Today, we released an issue brief on Mexico and the triple challenge of crime, terrorist tactics, and narco-insurgency. The issue brief is released in conjunction with a Homeland Security Policy Institute/U.S. Army War College event, “The Hybrid Threat: Crime, Terrorism and Insurgency in Mexico” to be held today at 2pm.
September 16th, 2011 - by Jeff Robertson
DHS Secretary Napolitano visits UW–Madison; launches new web site for international students and exchange visitors Today, U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano deliver remarks at UW–Madison highlighting innovative ways to encourage the best and brightest international students and scholars to study and remain in the U.S. and launched a new government website (studyinthestates.dhs.gov) [...]
September 16th, 2011 - by Marc Frey
DHS is by no means perfect. However, its organizational promise – that concentrating large operational agencies under one roof would improve security – has been met at the border. The DHS border screening model – identifying bad guys around the world, finding out in advance who is traveling, and making sure that the bad guys cannot pretend to be someone else – also applies to aviation security, though it has not been used much at airports. We’ve run out of ways to check all passengers for weapons, and everyone—including TSA—agrees that new approaches are needed.
Ten years after 19 foreign hijackers staged the 9/11 attacks, much has changed in America’s immigration and border-control policies, and much has not. The Center for Immigration Studies will host a panel discussion to examine what’s been done in immigration and related areas since 9/11 to strengthen America’s security and what challenges remain.
July 6th, 2011 - by Janice Kephart
Local TV in Arizona has reported that on Thursday, July 7, 2011, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, with Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Alan Bersin and Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske, will be announcing the 2011 Southwest Border Counternarcotics Strategy in Nogales, Ariz. Unless the Attorney General is a surprise guest, I doubt this press conference will be more than the rhetoric the secretary herself complains about incessantly.
John Villasenor at Brookings released “Cyber-Physical Attacks and Drone Strikes: The Next Homeland Security Threat,” that is well-worth the time to digest. While the thrust of the paper was to highlight the potential ability of U.S. adversaries to use UAVs to launch a cyber-physical attack, I could not help but think of how such unmanned vehicles might be used for reconnaissance and surveillance purposes along the border. While CBP pursues a “one size fits all” strategy of using Predator UAVs as their sole unmanned platform, the rest of the world apparently sees the advantages of using a mix of significantly smaller unmanned aircraft for surveillance purposes.
It is a legitimate question to ask what we are getting for our money. An even better question, and one that is not so frequently asked, is “Could we have gotten something better for the money we spent?” CBP celebrated 10,000 hours of Predator UAV flight recently, but bragging about that is similar to a hypothetical pizza parlor owner bragging about how the Humvee his shop uses to deliver pizzas has never failed in delivering pizza to his customers. In my mind, only a foolish person would buy a $20,000 slice of pizza, no matter what toppings were on it. Someone needs to ask if the Predator is CBP’s equivalent of that slice of pizza.
If you have been following the news reports concerning ATF’s Operation “Fast and Furious,” you are acutely aware that CBP agent Brian Terry was killed in the line of duty and some of the weapons found at the scene have been traced back to what is now known as “Operation Fast and Furious.” For various political reasons, including conspiracy theories, there has been and continues to be a feeding frenzy by reporters and commentators on both the left and the right. Everyone needs to take a step back, take a deep breath and look at the facts.
DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano has complained on more than one occasion that Republicans are “moving the goalposts” when it comes to border security. One reason, as former DHS economist Bryan Roberts and I argue in a new piece for Foreign Affairs, is that the current metrics for measuring progress at the border are lousy. Apprehensions at the border may be falling, but does that mean illegal immigrants have been deterred from trying?
May 13th, 2011 - by David Olive
On Wednesday, the Office of Air and Marine at Customs and Border Protection (CBP) held an open house in a government hangar at Reagan National Airport to show off its latest aircraft – the Multi-Role Enforcement Aircraft (MREA). What struck me about the new MREA is how much more cost-effective capability it brings than the unmanned Predator UAV.
Interesting hearing Wednesday on visa security at the House Judiciary subcommittee on immigration policy enforcement, where I testified alongside Security Debrief co-contributor Janice Kephart and officials from State and ICE. The hearing was called to consider the Secure Visas Act, legislation calling for the expansion of the number of ICE agents deployed in overseas embassies.
May 11th, 2011 - by Marty Ficke
Though Osama bin Laden’s death brings discussion on the future of al Qaeda, but let us not forget that this terrorist organization is large and spread throughout the world. Their methods for attack are many, and al Qaeda had plans to use cargo as a method to smuggle plastic explosives into the United States and the UK concealed in shipments of women’s and children’s clothing. This threat remains real.
April 28th, 2011 - by Edward Alden
The Department of Homeland Security is finally eliminating one of the worst vestiges of the immediate aftermath of 9/11 – the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS) that required special travel procedures for those coming from more than two dozen countries that raised terrorism concerns. NSEERS was an understandable, but nonetheless counterproductive, response to the fears of the post-9/11 environment.
April 25th, 2011 - by David Olive
DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano has been making numerous public appearances throughout the country. I applaud Secretary Napolitano’s efforts communicating with the public, but what I do not understand is that among her many domestic travel destinations, Napolitano has never visited the one place Arizona where DHS has made a major investment – the area where the “SBInet” technology has been deployed and is currently being used with great success.
April 6th, 2011 - by Asa Hutchinson
Since the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) challenging early days, when I served as Undersecretary for Border and Transportation Security, we have made progress towards better border security. While this progress should be noted, without a doubt, more needs to be accomplished. Here are three priorities on which we should focus our border control efforts, foremost among them, a visa exit system.
April 1st, 2011 -
In this April Fools Edition, we’ve collected some stories the rest of the media somehow missed.
March 28th, 2011 - by Janice Kephart
New footage from March 2, 2011, shows seven drug mules likely carrying about $50,000 worth of marijuana each. The trail where the motion-sensor hidden cameras were placed is 80 miles north of the border, due north of the Tohono O’odham Indian Reservation, which has seen a marked increase in drug mule traffic since the creation of two “apprehension” zones on either side of the reservation’s boundaries.
March 22nd, 2011 - by David Olive
Last week, as the world was focused on the crisis in Japan and the military action in Libya, the Associated Press reported on the use of Predator UAVs to help Mexican authorities in their war on drug cartels. Yet, at a conference at MIT’s Lincoln Labs on Homeland Security technology, I learned that the Predator was ineffective for wide-area surveillance during the Deep Water Horizon disaster. It was scrapped after less than two weeks. Congress should look closely at the cost/benefit of UAVs and how their use in Mexico deviates from the DHS mission.
Proposed DHS Budget Does Not Reflect Secretary Napolitano’s Testimony on the Threat of Radicalization
February 14th, 2011 - by David Olive
Today, the Obama Administration submitted its proposed FY12 Budget to Congress. One of the first things to look for is whether the request to spend taxpayer dollars aligns with what the President and his Cabinet say are their highest priorities. In light of Secretary Napolitano’s recent remarks on violent extremism, the question remains, “So what are we doing to do about it?” If the President’s budget submission is any reflection of priorities, the answer is: “Not much.”
February 14th, 2011 -
By Doug Doan
Contrary to popular myth, companies involved in developing new equipment or services for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) are about to find themselves in real trouble. The current business climate is deteriorating and companies trying to win new government contracts, or hang on to their existing contract base, are going to find it harder sledding. Here are ten reasons to be concerned about investing in companies doing business with DHS.