Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano today marked the fifth anniversary of the issuance of the 9/11 Commission Report by releasing a progress report outlining advancements in the Department’s capabilities to protect against and respond to acts of terrorism and other threats.
The report details the progress the Department has made on a range of 9/11 Commission recommendations—providing examples of new policies, initiatives and grants while reflecting DHS’ focus on enhanced science and technology, efficiency and fiscal responsibility and reinvigorated coordination with state, local, tribal and international partners.
“The 9/11 Commission’s recommendations have in many ways set the course for the Department’s efforts to combat security threats,” said Secretary Napolitano. “We have answered these challenges by building an agency far better equipped to combat terrorism, and we will continue to expand these capabilities as we move forward in our mission to keep America safe and secure.”
On Friday, Secretary Napolitano will meet with members of the National Security Preparedness Group—a bipartisan coalition of national security experts including former DHS Secretary Tom Ridge and co-chaired by former 9/11 Commission Chair Thomas H. Kean and Vice Chair Lee H. Hamilton.
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At the meeting, Secretary Napolitano will discuss the Department’s progress in securing the country from the challenges the Commission outlined and confronting an ever-changing array of threats to homeland security, including cybersecurity and bioterrorism. The meeting will be followed by a media availability.
Highlights from the DHS Progress Report include:
To ensure transportation security, DHS has achieved 100 percent screening for all checked and carry-on baggage through more than 500 explosive detection systems deployed to every major U.S. airport—including new technology funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screens 100 percent of cargo on more than 95 percent of all flights originating in U.S. airports and 100 percent of passengers on all flights arriving in, departing from and within the United States are also now pre-screened prior to boarding a flight—a process that crosschecks every passenger name against federal watch lists. DHS has also implemented vigorous security programs to protect surface and maritime transportation as well as land and sea ports of entry.
To standardize secure identification, DHS and the State Department implemented the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI), which increases border security while facilitating legitimate travel and trade requiring all travelers, including those previously exempted, to present compliant documents when entering the United States. DHS also worked with congressional allies and the National Governors Association to develop PASS ID—a bill to enhance the security of driver’s licenses while reforming and resolving many privacy concerns in the REAL ID Act.
To allocate funds based on risk, DHS initiated a risk-based methodology to identify areas eligible for homeland security grants, accounting for threats to the area, population, economic output and prevalence of economic infrastructure. Secretary Napolitano has announced more than $2.8 billion funded this way for enhancements to preparedness, critical infrastructure protection, port and transit security, emergency communications and border security operations and technology. DHS also prioritized high-risk facilities and areas by implementing the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards Act, which ranks facilities that use hazardous chemicals based on risk to determine their funding levels, and the Urban Areas Security Initiative, which enhances disaster preparedness in 62 high-threat, high-density areas, with the seven highest risk areas receiving 55% of available funds. The Department launched the Cost-to-Capabilities initiative this year to measure the impact and effectiveness of federal grant funding.
To improve collaboration and information sharing, DHS has established new law enforcement agreements across all levels of government—including two agreements between DHS and the Department of Justice signed since June to combat arms and drug trafficking—and forged international agreements with Canada, Germany, Greece, Italy, Mexico, Portugal and Spain since January to share information to combat serious crime and collaborate on science and technology. DHS has also worked with federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement to designate 72 state and local Fusion Centers across the country to centralize intelligence gathering and share information within their jurisdictions and with the federal government—and provided more than $340 million to support these centers since 2004.
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To view the Department’s full 9/11 Commission progress report, visit Progress in Implementing 9/11 Commission Recommendations (PDF, 12 pages - 125 KB)