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    DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano Testifies on FY 2013 Budget Request

    The Department of Homeland Security has released the “Written testimony of DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano for a Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affiars hearing on The President’s Fiscal Year 2013 budget request for The Department of Homeland Security” (DHS Web page; archive pdf). Napolitano addresses privacy twice. The first is a discussion of information-sharing and protection activities:

    The FY 2013 President’s Budget supports these significant efforts to increase transparency, accountability, and efficiency. Following are some key initiatives and proposals included in the Budget that continue to streamline Departmental operations: [...]

    • Information Sharing and Safeguarding: DHS is embarking on a Department-wide effort to increase efficiencies and reduce redundancies through the implementation of key information-sharing and safeguarding capabilities such as Identity, Credentialing, and Access Management. Significant future cost savings will be realized with the continued consolidation of Sensitive But Unclassified portals, streamlining of classified networks and the alignment of Common Operating Picture investments. Working through a Department-wide information-sharing governance structure, DHS is addressing requirements resulting from post-Wikileaks reforms, and ensuring that information on both classified and unclassified networks is properly protected to preserve privacy and civil liberties.

    The second concerns “Preventing Terrorism and Enhancing Security”:

    The Budget also supports efforts to share intelligence and information on a wide range of critical homeland security issues. The Budget continues to build State and local analytic capabilities through the National Network of Fusion Centers, with a focus on strengthening cross-Department and cross-Government interaction with fusion centers. Through the Fusion Center Performance Program, DHS will assess capability development and performance improvements of the National Network of Fusion Centers through annual assessment and targeted exercises. Resources also enable the Office of Intelligence and Analysis, in partnership with the Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties and the Privacy Office to provide privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties training for fusion centers and their respective liaison officer programs. The Secretary’s focus on SLLE includes elevating the Office of State and Local Law Enforcement to a stand-alone office and a direct report.

    State and Local Law Enforcement (SLLE) include fusion centers (which we’ve discussed before, especially focusing on privacy and security questions surrounding the data-gathering on individuals) and are a focus of the Homeland Security Budget, Napolitano says:

    Support to State and Local Law Enforcement (SLLE): The FY 2013 Budget continues support for State and local law enforcement efforts to understand, recognize, prevent, and respond to pre-operational activity and other crimes that are precursors or indicators of terrorist activity through training, technical assistance, exercise support, security clearances, connectivity to Federal systems, technology, and grant funding. Specifically, the Budget focuses on:

    • Maturation and enhancement of State and major urban area fusion centers, including training for intelligence analysts and implementation of Fusion Liaison Officer Programs;
    • Implementation of the Nationwide Suspicious Activity Reporting (SAR) Initiative, including training for front-line personnel on identifying and reporting suspicious activities;
    • Continued implementation of the “If You See Something, Say Something™” campaign to raise public awareness of indicators of terrorism and violent crime; and
    • State, local, tribal, and territorial efforts to counter violent extremism, in accordance with the Strategic Implementation Plan to the National Strategy on Empowering Local Partners to Prevent Violent Extremism in the United States.

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