The mission of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) may seem straightforward - protect the homeland - but in practice a lot goes into fulfilling that promise. DHS is an incredibly complex organization with a set of agencies that, while focused on the singular mission of keeping America safe, do so in incredibly diverse ways. The Department has laid out six core missions that all support the effort to secure the nation.
- Counter Terrorism and Homeland Security Threats - collecting and sharing intelligence is key to this goal
- Secure U.S. Borders and Approaches - this area is focused on the work that happens at our borders, coordinating efforts across the country
- Secure Cyberspace and Critical Infrastructure - DHS is focused on the intersection of cyberspace and physical assets with proactive efforts to secure Federal IT systems and get ahead of threats before they make an impact
- Preserve and Uphold the Nation's Prosperity and Economic Security - intersections with transportation, finance, and international trade mean DHS must coordinate closely with a wide range of Federal departments
- Strengthen Preparedness and Resilience - from natural disasters to man-made incidents, DHS is responsible for making sure the building blocks are in place to mitigate the risks, limit the impact, and drive recovery
- Champion the DHS Workforce and Strengthen the Department - an inward-looking goal, the support of the workforce is critical to DHS's success
Recent efforts of DHS highlight their commitment to these goals.
The DHS Cyber Safety Review Board (CSRB) was set up to support the Cybersecurity Executive Order. This group was developed as a public-private partnership to bring together cyber expertise from government and the private sector to review major cyber events and make concrete recommendations that would drive improvements. The Board is focused on learning lessons and sharing them with those that need them to enable advances in national cybersecurity. Its first review of the Log4j software vulnerability resulted in 19 recommendations that informed government-wide guidance on asset management.
The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) (part of DHS) recently issued cybersecurity performance goals for critical infrastructure. This gives those who manage critical infrastructure a baseline of what is expected in terms of cybersecurity strategy and practice. These goals address key challenges facing critical infrastructure including the lack of fundamental security protections, limited resources among small- and medium-sized organizations, lack of consistent standards, and under-resourced operational technology (OT) cybersecurity.
Improve Process at the Borders
Teams working to improve the efficiency and efficacy of immigration processes are looking to machine learning (ML) as a way to speed up the process for legitimate immigration while blocking illegal or dangerous movement across the border. When applied to asylum seekers, ML can help support the fact that influx of refugees can strain the system even though most asylum-seekers don't pose a threat to public safety. ML can speed the initial border processing stage by clearing well-intentioned asylum-seekers and refugees quicker with ML-guided identity checks and data analysis for asylum and visa applications.
GovEvents and GovWhitePapers have a wide variety of resources that detail the strategy and actions of the Department of Homeland Security.
- Homeland Security Week (January 24-25, 2023; Alexandria, VA) - This senior and expert-led summit will highlight the ongoing efforts to empower knowledge sharing and collaboration with those across the Military, Defense, Law Enforcement, Industry and Academic sectors at the local, state and national level. Topics covered range from border security, cybersecurity, counter UAS, intelligence sharing, infrastructure protection and resilience, identity technology, agency collaboration, budget planning, and much more.
- Homeland Security Forum (February 7, 2023; virtual) - The Department of Homeland Security is tasked with hardening security for threats on the horizon, enabling the nation to withstand attacks, and ensuring the country's ability to rapidly recover. Influential leaders in homeland security will discuss the foremost challenges and opportunities facing the nation today as DHS continues to instill a culture of relentless resilience across the U.S.
- Counter UAS Homeland Security Conference (February 8-9, 2023; Arlington, VA) - This event will showcase the latest technology in the market to ensure that civilians, domestic infrastructure, borders, and all aspects of homeland security are protected from the criminal use of drones.
- Critical Infrastructure Protection & Resilience North America (March 7-9, 2023; Baton Rouge, LA) - The nation's critical infrastructure provides the essential services that underpin American society. This event will focus on the proactive and coordinated efforts that are necessary to strengthen and maintain secure, functioning, and resilient critical infrastructure that are vital to public confidence and the Nation's safety, prosperity, and well-being.
- Identifying 6G Focus Areas for DHS (white paper) - A proactive focus on emerging opportunities and threats associated with 6G development and deployment can enable DHS to prepare the homeland security enterprise to safely transition to the next generation of connectivity.
- Assessment of the Critical Supply Chains Supporting the U.S. Information and Communications Technology Industry (white paper) - Directed by President Biden as part of the Executive Order on America's Supply Chains (E.O. 14017), the Departments of Commerce and Homeland Security evaluated the current supply chain conditions for select hardware and software products, identified key risks that threaten to disrupt those supply chains, and proposed a strategy to mitigate risk and strengthen supply chain resiliency.
- Identity-Centric Security for the Department of Defense and Intelligence Community (white paper) - DoD and IC agencies must support mission work using internet-connected and disconnected networks. But as agencies embrace modernization initiatives like telework and identity-centric security, they're experiencing firsthand the limitations of legacy identity and access management (IAM) tools.