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Homeland Security and Compliance with U.S.

  • U.S. - EU Statement Following the U.S. - EU Justice and Home Affairs Ministerial Meeting

    Release Date: 
    November 17, 2017

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

    WASHINGTON – On 17 November 2017, the U.S - EU Ministerial Meeting on Justice and Home Affairs took place in Washington, D.C. The meeting reaffirmed the importance of the long standing partnership between the United States and the European Union in addressing common threats to security, and of practical outcomes of this cooperation.

    The United States, hosting the meeting, was represented by Attorney General Jeff Sessions and by Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine C. Duke.

    The European Union was represented by the Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos, the Union Security Commissioner Julian King, Estonia's Minister of Justice, Mr. Urmas Reinsalu, and the Minister of Interior, Mr. Andres Anvelt on behalf of the Presidency of the Council of the European Union.

    The United States and the European Union discussed their shared efforts to combat terrorism. The discussion focused specifically on the importance of operational cooperation and effective information sharing. The two sides noted the importance of collecting, using, and sharing airline passenger information, including Passenger Name Record (PNR) data, to detect and disrupt threats, and discussed the state of play of the implementation of the EU PNR framework, which will be in place by April 28, 2018. Further, the two sides discussed progress in the implementation of joint measures to address threats from terrorism to aviation security and to raise the baseline for global aviation security. The issue of U.S.-EU cooperation in combating terrorism financing and money laundering, including within the Financial Action Task Force, was also emphasized. The EU side gave an update on its rules on beneficial ownership transparency, in line with G20 conclusions.

    The two sides exchanged views on action to jointly counter the misuse of the internet for terrorist purposes, in cooperation with multiple stakeholders, including the private sector and civil society. The European Union provided updates regarding increased efforts to counter the use of the internet for terrorist purposes under the umbrella of the EU Internet Forum. The United States and the European Union agreed on the need to jointly address cybersecurity and counter cybercrime and, in this context, took note of the conclusions of the 14 November U.S. - EU Cyber Dialogue.

    The two sides discussed the importance of ensuring swift cross-border access by law enforcement authorities to electronic evidence, in line with their respective legal provisions. In that respect, the two sides agreed to continue their regular dialogue, in order to update each other on legislative and judicial developments.

    The United States and the European Union reaffirmed the need to counter the production and trafficking of cocaine and illicit opioids, including fentanyl and its analogues. Both sides noted good examples of joint U.S. – EU operations in this area, and welcomed their practical results.

    The United States and the European Union noted the progress in cooperative discussions towards reciprocal and secure visa-free travel under their respective legal frameworks.

    Underlining the progress made and the continued need to face terrorism and crime together, the United States and the European Union remain committed to continue common work and meet again in the first half of 2018 in Sofia, Bulgaria.

    Acting Secretary Duke pictured with Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Members of the JHA group

    Acting Secretary Duke pictured with Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Estonian Minister of Justice Urmas Reinsalu, Estonian Minister of Interior Andres Anvelt, EU Commissioner for Migration and Home Affairs Dimitris Avramopoulos, EU Commissioner for Security Union Julian King, EU DG JUST Director General Tiina ăstola, Bulgarian Minister of Interior Valentin Radev, Bulgarian Minister of Justice Tsetska Tsacheva, and EUROPOL Director Rob Wainwright. (DHS Official Photo/ Jetta Disco)

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  • Statement by the Senior Official Performing the Duties of Deputy Secretary Claire Grady on DHS Earning a Clean Audit for the Fifth Consecutive Year

    Release Date: 
    November 16, 2017

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

    WASHINGTON - Yesterday, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published its Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 Agency Financial Report and I am pleased to announce that for a fifth consecutive year, DHS has earned a clean audit opinion on our financial statements. Our report outlines the Department’s financial information relative to our critical mission of protecting the Homeland while remaining good stewards of taxpayer dollars. This clean opinion demonstrates our steadfast transparency and accountability to the American public.

    The report also highlights the significant progress the Department has made in strengthening and maturing our internal controls over financial reporting. A strong internal control system means the financial information we provide and use is more accurate and reliable. Led by Acting Chief Financial Officer Stacy Marcott, our other Management Line of Business chiefs and leadership throughout DHS, we have improved our processes and controls to account for and report the Department’s property—land, buildings, aircraft, vessels and equipment. In FY 2017, DHS made meaningful progress on our long‑standing property internal control material weakness, advancing to a less severe assessment - a significant deficiency. The improvement in property controls is a direct result of the dedicated efforts by hardworking professionals across all of our components.

    Our teamwork and shared commitment across the entire department, in multiple business areas such as finance, IT, procurement, human capital, and asset management, reflects the unified prioritization and collaboration that underpins our Department’s success. I am proud of this accomplishment, and all of the great work by the men and women of DHS who support our homeland security mission every day.

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  • Acting Secretary Duke Meets with Colombian Vice President Naranjo

    Release Date: 
    November 16, 2017

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

    Discuss Cooperation on Border Security, Addressing Drug Production

    WASHINGTON – Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke this week met with Colombian Vice President Óscar Adolfo Naranjo Trujillo in Washington, DC. Acting Secretary Duke and Vice President Naranjo discussed mutual concerns regarding coca production in Colombia, and reaffirmed their commitment to continue cooperation and information sharing. They also discussed border security, aviation security, and close cooperation with other key partners in the region on maritime activities.

    “The Department of Homeland Security remains committed to working with our partners in Colombia to address illegal drug production which often funds transnational criminal organizations,” said Acting Secretary Duke. “This week, we reaffirmed our commitment to addressing this issue as well as a variety of other shared interests between our countries.”

    Earlier this year, DHS hosted the Conference on Prosperity and Security in Central America which brought together a diverse group of government and business leaders from the United States, Mexico, Canada, Central America, Colombia, and other countries to address economic, security, and governance challenges and opportunities. The participants dedicated the first day of the conference to advancing prosperity and economic growth in Central America, and the second day to achieving a stable and secure region. This week’s meeting continued the discussions from that conference. 


    Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke meets with Colombian Vice President Óscar Adolfo Naranjo Trujillo in Washington, DC.

    Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke meets with Colombian Vice President Óscar Adolfo Naranjo Trujillo in Washington, DC. (DHS Official Photo/Jetta Disco)

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  • Written testimony of USCG Commandant for a Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries and Coast Guard hearing titled “Coast Guard Readiness: How Far Can We Stretch Our Nation’s Only Multi-Mission, Military F

    Release Date: 
    November 16, 2017

    253 Russell Senate Office Building

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

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

    The Coast Guard’s combination of broad authorities and complementary capabilities squarely align with the President’s national security and economic prosperity priorities and offer an agile toolset to address the Nation’s most pressing challenges. Appropriately positioned in DHS, the Coast Guard is a military service and a branch of the Armed Forces of the United States at all times.[1] We are also an important part of the modern Joint Force[2] and currently have forces assigned to each of the five Geographic Combatant Commanders as well as Cyber Command.

    As demonstrated in the 2017 record hurricane activity, the Coast Guard is the nation’s “maritime first responder” and plays a leading role in executing the National Response Framework (NRF) for disaster situations. Our bias for action and ability to rapidly surge resources in response to emerging threats or contingencies distinguishes the Coast Guard and are critical to success across the spectrum of missions we prosecute.

    1 14 U.S.C. § 1; 10 U.S.C. § 101
    2 In addition to the Coast Guard’s status as an Armed Force (10 U.S.C. § 101), see also Memorandum of Agreement Between the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security on the Use of Coast Guard Capabilities and Resources in Support of the National Military Strategy, 02 May 2008, as amended 18 May 2010.


    Agile Force

    The Coast Guard’s 88,000 active duty, reserve, civil service and auxiliary members offer a unique mix of authorities and extensive experience operating with both military and interagency response organizations. Beyond our statutory search and rescue requirements, which traditionally result in an average of 3,600 lives saved each year, the Coast Guard supports the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and states during nationally declared disasters by:

    1. Saving lives in distress, and ensuring the survivability of our own forces and assets for immediate post-disaster response operations;
    2. Securing and reconstituting ports, waterways, and critical maritime infrastructure;
    3. Conducting environmental response operations (oil, chemical and hazardous material); and
    4. Supporting other agencies and the whole-of-government response effort.

    Coast Guard personnel are well trained and experienced in response operations, which make them a sound choice to serve in visible positions in the NRF structure. This ability to operate concurrently in both military Joint Task Force and civilian NRF frameworks enhances unity of effort and dramatically improves effectiveness.

    As an armed force, the Coast Guard can be a supported or supporting commander, and our forces are frequently integrated with Department of Defense (DoD) services in Joint Task Force organizations. We regularly provide forces in support of DoD exercises, Combatant Commander contingency plans, and theater security cooperation activities, all of which enable Coast Guard and DoD forces to integrate seamlessly during response operations.

    Saving lives in distress is our first priority, and Coast Guard crews are typically the first federal responders on-scene. As a storm approaches, Coast Guard personnel make risk-based decisions to reposition assets and people to safe locations just outside of the storm’s path, ultimately facilitating rapid response as soon as it is safe to do so. Brave men and women on the front lines make it happen, invoking a deeply ingrained bias for action to repeatedly go into harm’s way and serve others.

    In addition to conducting SAR operations, the Coast Guard surges forces and assets into the impacted regions to restore the $4.6 trillion maritime transportation system, respond to pollution, provide security and additional law enforcement capability, and protect offshore petrochemical platforms.

    Critical Success Factors

    The Coast Guard employs a decentralized command and control structure and distributed decision-making to provide operational commanders with the authority to move forces quickly to respond to large contingencies.

    Our two Area Commanders, and their nine subordinate District Commanders, shift and reallocate forces from one region to another based on risk and the anticipated demand for operational capabilities. Well-reasoned and regularly exercised Continuity of Operations Plans preserve operational effectiveness while offering safe refuge for displaced operational commanders.

    Coast Guard cutters, aircraft, and boats are built to respond to a variety of missions without the need for any reconfiguration or the addition of special equipment. During the recent hurricanes, cutters conducting counter-drug patrols in the Transit Zone quickly diverted to disaster areas to provide command and control, deliver rotary wing air capability from the sea, provide forward staging facilities, and deliver critical relief commodities – particularly in the U.S. Virgin Islands and Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.

    Coast Guard aircraft that normally perform law enforcement surveillance to thwart transnational maritime criminal activities were dynamically repositioned and re-tasked to deliver disaster relief supplies, additional responders, and equipment to affected areas.

    Additionally, Coast Guard forces were and are on station at key locations around the nation, most of them on short-notice recall, so they can respond quickly to emergent events. When a major catastrophe occurs, or is anticipated, we can reposition forces quickly to that area to optimize the response.

    Over a five week period, Hurricanes HARVEY, IRMA, MARIA, and NATE impacted over 2,540 miles of shoreline[3], and Coast Guard women and men in helicopters, boats, cutters, vehicles and on foot rescued over 11,300 people and over 1,500 pets. Mere hours before Hurricane HARVEY made landfall, Coast Guard helicopter crews rescued mariners in peril[4] off the coast of Corpus Christi, Texas before repositioning to Alice, Texas.

    The Coast Guard resolved over 1,269 aids to navigation discrepancies, handled 290 pollution cases, located and assessed more than 3,623 grounded vessels, with more than 1,585 removed to date. Within hours after each storm’s passage, Coast Guard Damage and Recovery Assessment Teams were on-scene determining the status of ports and waterways, leveraging electronic aids to navigation when feasible to facilitate the rapid reopening of the maritime transportation system and energy sectors vital to recovery, and assessing impacts to Coast Guard facilities and capabilities.

    3 Using CRS method of Shoreline Measurement: Texas: 367 mi, Louisiana: 397 mi, Florida: 1,350 mi, Puerto Rico: 311 mi, USVI: 117 mi
    4 Two MH-65’s from Sector/Air Station Corpus Christi saved 12 lives off a vessel taking on water in 45 knot sustained/60 knot gusting winds.


    Enduring Challenges

    Operational successes introduced real costs. Damage to Coast Guard facilities, IT, aids to navigation, and the cost of deferred maintenance are significant. Similar to any prolonged natural disaster or security event, responding to consecutive major hurricanes severely strained capacity and required us to assume additional risk in other geographic regions and mission areas. Across the recent disaster response operations, more than 3,000 Coast Guard women and men, and 200 assets or platforms deployed from places as far away as Alaska, Hawaii and Maine.

    As a result, the rest of the Coast Guard assumed additional risk, and units were significantly challenged to sustain maintenance and training standards while diminishing future readiness. The Medium Endurance Cutter MOHAWK, already aged and well beyond its designed service life, deferred major maintenance in order to get underway and avoid Irma. Cutter FORWARD diverted from a counter-drug patrol to provide supplies and critical command and control services after all three major hurricanes.

    Given the heavy demand for aviation services following each storm, training at Aviation Training Center Mobile was suspended, creating a backlog in the pilot training pipeline at a time when we are facing a critical aviator shortage. Maintaining a full-time SAR response posture at our air stations requires at least three aircraft, yet many of our units that contributed assets to hurricane operations were forced to get by with just one. Forces available for counter-drug, fisheries enforcement, and migrant interdiction operations in the Eastern Pacific Ocean, Caribbean Sea, and Florida Straits were significantly reduced as well. In total, risk-based choices to maximize hurricane response operations stretched our existing resources to their limits.

    The size of the Service also limits our capacity to respond to prolonged and sequential events. While the Coast Guard is well-positioned for immediate and effective first response, our “bench strength” makes it impossible to sustain these operations for an extended period of time. In addition, many of our heroic first responders suffered life-changing personal loss as well. Approximately 700 Coast Guard families’ homes were damaged to the point where they will need to be relocated.


    The Coast Guard’s unique blend of authorities, capabilities, capacities, and partnerships position us well for success during maritime SAR events and natural disasters. Flexible, multi-mission forces and agile command and control systems provide the solid foundation from which we base these critical response operations.

    When the Coast Guard has the opportunity to recapitalize our facilities, we need to make them more storm-resilient and survivable. In fact, several of our shore facilities that were rebuilt following Hurricane IKE suffered minimal damage along the paths of HARVEY and IRMA, a testament to modern building codes and standards.

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

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

  • DHS Acting Secretary Elaine Duke Visits Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers

    Release Date: 
    November 14, 2017

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

    WASHINGTON – Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke today traveled to Glynco, Georgia to visit the Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers (FLETC) headquarters. She was joined by FLETC Director Thomas Walters and Deputy Director William Fallon.

    Acting Secretary Duke received an operational briefing and tour of the FLETC facilities. She observed training programs, including basic tactics exercises, a tactical medical training demonstration, and Joint Test Action Group (JTAG) ChipOff for Smartphones Training, which teaches techniques for the acquisition and analysis of mobile devices. Acting Secretary Duke also observed the Uniformed Police Training Program Active Threat Response Tactics and received information on the weapons used by DHS trainees and officers.

    “The trainings offered at FLETC prepare America’s law enforcement officers for the diverse challenges they will face in the field,” said Acting Secretary Duke. “I appreciated the opportunity to participate in training exercises and meet with current officers, as well as trainees. Their work is critical to protecting our homeland.”

    Acting Secretary Duke had lunch with Director Walters, Deputy Director Fallon, and Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) trainees to hear about their experiences at FLETC firsthand.

    Director Walters said, “It was our honor to host Acting Secretary Duke at FLETC today. We are grateful for her outstanding leadership of our Department, commitment to our law enforcement training mission, and eagerness to engage with the FLETC community.”

    While at FLETC, Acting Secretary Duke also toured a Port of Entry training venue used by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and an Intermodal Transportation Check Site. She was briefed on the damage caused by Hurricanes Matthew and Irma and surveyed the damage.

    FLETC trains the majority of federal law enforcement officers and agents in the United States. In addition to providing training for over 90 federal partner organizations, FLETC provides training to state, local, tribal, and international police in specialized and advanced programs, graduating more than 70,000 students annually. FLETC is the largest law enforcement training organization in the country.


    Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke with personnel from the Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers (FLETC) in Glynco, Georgia. (DHS Official Photo/Jetta Disco)

    Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke with personnel from the Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers (FLETC) in Glynco, Georgia. (DHS Official Photo/Jetta Disco)


    Acting Secretary Duke is briefed on the training capabilities and equipment at FLETC.

    Acting Secretary Duke is briefed on the training capabilities and equipment at FLETC. (DHS Official Photo/Jetta Disco)

    While at FLETC, Acting Secretary Duke holds a townhall with FLETC and DHS personnel.

    Acting Secretary Duke holds a townhall with FLETC and DHS personnel. (DHS Official Photo/Jetta Disco)

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  • Written testimony of NPPD for a House Science, Space, and Technology Subcommittee on Oversight hearing titled “Bolstering the Government’s Cybersecurity: A Survey of Compliance with the DHS Directive”

    Release Date: 
    November 14, 2017

    2318 Rayburn House Office Building

    Good morning Mr. Chairman, Ranking Member, and distinguished Members of the Subcommittee. Thank you for your interest in this important issue and the opportunity to provide an update on the Department’s position regarding the Federal government’s use of Kaspersky Lab (KL) software. I am the Assistant Secretary for Cybersecurity and Communications within the DHS National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD). NPPD executes many of the Department’s authorities related to cybersecurity of federal networks.

    The Federal Information Security Modernization Act of 2014 (FISMA) authorizes DHS to develop and oversee the implementation of binding operational directives (BODs), that are consistent with Office of Management and Budget (OMB) policies as well as National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) standards, to federal departments and agencies. FISMA defines a BOD as a “compulsory direction to an agency that is for purposes of safeguarding federal information and information systems from a known or reasonably suspected information security threat, vulnerability, or risk.” Federal agencies are required to comply with these DHS-developed directives.

    A priority of DHS is to ensure the integrity and security of U.S. government systems, and in doing so must safeguard federal government systems by reducing potential vulnerabilities, protecting against cyber intrusions, and anticipating future threats.

    On September 13, 2017, DHS Acting Secretary Elaine Duke signed BOD 17-01 to address the use of Kaspersky products, solutions, and services on federal information systems. After consultation with interagency partners, DHS determined Kaspersky products present a known or reasonably suspected information security risk to federal information systems. The BOD directs agencies to identify the use of these products within 30 days, provide a plan to remove them within 60 days, and, unless directed otherwise by DHS based on new information, to begin removing products at 90 days.

    The Secretary’s decision to issue the BOD is based on expert judgments about risks to federal information and information systems, which directly impact U.S. national security. In a public statement, the Department explained that it is concerned about (1) the ties between certain Kaspersky officials and Russian intelligence and other government agencies, (2) requirements under Russian law that allow Russian intelligence agencies to request or compel assistance from Kaspersky and to intercept communications transiting Russian networks, and (3) the broad access to files and elevated privileges provided by anti-virus products and services, including Kaspersky products, that can be exploited by malicious cyber actors to compromise information systems. The decision to use an anti-virus product is an information security risk decision ultimately based in trust. Given the ties between the company and Russian government agencies, the structure of the law in Russia, and the broad access that these products and services have, the Department lacks the necessary trust to allow the deployment of these products and services on federal information systems. The action taken is a reasonable, measured approach to the information security risks posed by these products.

    DHS is providing an opportunity for Kaspersky and any other entity that claims its commercial interests will be directly impacted by the BOD to submit to DHS a written response and any additional information or evidence supporting the response, to explain the adverse consequences, address the Department’s concerns, or mitigate those concerns. DHS will review any submissions closely. As indicated in the BOD, DHS may provide other direction to federal agencies, based on new information, before the 90 day mark when agencies are to begin implementing the agency’s plan of action to remove and discontinue use of Kaspersky products.

    Thank you for the opportunity to testify today and I look forward to your questions.

  • Written testimony of PLCY, CBP, and ICE for a House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security hearing titled “Looking North: Assessing the Current Threat at the U.S.-Canada Border”

    Release Date: 
    November 14, 2017

    210 House Capitol Visitor Center

    Chairwoman McSally, Ranking Member Vela, and distinguished Members of the Subcommittee, thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today to discuss the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) assessment of threats on the Northern Border and our efforts to ensure its security.

    The U.S.-Canada border separates two friendly nations with a long history of social, cultural, and economic ties, and a high volume of cross-border trade and travel. At 5,525 miles, 1,500 of which are shared by Alaska with British Columbia and the Yukon Territory in Canada, the border is the longest bilateral land boundary in the world. On average, more than 60 million international travelers and 27 million vehicles are processed at the more than 120 land ports of entry (POEs) and 17 ferry land crossings annually.

    DHS has committed significant personnel to securing the Northern Border. More than 2,000 U.S. Border Patrol (USBP) Agents, 4,700 U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officers, 310 Agriculture Specialists, 260 CBP Air and Marine (AMO) personnel, 1,300 U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Special Agents, and more than 8,000 United States Coast Guard (USCG) personnel are currently stationed at or near the U.S.-Canada border. The Department also continues to invest in force-multiplying technological capabilities on the Northern Border, including sensor networks, surveillance cameras and aircraft, and non-intrusive inspection systems.

    The Department’s personnel work every day with their Canadian counterparts and our state, local, tribal, and territorial (SLTT) partners to ensure the border is secure. We do so by deploying a multi-layered, risk-based approach to enhance the security of the Northern Border, while facilitating the lawful flow of people and goods entering the United States. This layered approach to security reduces the Department’s reliance on any single point or program, and leverages close coordination with U.S. interagency partners and with our Canadian counterparts to increase the security at our mutual border. Close coordination with our partners ensures our zone of security extends outward and that our physical border with Canada is not the first or last line of defense, but one of many.

    Northern Border Threat Assessment

    In response to the reporting requirements set forth in the Northern Border Security Review Act (Pub.L. 114-267), DHS delivered a Northern Border Threat Assessment report to Congress in August 2017. To undertake this assessment, DHS convened a broad working group composed of representatives from DHS Components with Northern Border-related operational mission responsibilities, as well as DHS support Components. This working group, led by the DHS Office of Strategy, Policy, and Plans (PLCY), included representatives from the Office of Intelligence and Analysis (I&A), CBP, ICE, USCG, the Science and Technology Directorate (S&T), the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO), the Office of the General Counsel (OGC), the Office of Partnership and Engagement (OPE), and the Office of Legislative Affairs (OLA). The Joint Requirements Council (JRC) participated as an observer.

    The working group developed the assessment through four primary methodologies: a formal threat analysis developed by I&A and Component intelligence elements; an open source literature review; a Component data call and interviews; and an expert workshop of Departmental subject matter experts.

    The report describes the current threat landscape on the U.S.-Canada border, analyzing national security-related and other threats across the air, land, and maritime domains. The report also provides a high-level description of DHS operational capabilities on the Northern Border, including a preliminary assessment of capability gaps and challenges in legal authorities; cross-Component cooperation; coordination between SLTT law enforcement organizations; and intelligence sharing.


    The Northern Border Threat Assessment indicates that potential terror threats at the Northern Border are primarily from potential homegrown terrorists in Canada who are not watchlisted, and who believe they can enter the United States legally at Northern Border POEs without suspicion. Watchlisted Canadians and third-country nationals who are encountered at POEs may be determined to be inadmissible and refused entry into the United States. Watchlisted U.S. citizens and U.S. Lawful Permanent Residents departing Canada may be subject to additional scrutiny at POEs before their entry into the United States. Canada has been an effective partner in working with the United States to keep foreign terrorist suspects from entering North America, especially with initiatives undertaken as part of the 2011 U.S.-Canada Beyond the Border nitiative.

    Most Watchlist encounters on the Northern Border occur at air and land POEs. Apprehensions of individuals entering the United States from Canada between POEs (present without admission from Canada, or PWA-CAN) fluctuate year-to-year, but represent a very small fraction of overall apprehensions in Northern Border sectors. Of the 2,283 individuals apprehended by the USBP in Northern Border sectors in Fiscal Year (FY) 2016, only 558 were PWA-CAN, with most of the remainder having crossed into the United States across the Southern Border with Mexico. Apprehensions of migrants from countries affected by terrorism or conflict who illegally cross the border from Canada to the United States are very rare.

    The ICE/HSI National Security Investigations Division, National Security Unit, Counterterrorism Section (NSID/NSU/CTS), acts as the single point of service and coordination for all Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) international terrorism investigations. The NSID/NSU/CTS also acts as the conduit point for threat streams and coordination with Canadian Law Enforcement and Intelligence Agencies in their counterterrorism efforts. ICE/HSI JTTF Special Agents and HSI Special Agents in Canada continue to collaborate with Canadian law enforcement and intelligence services, utilizing ICE/HSI authorities as appropriate and advantageous in investigations to combat terrorist activities in North America and abroad.

    Additionally, as part of the Homeland Security Act of 2002, ICE/HSI conducts comprehensive visa screening, vetting, and investigative activities through the ICE/HSI Visa Security Program (VSP). VSP enhances visa security by providing in-depth screening, vetting, and investigative capabilities with respect to counterterrorism and criminal justice using the formal Department of State (DOS) visa application process. Canadian applicants are subject to this program, as well as third-country nationals present in Canada who apply for visas to the U.S. Currently, Canada vets all immigration, visa, and refugee applications, screening applicant fingerprints against DHS biometric holdings. On average, Canada conducts more than 400,000 biometric queries against DHS data. In FY 2018, Canada will increase biometric collection on all applicants, increasing the total number of biometric queries to more than 3 million per year. The United States began sending biometric queries to Canada in August 2016.

    The Department works closely with Canada to offer Preclearance screening in Calgary, Edmonton, Halifax, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Vancouver, and Winnipeg. Under the Preclearance operation, air travelers to the United States go through full security screening and vetting, and all inspections and admission checks are conducted, before passengers board the aircraft for the United States. These Preclearance operations continue to strengthen our ability to identify terrorists, criminals, and other national security threats prior to encountering them on U.S. soil. Preclearance operations, now in six countries, place the Nation’s most effective law enforcement and counterterrorism asset, a trained U.S. law enforcement professional, at foreign points of departure to protect the traveling public.

    As part of the Beyond the Border Action Plan with Canada, the United States and Canada are also in the process of implementing a biographic exchange of traveler records that constitutes a biographic exit system on the shared border. Today, traveler records for all lawful permanent residents and non-citizens of the United States and Canada are exchanged in such a manner that land entries into one country serve as exit records from the other. The current match rate of Canadian records for travelers leaving the United States for Canada against U.S. entry records for nonimmigrants is over 98 percent.

    Combating Transnational Criminal Organizations

    As part of the National Northern Border Counternarcotics Strategy, DHS works closely with Canadian partners to substantially reduce the flow of illicit drugs and drug proceeds along the Northern border. The Northern Border Threat Assessment indicates that the most common threat to U.S. public safety along the Northern Border continues to be the bi-directional flow of illicit drugs. This flow is often facilitated by transnational criminal organizations (TCOs) operating on both sides of the border, with networks that span beyond the United States and Canada. In FY 2016, CBP’s Office of Field Operations reported 2,015 arrests at Northern Border land POEs, and 815 pounds in drug seizures.

    Reporting indicates that cocaine and methamphetamine move north into Canada after transiting the United States from Mexico, while smaller quantities of fentanyl, marijuana, and ecstasy flow south from Canada into the United States. While Northern Border POE seizures of methamphetamine and heroin are low, ICE investigative case reporting indicates that trafficking of these drugs are still responsible for significant social harm and public health and safety consequences at the individual and community levels in specific Northern Border communities such as Massena, NY.

    To avoid detection by U.S. and Canadian law enforcement, TCOs continually adapt their drug production, smuggling methods, and routes. Illegal drugs are smuggled across the border via a number of modes including personal vehicles, commercial trucks, buses, trains, vessels, all-terrain vehicles, and snowmobiles. TCOs also recruit individuals at and between POEs along the length of the border to carry drugs on their person.

    While the primary overland smuggling corridors used by TCOs are areas in the vicinity of Blaine, Washington; Detroit, Michigan; and Champlain and Buffalo, New York, TCOs have also utilized some tribal reservation lands adjoining the US-Canada border. One example is the St. Regis (Akwesasne) Mohawk Reservation in New York, which uniquely spans both sides of the border and includes numerous waterways and unguarded land border crossings, making it a potentially appealing point of transit for TCOs to smuggle contraband for further transshipment to major metropolitan areas in the United States. ICE/HSI and CBP are working with local, state, tribal, and federal law enforcement agencies to counter this threat, which is complicated by the myriad jurisdictions along the border, unique maritime boundaries, and short transit distances between the United States and Canada.

    The topography along mountainous parts of the Northern Border is occasionally exploited by smugglers flying private aircraft at low altitude to evade radar detection, but there are no reports to suggest that the tactic is employed on a large scale. Recently, ICE/HSI successfully investigated Canadian TCOs that were using helicopters capable of landing in remote sections of national forests on both sides of the border to smuggle narcotics, bulk cash, and firearms in both directions.

    The unique nature of the maritime boundaries between the United States and Canada presents challenges for law enforcement operations while creating opportunities for TCOs to exploit. High-density recreational boating traffic in waterways with shorelines in both countries, along with myriad jurisdictions along the border, creates a complex detection and enforcement environment. Joint investigations by ICE/HSI and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in the Pacific Northwest show numerous drug smuggling groups using maritime routes in the Puget Sound, the Strait of Georgia, and the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Maritime drug seizures have occurred over the past 10 years at numerous locations in the waters between Vancouver, British Columbia, and Washington State. The U.S. Coast Guard and RCMP operate the Integrated Cross-Border Maritime Law Enforcement Operation (Shiprider) program, in which personnel from both the United States and Canada jointly patrol shared waterways to detect and prevent criminal activity, including smuggling. Shiprider is active in five locations: Vancouver/Blaine, Windsor/Detroit, Kingston/Alexandria Bay, Victoria/Port Angeles, and Niagara/Buffalo.

    The Department maintains personnel on both sides of the Northern Border to address threats posed by the illegal cross-border flow of illegal or illicit goods and controlled dual-use commodities, technology, and software. ICE/HSI has six Special Agent in Charge offices located in Seattle, Denver, St. Paul, Detroit, Buffalo, and Boston who are responsible for overseeing the investigation of criminal activity with a nexus to the Northern Border of the United States. In addition, ICE/HSI has attaché offices in Ottawa, Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal to facilitate coordination with our Canadian law enforcement partners.

    Leveraging Technology

    DHS has greatly enhanced its technological capabilities on the Northern Border. Between POEs, USBP has deployed Unattended Ground Sensors and Imaging Unattended Ground Sensors; Persistent Ground Surveillance Systems; Tactical Aerostat Systems; Slash Camera Poles; mobile surveillance systems; remote video surveillance systems; and Mobile Video Surveillance Systems. AMO has stationed 16 fixed-wing aircraft, 24 rotary-wing manned aircraft, and 3 Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UASs) along the Northern Border to further support surveillance and domain awareness activities. Collectively, the information gathered from these systems contributes to a greater understanding of border activities and enables more timely and effective responses from border enforcement entities.

    At many Northern Border POEs, CBP utilizes Radio Frequency Identification technology, next-generation license plate readers, large-scale and small-scale imaging technologies, as well as a variety of portable and hand-held technologies to assist officers and agents with identifying threats. CBP also deploys approximately 4,565 pieces of non-intrusive inspection and radiation detection equipment to assist officers and agents with identifying threats, including concealed people and narcotics.

    Partnerships and Collaboration

    DHS does not safeguard or operate along the Northern Border alone. The Department has significant, ongoing collaborative partnerships with other federal and SLTT partners, as well as with our Canadian partners. Timely intelligence and law enforcement coordination and information sharing with these partners is critical for successful Northern Border operations.

    For example, the Cross Border Law Enforcement Advisory Committee (CBLE-AC) is a coordination effort designed by its members [CBP, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), ICE, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), and USCG] to provide executive-level strategic guidance to cross-border law enforcement initiatives involving partnerships between U.S. and Canadian law enforcement agencies. The CBLE-AC working group itself enables those enforcement teams to report back to a body that allows for a de-confliction mechanism. The CBLE-AC provides strategic guidance to Border Enforcement Security Task Forces (BESTs), Integrated Border Enforcement Teams (IBETs), Integrated Cross-Border Maritime Law Enforcement Operations (Shiprider) teams, and other hybrid programs.

    With regard to BEST, ICE/HSI maintains five along the Northern Border: Blaine, Washington; Buffalo, New York; Detroit, Michigan; Port Huron, Michigan; and Massena, New York. A key success element of this program is the full-time co-location of U.S. and Canadian law enforcement agencies, including at the federal state, provincial, tribal and local levels.

    The BEST program has the authority to cross-designate Canadian law enforcement officers as U.S. customs officers under Title 19 U.S.C. §1401(i), permitting them to enforce the criminal laws of the U.S. under the direction of ICE/HSI. These Canadian law enforcement officers are provided with ICE/HSI task force officer badges and credentials and, upon successful completion of ICE/HSI-sponsored training, are authorized under the direction of ICE/HSI to carry their agency-issued service weapons in the United States, make arrests, and execute search warrants.

    In 2017, USBP operationalized the Northern Border Coordination Center (NBCC) at Selfridge Air National Guard Base, Michigan. The NBCC is the central information repository for the Northern Border to enhance intelligence capabilities and address intelligence gaps along the Northern Border. The NBCC provides analysis of emerging Northern Border threats and disseminates information to all CBP operational and intelligence components, as well as other federal, tribal, state and local law enforcement agencies and our Canadian law enforcement partners, to increase situational awareness and lay down the foundation for a Northern Border common operating and intelligence picture.

    Through these and other cooperative programs, such as the IBETs and Shiprider programs, the United States and Canada continue to enhance cross-border operational effectiveness and facilitate the successful investigation and prosecution of transnational criminal conduct.

    CBP is also cooperating with Canada beyond strictly operational discussions. CBP’s Office of Human Resources Management (HRM) engages with Canada bilaterally, and through the Border Five construct, to address the most pressing common human resources issues, such as recruitment and hiring, workforce well-being, resiliency, and employee engagement strategies. Through this bilateral engagement, CBP/HRM and Canadian Human Resources offices share information, best practices, and lessons learned.

    In addition, DHS maintains strong partnerships with several tribes. CBP and ICE/HSI continue to work with our tribal partners to secure travel between the United States and Canada by enhancing the security of tribal identification documents for members of tribes recognized by the Federal Government in order to strengthen border security while facilitating legitimate travel. Under a memorandum of agreement, each interested U.S. tribe develops a secure photo identification document to be issued only to the tribe's legitimate members who could be either U.S. or Canadian citizens. These documents can be electronically verified by CBP at POEs.

    This September, CBP and the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians announced that the Band’s Enhanced Tribal Card (ETC) is now an acceptable travel document at land and sea POEs. To date, CBP has signed memoranda of agreement with 18 tribes: The Kootenai of Idaho, the Pascua Yaqui of Arizona, the Seneca of New York, the Tohono O’odham of Arizona, the Coquille of Oregon, the Hydaburg Cooperative Association of Alaska, the Suquamish, Colville, Puyallup, Swinomish, and Samish Tribes of Washington State, the Fond du Lac of Minnesota, the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians of North Dakota, the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians of Michigan, the Kickapoo Traditional Tribe of Texas, the Caddo Nation, Muscogee (Creek) Nation, and the Absentee-Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma.

    DHS also continues to build cooperative law enforcement relationships with several tribes, and to support tribal participation in operational task forces. For example, the Akwesasne Mohawk Police Service (AMPS) and the St. Regis Mohawk Tribal Police are robust participants in the ICE/HSI-led Border Enforcement Security Task Force (BEST) program and routinely collaborate and exchange information with our agencies. Sharing information between tribal police and DHS Components facilitates quick responses and a safer, more secure Northern Border.

    Updating the DHS Northern Border Strategy

    As an outcome of our efforts on the Northern Border Threat Assessment report, former DHS Secretary John Kelly directed PLCY to update the Department’s 2012 Northern Border Strategy.

    The updated strategy is being developed as a whole-of-DHS effort and in accordance with the Department’s Strategic Planning Guidance. It will be a risk-informed strategy, structured as a nesting set of goals, objectives, sub-objectives, and outcome statements. Within 180 days of the Strategy’s release, an accompanying implementation plan will be developed, which will be used to ensure that the actions the Department takes to execute the Strategy are achieving our desired end-states in a cost-effective manner.

    The updated Northern Border Strategy will have three primary focus areas: (1) enhancing border security operations; (2) facilitating and safeguarding lawful trade and travel; and (3) promoting cross-border resilience.

    We expect to publish the updated Northern Border Strategy in January 2018.


    Thank you for the opportunity to testify about the Department’s efforts to chart the way forward for the Northern Border.

    We look forward to continuing to collaborate with you as we work to safeguard the Northern Border from the threats our Nation faces while also ensuring we manage the border in a way that facilitates the economic activity critical to our Nation’s prosperity.

    We welcome your questions.

  • Acting Secretary Duke Meets with UK Home Secretary Amber Rudd

    Release Date: 
    November 9, 2017

    Discuss Cooperation on Aviation Security, Addressing Terrorist Use of the Internet

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

    WASHINGTON – Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke this week met with United Kingdom Home Secretary Amber Rudd in Washington, D.C. Acting Secretary Duke and Home Secretary Rudd discussed U.S. and UK counterterrorism cooperation, including enhancing aviation security. They also discussed efforts to address terrorist exploitation of the internet and data sharing between the two countries.

    “The Department of Homeland Security remains committed to raising global security standards with our partners in the United Kingdom,” said Acting Secretary Duke.  “This week, we reaffirmed our commitment to counterterrorism efforts, including improving aviation security and addressing terrorist use of the internet. We will continue these efforts to stamp out terrorism and keep our citizens safe and secure.”

    Acting Secretary Duke and Home Secretary Rudd met in London and the G7 Interior Ministers Meeting in Italy last month. This week’s meetings were a continuation of those discussions.

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  • Statement by Acting Secretary Duke on the Reissuance of Terrorism Bulletin

    Release Date: 
    November 9, 2017

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

    WASHINGTON – Today, Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke announced the issuance of an updated National Terrorism Advisory System (NTAS) Bulletin pertaining to the terrorism threat to the U.S. homeland.

    “After careful consideration of the current terror threat environment—and with input from intelligence and law enforcement partners, I have made the decision to update and extend the NTAS Bulletin for six months,” said Acting Secretary Duke. “Our enemies remain focused on attacking the United States, and they are constantly adapting.  DHS and its partners are stepping up efforts to keep terrorists out of America and to prevent terrorist recruitment and radicalization here at home, and we urge the public to remain vigilant and report suspicious activity.”

    This marks the fifth iteration of the Bulletin on the terror threat to the U.S. homeland. The Bulletin has been reissued three times previously since its initial release in December 2015.

    To read the new NTAS Bulletin, click https://www.dhs.gov/national-terrorism-advisory-system.

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  • DHS Aims to Hire Hundreds of Veterans from Veterans Recruitment Event

    Release Date: 
    November 9, 2017

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

    WASHINGTON – Today, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced its intention to hire hundreds of veterans identified at a veterans jobs fair in August 2017.

    DHS hosted a two-day, veterans-focused recruitment and hiring event titled “Continue Your Service to America.” The event included informational training sessions and exhibits to showcase the critical missions performed across the department. Participants had the opportunity to interview for a position, receive a tentative job offer and initiate the background screening process.

    Approximately 2,500 candidates attended the event, with 620 interviewed on-site. There were also 381 candidates identified at the hiring event to move into the next phase of the law enforcement hiring processes at Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP). To date, DHS has extended tentative job offers to 207 veterans, and components will continue to use the certificates of eligibility and resumes of veterans identified through the August event to fill vacancies.

    The Department also conducted a series of “DHS is Hiring Veterans” webinars in preparation for the hiring event that explained the Department’s missions, described the types of positions available to veterans, provided information on the hiring process, and tips on building a federal resume. Over 5,000 veterans participated in the online sessions.

    Veterans currently make up 27.6 percent of the Department’s workforce. DHS continues to be a leader among federal agencies in employing veterans and has the highest percentage of veteran employees among large federal agencies for the second year in a row.

    DHS is still actively recruiting for law enforcement and mission support positions. For more information on the hiring process, available jobs, and to find resources available to veterans, please visit www.dhs.gov/homeland-security-careers/veterans.


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