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Chairman Duncan, Ranking Member Barber, and members of the Subcommittee, thank you for inviting me to testify at this hearing.
* First, onset of terrorism fatigue - When DHS celebrated its ten year anniversary, some questioned whether law enforcement and domestic security operations had become too focused on terrorism at the cost of addressing other public safety issues such as drug violence, public health, or crime.
* Second, persistence of terrorism as a real threat - The
* Third, increasing threats from natural disasters - The effects of Super Storm Sandy emphasized the consequences for coastal communities of the combined impacts of continued population growth and sea-level rise, and the need for incorporating planning for community and infrastructure resilience into economic development.
* Fourth, cyber threats outpacing cyber defense - Last month's indictment of five officers in the
* Fifth, increasingly constrained government budgets -Federal, state, local, and tribal governments have fewer resources to address this expanding list of concerns.
In short, when Secretary Johnson took the reins at DHS, he stepped into a deeply uncertain, utterly complex, and continuously dynamic environment with more constraints on the resources at his disposal. These converging trends, combined with new leadership and new guidance expected to arise from the QHSR, make now an opportune time for DHS to prioritize the Department's goals and assure its programs are best aligned to achieve them.
The first QHSR brought DHS together to develop a collective list of all missions for components across the Department. n3 Though comprehensive - the list spanned issues of terrorism, border control, immigration, cyberspace, disaster management, and governance - the first review did not set priorities.
The second QHSR will now set the stage for improving both the effectiveness and efficiency of DHS. The review includes a strategic assessment of the current and emerging homeland security threats, focused analysis on selected priority topics, and guidance on management priorities for the Department. I'd like to highlight three important ways
* First, improve the linkages between budgets of DHS's component agencies and strategic directions of the Department as a whole on risk management;
* Second, establish more effective oversight of programs once initiated;
* Third, seek ways to improve effectiveness and efficiency by leveraging
Improve linkages between budgets and strategic directions on risk management
The Homeland Security Strategic Environment Assessment marks a significant accomplishment for DHS and reflects well the trends that are changing the homeland security landscape. The review covers persistent threats to the nation from problems such as smuggling, illegal migration, and maritime safety. It also addresses catastrophic events such as hurricanes, earthquakes, pandemics, and terrorism. The strategic environment assessment describes all of these events in a common way, allowing for the first time an informed discussion of priorities based on risk.