The 9/11 Commission released its report seven years ago, and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano announced the agency will carry out several security measures to protect America.
The report highlights changes DHS implemented after the 9/11 commission strived to ensure the country is stronger, safer and more resilient. As the country prepares for the 10th anniversary of 9/11 terrorist attacks, the new DHS report details advancements homeland security made to better defend the evolving terrorist threats.
“Ten years after the September 11, 2001 attacks, America is stronger and more resilient than ever before, but threats from terrorism persist and challenges remain,” said Secretary Napolitano. “Over the past decade, we have made great strides to secure our nation against a large attack or disaster, to protect critical infrastructure and cyber networks, and to engage a broader range of Americans in the shared responsibility for security.”
One part stressed by DHS is the expanding information sharing program. The United States strengthened homeland security that improves information sharing with both the public and private sector. “If You See Something Say Something™” campaign is one example of a program that relies on public imput to ensure U.S. security.” This program didn’t exist on 9/11. The “National Suspicious Activities Reporting Initiative,” which trains state and local law enforcement to recognize behaviors and signals related to terrorism, crime and other threats is another new program.
Another program implemented is the “Airline Passenger Pre-screening and Targeting Terrorist Travel,” program. “Ten years ago, screening of passengers coming to the United States was limited to the visa process and inspection of a person by an immigration officer at the port of entry.” Now DHS requires all airlines flying to the U.S. to provide an “Advance Passenger Information and Passenger Name Records” list before departure. This list checks all passengers flying to, from, or within the United States against government watch-lists.
Protecting Cyber Networks and Critical Physical Infrastructure is one of the most difficult tasks for DHS. The National Cyber security Protection System uses the EINSTEIN cyber intrusion detection system and is a key component in protecting the country from cyber attacks. DHS also opened the “National Cyber Security and Communications Integration Center,” that will serve as the nation's hub for responding to cyber attacks.
A 2010 landmark memo between DHS and the Department of Defense also improves America's abilities to protect against cyber threats to military computer programs and networks, according to the report.
Napolitano contends that America needs to bolster the security of U.S. borders and identification documents needs to be a top priority. “Protecting the nation's borders—land, air, and sea—from the illegal entry of people, weapons, drugs, and contraband is vital to homeland security, as well as the nation's economic prosperity.” However, the recent ATF “Project Gunrunner” and continuation of cartel violence show the Obama administration’s lack of control. This contentious border security issue has created a new firestorm- one the Democrats have yet to solve.
This last program Napolitano touts gives new meaning to “robust” and “civil liberty.”
DHS tries to feel its way through TSA by “ensuring a robust privacy, civil rights and civil liberties safeguards.” However, TSA continues to draw fire from angry passengers who say the "friskers" and too "friskee."
While the DHS report lays the groundwork for a more secure U.S., the government continues to put off finishing the border fence- something most Americans want.
To view the Department of Homeland Security's full report and related materials, please visit www.dhs.gov/9-11-progress-report.
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