allow FEMA to identify and address emerging trends of misconduct through targeted training to promote integrity within the workforce.

Recommendation 6: Develop reconciliation procedures to consistently track referred cases

FEMA is working with the DHS OIG to establish processes and procedures that will improve reconciliation of case data. FEMA is also working on the feasibility of using the same cases management system used by the DHS OIG. This would allow for a seamless flow of case information between the two agencies. A case management system will help in this endeavor. Until then, more care will be taken to reconcile cases manually.

Conclusion

FEMA is committed to providing effective support to our citizens and first responders during disasters and emergencies. That commitment includes a commitment to investigate allegations of misconduct and appropriately hold individuals accountable. FEMA currently has an effective misconduct and disciplinary process and routinely looks for ways to improve that process. FEMA appreciates GAO’s assistance and recommendations in this regard and will take appropriate action to address the concerns they identify in their final report. Again, thank you for allowing me to testify, and I am happy to answer any questions the Committee may have.

Keywords:  Workforce, employee misconduct, GAO recommendations

Written testimony of CBP for a House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security hearing titled “Deter, Detect and Interdict: Technology’s Role in Securing the Border”

Tue, 07/25/2017 - 00:00
Release Date: July 25, 2017

210 House Capitol Visitor Center

Chairwoman McSally, Ranking Member Vela, and distinguished Members of the Committee. It is a pleasure to appear before you today on behalf of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to discuss how border security technology enables us to achieve our strategic and operational border security objectives, specifically in combating the flow of illegal aliens and dangerous contraband into the United States.

Along the more than 5,000 miles of border with Canada, 1,900 miles of border with Mexico, approximately 95,000 miles of shoreline, and at 328 ports of entry (POE) and more than 40 countries across the globe, CBP’s U.S. Border Patrol (USBP), Air and Marine Operations (AMO), and Office of Field Operations (OFO) secure our borders and associated airspace and maritime approaches to prevent illegal entry of people and materials, including dangerous drugs, into the United States. The border environment in which CBP works is dynamic and requires continual adaptation to respond to emerging threats and changing conditions. We appreciate the partnership and support we have received from this Committee, whose commitment to the security of the American people has enabled the continued deployment of advanced technology assets needed to secure the border.

As President Trump has stated, “Homeland Security is in the business of saving lives, and that mandate will guide our actions.” Through a series of Executive Orders (EOs), the President has taken steps to enhance border security, promote public safety, minimize the threat of terrorist attacks by foreign nationals, and protect American workers from unfair foreign competition. The President’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 Budget proposes significant investments to support all of those goals while implementing the EOs.

In January, the President signed the Executive Order entitled Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements (EO 13767). Included in the Budget is a total of $2.6 billion in enhancements in high-priority border security technology, tactical infrastructure, assets, and equipment, including $975 million for border security technology, assets, and equipment.

Our testimony today discusses some of the advanced technology used by CBP frontline agents and officers to deter, detect, and interdict illegal cross-border activity, at and between POEs. Technology enhances CBP’s operational capabilities by increasing our ability to detect and apprehend individuals illegally crossing the border, to detect dangerous goods and materials concealed in cargo and vehicles, and to detect and interdict illegal activity in the air and maritime domains. Advanced detection and surveillance technology is a critical element of CBP’s multi-layered border security strategy to deploy the right mix of personnel, technology, and tactical infrastructure to enable us to meet the everyday challenges of a dynamic border threat environment. For CBP, the use of technology in the border environment is an invaluable force multiplier that increases situational awareness and allows us to detect illegal activity -- including unauthorized border-crossers -- and interdict dangerous drugs – and those who attempt to smuggle them – faster and safer.

Technology at the Ports of Entry

Smugglers use a wide variety of tactics and techniques for concealing drugs and other contraband through POEs. CBP officers regularly find drugs concealed in body cavities, taped to bodies (body carriers), hidden inside vehicle seat cushions, gas tanks, dash boards, tires, packaged food, household and hygiene products, checked luggage, and concealed in construction materials on commercial trucks. CBP incorporates advanced detection equipment and technology, including the use of Non-Intrusive Inspection (NII) equipment and radiation detection technologies to maintain robust cargo, commercial conveyance, and vehicle inspection regimes at our POEs.

NII technology is a critical element in CBP’s ability to detect contraband as well as materials that could pose nuclear and radiological threats. These systems enable CBP officers to examine cargo conveyances such as shipping containers, commercial trucks, and rail cars, as well as privately owned vehicles, for the presence of contraband without physically opening or unloading them. This allows CBP to work smarter and faster in detecting contraband, while expediting legitimate trade and travel. NII technologies deployed to our Nation’s land, sea, and air POEs include large-scale X-ray and gamma-ray imaging systems, as well as a variety of portable and handheld technologies.

As of July 1, 2017, 301 Large-Scale (LS) NII systems are deployed to, and in between, our POEs. In FY 2016, LS-NII systems were used to conduct more than 6.45 million examinations resulting in more than 2,600 seizures and over 359,000 pounds of seized narcotics. NII systems are particularly valuable in detecting concealed contraband in vehicles and cargo containers. With the help of NII, on July 22, 2017, CBP officers assigned to the San Ysidro POE seized 4.54 kilograms (10 pounds) of fentanyl, 11.31 kilograms (24.96 pounds) of methamphetamine, and 1.10 kilograms (2.43 pounds) of mannitol hidden in the quarter panels of a 2012 Toyota Corolla driven by a 26-year old female U.S. citizen accompanied by a 27-year old female U.S. citizen passenger. The Budget proposes $109.2 million to build upon prior year investments and will be used to recapitalize the current small-scale (SS) and LS NII technology fleet. This funding will allow CBP to remain on track to ensure the NII fleet is operating within its service life by FY 2024, and will help CBP continue to use NII to safely, quickly, and effectively detect a wide range of contraband imported using a variety of conveyances, thereby facilitating lawful trade and travel.

Personal vehicles are not the only means by which smugglers attempt to transport illegal drugs and other contraband across the border. For example, just a couple of weeks ago, CBP officers using NII equipment and canine teams at the Pharr International Bridge cargo facility discovered 2,746 pounds of marijuana and 50.70 pounds of cocaine, worth almost $1 million, over the course of just three days.1

Furthermore, as an integral part of the DHS comprehensive strategy to combat nuclear and radiological terrorism, CBP scans all arriving conveyances and containers with radiation detection equipment prior to release from the POE. In partnership with the DHS Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO), CBP has deployed nuclear and radiological detection equipment, including Radiation Portal Monitors (RPM), Radiation Isotope Identification Devices (RIID), and Personal Radiation Detectors (PRD) to 328 POEs nationwide.2 Utilizing RPMs, CBP is able to scan 100 percent of all mail and express consignment mail and parcels; 100 percent of all truck cargo; 100 percent of personally-owned vehicles arriving from Canada and Mexico; and nearly 100 percent of all arriving sea-borne containerized cargo for the presence of radiological or nuclear materials. Since the inception of the RPM program in 2002 through June 2017, CBP has scanned approximately 1.4 billion conveyances for radiological contraband, resulting in more than 6.1 million alarms, all of which have been successfully resolved at the proper level.

In conjunction with CBP’s many other initiatives, advancements in cargo and conveyance screening technology provide CBP with a significant capacity to detect dangerous materials and other contraband and continue to be a cornerstone of CBP’s multilayered security strategy.

1 https://www.cbp.gov/newsroom/local-media-release/cbp-field-operations-seizes-over-900k-marijuana-and-cocaine-commercial
2 As of June 30, 2017, CBP currently has 1,276 RPMs, 3,316 RIIDs, and 34,387 PRDs operational systems deployed nationwide.

 

Technology Investments Along the Border

Thanks to the support of Congress, CBP continues to deploy proven, effective technology to strengthen border security operations between the POEs — in the land, air, and maritime environments. With enhanced detection and surveillance capabilities, USBP and AMO can improve their situational awareness remotely, direct a response team to the best interdiction location, and warn the team of any additional danger otherwise unknown along the way. As a result, these investments increase CBP’s visibility of illegal activity along the border, our operational capabilities, and the safety of frontline law enforcement personnel. The terrain along the border between the United States and Mexico is extremely diverse, consisting of desert landscape, mountainous terrain, and urban areas. Tailored to address an area’s risk and environmental challenges, CBP deploys a combination of fixed and mobile technology assets, with short-, medium-, and long-range persistent surveillance capabilities to maintain situational awareness of the varying border environments.

Fixed, Persistent Surveillance

Integrated Fixed Tower (IFT) systems are one of technologies used by USBP that are being deployed to the Southwest border in Arizona. IFTs provide long-range, persistent surveillance. An IFT system automatically detects with radars, identifies and classifies items of interest with day and night cameras, and tracks the items of interest at the Command and Control Center using a COP that integrates data, video and geospatial locations of selected items of interest. The first IFT system became operational in the Nogales Area of Responsibility in August 2015. The second IFT system became operational in May in the Douglas Area of Responsibility. The third system has been installed and will undergo system acceptance testing this September in the Sonoita Area of Responsibility. The Budget supports these critical assets by including $22.4 million in FY 2018 for operations and maintenance of the IFT program and $17.4 million for IFT program procurement, construction, and improvements.

Remote Video Surveillance Systems (RVSS) are another fixed technology asset used by USBP in select areas along the Southwest and Northern borders. These systems provide short-, medium-, and long-range, persistent surveillance from towers or other structures. The RVSS uses cameras, radio, and microwave transmitters to send video to a control room, enabling the control room operator to remotely detect, identify, classify, and track targets using the video feed. Existing RVSSes are being upgraded with newer cameras and additional towers. The Budget includes $20.0 million in FY 2018 to sustain RVSS. An additional $46.2 million is provided for procurement, construction, and improvements. This funding will be used to support the deployment of the RVSS capability to the Rio Grande Valley Sector.

In some areas along the Southwest border, USBP also uses Unattended Ground Sensors (UGS), which provide short-range, persistent surveillance. These sensors support our capability to detect, and, to a limited extent, track and identify subjects. Sensor capabilities include seismic, passive infrared, acoustic, contact closure, and magnetic, although these capabilities are not necessarily available in all deployed UGS. When a ground sensor is activated, an alarm is communicated to an operations center. Some UGS are used in conjunction with Imaging Sensors (IS). The UGS/IS include an imaging capability to transmit images or video back to the operations center. As with UGS, UGS/IS are monitored in a centralized system and geospatially tracked.

Fixed systems provide persistent surveillance coverage to efficiently detect unauthorized border crossing and incursions by suspected drug smugglers. Once detection is confirmed, USBP can quickly deploy the appropriate personnel and resources to interdict. Without fixed-system technology such as IFT, RVSS, and UGS, USBP’s ability to detect, identify, classify, and track illicit activity would be significantly limited.

Mobile and Relocatable Capabilities

Working in conjunction with fixed surveillance assets, USBP also uses mobile and relocatable systems to address areas where rugged terrain and dense ground cover may allow adversaries to exploit blind spots or avoid the coverage of fixed systems. Mobile and relocatable technology assets provide USBP with the flexibility to adapt to changing border conditions and threats.

Along the Southwest border, Mobile Surveillance Capability (MSC) systems provide long-range, mobile surveillance. They include radar and camera sensors mounted on USBP vehicles. An agent deploys with the vehicle to operate the system, which automatically detects and tracks items of interest and provides the agent/operator with data and video of the observed subject.

Mobile Vehicle Surveillance Systems (MVSS) are short-, and medium-range, mobile surveillance equipment. They consist camera sensors on telescoping masts mounted on USBP vehicles. A USBP agent deploys with the system, which detects, tracks, identifies, and classifies items of interest using the video feed. The agent/operator observes activity on the video monitor to detect intrusions and assist agents/officers in responding to those intrusions. The Budget includes $3.2 million to provide operation and sustainment for MVSS, and an additional $1.6 million for procurement, construction, and improvements to fulfill operational needs on the Southern and Northern borders.

Another system is the Agent Portable Surveillance System (APSS). Mounted on a tripod, it provides medium-range, mobile surveillance and can be transported by two or three USBP agents. Two agents remain on-site to operate the system, which automatically detects and tracks items of interest and provides the agent/operator with data and video of selected items of interest.

CBP’s Tactical Aerostats and Re-locatable Towers program, originally part of the Department of Defense (DOD) re-use program, uses a mix of aerostats, towers, cameras, and radars to provide USBP with increased situational awareness over a wide area. This capability has proven to be a vital asset in increasing USBP’s ability to detect, identify, classify, and track activity. Since initial deployment in 2012, these systems have been responsible for detecting more than 180,000 illegal border incursions of aliens and smugglers, leading to the seizure of approximately 180 tons of narcotics and related contraband. In this fiscal year alone, USBP agents, with the assistance of existing aerostats and re-locatable towers, have seized 62 tons of narcotics, and caught more than 20,000 illegal border crossers detected by aerostats. The Budget includes $34.8 million in FY 2018 for the Tactical Aerostats and Re-locatable Towers Program to fund continued operations and maintenance costs.

Technology is critical to USBP border security operations. A tailored blend of complementary fixed, mobile, and portable surveillance systems increases USBP’s effectiveness in targeting a high-risk areas, enabling rapid-response strategies to maximize limited manpower, and adjusting to seasonal and periodic traffic patterns.

Technology in the Air and Maritime Domains

AMO increases CBP’s situational awareness, enhances its detection and interdiction capabilities, and extends our border security zones, offering greater capacity to stop threats before they reach our shores. Through the use of coordinated and integrated surveillance capabilities – including aviation, marine, tethered aerostats, and integrated, ground-based radars – AMO detects, interdicts, and prevents acts of terrorism and the unlawful movement of people, illegal drugs, and other contraband toward or across the borders of the United States. These assets provide multi-domain awareness for our partners across the Department, as well as critical aerial and maritime surveillance, interdiction, and operational assistance to our ground personnel.

AMO’s maritime assets are tailored to the conditions of the environments in which we operate, and are equipped with the capabilities required to interdict attempted illicit smuggling of drugs and undocumented aliens. Often there is little time to interdict inbound suspect vessels, and AMO has honed its maritime border security response capability around rapid and effective interception, pursuit, and interdiction of these craft.

AMO employs high speed Coastal Interceptor Vessels (CIV) that are specifically designed and engineered with the speed, maneuverability, integrity, and endurance to intercept and engage a variety of suspect non-compliant vessels in offshore waters, as well as the Great Lakes. Furthermore, AMO’s Small Vessel Standoff Detection radiation detection capability increases the probability of detecting radiological and nuclear materials that might be used to attack the country. The transportable equipment is effective against small private or commercial vessels and can indicate a potential threat in advance of a boarding.

The Budget also seeks significant investments in our aircraft fleet. For example, the Budget includes $55.5 million in FY 2018 to purchase two KA-350ER multirole enforcement aircraft (MEA). The MEA is the optimal sensor-equipped aircraft for surveillance operations in regions such as the Southern border, Northern border, and maritime environments where terrain, weather, and distance pose significant obstacles to border security operations. The MEA further serves as a force multiplier for law enforcement and emergency response personnel, facilitating the rapid-response deployment of equipment, canines, and people. The multiple roles of the MEA include presently maritime with planned ground and air surveillance as well as air-to-air tracking and LETC.

P-3 Long Range Trackers and Airborne Early Warning Aircraft provide critical detection and interdiction capability in both the air and marine environment. Their sophisticated sensors and high endurance capability greatly increase AMO’s range to counter illicit trafficking. CBP P-3s are an integral part of the successful counter-narcotic missions operating in coordination with the Joint Interagency Task Force - South. The P-3s patrol a 42 million-square-mile area that includes more than 41 nations, the Pacific Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean Sea, and seaboard approaches to the United States. In FY 2016, CBP’s P-3 operational efforts led to the total seizure or disruption of more than 193,000 pounds of cocaine with an estimated wholesale value of $2.5 billion.

Helicopters are also critical components of AMO’s aircraft fleet. UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters are critical to border security operations, being the only helicopters in our fleet with medium-lift capability (i.e., the ability to carry eight agents with full gear). The UH-60 is rugged enough to support interdiction and life-saving operations in hostile environments, at high altitudes in the desert, over open water, and in extreme cold. The Budget includes $14.1 million in FY 2018 to purchase one UH-60 Medium Lift Helicopter (MLH).

Another important asset is the DHC-8 Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA). It bridges the gap between strategic assets, such as the P-3 and Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS), and the smaller assets providing support in littoral waters.

AMO’s aircraft have received a number of technological upgrades to increase their utility. Avionics upgrades to the AS-350 helicopter allow operators to focus more of their attention on the mission, making them more effective. AMO has also added electro-optical infrared detection technology to its fixed-wing, light observation aircraft, greatly increasing its tactical capabilities.

UASs are an increasingly important part of CBP’s layered and integrated approach to border security. The UAS consists of an unmanned aircraft, sensors, communication packages, pilots, and ground control operators. UASs are used for surveillance, detection and other mission requirements along the Southwest border, Northern border, and in the drug source and transit zones. The UAS program has achieved over 43,500 flight hours since it began in FY 2006 and has been credited with interdicting or disrupting the movement of cocaine and marijuana with an estimated wholesale value of $170 million. CBP can equip four UAS aircraft with Vehicle and Dismount Exploitation Radar (VADER) sensor systems, which can detect human movement along the ground. Since 2012, VADER has detected over 51,600 people moving across the Southwest border.

UAS and P-3 aircraft are equipped with technology that provides full-motion video capture for real-time and forensic analysis. This advanced detection and communication system enables AMO to disseminate live images and other sensor data to operational users, increasing response effectiveness and speed.

The Budget proposes $2.5 million to expand the small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) pilot projects and develop an official program of record. USBP needs this capability to surveil locations between the POEs in remote, isolated, and inaccessible portions of our borders. The sUAS needs to provide ground reconnaissance, surveillance, and tracking capabilities to support the USBP surveillance tasks of predicting, detecting, tracking, identifying, and classifying suspected items of interest. The ability to persistently and discreetly surveil remote areas along portions of the border is critical to USBP’s ability to secure the border.

Perhaps the most important advancements come in the area of data integration and exploitation. New downlink technology allows AMO to provide a video feed and situational awareness to its law enforcement partners in real-time. In addition, the Minotaur mission integration system will allow multiple aircraft to share information from multiple sources, providing a never-before-seen level of air, land, and maritime domain awareness. As the Minotaur system evolves, it will provide even greater awareness for a larger number of users.

AMO also combats airborne and maritime smuggling with an integrated long-range radar architecture comprised of ground-based radars and elevated radars deployed on tethered aerostats. AMO, in partnership with DOD, operates and maintains a network of more than 120 long-range radars providing a wide-area, persistent surveillance capability to detect and identify cooperative and non-cooperative aircraft travelling within or near the United States and crossing its borders. This network provides AMO the capability to detect and respond to air and maritime threats to the homeland, including organizations attempting to traffic contraband into the United States.

AMO’s Tethered Aerostat Radar System (TARS) monitors the low-altitude approaches to the United States. With eight aerostat sites – six along the Southwest border, one in the Florida Keys, and one in Puerto Rico – the TARS elevated sensor mitigates the effect of the curvature of the earth and terrain-masking limitations associated with ground-based radars, enabling maximum long-range radar detection capabilities. In FY 2014 through FY 2016, TARS was responsible for detecting 86 percent of all suspected air smuggling flights approaching the Southwest border from Mexico. The Budget provides support for the Tethered Aerostat Radar System program. The $41.2 million requested will provide for the annual system operations, system upkeep, maintenance and supply of government personnel, and real property needs such as site and facility leases and expenses, for the full program. This funding will sustain the steady-state operations of the system while also retiring major threats from technical and program risks to system operations and health stemming from aging technology, diminishing manufacturing sources, and emerging regulatory requirements.

A vital component of DHS’s domain awareness capabilities, AMO’s Air and Marine Operations Center (AMOC) integrates surveillance capabilities and coordinates a response to threats to national security with other CBP operational components, including USBP, Federal, and international partners3 to detect, identify, track and support interdiction of suspect aviation and maritime activity in the approaches to U.S. borders, at the borders, and within the interior of the United States. Coordinating with extensive law enforcement and intelligence databases and communication networks, AMOC’s command and control operational system, the Air and Marine Operations Surveillance System (AMOSS), provides a single display capable of processing up to 700 individual sensor feeds and tracking over 50,000 individual targets simultaneously. The eight TARS sites represent approximately two percent of the total integrated radars in AMOSS, yet were able to account for detecting 53 percent of all suspect target detections.

CBP is also pursuing improved border surveillance capabilities in the air domain. AMO is performing a formal Analysis of Alternatives (AOA) to review and assess multiple opportunities for extending a TARS-like surveillance capability beyond the next decade. A field test of promising key technologies is planned to take place in FY 2018. In addition, AMO is participating in an interagency effort to assess the feasibility of moving its current air surveillance radar capabilities out of the L-Band spectrum so that the L-Band spectrum can be auctioned off for private sector use. If the move proves feasible, the proceeds of the auction would be used to transition to the new air surveillance capability.

As we continue to deploy border surveillance technology, particularly along the Southwest border, these investments in fixed and mobile technology, as well as enhancements of domain awareness capabilities provided by the AMOC allow CBP the flexibility to shift more agents from detection duties to interdiction of illegal activities across our borders.

3 AMOC partners include the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the Department of Defense (including the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD)), and the governments of Mexico, Canada, and the Bahamas.

 

Border Technology Requirements Development

CBP is committed to effective and efficient resource allocation and works closely with other elements of DHS headquarters and fellow Department components to ensure strategy-led, operationally informed requirements development. This process enables DHS to effectively and efficiently execute acquisition strategies and budgets that address the broad range of complex border threats and challenges, including illegal migration, smuggling of illegal drugs, human and arms trafficking, and the threat of terrorist exploitation of border vulnerabilities.

For example, CBP works closely with the DHS Science & Technology (S&T) Directorate to identify and develop technology to improve our surveillance and detection capabilities along our land and maritime borders. This includes investments in tunnel detection and tunnel activity monitoring technology; tactical communication upgrades, sUAS; low-flying aircraft detection and tracking systems, land and maritime data integration/data fusion capabilities, and border surveillance tools tailored to the Southwest and Northern border, including unattended ground sensors/tripwires, upgrades for mobile surveillance systems, slash camera poles, and wide-area surveillance.

In addition to collaboration with our DHS partners, as part of CBP’s efforts to seek innovative ways to acquire and use technology, CBP formed a partnership with DOD to identify and reuse excess DOD technology. To date, CBP has acquired several types of technology, including thermal imaging equipment, night vision equipment, and tactical aerostat systems, which increase CBP’s situational awareness and operational flexibility in responding to border threats. We will continue to pursue additional opportunities to leverage DOD excess equipment. We will do this in a sustainable way by considering the full life-cycle costs of the DOD equipment we are considering before acquiring it.

Conclusion

Technology is a primary driver of all land, maritime, and air domain awareness. CBP’s risk-based deployment of technology allows us to achieve our strategic and operational enforcement objectives at our POEs, along U.S. borders, and in the air and maritime approaches. The information obtained from NII, RPMs, fixed and mobile surveillance systems, ground sensors, imaging systems, and other advanced aerial and maritime technologies enhances domain awareness, informs situational awareness, and better enables CBP to monitor, detect, identify, and appropriately respond to unauthorized crossings and contraband smuggling.

Chairwoman McSally, Ranking Member Vela, thank you for the opportunity to testify today. We look forward to your questions.

Topics:  Border Security Keywords:  EO 13767, Border Technology

Written testimony of USCG for a House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation hearing titled “Building a 21st Century Infrastructure for America: Coast Guard Sea, Land, and Air Capabilities, Part II”

Tue, 07/25/2017 - 00:00
Release Date: July 25, 2017

2167 Rayburn House Office Building

Good morning Mr. Chairman and distinguished members of the Subcommittee. I appreciate the opportunity to testify today, and thank you for your enduring support of the United States Coast Guard.

As the service’s Chief Acquisition Officer, I especially appreciate the unwavering support of this Subcommittee to address our most pressing recapitalization needs. The Coast Guard is working closely with the Department of Homeland Security and Congress to efficiently and effectively execute our existing acquisition programs and is employing risk-informed decisions to balance readiness, modernization, and force structure with the evolving demands of the 21st century.

Coast Guard personnel and assets must be ready to simultaneously execute our full suite of missions, sustain requested support to Combatant Commanders, and respond to contingencies when they arise. Your Coast Guard prides itself on being Semper Paratus – Always Ready. Prudence demands that we continue investing in a modernized Coast Guard. Indeed, recapitalization remains our highest priority, and today’s efforts will shape the Coast Guard and impact national security for decades. Your support has helped us make tremendous progress, and it is critical we build upon our successes to field assets that meet cost, performance, and schedule milestones. I am excited and encouraged by our progress to date.

The Coast Guard is in the midst of recapitalizing the service’s surface, aviation and command and control capabilities through more than 20 major and non-major acquisition programs. These efforts are supported by a framework of governance and policies developed by the Department of Homeland Security and the Coast Guard; are in line with best practices identified by our federal partners, including the Department of Defense and the U.S. Navy; and are constantly evolving based upon lessons learned.

Over the past year, we have made great progress in delivering enhanced capabilities to operational commanders in the field. In 2016, we awarded a contract to complete build out of our fleet of 58 Fast Response Cutters at an affordable price, and just last month we exercised an option to begin production of six Fast Response Cutters (Sentinel class hulls 39-44). We recently commissioned the 23rd Fast Response Cutter on July 4th and appreciate this Subcommittee’s continued support for the program. In September, we reached a major milestone with the award of a Detail Design and Construction contract for the Offshore Patrol Cutter. These cutters will eventually comprise 70 percent of Coast Guard surface presence in the offshore zone. Offshore Patrol Cutters will provide the tools to enforce federal laws more effectively, secure our maritime borders by interdicting threats before they arrive on our shores, disrupt transnational criminal organizations, and respond to 21st-century threats. We will be ordering long lead time material for the first Offshore Patrol Cutter in the next few months to support delivery of the lead hull in 2021.

We have also generated momentum to build new polar icebreakers. A little over one year ago, we made the commitment to partner with the Navy to establish an Integrated Program Office to acquire new heavy polar icebreakers. This approach leverages the expertise of both organizations and is delivering results. The benefits of this partnership were evident in the decision to award multiple Industry Studies contracts, a concept the Navy has utilized in previous shipbuilding acquisitions to drive affordability and reduce schedule and technical risk. We are receiving deliverables from Industry Study teams, which will help us to refine the specification to support delivery of the first heavy icebreaker in late fiscal year 2023. I am happy to report we remain on schedule to release a request for proposal for Detail Design and Construction in fiscal year 2018.

In 2018, we also will evaluate materiel and non-materiel options to replace the capabilities provided by the current fleet of inland tenders and barges commissioned between 1944 and 1990. Given the age and functionality of this fleet, requested funding supports initial Program Management Office (PMO) exploratory activities to replace this vital capability, including the potential for commercial services and alternative crewing options, as well as recapitalization alternatives.

We are also making progress with unmanned aerial systems. A recent small Unmanned Aircraft System proof of concept aboard a National Security Cutter conducted actual interdiction operations, which enhanced the overall effectiveness of the cutter. In its inaugural deployment, the small Unmanned Aircraft System operated from Coast Guard Cutter STRATTON logged 280 flight hours, provided real-time surveillance and detection imagery for the cutter, and assisted the embarked helicopter and law enforcement teams with the interdiction or disruption of four go-fast vessels carrying more than 5,000 pounds of contraband. A second deployment is currently underway and will provide invaluable information on sensor capabilities and impacts to the host cutter’s operational capabilities as we develop a request for proposal for small Unmanned Aircraft System capabilities across the entire National Security Cutter fleet. This cutter-based system will be a tactical game changer for the Coast Guard, complementing our embarked helicopters and cutter boats by equipping our cutters with additional intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities.

On the aviation side, we are nearing completion of the C-27J reactivation process and are expecting acceptance of the 14th and final C-27J from the Air Force next month. We are also moving forward with development of mission system suites that integrate command and control and sensor information for HC-130J, HC-144 and C-27J operators. The enhancements will be based on the Minotaur mission system architecture currently being used by the Department of Defense and Department of Homeland Security and will greatly improve our ability to maintain maritime domain awareness and process/distribute data in real time.

As vigilant stewards of the taxpayers’ investment, the Coast Guard is maximizing the capability of our existing fleet of cutters and aircraft through a series of sustainment and enhancement programs. The current work being conducted at the Coast Guard Yard in Curtis Bay, Maryland, includes a Service Life Extension Project to enhance mission readiness and extend the service life of the 140-foot icebreaking tug class by approximately 15 years. These multi-mission assets are key components of the service’s efforts to mitigate wintertime flooding and facilitate safe navigation for critical cargos on the Great Lakes and several rivers and harbors in the Northeast. Also, last year, the Coast Guard initiated a Midlife Maintenance Availability on 225-foot sea-going buoy tenders that will address obsolescence of critical ship components and engineering systems. The work on these two platforms is vital to sustaining current mission performance in support of maritime commerce. Similarly in the aviation domain, we are continuing efforts to extend the service life and improve the operational effectiveness of our rotary-wing and fixed-wing aircraft at the Coast Guard’s world class depot maintenance facility, the Aviation Logistics Center, located in Elizabeth City, North Carolina.

The Coast Guard is continuing deployment of new and updated C4ISR systems on our assets and at our shore facilities around the country. Rescue 21 and Nationwide Automatic Identification System capabilities are deployed in coastal areas nationwide, and work to expand these systems along the Western Rivers and Alaska are nearing completion. These systems are critical to the Coast Guard’s efforts to save lives and enhance maritime awareness in our ports and on inland and coastal waterways. We are also proceeding with installation of enhanced C4ISR systems on board our surface and aviation assets, including deployment of the Sea Commander suite on our National Security Cutters and SeaWatch on our Fast Response Cutters. This equipment and software provide situational awareness, data processing and information awareness tools required to modernize and recapitalize our shore sites, surface and aviation assets.

While my focus is on executing our acquisition programs, the service is also mindful of our collective need to ensure that the facilities that receive these new assets and the people that will operate and maintain them are properly equipped and trained to meet mission demands. While readiness and modernization investments improve current mission performance, the right force is central to success. The service is incredibly proud of its 88,000 active duty, reserve, civil service, and auxiliary members. Funding 21st-century Coast Guard platforms, infrastructure, and personnel is a smart investment, even in this challenging fiscal environment. Investments in Coast Guard personnel are especially important, as our greatest strength will always be our people. Coast Guard operations require a capable, proficient, and resilient workforce that draws upon the broad range of skills, talents, and experiences found in the American population. Together, modern platforms and a strong, resilient workforce will maximize the Coast Guard’s capacity to meet future challenges.

History has proven that a responsive, capable, and agile Coast Guard is an indispensable instrument of national security. Your continued oversight and direction have been critical to our success and with your continued support, we – your Coast Guard – will continue to live up to our motto. We will be Semper Paratus – Always Ready. Thank you for the opportunity to testify before you today and for all you do for the men and women of the Coast Guard. I look forward to your questions.

Topics:  Air, Maritime Keywords:  acquisition, aviation

Written testimony of USCG Commandant for a House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation hearing titled “Building a 21st Century Infrastructure for America: Coast Guard Sea, Land, and Air Capab

Tue, 07/25/2017 - 00:00
Release Date: July 25, 2017

2167 Rayburn House Office Building

Good morning, Chairman Hunter, Ranking Member Garamendi, and distinguished members of the subcommittee. I appreciate the opportunity to testify today and thank you for your enduring support of the United States Coast Guard.

As the world’s premier, multi-mission, maritime service, the Coast Guard offers a unique and enduring value to the Nation. The only branch of the U.S. Armed Forces within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), a federal law enforcement agency, a regulatory body, a first responder, and a member of the U.S. Intelligence Community – the Coast Guard is uniquely positioned to help secure the maritime border, combat transnational criminal organizations (TCO), and safeguard commerce on America’s waterways.

Coast Guard authorities bridge gaps and create opportunities. The Coast Guard is first and foremost an armed service that advances national security objectives in ways no other armed service can. Our combination of broad authorities and complementary capabilities squarely align with the President’s national security and economic prosperity priorities. Appropriately positioned in DHS, the Coast Guard is also an important part of the modern Joint Force.1 The Coast Guard offers trusted access to advance mutual interests, preserve U.S. security and prosperity, and serve as a force multiplier for the Department of Defense (DoD). I am proud of our enduring defense contributions to Combatant Commanders around the globe and of the return on investment your Coast Guard delivers on an annual basis.

I also appreciate the unwavering support of this Subcommittee to address our most pressing needs. I will continue working with the Administration and this Congress to preserve momentum for our existing acquisition programs and employ risk-based decisions to balance readiness, modernization, and force structure with the evolving demands of the 21st century.

Secretary Kelly leads the Department’s efforts to secure our borders, and the Administration’s strategy “to deploy all lawful means to secure the Nation’s southern border”2 relies on the Coast Guard supporting this comprehensive security strategy. The Coast Guard protects the U.S. maritime border – not just by operating in U.S. territorial waters, but also by conducting operations off the coasts of South and Central America. As Secretary Kelly has stated, “the defense of the southwest border really starts about 1,500 miles south.”3

It begins with broad Coast Guard authorities, over 40 bilateral agreements to enable partner-nation interdictions and prosecutions and engage threats as far from U.S. shores as possible. The Coast Guard is best positioned to disrupt the large volumes of illicit drugs transiting by sea. We employ a robust interdiction package consisting of assets, specialized personnel and broad authorities to seize multi-ton loads of drugs at sea before they can be broken down into small quantities ashore.

In 2016, Coast Guard and partner agencies interdicted more cocaine at sea than was seized at the land border and across the entire Nation by all federal, state and local law enforcement agencies combined. A service-record 201.3 metric tons of cocaine4 (7.1% of estimated flow)5 was removed from the western transit zone and 585 smugglers were detained for further prosecution.

Coast Guard readiness relies on the ability to simultaneously execute our full suite of missions and sustain support to Combatant Commanders, while also being ready to respond to contingencies. Your Coast Guard prides itself on being Semper Paratus – Always Ready – and predictable and sufficient funding is necessary to maintain this readiness in the future. Prudence demands that we continue investing in a modernized Coast Guard. Indeed, recapitalization remains our highest priority, and today’s efforts will shape your Coast Guard and impact national security for decades. Your support has helped us make tremendous progress, and it is critical we build upon our successes to field assets that meet cost, performance, and schedule milestones. I am encouraged by our progress to date.

In 2016, we awarded a contract to complete build out of our fleet of 58 Fast Response Cutters at an affordable price, and just last month we exercised an option to begin production of six Fast Response Cutters (hulls 39-44). In September, we awarded a contract for Detail Design and Construction of the Offshore Patrol Cutter (OPC).

These cutters will eventually comprise 70 percent of Coast Guard surface presence in the offshore zone. OPCs will provide the tools to enforce federal laws more effectively, secure our maritime borders by interdicting threats before they arrive on our shores, disrupt TCOs, and respond to 21st century threats. We will order long-lead-time material for the first OPC later this year, and plan for its delivery in 2021.

We are making progress toward building new polar icebreakers. Last July, we partnered with the Navy to establish an Integrated Program Office to acquire new heavy icebreakers. This approach leverages the expertise of both organizations and is delivering results. The recent award of multiple Industry Studies contracts – a concept the Navy has utilized in previous shipbuilding acquisitions to drive affordability and reduce schedule and technical risk – is an example of the positive results of this partnership. We will refine the system specification and release a request for proposal for Detail Design and Construction in FY 2018.

In 2018, we also will evaluate materiel and non-materiel options to replace the capabilities provided by the current fleet of inland tenders and barges commissioned between 1944 and 1990. Given the age and functionality of this fleet, requested funding supports initial Program Management Office (PMO) exploratory activities to replace this vital capability, including the potential for commercial services and alternative crewing options, as well as recapitalization alternatives.

We are also making progress with unmanned aerial systems. A recent small Unmanned Aerial System (sUAS) proof of concept aboard a National Security Cutter (NSC) conducted actual interdiction operations, which enhanced the overall effectiveness of the cutter. In its inaugural deployment, Coast Guard Cutter STRATTON's sUAS logged 280 flight hours, providing real-time surveillance and detection imagery for the cutter, and assisted the embarked helicopter and law enforcement teams with the interdiction or disruption of four go-fast vessels carrying more than 5,000 pounds of contraband. In addition, we are exploring options to build a land-based UAS program that will improve domain awareness and increase cued intelligence that our surface assets rely on to close illicit pathways in the maritime transit zone. While long-term requirements are being finalized, we are moving quickly to field this much-needed capability.

In concert with efforts to acquire new assets, we are also focused on improving the existing fleet of cutters and aircraft through sustainment programs. The current work being conducted at the Coast Guard Yard in Curtis Bay, Maryland, includes a Service Life Extension Project (SLEP) to enhance mission readiness and extend the service life of the 140-foot icebreaking tug class by approximately 15 years. Also, last year, the Coast Guard initiated a Midlife Maintenance Availability on 225-foot sea-going buoy tenders that will address obsolescence of critical ship components and engineering systems. The work on these two platforms is vital to sustaining current mission performance and essential to maritime commerce. Additionally, the Aviation

Logistics Center in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, conducts centralized, world-class depot maintenance activities to enhance mission performance of our rotary and fixed-wing aviation assets.

In addition to the focus on recapitalizing our surface and aviation fleets, we are also mindful of the condition of our shore infrastructure. Investments in shore infrastructure are also critical to modernizing the Coast Guard and equipping our workforce with the facilities they require to meet mission. Investments in shore infrastructure are vital to modernizing the Coast Guard and equipping our workforce with the facilities they require to meet mission.

While readiness and modernization investments improve current mission performance, the right force is central to success. I am incredibly proud of our 88,000 active duty, reserve, civil service, and auxiliary members. I am working aggressively to validate a transparent and repeatable model to identify the appropriate force structure required for the Coast Guard to respond simultaneously to global, national, and regional events.

Funding 21st century Coast Guard platforms and people is a smart investment, even in this challenging fiscal environment. Modern assets bring exceptional capability, but our greatest strength will always be our people. Coast Guard operations require a capable, proficient, and resilient workforce that draws upon the broad range of skills, talents, and experiences found in the American population. Together, modern platforms and a strong, resilient workforce will maximize the Coast Guard’s capacity to meet future challenges.

History has proven that a responsive, capable, and agile Coast Guard is an indispensable instrument of national security. With the continued support of the Administration and Congress, the Coast Guard will continue to live up to our motto. We will be Semper Paratus – Always Ready. Thank you for the opportunity to testify before you today and for all you do for the men and women of the Coast Guard. I look forward to your questions.

1 In addition to the Coast Guard’s status as an Armed Force (10 U.S.C. § 101), see also Memorandum of Agreement Between the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security on the Use of Coast Guard Capabilities and Resources in Support of the National Military Strategy, 02 May 2008, as amended 18 May 2010.
2 Executive Order No. 13767 on Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements, 25 January 2017.
3 Secretary Kelly Hearing Testimony, “Ending the Crisis: America’s Borders and the Path to Security” before the House Homeland Security Full Committee and Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security Joint Hearing on America’s Borders, Panel 1, 07 February 2017.
4 US Department of Homeland Security, Office of Inspector General, Review of U.S. Coast Guard’s Fiscal Year 2016 Drug Control Performance Summary, OIG Report, OIG-17-33, February 1, 2017.
5 [US Department of Homeland Security, Office of Inspector General, Review of U.S. Coast Guard’s Fiscal Year 2016 Drug Control Performance Summary, OIG Report, OIG-17-33, February 1, 2017. ]

 

Topics:  Border Security, Economic Security, Law Enforcement Partnerships, Maritime Keywords:  Mission, national security, National Security Cutter, Joint Force, Workforce

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