Secretary Napolitano participated in an on-the-record luncheon forum at the Aspen Institute on Wednesday June 3.

She was in command of the room and the issues as she described the Department of Homeland Security’s mission to fight terrorism.

DHS Mission:

  • 1st Intelligence – Information sharing with DHS, FBI, CIA, DOJ. DHS role is to provide Intel in a usable form to state and locals jurisdictions. DHS and Justice are working on declassifying more information. She said the department uses Intel effectively to protect the transportation infrastructure by building a local infrastructure through the Joint Terrorism Task Forces and and Fusion Centers. In response to a question from General Brent Scowcroft, she said information sharing among agencies is definitely improved since pre-9/11.
  • 2nd Secure Border – Without hampering legitimate crossings. She sited the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative as tangible progress in this area.
  • 3rd Enforce Immigration laws – Go after employers if their intent is to hire illegals.
  • 4th Disaster Response – Much has improved since Katrina in this area. She stressed the need for preparedness by the public and said complacency is a challenge. She encouraged the public to: “Live in state of readiness.”
  • 5th “One DHS” — Create a single culture out of many elements. This is part of the natural maturation process of the young agency. She specifically touched on one communications system, acquisitions discipline, and unified fiscal structures. Later in her comments she described the acquisitions systems as “immature.”

Other notable comments:

  • Need for continued public education on Readiness.
  • She is a fan of E-verify and is seeking additional Congressional funding.
  • She is committed to a continued emphasis on cyber security – a top priority.
  • She is committed to enhancing transportation security in the surface modes.
  • She emphasized need to regulate General Aviation.