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Keynote Address at GEOINT Conference by Charles E. Allen, Under Secretary for Intelligence and Analysis /Chief Intelligence Officer

Release Date: October 28, 2008

Nashville, Tennessee
GEOINT Conference

I am pleased to speak – for the fourth year in a row – to this GEOINT Conference and to share progress of our efforts to secure the Homeland, as we examine the critical role that geospatial intelligence plays in DHS operations every day. I also want to congratulate the United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation and Stu Shea on another superb conference. Each year this group gets better with age, which is what most of us can only hope for. That reminds me of a quote by Teddy Roosevelt who said, “Old age is like everything else. To make a success of it, you’ve got to start young.” Without disclosing my specific age, let’s just say “I started young.”

Before I begin, I want to acknowledge the strong working relationship between DHS Intelligence and its national community partners, especially Director of National Intelligence (DNI Mike McConnell), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (Bob Mueller), the National Counterterrorism Center (Mike Leiter), the Under Secretary of Defense Intelligence (Jim Clapper), and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (Bob Murrett). These sound relationships form a vital backbone of Intelligence Community (IC) collaboration necessary to keep our country safe. I would also like to recognize our many Federal, State, local, tribal, and private sector partners who work around the clock to protect our country and keep the American people safe.

It is most fitting that the panel discussion preceding me today took us to the heart of State and local issues, especially regarding domestic decision-makers and first responders. As most of you are aware, the need to share information among federal agencies—and for information and intelligence to flow from the Federal to State and local governments—was highlighted post-9/11 in several pieces of hallmark legislation. The Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act codified our efforts to reach out to non-Federal partners such as State and Local Fusion Centers. It also imbued in the DHS Office of Intelligence and Analysis a statutorily-mandated responsibility to share information with State, local, tribal and private sector partners. More recently, the President’s amendment to Executive Order 12333 outlines authorities for DHS Intelligence such as overt collection, to enhance DHS programs, and formally recognized “Homeland security” as part of the national Intelligence Community. Specifically, it authorizes DHS Intelligence to “collect, analyze, produce and disseminate information, intelligence and counterintelligence to support national and departmental missions; and to conduct and participate in analytic or information exchanges with foreign partners and international organizations.” The new executive order specifically mandates greater information sharing with State, local, tribal, and private sector entities, which are core statutory customers and program partners of DHS Intelligence. As we look toward the future of geospatial intelligence, we should be mindful of unique capabilities that can enhance our Homeland security, and ultimately, our Nation’s security—looking at them through the lens of these revised roles, new authorities, and many customer sets, including our non-Federal partners. But before I take us forward, let me first remind you of the broad DHS mission and recap the accomplishments of DHS Intelligence over the past year.

DHS Intelligence Activities

As you know, the IC’s focus traditionally has been aimed at foreign threats, and its customer set has been focused on international-level partners. The IC’s interaction with State, local and tribal law enforcement and other first responders intentionally was limited or non-existent. But Homeland security, in a post-9/11 world, requires a new paradigm for intelligence support. My task as Under Secretary for Intelligence and Analysis and the Chief Intelligence Officer of the Department has been to lead the effort to develop the vision for, design the architecture of, and implement a comprehensive Homeland security intelligence program that is fully integrated into the traditional Intelligence Community, but which equally reaches out to new, essential partners at all levels of Federal, State, and local government, and the private sector.

In my keynote address to this group last year, I highlighted the evolution of our Department under the leadership of Secretary Michael Chertoff, and spent a good deal of time discussing the emerging mission of DHS Intelligence. I am pleased to report we’ve made good progress to support the Secretary’s top priority missions – protecting the Homeland from dangerous people, protecting the Homeland from dangerous goods and materials, and protecting our critical infrastructures. To support the DHS mission, I continue to focus on three distinct customer sets.

First we support the Department—both headquarters and operating Components—providing reliable, real-time information and intelligence to enable the Department’s operations, planning, and strategic decision making. Second, and equally important, we support our State, local, tribal, territorial and private sector customers —ensuring they have access to key intelligence and information while also ensuring the Department has access to information obtained by these partners. Third, as a member of the IC, we support Intelligence Community priorities and requirements and ensure that the larger Intelligence Community is supporting our broad customer base.

The DHS Mission and the Threats We Face
The organization of the Department reflects its broad responsibilities. It is the third largest organization in the U.S. Government, and spans a wide spectrum of functions, including: protecting our airways, waterways, and borders; responding to natural disasters; enforcing immigration, customs, and counterfeiting laws; and performing intelligence analysis. The diversity of the DHS missions and the totality of threats we face are evidence that Homeland Security is not just a domestic issue— in an increasingly globalized world, it is a National Security issue as well.

To give you an idea of the scope of DHS’ activities—and thus the opportunities for information gathering every single day—consider this:

  • Customs and Border Protection processes more than a million passengers and pedestrians, 70,000 containers, and more than 300,000 air, sea, or land vehicles.
  • The Transportation Security Administration screens 2 million passengers and nearly as many pieces of checked luggage before they board commercial aircraft.
  • Citizenship and Immigration Services conducts an average 135,000 national security background checks, and adjudicates an average of 200 refugee applications.

And lest we lose sight of the threats to our country from dangerous people, think of the enforcement activities DHS carries out each day, most of which have a geospatial component:

  • CBP apprehends an average of 2,400 people crossing illegally into the United States. Some are individuals of special interest to the United States and our job is to ensure they are interviewed. We harvest the intelligence information these people possess.
  • TSA intercepts nearly 18,000 prohibited items at checkpoints, including almost 3,000 knives and 200 other dangerous items.
  • The U.S. Coast Guard interdicts an average of 17 illegal migrants at sea, and seizes an average of 1,000 pounds of illegal drugs worth nearly $13 million.

The United States continues to face serious strategic threats. Most immediately, it remains engaged in a long and sustained struggle against the violent, ideological extremism of al’Qaida’s core leadership, its affiliated extremist networks, and a growing number of followers who are selfradicalized. Next, beyond terrorism, we also recognize that the threats facing the United States today are more complicated, transcend international borders, and evolve more rapidly than ever before, as evidenced by the statistics just cited.

In a highly globalized world, distant threats can rapidly manifest themselves at our border, or reach into our borders in a virtual way. Clearly the current international terrorism threat from al’Qaida and its affiliates highlights this important shift in the global environment. For example, Al-Qa’ida continues to reach inside U.S. borders through its messaging. They are improving their ability to translate their messages to target American Muslims susceptible to supporting violence in the name of religion. A year ago, al-Qa’ida leaders solicited for “English translators” and subsequently have ratcheted up the speed and accuracy of translated statements openly marketed to U.S. and other English-speaking audience. To help al-Qa’ida target U.S. citizens, several radical websites in the United States have re-packaged al-Qa’ida statements with American vernacular and commentary intending to sway U.S. Muslims. And al-Qa’ida core leadership continues to use U.S. citizen Adam Gadahn to address English-speaking audiences—his latest statement in October 2008 aims to undermine U.S. policy in South Asia. Another example of al-Qa’ida reach into the Homeland is U.S. citizen, al-Qa’ida supporter, and former spiritual leader to three of the September 11th hijackers Anwar al-Awlaki—who targets U.S. Muslims with radical online lectures encouraging terrorist attacks from his new home in Yemen.

But terrorism is not the only threat we face that approaches from afar. Drug traffickers and alien smugglers attempt to evade our border security procedures daily. As DHS intelligence analysts monitor the activities of international terrorists, we remain on guard against the possibility that Latin American drug trafficking organizations, which have long successfully penetrated our borders and have extensive logistics networks, might support such a terrorist undertaking. Within the United States we also face the danger of domestic extremists from across the spectrum of ideological beliefs: white supremicists, radicals who support violence in the name of religion, ecoterrorists, animal rights activists and anarchists all have the potential to conduct violent attacks.

Because of this diverse threat landscape, our Department’s analytical efforts are focused on all-threats, all-hazards—not just terrorism. We look at terrorism through the prism of Homeland security, which encompasses a broader set of hazards such as smuggling, drug trafficking, border violence, large demographic movements that might house potentially dangerous people, and chemical and biological threats—whether naturally occurring or man-made. We’ve made substantial progress in many of these areas, centered on five broad analytical focus areas: Border Security; analysis of CBRN and other medical threats; support to Critical Infrastructure Protection; Demographics; and Radicalization.

Border Security
Our Border Security Branch—the first of its kind in the Intelligence Community—fulfills a critical need for strategic intelligence on threats of all kinds to our country’s borders. To keep out dangerous people, my analysts track the full range of threats to our borders, including terrorists, special interest aliens, drug traffickers, alien smugglers, and transnational gangs. We look at special interest aliens (SIAs) from countries that have weak counterterrorism programs and policies or are failed states. We produce a monthly Border Security Monitor, which informs senior officials and operators across our customer set on activities ranging from drug trafficking to alien smuggling to money laundering. This publication is broadly distributed across the U.S. Government. Another product that showcases our unique capability is the CubaGram. DHS’ unique access to Customs and Border Protection as well as Coast Guard data, enables us to provide the most accurate and timely assessments of the flow of migrants from Cuba attempting to enter the United States. We provide trend analysis on numbers, routes, and other movement information that is required reading at National Security Council Policy Deputies and Coordination Committees meetings on Cuba’s political stability.

To help protect the Nation against dangerous materials brought across U.S. borders, our Chemical, Biological, Nuclear, and Radiological Branch (CBRN) Branch assesses in-bound and global threats. Our goal at DHS is to keep the most dangerous materials out of the hands of the most dangerous actors. We spend a lot of time analyzing threats that may have include a possible WMD component. My analysts support other Department and interagency offices and programs, such as DHS’ Domestic Nuclear Detection Office, the National Bio-Surveillance Integration System, and the National Center for Medical Intelligence. We provide detailed assessments that are incorporated into the design and development of high-tech sensors that detect harmful CBRN materials at airports and other sites. Our analysts also assess threats from pandemic diseases, such as avian influenza, and biological threats such as foot-and-mouth disease that could cross our borders and devastate our agricultural economy.

Critical Infrastructure
To protect our critical infrastructure, our analysts assess the threats to each of the 18 critical infrastructure and key resource sectors in this country. We produce detailed assessments characterizing the threats to critical infrastructure in all 50 states, the National Capital Area, and U.S. territories, including baseline assessments on each of the 18 critical sectors. These assessments are routinely and collaboratively written and shared with our State and local stakeholders.

Demographic Movements
Our analysts assess demographic movements around the world and into the United States. This allows us to develop an accurate picture of dangerous people who might come to our borders. Using the mandate from the 9/11 Act, the DNI designated DHS as the lead Intelligence Community member responsible for biennial Visa Waiver Program assessments. We independently assess the integrity and security of travel processes and documentation for each country in or applying to the program to address the potential for illicit actors—including transnational criminals, extremists, and terrorists—to exploit travel systems and the security environment that can facilitate unlawful access to the United States. To date, we have provided assessments on 13 countries seeking visa waiver status. Our analysts work directly with the DHS Office of Policy on this program, and we travel with the Department’s country visit team to finalize these complex and comprehensive assessments. Our analysts’ efforts directly contributed to the U.S. granting VISA Waiver status to 7 “roadmap” countries. President Bush announced this month that the United States is rescinding visa requirements for citizens of six European countries and South Korea, making it easier for citizens of these allies to travel to the United States.

Our analysts also are concerned about dangerous people inside our borders, especially those who are trying to recruit for or engage in violent extremism. While we focus primarily on the process of radicalization, or how individuals adopt extremist belief systems that lead to their willingness to support, facilitate, or use violence to cause social change, our analysis also aids state and local officials understand the domestic operational landscape. Radicalization within the United States is not merely an academic concern, but a real threat that we and our partners in law enforcement at the federal, state and local levels follow everyday. Over the past several years, the U.S. has identified nascent plots like the Islamic radicals planning to attack soldiers at Fort Dix. Fortunately, the operational security of these plotters has been poor and they have been arrested prior to conducting their attacks, but the threat from domestic extremists remains an area requiring steadfast vigilance.

Terrorists are not the only violent domestic extremists who can potentially threaten our security at home. We are concerned with all types of violent extremists, including racial supremacists, anarchists, ecoterrorists, Islamic extremists, and animal rights radicals. The most active are environmental and animal rights extremists, whose actions have resulted in millions of dollars in property damage. Finally, white supremacists are the most capable of violent domestic radicals and have the potential to mount attacks on the scale of the Oklahoma City bombing. At the local level, the activity of groups like Hammerskin Nation and variety of outlaw motorcycle gangs is a constant concern. Our analysis of how different groups become radicalized—and the threats they pose to the U.S.—aids federal, state and local law enforcement in their efforts to provide security at home. All of our analysis is performed while abiding by applicable rules that protect the American people’s rights to privacy and civil liberties.

Information Sharing
The best intelligence is meaningless if we do not have mechanisms in place to share it in a timely fashion with our operational partners. As all of you know, prior to September 11th, the U.S. Intelligence Community did not have a culture or common process of sharing across the federal agencies, let alone with our State, local, tribal and private sector partners. I stand before you today proud to say that we integrate intelligence better now than at any other time in our history, and we share information and intelligence with our state and local partners better than any time in our history. With that said, challenges still remain, so we can and we must improve.

Our DHS-unique information sharing challenge transcends a “systems view” and requires we approach it from a cultural and organizational perspective as well. This unique challenge is to bridge the information sharing gaps between classified and unclassified, federal and non-federal, law-enforcement and non-law enforcement, as well as government and private sector domains.

State and Local Customers
Building and improving our relationships with State, local, tribal, and private sector partners is the cornerstone of the Department’s information sharing efforts. Over the past 2-1/2 years, we have made considerable progress in our outreach to State and local governments, not just because it was directed in statute or reinforced in Executive Orders, but because it was the right thing to do. We have developed a strong relationship and collaborate closely with the FBI, and other State and local law enforcement, first responders, and fusion centers nationwide to carry out the critical task of ensuring State and local officials have access to key intelligence capabilities. Our outreach also helps to provide the Department an integrated intelligence picture using more tactical State and local information. Let me now highlight four key DHS actions to enhance these customer relationships.

State and Local Program Office
As mentioned in the previous panel discussion, we stood up a State and Local Fusion Center Program Office dedicated to supporting State and Local Fusion Centers throughout the country. These fusion centers have become the coherent points of exchange for intelligence and information between Federal Government and State, local, and tribal entities. Our program office is responsible for deploying intelligence officers to fusion centers nationwide. These officers are my representatives in the field who ensure that DHS is fulfilling its information-sharing responsibilities. Core activities of our intelligence officers include: providing daily analytic support; routinely communicating and exchanging information with other fusion centers; writing products for and with State and local partners; collaborating on research; and delivering intelligence products to all customers. Deployed officers also provide analytic training opportunities and real-time threat warning guidance directly to State and local partners. As of today, my Office has deployed 27 intelligence officers to 23 fusion centers nationwide, with several officers scheduled for deployment. We are on track to deploy 35 officers by the end of this year. DHS plans to eventually deploy up to 70 officers to the field, including one to each State-designated fusion center as well as major cities.

Access to Information Systems
We have provided access to intelligence information at both the classified and unclassified levels. The Homeland Security Information Network, or HSIN Intelligence portal provides more than 10,000 people with access to unclassified intelligence products. For classified networks, we are deploying the Homeland Secure Data Network, or HSDN, at fusion centers across the country. With this network, we are delivering, for the first time, classified threat information to State and local authorities on a regular basis. To date, we have deployed HSDN to 25 fusion centers nationwide and are working to have it in 40 centers by the end of this year. To further expand State and local connectivity to the Intelligence Community, HSDN provides access to NCTC Online—for accessing the most current terrorism-related information at the Secret level.

We have also established the Homeland Security State and Local Intelligence Community of Interest as a means to develop and share information, and implement best practices. Known as HS SLIC, it is the first nationwide network of Federal, State, and local intelligence analysts focused on homeland security ever created in the United States. This virtual community of intelligence analysts fosters collaboration and sharing via weekly For Official Use Only-level threat teleconferences and biweekly Secret-level secure video teleconferences. Its members encompass 45 states, the District of Columbia, and 7 federal agencies.

Interagency Threat Assessment and Coordination Group (ITACG)
With the FBI and NCTC, we have formed an Interagency Threat Assessment and Coordination Group, or ITACG —under the management of NCTC. One of my senior officers serves as its director. The staff also currently includes four State and local law enforcement officers on rotational assignment. ITACG serves as the NCTC focal point to guide the development and dissemination of federal counterterrorism intelligence products through DHS and the FBI to our State, local, tribal, and private sector partners. ITACG officers monitor sensitive databases, and screen thousands of highly classified finished intelligence reports each day to determine what reports have value and can be sanitized and sent to our State and local partners.

Reports Officers
We are sending trained reports officers to DHS components to gather local information in order to provide intelligence, in the form of Homeland Intelligence Reports (HIRs) to the rest of the IC. Currently, we have 30 reports officers located across I&A headquarters, DHS components and elements. In addition, four Reports Officers are deployed to State and local elements along the Southwest border and in Florida, with three more scheduled for deployment in the next few months. DHS reports officers have issued more than 9,000 HIRs since 2005, and in the process share valuable information on transnational threats from the Caribbean and Latin America, sensitive information from ports of entry, data from people who are given secondary screening, or people who are denied entry into the United States. This is precisely the granular-level of information that is of most use to State and local authorities.

Current and Future GEOINT Considerations
Just as our current geospatial capabilities were born from the decisions made decades ago, our capabilities of tomorrow depend on the decisions and investments we make today. Twenty-two years ago, in 1986, commercial imagery was just beginning to spring into view of the world’s watchful eye, as news outlets used LANDSAT 5 and SPOT infrared imagery to provide the world its first confirmatory overhead looks at the effect of and impact from the Chernobyl disaster. Objective evidence of the nuclear disaster was seen from afar in households across the globe. Since that time, we have seen an exponential growth in use of geospatial products in the private and public sectors. Now we depend upon geospatial capabilities that few of us could have envisioned 22 years ago.

And 22 years from now, in the year 2030 – as the next generation of leaders and analysts look back at this time—they will examine the decisions we are making now and evaluate them for our wisdom, foresight, and clarity of purpose. What will they see when they look back in time? It depends. It depends entirely upon each of you in this room, upon your willingness to continually develop technology without becoming wedded to it; to advance capabilities without regard to program propriety; and to overcome institutional bias in such a way that it benefits the Intelligence Community, our operational decision makers and policy makers, and the American people we ultimately serve. So, given our current capabilities and future budgetary considerations, what does this portend for the future of geospatial capabilities?

For DHS and in fact for the whole Intel Community, the key is diversity and availability. The survivability and flexibility of future systems should be a singularly important consideration in planning the next generation collection. A very good strategy and description was articulated about 18 months ago in a report written for the Director of NGA and the Director of the NRO called the Marino Report. It describes an architecture that allows for short time between launch as well as an option for variable modalities. This kind of diversity is what I believe will be necessary to assure adequate collection of a wide array of targets. The concepts are built around a modular bus design built in assembly line fashion. The design would allow a “plug and play” payload the choice of which could be made by the government at the time close to launch. It could also, at the government’s desire, fly a system or systems at any altitudes of choice with some tradeoff of resolution with system life. The assembly line could theoretically put buses on 3 to 6 month centers which in turn can be a quick response to some unanticipated mishap (e.g., ASAT) and get a new system flying in a relatively short time. The added benefit to this approach is the cost reductions that could be achieved with a continual line of low cost buses and payloads. As the report points out there is still plenty to work to be done to make this approach feasible, however, when successful it would give the Department the diversity and availability it needs. In short, we must develop agility and all the while advocate broad-based intelligence capabilities that support our national security objectives at home and abroad—capabilities that support our enduring requirements.

DHS GEOINT Requirements
The Department of Homeland Security’s imagery requirements are significantly greater, in number and scope, than they were at the Department’s creation, and will continue to grow at an accelerating rate as the Department’s mission-space evolves. Reliable, real-time information and geospatial intelligence allows us to identify and characterize threats, target our security measures, and achieve unity of effort in our response. It also allows the Department’s Components to conduct intelligence-based and often intelligence-driven operations.

The Department’s responsibilities for securing our borders, supporting State and local entities, and responding to incidents make it imperative that we have access to space and airborne assets necessary to meet the needs of the President and the Secretary of Homeland Security. Specifically, DHS relies on GEOINT for broad area coverage to prepare for and recover from disasters—natural, man-made or otherwise. DHS Components also have access to vast amounts of data, which, if geospatially and temporally catalogued, could advance correlative analysis in order to better protect our Nation. Let me briefly discuss each of these.

Secure Borders
We continue to invest intelligence resources in support of the Secretary’s Secure Border Initiative. We began our campaign plan three years ago. Our initial focus was on the southwest border, but we have increased our focus on the northern border as well. Geospatial intelligence provides the framework required to conduct assessments on border vulnerabilities and enable Customs and Border Protection to develop strategic and at times synoptic components to their plans and operations.

State and Local / Incident Response
Geospatial products and intelligence were a key contributor to DHS, FEMA, and State and local officials’ preparation for—and response to—recent natural disasters: Hurricanes Gustav, Hannah, and Ike; the Midwest Floods in June; and the series of California wildfires this past summer. Commercial and National Technical Means products were used to help assess damage, aid debris removal operations, inform local urban search and rescue efforts, and support DHS’ National Operations Center as it provided Department-wide awareness to track incident management and response efforts.

Coordination of remote sensing capabilities in support of disaster response is accomplished through the Department-led Interagency Remote Sensing Coordination Cell. Through the IRSCC, we are able to provide a common picture of remote sensing collection activities to support disaster response operations. For example, during Hurricane Ike, for the first time U.S. Customs and Border Protection flew the Predator B in support of FEMA and their hurricane relief efforts. The IRSCC then evaluated additional remote sensing requirements and advocated their satisfaction. This was the first time DHS provided a geospatial depiction of the civilian remote sensing picture to emergency responders and the remote sensing community.

Geospatial Support to National Special Security Events
The U.S. Secret Service is the lead federal agency for National Special Security Events (NSSEs), and geospatial products play in important role in pre-planning and operational execution of interagency support to events like this year’s political conventions.

Geospatial “Synergy”
As you know, intelligence is not only about spies and satellites. It is about the thousands and thousands of routine, everyday observations and activities. These scattered bits – each of which may be taken in isolation as a not particularly meaningful piece of information – give us—when fused together, and put in geospatially and temporally relevant order— a sense of the patterns and flow that can advance our correlative analysis capabilities. As outlined in my earlier discussion on the DHS mission, DHS is full of these bits of information.

As I mentioned in my opening, under EO 12333, my Office has an explicit collection authority within our mission area. DHS generates a great deal of information with intelligence value. We are virtually an “information factory” producing data based on thousands of interactions every hour at the border, in airports, in the interior United States and in its waters. These interactions have a geospatial and often temporal component to them—and the entire community would benefit from being able to more effectively capture the location data and time-based activity into these reports.

National Applications Office
The Department is establishing the National Applications Office (NAO), a successor to the Civil Applications Committee, as a standing organization chartered to provide an integrated, multi-agency approach to facilitate access to IC capabilities by civil agencies. The NAO will be on the cutting edge for supporting key DHS stakeholders, and includes a mechanism to bring, among other things, geospatial products and activities to bear in support of civil and homeland security applications. I should add that the NAO was designed with strongest protection of privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties in mind. The NAO charter, signed by the Secretaries of Homeland Security, Defense, Interior, as well as the Director of National Intelligence and the Attorney General, certifies that the NAO complies with all existing laws, including all applicable privacy and civil liberties standards. The NAO is prepared to begin operations to support civil and Homeland security domains. This program is another step in the right direction to leverage geospatial intelligence as we work to secure the Homeland.

Geospatial Standards and Tools
The Department’s Geospatial Management Office, in partnership with our Chief Information Officer, is working to deploy tools to DHS’ intelligence components with a Google Earth-feel before the end of the year. Meanwhile, inside DHS Intelligence, we continue to examine how we can best push geospatial intelligence and geospatially tagged intelligence reporting to the intelligence analyst's desktop in a way that remains user-friendly to the analyst. To accommodate the volumes of DHS-derived data, technical challenges remain to accurately extract geospatial information from free-flow text, for example. We’re not there yet, but we are encouraged by our future prospects.

On September 11th of this year, Secretary Chertoff wrote “…[on September 11, 2001,] our country was senselessly attacked and nearly 3,000 lives were tragically lost. That fateful day changed our Nation and our lives.” Even though that day was more than seven years ago, the threat has not passed and the Nation’s adversaries remain committed to doing us harm. They have been foiled by many factors, including the dedicated men and women of the Department of Homeland Security and our Federal, State, local, and private sector partners —many of whom are in this very room and defend our homeland every day.

Success in protecting and defending the homeland requires recognizing evolving threats and accepting that globalization has diminished the traditional role of nation states. Globalization also makes us more susceptible to trans-national hazards, such as pandemic disease or biological threats to agriculture. Non-state actors have emerged, and terrorists as well as other illicit actors endeavor to expand and deepen their operations. In some places, they are crossing international boundaries with relative ease where security is lax.

Effectively dealing with the still-emerging threat environment will put a premium on interagency and intelligence community cooperation. Federal, State, Local and tribal governments all have a key role to play here—and the Department remains committed to ensuring the best flow of intelligence information to our partners at all levels of government. This hemisphere is not as secure as it appears – it is an environment where terrorists can poise to strike using the element of surprise, and the threat of domestically-based radical extremists cannot and should not be overlooked. Our ability to respond will rely on vigilance, effective coordination, timely communication and Interagency cooperation as never before. We cannot afford to allow “threat fatigue” to result in complacency.

We remain committed to protecting the Homeland, to improving our analysis and information sharing—especially with our State and local partners—and to continue to provide geospatially relevant information to all our customers. Protecting the Nation from the myriad of threats that we face requires courage and resolve. It is my steadfast belief that our accomplishments show we are up to the task. In particular, I look forward to being able to work with you to provide relevant and timely geospatial information to improve our customers’ understanding of the threats we face in homeland security.

Let me conclude by again thinking of the future, to the first of several next generations. n 2030, when the next generation looks back in time, I believe they will see that a nation mobilized to correct a tragic gap in intelligence information flow and dedicated to protect our homeland from “all threats all hazards,” while remaining steadfast in its commitment to protect our fundamental civil rights and civil liberties. We are working hard to improve our information flow to our State and local partners, who are quickly becoming significant consumers of — and potential contributors to — geospatially relevant data.

Thank you, and I look forward to take any questions that you may have.

This page was last reviewed/modified on October 28, 2008.