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DHS Launches “My DHS Idea” Campaign

June 27, 2017 - 9:53pm

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) would like to hear from you about the homeland security issues that concern you and your community.

DHS is in the process of completing a major strategic review of the Department’s programs and priorities, and will deliver its finished product – the 2018 Quadrennial Homeland Security Review – to Congress in December 2017.  As part of the review, DHS is inviting members of the public to participate in the online "My DHS Idea" campaign.

These are some of the important missions staff of DHS perform every day:

  • Counterterrorism;
  • Border security;
  • Immigration enforcement;
  • Trade enforcement and facilitation;
  • Drug interdiction;
  • Disaster preparedness and response; and
  • Cyber security.

What homeland security issues do you care about? What areas should DHS prioritize? What are the most pressing risks facing your community and the Nation as a whole?

Using the IdeaScale platform, you can post your own ideas to address the homeland security challenges that are important to you and your community, comment on other people’s ideas, and vote on the issues and approaches you think are the most important for DHS to consider.  This interactive format allows everyone on the site to see the issues that are most important to other participants, and which ideas generate the most interest and support.  The Department’s Office of Policy staff will moderate and contribute to discussions on an occasional basis, incorporating key ideas into the strategy review process as appropriate.

You can find the link to the DHS IdeaScale site at https://homelandsecurity.ideascale.com.

Public Affairs

The HSAAC’s Impact on DHS

June 22, 2017 - 12:12am

By: Trent Frazier, Executive Director, Office of Academic Engagement

The Homeland Security Academic Advisory Council (HSAAC) met in Washington D.C. on June 5, for the 12th time in its history. The HSAAC advises the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) leadership on matters of homeland security specifically related to the academic community. The Department’s continued commitment to the higher education community highlights the important work being done on college campuses across the country in defense of our nation.

During the meeting, the HSAAC Academic Subcommittee on Countering Violent Extremism presented its report to the Council. The report offered several recommendations, developed jointly by academic leaders and subject matter experts. To date, the Council has provided more than 120 recommendations to DHS across its seven subcommittees.

The Council was discussed the Campus Resilience Program and the upcoming 2017 National Seminar and Tabletop Exercise (NTTX) event. The NTTX is a two-day event at the University of Utah that will include workshop sessions, a tabletop exercise and an after-action review session on preparing participants to respond to a campus emergency. This year’s tabletop event will focus on a potential failure in campus infrastructure caused by cyber-attack. In the 2016 NTTX tabletop exercise were based on campus active shooter scenarios.

The Campus Resilience Program and NTTX resulted from HSAAC recommendations to DHS. The HSAAC has been instrumental in founding several new programs, resources and initiatives across the Department.

After the meeting, Deputy Secretary for Homeland Security Elaine C. Duke met with HSAAC members for an informational session on DHS’s key priorities and challenges.

We look forward to the Council’s continued provision of strong, innovative recommendations that advance DHS’s engagement with the higher education community. 

Topics:  Academic Engagement Keywords:  Homeland Security Academic Advisory Council

Videos from Day 2 of the Conference on Prosperity and Security in Central America

June 16, 2017 - 11:50pm
DHS Opening Remarks (in Spanish)

Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly's opening remarks in Spanish (VO) during the Conference on Prosperity and Security in Central America, Miami, Florida, June 16, 2017.  Video courtesy of U.S. Southern Command.

 

B-Roll of Conference Participants

B-roll of participants at the Conference on Prosperity and Security in Central America, Miami, Florida, June 16, 2017.  Video courtesy of U.S. Southern Command.

 

Arrivals of Conference Participants

Arrival of participants at the Conference on Prosperity and Security in Central America, Miami, Florida, June 16, 2017.  Video courtesy of U.S. Southern Command.

 

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Topics:  Economic Security Keywords:  #CentAm2017 Public Affairs

Videos from Day 1 of the Conference on Prosperity and Security in Central America

June 15, 2017 - 11:40pm
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson delivers opening remarks at the Conference on Prosperity and Security in Central America

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson delivers opening remarks at the Conference on Prosperity and Security in Central America, at Florida International University, in Miami.  Video courtesy of the U.S. Department of State.

 

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Conference on Prosperity, Camera Spray

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson meets with senior leaders at the Conference on Prosperity and security in Central America, at Florida International University.  Video courtesy of the U.S. Department of State.

 

Conference on Prosperity and Security in Central America luncheon program featuring introductory remarks by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and keynote remarks by Vice President Mike Pence

Conference on Prosperity and Security in Central America luncheon program featuring introductory remarks by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and keynote remarks by Vice President Mike Pence in Miami Florida.  Video courtesy of the U.S. Department of State.

 

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson delivers opening remarks at the Conference on Prosperity and Security

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson delivers opening remarks at the Conference on Prosperity and Security in Central America, at Florida International University, in Miami, FL.  Video courtesy of the U.S. Department of State.

 

Family Photo at Conference on Prosperity and Security in Central America

Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly pose for a family photo at the Conference on Prosperity and Security in Central America event at Florida International University in Miami, Florida.  Video courtesy of the U.S. Department of State.

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Topics:  Economic Security Keywords:  #CentAm2017 Public Affairs

Senior Leaders Session at Conference on Prosperity and Security in Central America

June 15, 2017 - 9:29pm

U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Luis Videgaray Caso, Mexico Secretary of Foreign Affairs Luis Videgaray, Mexico Secretary of Interior Osario Chong, Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales, Salvadorian Vice President Oscar Ortiz, Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández, and Inter-American Development Bank President Luis Alberto Moreno participated in a closed-door roundtable discussion while at the Conference on Prosperity and Security.

The closed session allowed the high-level government participants to exchange views on the region in a private setting and discuss in more details the themes addressed during the two day conference.  The leaders further underscored the U.S.-Mexico partnership on efforts to improve economic and regional security, and the continued support for Central America.

The governments of the Northern Triangle demonstrated their strong commitment to promoting sustainable economic growth and improving security and governance.  A prosperous, secure Northern Triangle enables the people who call Central America home to remain and contribute to their countries’ economy and security while reducing illegal immigration to the U.S. and Mexico.

The Conference on Prosperity and Security in Central America brings together business and government leaders from the United States, Mexico, Central America, and other countries to address the economic, security, and governance challenges in the Northern Triangle countries of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.

Topics:  Economic Security Keywords:  #CentAm2017 Public Affairs

DHS Night at the Nationals 2017

June 14, 2017 - 11:16pm

The Department of Homeland Security held the third annual “Night at the Nationals” baseball game on June 9, 2017 against the Texas Rangers. The Nationals welcomed more than 1,300 DHS employees into the stands to enjoy an evening of baseball and camaraderie with their friends and coworkers. 

 

A joint-DHS Color Guard featuring U.S. Secret Service, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the Federal Protective Service presents the colors during the National Anthem. (Jetta Disco/DHS)

DHS employee Cynthia Wilson performs the National Anthem at the third annual DHS Night at the Nationals. (Jetta Disco/DHS)

DHS All-Star employee Cheryl Walton poses for a selfie with a Washington Nationals baseball player before the game against the Texas Rangers at Nationals Park. (Jetta Disco/DHS)

Secretary Kelly stands with DHS K-9 teams Dennis Tyree and “Coal” (Left) and Scott Eschelman and “Judge” (Right). DHS K-9 teams are responsible for the safety and security of DHS headquarters and the constant flow of personnel in and out of the facility. (Jetta Disco/DHS)

Secretary Kelly met with employees from U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Secret Service, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, and Transportation Security Administration and honored them with the DHS All-Star Spirit Recognition before the game. (Jetta Disco/DHS)

Secretary Kelly visits DHS staff in the stands during game-time and had the opportunity to sit and chat with the employees who serve the Department day in and day out. 

Topics:  DHS Enterprise Keywords:  dhs, department of homeland security, employees, employee morale Public Affairs

FPS Team Helps Young Boy Become a Federal Agent for a Day

June 12, 2017 - 8:56pm

By: Susanna Marking, FPS Chief of Public Affairs

The Federal Protective Service (FPS) field office in New Jersey helped a little boy’s dream of becoming a federal agent come true. 

Three-year-old Trent Powers has Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) – a rare and fatal disease that causes progressive weakness and ultimately affects the heart and lungs.  The average lifespan of a child suffering from this disease is mid-to-late 20s.  However, despite the physical limitations the disease will bring, Trent continues to dream big!

With the U.S. Postal Inspection Service leading the effort, more than 12 local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies from New Jersey and New York came together for a “Fed for a Day” ceremony to grant Trent his wish of becoming a federal law enforcement officer.  The ceremony was held on April 28 at the Martin Luther King Courthouse in Newark, New Jersey. Trent arrived in a motorcade – led by an FPS motorcycle escort.  Trent was honored with badges, pins, credentials, and plaques from all the participating law enforcement agencies. 

FPS presented Trent with a certificate from Regional Director Anthony Levey and named him an honorary FPS special agent.  Trent also received a rare challenge coin from FPS Director Eric Patterson, a special agent lapel pin, an FPS badge in Lucite with Trent’s name engraved, and an FPS baseball hat, which Trent chose to wear throughout the entire event. 

Trent’s mother, Kimberly Powers, made opening remarks and said it’s important that the public raise awareness of DMD.  She also expressed her gratitude for the outpouring of love and support from the various law enforcement agencies.

“When FPS was approached to participate in this event, everyone without hesitation wanted to make Trent’s day super special.  The smiles from the family -- and especially Trent – were all it took to touch our hearts,” said Region 2 Area Commander Alan Kirsch who coordinated FPS’ participation in the event. “We hope the time Trent spent with us will be as memorable as the time we spent with him.”

About ten employees from FPS Region 2 participated in the event along with explosive detection canine, “K9 Vee.”  Participating members of the FPS team included Alan Kirsch, Larry Shankle, Lowery Ware, Eduardo Miranda, Isaac Wright, Mark Jedra, Luis G. Garcia, Stephen Anest, and Melissa Caballero.

Other participating federal agencies included the U.S. Postal Police, Marshals Service, Secret Service, Customs and Border Protection, Drug Enforcement Agency, FBI, Homeland Security Investigations, Internal Revenue Service, U.S. Attorney’s Office, and Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms.  

Topics:  Federal Building Security Keywords:  Federal Protective Service, Federal Protective Services, fps

Five Tips to Keep Your Kids Safe Online this Summer

June 12, 2017 - 4:44pm

You teach your children to wear helmets when they ride bikes and sunscreen when they’re outside, but are you also teaching them to be safe online? June is Internet Safety Month, a perfect opportunity to talk with your kids about online safety.  

Summer break is here, which means kids are starting to spend more free time online and on mobile devices. Children run into all sorts of risks in the cyber world, including cyberbullying, inappropriate content, online predators, and cyber criminals seeking to steal their personal information. It’s important for parents to know how to keep their children safe from these threats online. As summer vacation kicks off, the Department of Homeland Security encourages you to share these five online safety tips with your children:  

  1. Don’t share too much information. Create a list of things your kids should never post or share online – like their birthday and year, full name, address, and phone number – and make sure they understand why it is important to keep this information private.
  2. Be careful about what you post. The Internet isn’t private. Once your kids share a post, picture, or video, they can’t control how others will use it, and it can never be permanently deleted. Teach them be thoughtful and cautious in what they post and share online.
  3. Only connect with people you know. “Don’t talk to strangers” is a good rule for the real world and the cyber world. Predators and stalkers can easily create fake profiles to hide their identities, so instruct your kids to only connect with friends they actually know in real life. Also check your children’s privacy settings to make sure strangers can’t see their profiles. Sometimes privacy settings get reset to default settings during program updates, so check their profiles regularly.
  4. Keep your location private. Many apps, networks, and devices have geo-tagging features which broadcast your location. This information could lead a stalker directly to your kids, so check that these features are completely off. 
  5. Protect your password. Show your kids how to create strong passwords and make sure they know to never share them with anyone (except their parents or a trusted adult).

If you’d like to learn more about protecting your children online, check out the “Chatting with Kids about Being Online” Booklet from the Stop.Think.Connect.™ Campaign.

The Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI), a Stop.Think.Connect.™ Campaign National Network partner, provides a wealth of resources about being a good digital parent. On their website, you’ll find research, advice, videos, and guides to help you have impactful conversations with your kids about online safety. Visit www.FOSI.org for more information and resources for your family.

For more tips on how to stay safe online, please visit the Department of Homeland Security’s Stop.Think.Connect.™ Campaign at www.dhs.gov/stopthinkconnect.

Topics:  Cybersecurity Keywords:  stop think connect, stop think connect news Stop.Think.Connect.

FPS Helps Keep Americans Safe During Portland Protests

June 9, 2017 - 4:02pm

One of the Federal Protective Service’s (FPS) missions is to protect all Americans and their ability to peacefully demonstrate and protest. This past weekend, FPS and its law enforcement partners prepared for several large, planned public gatherings taking place in Portland, Ore. at the federally-owned Terry Shrunk Plaza and the adjacent city-owned Chapman Park, where citizens were planning to express their views, including two groups with opposing ideologies.

“Portland has had a noticeable increase in demonstrations between various groups over the last year,” said Gabriel Russell, the regional director for FPS Region 10.  “Response to events involving the many different groups has required a significant reliance on our strong relationship with the Portland Police Bureau, the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Department and the Oregon State Police to ensure each group is able to voice their views safely.”

After weeks of planning for the potential of these opposing groups to confront each other in the Portland area, FPS officers and law enforcement partners were able to hold the line between the multiple demonstration groups on Sunday, June 4.  The events at the Terry Shrunk Plaza and neighboring Chapman Park escalated quickly, turning violent as agitators from both groups began crossing the lines of separation to incite a reaction from the other group.

As FPS officers and local police tried to keep the peace, demonstrators began throwing items at them.  Once the events reached a fevered pitch and violence erupted, FPS and the Portland Police Bureau took quick action to keep people safe by closing the city park and shepherding demonstrators in another direction to allow for further separation between the two main groups.  Law enforcement officers deployed flash grenades and pepper ball munitions to help disperse the crowds.  As a result of the violence and civil disobedience, FPS arrested five individuals and the Portland Police Bureau arrested nine, in addition to confiscating countless prohibited items.

“By the end of the day, all parties had dispersed, no one was seriously injured, and the public was able to exercise the freedom of speech and go home safely,” said District Commander Luis Lopez, who oversees FPS protection operations in Portland.  “Our close relationship with the local law enforcement agencies and our joint planning and training truly paid off.”

The Federal Protective Service is the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s federal law enforcement agency responsible for protecting approximately 9,000 federal buildings across the country, and the people who visit or work in those facilities. As part of the National Protection and Programs Directorate, FPS ensures that federal property is protected against acts of violence, terrorism, and other hazards to ensure that the safe conduct of government operations and services to our citizens can continue. 

Topics:  Federal Building Security Keywords:  Federal Protective Service, Federal Protective Services, fps Public Affairs

U.S. and Canada Hold First Joint Nuclear Forensics Exercise

May 30, 2017 - 8:40pm

The United States and Canada recently held the first joint nuclear forensics exercise between the two countries, in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.  The exercise simulated a nuclear detonation, allowing experts from both countries to improve operational readiness to respond to radiological or nuclear attacks.  The advancement of international cooperation in nuclear forensics will help improve the ability of the U.S. and its allies to determine the source of a detonated device.

During the exercise, the United States Government’s National Technical Nuclear Forensics Ground Collection Task Force deployed to Canada at their request and practiced collecting samples of simulated nuclear debris near the site of the hypothetical detonation. This highly specialized task force is equipped to conduct collections in radioactive environments and includes scientists and experts in the fields of nuclear forensics, evidence collection, hazardous material, contamination control, and health physics. In the case of an actual event, these samples would be transported to designated U.S. laboratories for forensic analysis.  Nuclear forensics conclusions inform intelligence and law enforcement operations in determining those responsible for the attack.  These conclusions also help prevent further attacks from occurring.

This exercise was the culmination of an 18-month effort between the governments of the United States and Canada. Particularly, the close collaboration between DHS’s Domestic Nuclear Detection Office and the Canadian Department of National Defence, Canadian Joint Operations Command, Joint Task Force Atlantic, and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police helped make this exercise a success. DHS also worked closely with the Department of Defense, the Department of Energy/National Nuclear Security Administration, the Department of State, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation throughout the planning and conduct of the exercise. 

It is U.S. policy to hold fully accountable any state or non-state actor that willfully supports, enables, or engages in hostile nuclear activities that target or threaten the United States or our allies and partners.  Nuclear forensics enables this policy by providing the scientific basis for identifying perpetrators and sponsors of nuclear terrorism.

The DHS Domestic Nuclear Detection Office serves as the national integrator for the United States’ nuclear forensics capabilities and, along with its partners, helps ensure that these capabilities are ready to respond to an event on the homeland or anywhere around the world.

Topics:  Nuclear Security Keywords:  Domestic Nuclear Detection Office, Nuclear Forensics, DNDO, nuclear security Dr. L. Wayne Brasure Acting Director, Domestic Nuclear Detection Office

How Not To Be *That Guy* At The Airport Checkpoint

May 25, 2017 - 5:54pm

Courtesy of BuzzFeed / TSA

Flying within the U.S. this summer? You’re not alone. Experts estimate that more people are taking to the skies this year than ever before, with 40 million Americans traveling on Memorial Day weekend alone. Want to get through security as fast as possible, while still being safe? Check out these tips for domestic travel from your friends at TSA.

1. Get there early.

Why start your vacation stressed out? Give yourself plenty of time to park, check-in, and go through security. We recommend arriving two hours before your flight. If the lines are short, hey, more time for last minute gift shopping or to meet your fellow travelers.

2. Consider checking your bag.

More people flying = more carry-on bags = more time needed to get through the screening checkpoint.

3. If you must carry-on, make sure your bag is well-organized.

It takes time for TSA officers to make sure a jam-packed, cluttered, overstuffed bag is safe. And the more time is takes to screen your bag, the longer you—and everyone behind you—are stuck in line.

4. Get the 411 on 3-1-1.

TSA’s 3-1-1 is shorthand for the liquids rule. Basically, limit your liquids, gels and pastes to no more than 3.4 ounces, or 100 milliliters, in 1 bag that’s no bigger than 1 quart. That’s bigger than a sandwich bag, but smaller than a huge freezer bag. Sure, they could call it 1 bag-1 quart-3.4 ounces, but that’s much less catchy.

5. If you must travel with it, know how to safely pack your gun.

That sounds really obvious, right? Well, someone’s not getting the message—TSA found 3,391 guns in carry-on bags last year. That averages out to more than 9 guns every day of 2016. Think of The Godfather—Leave the gun, take the cannoli.

6. Be ready when you get in line.

Have appropriate ID and your boarding pass out and ready to go. Standard screening requires that you take your laptop out of your bag. Follow the 3-1-1 liquids rule. Wearing shoes you can get off and on easily also helps keep everyone behind you in line happy.

7. Get through the line faster with TSA Pre✓®.

TSA Pre✓® lets you leave your shoes, belt, and light jacket on while you go through security. You can also leave your laptop and your liquids in your bag. It costs $85 for five years—that’s only $17 a year. And isn’t your time worth $17 a year? Learn more at TSA.gov.

8. Now you’re ready for takeoff. Safe travels!

For further information about TSA procedures and other trusted traveler programs, read the frequently asked questions, watch TSA’s travel tips videos and visit DHS's new Trusted Traveler Comparison Tool.

 

Topics:  Transportation Security Keywords:  Transportation, TSA, TSA PreCheck, Trusted Traveler, Trusted Traveler Comparison Tool Public Affairs

DHS Recognizes Police Week

May 12, 2017 - 8:11pm

Secretary John Kelly and Deputy Secretary Elaine Duke will participate in National Police Week events this week and next to honor fallen law enforcement officers.

Today, Secretary Kelly and Deputy Secretary Duke participated in the Federal Protective Service Wreath Laying Ceremony in Washington, DC.

Secretary Kelly will also deliver remarks at the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Police Week Ceremony, Police Week Candlelight Vigil, and the Customs and Border Protection Valor Ceremony. Additionally, he will participate in the National Peace Officers Memorial service at the U.S. Capitol.

Last week, Secretary Kelly attended Law Enforcement Appreciation Night at Fenway Park.

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Topics:  DHS Enterprise, Law Enforcement Partnerships Keywords:  Secretary Kelly, Secretary John Kelly, police, law enforcement, law enforcement partnerships, Police Week Public Affairs

New Nuclear Forensics Signature Discovery Capability Will Help Trace Origins of Plutonium

April 17, 2017 - 8:59pm

Last week, the Department of Homeland Security’s Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO) joined with partners at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) to launch the Plutonium Processing Signatures Discovery capability.  The new capability, the result of a four-year effort, represents a significant technological advancement in nuclear forensics that will improve our ability to trace the origins of plutonium.  Nuclear forensics involves determining where illicit or smuggled radioactive material came from.  In the event of a nuclear weapon detonation, knowing where radioactive material came from can help investigators determine who’s responsible.

There are different ways to process plutonium.  These varied processes can produce slightly different characteristics in plutonium, such as the color and density.  These unique characteristics found in nuclear materials are referred to as “nuclear forensics signatures.”  This new capability will significantly improve our ability to trace the origins of plutonium, because it allows us to replicate individual nations’ processes.  This not only helps us identify where the radioactive material came from, but also allows us to predict forensic signatures of plutonium from a given process without having actual samples of those materials.

The new Plutonium Processing Signatures Discovery capability, along with other nuclear forensics clues and law enforcement and intelligence information, will help in identifying the origin of interdicted nuclear materials and the perpetrators responsible.

As Dr. Steven Ashby, Director of PNNL, said, “The development of the Plutonium Processing Signatures Discovery capability is four years in the making and the result of a great partnership and close collaboration between PNNL, DNDO, and the nuclear forensics community.”

Topics:  Biological Security, Chemical Security, Nuclear Security Keywords:  DNDO, Nuclear Forensics Dr. L. Wayne Brasure Acting Director, Domestic Nuclear Detection Office

DHS S&T Opens New Explosives Detection Lab

April 7, 2017 - 2:59pm

On April 5th, the Science and Technology Directorate officially opened a new Test & Evaluation Laboratory building at the Transportation Security Laboratory (TSL). Located at the William J. Hughes FAA Technical Center in Egg Harbor Township, N.J., the new building expands TSL’s reinforced laboratory space for conducting tests of explosives detection systems.

“At TSL, their call to action is to address the ‘what could happen.’ And to answer this call, they conduct special studies to ensure we identify and correct vulnerabilities before they play out in a real-world event” said S&T Under Secretary (acting) Dr. Robert Griffin at today’s ribbon-cutting event. “While you may not hear it on the news, the work on this 12-acre secure campus is helping us thwart the terror threats that crop up around the world.”

One of TSL’s primary responsibilities is to provide independent test and evaluation of commercial explosives detection equipment and certify them for use in checked luggage and checkpoint environments. The facility consists of specialized explosive storage and handling areas and a multi-laboratory infrastructure designed to test and evaluate technology for explosives and contraband detection and blast mitigation.

“Today we renew with vigor a lasting commitment to aviation security that we made 25 years ago to make the skies safer and the world more secure,” said TSL Director Christopher Smith.  Established in 1992 as part of the federal response to the Pan Am 103 Lockerbie bombing of 1988, TSL is internationally recognized for its unique ability to advance detection technology from conception to deployment, through applied research, test and evaluation, assessment, certification and qualification testing. “Back then we constructed a laboratory to develop and test equipment to detect bombs hidden in checked luggage. Today we are expanding those capabilities to address threats that are constantly increasing in complexity and variety,” Smith said.

With this new building, the staff of scientists and engineers at TSL are able to conduct more performance tests with its unique variety of commercial, military and non-traditional explosives. The results of these tests provide critical information to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), other DHS components, various government agencies, and many international government partner agencies. TSL is the only laboratory authorized to provide certification and qualification testing of explosives detection systems for the TSA.

Every traveler boarding a plane from any airport in the United States, including his or her carry-on and checked baggage, is screened by explosive detection systems that were tested and certified at this facility.

On April 5th, the Science and Technology Directorate officially opened a new Test & Evaluation Laboratory building located at the William J. Hughes FAA Technical Center in Egg Harbor Township, N.J.

Topics:  Explosives, Transportation Security Keywords:  explosives, Transportation, Science and Technology Public Affairs

New Radiation Detection System Operational at Major U.S. Port

April 6, 2017 - 9:18pm

By: L. Wayne Brasure, Ph.D.

All containerized cargo coming into seaports in the United States is scanned by radiation detection equipment.  Recently a new radiation detection system began operating at the Trans Pacific Container Service Corporation (TraPac) terminal at the Port of Los Angeles in California.  The new system automatically scans inbound cargo for nuclear and other radioactive material.

Cargo bound for rail transport is placed on conveyers by automated straddle carriers.  The conveyers then move the cargo through Radiation Portal Monitors for scanning.   This innovative approach facilitates the flow of trade while protecting the United States from nuclear threats. 

The effort to develop this new system was truly collaborative.  As TraPac planned to move to an automated terminal, U.S. Customs and Border Protection needed a new method to scan ship-to-rail containers for radioactive material.  After TraPac approached DHS with this new scanning concept, DHS worked with the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) to extensively test, evaluate, and approve the systems for live rail operations.

Approximately 2 million containers are processed through the TraPac terminal every year.  This new solution offers a more efficient approach to preventing illicit nuclear and other radioactive materials from entering the U.S.

Automated straddle carriers place intermodal cargo containers on conveyors for scanning by Radiation Portal Monitors for radioactive material before the cargo leaves the TraPac terminal.

Topics:  Cargo, Maritime Keywords:  cargo, dhs, department of homeland security, Customs and Border Protection

The Women of DHS: Then and Now

March 31, 2017 - 5:17pm

This March, the Department of Homeland Security celebrated its fourteenth anniversary, as well as Women’s History Month.

Long before the Department opened its doors in 2003, women were carrying out the mission to ensure a safe and secure America. In World War Two, Navy WAVES, Women Accepted for Voluntary Emergency Service, operated banks of cryptanalysis machines, also known as bombes, to decipher German code in what are now the halls of DHS headquarters.  

Ida Lewis served in the U.S. Lighthouse Service, one of the Coast Guard's predecessors. In 1881, she was officially credited with saving 18 lives during her 39 years at Lime Rock Light Station in Newport, Rhode Island and was awarded the Gold Lifesaving Medal.

Women have played integral roles in countless missions as part of the Coast Guard Women’s Reserve or SPARs program, Semper Paratus – Always Ready, created in 1942. More than 10,000 women volunteered between 1942 and 1946.  

Today, women from all walks of life serve in the department’s component agencies. Serving as Transportation Security Administration and U.S. Secret Service agents, Federal Emergency Management Agency coordinators, Federal Law Enforcement Training Center officers, and so much more.

In 2009, Janet Napolitano became the first woman to lead the Department of Homeland Security as Secretary. Today, Kirstjen Nielsen serves as the Department’s Chief of Staff, U.S. Coast Guard Rear Admiral Joanna Nunan as the Department’s Military Advisor, and Connie Patrick as Director of the Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers.

Earlier this month, Presidential nominee Elaine Duke testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs on her experience and capability to serve the Department as Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security.

As Secretary Kelly pointed out at the start of Women’s History Month, the department continues to honor the men and women of DHS who work tirelessly to uphold the rights of women who are victims of human trafficking, domestic violence, and other crimes.

This month and every month, DHS honors the women who safeguard the American people, protect our homeland, and embody our values.

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

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Topics:  DHS Enterprise Keywords:  Women, dhs, Women's History, Women's HIstory Month Public Affairs

Fight Against Online Tax Fraud

March 28, 2017 - 5:09pm

By: Stop.Think.Connect

Identity theft and online fraud are on the rise during tax season as millions of Americans now file their taxes online. In the 2016 tax season, the IRS saw an approximate 400 percent surge in phishing and malware incidents targeting tax filers.  Sophisticated cybercriminals are looking to steal your identity and fraudulently claim your tax refund, making it critical to stay extra vigilant in the coming weeks.

It is easier than you might think for criminals to claim tax returns fraudulently. In most cases all they need is your name, social security number, and date of birth. During tax season, and year-round, consumers should be very cautious about sharing personal information online. Consumers should not trust any text messages, emails, or phone calls from anyone claiming to represent the IRS and asking to share personal information.

The IRS does not use electronic communications, such as email, text messages and social media channels, to initiate contact with taxpayers to request personal or financial information.

The Stop.Think.Connect. Campaign encourages you take the following measures to protect yourself against online tax fraud:

  • Don’t give out your personal information, unless it is to an established, trusted entity.
  • Look out for phony messages or websites claiming to be from the IRS or tax preparation services. These websites can look quite legitimate so do your due diligence in spotting a fake.
  • Beware of promises offering “free money” from inflated refunds.
  • Back up your data and store your electronic tax files securely.
  • Only share personal information over a secured network.

For more tips on staying safe online, please visit the Department’s Stop.Think.Connect. Campaign at www.dhs.gov/stopthinkconnect.

The IRS provides a Taxpayer Guide to Identity Theft, where you can learn more. To report suspicious online or email phishing tax scams, contact or 1-800-366-4484.

If you have been a victim of identity theft in general, report such incidents to the Federal Trade Commission at www.IdentityTheft.gov.

Topics:  Cybersecurity, Secure Cyber Networks, Verifying Identity Keywords:  Cybersecurity, fraud, Taxes, tax season, identity

FLETC Provides Life Saving Training to State, Local and Tribal Officers

March 21, 2017 - 8:31pm

In addition to training federal law enforcement, the Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers (FLETC) also has a robust mission to provide training to our nation’s state, local and tribal law enforcement officers. FLETC trained more than 4,500 state, local, tribal, and territorial students last fiscal year.

The program was originally established by President Ronald Reagan as the National Center for State and Local Law Enforcement Training on October 1982 in response to the findings of the Attorney General's Task Force on Violent Crime.  Task Force members had serious concerns about the rising crime rate in the United States and urged that the Federal Government take a more active role in providing law enforcement training for state and local agencies.  

The State, Local and Tribal Division (SLTD) is located at the FLETC headquarters in Glynco, Georgia, but exports law enforcement training on a variety of topics across the country.  Some of the most popular classes include the Active Shooter Threat Training Program, Active Shooter Threat Instructor Training Program, Basic Tactical Medical Instructor Training Program, and Tactical Medical for First Responders.

FLETC employs the life-saving training during an outdoor exercise. (Photo courtesy of FLETC/DHS)

Since the full implementation of Tactical Medical training at the FLETC, there have been numerous instances of applied training directly attributed to lives saved.  Officers receive a minimum of eight hours of training in basic tactical medical procedures and leave the training with a standardized Individual First-Aid Kit (IFAK).  The IFAK contains only items to be used for immediate life saving measures during evolving, sometimes austere environments. 

Often Tactical Medical Training Students at FLETC use the skills or the IFAK within hours or days of graduation.  One student was able to apply a tourniquet to control bleeding for the victim of domestic abuse.  Another student used a chest seal to treat the victim of multiple gunshots.  One officer who’s partner had been shot, used techniques learned in class including using hemostatic agent to treat his partner and extraction techniques to secure his partner’s weapon and remove him from a second floor window. 

While these success stories highlight the programs importance and applicability, it also applies to “everyday” scenarios.  A student attending a family function had a family member suffer a major laceration to his upper thigh.  The student was able to apply the tourniquet issued with his IFAK and stop the bleeding.  This situation highlights the skills taught in the Tactical Medical program and their importance in everyday life, not just law enforcement situations. 

A FLETC student applies direct pressure and a tourniquet to simulated wound during a class.  (Photo courtesy of FLETC/DHS)

FLETC routinely receives feedback on how the program has impacted the everyday lives of the officers.  Officers have begun re-thinking the location of the first-aid kits in their vehicles keeping them accessible and known to other officers, carrying the lifesaving gear with them, evaluating methods to control bleeding, as well as scanning for threats when entering an area.  As a result, the Tactical Medical program is impacting the daily activities of officers across the country in ways not seen in many years and saving lives.

The advanced training programs and workshops offered are developed with the advice, assistance and support of federal, state, local, tribal, and campus law enforcement agencies and experts. Training is continuously updated to ensure accuracy and relevance to today’s issues and is certified by each state’s Peace Officer’s Standards and Training (P.O.S.T.) if and when certification is available.

State, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies can find out more on FLETC courses available to them at the FLETC.gov website at https://go.usa.gov/xXCwq

Topics:  First Responders, Homeland Security Enterprise, Law Enforcement Partnerships Keywords:  FLETC, dhs, law enforcement, department of homeland security Public Affairs

U.S. Coast Guard Win 11 Medals in Culinary Competition

March 17, 2017 - 4:56pm

Earlier this month a team of U.S. Coast Guard chefs won seven Silver and four Bronze medals at the 42nd Annual Military Culinary Arts Competitive Training Event in Fort Lee, Virginia. The Coast Guard Culinary Specialists serve in approximately 370 units worldwide supporting the Coast Guard mission by preparing nutritious meals for crew members and serving in various collateral duties on board the unit. Participants competed against each other in this event, promoting growth in the culinary profession with special attention to the tenets of modern culinary ability, practicality, nutrition, workmanship, economy, presentation, creativity and concept.

The Coast Guard chefs assigned to the Executive Dining Facility (EDF) at DHS headquarters, joined alongside the U.S. Coast Guard’s culinary team to participate in the Army Mobile Kitchen Trailer event, producing a three-course meal for 50 people using field equipment powered by jet fuel. The Coast Guard team was comprised of culinary specialists from Station Little Creek in Virginia Beach; Coast Guard Cutter Shearwater in Portsmouth, Virginia; Cutter Obion in Owensboro, Kentucky, as well as Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Senior Chief Petty Officer James Swenson (left back to front) Master Chief Petty Officer Justin Reed, Petty Officer 2nd Class Ben Stockman, Petty Officer 3rd Class Kellie Lundy, Petty Officer 1st Class Judah Clark (right back to front), Chief Petty Officer Eddie Fuchs, Petty Officer 1st Class Scott Jeffries, Petty Officer 2nd Class Ashley Jackson and Petty Officer 2nd Class Stephanie Bruce-Torres compete in the 42nd Annual Military Culinary Arts Competitive Training Event at Fort Lee, Virginia, March 4, 2017. All Coast Guard culinary specialists, the team came from units in Hampton Roads, the Department of Homeland Security and Coast Guard Headquarters as well as Coast Guard Cutter Obion. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Nate Littlejohn)

Attendees eagerly anticipate their meals as competitors work to prepare food at the 42nd Annual Military Culinary Arts Competitive Training Event at Fort Lee, Virginia, March 4, 2017. The Coast Guard's culinary team was comprised of culinary specialists from units in Hampton Roads, the Department of Homeland Security and Coast Guard Headquarters as well as Coast Guard Cutter Obion. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Nate Littlejohn)

“This is a great opportunity to showcase the talent of Coast Guard culinarians and train with master chefs from the American Culinary Federation,” said Master Chief Petty Officer Justin Reed, culinary specialist rating force master chief for the Coast Guard and team leader for the competition. “I am very proud of all the Coast Guard culinary specialists and look forward to next year when we hope to win the coveted Military Culinary Team of the Year.”

Petty Officer 2nd Class Ben Stockman (right) chats with a judge during 42nd Annual Military Culinary Arts Competitive Training Event at Fort Lee, Virginia, March 4, 2017. The Coast Guard's culinary team was comprised of culinary specialists from units in Hampton Roads, the Department of Homeland Security and Coast Guard Headquarters as well as Coast Guard Cutter Obion. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Nate Littlejohn)

The Military Culinary Arts Competitive Training Event at Fort Lee is the largest military culinary competition in the North America. Since 1973, the competition has been held each year with the exception of 1991 and 2003, during Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom. The competition is sanctioned by the American Culinary Federation and showcases the talents of military chefs from around the globe in all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces.

Keywords:  coast guard Public Affairs

Secretary Kelly Visits Canada

March 14, 2017 - 9:41pm

Secretary John Kelly made his first trip to Canada as Secretary of Homeland Security last week and met with his counterparts across the Canadian cabinet. 

His first stop in Ottawa was at the U.S. Embassy and a meeting with Chargé d’Affaires Elizabeth Aubin and Embassy staff.

The DHS workforce carries out our mission at home and abroad, and while at the U.S. Embassy, Secretary Kelly had the opportunity to meet with DHS employees supporting the DHS mission in Ottawa. Secretary Kelly, a retired Marine Corps General, was also honored to meet U.S. Marines who guard the U.S. Embassy

Secretary Kelly met with Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Ralph Goodale to discuss priority matters pertaining to our shared Northern border, such as the 400,000 people and $2.4 billion in trade that cross every day.

Secretary Kelly also held discussions with Minister of Transport Marc Garneau, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Ahmed D. Hussen, and Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland on additional important areas of Canada-U.S. mutual interest including aviation security, law enforcement collaboration, infrastructure, and immigration, refugee and visa policy.

While in Ottawa, Secretary Kelly presented flowers at the Canadian Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

A strong relationship between the United States and Canada is essential to the facilitation of lawful trade and travel, while ensuring our mutual security. Secretary Kelly’s first trip to Canada allowed for conversations on our shared interests, common challenges, and next steps for joint initiatives.

Learn more about Secretary Kelly’s trip to Canada here.

Keywords:  Secretary John Kelly, Canada-United States partnership Public Affairs

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