Written testimony of FEMA for a House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Transportation Security, and Subcommittee on National Security hearing titled “Oversight of the Urban Area Security Initiative Grant Program”

Release Date: 
July 15, 2016

2154 Rayburn House Office Building

Chairman DeSantis, Chairman Mica, and members of the Subcommittees on Transportation and Public Assets and National Security: good morning. I am Brian Kamoie, Assistant Administrator for Grant Programs at the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). On behalf of Secretary Johnson and Administrator Fugate, thank you for the opportunity to discuss DHS and FEMA’s overall efforts to assist states, tribes, territories, and localities in preparing for and responding to terrorist attacks and incidents of mass violence.

The terrorist attacks in Dallas last week and in Orlando in June are reminders of how important it is for us, as a Nation, to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards. This includes not only natural threats, such as flooding, earthquakes, tornadoes, and hurricanes, but also these types of organized terrorist attacks, lone shooters, and other man-made threats. Secretary Johnson and other DHS leadership are dedicated to determining how we can best prepare our communities for these types of events, and support them in the aftermath. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families, and our state and local law enforcement officers who risk their lives every day to protect our communities and our freedoms.

During any type of incident, local first responders, including law enforcement personnel, are first on scene and play a critical role in keeping our communities safe. This administration remains committed to ensuring all first responders have the resources they need to plan, equip, train, exercise, and operationalize, so they may prevent, prepare for, mitigate, and respond to a wide range of catastrophic incidents.

Today, I will outline some of FEMA’s programs that support our state, local, tribal, and territorial partners in preparing for terrorist attacks and incidents of mass violence. I will also discuss how, through these programs, FEMA supported Florida and Orlando before and after the shooting in Orlando.

Homeland Security Preparedness Grant Programs

Since 2002, Congress, through the Department of Homeland Security, has awarded more than $47 billion in preparedness grant funding to our state, local, tribal, territorial, and non-profit partners.

In Fiscal Year (FY) 2016, more than $1.6 billion was awarded to our partners to support their preparedness efforts. More than $1 billion of this is dedicated to the Homeland Security Grant Program (HSGP) that provides funding to states, territories, high risk urban areas, local and tribal governments, and non-profit institutions. The HSGP enables our partners to build, sustain, and deliver core capabilities that are essential to achieving the National Preparedness Goal (the Goal) of a secure and resilient Nation. The HSGP includes the State Homeland Security Program (SHSP), the Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI), and the Operation Stonegarden (OPSG) program. The SHSP and UASI provide the funding needed to address planning, organization, equipment, training, and exercise needs, while the OPSG program focuses on securing our nation’s borders. In addition to the HSGP, FEMA also provides funding to better secure key transportation routes through transit security, port security, and intercity bus and passenger rail security grants. These grants help protect the public who rely on these key methods of transportation as well as facilitate commerce.

Per Section 2006 of the Homeland Security Act of 2002, as amended, FEMA is required to ensure that at least 25 percent of grant funding appropriated for the HSGP is used for law enforcement terrorism prevention activities. This includes a range of activities authorized per 6 U.S.C. §607, such as information sharing and analysis, target hardening, forensics and attribution activities, screening, search and detection efforts, as well as the interdiction and disruption of potential terrorist events. FEMA meets this requirement by requiring all SHSP and UASI recipients to ensure that at least 25 percent of the total funds awarded from those programs are dedicated to law enforcement terrorism prevention activities. Those award recipients report to FEMA twice per year on their expenditures, including their compliance with the law enforcement terrorism prevention requirement.

In FY 2016, the SHSP provides $402 million to support building and sustaining preparedness capabilities. In FY 2015 and FY2016, Florida received more than $22 million in SHSP funds. Florida also received more than $1.3 million through the OPSG program to enhance cooperation and coordination among state, local, tribal, and territorial law enforcement agencies in a joint mission to secure the Nation’s borders.

In FY 2016, UASI grants were allocated to the 29 U.S. metropolitan areas identified as high-threat, high-density urban areas. As mandated by the Homeland Security Act and to ensure limited UASI funds are allocated to the cities with the highest risk, each year FEMA conducts a risk assessment of the 100 most populous Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSA). The annual assessment is based on relative threat, vulnerability, and consequence factors from acts of terrorism faced by each MSA. Threat scores are derived from intelligence data compiled by the DHS Office of Intelligence and Analysis. Vulnerability scores take into consideration information regarding targeted infrastructure that terrorists are deemed more likely to attack, as well as border crossings (i.e., air, land, and sea). Finally, consequence scores factor in an MSA’s population, economic, national infrastructure, and national security indices. The results of the risk assessment, including the scores and relative ranking, inform the Secretary’s decisions regarding eligible urban areas and funding allocations. The risk assessments are recalculated every year using the updated data.

Orlando received $44,502,824 in total UASI funding from FYs 2003-2012. In FY 2013, Congress, for the first time, directed DHS to limit the number of jurisdictions funded under the UASI program to focus funding in the highest-risk urban areas, and limited the number of eligible urban areas to 25. Orlando had a relative risk rank of #30 of 100 in FY 2013 and, therefore, did not receive dedicated UASI funding. In FY 2014, Congress lifted the restriction on the total number of urban areas that DHS could fund under the UASI program and allowed the Secretary of Homeland Security full discretion on determining the number of funded urban areas. In FY 2014, Secretary Johnson funded 39 urban areas, including Orlando (ranked #33) which received $1 million in UASI funding.

For FYs 2015 and 2016, in the annual Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Acts, Congress again directed DHS to restrict funding to “urban areas representing up to 85 percent of such risk” because “most of the cumulative national terrorism risk to urban areas is focused on a relatively small number of cities.” Secretary Johnson followed that Congressional direction and designated 28 urban areas as eligible for UASI funding in FY 2015 and 29 in FY 2016. Orlando fell outside the funded range in both of those years, ranking #32 in FY 2015 and #34 this fiscal year.

Previously awarded HSGP funds allocated to both the State of Florida and the City of Orlando have been used to increase preparedness, coordination, and response during the June 12, 2016 terrorist attack at the Pulse nightclub. For example, an armored personnel carrier vehicle referred to as a “Bearcat” and the bomb-detection robot used during the response efforts were purchased with both UASI and SHSP funds. Following the attack, FEMA also immediately approved two requests from the Florida Division of Emergency Management, the State Administrative Agency (SAA) for homeland security grant funds, to reallocate up to $253,000 in unspent HSGP funds for the incurred and anticipated law enforcement operational overtime expenses for the Orange County Sherriff’s Office. The approval allows officials to use up to $178,000 of these unspent FY 2014 UASI funds and $75,000 of these unspent FY 2014 SHSP funds for these expenses. In addition to DHS and FEMA funding, the Department of Justice made $1 million available to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement on Orlando’s behalf to help cover overtime costs for state and local law enforcement.

Complex Coordinated Terrorist Attack and Countering Violent Extremism Grants

In FY 2016, Congress appropriated $39 million to prepare for, prevent, and respond to complex, coordinated terrorist attacks (CCTA). The CCTA funds will enhance resilience and build capacity for addressing CCTAs across the Nation. The program provides funding to local, state, tribal, and territorial jurisdictions of various types, sizes, and capabilities to improve their ability to prevent, protect against, mitigate the effects of, respond to, and recover from CCTAs. Funding will be available for: enhancing plans; developing and implementing training; conducting exercises; enhancing information sharing and other prevention efforts; and producing lessons learned, best practices, and other materials that can be shared with jurisdictions across the country to support their efforts. FEMA will issue a notice of funding opportunity for this program before the end of FY 2016.

Section 543 of the 2016 Homeland Security Appropriations Act also provided $10 million for a Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) initiative to help states, tribes, and local communities prepare for, prevent, and respond to emergent threats from violent extremism. Congress directed that these funds be provided on a competitive basis to state, local, and tribal governments, non-profit organizations, or intuitions of higher education. Funding will be available for activities including, but not limited to: planning, developing, implementing, or expanding educational outreach, community engagement, social service programs, training, and exercises.

On July 6, 2016, the Secretary of Homeland Security issued a notice of funding opportunity announcing the launch of the CVE Grant Program. Eligible parties will have 60 days, until September 6, 2016, to prepare and submit applications for federal grant funding to support local CVE efforts. This program is designed to encourage new and scale successful community-led initiatives across the country and enhance the Nation’s resilience against threats posed by violent extremism.

Training First Responders

FEMA’s National Training and Education System (NTES) is designed to foster an integrated and effective approach to building the knowledge and skills of homeland security professionals. This world-class system includes the development and delivery of training courses to first responders on a wide variety of emergency response topics. In-person training is offered throughout the country, including at FEMA’s Center for Domestic Preparedness (CDP) in Anniston, Alabama, where more than 45,000 responders are trained per year in disciplines such as emergency management, emergency medical services, fire service, hazardous materials, law enforcement, public safety communications, and public works. FEMA also manages the Emergency Management Institute (EMI) and U.S. National Fire Academy, both housed at the National Emergency Training Center (NETC) in Emmitsburg, Maryland.

In addition to general emergency management training courses, FEMA offers training specifically designed to address terrorism incidents. For example, since 2011 EMI trained more than 700,000 participants, including students from Orlando, to respond to active shooter situations.

In coordination with the National Counter Terrorism Center and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, FEMA developed and manages two training programs designed to assist communities in preparing for the kinds of complex terrorist attacks we have recently witnessed. The Joint Counterterrorism Awareness Workshop Series (JCTAWS) is geared to UASI cities, while the Integrated Emergency Management Course was developed for metropolitan areas that may have fewer resources and less experience with counterterrorism operations. So far, more than 6,200 responders across 26 cities have participated in JCTAWS, with 11 additional deliveries scheduled through FY 2017. In September 2014, Orlando hosted a JCTAWS with nearly 300 federal, state, local, and private-sector participants.

These programs are designed to be community-specific training initiatives to improve the ability of local jurisdictions to prepare for, protect against, and respond to complex coordinated attacks. Through briefings, case studies, facilitated discussions, and planning workshops, participants work through attack scenarios to identify gaps in their current plans as well as mitigation strategies.

Conclusion

It is the local first responders – law enforcement, fire, EMS – who are first on the scene and thus are our most important partners in preparing for, mitigating, and responding to attacks such as what took place in Orlando and Dallas. FEMA is honored to support these and all first responders by administering and utilizing the resources Congress provides to implement these programs as an integral part of the Nation’s preparedness. FEMA will continue to work with Orlando, the State of Florida, Dallas, the State of Texas, and our partners to help organize, train, equip, and exercise our first responders, so they are prepared to respond to any future incident. I am grateful for the opportunity to appear before you today to discuss these important programs, and I am happy to respond to any questions the subcommittee may have at this time or moving forward. Thank you.

Syndicated from the Department of Homeland Security

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Written testimony of DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson for a House Committee on Homeland Security hearing titled “Worldwide Threats to the Homeland: ISIS and the New Wave of Terror”

Release Date: 
July 14, 2016

311 Cannon House Office Building

Chairman McCaul, Representative Thompson, and members of the Committee, thank you for holding this annual threats hearing with me, the FBI Director and the Director of NCTC. I believe this annual opportunity for Congress to hear from us, concerning threats to the homeland is important. I welcome the opportunity to be here again.

Counterterrorism

San Bernardino and Orlando are terrible reminders of the new threats we face to the homeland.

We have moved from a world of terrorist-directed attacks, to a world that also includes the threat of terrorist-inspired attacks – attacks by those who live among us in the homeland and self-radicalize, inspired by terrorist propaganda on the internet. By their nature, terrorist-inspired attacks are often difficult to detect by our intelligence and law enforcement communities, could occur with little or no notice, and in general, make for a more complex homeland security challenge.

This threat environment has required a whole new type of response.

As directed by President Obama, our government, along with our coalition partners, continues to take the fight militarily to terrorist organizations overseas. ISIL is the terrorist organization most prominent on the world stage. Since September 2014, air strikes and special operations have in fact led to the death of a number of ISIL’s leaders and those focused on plotting external attacks in the West. At the same time, ISIL has lost about 47% of the populated areas it once controlled in Iraq, and thousands of square miles of territory it once controlled in Syria. But as ISIL loses territory, it has increased its plotting on targets outside of Iraq and Syria, and continues to encourage attacks in the United States.

On the law enforcement side, the FBI continues to, in my judgment, do an excellent job of detecting, investigating, preventing, and prosecuting terrorist plots here in the homeland.

Following the attacks in Ottawa, Canada in 2014, and in reaction to terrorist groups’ public calls for attacks on government installations in the western world, I directed the Federal Protective Service to enhance its presence and security at various U.S. government buildings around the country.

The Department of Homeland Security has intensified our work with state and local law enforcement, and strengthened our information sharing efforts. Almost every day, we share intelligence and information with Joint Terrorism Task Forces, fusion centers, local police chiefs and sheriffs. And we are now able to instantly cross-reference suspects against law enforcement and counterterrorism databases and share information—often in almost real-time—with our domestic as well as international partners. We are also enhancing information sharing with organizations that represent businesses, college and professional sports, community and faith-based organizations, and critical infrastructure.

And, since 2013 we’ve spearheaded something called the “DHS Data Framework” initiative. We are improving our ability to use DHS information for our homeland security purposes, and to strengthen our ability to compare DHS data with other travel, immigration, and other information at the unclassified and classified level. We are doing this consistent with laws and policies that protect privacy and civil liberties.

We also provide grant assistance to state and local governments around the country, for things such as active shooter training exercises, overtime for police officers and firefighters, salaries for emergency managers, emergency vehicles, and communications and surveillance equipment. We helped to fund an active shooter training exercise that took place in the New York City subways last November, a series of these exercises earlier this year in Miami and Louisville, and just last month at Fenway Park in Boston. In February, and last month, we announced another two rounds of awards for FY 2016 that will fund similar activities over the next three years.

We are enhancing measures to detect and prevent travel to this country by foreign terrorist fighters.

We are strengthening the security of our Visa Waiver Program, which permits travelers from 38 different countries to come to the U.S. for a limited time period without a visa. In 2014, we began to collect more personal information in the Electronic System for Travel Authorization, or “ESTA” system, that travelers from Visa Waiver countries are required to use. ESTA information is screened against the same counterterrorism and law enforcement databases that travelers with traditional visas are screened, and must be approved prior to an individual boarding a plane to the United States. As a result of these enhancements, over 3,000 additional travelers were denied travel here through this program in FY 2015. In August 2015, we introduced further security enhancements to the Visa Waiver Program.

Through the passage in December of the Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015, Congress has codified into law several of these security enhancements, and placed new restrictions on eligibility for travel to the U.S. without a visa. We began to enforce these restrictions on January 21, 2016. Waivers from these restrictions will only be granted on a case-by-case basis, when it is in the law enforcement or national security interests of the United States to do so. Those denied entry under the Visa Waiver Program as a result of the new law may still apply for a visa to travel to the U.S. In February, under the authority given me by the new law, I also added three countries – Libya, Yemen and Somalia – to a list that prohibits anyone who has visited these nations in the past five years from traveling to the U.S. without a visa. In April, DHS began enforcing the mandatory use of high security electronic passports for all Visa Waiver Program travelers. In both February and June, CBP enhanced the ESTA application with additional questions.

We are expanding the Department’s use of social media for various purposes. Today social media is used for over 30 different operational and investigative purposes within DHS. Beginning in 2014 we launched four pilot programs that involved consulting the social media of applicants for certain immigration benefits. USCIS now also reviews the social media of Syrian refugee applicants referred for enhanced vetting, and is extending this review to additional categories of refugee applicants. Based upon the recommendation of a Social Media Task Force within DHS, I have determined, consistent with relevant privacy and other laws, that we must expand the use of social media even further.

CBP is deploying personnel at various airports abroad, to pre-clear air travelers before they get on flights to the United States. At present, we have this pre-clearance capability at 15 airports overseas. And, last year, through pre-clearance, we denied boarding to over 10,700 travelers (or 29 per day) before they even got to the United States. As I said here last year, we want to build more of these. In May 2015, I announced 10 additional airports in nine countries that we’ve prioritized for preclearance. In May, CBP announced an “open season,” running through August 1, for foreign airports to express interest in participating in the next round of preclearance expansion. I urge Congress to pass legislation enabling preclearance operations in Canada, by providing legal clarity to CBP officials who are responsible for the day-to-day operation of preclearance facilities there.

For years Congress and others have urged us to develop a system for biometric exit – that is, to take the fingerprints or other biometric data of those who leave the country. CBP has begun testing technologies that can be deployed for this nationwide. With the passage of the FY 2016 Omnibus Appropriations Act, Congress authorized up to $1 billion in fee increases over a period of ten years to help pay for the implementation of biometric exit. In April, the Department delivered its Comprehensive Biometric Entry/Exit Plan to Congress, which details CBP’s plan for expanding implementation of a biometric entry/exit system using that funding. I have directed that CBP redouble its efforts to achieve a biometric entry/exit system, and to begin implementing biometric exit, starting at the highest volume airports, in 2018.

Last January I announced the schedule for the final two phases of implementation of the REAL ID Act, which go into effect in January 2018 and then October 2020. At present, 24 states are compliant with the law, 28 have extensions, and 4 states or territories are out of compliance without an extension. Now that the final timetable for implementation of the law is in place, we urge all states, for the good of their residents, to start issuing REAL ID- compliant drivers’ licenses as soon as possible.

In the current threat environment, there is a role for the public too. “If You See Something, Say Something”™ must be more than a slogan. We continue to stress this. DHS has now established partnerships with the NFL, Major League Baseball and NASCAR, to raise public awareness at sporting events. An informed and vigilant public contributes to national security.

In December we reformed “NTAS,” the National Terrorism Advisory System. In 2011, we replaced the color-coded alerts with NTAS. But, the problem with NTAS was we never used it, it consisted of just two types of Alerts: “Elevated” and “Imminent,” and depended on the presence of a known specific and credible threat. This does not work in the current environment, which includes the threat of homegrown, self-radicalized, terrorist-inspired attacks. So, in December we added a new form of advisory – the NTAS “Bulletin” – to augment the existing Alerts, and issued the first Bulletin providing the public with information on the current threat environment and how they can help. The December Bulletin expired last month, and we issued a new and updated Bulletin on June 15.

Given the nature of the evolving terrorist threat, building bridges to diverse communities is also a homeland security imperative. Well informed families and communities are the best defense against terrorist ideologies. Al Qaeda and ISIL are targeting Muslim communities in this country. We must respond. In my view, building bridges to our communities is as important as any of our other homeland security missions.

In 2015 we took these efforts to new levels. We created the DHS Office for Community Partnerships (OCP), which is now the central hub for the Department’s efforts to counter violent extremism in this country, and the lead for a new interagency Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) Task Force that includes DHS, the Department of Justice (DOJ), the FBI, the National Counter Terrorism Center (NCTC) and other agencies. We are focused on partnering with and empowering communities by providing them a wide range of resources to use in preventing violent extremist recruitment and radicalization. Specifically, we are providing access to federal grant opportunities for state and local leaders, and partnering with the private sector to find innovative, community-based approaches.

Ensuring that the Nation’s CVE efforts are sufficiently resourced has been an integral part of our overall efforts. Last week, on July 6, I announced the CVE Grant Program, with $10 million in available funds provided by Congress in the 2016 Omnibus Appropriations Act. The CVE Grant Program will be administered jointly by OCP and FEMA. This is the first time federal funding at this level will be provided, on a competitive basis, specifically to support local CVE efforts. The funding will be competitively awarded to state, tribal, and local governments, nonprofit organizations, and institutions of higher education to support new and existing community-based efforts to counter violent extremist recruitment and radicalization to violence.

Finally, given the nature of the current threat from homegrown violent extremists, homeland security must include sensible gun control laws. We cannot have the former without the latter. Consistent with the Second Amendment, and the right of responsible gun owners to possess firearms, we must make it harder for a terrorist to acquire a gun in this country. The events of San Bernardino and Orlando make this painfully clear.

Aviation Security

As we have seen from recent attacks in Egypt, Somalia, Brussels, and Istanbul, the threat to aviation is real. We are taking aggressive steps to improve aviation and airport security. In the face of increased travel volume, we will not compromise aviation security to reduce wait times at Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screening points. With the support of Congress we are surging resources and adding personnel to address the increased volume of travelers.

Since 2014 we have enhanced security at overseas last-point-of-departure airports, and a number of foreign governments have replicated those enhancements. Security at these last-point-of-departure airports remains a point of focus in light of recent attacks, including those in Brussels and Istanbul.

As you know, in May of last year a classified DHS Inspector General’s test of certain TSA screening at eight airports, reflecting a dismal fail rate, was leaked to the press. I directed a 10-point plan to fix the problems identified by the IG. Under the new leadership of Admiral Pete Neffenger over the last year, TSA has aggressively implemented this plan. This has included retraining the entire Transportation Security Officers (TSO) workforce, increased use of random explosive trace detectors, testing and re-evaluating the screening equipment that was the subject of the IG’s test, a rewrite of the standard operating procedures manual, increased manual screening, and less randomized inclusion in Pre-Check lanes. These measures were implemented on or ahead of schedule.

We are also focused on airport security. In April of last year TSA issued guidelines to domestic airports to reduce access to secure areas, to require that all airport and airline personnel pass through TSA screening if they intend to board a flight, to conduct more frequent physical screening of airport and airline personnel, and to conduct more frequent criminal background checks of airport and airline personnel. Since then employee access points have been reduced, and random screening of personnel within secure areas has increased four-fold. We are continuing these efforts in 2016. In February, TSA issued guidelines to further enhance the screening of aviation workers in the secure area of airports, and in May, TSA and airport operators completed detailed vulnerability assessments and mitigation plans for nearly 300 federalized airports.

We will continue to take appropriate precautionary measures, both seen and unseen, to respond to evolving aviation security threats and protect the traveling public.

Without short-cutting aviation security, we are also working aggressively to improve efficiency and minimize wait times at airport security check points in the face of increased air travel volumes. I thank Congress for approving our two reprogramming requests that have enabled us to expedite the hiring of over 1,300 new TSOs, pay additional overtime to the existing TSO workforce, and convert over 2,700 TSOs from part-time to full-time.

We have also brought on and moved canine teams to assist in the screening of passengers at checkpoints, solicited over 150 volunteers from among the TSO workforce to accept temporary reassignment from less busy to busier airports, deployed optimization teams to the Nation’s 20 busiest airports to improve operations, and stood up an Incident Command Center at TSA headquarters to monitor checkpoint trends in real time.

We continue to encourage the public to join TSA Pre✓®. The public is responding. While enrollments a year ago were at about 3,500 daily, now enrollments are exceeding 15,000 a day. For 90% of those who are enrolled and utilize TSA Pre✓®, wait times at TSA checkpoints are five minutes or less.

Airlines and airports are also assisting to address wait times. We appreciate that major airlines and airport operators have assigned personnel to certain non-security duties at TSA checkpoints, and are providing support in a number of other ways. Longer term, we are working with airlines and airports to invest in “Innovation lanes” and other technology to transform the screening of carry-on luggage and personal items.

Our efforts are showing results. Nationwide, the wait time for more than 99% of the traveling public is 30 minutes or less, and more than 90% of the traveling public is waiting 15 minutes or less. But we are not taking a victory lap. Over the Fourth of July holiday weekend, TSA screened 10.7 million travelers. June 30 and July 1 were the highest-volume travel days we have seen since 2007. During this period, however, the average wait time nationwide in standard security lines was less than ten minutes, while those in TSA Pre-check lines waited an average of less than five minutes.

We plan to do more. The summer travel season continues, followed by holiday travel in the fall and winter. We are accelerating the hiring of an additional 600 TSOs before the end of the fiscal year. And we will continue to work with Congress to ensure TSA has the resources it needs in the coming fiscal years.

As I have said many times, we will keep passengers moving, but we will also keep them safe.

Cybersecurity

Along with counterterrorism, cybersecurity remains a cornerstone of our Department’s mission. Making tangible improvements to our Nation’s cybersecurity is a top priority for President Obama and for me to accomplish before the end of the Administration.

On February 9th, the President announced his “Cybersecurity National Action Plan,” which is the culmination of seven years of effort by the Administration. The Plan includes a call for the creation of a Commission on Enhancing National Cybersecurity, additional investments in technology, federal cybersecurity, cyber education, new cyber talent in the federal workforce, and improved cyber incident response.

DHS has a role in almost every aspect of the President’s plan.

As reflected in the President’s 2017 budget request, we want to expand our cyber response teams from 10 to 48.

We are doubling the number of cybersecurity advisors to in effect make “house calls,” to assist private sector organizations with in-person, customized cybersecurity assessments and best practices.

Building on DHS’s “Stop. Think. Connect” campaign, we will help promote public awareness on multi-factor authentication.

We will collaborate with Underwriters Laboratory and others to develop a Cybersecurity Assurance Program to test and certify networked devices within the “Internet of Things” — such as your home alarm system, your refrigerator, or even your pacemaker.

I have also directed my team to focus urgently on improving our abilities to protect the Federal Government and private sector. Over the past year, the National Cybersecurity Communications Integration Center, or “NCCIC,” increased its distribution of information, the number of vulnerability assessments conducted, and the number of incident responses.

I have issued an aggressive timetable for improving federal civilian cybersecurity, principally through two DHS programs:

The first is called EINSTEIN. EINSTEIN 1 and 2 have the ability to detect and monitor cybersecurity threats attempting to access our federal systems, and these protections are now in place across nearly all federal civilian departments and agencies.

EINSTEIN 3A is the newest iteration of the system, and has the ability to automatically block potential cyber intrusions on our federal systems. Thus far E3A has actually blocked over a million potential cyber threats, and we are rapidly expanding this capability. About a year ago, E3A covered only about 20% of our federal civilian networks. In the wake of the malicious cyber intrusion at the Office of Personnel Management, in May of last year I directed our cybersecurity team to make at least some aspects of E3A available to all federal departments and agencies by the end of last year. They met that deadline. Now that the system is available to all civilian agencies, 50% of federal personnel are actually protected, including the Office of Personnel Management, and we are working to get all federal departments and agencies on board by the end of this year.

The second program, called Continuous Diagnostics and Mitigation, or CDM, helps agencies detect and prioritize vulnerabilities inside their networks. In 2015, we provided CDM sensors to 97% of the federal civilian government. Next year, DHS will provide the second phase of CDM to 100% of the federal civilian government.

I have also used my authorities granted by Congress to issue Binding Operational Directives and further drive improved cybersecurity across the federal government. In May 2015, I directed civilian agencies to promptly patch vulnerabilities on their Internet-facing devices. These vulnerabilities are accessible from the Internet, and thus present a significant risk if not quickly addressed. Agencies responded quickly and mitigated all of the vulnerabilities that existed when the directive was issued. Although new vulnerabilities are identified every day, agencies continue to fix these issues with greater urgency then before the directive.

Last month, I issued a second binding operational directive. This directive mandated that agencies participate in DHS-led assessments of their high value assets and implement specific recommendations to secure these important systems from our adversaries. We are working aggressively with the owners of those systems to increase their security.

In September 2015, DHS awarded a grant to the University of Texas at San Antonio to work with industry to identify a common set of best practices for the development of Information Sharing and Analysis Organizations, or “ISAOs.” The University of Texas at San Antonio recently released the first draft of these best practices. They will be released in final form later this year after public comment.

Finally, I thank Congress for passing the Cybersecurity Act of 2015. This new law is a huge assist to DHS and our cybersecurity mission. We are in the process of implementing that law now. As required by the law, our NCCIC has built a system to automate the receipt and distribution of cyber threat indicators at real-time speed. We built this in a way that also includes privacy protections.

In March, I announced that this system was operational. At the same time, we issued interim guidelines and procedures, required by this law, providing federal agencies and the private sector with a clear understanding of how to share cyber threat indicators with the NCCIC, and how the NCCIC will share and use that information. We have now issued the final guidelines and procedures consistent with the deadline set by the law.

I appreciate the additional authorities granted to us by Congress to carry out our mission. Today, we face increasing threats from cyber-attacks against infrastructure and I strongly believe that we need an agency focused on cyber security and infrastructure protection.

I have asked Congress to authorize the establishment of a new operational Component within DHS, the Cyber and Infrastructure Protection agency. We have submitted a plan which will streamline and strengthen existing functions within the Department to ensure we are prepared for the growing cyber threat and the potential for large scale or catastrophic physical consequences as a result of an attack. I urge Congress to take action so we are able to ensure DHS is best positioned to execute this vital mission.

Conclusion

I am pleased to provide the Committee with this overview of the progress we are making at DHS on countering threats. You have my commitment to work with each member of this Committee to build on our efforts to protect the American people.

I look forward to your questions.

Syndicated from the Department of Homeland Security

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DHS Awards Initial Funding

Release Date: 
July 13, 2016

WASHINGTON—The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has awarded the initial funding of the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office’s (DNDO) Securing the Cities program to Chicago, further building upon the Department’s ongoing efforts to increase the Nation’s capabilities to detect and protect against radiological and nuclear threats.

“The Domestic Nuclear Detection Office’s mission is to protect the Nation against the malicious use of nuclear and other radioactive materials,” said DNDO’s Acting Director Dr. Wayne Brasure. “Expanding the Securing the Cities program to Chicago will bring important capabilities to one more of our country’s largest metropolitan areas.”

The Securing the Cities program seeks to reduce the risk of a successful deployment of a radiological or nuclear weapon against major metropolitan areas in the United States. The program assists state and local partner agencies as they build regional capabilities to detect, analyze, and report nuclear and other radioactive materials.

As part of the Securing the Cities program, the Chicago region will receive up to $30 million over five years. The initial funding to Chicago provides $3.5 million to begin the region’s planning and analysis.  Future funding will allow DNDO to work with partners in the Chicago area to build a robust, regional nuclear detection capability for law enforcement and first responders. DNDO will also provide equipment and assist regional partners in conducting training and exercises to further their nuclear detection capabilities and coordinate with federal operations. Once funding concludes, DNDO will continue to provide subject matter expertise in the areas of training, exercises, and technical support to ensure the region maintains detection capability.

Initial work in Chicago will begin before the conclusion of the current fiscal year.  The program began in 2006 as a pilot project for the New York City/Jersey City/Newark region and expanded to the Los Angeles/Long Beach region in 2012, the National Capital Region in 2014, and the Houston region in 2015. The Department intends to expand the program to additional major metropolitan areas in the coming years.

Once fully implemented, the program’s capabilities will extend to protect nearly 100 million people in the country.

 

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DHS Awards Initial Funding of the Chicago Implementation of the Securing the Cities Program

Release Date: 
July 13, 2016

WASHINGTON—The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has awarded the initial funding of the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office’s (DNDO) Securing the Cities program to Chicago, further building upon the Department’s ongoing efforts to increase the Nation’s capabilities to detect and protect against radiological and nuclear threats.

“The Domestic Nuclear Detection Office’s mission is to protect the Nation against the malicious use of nuclear and other radioactive materials,” said DNDO’s Acting Director Dr. Wayne Brasure. “Expanding the Securing the Cities program to Chicago will bring important capabilities to one more of our country’s largest metropolitan areas.”

The Securing the Cities program seeks to reduce the risk of a successful deployment of a radiological or nuclear weapon against major metropolitan areas in the United States. The program assists state and local partner agencies as they build regional capabilities to detect, analyze, and report nuclear and other radioactive materials.

As part of the Securing the Cities program, the Chicago region will receive up to $30 million over five years. The initial funding to Chicago provides $3.5 million to begin the region’s planning and analysis.  Future funding will allow DNDO to work with partners in the Chicago area to build a robust, regional nuclear detection capability for law enforcement and first responders. DNDO will also provide equipment and assist regional partners in conducting training and exercises to further their nuclear detection capabilities and coordinate with federal operations. Once funding concludes, DNDO will continue to provide subject matter expertise in the areas of training, exercises, and technical support to ensure the region maintains detection capability.

Initial work in Chicago will begin before the conclusion of the current fiscal year.  The program began in 2006 as a pilot project for the New York City/Jersey City/Newark region and expanded to the Los Angeles/Long Beach region in 2012, the National Capital Region in 2014, and the Houston region in 2015. The Department intends to expand the program to additional major metropolitan areas in the coming years.

Once fully implemented, the program’s capabilities will extend to protect nearly 100 million people in the country.

 

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Syndicated from the Department of Homeland Security

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