The Department of Homeland Security has released a fact sheet outlining its 2007 achievements. They include: better passenger records and tracking, better biometrics (10-fingerprint collection at airports and ports including the US-VISIT program), enhanced driver’s licenses (as part of REAL ID), secure documentation standards (WHTI), enhanced aviation security, enhanced privacy and civil rights standards, setting chemical security standards, credentialing port workers (TWIC), greater information sharing and interoperable communications, and increased staffing.
Fact Sheet: Select Department of Homeland Security 2007 Achievements
Protecting the Nation from Dangerous People
More Fencing at the Border: U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) exceeded the goal of 145 miles of fencing at the border. CBP took conditional possession of the prototype Project 28 development of nine towers equipped with radar and communications systems and automated ground sensors linked to a command and control center and Border Patrol vehicles. A new task order was issued to design, develop and test upgraded Common Operating Picture software for the systems. These advancements will add to 284 miles of pedestrian and vehicular fencing already in place and enable construction of roughly 670 miles of fencing by the end of 2008.
Connecting the Dots: DHS renewed a Passenger Name Record (PNR) agreement with the European Union to share advance information on passengers arriving and departing the United States. PNR data has helped frontline personnel to identify scores of dangerous people and deny them entry into the country.
Better Biometrics: 10-fingerprint collection from international visitors is underway at Washington Dulles International Airport and will be at 275 other ports of entry by the end of 2008. US-VISIT and the Coast Guard have partnered on 10-print collection at sea near Puerto Rico, resulting in 95 prosecutions and a 53 percent reduction in migrant flow.
Secure Documentation Standards: Compliance with secure identification requirements for air travel under the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) has exceeded 99 percent since implementation in January. A Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for WHTI land and sea requirements was issued in June and an initial implementation begins in January 2008. A final rule will be published in the coming weeks and full implementation is expected in Summer 2008.
Enhanced Driver’s Licenses: DHS signed agreements with the states of Washington, Vermont, New York, and Arizona to enhance the security of their state driver’s licenses and potentially satisfy REAL ID requirements or serve as alternatives for entry at land and sea borders.
Enhanced Aviation Security: The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) increased by more than 175 percent the number of personnel trained in techniques to identify potentially high-risk passengers in airports. Further, TSA required that holders of airport-issued identification credentials be subjected to perpetual vetting against the Terrorist Screening Database. It also harmonized the 3-1-1 liquids rule with the European Union and many other countries, and published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in August to take over watch-list checks from the airlines under the Secure Flight program.
Record-Breaking Law Enforcement: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) removed roughly 240,000 illegal aliens, and made over 850 criminal arrests and fined or seized more than $30 million following worksite investigations. Its Border Enforcement Security Task Forces made more than 500 criminal arrests and 1,000 administrative arrests, and seized roughly $2.5 million in cash as well as significant amounts of narcotics and weapons. Further, ICE ACCESS was launched to foster collaboration between its agents and state and local leaders to identify crime-fighting priorities.
Protecting U.S. and World Leaders: The U.S. Secret Service continues to meet unprecedented challenges of protecting domestic and world leaders. In addition, protection of presidential candidates has resumed and comprehensive plans for securing the 2008 presidential campaign are being implemented.
Protecting the Nation from Dangerous Goods
Overseas Radiation Scanning: 100 percent of shipping containers bound for the United States from three foreign ports – Port Qasim (Pakistan), Port Cortes (Honduras), and Port Southampton (UK) – are now scanned for radiological and nuclear materials prior to departure. Scanning equipment is also being deployed to Port Busan (South Korea), Singapore, Hong Kong, and Salalah (Oman).
Comprehensive Radiation Detection: The Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO) has deployed more than 1,000 radiation detection devices to the nation’s land and sea ports of entry. 100 percent of cargo containers crossing the southern border are scanned for radiation, 91 percent at the northern border and more than 97 percent of vehicles are scanned at our seaports.
Improving Import Safety: The Office of Health Affairs engaged in the President’s Import Safety Working Group to develop a comprehensive action plan with short- and long-term recommendations that better protect consumers and enhance the safety of imported goods.
Expanded Container Security Initiative: CBP expanded the Container Security Initiative to 58 ports covering 86 percent of U.S.-bound maritime containers.
Record-Breaking Narcotics Seizures: The U.S. Coast Guard seized more than 350,000 pounds of cocaine at sea this year – a record-breaking 160 metric tons – worth an estimated street value of more than $4.7 billion. CBP frontline personnel seized more than 3.2 million pounds of narcotics at and between ports of entry.
Southwest Border Drug Strategy: The Office of Counternarcotics Enforcement co-chaired the creation of the first-ever National Southwest Border Counternarcotics Strategy and Implementation Plan, which identifies major goals, objectives, and resource requirements for closing gaps in U.S.-Mexico counternarcotics capabilities at the southwest border.
Reducing Risk from Small Vessels: The Coast Guard worked with small boat manufacturers, industry groups and the public on mitigating the security risks posed by small vessels. It has 13 Maritime Safety and Security Teams, part of a 3,000 person Specialized Deployed Forces Command, stationed at strategic ports nationwide with unique training to counter the small boats threat. The Coast Guard and DNDO are collaborating with local authorities on a pilot program in Puget Sound and San Diego waterways on small vessel radiation detection.
Protecting Critical Infrastructure
Setting Chemical Security Standards: The National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD) established national standards for chemical facility security in a comprehensive set of regulations to protect chemical facilities from attack and prevent theft of chemicals that could be used as weapons.
Assessed Impacts of Chemical Attacks: The Science & Technology Directorate conducted a comprehensive Chemical Threat Risk Assessment on potential impacts from plausible, worst-case attacks that better focused inter-agency priorities according to risk.
Released Sector Specific Plans: NPPD released 17 Sector-Specific Infrastructure Protection Plans, creating a comprehensive risk management framework of national priorities, goals, and requirements to protect critical infrastructure and key resources.
Launched IED Awareness Campaign: DHS has undertaken a National Improvised Explosives Device (IED) Prevention and Awareness Campaign, working with federal, state and local agencies and stakeholders to boost participation in the TRIPwire and National Capabilities Analysis Database information-sharing portals.
Increasing Cyber Security: NPPD developed the EINSTEIN system, which finds malicious patterns in federal computer network traffic, and will expand the system next year. DHS established the Computer Emergency Readiness Team, or US-CERT, to provide a 24-hour watch center, which this year issued over 200 actionable alerts on cyber security vulnerabilities or incidents. Finally, the Secret Service currently maintains 24 Electronic Crimes Task Forces to prevent, detect, mitigate and aggressively investigate cyber attacks on our nation’s financial and critical infrastructures.
Greater Information Sharing: The Office of Intelligence and Analysis has deployed 19 personnel to Fusion Centers across the country, with a goal of 35 by the end of 2008. DHS has also deployed networks such as the Homeland Security Data Network, a system for securely communicating classified information, to 18 centers and anticipates deploying to 40 centers next year.
Credentialing Port Workers: Since October 7,000 port workers have enrolled in the Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) biometric credential program. More than 750,000 longshoremen, truck drivers, port employees and others requiring unescorted access to secure areas of ports ultimately will be required obtain a TWIC.
Building a Nimble, Effective Emergency Response System and a Culture of Preparedness Responded to Nearly 60 Major Disasters: The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) responded to 58 Major Disaster Declarations, 10 Emergency Declarations, and 60 Fire Management Assistance Declarations, including tornadoes in Florida and Kansas, floods in the Midwest, Tropical Storm Erin and the California Wildfires.
Supporting Local Security Plans: Protective Security Advisors worked in state and local Emergency Operations Centers providing expertise and support to local authorities, the Principal Federal Official and the Federal Coordinating Officer responsible for domestic incident management, including the Virginia Tech shootings in Blacksburg, VA, the Chevron Refinery Fire in Pascagoula, MS, the I-35W bridge collapse in Minneapolis, MN, and the Florida and California Wildfires.
Improved Interagency Coordination: The Office of Operations Coordination led federal prevention, protection, and response activities to all-hazard threats during several incidents in 2007, specifically the recent outbreaks of Foot and Mouth Disease in the United Kingdom and the vehicle-borne improvised explosive device attacks in the United Kingdom.
Building Stronger Response Partnerships: DHS engaged state and local leadership, first responders and stakeholders on developing the National Response Framework, which outlines how our nation prepares for and responds to all-hazard disasters across all levels of government and community sectors.
New Operations Capabilities: The Coast Guard established the Deployable Operations Group, which aligns all deployable, specialized DHS forces under a single, unified command, in adaptive, tailored force packages for rapid response to national threats.
Saved Over One Million Lives: The Coast Guard reached a remarkable milestone this year, saving more than 1,109,310 lives throughout its 217 year history.
Awarded Public Safety Interoperable Grants: DHS helped award $968 million in Public Safety Interoperable Communications Grants to aid state and local first responders in improving public safety communications and coordination during a natural or man-made disaster.
Realizing Interoperable Communications: The Science & Technology Directorate published results of the National Interoperability Baseline Survey – a nationwide survey of first responders and law enforcement that assesses progress in achieving interoperable communications.
Helping School Safety: Under the Safe School Initiative, DHS is developing strategies to prevent school-related tragedies such as those in Blacksburg, VA, and Cleveland, OH, and provide education and law enforcement professionals with tools for investigating threats in schools, managing situations of concern, and creating safe school climates.
Strategic Planning for Catastrophic Disasters: The Incident Management Planning Team drafted federal interagency strategic plans to coordinate resources to prepare for, respond to and recover from major disasters and other emergencies.
Strengthening and Unifying DHS Operations and Management Continued Integration: DHS was created five years ago to serve as the unifying core for the vast national network of organizations and institutions involved in securing our nation. Over the past year, DHS has further integrated core management functions and systems throughout headquarters and the components, achieving a more cohesive and unified department.
Enhanced Privacy, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties: The Privacy Office and the Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties have worked to enhance privacy and civil rights and civil liberties through the department’s work in cyber security, the use of satellite technology, airport screening protocols, and partnerships with Muslim-American communities.
Increased Responsiveness to Congressional Inquiries: DHS improved responsiveness and adherence to Congressional deadlines in meeting the arduous demands. This included the on-time submission of nearly 1,500 Congressional Questions For the Record from Appropriations Committee hearings.
Consolidation of Network Sites: The department has consolidated more than 1,780 network sites into a single network that allows transparent monitoring of system performance and activity, prioritization of traffic, and vastly improved security posture.
Strengthened Business Processes and Technology: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services launched a new fee schedule designed to bring decades-old systems into the 21st century and improve customer service.
Enhancing Staffing and Training:
Record-Setting Levels of Law Enforcement Training: The Federal Law Enforcement Training Center trained a record-setting 60,458 students from all three branches of the federal government, as well as international, state, local, campus, and tribal law enforcement agencies.
Improved Recruitment and Hiring: DHS decreased the average time it takes to hire new DHS employees, four days shorter than the Office of Personnel Management targets. DHS also exceeded targeted goals by hiring more than 2,300 protection officers, 11,200 transportation security officers, and 412 immigration enforcement agents.
Record FEMA Staffing Levels: For the first time in a decade, FEMA attained a 95 percent staffing level and strengthened regional capability through the creation of over 100 new positions in FEMA’s ten regional offices.
Enhanced Employee Training and Communication Tools: DHS recently launched new training and communications tools including DHSCovery, a state-of-the-art online training system.
Increased Border Patrol and Field Operations Staffing: CBP increased Border Patrol agent staffing by an unprecedented 21 percent, from 12,349 to 14,923. In addition, CBP Office of Field Operations hired 2,156 new officers and 340 agriculture specialists.
Streamlined Acquisition Processes: The Coast Guard created an innovative and centralized acquisition directorate in July 2007 significantly improving program execution, contracting practices, research and development, and industry oversight.
Enhanced Training to Prevent Cyber-related Crimes: The Secret Service developed a National Computer Forensics Institute in Hoover, Alabama, a cyber crimes training facility designed to provide state and local law enforcement officers, prosecutors, and judges with training, equipment, and expertise in computer forensics and digital evidence analysis.