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Fact Sheet: DHS End-of-Year Accomplishments

Release Date: December 18, 2008

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
Contact: 202-282-8010

Under President George W. Bush’s leadership, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has achieved considerable success in protecting the nation from dangerous people and goods, securing the nation’s critical infrastructure, strengthening emergency preparedness and response and unifying department operations. More than seven years without an attack on U.S. soil is a testament to this department’s 218,000 employees, the intelligence community and the nation’s first responders and law enforcement officers. 

Over 2008, we remained focused on strengthening the foundations for successful execution of our mission. We continued to listen, learn, and grow as a department. And we continued to work in a spirit of collaboration with our federal, state, and local partners, and with the American people – all of whom are equal partners in helping us protect our country, as well as equal stakeholders in our progress to achieve our five major goals:

  1. Protect our Nation from Dangerous People
  2. Protect our Nation from Dangerous Goods
  3. Protect Critical Infrastructure
  4. Strengthen our Nation’s Preparedness and Emergency Response Capabilities
  5. Strengthen and Unify DHS Operations and Management

Since its creation in the aftermath of the tragic events of September 11, 2001, the department has achieved much to protect and secure the United States.  The following are selected achievements from this year:

  • Turned the tide against illegal migration to the United States through the deployment of fencing and technology along the southern border; the implementation of unprecedented immigration enforcement efforts and operations; and the hiring of additional Border Patrol agents to meet the department’s goal of employing 18,000 agents.
  • Demonstrated the drastic improvements to Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) incident management capabilities realized since Hurricane Katrina by responding quickly and effectively to the worst tornado season in the history of the United States, the Midwest Floods, several devastating fires, and hurricanes Gustav and Ike.  FEMA also successfully carried out cross-component disaster recovery and response efforts with Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and other DHS components.
  • Worked tirelessly to implement a careful and comprehensive succession plan and developed extensive briefing and confirmation materials for the incoming Administration; set in motion a master building plan for consolidation of all headquarters functions; eliminated unconnected networks, e-mail systems and communication environments and replaced them with an integrated IT service and communications delivery capability.
  • Excluding Iraq and Afghanistan, terrorists have killed more than 20,000 men and women and wounded more than 43,000 around the world since Sept. 11.  As we approach 2009, we mark the beginning of the eighth year in which the United States has not been successfully attacked by terrorist; this is due in large part to the counterterrorist strategies of the U.S. government, including DHS.  In 2009, we must continue to resist complacency, pushback from special interest groups, and having a false sense of security because we have not been attacked since Sept. 11.

Goal 1: Protect our Nation from Dangerous People

Increased Border Law Enforcement Officers and Fencing: CBP increased the size of its work force last year from 46,473 to 51,533 by adding officers, agents and agriculture specialists. CBP has doubled the size of the Border Patrol from approximately 9,000 in 2001 to more than 18,000 as of Nov. 21, 2008. CBP has constructed more than 520 miles of vehicle and pedestrian fencing, including approximately 93 miles in Fiscal Year 2008 (FY 08), building toward a total of roughly 670 miles of fencing along the nation’s southern border.  This year, technology upgrades under the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) were completed at land border crossings marking the start for new Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology deployments at 354 northern and southern border ports that account for 95 percent of all cross-border travel into the United States. In 2008, CBP apprehended 1,020,438 individuals, including 200 individuals with serious criminal records such as murder, rape and child molestation.

Strengthened Visa Waiver Program (VWP): This year, DHS welcomed seven new countries into the Visa Waiver Program.  Eligible citizens of the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, the Republic of Korea, Latvia, Lithuania and Slovakia can now travel to the United States for tourism or business stays of up to 90 days without obtaining a visa.  All 34 VWP countries have or will conclude arrangements with the United States to provide certain information on air passengers before passengers arrive on U.S. soil, serious crimes, known or suspected terrorists, asylum and migration matters, and timely reporting of lost and stolen passport data, as well as cooperation on airport and aviation security. These arrangements will enhance our ability to secure our nation and augment the department’s counterterrorism efforts, as well as help prevent terrorist and criminal activities in our VWP partner nations.  Effective January 12, 2009, in order to travel to the United States under the VWP, every VWP citizen or national will be required to apply for travel authorization via the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA).

Connecting the Dots:  DHS renegotiated and concluded a revised Passenger Name Record (PNR) agreement with the European Union; the agreement requires airlines to provide DHS with PNR data for all flights carrying passengers into and out of the United States.  In addition,  DHS began accepting voluntary applications on August 1, 2008 for ESTA, a new online system that is part of VWP reforms and is required by the Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007.  In October, DHS unveiled an enhanced ESTA Web site that includes instructions for obtaining authorization in 13 additional languages in addition to English. ESTA establishes a point from which paper-based procedures may be automated and leverages 21st century electronic means to obtain basic information about who is traveling to the United States.

Better Biometrics: CBP officers currently collect biometrics from foreign visitors applying for admission into the United States at 183 air/sea ports and 168 land border ports of entry. Since Dec. 2007, 123 air, sea, and land ports of entry currently have the ability to collect ten fingerprints from arriving foreign visitors, enabling DHS to check visitors’ full set of fingerprints against the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Criminal Master File and latent fingerprints collected from terrorist training camps, safe houses and battlefields around the world.  Since 2004, DHS has been able to stop more than 4,000 criminals and immigration violators at ports based on biometrics alone. Additionally, US-VISIT and the USCG have partnered to use mobile biometric collection to identify migrants and smugglers attempting to illegally enter the United States through waters near Puerto Rico and the Florida Straits. The program has resulted in a total of 3,143 people interdicted at sea, 269 brought ashore for prosecution – with 152 convicted so far – and a 60 percent reduction in the flow of illegal migration.

Secure Documentation Standards: Compliance with Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) requirements for air travel currently exceeds 99 percent.  DHS will implement similar secure document requirements for land and sea travel in June 2009. New procedures at land and sea ports of entry implemented in January 2008 ended acceptance of oral declarations alone and significantly reduced the types of acceptable documents to further secure our borders. This year, WHTI reader equipment using RFID technology is being installed at land ports of entry covering 95 percent of traffic volume and is revolutionizing border processing. DHS improved the standards of its identification cards in 2008 and is offering more secure Trusted Traveler Program and Lawful Permanent Resident Cards that include technology to help speed border crossings.  Arizona, Michigan, New York, Vermont and Washington are also working with the department to produce Enhanced Drivers Licenses that allow for cross border travel at land and sea ports of entry.  DHS also issued the REAL ID final rule in 2008, establishing minimum standards that enhance the integrity and reliability of state-issued drivers’ licenses and identification cards.  All of these efforts enhance our illegal immigration enforcement operations and also bolster our counterterrorism strategies. 

Enhanced Aviation Security: To date, more than 2,000 Behavior Detection Officers employed at the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) are working at more than 150 of the nation’s largest airports to identify potentially high-risk passengers in airports. In 2008, TSA started requiring that holders of airport-issued identification credentials be perpetually vetted against the Terrorist Screening Database and has expanded its Travel Document Checking program at passenger security checkpoints. During 2008, TSA worked tirelessly to begin implementing the Secure Flight program by early 2009, under which it will assume watch list checks from airlines to help create a more consistent passenger screening process and reduce the number of misidentifications. Through the Advance Information on Private Aircraft Arriving and Departing the United States rule, DHS has strengthened aviation security by private aircraft to provide more detailed information about the aircraft, crew and passengers onboard to CBP prior to their arrival into and departure from the United States. DHS also entered into an agreement to establish new aviation preclearance operations with Ireland, broadening CBP operations in Shannon and Dublin to include full preclearance of commercial and private air passenger flights destined for the United States.  In addition, through the same agreement, all incoming international private aircraft out of Shannon and Dublin will be scanned for the presence of radiological and nuclear material.  Already, all incoming international general aviation flights are scanned domestically for the presence of radiological and nuclear material.  In October, TSA met a major milestone in securing air cargo on passenger carrying aircraft. All cargo on narrow-body aircraft is now 100 percent screened. Narrow body aircraft represent more than 90 percent of all flights within the United States.

Counter-Intelligence (CI) Capabilities – In 2008, the Office of Intelligence and Analysis (I&A) established a program office to provide counterintelligence strategy, policy and strategic analysis for the department and protect DHS personnel, information, operations, programs and technologies from adversaries who intend to harm DHS and national interests.  I&A produced the first-ever DHS Counter-intelligence Strategic Plan with departmental goals to increase CI awareness throughout the department, conduct CI activities to defeat foreign intelligence collection on DHS activities, provide analytical capabilities, support cybersecurity, and provide oversight of DHS CI operations and activities.  I&A increased counter-intelligence awareness training available to headquarters and components by five percent and extended the training to non-HQ components.  I&A reduced vulnerabilities to DHS facilities by bolstering personnel assigned to the Technical Surveillance Countermeasures Program, increasing capacity for critical security sweeps.  I&A also expanded deployment of training to state and local government as well as private-sector personnel handling classified and sensitive information received from the department.

New Checkpoint Experience: TSA revamped its airport screening operations, introducing Checkpoint Evolution at Baltimore Washington International Airport in April 2008, which emphasizes the human element of security, and made significant technology and process improvements. Nearly 30 percent of the TSA work force has completed a new two-day training module called “ENGAGE!” aimed at fostering a calm environment at the checkpoint to improve security.  TSA has deployed whole body imaging technology at 18 airports and 500 advanced technology x-ray machines at 20 airports to more effectively screen carry-on luggage.  TSA expanded its family lane concept in November 2008 to every airport in America to enable families, individuals unfamiliar with air travel procedures and travelers with special needs to go through security at their own pace.  This is all in response to listening to the concerns of our sector stakeholders and the public, while maintaining the appropriate level of security. 

Record-Breaking Law Enforcement: An October 2008 study from the Pew Hispanic Center reported that illegal border crossings into the United States have decreased, and suggested that the federal government’s more vigorous and aggressive enforcement strategy may be a critical factor in that decrease. Since January 2008, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) removed or returned more than 323,000 illegal aliens from the United States, roughly a 20 percent increase over the previous year. ICE dramatically increased penalties against employers whose hiring processes violate the law, securing fines and judgments totaling in the millions, as well as jail time for the most egregious offenders. 

Throughout the year agents made more than 1,100 criminal arrests and more than 5,180 administrative arrests, a 27 percent increase over the previous year’s total arrests in worksite enforcement actions. From Jan. 1, 2008 to Nov. 21, 2008, ICE’s Fugitive Operations Teams conducted more than 33,200 arrests; including 6,190 criminal fugitives, 18,787 non-criminal fugitives, 2,578 criminal non-fugitives, and 5,722 non-criminal non-fugitives. Under ICE 287g and Criminal Alien Programs, officers identified more than 260,000 criminal aliens last fiscal year in federal, state and local prisons and jails, more than triple the number of incarcerated aliens identified just two years ago. Under DHS, the U.S. Secret Service has made more than 29,000 criminal arrests for counterfeiting, cyber and other financial crimes, 98 percent of which resulted in convictions, and seized more than $295 million in counterfeit currency. Also, the USCG interdicted more than 5,000 migrants attempting to illegally enter the United States.  All these efforts help secure our communities from those who violate our laws, dangerous criminals, and potential terrorist attacks. 

Protecting U.S. and World Leaders: The Secret Service continues to meet unprecedented challenges of protecting United States and world leaders while implementing a comprehensive plan for securing the 2009 presidential inauguration and providing protection for not only current U.S. leaders but also the president-elect and his family. The 2008 presidential campaign marked the first time in more than 50 years where no incumbent president or vice president was running for office, and also the earliest the Secret Service assumed protection for any presidential candidate.  During the 2008 campaign, the Secret Service achieved a 100 percent success rate in safe arrivals and departures for all protectees during more than 2,000 protective visits that spanned more than 1,600 protective days, including visits for nine candidates and spouses. Under DHS, the Secret Service has led the security planning and implementation for more than 10 designated national special security events, including the 2008 Democratic and Republican National Conventions.

Building Security and Stability Abroad to Protect the Nation:  The USCG Cutter Dallas, and her crew of 170 men and women, left home in May 2008 for a historic deployment to Africa, the Mediterranean and the Black Sea.  The Dallas crew conducted theater security engagements with six African and five European nations, and made history as the first U.S. warship to deploy with a foreign country's law enforcement detachment aboard, resulting in six boardings in the territorial waters of Cape Verde.  The Dallas crew provided more than 350 hours of maritime training to more than 200 foreign personnel, and conducted almost 600 hours of community service.  While in the Black Sea, Dallas worked with the U.S. Navy 6th Fleet and Destroyer Squadron 60 to deliver more than 76,000 pounds of humanitarian assistance supplies to the war-torn country of Georgia.  Dallas and her crew safely returned to Charleston after a six month deployment tour.  In addition to visits to Africa, USCG law enforcement detachments aboard U.S. Naval vessels operated with Yemen Naval Forces to seize narcotics and respond to growing threats off the Horn of Africa.  The USCG also deployed Port Security Units (PSU) back to the Persian Gulf, where, alongside USCG law enforcement detachments, the PSU worked to support U.S. Department of Defense missions and conduct training with Kuwaiti, United Arab Emeriti and Iraqi Security Forces.

Tools for Employers: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) E-Verify program allows employers to use an automated system to verify name, date of birth and Social Security Number, along with immigration information for non-citizens, against federal databases to confirm the employment eligibility of both citizen and non-citizen new hires.  In 2008, more than 45,000 new employers out of a total of more than 96,000 registered for E-Verify.  This figure is nearly double the number from the combined total of previous years.  During 2008, employers have been able to automatically verify more than 6.6 million workers’ eligibility. This free and easy to use system helps protect a legal work force and an equal, competitive environment for business owners who want to follow the law.

Science and Technology at the Border:  DHS’ Science and Technology (DHS/S&T) Directorate developed an immigration model that supports immigration reform decision making and also performed the model verification and validation requirements.  This model will help border enforcement agencies make informed decisions in immigration and border security policy and operations using systems engineering tools and models.  DHS/S&T is also evaluating an Ultra Wideband detection system at Nogales, Ariz. for thru-the-wall sensing of humans.  DHS/S&T has two sensors installed in a major Nogales storm drain, and is working with CBP to optimize the performance of the system for false alarm reduction. 

Credentialing Port Workers: In 2008, more than 715,000 port workers have enrolled in the Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) biometric credential program, and thousands more are processed each week in an average nine-minute enrollment time. More than 1.2 million longshoremen, truck drivers, port employees and others requiring unescorted access to secure areas of ports will be required to obtain a TWIC for port access on a phased-in basis by April 15, 2009.  This system is critical to lessen the potential for criminal and terrorist exploitation of our nation’s ports.

Ports, Waterways, and Coastal Security:  Under Operation Neptune Shield, the USCG escorts vessels carrying especially hazardous cargo, protecting them – and nearby population centers and infrastructure – from an attack. Through 2008, the USCG escorted more than 1,400 vessels and barges carrying such hazardous cargo.  In FY 08, the USCG conducted more than 80,000 critical infrastructure and key resources patrols; escorted 4,300 high capacity passenger vessels; 1300 Navy high value units; and boarded over 1,500 high interest vessels.  USCG security forces also provided waterside security and escorts for 192 military outloads throughout the system of 20 pre-designated commercial and military strategic U.S. seaports.  Additionally, the USCG received and commissioned Bertholf, the first Legend-class National Security Cutter; launched and christened the second, the Waesche; and began fabrication on the third, the Stratton. To coordinate its coastal operations and respond to lives in peril at sea, the service expanded its Rescue 21 command and communications system to 23,149 nautical miles of U.S. coastline.

Reducing Risk from Small Vessels: On April 28, 2008 the Secretary released the DHS Small Vessel Security Strategy (SVSS), the intent of which is to reduce potential security and safety risks from small vessels through the adoption and implementation of a coherent system of security plans and operations that strike the proper balance between fundamental freedoms, adequate security, and continued economic stability.  Additionally, the strategy solicited the help of the small vessel community and the public in reducing risks from terrorism and piracy in the maritime domain.  In November, an interagency working group completed a draft Implementation Plan for the SVSS that so far included the USCG hosting four regional small vessel security summits covering the Great Lakes, New England, the southeastern United States and the Pacific Coast.  The USCG’s 12 Maritime Safety and Security Teams, part of a 3,000-person Deployable Operations Group, are stationed at strategic ports nationwide and are uniquely trained to counter the small vessel threat. The USCG and Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO) are also collaborating with local authorities on a pilot program in Puget Sound and San Diego waterways on small vessel radiation detection.

DHS by the Numbers 2008 – Dangerous People

  • USCIS completed more than 1.1 million naturalization applications, an increase of more than 422,000 from a year earlier. FBI background checks for naturalization applicants were reduced to less than 37,000 from almost 350,000 in late FY 07.
  • USCIS issued nearly 3.5 million secure identity documents to foreigners: 1.8 million Permanent Resident Cards, 340,000 U.S. State Department Laser Visas and 1.4 million Employment Authorization Documents (EADs). 
  • USCIS interviewed more than 100,000 refugee applicants from 59 nations resulting in the admission of more than 60,000 refugees into the United States – a 25 percent increase compared to last year. USCIS completed 47,161 asylum applications, (111 percent of the division’s annual target), reducing the total end of the year pending applications to a historically unprecedented level.
  • E-Verify hosts more than 96,000 participating employers seeking to verify that their new hires are authorized to work.  Approximately 6.6 million queries were run this year.  
  • US VISIT deployed 10-print scanner technology to almost 80 percent of lanes at airports, seaports and secondary inspection areas of land ports of entry.
  • The DHS Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) trained more than 61,000 law enforcement officers and agents this year.  FLETC also oversees two international law enforcement academies with 61 countries participating in the program.
  • ICE apprehended more than 11,460 transnational gang members representing more than 928 different gangs since 2005 and through Operation Predator, arrested more than 11,780 child sex predators, sex tourists, and child pornographers since 2003.
  • ICE initiated 432 Human Trafficking investigations and logged 189 criminal and 483 administrative arrests as a result of these investigations.
  • CBP apprehended more than 1,020,438 million people, including 200 people with serious criminal records.
  • ICE launched more than 3,500 money laundering investigations, arresting 1,182 subjects and seizing more than $260 million.
  • USSS executed 535 asset seizures totaling more than $105.6 million – a 142 percent increase from 2007.
  • The Secret Service screened 2.84 million people at campaign-related events.
  • In FY 08, the USCG conducted more than 28,000 small vessel security boardings.

Goal 2: Protect our Nation from Dangerous Goods

Addressing Biological Threats: In 2008, the Office of Health Affairs (OHA) has overseen the development and launch of the National Biosurveillance Integration Center (NBIC), which integrates biosurveillance data and information on biological incidents. To date, NBIC has played an integral role in a number of recent biological events, including the recent salmonella saintpaul outbreak, foot-and-mouth disease, the adulteration of Chinese milk products with melamine, cases of extremely drug-resistant tuberculosis, and pet food and E. coli incidents. NBIC continues to enhance partnerships and coordination with federal agencies, state and local governments and the private sector through increased communications, the development of daily situational reports and a bio-surveillance common operating picture in order to prevent the accidental or purposeful use of biological agents against the citizens of the United States.

Comprehensive Radiation Detection: DNDO, in coordination with CBP and the USCG, deployed more than 1,000 radiation detection devices to the nation’s land and sea ports of entry by the end of 2008. One hundred percent of cargo containers crossing the southern border and 96 percent at the northern border are scanned for radiation, and more than 98 percent are scanned at our seaports. Three years ago, only 22 percent of incoming seaborne cargo containers were scanned for radiological and nuclear threats. This year, DNDO has conducted major test and evaluation campaigns aimed at improving preventive aviation and maritime radiation and nuclear detection technologies and assessing the capabilities of next-generation radiation portal monitors.  Additionally, DHS awarded $29.5 million to the Securing the Cities initiative in the New York City region to aid in building a layered architecture for coordinated and integrated detection and interdiction of illicit radiological materials in order to prevent the accidental or purposeful use of radiological materials against the citizens of the United States.  More than 16 operational workshops have been held in the region, including four maritime drills, and more than 2,500 law enforcement personnel have been trained.

Record-Breaking Narcotics Seizures and Agricultural Inspections:  So far this year, the USCG has removed more than 267,100 pounds of cocaine at sea, worth an estimated street value of more than $3.5 billion. Included in the removal total is cocaine seized from five semi-submersibles, which present a growing threat by drug trafficking organizations and a high level of risk to Coast Guard boarding teams.  Throughout 2008, CBP seized almost three million pounds of narcotics and made three million agricultural interceptions at the ports of entry to include the exclusion of six commercial maritime vessels from U.S. waters due to Asian Gypsy Moth infestations. In FY 08, ICE seized more than 60 tons of cocaine, nearly 2,500 pounds of heroin, more than 4,000 pounds of methamphetamine and more than one million pounds of marijuana.  Additionally, ICE drug investigations led to 8,396 arrests and 5,532 convictions of individuals associated with narcotic violations.

Stemming the Flow of Weapons, Cash and Counterfeit Goods:  In 2008, ICE launched 3,291 financial investigations into money laundering and other financial crimes, resulting in 1,596 related seizures of currency and monetary instruments in the amount of nearly $250 million dollars.  Throughout 2008, ICE seized 1,520 counterfeit items with a domestic value of $64,126,280.  ICE’s counter-proliferation investigations have achieved new successes in intercepting illegal exports of weapons and essential weapons components, military equipment and sensitive technology, significantly increasing results with 1,045 cases, 190 arrests and 95 convictions so far this year.  These efforts significantly contributed to preventing these sensitive items from reaching the hands of terrorists, hostile countries and violent criminal organizations.  Stemming the flow of resources to criminal and terrorist networks is a critical component to hinder the ability of these organizations to fund and conduct their criminal or terrorist activities in the United States or overseas.

BioWatch: Through aerosol collectors strategically deployed by the Office of Health Affairs in more than 30 jurisdictions across the nation, the BioWatch program provides critical early detection capability of dangerous biological pathogens to enhance the nation’s response to an accidental or purposeful use of biological pathogens. DHS/S&T is currently working on a next-generation BioWatch system that could reduce detection time from up to 34 hours down to four to six hours.

Cargo Security Technology:  DHS/S&T continues to develop next-generation technologies to ensure the integrity of cargo shipments, whether carried by marine, airborne or land conveyance, and enhances the end-to-end security of the supply chain – from the manufacturer of goods to final delivery – to ensure that dangerous individuals do not exploit this system to carry out their criminal or terrorist activities.  In 2008, DHS/S&T delivered prototypes of the Advanced Container Security Device, a small unit that monitors all six sides of a cargo container to report any intrusion via the Marine Asset Tag Tracking System.  It will also detect the presence of human cargo in the container. 

Maritime Security Technology:  In 2008 DHS/S&T continues to develop advanced detection, identification, apprehension and enforcement capabilities along the nation’s maritime borders, and technologies that support a framework for rapid, coordinated responses to maritime anomalies and threats.  DHS/S&T has developed a repeater-based communication prototype system for USCG Boarding Teams, which allows communication among boarding team members, no matter where they are on a vessel that is undergoing inspection.  DHS/S&T has also developed a prototype Visualization Tools capability for Sector Command Centers, which provides USCG watch officers with improved situational awareness by fusing information from numerous databases, enabling rapid responses to illegal activities and emergencies. 

Food, Agriculture and Veterinary Defense: The Office of Health Affairs leads the department’s efforts in securing our nation’s food supply, agriculture and animal health by coordinating and collaborating with federal entities in the food and agriculture sectors.  The Defense of Agriculture and Food Dashboard has been in operation throughout 2008 and is actively used by numerous federal agencies including Health and Human Services, the Environmental Protection Agency, the department of Agriculture, Defense, Energy, Justice, Interior, and the Homeland Security Council.  The dashboard provides a centralized and collaborative source of information in support of a collective operating threat and response plan.

Merida Initiative: The Office of Counternarcotics Enforcement coordinated in FY 08 the department’s support to the Merida Initiative, a Department of State program that provides $460 million in foreign assistance to Mexico and Central America in the following three broad areas: counternarcotics, counterterrorism and border security; public security and law enforcement; and institution building and rule of law. 

National Southwest Border Counternarcotics Strategy:  The Office of Counternarcotics Enforcement (CNE) is leading an interagency effort to complete a Congressionally mandated biennial update to the National Southwest Border Counternarcotics Strategy and Implementation Plan this year.  This document identifies major goals, objectives and resource requirements for closing gaps in U.S. and Mexican counternarcotics capabilities along the southwest border. Also in response to a Congressional request, CNE developed the department’s counternarcotics strategies for the northern and maritime borders of the United States, to include the drug maritime transit zone.  The next step will be to develop an implementation plan for each of those strategies.

Launching New Biodefense Facilities: In 2008, DHS/S&T reached important milestones in the construction of two new biodefense facilities.  First, a three-year site planning and environmental analysis process for the National Bio and Agro-defense facility (NBAF) was completed.  The NBAF will research and develop diagnostic capabilities to protect U.S. agriculture, food supply and public health from accidental or intentional introduction of foreign animal diseases and zoonotic diseases.  Second, construction was completed for the National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasure Center laboratory, which is designed to characterize existing biological threats, anticipate future threats, and provide an enduring national forensics capability to support attribution of biocrimes and terrorism.

Toxic Chemical Detection Systems: The Portable High-throughput Integrated Laboratory Identification System (PHILIS) was delivered to the Environmental Protection Agency National Decontamination Team this year.  PHILIS is a mobile chemical lab system that can be rapidly deployed to support high-throughput analysis of environmental samples that may contain toxic industrial chemicals and chemical warfare agents in response to a chemical accident or terrorist attack.

Analyzing Biological, Chemical and Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) Threats: DHS/S&T completed a number of important assessments this year to stay ahead of the threat posed by dangerous chemical, biological and nuclear threats.  The 2008 Bioterrorism Risk Assessment provides expansive analysis on the risk of a biological attack from a foreign or domestic adversary.  Its findings help prioritize these risks, identify vulnerabilities, highlight scientific knowledge gaps and analyze economic impacts of an attack.  The Bio Defense Net Assessments required by the president’s Biodefense for the 21st Century directive (HSPD-10) were also completed this year to address fundamental questions about the nation’s overall biodefense strategy. The first ever Chemical Terrorism Risk Assessment was carried out this year to address chemical hazards, be they from toxic chemicals, warfare agents, traditional agents, pesticides or pharmaceuticals.  This study informs authorities: on developing, testing and acquiring the most effective medical countermeasures; adopting new procedures to mitigate contamination; and identifying chemicals on hazard lists developed to improve security in the chemical supply chain.  In conjunction with the DNDO, DHS/S&T also produced the first quantitative, integrated and cross-threat evaluation of the risk posed by WMDs to support governmental development, procurement and deployment of medical countermeasures against these weapons.

DHS by the Numbers 2008 – Dangerous Goods

  • ICE initiated 1,045 criminal investigations, made 190 arrests and secured 95 convictions for export-related criminal violations. CBP also initiated more than 19,000 trade enforcement seizures valued at more than $359 million.
  • ICE opened 1,520 investigations into counterfeit tainted foreign goods and seized more than $64.1 million in commodities, while CBP seized 15,000 in intellectual property rights-related cases with a domestic value of $272 million.
  • CBP has added 93 miles of fencing in FY 08 bringing the total number of miles of completed fence construction to more than 520.  The goal is to complete a total of roughly 670 miles of fencing along the nation’s southern border.
  • CBP expanded its Container Security Initiative to 58 ports, covering 86 percent of U.S.-bound maritime containers.
  • USCG commissioned the Bertholf, the first Legend-class National Security Cutter; launched the second, the Weasche; and began fabrication on a third cutter, the Statton.  In FY 08, USCG conducted more than 28,000 small vessel security boardings.

Goal 3: Protect Critical Infrastructure

Sector Partnership Framework: In September 2008, an 18th sector – critical manufacturing – was recognized as part of the National Infrastructure Protection Plan (NIPP) and DHS and the sector have begun organizing the appropriate structures, including drafting a Critical Infrastructure and Key Resources (CIKR) Sector Specific Plan.  The NIPP serves as the national plan to unify and enhance CIKR protection efforts through an unprecedented partnership involving the private sector, as well as federal, state, local and tribal governments. It sets forth a comprehensive risk management framework and clearly defined roles and responsibilities for all security partners. Every day, DHS’ Office of Infrastructure Protection manages partnerships with and provides data to more than eight million organizations and individuals responsible for CIKR security in a coordinated national effort to reduce risk posed by acts of terrorism.  The office also enables national preparedness, timely response, and rapid recovery in the event of an attack, natural disaster, or other emergency.

Setting Chemical Security Standards: In 2008, the National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD) established national standards for chemical facility security in a comprehensive set of regulations – the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards – to protect high-risk chemical facilities from attack and prevent theft of chemicals that could be used as weapons.

Protecting Our Federal Networks:In January 2008, the President approved a new directive on cybersecurity – the Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative (CNCI) – that establishes the policy, strategy and guidelines to secure federal systems. The directive provides a comprehensive approach that anticipates future cyber threats and technologies, and requires the federal government to integrate many of its technical and organizational capabilities to better address sophisticated threats and vulnerabilities.  Under CNCI, DHS leverages the National Cyber Security Division (NCSD) and the U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT), a 24-hour watch, warning, and response operations center.  CNCI has achieved federal government-wide engagement, progress and momentum.

Implementing CNCI: Working with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), NCSD has greatly reduced the number of Internet access points throughout the federal government and will be deploying EINSTEIN 2 systems to those locations. EINSTEIN and EINSTEIN 2 are intrusion detection devices deployed by US-CERT to collect relevant data that enable analysts to detect potentially malicious cyber activities on federal networks.  The EINSTEIN 2 system achieved Initial Operational Capability on December 5, 2008.  EINSTEIN 2 was developed to collect, analyze and share computer security information across the federal government.  NCSD has begun deployment of EINSTEIN 2, which will provide comprehensive, real-time intrusion detection capabilities and a single point of situational awareness across all executive branch agencies. This system and other DHS-developed cyber components are incorporated in the National Cybersecurity & Protection Program, which represents the integrated system architecture.

Increasing Cybersecurity: DHS is leading many cybersecurity efforts under the CNCI, including the establishment and operation of a National Cybersecurity Center (NCSC). NCSC is a collaborative operation established in 2008 comprised of government organizations, and will serve as a hub for federal interagency information sharing. The mission of NCSC is to foster collaboration between participating organizations and create cross-domain situational awareness on the composite state of U.S. cyber networks and systems. As part of its campaign to educate the public on the shared responsibility of protecting cyberspace, DHS sponsored the fifth annual National Cybersecurity Awareness Month in October 2008. DHS is currently developing a strategy for expanded cyber education to attract new federal cyber employees.  The department has also engaged private sector partners under the NIPP Partnership Framework to define the federal role for extending cybersecurity into critical infrastructure domains.  In addition, the Secret Service currently maintains 24 Electronic Crimes Task Forces to prevent, detect, mitigate and aggressively investigate cyber attacks on our nation’s financial and critical infrastructures. The Secret Service also uncovered the theft and sale of more than 40 million credit and debit card numbers from nine major U.S. retailers. The case, made public this year, is believed to be the largest ever.

Consolidation of Network Sites: Through the inception of the department and continuing through 2008, the department has consolidated more than 1,780 network sites into a single network that allows transparent monitoring of system performance and activity, prioritization of traffic, and a vastly improved security posture.

Greater Information Sharing: The Office of Intelligence and Analysis (I&A) leads DHS efforts to improve the sharing of information and intelligence with federal, state, local and tribal partners, and to change the departmental culture from “need to know” to “responsibility to provide.” In 2008, I&A has deployed more than 30 intelligence officers to fusion centers across the country.  As a result, this year, over 3,500 Homeland Intelligence Reports (HIRs) were produced – 250 of which were drawn from state and local fusion centers’ information – and provided to the rest of the department, the Intelligence Community (IC) and other partners.  Several of these HIRs have been used by the IC and Department of Defense in Presidential Daily Briefs, intelligence bulletins, and command briefings.  This new information would not have been available without the partnership between state and local entities and the IC that is facilitated by DHS officers at fusion centers across the country and at I&A.  DHS is aggressively deploying the Homeland Secure Data Network (HSDN), now live at 25 fusion centers, to extend Secret-level communications capability.  In addition, HSDN is equipped with secure video teleconferencing (SVTC) capability that enables analysts across the nation to engage in a classified forum.  SVTC capability is currently available in 23 centers and all future HSDN deployments will be equipped with this capability.   

I&A led the development of the DHS Information Sharing Strategy, a key vision document for the department, which aids in the prioritization and participation of DHS operational components in the development and implementation of information sharing policy and technology.  Additionally, I&A led a departmental wide effort to build, cultivate and foster an information sharing governance structure.  The department brought together the Information Sharing Governance Board (ISGB), the Information Sharing Coordinating Council (ISCC), and Shared Mission Communities (SMCs) to effect this enterprise-wide activity, thus ensuring information sharing issues are addressed and moved through the department effectively. These efforts, along with the Shared Mission Community (SMC) Framework, enable the department to identify and address common challenges across multiple components.

Counter-Improvised Explosive Device (IED) Efforts: In addition to TSA explosives detection technology at airports and Transportation Security Officer training, science and technology development, and the coordination efforts of the Office for Bombing Prevention, the department has also distributed billions of dollars in grants to states and communities for IED prevention and protection over the course of 2008.  In response to a national directive, DHS/S&T has established a new Program Executive Office specifically to find methods to reduce the nation’s vulnerability to explosives and protect infrastructure.

DHS by the Numbers 2008 – Infrastructure

  • The secret-level Homeland Secure Data Network is now running live at 25 state and local fusion centers.
  • Twenty-three fusion centers are set up with secure video teleconferencing capabilities with the goal to have all fusion centers set up with secret video teleconferencing systems.
  • Eighteen federal departments and agencies, nine states, over 40 private sector companies, and four international partners participated in this year’s Cyber Storm II, a cyber security exercise.
  • ICE’s Federal Protective Service made 1,883 arrests, investigated 1,503 larcenies, processed 253 weapons violations, and prevented the introduction of 648,375 prohibited items into federal facilities and their one million occupants and visitors in the past year.  FPS also screened 231.5 million people entering federal facilities last year.

Goal 4: Strengthen our Nation’s Preparedness and Emergency Response Capabilities

Mature, Transformed FEMA: Since March 2003, FEMA has responded to 454 major natural disaster and emergency declarations.  FEMA has provided direct material and financial assistance to more than four million individuals across the nation. Throughout 2008, agency leadership across DHS operating components has planned, trained, and exercised together to build capabilities for crossing jurisdictional lines in disaster response.  This cross-component integration has enabled FEMA to respond to emergencies faster, smarter, and with otherwise unavailable resources at its disposal.  Integrated with DHS operating components, FEMA now stands ready to respond not only to weather, but to any host of calamities – from a dirty bomb to an improvised explosive device to a biological weapon.  Both the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Homeland Security Committee this year vocalized their support of FEMA’s position within the department.

Response to Unprecedented 2008 Hurricane Season: DHS personnel have worked with state and local officials to quickly distribute aid, and successfully executed the evacuation of more than two million Gulf Coast residents in anticipation of Hurricanes Gustav and Ike. Additionally, USCG personnel from across the country responded to an unprecedented string of disasters in the Midwest and Gulf Coast from June to October. The crews of regional units, Disaster Area Response Teams (DARTs) and river cutters rescued residents trapped by floodwater, protected critical infrastructure and quickly rebuilt damaged aids to navigation after floods hit Midwestern states.  USCG personnel rescued hundreds along the Gulf Coast trapped by hurricane storm surges, and opened the Houston Ship Channel to allow the flow of regional commerce. Coast Guard Maritime Safety and Security Teams nationwide provided critical water and landside security for the impacted regions, and elements of the National Strike Force deployed personnel to assist the Unified Command (federal, state, and local) with pollution response to hazardous material releases and oil discharges, salvage response, and logistics.  FEMA and other federal agencies distributed nearly $700 million to southeast Texas residents and businesses to aid in recovery, and relief efforts continue.

Helping Safeguard New Orleans:  The Office of the Federal Coordinator for Recovery and Rebuilding of the Gulf Coast Region (GCR) is helping carry out the president’s commitment to provide 100-year hurricane protection for greater New Orleans.  GCR helped negotiate an agreement between the state of Louisiana and the federal government to facilitate the repayment of the state’s share of construction costs over a 30-year period.  GCR has also helped negotiate the construction contracts between the state and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in support of the Corps’ goal of completing construction before hurricane season in 2011.  This work ensures that New Orleans gets the protection it needs to reassure residents and restore the confidence necessary for businesses to invest in the region’s economy.

Federal Grant Programs: Through FEMA, DHS has provided extensive support to state and local governments to help them prepare for and mitigate the impact of natural and man-made disasters. With more than $27 billion provided since FY 03 to state and local partners and by involving non-profit and private sector elements, the department has provided grants to improve our nation’s preparedness for any disaster. DHS announced grant guidance for more than $3 billion in preparedness grant programs for FY 09.

National Housing Strategy:  FEMA developed a comprehensive strategy for the overarching vision, goals, and principles for a national disaster housing effort. It complements the 2008 Disaster Housing Plan, which describes the specific actions that FEMA has taken this year to support state and local officials in meeting the housing needs for disaster victims. The strategy brings together all levels of government, nongovernmental organizations and the private sector to meet the urgent housing needs of disaster victims and enables individuals, households and communities to rebuild their lives following a disaster.

Disaster Readiness and Support Activities:  FEMA’s expanded disaster operations and logistics management capabilities have greatly improved our nation’s ability to coordinate disaster response, and include the creation of 214 pre-scripted mission assignments across 27 federal agencies that strengthen and streamline response capabilities, and the coordination of numerous nationwide exercises that include leaders at all levels of federal, state and local government.  To better connect with communities before disaster strikes, FEMA has established a private sector office responsible for building a bridge from the federal government to the private sector.  DHS’s Ready campaign conducted proactive outreach this year to more than 500 media outlets in the areas affected by destructive tornadoes, Midwest flooding, the California fires, and hurricanes.  Ready also developed videos with up-to-the-minute preparedness advice, and utilized social media tools such as Twitter to disseminate preparedness information.

Supporting Local Security Plans: NPPD’s Office of Infrastructure Protection deploys Protective Security Advisors (PSAs) to support state and local Emergency Operations Centers. The PSAs provide infrastructure security expertise and support to local authorities responsible for domestic incident management. Their support was instrumental in critical incidents this year including the areas affected by destructive tornadoes, Midwest flooding, the Florida and California fires, and Gulf Coast hurricanes.

Building Stronger Response Partnerships: DHS engaged state and local leadership, first responders and stakeholders on developing the National Response Framework (NRF), which outlines how our country prepares for and responds to all-hazard disasters across all levels of government and community sectors.  DHS released the NRF in January 2008.

Bolstering Emergency Communications: The National Communication System’s (NCS) National Coordinating Center for Communications (NCC) is a 24/7 operation and serves as the central coordination point between the federal, state and local governments and the telecommunications industry during emergencies.  The NCS runs the Telecommunications Service Priority (TSP) System to coordinate priority provisioning and restoration to telecommunications services during both the preparation and recovery phases of an emergency. In addition, the NCS operates and maintains the Shared Resources High Frequency Radio Network during an emergency event. The NCS also runs the Government Emergency Telecommunications Service (GETS) and the Wireless Priority Service programs that provide federal, state and local leadership, first responders and leaders of critical infrastructure with priority call service in the event of network congestion on hard line and wireless networks. On an average day in 2008, 469 priority calls are made through the GETS system.

Realizing Interoperable Communications: DHS, along with the Department of Commerce, has provided nearly $1 billion in Public Safety Interoperable Communications grants to help state and local first responders improve public safety communications and coordination during a natural or man-made disaster. In 2008, the DHS/S&T published results of the National Interoperability Baseline Survey – a nationwide survey of first responders and law enforcement that assesses progress in achieving interoperable communications. The Office of Emergency Communications (OEC) serves as the departmental focal point for emergency communications. OEC completed the first-ever National Emergency Communications Plan (NECP) this year to address gaps and determine solutions so that emergency response personnel at all levels of government and across all disciplines can communicate as needed, on demand, and as authorized. Additionally, DHS provided $50 million through the Interoperable Emergency Communications Grant Program to states and territories to improve governance, standard operating procedures, and training and exercises. The grants are to be used to support the implementation of the NECP and the 56 DHS-approved statewide Communication Interoperability Plans.

Promoting Emergency Preparedness: The Ready campaign highlights public emergency preparedness through National Preparedness Month (NPM), a nationwide effort held each September to encourage Americans to take simple steps to prepare for emergencies in their homes, businesses and communities.  In 2008, the Ready Campaign was joined by more than 3,200 NPM coalition members to educate individuals, families and communities on the importance of emergency preparedness. The 2008 coalition of national, regional, state, and local organizations was the largest in the five year history of NPM, and represented a 4,000 percent increase in participation to date.

DHS by the Numbers 2008 – Preparedness and Emergency Response

  • DHS local emergency preparedness grants and training for this year are valued at $6 billion.  The department has provided more than $27 billion in state and local homeland security grants since 2003.
  • FEMA assisted in the safe evacuation of more than two million individuals before hurricanes Ike and Gustav reached the Gulf Coast region. A Gulf Coast recovery aid fund is valued at $700 million and registrations for disaster assistance reached 1,532,463 applications.
  • FEMA processed 120 disaster declarations, 76 Fire Management Assistance grants and more than $933 million in disaster aid for personal losses not covered by insurance.
  • FEMA has doubled in size since joining the department, from 1,700 employees prior to Hurricane Katrina to more than 3,500 today.
  • DHS is now capable of now deploying 12 sets of chemical ground-based detectors to any location or major national event.
  • DHS provided early detection of biological hazards capabilities to more than 30 cities and special events through BioWatch.

Goal 5: Strengthen and Unify DHS Operations and Management

Coordinating Transition Efforts: DHS is aware of the heightened threat during periods of transition, and has worked tirelessly during 2008 to implement a careful and comprehensive succession plan. The department prepared extensive briefing and confirmation materials for the incoming administration. Led by a director for the DHS transition, our cadre consists of senior and deputy transition officers who are working closely with our core transition team to evaluate internal processes, develop briefing materials to ensure operational effectiveness during the anticipated surge of incoming and exiting employees, and implement a training exercise plan.

Improved Workforce Accommodations: The Office of the Chief Administrative Officer established initial DHS headquarters facilities, accommodated substantial growth, and set in motion a master building plan for consolidation of all headquarters functions. Planning includes the redevelopment of St. Elizabeths West Campus and reducing the number of locations within the National Capital Region from 40 to eight.  Throughout 2008, the department has worked closely with the General Services Administration, the District of Columbia, the local community and other stakeholders with an interest in St. Elizabeths to establish a Consolidated DHS Headquarters that meets our minimum need of 4.5 million square feet; at the same time preserving this important national historic landmark. 

Civil Rights and Civil Liberties: The Privacy Office and the Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL) have provided proactive advice and impact assessments on the department’s work in cybersecurity, the use of satellite technology, and airport screening protocols.  CRCL also continues to build partnerships between the government and American Arab, Muslim, Sikh, and South Asian communities.  This engagement resulted in a number of important developments in 2008, such as the National Security Internship Program, which brings Arabic speaking students into internships at DHS and FBI intelligence offices.

Enhanced Privacy:  The Privacy Office ensured privacy is incorporated throughout the department by guidance and compliance efforts on such initiatives as the state and local fusion centers, cybersecurity, traveler screening, REAL ID, and the use of satellite technology. The Privacy Office issued guidance on System of Records Notices (SORNs) and Safeguarding Sensitive Personally Identifiable Information.  Additionally, over the course of this year, the Privacy Office improved the number of required Privacy Impact Assessments from 26 percent to 54 percent and SORNs from 66 percent to 92 percent.  The Privacy Office conducted public workshops on Close Circuit TV and Data Mining to foster education and awareness of these key privacy issues, as well as conducted international outreach efforts, earning new respect for DHS privacy practices from many of our overseas partners. 

Information Technology (IT): Over the course of 2008, the department has made significant strides to acquire and implement systems and other technologies to streamline operations at DHS Headquarters and across its components, ensure effective information security controls, and address IT risks and vulnerabilities. The DHS Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO), in collaboration with the DHS CIO Council, has worked to align the organization by reducing the number of internet access points, consolidating data centers, and establishing a DHS Security Operations Center. The CIO community has improved the security posture of DHS through the use of technology to identify, report and remediate known and new cyber threats and through compliance with the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA). In 2008, DHS OCIO established the Trusted Internet Connection (TIC) to reduce the number of access points from 100 to two.  This is a major step in the DHS-wide area network consolidation called OneNet; six of 10 major components have been moved to the TIC. DHS OCIO established two data centers that are secure and geographically diverse. This will enable effective disaster recovery. The data centers are engineered for redundancy and interoperability and will be used to consolidate the departments’ 16 component-level data centers.  The DHS OCIO is leading an effort to integrate IT governance across the enterprise to improve transparency and accountability.  The IT Acquisition Review Process has been used to align more than $3 billion in IT expenditures to enterprise architecture, security and infrastructure targets in the past 18 months. The department has improved its security posture – Inventory of all DHS systems is nearly 100 percent complete and 100 percent of systems have certification and accreditation.  Additionally, DHS established a Security Operations Center with the ability to monitor network activity 24/7, thereby reducing the department’s vulnerability to cybersecurity threats. Lastly, the DHS OCIO implemented the National Information Exchange Model and Service Oriented Architecture-based Data Services model to optimize data delivery to stakeholders.

Bolstered Financial Management: The FY 08 audit demonstrates the department’s measurable progress and the efficacy of corrective actions and internal controls. DHS released its second edition of the Internal Control Playbook, which outlines the plan to resolve material weaknesses and build management assurances. The department reduced the number of material weaknesses from 10 in FY 06, to seven in FY 07, to six in FY 08 – a 40 percent reduction. Fifty percent of the budget is now managed by components with no material weaknesses compared to seven percent in FY 05.

Development of Strong Acquisition Principles:  The department overhauled its acquisition management policy and defined and stratified acquisition programs for enhanced support and oversight in 2008. By creating a single point of accountability in the Acquisition Decision Authority, DHS established a single, but flexible, life cycle framework for all acquisitions. The department issued new directives that created common acquisition standards and practices across all components and headquarters offices. Acquisition process improvements ensured the critical USCG Deepwater recapitalization program continued to move forward and resulted in the successful machinery trials of the first National Security Cutter, the USCGC Bertholf.  This year, DHS implemented a centrally funded and managed Acquisition Professional Career Program modeled after the highly successful Navy Intern Program.  This program features three, single year rotations through various components and provides the participants with all the experience and training they need to become journeyman level acquisition professionals. 

Enhanced Staffing and Training: DHS has exceeded targeted goals by hiring more than 2,300 protection officers, 11,200 transportation security officers, more than 700 immigration enforcement agents and more than 450 deportation officers. In 2008, the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) trained more than 61,000 students from all three branches of the federal government, as well as international, state, local, campus, and tribal law enforcement agencies. In response to the availability of technology and the adaptive learning styles of the new generation of students now entering the federal law enforcement workforce, FLETC has begun to infuse training with simulation, using a 40,000 square foot simulation laboratory to provide state-of-the-art training on driver, firearms, and marine simulation systems.  The department received full certification of its Senior Executive Service (SES) performance appraisal system from the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and is now permitted to use the highest aggregate pay limits. In addition, DHS recently launched new training and communications tools including DHScovery, a state-of-the-art online training system.

Veterans Outreach: In 2008, DHS conducted Veterans Preference training for 48 DHS Human Capital and Equal Employment Opportunity specialists as part of the Veterans Outreach Strategy, while continuing follow-up training on the Uniform Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act. 

Military Naturalization Initiative: USCIS Field Operations launched a joint effort with the Department of Defense to facilitate stateside expedited processing of military naturalization cases.  Local offices have established liaison units to reach out to local military installations in an effort to naturalize legal permanent resident members of the armed forces prior to deployment overseas, and to offer information of other immigration-related benefits available to these individuals and their family members.  As a result, approximately 8,500 military naturalizations took place during FY 08 compared to 3,808 in FY 07.  At DHS headquarters, USCIS leadership and the Department of Defense established a regular meeting schedule to resolve logistical issues such as fingerprinting and keeping track of service members as they move from base to base within the United States. 

Counternarcotics Coordinating Council (CCC):  In 2008, the Director of the Office of Counternarcotics Enforcement (CNE) chaired this newly-established senior-level forum, which will meet at least quarterly to coordinate counternarcotics policy within DHS.  It serves as an advisory body to the CNE director in the fulfillment of the director’s statutory duties.

Gulf Coast Rebuilding Increased Transparency and Accountability:  The GCR Office and FEMA are working together to make the rebuilding process in the Gulf Coast area after Hurricane Katrina more transparent to citizens and taxpayers.  This year a Web site was created – www.femarecovery.gov/gcromaps/ – to allow the public to view the funding for and status of rebuilding projects.  The Web site began with information on public schools, and has been expanded in the past year to police stations, fire stations, and other public safety-related buildings.  The Federal Coordinator of GCR has convened meetings of federal Inspectors General and federal, state and local law enforcement officials to improve and coordinate anti-fraud efforts and ensure strong oversight of the $140 billion devoted to recovery and rebuilding on the Gulf Coast. 

Gulf Coast Accelerating Rebuilding:  Beginning in 2008, the federal coordinator for GCR conducted “workout sessions” aimed at moving high-profile rebuilding projects forward.  These workout sessions bring all the responsible parties together in a room – federal, state and local officials, and other important stakeholders – to determine the progress of a project, agree on a plan to move forward, and assign responsibility for implementing that plan.  Workout sessions resolve disputes and break logjams that prevent work from moving ahead.  Workout session have taken place to speed up work on police and fire buildings, court buildings, sewer and water facilities, schools and other vital facilities. 

DHS by the Numbers 2008 – Operations and Management

  • The department initiated 158 complaint investigations on civil rights and civil liberties issues and closed 141 complaints upon review or investigation.
  • USCIS hired 2,058 employees, a 24 percent increase, which has directly contributed to the reduction of pending immigration benefits caseloads.
  • CBP increased the size of its workforce from 46,743 to 51,553, doubling the size of the Border Patrol from 9,613 in 2001 to 18,049 today.
  • The department experienced a record 46 percent reduction in total injury and lost time injury rates from FY 03 to the first quarter of FY 08.
  • The department achieved a 17.1 percent energy reduction as compared to 2003 by instituting energy management practices that resulted in the presentation of the Presidential Award for Leadership in Federal Energy Management.
  • The department conducted a robust outreach program for individuals with disabilities and members or representatives of other special needs populations, providing more than 30 presentations, symposiums, trainings, and meetings with participation surpassing 1,500 people annually.
  • DHS engaged American Arab, Muslim, Sikh, and South Asian communities by hosting roundtable meetings in six different cities at least every quarter with an average participation of 720 individuals. DHS has also conducted more than 50 presentations in the U.S. and abroad on civil rights and civil liberties issues.
  • This year, the DHS and FBI National Security Internship Program received more than 300 applicants and letters of interest to help the department with national security-related programs.

This page was last reviewed/modified on December 18, 2008.