May 26, 2016
May 20, 2016
May 13, 2016
May 11, 2016
Today, I am pleased and proud to release our new mission statement for the Department of Homeland Security:
“With honor and integrity, we will safeguard the American people, our homeland, and our values.”
In March, I asked you to help me write a single, short, and simple statement of who we are as a Department—what we stand for, and what our values should be.
I asked, and you answered. We received nearly 3,000 entries from all across DHS. As we reviewed your suggestions, we saw a lot of similar themes: honor, integrity, service, and strength. I am impressed by the thought that went into each proposal, and by the values our Department shares. And, I was pleased to consult all three former Secretaries of Homeland Security in developing this statement.
I’d like to thank each of you who submitted a statement for your time, your creativity, and your thoughtfulness. This statement, which will be on display at DHS facilities, is a reminder to all of us of who we are and why we serve.
If we are to succeed in our security mission, we must work together—a Unity of Effort. We have many employees and many components, with many complex responsibilities. But we are one Department, and it’s the unity of our efforts that keep our homeland secure.
This statement is intended for all our components and all our approximately 226,000 personnel across the entire Department. My hope is that our people will see it as the capstone of our Unity of Effort initiative, and our unifying mission statement for now and long after I am Secretary of Homeland Security.
Thank you for your time, participation, and most importantly, thank you for your service.
Jeh Charles Johnson
Secretary of Homeland Security
May 6, 2016
April 29, 2016
April 22, 2016
April 15, 2016
April 8, 2016
March 28, 2016
This past weekend homeland security expert Juliette Kayyem had an op-ed in The Washington Post unfortunately titled (by the editors I’d assume…), “No, America isn’t 100% safe from terrorism. And that’s a good thing.”
Obviously provocative but, in my view, unnecessarily vague in regards to the point of the piece. But whatever. The important thing is the message:
Is my family safe?The answer is both simple and liberating: No, not entirely. America was built vulnerable, and thank goodness for that.
The flow of people and things, the movement to and within cities, the congregation of the masses that makes our lives meaningful, whether at church or at Fenway Park, are inherently risky. Our system (a federal government with limited powers, mayors overseeing police departments, governors directing National Guards) wasn’t designed to produce a seamless shield against every conceivable threat. Every day, more than 2 million passengers board planes at U.S. airports. The movement of goods and services — the expectation that everything from airline tickets to groceries can be purchased with just a few mouse clicks — is our lifeline. We’ve traded a measure of safety for convenience. And in our America, there are sometimes monsters under the bed.
Kayyem identifies the problem as the unwillingness of our leaders to speak the truth about our situation:
Threats constantly change, yet our political discourse suggests that our vulnerabilities are simply for lack of resources, commitment or competence. Sometimes, that is true. But mostly we are vulnerable because we choose to be; because we’ve accepted, at least implicitly, that some risk is tolerable. A state that could stop every suicide bomber wouldn’t be a free or, let’s face it, fun one.
And she suggests a path forward:
Yet we still live, often joyfully, in a world with gun violence. And drunk drivers. And disease. We implore government to allocate resources as best it can to minimize those risks. Once we move past our angst, this becomes the most rational way to approach terrorist violence.
Accepting these vulnerabilities means our safety can be measured and evaluated on three core premises: how well we minimize our risks, maximize our defenses and maintain our spirit.
The entire piece is worth your time reading, and worth sharing with friends, family, and loved ones who might not have a grasp on the concept of risk management.
March 25, 2016
March 21, 2016
With the declining state of campaign rhetoric during this political season, especially as it concerns immigration, Islam, and terrorism, I thought it appropriate to bring attention back to President Obama’s visit to the Islamic Society of Baltimore last month.
If you missed it behind the sheer volume of campaign and other news, it is a speech worth reading or watching. The President hits on several important homeland security topics, while at the same time resisting the urge to frame the speech in simple security terms.
As a reporter from the Washington Post described it:
President Obama Wednesday delivered the comforting sermon to U.S. Muslims that their community leaders have been requesting for years, framing Islam as deeply American and its critics as violating the nation’s cherished value of religious freedom. Obama’s comments came in his first visit as president to a U.S. mosque.
The historic 45-minute speech at a large, suburban Baltimore mosque was attended by some of the country’s most prominent Muslims. In what appeared to be a counter to the rise in Islamophobia, Obama celebrated the long history of Muslim achievement in American life from sports to architecture and described Muslims as Cub Scouts, soldiers and parents, pointing out the mother of the pre-med college student who introduced him at the podium.
“There are voices who are constantly claiming you have to choose between your identities…. Do not believe them…. You fit in here. Right here. You’re right where you belong. You’re part of America, too,” Obama said, his volume rising as he said he was speaking in particular at that moment to young Muslim Americans. “You’re not Muslim or American, you’re Muslim and American. And don’t grow cynical.”
You can read the text of the speech at the White House website here:
Or you can watch it below: