• Two R&D Projects to Enhance Mobile Network Traffic Security

    The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) are jointly announcing the final two research and development (R&D) awards for the newly launched Secure and Resilient Mobile Network Infrastructure (SRMNI) project.

  • How Biden’s Cyber Strategy Echoes Trump’s

    On March 3, the Biden administration released its Interim National Security Strategic Guidance. Herb Lin writes that the interim guidance document is, by definition, a work in progress, and one would expect a final guidance document to be roughly consistent with the interim guidance but also to contain a more substantial elaboration on the interim guidance. With two exceptions — emphasizing diversity in the national talent base and strongly implies government investment in cybersecurity –”all other areas addressed in the Biden interim guidance, I believe the statements are substantially the same. If this is true, it suggests great continuity in cyber policy and strategy between administrations as different as Biden’s and Trump’s. Of course, the Trump National Cyber Strategy wasn’t all that different from Obama’s cyber strategy, either.”

  • Cyber Workforce Protecting U.S. National Security

    The Defense Department’s cyber workforce is tasked with defending virtually every system that the department relies on to protect national security.

  • Biden Orders Review to Bolster Supply Chain Resiliency

    President Joe Biden signed an executive order on Wednesday to formally order a 100-day government review of global supply chains and potential U.S. vulnerabilities in key industries including computer chips, electric vehicle batteries, pharmaceuticals and critical minerals used in electronics. On top of the 100-day review of these four key industries, Biden’s order also directs yearlong reviews for six sectors: defense, public health, information technology, transportation, energy and food production.

  • Four Ways the Biden Administration Can Revamp Disaster Management

    In the United States, 2020 had more billion-dollar disasters than any other year in recorded history, even without accounting for the COVID-19pandemic. This is part of a growing trend of more powerful disasters, such as forest fires or hurricanes, across more susceptible areas. This vulnerability is becoming understood to include a combination of the built environment, governance, and underlying social vulnerability. Among federal agencies in the United States, disasters are managed by as many as 90 different programs across 20 agencies. These programs are an uneven patchwork, leaving significant gaps in some areas, and overlapping responsibilities and authorities in others.

  • No Light at the End of the Tunnel: Chad Wolf’s Unlawful Homeland Security Policies Are Still Unlawful

    Since April 2019, DHS has operated without a Senate-confirmed secretary, even as it adopted a series of radical policies meant to block immigrants and asylum-seekers from lawful refuge in the United States. Brian Frazelle writes that President Trump’s use of “acting” officers to advance his agenda started to backfire once it became clear that neither Chad Wolf nor his predecessor, Kevin McAleenan, was entitled to be the department’s acting secretary. “Every court to rule on the matter has agreed that their tenures violated the Homeland Security Act, one of the laws that governs vacancies in the secretary’s office.”

  • Joe Biden to Pause Border Wall Construction, Issue Protections for DACA Recipients, Roll Back Other Trump Immigration Policies

    On the same afternoon he’s sworn in as the nation’s 46th president, Joe Biden will take multiple executive actions that will undo several of former President Trump’s immigration policies, his transition team announced Wednesday. The incoming president also plans to send a comprehensive immigration reform plan to Congress after he takes office.

  • The Role of Congressional Oversight in Department Reform

    The Scowcroft Center’s Forward Defense project and the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) hosted a panel of former Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officials to discuss why now is the time to streamline congressional oversight of DHS. The goal of the Forward Defense project is to craft sustainable, nonpartisan strategies that meet the complex security challenges of today and tomorrow, and the panel explored how fragmented congressional oversight impacts DHS and charted a path forward.

  • Modernizing the Department of Homeland Security

    DHS was born out of the horror of 9/11, but it is no longer clear that counterterrorism and immigration enforcement need to be the department’s dominant missions in the future. Carrie Cordero and Katrina Mulligan write that, instead, Congress and the new administration should evaluate how to keep Americans safe and secure in a world where pandemics, climate change and cybersecurity pose threats to the country’s way of life on a scale that was once the primary domain of terrorism.

  • Guidance Will Improve Critical Infrastructure Resilience

    It is easy to understand the importance of our “critical infrastructure,” such as telecommunications, energy, transportation, and emergency services, but what’s often overlooked are the underlying technologies that enable them. DHS S&T is doing something about it.

  • Trump Fires Security Chief Who Said 2020 Vote Was “Most Secure” in U.S. History

    Barely two weeks after the polls closed in an election he is now projected to lose, President Donald Trump took to Twitter to fire CISA’s director Christopher Krebs, the official responsible for spearheading efforts to secure the vote. Since the 3 November election, Trump, his campaign, and some of his supporters have issued a continuous stream of allegations about the integrity of the election, but evidence of massive voter fraud or other irregularities on a scale necessary to swing the election in Trump’s favor has not materialized. Late last Thursday, a coalition of federal and state officials, including CISA, further rejected the allegations as baseless. Krebs himself had also taken an active role in debunking rumors and unfounded allegations in the days and weeks following the election, taking to Twitter to dismiss some conspiracy theories as “nonsense.”

  • U.S. Immigration Policy Changes Expected Under Biden

    The incoming administration of President-elect Joe Biden could swiftly reverse an array of President Donald Trump’s immigration policies, many of which remain among the most contentious initiatives of his administration.

  • Federal Judge: Chad Wolf Serving Unlawfully as Acting DHS Secretary

    Judge Paula Xinis, a federal judge in Maryland, has ruled that Chad Wolf is likely unlawfully serving as acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. The judge also temporarily barred the Trump administration from enforcing new asylum restrictions on members of two immigration advocacy groups. The judge said that since it is likely Wolf is serving illegally as acting DHS secretary, then the asylum restriction orders he signed may have been “promulgated without authority” and “must be set aside.” Legal experts say that if we apply Judge Xinis’s interpretation of the 1998 Federal Vacancies Reform Act (FVRA) to other serving officials in the administration, there are definitely 15 who are occupying their positions illegally — and possibly 21 more, for a total of 36 officials with questionable legal authority to serve in their posts.

  • Refocusing DHS to Address Today’s Threats to the Homeland

    DHS was created in 2003 to make sure that the United States does not again experience 9/11-like attack, in which nonmilitary means—four passenger aircraft— killed more Americans than died in the December 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor. The security challenges have changed since 2001. One example: As of August 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic was killing as many Americans as died on 9/11— every four days. In addition to pandemics, the long-term threat to U.S. infrastructure from climate and weather changes and the increasing non-kinetic actions by nation-state adversaries seeking to undermine U.S. power, “all point to the need for the United States to make another fundamental change in how the U.S. government defends the nation and keeps the American people safe,” the authors on a new report say.

  • Reforming DHS

    The arrests of U.S. citizens on the streets of Portland, Oregon, by unidentified DHS personnel have raised concerns about the department, its mission, and its focus. These concerns were expressed, among others, by former DHS secretaries. Michael Chertoff, Tom Ridge, and Jeh Johnson. A new report published the Center for American Progress (CAP) recommends five immediate steps that the next administration and Congress should take to begin to refocus the department and prevent its personnel from being used in the future as federal police force.