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Updated: 58 min 38 sec ago

DHS Blue Campaign Announces Partnership with United Airlines

Fri, 12/07/2018 - 07:14

On December 7, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced a new industry partnership between the DHS Blue Campaign – the unified voice for DHS’s efforts to combat human trafficking – and United Airlines.

“The Department of Homeland Security’s Blue Campaign is excited about its partnership with United Airlines. United has a robust human trafficking awareness training program and will be a leader in the airline industry’s efforts to combat human trafficking. Together, the Blue Campaign and United Airlines will share their resources and begin an endeavor to identify and alleviate the terrible toll of human trafficking,” said Trent Frazier, Executive Director of DHS Campaigns.

Through this partnership, the Blue Campaign will co-brand its awareness materials with United Airlines. These materials will further support United Airlines employee training, which empowers them to recognize indicators of human trafficking and report suspected cases. The Blue Campaign will also facilitate other types of outreach to educate United Airlines’ employees, including its crew members, about human trafficking. 

“At United, safety is our top priority,” said Steve Morrissey, United’s vice president, regulatory and policy. “Partnering with the Department of Homeland Security and combining our collective resources further underscores our commitment to safety and strengthens our determination to recognize and report instances of human trafficking.”

The Blue Campaign leverages its partnerships with state and local governments, the private sector, and others, to protect the basic right of freedom and to bring those who exploit human lives to justice. As with other public-facing industries, the Blue Campaign looks forward to collaborating with United Airlines to combat human trafficking.

For more information about the Blue Campaign, click here.

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Topics: Human Trafficking
Keywords: Blue Campaign, Combatting Human Trafficking, public-private partnership

Statement on Secretary Nielsen's Meeting with Mexican Foreign Secretary-Designate Marcelo Ebrard

Mon, 12/03/2018 - 15:51

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Press Secretary Tyler Q. Houlton released the following statement on U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen's meeting with Mexican Foreign Secretary-Designate Marcelo Ebrard.

“Today in Washington, U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen met with Mexican Foreign Secretary-Designate Marcelo Ebrard to discuss a variety of issues of shared concern and new opportunities. This conversation covered several joint interest areas in order to define common vision and showing leadership together throughout the region. This was the first official visit in the United States for Secretary-Designate Ebrard.”

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Topics: International Engagement
Keywords: International partnerships

Secretary Nielsen Statement On San Ysidro Port Of Entry Closure

Sun, 11/25/2018 - 14:54

"This morning, CBP was forced to close the San Ysidro Port of Entry to ensure public safety in response to large numbers of migrants seeking to enter the U.S. illegally. After being prevented from entering the Port of Entry, some of these migrants attempted to breach legacy fence infrastructure along the border and sought to harm CBP personnel by throwing projectiles at them. As I have continually stated, DHS will not tolerate this type of lawlessness and will not hesitate to shut down ports of entry for security and public safety reasons. We will also seek to prosecute to the fullest extent of the law anyone who destroys federal property, endangers our frontline operators, or violates our nation’s sovereignty. CBP, along with other DHS law enforcement, federal law enforcement, the U.S. military and state and local law enforcement, will continue to have a robust presence along the Southwest Border and at our ports of entry to prevent illegal entry or violence. We continue to stay in close contact with Mexican authorities and we remain committed to resolving this situation safely in concert with our Mexican partners."

Topics: Border Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Secretary of Homeland Security
Keywords: immigration enforcement, Port of Entry, southwest border

DHS Convenes Third Digital Forum on Terrorism Prevention with Southern California Stakeholders

Wed, 11/21/2018 - 14:26

On November 16, the Department of Homeland Security Office of Terrorism Prevention Partnerships, joined by the Anti-Defamation League, the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, Hacker Fund, RAND Corporation, and Tech Against Terrorism convened the third Digital Forum on Terrorism Prevention in Santa Monica, California, to discuss innovative and inclusive responses to hate, polarization, and terrorism. 

The 70 participants included industry executives, non-profit leaders, educators, law enforcement, and local, state, federal, and foreign officials, who actively participated in “lightning round” talks about how programming activities contribute toward a broader architecture to prevent terrorism, specifically through the lens of technology.  The event was organized at the direction of DHS Secretary Nielsen, who after the second Digital Forum on Terrorism Prevention in Silicon Valley, called for another Digital Forum by the end of 2018, highlighting the value of engagements that feature “continued cross-section of all interested parties.”

The packed agenda featured high quality speakers on panels titled, “Innovative Responses to Hate,” “Inclusive Approaches to Polarization,” “Digital Advancement in the Age of Terrorism,” “Strategic Design, Incubation, and Measurement,” and “Vision for Future Collaboration.”  Speakers noted the importance of having technology to support work at the community level for many purposes, specifically to assess risk, amplify messaging, inform reporting, deliver training and toolkits, and ultimately drive online connections into a sustainable offline infrastructure that provides intervention services for those at risk of radicalization to violence.

While several organizations emphasized their demand for additional resources to support their respective programs, attendees also recognized how the whole was greater than the sum of its parts through cross sector engagement.  This was emphasized during the question & answer sessions, where conversations centered upon how solutions that address broad societal challenges (such as social isolation, bullying, marginalization, discrimination) also provide opportunity to address the advent of terrorism and hate crimes.  In the short time since the conclusion of the Digital Forum, many attendees have already begun connecting to strengthen the expanding network of terrorism prevention practitioners, regionally and nationally.

Participants also discussed how the evolving information environment presents new opportunities and challenges.  New and growing platforms provide broader reach for both broad communications and individualized messaging, but limited policies and weak enforcement capabilities of smaller organizations may consequently introduce unintended vulnerabilities that can be exploited to do harm.  Therefore, it became evident that the long term viability of civil society partners must be rooted in teamwork and information sharing, in order to adequately insulate populations from adversarial influence.

The third Digital Forum on Terrorism Prevention also revealed how prevention work takes on different shapes in different communities.  Program implementation and public discourse varies depending upon locality, since community leaders’ priorities vary.  Terrorism prevention practitioners have a responsibility to contextualize issues to ensure widest impact with any variety of stakeholders, including community centers, mental health organizations, school districts, human rights organizations, emergency management agencies, as well as the offices of elected officials.

In addition to the open discussions, DHS staff briefed  the online training course, “Countering Terrorists Exploitation of Social Media and the Internet,” which the U.S. Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) Task Force and the United Kingdom Home Office jointly developed this year. The training examines the online activities of ISIS, al-Qa´ida, and White Supremacist Extremists, as well as highlights select initiatives where governments and industry have worked to counter the threat from these groups and movements.  The course is currently in its beta phase, with staff at multiple leading and startup technology companies having already completed it.  Companies and startups interested in gaining access to the training can request it on Tech Against Terrorism’s Knowledge Sharing Platform or email contact@techagainstterrorism.org with “Training” written in the subject line.

By addressing efforts to counter terrorist radicalization and recruitment, the Digital Forum on Terrorism Prevention fulfills several requisites featured in the new National Strategy for Counterterrorism.  It also meets the core goals of the DHS Office of Terrorism Prevention Partnerships: to provide awareness of the terrorist threat to civil society and government partners; to implement engagement programs that reduce barriers to reporting and bolster resistance to radicalization to violence; to spur innovation and expansion of intervention programs; and to build a positive feedback loop to continuously assess initiatives or programs for effectiveness and widely shares these lessons learned.

Topics: Preventing Terrorism
Keywords: terrorism prevention

Written testimony of NPPD for a House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Protection and House Armed Services Subcommittee on Emerging Threats & Capabilities hearing regarding Interagency Cyber Cooperation

Tue, 11/13/2018 - 21:00

2118 Rayburn House Office Building

Chairman Ratcliffe, Chairman Stefanik, Ranking Member Richmond, Ranking Member Langevin, and members of the Committees, thank you for today’s opportunity to testify regarding the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) ongoing and collaborative efforts to strengthen the cybersecurity of our Nation’s critical infrastructure. Safeguarding and securing cyberspace is a core homeland security mission, and DHS’s National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD) leads the Nation’s efforts to ensure the security and resilience of our cyber and physical infrastructure.

NPPD is responsible for assisting agencies with the protection of civilian Federal Government networks and coordinating with other Federal agencies, as well as state, local, tribal, and territorial governments, and the private sector to defend our Nation’s critical infrastructure from malicious cyber activity. We work to enhance cyber threat information sharing across the globe in order to help critical infrastructure entities and government agencies protect their cyber systems and quickly recover should such an attack occur. By bringing together all levels of government, the private sector, international partners, and the public, DHS protects against cybersecurity risks, improves our whole-of-government incident response capabilities, enhances information sharing of best practices and cyber threats, and strengthens resilience of our Nation’s critical infrastructure.

Threat Assessment

Cybersecurity threats remain one of the most significant strategic risks for the United States, threatening our national security, economic prosperity, and public health and safety. We have seen advanced persistent threat actors, including cyber criminals, nation states and their proxies, increase the frequency and sophistication of malicious cyber activity. Our adversaries have been developing and using advanced cyber capabilities in attempts to undermine critical infrastructure, target our livelihoods and innovation, steal our national security secrets, and threaten our democracy.

Global cyber incidents, such as the “WannaCry” ransomware incident attributed to North Korea and the “NotPetya” malware incident attributed to the Russian military in May and June 2017, respectively, are examples of malicious actors leveraging cyberspace to create disruptive effects and cause economic loss. These incidents exploited known vulnerabilities in software commonly used across the globe. Prior to these events, DHS had already taken actions to help protect networks from similar types of attacks. NPPD’s National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center (NCCIC) publishes a list of known software vulnerabilities and pushes this information out to stakeholders on a routine basis. Additionally, through requested vulnerability scanning, we helped stakeholders identify vulnerabilities on their networks so they could be patched before incidents and attacks occurred. Recognizing that not all users are able to install patches immediately, we shared additional mitigation guidance to assist network defenders. As the incidents unfolded, we led the Federal Government’s asset response efforts, working with our interagency partners, in providing situational awareness, information sharing, malware analysis, and technical assistance to affected government and critical infrastructure entities.

In a series of incidents since at least May of last year, working with U.S. and international partners, DHS and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) have identified Russian government actors targeting government entities and businesses in the energy, nuclear, water, aviation, and critical manufacturing sectors. Consistent with Presidential Policy Directive 41 and the National Cyber Incident Response Plan, DHS, FBI, and ODNI led coordination of the Federal Government’s incident response. Support was also provided by the Department of Energy (DOE) and the Department of Defense (DOD), certain elements of the Intelligence Community, and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

DHS assesses that this campaign ultimately collected information pertaining to industrial control systems (ICS) with the intent to gain access to ICS environments, and in minimal instances did develop access to the ICS environments. The intrusions have been comprised of two distinct categories of victims: (1) staging and (2) intended targets. Through the Department’s incident response actions, we identified activities by Russian government actors to target certain entities that then become pivot points, leveraging existing relationships between the initial victim and the intended targets to hide their activity, as part of a multi-stage intrusion campaign to gain access to networks of our Nation’s critical infrastructure. Based on our analysis and observed indicators of compromise, DHS has confidence that this campaign is still ongoing, and threat actors are actively pursuing their ultimate long-term campaign objectives. DHS and FBI continue to conduct incident response related to this activity and have published a joint technical alert and hosted public webinars to enable network defenders to identify and take action to reduce exposure to this malicious activity.

As another example of specific threats, the U.S. Government has received information from multiple sources—including public and private sector cybersecurity research organizations and allies—that cyber actors are exploiting large numbers of network infrastructure devices (e.g., routers, switches, firewall, and network-based intrusion detection system devices) worldwide since 2015. Earlier this year, DHS, FBI, and the United Kingdom’s National Cyber Security Centre published a publicly-available joint technical alert attributing this activity to Russian state-sponsored actors. Targets are primarily government and private-sector organizations, critical infrastructure providers, and Internet service providers supporting these sectors. Several days after publication of the alert, an industry partner notified DHS and FBI of related malicious cyber activity in which the actors redirected certain queries to their own infrastructure and obtained sensitive information, which included the configuration files of networked devices. Russian state-sponsored actors are using compromised routers to conduct man-in-the-middle attacks to support espionage, extract intellectual property, maintain persistent access to victim networks, and potentially lay a foundation for future offensive operations.

Joint DOD and DHS Cybersecurity Efforts

The challenge of effectively coordinating homeland security and homeland defense missions is not new, but it is amplified and complicated by the global, borderless, interconnected nature of cyberspace where strategic threats can manifest in the homeland without advanced warning. DHS and DOD recently finalized an agreement which reflects the commitment of both Departments in collaborating to improve the protection and defense of the U.S. homeland from strategic cyber threats. This agreement clarifies roles and responsibilities between DOD and DHS to enhance U.S. government readiness to respond to cyber threats and establish coordinated lines of efforts to secure, protect, and defend the homeland.

The roles and responsibilities of DOD and DHS are complementary but different. DOD must maintain the US military’s ability to fight and win wars and project power in a contested environment or while under attack in any domain, including cyberspace. As the government lead for national risk management, DHS is responsible for leading overall government efforts to protect critical infrastructure and civilian federal government informational system. As a part of these missions, DHS is working with a range of partners to identify national critical functions and ensure their integrity and resilience by leading government efforts to integrate and coordinate cybersecurity risk management and assistance with state, local, tribal, and territorial, and private sector critical infrastructure partners. DHS is a focal point for sharing cyber threat indicators and information and is responsible for providing tools, services, and programs to reduce and mitigate the risk of catastrophic consequences stemming from cyber-attacks.

DHS and DOD are both committed to improving the protection and defense of the homeland from strategic cyber threats. Specifically, DHS and DOD are working to improve intelligence, indications, and warning of malicious cyber activity; strengthen the resilience of the highest priority national critical infrastructure; improve joint operations planning and coordination; improve joint incident response to significant cyber incidents; expand cooperation with State, local, tribal and territorial authorities; and improve joint defense of Federal networks.

DHS and DOD will achieve these objectives through three primary lines of effort. First, DOD and DHS are adopting a threat-informed, risk-based approach that ensures the resilient delivery of national critical functions and services, and denies strategic adversaries the ability to prevent delivery of such functions and services. DOD and DHS will jointly prioritize a set of high priority national critical functions and non-DOD owned mission critical infrastructure that is most critical to the military‘s ability to fight and win wars and project power. Second, DOD and DHS in coordination with the FBI and the intelligence community are collaborating to build a common understanding of strategic cyber threats that can empower private sector network defenders, critical infrastructure owners and operators, and government actors to improve resilience and integrity of national critical functions. Timely access to threat information related to adversary capabilities and intent is critical to understand and counter the risk facing our nation’s critical infrastructure effectively. Third, DoD and DHS are coordinating to inform and mutually support respective planning and operational activities as appropriate for each Department’s unique authorities. DHS’s knowledge of the domestic risk landscape, its work with the private sector, can inform DOD’s efforts to preempt, defeat, or deter malicious cyber activity targeting U.S. critical infrastructure. And, DOD‘s “defend forward” operations can inform and guide DHS efforts to anticipate adversary action and understand potential risks to critical infrastructure.

Cybersecurity Priorities

DHS, our government partners, and the private sector are committed to a more strategic and unified approach as we work to improve our Nation’s overall defensive posture against malicious cyber activity. In February 2013, Presidential Policy Directive 21, Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience, recognized that only a more integrated approach to managing risk would enable the Nation to counter malicious cyber activity targeting our critical infrastructure. In May of this year, DHS published a Department-wide Cybersecurity Strategy, providing DHS with a strategic framework to execute our cybersecurity responsibilities during the next five years.

This Administration has leaned forward even further, prioritizing the protection and defense of our people and economy from the range of threats that exist today, including those emanating from cyberspace. In September the President released the National Cyber Strategy which recognizes that cyberspace has become foundational to our American way of life. Last year, the President signed Executive Order (EO) 13800, Strengthening the Cybersecurity of Federal Networks and Critical Infrastructure. This Executive Order set in motion a series of assessments and deliverables to enable the improvement of our defenses and lower our risk to cyber threats.

EO 13800 requires continued examination of how the Federal Government and industry work together to protect our Nation’s critical infrastructure, prioritizing deeper, more collaborative public-private partnerships in threat assessment, detection, protection, and mitigation. In collaboration with civilian, defense, and intelligence agencies, we have worked to identify authorities and capabilities that agencies could employ, soliciting input from the private sector, and developed recommendations to support the cybersecurity efforts of those critical infrastructure entities at greatest risk of attacks that could result in catastrophic impacts. It is only through this collective defense model that we will be successful against this threat.

Additionally, under EO 13800, DHS and DOE, in consultation with ODNI, and state and local governments, assessed the potential scope and duration of a prolonged power outage associated with a significant cyber incident and the readiness to manage its consequences. DOE and DHS are focused on closing identified gaps in order to build on the already robust collaboration between government and industry on electricity sector cybersecurity. Continuing to enhance these partnerships is critical to enhancing cybersecurity preparedness and response capabilities, limiting the potential scope and duration of a significant cyber incident, and reducing impacts to the critical national economy, defense, and lifeline functions which the electric grid supports.

Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity Responsibilities

In accordance with the Homeland Security Act of 2002, as amended, the National Cybersecurity Protection Act of 2014, the Federal Information Security Modernization Act of 2014, the Cybersecurity Act of 2015, and Presidential Policy Directives 21 and 41, among other authorities and directives, DHS leads the Federal Government’s efforts to enhance the cybersecurity and resilience of our Nation’s critical infrastructure. As the next legislative step, we must ensure that NPPD is appropriately organized to address cybersecurity threats both now and in the future. Therefore, we urge the House to bring the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency Act to the floor for final passage. This legislation would establish a cybersecurity agency at DHS, and realign NPPD to ensure it is focused on the core mission.

NPPD’s NCCIC operates at the intersection of the private sector, state and local governments, federal departments and agencies, international partners, law enforcement, and intelligence and defense communities. The Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act of 2015 established DHS as the Federal Government’s central hub for the automated sharing of cyber threat indicators and defensive measures. The NCCIC’s automated indicator sharing (AIS) capability allows the Federal Government and the private sector network defenders to share technical information at machine speed. The NCCIC also provides entities with information, technical assistance and guidance they can use to secure their networks, systems, assets, and information by reducing vulnerabilities and ensuring resilience to cyber incidents. DHS does this in a way that protects privacy and civil liberties.

NPPD’s NCCIC provides a broad range of capabilities to assist private sector entities across all 16 sectors of critical infrastructure. In addition to information sharing and incident response, these capabilities include assessments and technical services that include recommended remediation and mitigation techniques that improve the cybersecurity posture of our Nation’s critical infrastructure. Among other services, these include vulnerability scanning and testing, penetration testing, phishing assessments, and red teaming on operational technology that includes the industrial control systems that operate our Nation’s critical infrastructure.

While DHS makes available to our Nation’s critical infrastructure owners and operators unclassified and classified cyber threat information as well as a full range of technical assistance capabilities, DHS also closely coordinates with our federal partners, including Sector-Specific Agencies. For instance, the DOE is the Sector Specific Agency for the energy sector. DHS and DOE cooperate on a range of cybersecurity matters, particularly regarding information sharing, incident response, and research and development. NPPD’s NCCIC works closely with DOE and the Energy Sector’s Electricity Information Sharing and Analysis Center and Oil and Natural Gas Information Sharing and Analysis Center to share actionable information. We work closely with DOE to ensure we do not duplicate resources in areas such as incident response or information sharing, but also to ensure we leverage DOE’s unique relationships and capabilities in the sector.

NPPD also funds work at the Idaho National Lab to enhance the cybersecurity of our Nation’s industrial control systems that operate critical infrastructure, such as the electricity grid. This work includes a biannual conference with experts from across the industrial control systems cybersecurity community to ensure information and experience is shared across this community. In addition to assessments and sharing of technical cyber threat information, through Idaho National Lab, NPPD provides extensive hands-on training to the critical infrastructure owners and operators on protecting and securing industrial control systems from cyber-attacks and includes a red team/blue team exercise conducted within an actual control systems environment.

National Risk Management

We face an urgent, evolving crisis in cyberspace. Our adversaries’ capabilities online are outpacing our stove-piped defenses. Working together with the private sector and our government partners, we are addressing this problem and taking collective action against malicious cyber actors. Specifically, there is a need to enhance and promote the Department’s cross-sector, cross-government coordination on critical infrastructure security and resilience.

We must improve our focus on examining the critical functions that drive our economy and facilitate national security. In other words, we need to continually advance our ability to organize and collaborate on risk strategies, planning, and solutions. For many years, DHS has worked closely with the private sector, but it has become clear that it must be a focal point for turning threat intelligence into joint action.

At the Department’s first National Cybersecurity Summit this summer, in response to a clear demand signal and after extensive consultation with industry and government partners, Secretary Nielsen announced the rebranding of the Office of Cyber and Infrastructure Analysis as the National Risk Management Center (NRMC). Housed within DHS, the NRMC is the logical evolution of the ongoing improvements made over the last several years in information sharing and partnership building between the government and industry. The NRMC draws on existing resources and functions from across NPPD, the Department and our Federal and international partners to bring our risk management efforts to the next level of effectiveness.

The NRMC’s mission is to enable analysts and planners, from both public and private sector, to jointly assess our country's cyber risks, plan to combat those risks and—most importantly—enable implementation of tailored solutions to protect our networks. The full expertise of the Federal Government should be brought to bear on these challenges.

Perhaps most importantly, the NRMC’s core mission focuses on the systems or functions that cut across sectors. Ultimately, the NRMC will facilitate a partnership among and across government and industry that can provide a unified, collective approach to the defense that the nation needs to achieve superiority over our adversaries.

The NCCIC and National Infrastructure Coordination Center (NICC) will continue to carry out current operations, and the NRMC will enhance their efforts. The NRMC will support NCCIC and NICC operations by helping with prioritization and other needs, while also looking ahead to plan more strategically, and leveraging feedback from operations and other partners.

Conclusion

In the face of increasingly sophisticated threats, DHS employees lead efforts to defend our Nation’s critical infrastructure from cyber threats. Our infrastructure environment today is complex and dynamic with interdependencies that add to the challenge of securing and making it more resilient. Clearly, we cannot do this unless we work together with our interagency partners, and use all available capabilities, people, and information. DHS remains committed to leading this effort while working hand in hand with our interagency partners to leverage every tool we have available. Further, as new threats emerge, we redouble our efforts. Expertise in cyber-physical risk assessments and cross-sector critical infrastructure interdependency evaluation is where NPPD brings unique experience and capabilities.

Thank you for the opportunity to appear before the Committee today, and I look forward to your questions.

Topics: Critical Infrastructure Security, Cybersecurity
Keywords: CISA, cyberthreat, EO 13800, federal network security, NMRC

Congress Passes Legislation Standing Up Cybersecurity Agency in DHS

Tue, 11/13/2018 - 17:02

On November 13, the United States House of Representatives voted unanimously to pass legislation creating the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).  The CISA Act (H.R. 3359), which passed the Senate in October and now heads to the President’s desk to be signed into law, would reorganize DHS’ National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD) into a new agency and prioritize its mission as the Federal leader for cyber and physical infrastructure security.

“Today’s vote is a significant step to stand up a federal government cybersecurity agency,” said Secretary Kirstjen M. Nielsen. “The cyber threat landscape is constantly evolving, and we need to ensure we’re properly positioned to defend America’s infrastructure from threats digital and physical.  It was time to reorganize and operationalize NPPD into the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.  I thank Chairman Michael McCaul and Ranking Member Bennie Thompson for recognizing our critical role and both starting and completing this transformation in the House of Representatives.  I also thank Chairman Ron Johnson and Ranking Member Claire McCaskill for their tireless support of the CISA Act in the Senate.”

“I also want to thank all the hardworking men and women of NPPD for carrying out our important cybersecurity mission each day within DHS. CISA will help bring the recognition this team deserves and will empower the team to more effectively execute its vital mission.”

“The CISA Act passing Congress represents real progress in the national effort to improve our collective efforts in cybersecurity,” said NPPD Under Secretary Christopher Krebs. “Elevating the cybersecurity mission within the Department of Homeland Security, streamlining our operations, and giving NPPD a name that reflects what it actually does will help better secure the nation’s critical infrastructure and cyber platforms.  The changes will also improve the Department’s ability to engage with industry and government stakeholders and recruit top cybersecurity talent.”

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Topics: Cybersecurity
Keywords: Cybersecurity

Congress Passes Legislation Standing Up Cybersecurity Agency in DHS

Tue, 11/13/2018 - 17:02

On November 13, the United States House of Representatives voted unanimously to pass legislation creating the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).  The CISA Act (H.R. 3359), which passed the Senate in October and now heads to the President’s desk to be signed into law, would reorganize DHS’ National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD) into a new agency and prioritize its mission as the Federal leader for cyber and physical infrastructure security.

“Today’s vote is a significant step to stand up a federal government cybersecurity agency,” said Secretary Kirstjen M. Nielsen. “The cyber threat landscape is constantly evolving, and we need to ensure we’re properly positioned to defend America’s infrastructure from threats digital and physical.  It was time to reorganize and operationalize NPPD into the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.  I thank Chairman Michael McCaul and Ranking Member Bennie Thompson for recognizing our critical role and both starting and completing this transformation in the House of Representatives.  I also thank Chairman Ron Johnson and Ranking Member Claire McCaskill for their tireless support of the CISA Act in the Senate.”

“I also want to thank all the hardworking men and women of NPPD for carrying out our important cybersecurity mission each day within DHS. CISA will help bring the recognition this team deserves and will empower the team to more effectively execute its vital mission.”

“The CISA Act passing Congress represents real progress in the national effort to improve our collective efforts in cybersecurity,” said NPPD Under Secretary Christopher Krebs. “Elevating the cybersecurity mission within the Department of Homeland Security, streamlining our operations, and giving NPPD a name that reflects what it actually does will help better secure the nation’s critical infrastructure and cyber platforms.  The changes will also improve the Department’s ability to engage with industry and government stakeholders and recruit top cybersecurity talent.”

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Topics: Cybersecurity
Keywords: Cybersecurity

Joint EU-U.S. statement following the EU-U.S. Justice and Home Affairs Ministerial Meeting

Fri, 11/09/2018 - 08:42

On 9 November 2018, the EU-U.S. Ministerial Meeting on Justice and Home Affairs took place in Washington DC. The United States of America hosted the meeting and was represented by the U.S. Acting Attorney General Matthew G. Whitaker and Secretary for Homeland Security, Kirstjen Nielsen.

The European Union was represented by the Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos, as well as by the Austrian Federal Minister for the Interior Herbert Kickl, the Austrian Federal Minister for Constitutional Affairs, Reforms, Deregulation and Justice Josef Moser, the Romanian Minister of the Interior Carmen Daniela Dan and the Romanian Secretary of State for Justice Sebastian Costea on behalf of the current and incoming Presidencies of the Council of the European Union.

The United States and the European Union reaffirmed their commitment to jointly address common challenges in the areas of justice and home affairs and praised the excellent level of exchanges and operational cooperation, for the benefit of the security of citizens on both sides of the Atlantic.

The United States and the European Union underlined the importance of effective information sharing for their shared efforts to combat terrorism, focusing on battlefield information, Passenger Name Records (PNR) and aviation security. Participants emphasised the importance of PNR information sharing as a tool for the prevention of terrorist travel and agreed to prepare for a  joint evaluation in 2019, in compliance with the provisions of the EU-US PNR Agreement. The United States and the European Union recognised the need to enhance their efforts to address the challenge of terrorists’ use of the internet to direct and inspire attacks, while respecting individual rights, including freedom of speech. Both sides shared information on their respective initiatives, including efforts to better engage and partner with service providers.

The United States and the European Union recognised that electoral systems in democratic states face unprecedented challenges that require innovative and comprehensive solutions, as well as cooperation and best practice exchanges between like-minded countries. On that topic, participants briefed each other on current actions to build more resilient electoral systems. In order to promote exchanges between relevant experts from both sides on current challenges to elections, including such challenges as disinformation campaigns and other forms of online and offline interference, the United States and the European Union agreed to set up a regular dialogue on these matters, the details of which should be developed at the next Senior Officials meeting in 2019. 

The United States and the European Union reiterated the priority they attach to fighting cybercrime and enhancing cybersecurity. They recognised the need to maintain a global, open, stable and secure cyberspace for the promotion of economic and social development and, in this context, stressed the valuable contribution of joint work conducted by U.S. and EU law enforcement agencies to combat, deter and prevent cybercrime and called for the expansion of such cooperation, as appropriate. Participants also acknowledged the challenge in obtaining timely and lawful access to encrypted data, in accordance with individual rights and civil liberties, by those investigating and solving criminal offenses and exchanged views on their respective practices to counter such challenges. Participants took note of the dialogue that took place in Brussels between the cybersecurity experts at DHS and the EU and agreed to continue to collaborate to strengthen the cybersecurity posture on both sides of the Atlantic.

The United States and the European Union agreed on the importance for both law enforcement and judicial authorities of swift cross-border direct access to electronic evidence, as demonstrated by recent legislation approved or under examination in the United States and the EU. Participants further recognised the benefit of exploring, and agreed to discuss, the possibility of an EU-US agreement to facilitate access to electronic evidence.

The United States and the European Union exchanged information on developments in the area of migration and border management, with a particular focus on efforts to prevent and combat migrant smuggling and trafficking of human beings. The United States and the European Union agreed on the importance of advancing towards reciprocal visa free travel under their respective legal frameworks and, following the most recent tripartite meeting on visa reciprocity, welcomed the progress of the five concerned Member States towards meeting the statutory requirements of the Visa Waiver Program, in order to be considered for designation in the programme.

The United States and the European Union underscored their shared concerns about the major international

drug-control threats posed by illicit synthetic opioids , including fentanyl and its derivatives. Both sides took

note of the U.S.-EU Political Dialogue on Drugs held on October 18, 2018.

Reiterating the progress made and the need to face global challenges together, the European Union and the United States remain committed to reinforce their partnership and meet again in the first half of 2019 in Bucharest, Romania.

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Topics: Homeland Security Enterprise, International Engagement, Preventing Terrorism, Secretary of Homeland Security
Keywords: aviation security, europe, terrorism prevention

DHS Myth vs. Fact: Asylum Proclamation and Rule

Fri, 11/09/2018 - 08:35

Our system is currently overwhelmed by unchecked mass immigration, particularly at our Southwest border.

President Trump is using the authority granted to him by the Immigration and Nationality Act to manage and protect the integrity of our immigration system and our national sovereignty.

  • Section 212(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act states plainly: "Whenever the President finds that the entry of any aliens or of any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, he may by proclamation, and for such period as he shall deem necessary, suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or nonimmigrants, or impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem to be appropriate.”
  • Section 215(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act similarly states: "Unless otherwise ordered by the President, it shall be unlawful for any alien to depart from or enter or attempt to depart from or enter the United States except under such reasonable rules, regulations, and orders, and subject to such limitations and exceptions as the President may prescribe."
Q. Who would this rule apply to?

A. This rule would apply only prospectively to proclamations issued on or after the effective date of this rule.  It would not apply to a proclamation that specifically includes an exception for aliens applying for asylum, nor would it apply to aliens subject to a waiver or exception provided by the proclamation. It does not apply to legal permanent residents or U.S. citizens. It does not limit the rights of unaccompanied alien minors.

Q. How does this uphold our nation’s values with regard to immigration?

A. The United States is a global leader when it comes to assisting individuals fleeing persecution—including refugees and asylum seekers. We accept far more refugees referred from the United Nation’s High Commissioner for Refugees than any other country in the world. From Fiscal Year 2008 to Fiscal Year 2017, the United States gave Lawful Permanent Resident status to 1,761,927 individuals, which is larger than twelve states, including the District of Columbia. We are a nation that believes in the rule of law.  The American people do not want an immigration system that allows for mass unchecked illegal immigration – we demand and deserve a secure border and an immigration system that benefits the American people.

Q. Are you shutting down the border?

A. No. Personnel at our Nation’s Ports of Entry must balance a variety of priority missions. These include facilitating legal trade and travel, preventing the entry of drugs and contraband, apprehending criminals and terrorists and assisting persons seeking to claim asylum.  Ports of entry are equipped to inspect individuals in a safe and orderly fashion, including examining whether there is a basis to admit an alien.  At Ports of Entry, the United States is able to expeditiously process those aliens who are admissible, while still providing an opportunity for those who may not be admissible to enter and seek protection.  Under the law, while individuals may be found inadmissible, their entry itself is not unlawful so long as they properly come to the ports of entry. 

Q. Under what authority is this action constitutional?

A.  In June, the Supreme Court upheld the President’s broad statutory authority to execute entry restrictions pursuant to section 212(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, including through the national security reviews required under that Proclamation.  The use of this provision to address immigration crisis like the one we are experience has received bipartisan support in the past.

Q. How will you ensure adherence to international law with regard to the rights of individuals to claim asylum?

A. This rule merely exercises the Attorney General’s and Secretary of Homeland Security’s statutory power to bar from eligibility for asylum aliens who are the subject of a President’s future 212(f) proclamations. The U.S. meets its obligations under the Refugee Convention and the Convention Against Torture through other forms of relief.  Individuals with legitimate claims of asylum can simply present at a port of entry to have their claims heard. 

Q. Are you going to deny asylum seekers at Ports of Entry?

A. No. If aliens arrive at a Port of Entry they remain eligible to seek asylum and may proceed through the existing credible-fear screening process.

Q. Are you planning to expand capacity at Ports of Entry?

A.  In anticipation of a large group arriving in the coming weeks, DHS is surging additional resources to support our ports of entry to assist in processing those individuals – and all others arriving at our ports of entry – as efficiently as possible.  But as mentioned before, DHS has a variety of priority missions at the ports of entry which require dynamic staffing and resource allocations to confront risk.  This will require CBP Field Office Directors to make determinations about how to allocate resources to counter drug, gang and terrorism activities, the facilitation of trade and travel and the handling of asylum claims. 

Q. Why is this an interim final rule and not a proposed rule?

A. Our asylum system is in crisis.  The Administrative Procedure Act’s pre-promulgation notice and comment requirement, or a delay in the effective date, could lead to an unprecedented surge of illegal migrants to the southern border to enter the United States before the rule took effect. 

Q.  What is the UN Convention Against Torture?

A. The United Nations Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT) requires signatory parties to take measures to end torture within their territorial jurisdictions, and not return persons to countries where they would likely be tortured. For purposes of the Convention, torture is defined as an extreme form of cruel and inhuman punishment committed under the color of law. Unlike asylum, the Convention guarantees even the worst alien terrorists and criminals protection from return.

Q. How does the IFR and Proclamation comply with the Convention Against Torture?

A. Aliens claiming fear under the Convention Against Torture can still pursue their claims and are not affected by this rule. Similarly, the administration is acting in conformance with the Foreign Affairs Reform and Restructuring Act of 1998, which authorizes and directs agency heads to prescribe regulations to implement the obligations of the United States under the Convention Against Torture.

Q. How many aliens receive CAT protection?

A. Fewer than 1,000 aliens per year, of any nationality, receive CAT protection. 

Q. Who can claim asylum?

A. The Department of Homeland Security has incorporated into the credible fear screening process a check to see whether aliens are subject to the new 8 C.F.R. § 208.13(c)(3) mandatory bar to asylum eligibility—that is, aliens who are barred from receiving asylum because they are the subjects of an Immigration and Nationality Act § 212(f) or § 215(a)(1) order. Such aliens who are ineligible for asylum necessarily cannot establish a credible fear of persecution. 

Q. What has changed in the screening process?

A.USCIS officers will still determine whether aliens have a fear of persecution or torture for statutory withholding and CAT purposes. Aliens who are barred from receiving asylum under an Immigration and Nationality Act § 212(f) or § 215(a)(1) proclamation, however, must show a reasonable fear of persecution or torture to be further considered for statutory withholding or CAT protection.  In other words, such aliens cannot be further considered for statutory withholding or CAT protection by showing a mere credible fear of persecution or torture. 

Q. What training are you conducting for asylum officers?

A. On November 9, USCIS issued a new field guidance for asylum officers to adjudicate claims in accordance with the Interim Final Rule and Immigration and Nationality Act § 212(f) and § 215(a)(1) Presidential Proclamation.

Q. Are you building tents?

A. DHS and DoD are working closely together to advance the President’s border security mission. As has been reported for many months, DHS, HHS and DoD have been looking at locations and available avenues if the need for additional housing arises.  We have no announcement at this time on the construction of additional facilities for the detention of those who enter our country illegally. 

Q. Will this increase length of time an alien spends in detention?

A. Aliens are generally detained during the credible-fear screening process, but may be eligible for parole or release on bond if they establish a credible fear.  To the extent that the rule may result in lengthier interviews for each case, aliens’ length of stay in detention may increase. 

Q. Are these actions meant to be a deterrent?

A. The IFR and Proclamation are not intended to deter legitimate asylum seekers from seeking protection.  In fact we expect it will allow them to more expeditiously have their claims heard and adjudicated.  Taken together, the rule and the Presidential proclamation are meant to ensure that aliens seek protections in a legal and safe manner.

Q. Is this action in response to the caravan?

A. We have a broken immigration system that has precipitated an illegal immigration crisis at the Southern border.  The caravan is just the latest symptom of that problem. The Border Patrol apprehends hundreds of thousands of people each year – numbers any American would agree is unacceptable. Asylum seekers know they will be released into the United States and receive work permits while their often frivolous claims are adjudicated. They then disappear or fail to depart the country.

Q. Where are you going to detain aliens?

A. Once apprehended by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, DHS will transfer aliens to the appropriate detention center.

Q. Where are you going to detain family units once Family Residential Centers are full?

A. DHS is going to continue to maintain high standards of care for those in our care and abide by all applicable laws and regulations.  We are ascertaining whether additional resources will be necessary for detention. 

Q. Why are you taking this action?

A. In recent years, there has been a significant increase in the number and percentage of aliens who seek admission or unlawfully enter the United States and then assert an intent to apply for asylum or a fear of persecution.  The vast majority of such assertions for protection occur in the expedited-removal context, and the rates at which such aliens receive a positive credible-fear determination have increased in the last five years to nearly 90 percent.  Having passed through the credible-fear screening process, many of these aliens are released into the interior to join an overloaded immigration court system that takes years to bring cases to a final conclusion. Yet, many aliens who pass through the credible-fear screening thereafter do not pursue their claims for asylum.  In the last year we saw 89% of those claiming asylum from the norther triangle pass a credible fear screening.  However more than half never applied for asylum after being released or failed to show for their initial hearing.  Eventually, only 9% of those who applied for Asylum out of these countries actually qualified before a judge.  The bottom line is that a substantial number of applicants fail to appear for their final hearings before an immigration judge, or fail to comply with removal orders. Even when they appear for their hearings, only a very low rate are ultimately granted asylum.     

Q. Who does this rule benefit?

A. This rule positively affects the aliens with meritorious asylum claims by reducing frivolous claims and allowing meritorious cases be adjudicated more swiftly if the number of non-meritorious cases declined.  Aliens with meritorious claims can thus more quickly receive the benefits associated with asylum that they deserve.   

Q. Have you discussed this action with Mexico and the Northern Triangle?

A. The administration is in constant communication with our partners in the region regarding appropriate cooperative arrangements to prevent unlawful mass migration to the United States through the southern border. 

Topics: Border Security, Citizenship and Immigration Services, Immigration and Customs Enforcement
Keywords: Border Security, southwest border

Secretary Kirstjen M. Nielsen Statement on the Shooting in California

Thu, 11/08/2018 - 15:27

"Today, I join the American people in mourning the lives of those lost in the horrific shooting in Thousand Oaks, California. I offer my deepest condolences to the families of the victims, and all those affected by this tragedy. I would also like to acknowledge the heroic sacrifice of Ventura County Sheriff’s Office Sergeant Ron Helus, who was killed while engaging the suspect, and thank the law enforcement officers and first responders who were on the scene.

"DHS continues to support our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners to develop trainings and resources to improve response capabilities and better protect soft targets and crowded places."

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Topics: Secretary of Homeland Security
Keywords: Active Shooter

Secretary Kirstjen M. Nielsen, Acting Attorney General Matthew G. Whitaker Statement

Thu, 11/08/2018 - 15:05

Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen M. Nielsen and Acting Attorney General Matthew G. Whitaker released the following statement on the joint Department of Homeland Security and Department of Justice asylum regulation:

“Consistent with our immigration laws, the President has the broad authority to suspend or restrict the entry of aliens into the United States if he determines it to be in the national interest to do so. Today's rule applies this important principle to aliens who violate such a suspension or restriction regarding the southern border imposed by the President by invoking an express authority provided by Congress to restrict eligibility for asylum.  Our asylum system is overwhelmed with too many meritless asylum claims from aliens who place a tremendous burden on our resources, preventing us from being able to expeditiously grant asylum to those who truly deserve it.  Today, we are using the authority granted to us by Congress to bar aliens who violate a Presidential suspension of entry or other restriction from asylum eligibility.”

The interim final rule is available here.

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Topics: Border Security, Secretary of Homeland Security
Keywords: immigration

Message from Secretary Kirstjen M. Nielsen on the 2018 Secretary’s Awards

Thu, 11/08/2018 - 08:02

Each year, the Secretary's Awards provide an opportunity to recognize some of the outstanding DHS employees who have gone above and beyond the call of duty in service to our missions. It is a time for us to celebrate their accomplishments, and thank them for their service. 

Today, I had the distinct honor of presenting these awards to the more than 660 employees who received individual or team awards. These employees and their stories—full of honor, courage, and ingenuity—represent the very best of our Department. It was a pleasure to be joined by other leaders throughout the Department, as well as the families of our honorees, to celebrate their accomplishments. 

I would like to note, however, that these men and women represent only a fraction of our outstanding employees who, every day, commit themselves to the important work of our Department. I want to thank each of you, and your families, for the sacrifices you make in service to our Department.  

Once again, congratulations to the 2018 Secretary's Award recipients. Thank you for your service to our country and our Department. 

Best regards,


Kirstjen M. Nielsen
Secretary of Homeland Security

With honor and integrity, we will safeguard the American people, our homeland, and our values.

Topics: Secretary of Homeland Security
Keywords: employee awards, Secretary Nielsen

Secretary Kirstjen M. Nielsen Statement on National Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience Month

Wed, 11/07/2018 - 11:12

Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen M. Nielsen released the following statement on President Trump’s Proclamation of November as National Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience Month:

“Americans rely on secure and resilient infrastructure to provide access to safe food, reliable electricity and transportation, clean water, and instant communication. These physical and cyber systems—and others across all 16 critical infrastructure sectors—provide the essential services that support and underpin American society.

“As the Secretary of Homeland Security, I am committed to strengthening our efforts to protect and secure the infrastructure on which Americans rely, in close partnership with other federal agencies, state, local, territorial and tribal governments, and the private sector. Only by working together can we help ensure the nation’s critical infrastructure is secure and resilient, and be ready to respond to any cyber or physical threats we might face.

“The threat to our critical systems is continuous and outpacing our defenses. We have already seen attempts by countries such as China, Iran, North Korea, and Russia to use their power in cyberspace to compromise and disrupt our infrastructure, and advance their own interests.

“I commend President Trump for recognizing the important work we do to ensure secure and resilient infrastructure, and for pushing his entire Administration to combat these threats head on.

“I also want to commend the countless employees of the Department of Homeland Security, and all our partners in government and the private sector who work day-in and day-out to make our infrastructure more secure.  Our collective success depends on your continued dedication.”

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Topics: Critical Infrastructure Security, Secretary of Homeland Security
Keywords: critical infrastructure, resilience

Secretary Kirstjen M. Nielsen Statement on National Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience Month

Wed, 11/07/2018 - 11:12

Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen M. Nielsen released the following statement on President Trump’s Proclamation of November as National Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience Month:

“Americans rely on secure and resilient infrastructure to provide access to safe food, reliable electricity and transportation, clean water, and instant communication. These physical and cyber systems—and others across all 16 critical infrastructure sectors—provide the essential services that support and underpin American society.

“As the Secretary of Homeland Security, I am committed to strengthening our efforts to protect and secure the infrastructure on which Americans rely, in close partnership with other federal agencies, state, local, territorial and tribal governments, and the private sector. Only by working together can we help ensure the nation’s critical infrastructure is secure and resilient, and be ready to respond to any cyber or physical threats we might face.

“The threat to our critical systems is continuous and outpacing our defenses. We have already seen attempts by countries such as China, Iran, North Korea, and Russia to use their power in cyberspace to compromise and disrupt our infrastructure, and advance their own interests.

“I commend President Trump for recognizing the important work we do to ensure secure and resilient infrastructure, and for pushing his entire Administration to combat these threats head on.

“I also want to commend the countless employees of the Department of Homeland Security, and all our partners in government and the private sector who work day-in and day-out to make our infrastructure more secure.  Our collective success depends on your continued dedication.”

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Topics: Critical Infrastructure Security, Secretary of Homeland Security
Keywords: critical infrastructure, resilience

Secretary Nielsen Statement on the Nomination of Dr. Joseph Cuffari

Wed, 11/07/2018 - 07:29

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen M. Nielsen released the following statement on President Trump’s intent to nominate Dr. Joseph Cuffari as Inspector General at the Department of Homeland Security:

“I am pleased that President Trump intends to nominate Dr. Joseph Cuffari as Inspector General (IG) at the Department of Homeland Security. Dr. Cuffari’s leadership will help to provide crucial oversight to ensure excellency, integrity and accountability throughout all programs and operations. The Department has a long-standing commitment to combating waste, fraud and abuse, and Dr. Cuffari has demonstrated his resolve to do so throughout a variety of roles. His decades of experience, including more than 40 years in the U.S. Air Force and more than 20 years at the Department of Justice (DOJ), will make him an invaluable member of the Department’s leadership team.  I thank Dr. Cuffari for his willingness to serve in government again and urge the Senate to swiftly confirm him to this important position.”

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Topics: Homeland Security Jobs
Keywords: Office of Inspector General

Joint Statement on Election Day Preparations

Mon, 11/05/2018 - 16:38

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI), and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)—in coordination with federal, state, local, and private sector partners nationwide—are continuing efforts to protect our elections. Today, DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, DNI Dan Coats, and FBI Director Christopher Wray released the following joint statement:

“Our agencies have been working in unprecedented ways to combat influence efforts and to support state and local officials in securing our elections, including efforts to harden election infrastructure against interference. Our goal is clear: ensure every vote is counted and counted correctly. At this time we have no indication of compromise of our nation’s election infrastructure that would prevent voting, change vote counts, or disrupt the ability to tally votes.”

“But Americans should be aware that foreign actors – and Russia in particular – continue to try to influence public sentiment and voter perceptions through actions intended to sow discord. They can do this by spreading false information about political processes and candidates, lying about their own interference activities, disseminating propaganda on social media, and through other tactics. The American public can mitigate these efforts by remaining informed, reporting suspicious activity, and being vigilant consumers of information, as discussed below.”

“The United States will not tolerate foreign interference in our elections from Russia, China, Iran, or other nations. As noted in a  joint statement on October 19, 2018, such actions are a threat to our democracy, and identifying and preventing this interference is one of our highest priorities. On September 12, President Trump signed an executive order that makes clear the U.S. government will not hesitate to defend our electoral processes or punish those who attempt to undermine them.” 

“Our agencies have been making preparations for nearly two years in advance of these elections and are closely engaged with officials on the ground to help them ensure the voting process is secure. Americans can rest assured that we will continue to stay focused on this mission long after polls have closed.”

To learn more about efforts to protect America’s elections please visit: https://www.dhs.gov/topic/election-security.

Voters can take a few simple steps to help secure our elections, including: 

  • Get Election Information Straight from the Source – Your State or Local Election Office. Call them or check their website. They will have accurate information you can trust on the status of your voter registration, polling hours and location, identification requirements, and election results.
  • Be Smart When Consuming or Sharing Election-Related Information: Know Your Source—And Think Before You Link. Compare reporting from multiple sources to determine reliable information. Before sharing, ask yourself, “Who wrote it? Who posted it? What are their sources?”

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Topics: Election Security
Keywords: Election security

Myth vs. Fact: Caravan

Thu, 11/01/2018 - 12:55

Below are the facts surrounding the “caravans” en route to the U.S. Southwest border.

Q: Do we know who is in the caravan?

A:  We continue to be concerned about individuals along the caravan route. In fact, over 270 individuals along the caravan route have criminal histories, including known gang membership.  Those include a number of violent criminals – examples include aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, armed robbery, sexual assault on a child, and assault on a female. Mexican officials have also publicly stated that criminal groups have infiltrated the caravan. We also continue to see individuals from over 20 countries in this flow from countries such as Somalia, India, Haiti, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh. There is a large segment of this population that we know nothing about and we must be prepared to defend our border and enforce our laws to protect the citizens of our country.

Q: Is the caravan politically motivated?

A: Some recent media reports indicate there may be political motivations from Central American countries.

Q: Are there criminals in the caravan?

A: Yes – so far, there are over 270 individuals along the caravan route that have criminal histories, including known gang membership. 

On October 29, the Mexican ambassador to the U.S. described some of the caravan members as “very violent:”  “Unfortunately, some of the people in the caravan have been very violent against authority, even though they have offered the possibility of entering in compliance with immigration law and refugee status.”

On October 30, Mexico’s Interior Minister Navarrete Prida speaking on Radio Enfoque (Focus) 100.1 FM, confirmed that some criminal groups have infiltrated the caravan: “I have videos from Guatemala that show men dressed in identical clothing, sporting the same haircuts, handing out money to women to persuade them to move to the front of the caravan…We know, for a fact, that some members of the caravan threatened [Mexican] Migration Institute personnel and we have images showing many of them preparing Molotov cocktails.”

Q: Is the caravan only women and children?

A: No, reports on the ground from our foreign partners suggest that approximately 50 percent are single adults. However, the Guatemalan Intel Minister said that the caravan is employing tactics to push women and children to the front to act as human shields as the caravan pushes against its military forces.

Q: How many troops will be deployed to the Southwest border?

A: By November 2, there will be approximately 5,200 deployed to support U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at the Southwest border as part of Operation Faithful Patriot. This is in addition to the 2,000 National Guardsmen currently deployed for Operation Guardian Support.

Q: When do you expect the caravan to arrive at the border?

A: Current estimates indicate that the caravan could arrive between four days and two weeks (from October 31) depending on the mode of transportation and whether they make any prolonged stops.

Q: Why do you need to deploy the armed forces to the border?

A: The potential for large groups – who have already showed a propensity to using violence to achieve its objective – presents a unique safety threat to our nation and Border Patrol personnel as well as to the security of the American people. We have already witnessed these groups forcibly encroach upon foreign borders and have engaged in violence when confronted by those governments.

Q: Why are we seeing caravans heading towards our Southwest border?

A: Our nation is experiencing an unprecedented crisis on our Southern Border that is the result of loopholes that prevent the detention and repatriation of illegal alien minors and family units.  FY18 is the highest number of family unit apprehensions on record – it is more than 40% higher than any previous year on record. As a result of these loopholes, when illegal alien minors or adults traveling with minors unlawfully enter the United States, rather than being detained and removed, they are released into American communities. Once released, those who have no legal right to stay are almost never removed.   Knowledge of these loopholes has led to a dramatic transformation in the population of those seeking to enter our country illegally.

Q: Will you allow the caravan to enter the United States?

A: We will not allow a large group of illegal migrants attempt to enter into the United States if they have no lawful right to gain entry.

Q: Will the caravan be allowed to seek asylum?

A: Our goal is to provide protection to those individuals who qualify for asylum under our laws.  Individuals who want jobs or want to reunify with family members in the U.S. aren’t eligible to qualify for asylum.

Topics: Border Security, Citizenship and Immigration Services, Immigration and Customs Enforcement
Keywords: Border Security, southwest border

Joint Statement from the Department of Homeland Security and Department of Defense

Fri, 10/26/2018 - 13:44

“After receiving a request for assistance from the Secretary of Homeland Security, the Secretary of Defense has approved providing mission-enhancing capabilities to Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) along the Southwest Border (SWB). This assistance is in addition to the previously authorized support to CBP's Operation Guardian Support mission.

The DoD will provide Defense Support of Civil Authorities with planning assistance, engineering support (temporary barriers, barricades, and fencing), fixed and rotary wing aviation support to move CBP personnel, medical teams to triage, treat and prepare for commercial transport of patients, command and control facilities, temporary housing for CBP personnel, and personal protective equipment for CBP personnel. USNORTHCOM will be in the lead for the duration of the operation and is in support of Custom and Border Protection.”

Topics: Border Security
Keywords: Border Protections, southwest border

Statement From DHS Secretary Kirstjen M. Nielsen on Recent Mail Bombs

Thu, 10/25/2018 - 06:20

“DHS and the U.S. Secret Service are closely coordinating with the FBI on the active investigation and are working with state and local law enforcement to provide updates on the evolving situation. The Department has heightened the security posture at federal facilities around the country and is actively communicating with our National Network of Fusion Centers. I condemn these cowardly acts in the strongest possible terms. Americans will not tolerate these types of threats, and we will not be intimidated.”

Topics:
Keywords: bomb, secret service

DHS Leads the Implementation of Email Authentication Services Across the Federal Government

Tue, 10/16/2018 - 08:00

This time last year, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) made a commitment to the American people: it should not be easy to impersonate the federal government through spoofing-related phishing campaigns. Today, we announced that we have reached the one-year milestone for Binding Operational Directive (BOD) 18-01: a vast majority of the federal community are meeting critical web and email security enhancements. Throughout the year, the DHS team has been accelerating progress, conducting hundreds of agency exchange meetings and establishing a collaborative, public-facing website to support this cross-government effort and further advance federal website and data integrity.

DHS saw the strongest level of email authentication enforcement through Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting and Conformance (DMARC) adoption increase by eight times across the federal civilian government—making the Federal government a leader across all sectors in DMARC use and email authentication. BOD 18-01 was also critical step in addressing one of the federal government’s greatest and ongoing challenges, phishing, and we are continuing to take steps to combat this pervasive threat.

While a majority of the federal government anticipates meeting all of the BOD deadlines today, DHS still has work to do to ensure a successful and enduring implementation of these critical security enhancements. Encouraged by progress but always with an eye towards an unflinching adversary, we will not relent in our mission of safeguarding information systems for the Federal IT Enterprise and, most importantly, the American people.

Topics: Cybersecurity
Keywords: CS&C, email address