The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and its component offices have worked diligently to serve the American people across all fronts while making health and safety precautions a top priority. As the American homeland continues to open up, DHS’s components continue to see a return to pre-COVID operations. Most recently, the Transportation Security Administration saw an uptick in travel over Labor Day Weekend.
“Passenger volume on the busiest day of the Labor Day weekend was up 30% from the busiest day of the July Fourth holiday weekend. This is an encouraging trend for the aviation sector as airports, airlines, and TSA work together to ensure a secure and safe travel experience for passengers,” said TSA Administrator David Pekoske. “For travelers who have not flown since the beginning of the pandemic, the TSA checkpoint experience will be noticeably different as compared to last year. Passengers also play an important role in helping us ensure they safely and efficiently get through security screening at our airports while wearing masks and respecting social distancing.”
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
Providing Grants to States for Supplemental Lost Wages Payments. To ease the economic burden for those struggling with lost wages due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, President Trump authorized FEMA to expend up to $44 billion from the Disaster Relief Fund for lost wage payments. As of September 14th, Administrator Gaynor has approved 49 states, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the District of Columbia for FEMA grants under this unprecedented program. FEMA’s grant funding will allow the approved states to provide those unemployed due to COVID-19 $300 or 400 per week on top of their regular unemployment benefit. As of September 14th, FEMA has awarded more than $35 Billion in support of Lost Wages supplemental assistance. All approved grant applicants receive an initial obligation of three weeks of funding, with additional disbursements made on a weekly basis.
Providing Full Federal Reimbursement for States’ National Guard Forces. On August 3rd, President Trump granted an extension for the use of the National Guard under Federal Title 32 orders to respond to COVID-19 until December 31, 2020. As of September 14th, 16,398 National Guard troops have activated in T-32 duty status and 239 troops have activated in State Active Duty status to help with testing and other response efforts. To date, President Trump has approved 49 National Guard requests for federal support for the use of National Guard personnel in a Title 32 duty status through December 31. For those states and territories that are approved under these criteria, FEMA executed a fully reimbursable mission assignment to the Department of Defense, including reimbursement for pay and allowances of National Guard personnel serving in a Title 32 duty status in fulfillment of the FEMA mission assignment.
Coordinating Deployment of Federal Personnel to Support States’ Efforts. FEMA continues to lead the operational coordination for the federal interagency response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As of September 14th, there are over 19,831 federal personnel deployed across the country from FEMA, HHS, CDC, DoD, National Guard, and VA to support state, local, tribal and territorial COVID-19 response efforts. FEMA and our interagency partners are constantly tailoring staffing and resources across agencies, ensuring we can provide support when and where it’s needed most.
Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers (FLETC)
Graduating the Next Generation Of Law Enforcement: As of September 11, nearly 2,800 officers and agents have successfully graduated and are now in the field performing work that is critical to protect the homeland since training was restarted on June 17. There are currently 2,179 students attending in-residence training at Glynco, Charleston, and Artesia training delivery points. There are an additional 82 students attending training at the Cheltenham training delivery point. Their graduation in the coming months and the continual influx of new students ensures that our federal law enforcement partners receive the trained personnel they need to help keep our nation secure.
Science and Technology (S&T)
Driving Evidence-Based Policymaking. On September 9, the DHS Science and Technology Directorate updated its Master Question List (MQL), and does so weekly, to compile available research on operationally-relevant questions to aid decision makers in the COVID-19 response. The MQL is a quick-reference guide covering what is known about the virus, what additional information is needed, and who may be working to address these fundamental questions. New entries include:
A study published in the scientific journal Cell shows that D614G mutation increased viral loads in experimentally infected hamsters, though the results were only statistically significant in the upper respiratory tract (i.e., nose, throat). The mutation did increase viral replication in human cell lines. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cell.2020.06.043
A study published in the scientific journal Nature Communications show that ocular infection is possible in non-human primates, but ingestion of SARS-CoV-2 does not result in infection. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-18149-6
Transportation Security Administration (TSA)
Keeping Americans Safe While Ensuring Continuity of U.S. Travel and Commerce. Between Sept. 6th through Sept 12th, TSA screened more than 5,046,043 passengers, who have all reached their destinations safely. TSA officers are required to wear facial protection and gloves while on duty at the checkpoint. In support of air travel and all other modes of transportation, the agency continues to follow CDC guidance to protect Americans, its workers, and the nation’s transportation system. TSA continues to promote its “Stay Healthy. Stay Secure” campaign which outlines significant airport checkpoint modifications, including new technologies that reduce or eliminate physical contact, implemented to contain the spread of COVID-19, comply with CDC guidelines, and promote healthy and secure summer travel.
Ready to Ensure Safety During the Summer Travel Period. On September 8th, TSA issued a press release announcing it had screened nearly 1 million passengers on Sept 4 as well as surpassed 3 million passengers during the Labor Day weekend. In the announcement, the agency spotlighted its push to aggressively implement self-service and touchless technologies to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. On September 9th, TSA issued a press release regarding the deployment of a new CT scanner at Eppley Airfield that allows the TSA officer to view a 3-D image that can be rotated on three axes for thorough visual image analysis by a TSA officer. Such technologies help TSA officers to clear items without having to open the bag, thus reducing physical contact with the traveler’s property. On September 10th, TSA announced the deployment of new acrylic barriers at checkpoints throughout La Guardia Airport in NYC. The acrylic barriers are part of TSA’s efforts to minimize contact between TSA officers and passengers. On September 11, TSA hosted a commemoration ceremony in honor of the victims of the 9/11 attacks. TSA Administrator David Pekoske said:
“September 11th was a traumatic day and a tragedy that continues to be felt by all Americans, including many TSA employees who were directly affected by the attacks and subsequently joined the newly-formed agency. We continue to commemorate this day to comfort each other, to strengthen our resolve and to recommit ourselves to the mission entrusted to us by our fellow Americans. We also continue to aggressively adapt and mature as an agency in the face of new challenges. The pandemic has given us a renewed urgency in our pursuit of new solutions to enhance transportation security.”
United States Coast Guard (USCG)
Monitoring Vessels that Pose a Risk to Public Health. As of September 11th, the USCG is tracking 56 cruise ships moored, at anchor, or underway in vicinity of a U.S. port, or with potential to arrive in a US port, with approximately 9,340 crewmembers. This includes an estimated 200 American Citizens crewmembers dispersed among 33 vessels. The Coast Guard is working with the CDC based on its extension of the No Sail Order for cruise ships, which permits the off-loading of crewmembers following submission of a plan to the CDC.
Reservists. As of September 11th, the USCG has recalled and deployed 429 Reservists in support of COVID-19 operations. They are activated to serve in numerous types of roles, including work in IT support, medical clinics, PPE warehouses, command centers and other incident management roles, notably assisting federal partners such as HHS, and supporting state emergency operations centers on behalf of FEMA.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)
Keeping the Public Safe from COVID-19-related Fraud. ICE’s Operation Stolen Promise (OSP) targets fraudulent activity stemming from the pandemic. The initiative combines ICE’s Homeland Security Investigation’s (HSI) expertise in global trade investigations, financial fraud, and cyber investigations with robust private and public partnerships to disrupt and dismantle this criminal activity and strengthen global supply-chain security. As of September 8, as part of OSP, the agency has made 83 criminal arrests, analyzed 61,424 COVID-19-related domains, seized more than $10,045,590 million in illicit proceeds, disrupted 48 instances of illicit activity, sent 1,339 leads to domestic and international field offices, executed 97 search warrants and made 1,117 COVID-19 related seizures to include prohibited test kits and pharmaceuticals, counterfeit masks and more.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)
Getting American Citizens Home Safe. As of September 14, 2020, CBP had referred 790,444 travelers at the 15 funneling airports to DHS CWMD for enhanced health screening. CBP also continues to collaborate on a daily basis with the Department of State (DOS) to facilitate the safe travel of American citizens currently abroad to return home. CBP also works closely with DOS and foreign consulates to review 212(f) National Interest Waiver requests.
Updated Dates: April 21, 2020, May 20, 2020, June 16, 2020, July 16, 2020, August 14, 2020 Original Date: March 23, 2020
In order to limit the further spread of coronavirus, the U.S. has reached agreements with both Canada and Mexico to limit all non-essential travel across borders. Working closely and collaboratively, the Department of Homeland Security is part of a North American approach to stop the spread of the virus.
Additionally, CBP will no longer detain illegal immigrants in our holding facilities and will immediately return these aliens to the country they entered from – Canada or Mexico. Where such a return is not possible, CBP will return these aliens to their country of origin.
The US-Canada land border serves as an economic engine that supports over $1.7 billion (USD) dollars in daily cross-border trade. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the United States and Canada are temporarily restricting all non-essential travel across its borders. In each of our countries, we are encouraging people to exercise caution by avoiding unnecessary contact with others. This collaborative and reciprocal measure is an extension of that prudent approach.
“Non-essential” travel includes travel that is considered tourism or recreational in nature.
The United States and Canada recognize it is critical we preserve supply chains between both countries. These supply chains ensure that food, fuel, and life-saving medicines reach people on both sides of the border. Supply chains, including trucking, will not be impacted by this new measure. Americans and Canadians also cross the land border every day to do essential work or for other urgent or essential reasons, and that travel will not be impacted.
This decision was implemented on March 21, 2020, at which time the US and Canada will temporarily restrict all non-essential travel across the US-Canada land border. These measures were originally in place for 30 days, subject to reevaluation and further extension in light of the fluid nature of the coronavirus pandemic. On May 19, 2020 these measures were once again extended until June 22, 2020. On August 14, 2020, these measures were again extended until September 21, 2020. On September 18, 2020, these measures were again extended until October 21, 2020.
The strong partnership and close cooperation between the United States and Mexico has allowed us to maintain a productive border environment. We value the health and safety of our citizens and keep that at the forefront of joint decisions made by our respective leaders regarding cross-border operations.
Recognizing the robust trade relationship between the United States and Mexico, we agree our two countries, in response to the ongoing global and regional health situation, require particular measures both to protect bilateral trade and our countries’ economies and ensure the health of our nations’ citizens. We agree to the need for a dedicated joint effort to prevent spread of the COVID-19 virus and address the economic effects resulting from reduced mobility along our shared border.
The U.S. and Mexican governments further recognize critical services such as food, fuel, healthcare and life-saving medicines must reach people on both sides of the border every day. Essential travel must therefore continue unimpeded during this time. In order to ensure that essential travel can continue, the United States and Mexico are also temporarily restricting all non-essential travel across its borders.
“Non-essential” travel includes travel that is considered tourism or recreational in nature. Additionally, we are encouraging people to exercise caution by avoiding unnecessary contact with others.
This collaborative and reciprocal initiative is an extension of our nations’ prudent approach that values the health and safety of our citizens in the joint decisions made by our respective leaders regarding cross-border operations.
This joint initiative will commence at 00:01 Saturday, March 21 throughout the US-Mexico land border. These measures were originally in place for 30 days, subject to reevaluation and further extension in light of the fluid nature of the coronavirus pandemic. On May 19, 2020 these measures were once again extended until June 22, 2020. On August 14, 2020, these measures were again extended until September 21, 2020. On September 18, 2020, these measures were again extended until October 21, 2020.
CBP is the first line of defense of our nation’s borders. To help prevent the introduction of COVID-19 into our border facilities and into our country, aliens subject to the order will not be held in congregate areas for processing by CBP and instead will immediately be turned away from ports of entry. Those encountered between ports of entry after illegally crossing the border similarly will not be held in congregate areas for processing and instead, to the maximum extent feasible, will immediately be returned to their country of last transit. These aliens are processed in stations designed for short-term processing, where distancing is not a viable option, creating a serious danger of an outbreak. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has determined that these conditions present a serious infection control challenge and are a risk to public health. Should an outbreak occur at these facilities, local medical facilities would be forced to devote extensive resources and may become overwhelmed.
This action will also protect the health of our country’s dedicated border agents and other law enforcement personnel, who are vital to the security of our Nation.
Apprehension of illegal immigrants along both borders between POEs:
Migrants from Coronavirus Impacted Areas: Since the beginning of the FY20 fiscal year in October 2019 through the end of February 2020 (over the period of October 1, 2019 to February 29, 2020), foreign nationals from 122 separate countries have been apprehended or denied entry (inadmissible) at the U.S. Southwest border, for a total of over 190,000 apprehended or inadmissible migrants from countries currently with confirmed COVID cases.
Size and Scale: Every week, CBP apprehends between 7,000 – 9,000 individuals between ports of entry —the equivalent of 2.5 Diamond Princess cruise ships per week.
Human-to-human Spread: The spread of coronavirus is exacerbated by human-to-human transmission and the need for detention. CBP law enforcement facilities are for short-term holding and do not provide for needed large-scale isolation, diagnosis, or treatment of such a novel disease.
CBP Facilities: CBP facilities are not structured or equipped to effectively quarantine an infected population. CBP would be forced to rely on state and local hospitals to provide longer-term medical care for individuals who fall ill, further burdening our strained healthcare system and depriving Americans of key medical resources.
Although CBP has policies and procedures in place to handle transmittable diseases, COVID-19 will impact already strained holding capacities and place an extreme burden on what is forecasted to be a stretched healthcare system and the nation’s critical medical professionals who are needed to attend to U.S. citizens and legal residents.
Migrants should shelter-in-place in their homes and communities, rather than attempting a long and dangerous journey to the United States borders at the hands of traffickers and smugglers.
U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents and certain other travelers are exempt from this action. They will receive the same processing, evaluation and potential CDC medical screening that all entrants undergo at U.S. Ports of Entry.
Effective at March 21, 2020 at 12:00 a.m. EDT, CBP will, as authorized, implement CDC authority under 42 U.S.C. § 265 to prohibit entry of certain persons into the United States. CBP will assist the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to protect against the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) by implementing the emergency authorities under 42 U.S.C. § 265 at the nation’s land borders to prohibit the introduction of certain persons in the interest of public health.
Microsoft is looking to help developers continuously fuzz-test code prior to release, via the open source OneFuzz framework.
Described as a self-hosted fuzzing-as-a-service platform, OneFuzz enables developer-driven fuzzing to identify software vulnerabilites during the development process. Source code for OneFuzz is due to arrive on GitHub on September 18.
Fuzz testing is about increasing the security and reliability of native code by finding costly, exploitable security flaws. Fuzz testing involves throwing random inputs at software to find instances in which unforeseen actions could cause software to fail.
On Wednesday, House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) refused DHS’s multiple offers to have a senior department official present at a hearing on worldwide threats.
In response to this transparent and brazen attempt at beltway political theater, Senior Official Performing the Duties of Deputy Secretary (SOPDDS) Ken Cuccinelli issued the following statement:
Chairman Thompson can complain all he wants, but the facts are clear, and they are not on his side. Longstanding precedent says that pending nominees don’t testify to other committees as their nomination is pending. In light of that precedent, DHS offered to accommodate their request to hear about threats. I had testimony prepared and had my schedule clear to show up at this morning’s hearing. Instead, the committee majority decided that they would rather put on a show for the media. Instead of serving the American people and working to keep them safe, they would rather use the American people’s time and money to stage a political spectacle. Sadly, putting politics ahead of public safety has become far too common for many politicians across the country in recent months, and the swamp is no exception.
SOPDDS Cuccinelli’s full prepared and submitted testimony for Thursday’s hearing can be found here.
In response to the House Homeland Security Committee’s brazenly partisan and unnecessary subpoena of Secretary Chad Wolf issued last week, Assistant Secretary for Legislative Affairs sent a letter to Chairman Thompson Wednesday once again reiterating the department’s standing offer to accommodate the committee by sending the department’s second in command, Senior Official Performing the Duties of Deputy Secretary (SOPDDS) Ken Cuccinelli.
Assistant Secretary Spivey’s most-recent letter to Chairman Thompson can be found here.
Furthermore, the majority has demanded that the acting head of the department appear at this hearing; however, have not placed the same requirement on either the Department of Justice or the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, which are being represented by the FBI director and the National Counterterrorism Center director, respectively.
SOPDDS Cuccinelli’s availability was just the latest of good-faith efforts to accommodate the committee’s requests:
In July, DHS Acting Secretary Wolf volunteered to appear at a House Homeland Security Committee hearing on worldwide threats. The majority chose to delay this hearing until he was no longer available due to the pending nomination.
In August, Acting Secretary Wolf volunteered to appear at a July House Homeland Security Committee hearing on Civil unrest. However, the majority instead decided that going on recess was more important.
On August 25, 2020, President Trump announced his intention to nominate Acting Secretary Wolf to be the Secretary of Homeland Security.
On September 8, 2020, Assistant Secretary Spivey informed Chairman Thompson that it would be contrary to standard practice for the Acting Secretary on a matter unrelated to his nomination while the nomination was pending and offered SOPDDS Cuccinelli to testify in his stead.
On September 10, 2020, President Donald Trump formally nominated Acting Secretary Wolf.
On September 11, 2020, the House Homeland Security majority issued their subpoena. Assistant Secretary Spivey reiterated the offer to have SOPDDS Cuccinelli testify in a letter to Chairman Thompson. Acting Secretary Wolf also made it clear that he would be happy to testify on the matter after his confirmation process was over.
The details of these accommodation efforts are laid out plainly the September 11 letter, which can be read in full here.
Good morning Chairman Thompson, Ranking Member Rogers, and distinguished members of the Committee. Thank you for the opportunity to testify before you on behalf of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) regarding today’s threats to the Homeland. Born out of the ashes of 9/11, the American people tasked DHS with one purpose: to protect this great Nation and keep our citizens safe.
As Acting Secretary Wolf said in his recent State of the Homeland remarks, “the Department of Homeland Security is bound by one mission, one creed. Answering the call, often times in the most arduous of environments and difficult of circumstances, to safeguard the American people, our homeland, and our values from all threats, all the time—both today, tomorrow, and in the months and years to come.”
Although the threats facing our nation 17 years ago when DHS was founded have evolved significantly, DHS continues to be motivated to adapt in order to address these new and emerging threats.;
DHS addresses these emerging threats with a clear mandate from President Trump: the safety, security and prosperity of the American people comes first. DHS, using our unique authorities, and in collaboration with our federal, state and local partners, will continue to make good on this promise.
Indeed, under the leadership of President Trump, the 240,000 men and women of the DHS family have been empowered to overcome new and challenging threats, as well as accomplish our enduring no-fail missions. Specifically:
We are combating crises at the Southern Border—such as human trafficking, drug smuggling, and unprecedented illegal migration flows—while restoring integrity to the immigration system;
We are maintaining vigilance against terrorist threats, foreign and domestic, within the bounds of our authorities;
DHS has been a part of the Whole-of-America response to COVID-19, leveraging every aspect of our federal government through a locally-executed, state managed, and federally-supported strategy;
We are protecting federal buildings and federal workforce, including federal law enforcement officers, from an emerging threat of violent rioters;
We are preparing for and responding to natural disasters;
We are identifying and preventing malign foreign actors and nation states from interfering in our elections and protecting our election infrastructure, as part of our broader mission to safeguard and secure cyberspace; and
We are aggressively responding to the threat posed by China--now and in the future.
Nearly four years ago, the American people elected President Trump with a mandate to secure our borders and enact an America First immigration policy.
To stem the tide of human smuggling, drug smuggling, and criminal gangs flooding across our border and into our country, the Trump Administration has constructed more than 300 miles of the border wall system. Our work is not finished. We are on track to complete 450 miles by the end of 2020.
We have interdicted more than 4 million pounds of illegal drugs on the Southern Border, including methamphetamine, cocaine, as well as fentanyl and drug analogues originating from China. Most of these drugs are supplied by transnational crime organizations making billions in profits while tens of thousands of Americans die due to overdoses. With these effort’s, the Trump Administration has inhibited the ability of these transnational criminal organization to further devastate our communities—including every congressional district in America.
Restoring Integrity to the Immigration System
Building the wall system is not a stand-alone solution to these problems. The wall fits into a greater, holistic approach to secure the border.
Through President Trump’s diplomatic agreements and arrangements with our neighbors to the south, our allies have taken steps to secure their own borders. These include historic border security arrangements with Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. A secure Mexico means a secure United States. A secure Honduras means a secure United States. A secure El Salvador and a secure Guatemala means a secure United States.
Under President Trump, we have made regulatory changes to enforce our immigration laws as Congress originally intended. We also have been able to enact a common-sense approach that not only supports our national security requirements but also protects the American worker. We have done so by terminating the dangerous “catch and release policy” and closing loopholes that led to asylum fraud and employment authorization abuse.
Our immigration system is not only designed to support national security requirements, but also protect American workers. Tightening our immigration system also fortifies economic security.
The days are over of looking the other direction while allowing unfettered illegal foreign labor to flood our domestic labor markets, depress American wages, and strain our municipalities.
The nation continues to face threats from foreign and domestic terrorists inside our borders—the threats that animated the Department’s founding. I’m proud to stand with the Acting Secretary and say that DHS has taken unprecedented actions to address all forms of violent extremism.
Last year, the Department released a comprehensive strategy that contextualizes the threats from violent extremists and lays out the DHS mission in preventing such violence. We secured—with help from Congress – additional funding in FY 2020 for these initiatives. And the President requested a 300% increase in funding for DHS-wide efforts in this area in his FY 2021 Budget Request.
We recently released a Public Action Plan that outlines dozens of separate actions across the DHS enterprise designed to combat domestic terrorism, and just yesterday announced our FY20 Terrorism Prevention grant recipients.
Let me be clear: DHS stands in absolute opposition to any form of violent extremism. We will continue our daily efforts to combat all forms of domestic terror.
Of all the threats DHS has confronted in the last year, the COVID-19 pandemic has posed one of the most formidable, rapidly evolving, and uniquely challenging.
President Trump’s decisive and rapid action led our federal government to pursue a Whole-of-America response, which continues to deliver results through a locally-executed, state-managed, and federally-supported strategy.
Early on, President Trump acted swiftly, banning travel from hot spots like China, to mitigate the impact of COVID-19. Despite criticism from certain politicians, the President’s action saved lives. Our efforts to secure the border also directly correspond to DHS’ unique authorities and mission to combat the spread of COVID-19.
CBP and FEMA play a particularly important role in serving the American people during this crisis.
On the domestic front, FEMA has marshalled all available resources to support President Trump’s strategy to combat the pandemic and safely reopen America. FEMA processed the first ever nationwide emergency declaration under the Stafford Act. This was in addition to simultaneous major disaster declarations granted to all 50 states, 5 territories, and the District of Columbia.
Following the emergency declaration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) requested DHS assistance in enforcing the Director’s order issued under Title 42, which suspended the introduction into the United States of certain persons from countries where a communicable disease exists. To date, CBP has halted and expelled over 90 percent of aliens crossing the Southern Border within two hours of encountering them—an incredible feat and of critical importance to the public health and the protection of our workforce in response to COVID.
Under President Trump’s direction, we utilized the Defense Production Act to procure more than 220 million respirators from the 3M Company, saving American lives. By taking historic action to better collaborate with the private sector, we have helped deliver and allocate billions of pieces of scarce PPE to our frontline healthcare workers and first responders.
FEMA has delivered millions of units of personal protective equipment (PPE) to our federal, state, territorial, and tribal government partners, allocated billions of dollars in public and individual assistance, and provided tremendous guidance to local officials.
In August, in the absence of Congressional action, President Trump authorized FEMA to use $44 billion from the Disaster Relief Fund to alleviate the effects of lost wages due to COVID-19, allowing states to make supplemental payments to those receiving unemployment insurance compensation. FEMA acted in short order. As of September 8, FEMA has already provided more than $29 billion to 47 states for Lost Wages Assistance to support American workers.
While responding to the pandemic, we have simultaneously worked to combat the violence that has erupted in several metropolitan areas across the country.
In cities like Portland, Oregon, arsonists, looters, and agitators attacked federal property, law enforcement officers, and local small businesses.
For more than 60 days, DHS law enforcement personnel in Portland were under siege by a violent mob intent on destroying a federal courthouse. Federal law requires DHS to protect buildings, grounds, and property that are owned, occupied, or secured by the Federal government and the people on that property. Despite hundreds of injuries, our officers courageously held the line and fulfilled their statutory duty to defend federal property.
President Trump has offered federal assistance to every community that has suffered from this type of violence. DHS is proud to support our Department of Justice counterparts as they execute their Constitutional mandate to keep order in American cities when requested by our local partners and governments.
DHS is ready to assist in restoring peace should the communities request our support.
The Department continues our role overseeing natural disaster response efforts during these unprecedented times.
DHS recognized early on that we would likely have to respond to the 2020 hurricane season while also continuing our efforts to counter COVID-19.
As Hurricane Laura was about to make landfall just last month, President Trump immediately authorized emergency disaster declarations for Texas, Louisiana, and Arkansas. And DHS personnel are responding to Hurricane Sally as we speak.
The President’s decisive action and FEMA’s prevention and preparedness measures continue to enable DHS to rapidly respond to that hurricane and any future natural disasters.
DHS is committed to ensuring that our election system functions free from interference, both foreign and domestic. In that vein, the Administration has continually called out malign actors, such as China, Russia, and Iran, which seek to interfere in our elections and threaten our democracy.
DHS, through our Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), continues to make progress securing the election systems and our nation’s critical infrastructure. The 2018 midterm elections were the most secure in modern history, and DHS is working diligently with state and local election officials to make the 2020 elections even more secure.
As such, CISA is currently working with representatives from all 50 states, thousands of local jurisdictions, and our election technology partners to make sure they have the resources they need to keep our elections secure and resilient.
Securing Cyberspace and Emerging Threats
Cyber threats to the homeland, from both state affiliated actors and cyber criminals have been and will remain one of the most prominent threats facing our nation. All levels of government and entities across the private sector, to include the vast array of critical infrastructure upon which we rely, are facing a constant barrage of multifaceted cyber-enabled threats. These threats are designed to access and collect sensitive information, to hold operational technology at risk, and interrupt the accessibility of vital networks.
DHS, including through the operations of CISA, the United States Secret Service, the U.S. Coast Guard, ICE-Homeland Security Investigations, and the Transportation Security Administration, is, leveraging its full suite of authorities to mitigate this cyber threat, increase the resilience of those systems upon which our critical infrastructure sectors rely and impose costs on malicious cyber actors looking to leverage vulnerabilities for financial or other gain.
In addition, DHS, through its Science and Technology Directorate, works in collaboration with CISA and our federal partners to characterize and better understand emerging technological and science-based threats facing our nation's critical infrastructure.
Surveying the threat landscape, one menacing actor is ever-present—China.
In the midst of our complex challenges, DHS must also confront an aggressive nation-state. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) seeks to assert its influence in both overt and covert ways to achieve a variety of geopolitical and domestic goals. The Peoples Republic of China’s (PRC) increasingly aggressive and bold actions—from undermining long-standing Hong Kong autonomy to attempting to build a data collection network that spans the globe—imperils the United States and the international rules-based order that DHS has helped to sustain and enforce since its inception.
Across a wide range of policy spheres, from threatening U.S. economic security and prosperity, to undermining the core notion of a secure representative democratic process, DHS is on the frontline of growing tensions with the PRC.
President Trump has taken unprecedented action issuing a presidential proclamation restricting travel of certain Chinese graduate students and researchers with ties to entities in China supporting China’s military-civil fusion strategy to prevent them from stealing and otherwise appropriating sensitive research. DHS is working closely with the Department of State to enforce that presidential proclamation.
We are targeting illicit Chinese manufacturers who have exploited the COVID-19 pandemic by producing fraudulent or prohibited PPE and medical supplies that especially endanger our front-line workers.
We are preventing goods produced by forced labor from entering our markets and demanding that China respect the inherent dignity of each human being. CBP continued that effort just this week with the announcement of five Withhold Release Orders.
At our borders and our ports of entry, we are leveraging technology and innovation to target and interdict deadly Chinese-made fentanyl and fentanyl-like substances before they can destroy American communities and take American lives.
DHS is working with our interagency and industry colleagues to protect our information and communications infrastructure from intellectual property theft and nefarious data collection by China.
China’s relentless barrage of attacks aimed at undermining American workers, American economic dominance, and the American way of life cannot be allowed to stand—and under President Trump, it won’t. A policy of appeasement is not an option; it is a proven road to failure.
The power dynamic DHS is witnessing between the United States and China will be a focus for many years to come. In the near-term, DHS will continue to relentlessly respond to the threat posed by Beijing, consistent with the National Security Strategy and the Strategic Approach to the People’s Republic of China.
DHS continues to demonstrate its ability to take on and overcome wide ranging and diverse threats.
As we seek to fulfill our mission, the men and women of DHS look forward to continued cooperation with Congress so that together we can keep our citizens safe and secure.
Thank you again. I will now be happy to take your questions.
WASHINGTON – The Department of Homeland Security has awarded $10 million to 29 select projects to support the development of a nationwide Terrorism and Targeted Violence Prevention (TVTP) Framework. These awards were made through a competitive process under the Fiscal Year 2020 Targeted Violence and Terrorism Prevention Grant Program.
“With these grants, DHS has prioritized programs aimed at improving communities’ ability to prevent individuals from mobilizing or radicalizing to violence. These programs will create or enhance locally-based prevention frameworks to address these emerging threats,” said Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad F. Wolf. “DHS stands in absolute opposition to violent extremism, no matter its motivation or form. We will continue our constant efforts to combat all forms of domestic terror.”
These projects address the wide range of violent ideologies and mobilization factors that lead to targeted violence. This Fiscal Year’s program prioritized countering domestic terrorism. The TVTP Grant Program builds on the promising practices in the field of prevention. It is the only federal grant program dedicated to enhancing prevention capabilities in local communities.
Projects selected under the TVTP Grant Program cover many aspects of prevention, including building resilience, intervention, recidivism prevention, and reintegration programs at the local level. The projects selected directly support the objectives of the September 2019 DHS Strategic Framework for Countering Terrorism and Targeted Violence. Making these funds available for local prevention partners is a key milestone in the implementation of the Strategic Framework.
DHS evaluated 95 eligible applicants based on selection criteria, prioritization of grant program objective, and diversity of applicant types, activities, and geographic distribution as outlined in the FY20 Notice of Funding Opportunity. TVTP Grant Program funds support the development of local prevention capabilities at a time when DHS is observing an uptick in online efforts for terrorism recruitment and radicalization from a variety of sectors.
On Monday, Department of Homeland Security Inspector General Joseph Cuffari sent a letter to House Chairs Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) and Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) declining to issue an opinion on the Government Accountability Office’s erroneous and partisan August 14 report on the succession of leadership at DHS.
DHS Assistant Secretary of Public Affairs Alexei Woltornist issued the following statement on Inspector General Cuffari’s letter:
"The inspector general has concurred with what both the facts and the law made clear from the start: GAO’s report was erroneous, non-binding, and issued under highly questionable authority under federal law. Once again, the department urges GAO to reconsider its incorrect and transparently partisan report for the sake of the truth as well as the office’s dwindling reputation as a supposedly nonpartisan oversight mechanism."
WASHINGTON – U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) issued five Withhold Release Orders (WRO) today on products from the People’s Republic of China (PRC). The products subject to the WROs are produced with state-sponsored forced labor in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, where the Chinese government is engaged in systemic human rights abuses against the Uyghur people and other ethnic and religious minorities.
“By taking this action, DHS is combating illegal and inhumane forced labor, a type of modern slavery, used to make goods that the Chinese government then tries to import into the United States. When China attempts to import these goods into our supply chains, it also disadvantages American workers and businesses,” said Acting DHS Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli. “President Trump and this Department have, and always will, put American workers and businesses first and protect American citizens from participating in these egregious human rights violations.”
“The Trump Administration will not stand idly by and allow foreign companies to subject vulnerable workers to forced labor while harming American businesses that respect human rights and the rule of law,” said Acting CBP Commissioner Mark A. Morgan. “Today’s Withhold Release Orders send a clear message to the international community that we will not tolerate the illicit, inhumane, and exploitative practices of forced labor in U.S. supply chains.”
The new WROs direct CBP Officers at all ports of entry to withhold release on the following goods:
All products made with labor from the Lop County No. 4 Vocational Skills Education and Training Center in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, China. Information reasonably indicates that this “re-education” internment camp, which is often called a Vocational Skills Education and Training Center, is providing prison labor to nearby manufacturing entities in Xinjiang. CBP identified forced labor indicators including highly coercive/unfree recruitment, work and life under duress, and restriction of movement.
Hair products made in the Lop County Hair Product Industrial Park in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, China. Information reasonably indicates this site is manufacturing products with forced labor of the Uyghur people and other minority ethnic groups who are detained in “re-education” internment camps in Xinjiang. CBP identified forced labor indicators including highly coercive/unfree recruitment, work and life under duress, and restriction of movement.
Apparel produced by Yili Zhuowan Garment Manufacturing Co., Ltd. and Baoding LYSZD Trade and Business Co., Ltd in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, China. Information reasonably indicates that these entities use prison and forced labor in apparel production. CBP identified forced labor indicators including the restriction of movement, isolation, intimidation and threats, withholding of wages, and abusive working and living conditions.
Cotton produced and processed by Xinjiang Junggar Cotton and Linen Co., Ltd. in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, China. Information reasonably indicates that this entity and its subsidiaries use prison labor in their raw cotton processing operations in Xinjiang. Cotton-processing factories and cotton farms in this region are prison enterprises that use convict labor.
Computer parts made by Hefei Bitland Information Technology Co., Ltd. in Anhui, China. Information reasonably indicates that Hefei Bitland uses both prison and forced labor to produce electronics. CBP identified forced labor indicators including abuse of vulnerability, restriction of movement, isolation, and intimidation and threats.
“The series of actions CBP has taken against imports from China demonstrates the pervasive use of unethical and inhumane labor conditions in China, and CBP will not turn a blind eye,” said Brenda Smith, Executive Assistant Commissioner of CBP’s Office of Trade. “Allowing goods produced using forced labor into the U.S. supply chain undermines the integrity of our imports. American consumers deserve and demand better.”
Section 307 of the Tariff Act of 1930 (19 U.S.C. 1307) prohibits the importation of all goods and merchandise mined, produced, or manufactured wholly or in part in any foreign country by forced labor, convict labor, or/and indentured labor under penal sanctions, including forced child labor. CBP combats import risks, detects high-risk activity, deters non-compliance, disrupts fraudulent behavior, and thoroughly investigates allegations of forced labor.
CBP receives allegations of forced labor from a variety of sources, including the general public. Any person or organization that has reason to believe merchandise produced with the use of forced labor is being, or likely to be, imported into the United States can report detailed allegations by contacting CBP through the e-Allegations Online Trade Violation Reporting System or by calling 1-800-BE-ALERT.
In September 2019, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued its Strategic Framework for Countering Terrorism and Targeted Violence (CTTV Framework) and now offers this corresponding Public Action Plan demonstrating the Department’s efforts to combat emerging threats and improve information sharing. The Public Action Plan provides a high-level outline of the goals set by DHS, including efforts to secure cyberspace, deter lone wolf attacks, and secure soft targets such as churches and schools, along with the ability to dynamically modify DHS resources as new threats emerge.
“Nineteen years ago today, the American people came to understand the threat of terrorism in a new way. With the subsequent establishment of DHS, our nation vowed to prevent, disrupt, and deter terrorism of all sorts,” said Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad F. Wolf. “Today, DHS continues to take unprecedented actions to address all forms of violent extremism. This new framework draws upon the Department’s intelligence, prevention, and preparedness capabilities and lays out discrete actions DHS will undertake to further safeguard our communities, schools, places of worship, cyberspace, and public gatherings.”
In September 2019, the CTTV Framework was published. In September 2020, the Department finalized the Public Action Plan—the public version of the Department’s internal Implementation Plan, also finalized this year. Collectively, these documents describe specific actions and milestones to achieve the CTTV Framework’s goals.
This Public Action Plan does not describe the full complement of actions the Department is taking to combat terrorism and targeted violence. Rather, it provides an overview and examples of our work in order to be transparent with the American people and to underscore the Department’s commitment to fulfilling the goals and objectives outlined in the CTTV Framework.
Goals of the framework include:
Understand the evolving terrorism and targeted violence threat environment, and support partners in the Homeland Security Enterprise through this specialized knowledge;
Prevent terrorists and other hostile actors from entering the United States, and deny them the opportunity to exploit the Nation’s trade, immigration, and domestic and international travel systems;
Prevent terrorism and targeted violence; and
Enhance U.S. infrastructure protections and community preparedness.
Beginning in FY21, DHS will provide annual assessments to the salient congressional committees. By 2023, DHS will demonstrate measured improvements in its ability to understand current threats and accurately forecast emerging ones; detect threats before they reach the United States and deny terrorists’ attempts to enter our Nation; prevent terrorism and targeted violence in our communities; and enhance our infrastructure and community preparedness.
The successful implementation of the CTTV Framework will achieve a strategic end-state characterized by an adept and continually adapting Homeland Security Enterprise (HSE)—empowered by private sector and civil society partnerships—that successfully prevents, detects, deters, dissuades, disrupts, and responds to evolving terrorist and targeted violence threats.
DHS Enforcing Critical Identification Requirements to Protect the Homeland
WASHINGTON - The Department of Homeland Security (DHS or the Department) is announcing that after more than 15 years since Congress passed the REAL ID Act, all 50 states are now in full compliance issuing these cards, with most states becoming compliant in the last four years. To date, the 50 states have issued more than 105 million REAL ID-compliant driver’s licenses and identification cards, representing 38 percent of all driver’s licenses and identification card holders.
On October 1, 2021 – less than 13 months away – full enforcement of REAL ID will take effect at all federally regulated airports, federal facilities, and nuclear power plants.
The Department continues to urge Americans to obtain a REAL ID-compliant card or acceptable alternative, such as a U.S. passport or passport card prior to the October 1, 2021 enforcement deadline.
Passed by Congress in 2005 following a 9/11 Commission recommendation, the REAL ID Act establishes minimum security standards for state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards and prohibits federal agencies, like the Transportation Security Administration, from accepting licenses and identification cards for official purposes from states that do not meet these standards after specific deadlines.
Security standards include incorporating anti-counterfeiting technology, preventing insider fraud, and using documentary evidence and record checks to ensure a person is who he or she claims to be. It also prohibits federal agencies from accepting non-compliant licenses and identification cards for access to federal facilities, nuclear power plants, and commercial aircraft. These standards have significantly improved the reliability and accuracy of state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards.
Because of the potential for confusion about the REAL ID Act enforcement milestones, residents can use the following guidelines to be fully informed and prepared.
Check your state-issued driver’s license or identification card for the star. REAL ID-compliant cards generally have a star marking in the upper left- or right-hand corner. Most acceptable alternatives, such as state-issued Enhanced Driver’s Licenses, do not have the star, but are acceptable for official REAL ID Act compliance purposes. For more information on EDLs, please go to www.dhs.gov/enhanced-drivers-licenses-what-are-they.
Bring identity documents to the airport that are acceptable for flying domestically. Check to see if you have the proper identification to fly at tsa.gov/travel/security-screening/identification. If you need to obtain a new form of ID, please allow sufficient processing time before you travel. For example, the current processing times for U.S. passports are 6-8 weeks for routine service and 2-3 weeks for expedited service.
Check with the federal agency you plan to visit, in advance, to find out whether identification is required, and if so, what types of identity documents are acceptable. While most Federal agencies will continue to accept non-compliant driver’s licenses and identification cards until the enforcement deadline of October 1, 2021, some – like Department of Defense facilities and posts – no longer accept them.
As communities across America continue to re-open with COVID-19 safeguards and prevention measures in place, the Department remains focused on ensuring communities are protected from fraudulent COVID-19 products and from individuals who seek to exploit the system.
“Operation Stolen Promise continues to show tremendous results in its ongoing efforts to protect the American people from fraudulent coronavirus related products,” said U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Senior Official Performing the Duties of the Director Tony H. Pham. “ICE is and will continue to be relentless in the pursuit to identify and bring to justice those who would take advantage of this unprecedented pandemic for personal financial gain.”
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
Providing Grants to States for Supplemental Lost Wages Payments. To ease the economic burden for those struggling with lost wages due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, President Trump authorized FEMA to expend up to $44 billion from the Disaster Relief Fund for lost wage payments. As of September 8th, Administrator Gaynor has approved 47 states for FEMA grants under this unprecedented program. FEMA’s grant funding will allow the approved states to provide those unemployed due to COVID-19 $300 or $400 per week on top of their regular unemployment benefit. As of September 8th, FEMA has obligated $28.8 Billion in support of Lost Wages supplemental assistance. All approved grant applicants receive an initial obligation of three weeks of funding, with additional disbursements made on a weekly basis.
Providing Full Federal Reimbursement for States’ National Guard Forces. On August 3rd, President Trump granted an extension for the use of the National Guard under Federal Title 32 orders to respond to COVID-19 until December 31, 2020. As of September 8th, 16,478 National Guard troops have activated in T-32 duty status and 242 troops have activated in State Active Duty status to help with testing and other response efforts. To date, President Trump has approved 49 National Guard requests for federal support for the use of National Guard personnel in a Title 32 duty status through December 31. For those states and territories that are approved under these criteria, FEMA executed a fully reimbursable mission assignment to the Department of Defense, including reimbursement for pay and allowances of National Guard personnel serving in a Title 32 duty status in fulfillment of the FEMA mission assignment.
Coordinating Deployment of Federal Personnel to Support States’ Efforts. FEMA continues to lead the operational coordination for the federal interagency response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As of September 8th, there are over 20,528 federal personnel deployed across the country from FEMA, HHS, CDC, DoD, National Guard, and VA to support state, local, tribal and territorial COVID-19 response efforts. FEMA and our interagency partners are constantly tailoring staffing and resources across agencies, ensuring we can provide support when and where it’s needed most.
Science and Technology (S&T)
Driving Evidence-Based Policymaking. On September 1, the DHS Science and Technology Directorate updated its Master Question List (MQL), and does so weekly, to compile available research on operationally-relevant questions to aid decision makers in the COVID-19 response. The MQL is a quick-reference guide covering what is known about the virus, what additional information is needed, and who may be working to address these fundamental questions. New entries include:
A study published in Clinical Infectious Diseases estimated that when a person breathes out, they will expel between 100,000 and 10,000,000 copies of the molecule that encodes for the SARS-CoV-2 virus, per person, per hour. Note: the presence of this molecule does not necessarily correlate with infectious virus. https://doi.org/10.1093/cid/ciaa1283
Two additional references this week in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report and Nature Medicine estimated lower transmission rates in children, but each study was conducted during a period of low community transmission and/or school closures, which may underestimate the transmission risk. https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/mm6934e2.htm?s_cid=mm6934e2_w
Keeping Americans Safe While Ensuring Continuity of U.S. Travel and Commerce. Between August 30th and September 5th, TSA screened more than 5,124,083 passengers, who have all reached their destinations safely. TSA officers are required to wear facial protection and gloves while on duty at the checkpoint. In support of air travel and all other modes of transportation, the agency continues to follow CDC guidance to protect Americans, its workers, and the nation’s transportation system. TSA continues to promote its “Stay Healthy. Stay Secure” campaign which outlines significant airport checkpoint modifications, including new technologies that reduce or eliminate physical contact, implemented to contain the spread of COVID-19, comply with CDC guidelines, and promote healthy and secure summer travel.
Ready to Ensure Safety During the Summer Travel Period. On September 1, TSA Administrator Pekoske visited Newark Liberty International Airport where he toured the checkpoint modifications implemented as a result of COVID-19 and held a virtual town hall with the TSA workforce. On September 1, TSA announced a pilot at Reagan National Airport using credential authentication technology with camera (CAT-C) that automatically matches a traveler’s picture taken to the photo on their ID. The technology also further minimizes physical contact between the TSA officer and the traveler. On September 3, TSA issued a press release outlining 7 easy steps airline travelers can take to efficiently and quickly get through the TSA screening checkpoint during the holiday travel weekend while adhering to new checkpoint changes as a result of COVID-19.
United States Coast Guard (USCG)
Monitoring Vessels that Pose a Risk to Public Health. As of September 2nd, the USCG is tracking 58 cruise ships moored, at anchor, or underway in vicinity of a U.S. port, or with potential to arrive in a US port, with approximately 10,277 crewmembers. This includes an estimated 200 American Citizens crewmembers dispersed among 33 vessels. The Coast Guard is working with the CDC based on its extension of the No Sail Order for cruise ships, which permits the off-loading of crewmembers following submission of a plan to the CDC.
Reservists. As of September 4th, the USCG has recalled and deployed 419 Reservists in support of COVID-19 operations. They are activated to serve in numerous types of roles, including work in IT support, medical clinics, PPE warehouses, command centers and other incident management roles, notably assisting federal partners such as HHS, and supporting state emergency operations centers on behalf of FEMA.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)
Keeping the Public Safe from COVID-19-related Fraud. ICE’s Operation Stolen Promise (OSP) targets fraudulent activity stemming from the pandemic. The initiative combines ICE’s Homeland Security Investigation’s (HSI) expertise in global trade investigations, financial fraud, and cyber investigations with robust private and public partnerships to disrupt and dismantle this criminal activity and strengthen global supply-chain security. As of September 8, as part of OSP, the agency has made 83 criminal arrests, analyzed 61,424 COVID-19-related domains, seized more than $10,045,590 million in illicit proceeds, disrupted 48 instances of illicit activity, sent 1,339 leads to domestic and international field offices, executed 97 search warrants and made 1,117 COVID-19-related seizures to include prohibited test kits and pharmaceuticals, counterfeit masks and more.COVID-19-related seizures to include prohibited test kits and pharmaceuticals, counterfeit masks and more.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)
Getting American Citizens Home Safe. As of September 3, 2020, CBP had referred 726,069 travelers at the 15 funneling airports to DHS CWMD for enhanced health screening. CBP also continues to collaborate on a daily basis with the Department of State (DOS) to facilitate the safe travel of American citizens currently abroad to return home. CBP also works closely with DOS and foreign consulates to review 212(f) National Interest Waiver requests.
As more and more organizations move containerized applications into production, Kubernetes has become the de facto approach for managing those applications in private, public and hybrid cloud settings. In fact, at least 84% of organizations already use containers in production, and 78% leverage Kubernetes to deploy them, according to the Cloud Native Computing Foundation.
As more and more organizations move containerized applications into production, Kubernetes has become the de facto approach for managing those applications in private, public and hybrid cloud settings. In fact, at least 84% of organizations already use containers in production, and 78% leverage Kubernetes to deploy them, according to the Cloud Native Computing Foundation.