Secretary Napolitano's Remarks at the West Virginia Homeland Security Summit
For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
HUNTINGTON, W. Va.—Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano today traveled to Huntington, W. Va., to deliver remarks highlighting the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) ongoing counterterrorism and homeland security efforts at the opening of the West Virginia Homeland Security Summit.
“While we have made important progress in securing our nation since the tragic attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, we continue to face persistent and evolving threats from terrorism,” said Secretary Napolitano. “Homeland security begins with hometown security, and DHS is committed to doing everything we can to give our state and local law enforcement partners the resources and information they need to do their jobs and help protect our nation’s communities.”
During her remarks, Secretary Napolitano underscored the Department’s sustained efforts to combat terrorism and counter violent extremism throughout the nation—leveraging training programs and community outreach efforts to help law enforcement officers identify indicators that may suggest terrorist activity. DHS has trained tens of thousands of front-line law enforcement on ways to counter the threat of violent extremism, and worked with hundreds of communities and local organizations to implement community-oriented policing strategies that have been successful in other crime-reduction efforts.
DHS has also worked with its federal, state, local and private sector partners, as well as the Department of Justice to expand the Nationwide Suspicious Activity Reporting (SAR) Initiative—an administration effort to train state and local law enforcement to recognize behaviors and indicators related to terrorism, crime and other threats; standardize how those observations are documented and analyzed; and enhance the sharing of those reports with the FBI, DHS, and communities throughout the country. To date, more than 46,000 frontline federal, state, and local law enforcement personnel across the country have received SAR training.
Secretary Napolitano also emphasized the Department’s central role in sharing information with state and local law enforcement about potential homeland security threats, highlighting the important role of the 72 state and major urban area fusion centers, which serve as focal points for the receipt, analysis, gathering, and sharing of threat-related information between the federal government and state, local, tribal, territorial and private sector partners. To date, DHS has deployed experienced intelligence officers to 68 fusion centers nationwide. She also highlighted the new National Terrorism Advisory System (NTAS), which replaces the former color-coded alert system and is designed to more effectively communicate information about terrorist threats by providing timely, detailed information to the public, government agencies, first responders, airports and other transportation hubs, and the private sector.
Additionally, Secretary Napolitano reiterated the importance of empowering the American people in our shared security efforts through initiatives such as the expansion of the “If You See Something, Say Something™” campaign—a simple and effective program to raise public awareness of indicators of terrorism, crime and other threats, and emphasize the importance of reporting suspicious activity to law enforcement authorities.
At the Summit, Secretary Napolitano also announced that the U.S. Coast Guard will honor West Virginia Senator Jay Rockefeller as the recipient of the 2010 Commodore Ellsworth P. Bertholf Award—an honor that each year recognizes one Congressional leader for his or her long-term vision and support of Coast Guard personnel and for promoting America’s maritime safety and security.