[DISPATCH] Current Department of Homeland Security Status and Future Outlook

[wcm_nonmember]In this report… (428 words)

  • Secretary Kelly outlines the current status and operations at DHS.
  • Kelly discusses successes in curbing illegal immigration and interdicting drug traffickers.
  • Kelly also provides his opinions on the future of TSA and the Countering Violent Extremism program.
  • And more…

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House Homeland Security Cmte

Homeland Security Budget FY 2018

07 June 2017

 

  • Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly complained to Congress that the court injunctions against the so-called “travel ban” are preventing DHS from keeping America safer.  “I’m not fully confident in our ability to prevent those who seek to do us harm from taking advantage of our generous immigration and — and visa system,” Kelly said.
  • Secretary Kelly also stated his belief that the next terror attack that comes from outside the country will have come through Central America and across the US southwest border.
  • Trump administration policies have resulted in a 72 decrease in illegal aliens coming across the US border.  Unaccompanied minors are down below that number.
  • About a month ago, DHS led operations that resulted in the arrest of 1,300 gang members, many of whom were members of MS-13.
  • When asked about Russia, Secretary Kelly stated that “[Russia] is approaching, certainly, what I would define as an enemy.”
  • Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA) currently encompasses 750,000-780,000 illegal aliens in America, however, DHS is not targeting DACA registrants right now.
  • Europe is facing somewhere between 5,000-7,000 jihadist fighters returning from the Islamic caliphate in Syria and Iraq.
  • The laptop ban was in response to a specific threat and was recommended to be implemented because foreign airports where international flights originated did not have the capability to detect the laptop bombs.
  • The average wait time (application to employment) for Customs and Border Patrol agents had been 460 days.  That period has now been cut to 150 days.  Secretary Kelly believes he can get it down to 60-90 days.
  • Last year, the Coast Guard identified 580 targets carrying drugs into the US, however, could not interdict them because USCG lacked the resources.  Ninety percent of cocaine trade comes into the US through ships in ports of entry.  One emerging trend is to smuggle drugs into Canadian ports because it’s easier.
  • Last year, US and Colombian law enforcement captured 417 tons of cocaine and destroyed 4,000 drug labs.  The US military (Coast Guard) captured 217 tons while in transit.
  • Secretary Kelly does not believe TSA should be law enforcement.
  • Secretary Kelly doesn’t believe that the Countering Violent Extremism programs reduce extremist violence.  He said that true prevention occurs with parents in the home, and the best early warning is that parents be involved and observe their children’s behavior.

 

Overall, this subcommittee was concerned that cuts to the DHS budget would result in an unsafe America.  On several occasions, Secretary Kelly responded to these concerns saying that some cuts were eliminating redundancy, and that DHS will have to better prioritize their work.  Additional analysis will appear in this week’s EXSUM.

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Samuel Culper is a former military intelligence NCO and contract Intelligence analyst. He spent three years in Iraq and Afghanistan and is now the intelligence and warfare researcher at Forward Observer.

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