All, I´ve summarized Sec. Chertoff´s testimony before the Senate for you so you can quickly review it. If you want to study the longer version, access the link. Please note the sections on Border Security and Results. Please comment with your perspective on his Testimony.
Testimony of Secretary Michael Chertoff Senate Committee on Homeland Security
Release Date: September 10, 2007
Washington, D.C.September 10, 2007
Because the focus of this hearing is threats to our homeland, my testimony will highlight only the first three goals: preventing dangerous people and dangerous cargo from entering our country, and protecting critical infrastructure.
1. Protecting Against Dangerous People
a. Passenger Screening: info electronically gathered thru Advance Passenger Information System (APIS)
b. Secure Identification: Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) includes - As of January 23, 2007, citizens of the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Bermuda seeking to enter or re-enter the United States from within the Western Hemisphere must present a valid passport or acceptable alternative document. Beginning January 31, 2008, we will also end the acceptance of oral declarations alone at the border and require U.S. and Canadian citizens to present either a WHTI-compliant document or government-issued photo identification, such as a driver’s license, and proof of citizenship, such as a birth certificate. Fully implementing WHTI in 2008: travelers will need WHTI-compliant documents – a passport, a passport card, a NEXUS card for land and sea border crossings. We also continue to work with states to enhance the security of driver’s licenses under the REAL ID Act.
c. Border Security: remain committed to effective border security to prevent the illegal entry of people between our ports of entry. Increased the size of the Border Patrol from 9,000 agents in 2001 to 14,500 agents today. Deploy thousands of National Guard forces to support construction of new fencing and vehicle barriers, with a target of 370 miles of fencing and 300 miles of vehicle barriers by the end of next year. We have installed high-tech cameras and sensors, and deployed unmanned aerial vehicles as part of SBInet. We have expanded CBP air and marine branches to increase our coverage of the border. We have established Border Enforcement Security Task Forces to work collaboratively with state and local partners to fight criminal activity in border cities. And we have developed an Intelligence Campaign Plan for Border Security to provide comprehensive intelligence support for our operations.
RESULT: we have seen significant decreases in apprehensions – down 21 percent overall along our southern border, and in some sectors down as much as 68 percent – reflecting decreased flow due to stepped-up security. While we will never be able to hermetically seal our border, our efforts have strengthened our ability to keep dangerous people out of the country and have made our nation safer.
2. Protecting Against Dangerous Cargo
a. Overseas Inspection
b. Radiological and Nuclear Detection
3. Protecting Critical Infrastructure
Whether our aim is protecting boats, bridges, or other critical infrastructure, we cannot do so effectively without strong partnerships with private sector owners and operators of our nation’s critical infrastructure.
a. Sector Specific Plans: 17 Sector Specific Plans of the National Infrastructure Protection Plan. Roadmap for working with private sector to assess vulnerabilities in our nation’s infrastructure, set priorities, measure our effectiveness, and ensure accountability. This is the first time in our nation's history that the government and the private sector have come together on such a large scale – across our entire economy – to develop a joint plan to reduce risk and protect key assets and resources. It is a tremendous milestone for our Department, the private sector, and the American people
b. Aviation Security: add additional layers of security to protect the traveling public
c. Improvised Explosive Devices
d. Chemical Security
e. Biological Security
f. Cyber Security
4. Sharing Information and Intelligence
Effective information collection, analysis, and sharing.
a. Office of Intelligence and Analysis
b. State and Local Fusion Centers
c. Closed Circuit Television: States and cities have taken the lead in developing information and intelligence fusion centers with important support from our Department, including more than $300 million in grant funding. But another important counter-terrorism tool we continue to support is the development and deployment of closed circuit television (CCTV) systems. (Big Brother?)
d. National Applications Office
5. Working as One Team
Our value as a Department rests in our network of assets and people, and our ability to leverage that network to achieve integration and work effectively with our federal, state, and local partners.
I believe the reason there have been no additional attacks against our homeland is because we’ve successfully raised our level of protection and we’ve succeeded in frustrating the aims of our enemies. That’s not to say our efforts have been flawless or that our work is done. On the contrary, we must move forward aggressively to build on our success to keep pace with our enemies.