Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke, and FBI Director Christopher Wray, testified Thursday before the House Committee on Homeland Security for a hearing on World Wide Threats: Keeping America Secure in the New Age of Terror.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is addressing the evolving threat landscape and moving past traditional defense and non-defense thinking.
DHS is enhancing its approach to homeland security and bringing together intelligence operations, interagency engagement, and international action in innovative ways.
“Acts of terrorism and mass violence against soft targets have become so frequent that we associate them with the names of cities that have been victimized: Paris, San Bernardino, Brussels, Orlando, Istanbul, Nice, Berlin, London, Barcelona, and most recently in New York City on Halloween,” said Acting Secretary Duke in her written testimony submitted to the committee.
“As a result, DHS is enhancing coordination with state and local officials.”
In her oral testimony, Acting Secretary Duke stated, “I also want to make clear today that DHS is not standing on the sidelines as these threats proliferate. ”
“And we will not allow frequent terrorism to become the new normal.”
(Hear from Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke, and FBI Director Christopher Wray, as the hearing examines current threats to America including: Islamist terrorism, domestic terrorism, cyberattacks, aviation security and border security. Members review work by the federal government to counter these threats, as well as the steps Congress has taken to support their efforts. Courtesy of the Homeland Security Committee and YouTube. Posted on Nov 30, 2017)
Additionally, DHS is “raising the baseline” of the United States’ security posture by examining everything from traveler screening to information sharing, and setting new standards to close security vulnerabilities.
“At the Department, we are building an action-oriented, results-centric culture.”
“We are pushing our border security strategies and pressing foreign partners to enhance their security so that terrorists, criminals, and other threat actors are stopped well before they reach our shores.”
Rethinking Homeland Security for a New Age:
“We are seeing a surge in terrorist activity because the fundamentals of terrorism have changed.”
“Our enemies are crowd-sourcing their violence online and promoting a “do it yourself” approach that involves using any weapons their followers can get their hands on.”
“We saw this just last month right here on our own soil when a terrorist killed and wounded pedestrians in New York City using a rented vehicle.”
“But New Yorkers rallied, and they refused to be intimidated by this heinous attack.”
(New York Mayor Bill de Blasio says that the deadly attack in New York where a truck hit people on a bike path is an act of terror. Courtesy of CNN and YouTube)
“I also want to make clear today that DHS is not standing on the sidelines as these threats proliferate. And we will not allow frequent terrorism to become the new normal.”
“The primary international terror threat facing our country is from global jihadist groups.
“However, the Department is also focused on the threat of domestic terrorism.”
“Ideologically-motivated violence here in the United States is a danger to our nation, our people, and our values.
“We are tackling the overall terror threat to the United States head-on… [W]e are rethinking homeland security for a new age.”
“There is no longer a “home game” and an “away game.” The line is blurred, and the threats are connected across borders.”
“That’s why DHS is moving towards a more integrated approach, bringing together intelligence, operations, interagency engagement, and international action like never before.”
(See additional testimony from the hearing on ‘World Wide Threats: Keeping America Secure in the New Age of Terror.’ Courtesy of the Homeland Security Committee and YouTube. Posted on Nov 30, 2017)
Raising the Baseline of Our Security Posture
“We are also strengthening everything from traveler screening to information sharing.”
“We now require all foreign governments to share critical data with us on terrorists and criminals—and to help us confidently identify their nationals.”
“We must know who is coming into our country and make sure they do not pose a threat.”
“That is why I recommended—and the President approved—tough but tailored restrictions against countries that pose a risk and which are not complying with our requirements.”
“And we are trying to stay a step ahead of emerging threats.”
“We are planning next to launch a new Office of Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction next week, to consolidate and elevate DHS efforts to guard against chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear threats.”
(Learn More about combating weapons of mass destruction around the world and why it’s not an entirely cut and dried job, from Andrew Weber, former Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear, Chemical, and Biological Defense Programs who faced this task for nearly five years. Courtesy of TEDx Talks and YouTube. Posted on Nov 30, 2017.)
“Separately, our Global Aviation Security Plan is making it harder for terrorists to target U.S.-bound aircraft with concealed explosives or by using corrupted insiders.”
“At the same time, we are rededicating ourselves to terrorism prevention to keep terrorists from radicalizing our people.”
“And our newly reorganized Office of Terrorism Prevention Partnerships will lead the charge.”
“Finally, we have stepped up DHS efforts to protect soft targets, which will not only help better defend our country against terrorists but against tragedies like we have witnessed in Las Vegas and Texas.”
(Country singer Jake Owen, who was on stage during the Las Vegas shooting, describes how events unfolded that have left at least 50 dead. Courtesy of CNN and YouTube)