I thank the President and Congress for the passage of this year’s National Defense Authorization Act, which includes provisions to codify key components of our Department’s Unity of Effort initiative launched in 2014: Joint Task Forces for border and maritime security.
When I became Secretary three years ago, I encountered a large and decentralized Department of Homeland Security that was, after 10 years in existence, far too stove-piped.
As part of our Unity of Effort initiative, we have brought a more centralized approach to budget making, acquisitions, hiring and the realignment of a number of headquarters functions. The centerpiece of this effort has been the Joint Task Forces we stood up in 2014. I am pleased that the President and Congress have endorsed and codified in to law this approach.
Based on my experience at the Department of Defense, I know the value of joint duty assignments devoted to national security. I stood up Joint Task Forces for border and maritime security in 2014 based on the combatant command structure in DoD.
(Learn More, courtesy of Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-TX) and YouTube)
These Joint Task Forces are comprised of the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Unifying these components in their approach to border and maritime security has created a more operationally effective Department of Homeland Security.
I am particularly pleased that Congress has now authorized this approach, not just for border and maritime security, but also for purposes of homeland security crises and other regionally-based operations. Also included are provisions to explicitly authorize joint duty training.
Joint duty must be the wave of the future for the Department of Homeland Security.
I am also pleased that Congress, in the NDAA, authorized our proposal for the creation of a new DHS Office of Strategy, Policy, and Plans headed by a presidentially-appointed, Senate-confirmed Under Secretary.
I thank the members of the Armed Services and Homeland Security Committees of both chambers for supporting and championing these provisions to strengthen our homeland security.
– Jeh Johnson, Department of Homeland Security Secretary