If you follow aspects of homeland security that involve the screening of individuals for potential risk, you better be familiar with the Screening Coordination Office (SCO) at DHS. Under its recently-departed director, Deputy Assistant Secretary Kathleen Kraninger, the SCO has been a shining example of the promise that DHS was meant to deliver. The whole concept behind the SCO was to look across all aspects of DHS and into other departments to make sure all programs screening individuals were aligned and coordinated. Without the SCO, the government was adding program after program aimed at particular agency mandates with little interest in the cost to the private sector or the missed opportunities to find synergies in their effectiveness.

Kraninger arrived back at DHS for a second stint in 2006 and developed a top-notch team of experts drawn from CBP, US-VISIT, ICE, TSA and other parts of the government. The Chertoff leadership gave the SCO the lead role on many programs that were stuck in the ditch during the Ridge-to-Chertoff transition. The SCO delivered:

• Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative – Launched in phases in 2006, 2008 and 2009 with few of the negative impacts originally feared due to the creation of the Passport card and state-issued Enhanced Driver’s Licenses;
• Secure Flight – Recalibrated and launched in 2008 as a simpler, traveler-friendly mechanism to resolve watchlist false positives;
• Electronic System for Travel Authorization – Implemented on-time in 2009 as a security enhancement for the Visa Waiver Program;
• Global Entry – International Trusted Traveler program launched as a pilot and made permanent in 2009 as a smart use of CBP resources and risk-management; and
• Driver’s Licenses – Not a final success because of political pushback at the state level, but the SCO and the DHS Policy office solved most of the substantive concerns with REAL ID.

This isn’t to say the SCO has been perfect. The failure to convince TSA to use risk management in checkpoint screening and the continued morass around the biometric exit component of US-VISIT are items left to be tackled.

Luckily, Kraninger leaves behind a quality organization now headed by Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary Patricia Cogswell. Cogswell has spent her whole career as a non-political expert on screening issues, including leadership roles at INS, USCIS and US-VISIT. She has been at the forefront of the successful introduction of biometrics as a routine part of individual screening and hopefully will use that expertise as DHS works with Congress on immigration reform. In a policy arena that features sharp ideological divides about privacy and “Big Brother” aspects of the government, as well as difficult negotiations with foreign governments and the business community, Cogswell has managed to succeed without creating enemies.

The SCO’s handiwork will be on display tomorrow when Cogswell’s boss, Assistant Secretary for Policy David Heyman, and other DHS and DOJ witnesses testify before the Senate Homeland Security on combating terrorist travel. Thanks to Kraninger, Cogswell and their colleagues, the witnesses will have a good story to tell.

  • Brittanicus

    Next year Americans had better be on their guard against fraudulent voter registrations and the possibility of illegal immigrants voting in the 2010 Senate elections. Sen.Harry Reid (D-NV) comes up for re-election and if you didn't know already, the great state of Nevada is overwhelmed by foreign nationals of the illegal kind. Be aware that under current voting law, a–UTILITY BILL– is officially identified as a legal document as identification in Nevada. In states that are heavily involved with illegal immigrants and the product of welfare fraud, Nevada and California specifically should be under the eye of the election authorities. As of now only contractors and subs are required to use E-Verify, which is very loosely audited. E-Verify must be enacted permanently as its success rate is progressively moving forward. E-Verify could be introduced to identify drivers license applicants, car registration, health care and even voter registrations. Then organizations that facilitate in suspicious activities would have a major obstacle to contend with, including fraudulent documentation.

    During this ACORN controversy these two Western states have very large apportionment's of political illegal immigrant sympathizers and–MUST–be removed from their career seats. ACORN and its big brother SEIU. ACORN and SEIU are the lead organizations behind Health Care and Comprehensive Immigration Reform known in truth as AMNESTY, which is the principle entities aggressively shoving for the passage of these very serious issues. ACORN is better known for hiring people with questionable backgrounds, to be engaged in fraudulent voting registrations. Sen.Harry Reid, Speaker Pelosi can be attributed to the near destruction of E-Verify, the federal verification program that a growing number of nationwide employers are beginning to use. As a pro-illegal immigrant incumbent he must be ejected from his Senatorial seat, because he is directly involved in the 2010 Comprehensive Immigration Reform bill.These are the worst of the worst with a grading of ( F ) – as according to NUMBERSUSA.

    They have been adamant conspirators against any immigration enforcement and readily agreeable with another BLANKET AMNESTY. WE NEED TO MAKE EXAMPLES OF THEM AND THROW THE IDIOTS OUT OF OFFICE NEXT YEAR? These individuals are just part of the political conspirators who don't mind illegal aliens settling in our nation and stealing AMERICAN JOBS.
    Bennet, Michael F. – (D – CO) ,Bennett, Robert F. – (R – UT),Dodd, Christopher J. – (D – CT),Feingold, Russell D. – (D – WI),Gillibrand, Kirsten E. – (D – NY),Inouye, Daniel K. – (D – HI),Leahy, Patrick J. – (D – VT),Lincoln, Blanche L. – (D – AR), Mikulski, Barbara A. – (D – MD), Murray, Patty – (D – WA), Reid, Harry – (D – NV), Schumer, Charles E. – (D – NY), (R – AL),Wyden, Ron – (D – OR), Michael Capuano – (D-MA)

    Statement from Gov. Jim Gibbons “Our voting system is very simply the greatest in the world and is the basis of what makes this country great. The allegation that an organization that’s main purpose is to register new voters was doing so fraudulently is very troubling. I believe that requiring a photo ID to vote is a very reasonable protection for our voting system and should be enacted as law by the 2009 Legislature.”

    We should endeavor to recruit high echelon tradesman and intelligencer who have grand offerings to America in sort after skills, but not people who are desperate to infiltrate the welfare entitlements and become a public burden. There are estimates of over 8 million foreign nationals in the job force, that would be swallowed up expeditiously by those here legally and citizens.

    Those who believe in America’s survival, without OVERPOPULATION as stated by the US Census bureau better read facts at NUMBERSUSA not the lies spawned by open border entities. Those who want details of corruption in WASHINGTON and state government go to JUDICIAL WATCH. Overpopulation, traffic chaos, infrastructure erosion should go to CAPSWEB. Other sites of interest on Immigration enforcement is ALIPAC and AMERICAN PATROL. We the people have the ultimate power to throw out anti-sovereignty incumbent politicians. Call and command these do-nothings to–STOP–this travesty at 202-224-3121.