Under Secretary of Defense for Policy

U.S. Department of Defense

Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense and Americas' Security Affairs

Frequently Asked Questions

Homeland Defense

Question: What is Homeland Defense?

Answer: The protection of U.S. sovereignty, territory, domestic population, and critical defense infrastructure against external threats and aggression, or other threats as directed by the President. The Department of Defense is responsible for homeland defense.

Question: What is Homeland Security?

Answer: A concerted national effort to prevent terrorist attacks within the United States, reduce America’s vulnerability to terrorism, and minimize the damage and recover from attacks that do occur. The Department of Homeland Security is the lead Federal agency for homeland security.

Question: When was the position of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense established?

Answer: On November 13, 2002, Congress passed and, on December 2, 2002, the President signed into law the Bob Stump National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2003 (Public Law 107-314). Section 902 of Public Law 107-314 provided that "[o]ne of the Assistant Secretaries shall be the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense. He shall have as his principal duty the overall supervision of the homeland defense activities of the Department of Defense." On January 9, 2003, the President nominated and, on February 4, 2003, the Senate confirmed the Honorable Paul McHale to serve as the first Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense.

Question: What are the responsibilities of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense?

Answer: As required by Section 902 of Public Law 107-314, the Assistant Secretary of Defense (ASD(HD)) is responsible for "the overall supervision of the homeland defense activities of the Department of Defense" under the authority, direction and control of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy and, as appropriate, in coordination with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. As such, the ASD(HD) provides oversight to DoD homeland defense activities, develops policies, conducts analyses, provides advice, and makes recommendations on homeland defense, defense support of civil authorities, emergency preparedness and domestic crisis management matters within the Department.Specifically, the ASD(HD) assists the Secretary of Defense in providing policy direction on homeland defense matters through the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to United States Northern Command and other Combatant Commands, as applicable, to guide the development and execution of their plans and activities. To focus the planning and execution of DoD activities and the use of resources in preventing or responding to crises, the ASD(HD) serves as the DoD Domestic Crisis Manager. To address the complexities of the interagency and intergovernmental environments, the ASD(HD) represents DoD on all homeland matters with designated Lead Federal Agencies, the Executive Office of the President, the Department of Homeland Security, other Executive Departments and Federal Agencies, and State and local entities, as appropriate. In September 2003, the ASD(HD) was assigned the responsibility for Defense Critical Infrastructure Protection and the responsibility for DoD's roles as Sector Specific Agency for the Defense Industrial Base, as specified by the National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace (February 2003), the National Strategy for the Physical Protection of Critical Infrastructure and Key Assets (February 2003), and Homeland Security Presidential Directive - 7 Critical Infrastructure Identification, Prioritization, and Protection (December 2003). On December 21, 2005, Congress passed and, on January 6, 2006, the President signed into law the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2006 (Public Law 109-163). Section 1031 of Public Law 109-163 provided that "[t]he Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense is responsible for the coordination of Department of Defense assistance to Federal, State, and local officials in responding to threats involving nuclear, radiological, biological, chemical weapons or high-yield explosives or related materials or technologies, including assistance in identifying, neutralizing, dismantling, and disposing of nuclear, radiological, biological, chemical weapons, and high-yield explosives and related materials and technologies."

Question: What military commands are directly involved in the defense of the homeland?

Answer: Four military commands - U.S. Northern Command (USNORTHCOM), the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), U.S. Pacific Command (USPACOM), and U.S. Southern Command (USSOUTHCOM) - are directly involved in the defense of the homeland. Additionally, the U.S. Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM) was designated by the Secretary of Defense in 2005 to be the lead combatant commander for integrating and synchronizing military efforts to combat weapons of mass destruction, including ensuring the force structure and necessary resources are in place to help all combatant commands defeat weapons of mass destruction.

Question: What is the mission of U.S. Northern Command?

Answer: United States Northern Command conducts operations to deter, prevent, and defeat threats and aggression aimed at the United States, its territories and interests within assigned areas of responsibility; as directed by the President or Secretary of Defense, provides military assistance to civil authorities, including consequence management operations.

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Air Domain

Question: What is DoD doing to defend the United States in the air domain?

Answer: In the air domain, DoD has primary responsibility for defending U.S. airspace and protecting the nation's air approaches. The air domain is guarded, patrolled, and monitored by the bi-national U.S.-Canada North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD). We also have air defense alert fighters positioned throughout the United States and Canada that are capable of reaching major population centers and high-value infrastructure within minutes. The number of alert fighters can be increased or decreased according to emerging threat levels. We continually adjust our posture in order to protect the National Capitol Region (NCR), the seat of the U.S. Government. The Department conducts irregular air patrols, maintains a dedicated 24-hours-a-day/7-days-a-week alert fighter response based at Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland, and has a dedicated ground missile defense system located to provide around-the-clock coverage for the National Capitol Region. In addition, in May 2005, DoD provided the Visual Warning System (VWS) to warn wayward pilots to contact the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) air traffic controllers immediately and to depart from restricted airspace. We also detailed DoD liaison officers to serve at the TSA-hosted NCR Coordination Center (NCRCC) on a full-time basis and provided key interagency operations centers and the NCRCC access to DoD's classified conferencing capability, which is used for DoD coordination and decision making during the response to hostile domestic air threats. In addition, DoD has begun deploying missile interceptors at Fort Greeley, Alaska, to protect the U.S. homeland from ballistic missile attack even as system development, testing, and fielding continue.

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Maritime Domain

Question: What is DoD doing to defend the United States in the maritime domain?

Answer: The maritime domain - including international waters, the maritime approaches to the United States, our territorial seas, and other U.S. navigable waters - is guarded by a highly effective partnership between the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Coast Guard. The U.S. Navy defends the sea approaches to the United States and works with the U.S. Coast Guard to patrol international waters and our territorial seas. In December 2004, DoD and DHS signed a memorandum of agreement that incorporated the U.S. Coast Guard in support of DoD maritime homeland defense operations. This memorandum of agreement established a joint command, control, and coordination structure using existing DoD and U.S. Coast Guard operations centers. By April 2006, DoD and DHS signed a similar memorandum of agreement that includes DoD in support of U.S. Coast Guard maritime homeland security operations. This close coordination is essential to our ability to interdict terrorists and others attempting to enter the United States, possibly with WMD materiel and components, via the maritime domain. In 2006, the Secretary of Defense approved a new USNORTHCOM Maritime Homeland Defense Execute Order, which provides readily accessible forces, procedures, coordination requirements, and rules of engagement to counter all threats to the U.S. homeland, including WMD proliferation. Additionally, in multiple theaters in the global war on terror, forward-deployed U.S. Navy assets work with other agencies to identify, track, and intercept threats before they threaten the United States.

Question: What is Maritime Domain Awareness?

Answer: the effective understanding of anything associated with the global maritime domain that could affect the security, safety, economy, or environment of the United States. The purpose of "maritime domain awareness" is to facilitate timely, accurate decision-making.


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Land Domain

Question: What is DoD doing to defend the United States in the land domain?

Answer: It is the primary mission of DHS to prevent terrorist attacks within the United States. The Attorney General leads our Nation's law enforcement efforts to detect, prevent, and investigate terrorist activity within the United States. Accordingly, DoD does not have the assigned responsibility to stop terrorists coming across our borders, to stop terrorists from coming through U.S. ports, or to stop terrorists from hijacking aircraft inside or outside the United States (these responsibilities belong to DHS). Nor does DoD have the authority to seek out and arrest terrorists in the United States (these responsibilities belong to Department of Justice (DOJ)). DoD does have a role in providing support to civil authorities, when appropriate and as permitted by law. DoD has deployed numerous assets both to defend the U.S. homeland and to assist civil authorities:

  • Quick Reaction Forces and Rapid Reaction Forces, highly trained U.S. Army and U.S. Marine Corps units, are postured to respond to a wide range of potential threats to the U.S. homeland, including critical infrastructure protection.
  • The U.S. Marine Corps Chemical-Biological Incident Response Force (CBIRF), headquartered at Indian Head, Maryland, can deploy to assist local, State, or Federal agencies and military commanders in consequence management operations by providing: capabilities for detection and identification; casualty search, rescue, and personnel decontamination; and emergency medical care and stabilization of contaminated personnel. CBIRF was instrumental in responding to the discovery of ricin in the Dirksen Senate Office Building in February 2004.
  • Joint Task Force Civil Support, headquartered in Fort Monroe, Virginia; Joint Task Force Consequence Management East, headquartered at Fort Gillem, Georgia; and Joint Task Force Consequence Management West, headquartered at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, can provide consequence management support to civil authorities in the case of weapons of mass destruction attacks.
  • Joint Force Headquarters National Capital Region, based at Fort McNair in Washington, DC, is responsible for land homeland defense, civil support, and consequence management in the National Capital Region.
  • Joint Task Force North (JTF-N), headquartered at Fort Bliss, Texas, supports counterdrug, counterterrorism, and other operations to counter transnational threats.
  • Joint Task Force Alaska, based at Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska, is responsible for land homeland defense and civil support operations in Alaska, and Joint Task Force Homeland Defense, based at Fort Shafter, Hawaii, has these responsibilities in Hawaii and U.S. territories, possessions, and protectorates in the Pacific.

Question: What is DoD's role in the security of the U.S. borders?

Answer: In accordance with Section 202 of Title 6, U.S. Code, DHS is responsible for "[s]ecuring the borders, territorial waters, ports, terminals, waterways, and air, land, and sea transportation systems of the United States" and "[p]reventing the entry of terrorists and the instruments of terrorism into the United States." DoD's role in the execution of this responsibility, as noted earlier, is to provide support to DHS, when requested, appropriate, lawful, and approved by the President or the Secretary of Defense.

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Defense Support of Civil Authorities

Question: What is Defense Support of Civil Authorities?

Answer: DoD support, including Federal military forces, the Department's career civilian and contractor personnel, and DoD agency and component assets, for domestic emergencies and for designated law enforcement and other activities. The Department of Defense provides defense support of civil authorities when directed to do so by the President or the Secretary of Defense.

Question: How can Defense Support of Civil Authorities be activated?

Answer: There are three primary mechanisms by which DoD takes part in a Federal response to a domestic incident. Federal assistance, including assistance from DoD, can be provided: (1) at the direction of the President; (2) at the request of another Federal agency under the Economy Act, or (3) in response to a request from DHS's Federal Emergency Management Agency under the Stafford Act. The second and third mechanisms require a request for assistance and approval of the Secretary of Defense.

Question: How many requests for assistance has the Department of Defense supported?

Answer: DoD has continued its long tradition of DSCA while maintaining its primary mission of fighting and winning the nation's wars. In 2003, DoD acted on 75 requests for assistance from more than 20 civilian agencies. In 2004, DoD acted on 99 requests for assistance from domestic civilian agencies. During the response to Hurricane Katrina, DoD acted on more than 90 hurricane-related requests for assistance from civil authorities requiring a broad range of military capabilities. In addition to Hurricane Katrina, DoD acted on more than 140 requests for assistance in 2005, including responses to hurricanes Dennis, Ophelia, and Rita, and the provision of UAV support to DHS border security activities.

Question: What is DoD’s role in the National Response Framework?

Answer: DoD is a full partner in the Federal response to domestic incidents, and its response is fully coordinated through the mechanisms of this National Response Framework. The primary mission of DoD and its components is national defense. Because of this critical role, DoD capabilities and resources are committed after approval by the Secretary of Defense or at the direction of the President. The provision of defense support is evaluated by its legality, lethality, risk, cost, appropriateness, and impact on readiness. When Federal military and civilian personnel and resources are authorized to support civil authorities, command of those forces will remain with the Secretary of Defense. DoD elements in the incident area of operations and National Guard forces under the command of a Governor will coordinate closely with response organizations at all levels. DoD is a supporting agency for each of the 15 Emergency Support Functions (ESFs) and each of the 6 Incident Annexes of the National Response Framework.

Question: What are the roles of the military commands?

Answer: The Commander, USNORTHCOM, is responsible for the command and control of assigned military forces supporting civil authorities in the lower 48 States and in Alaska, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The Commander, USPACOM, is responsible for the command and control of assigned military forces supporting civil authorities in Hawaii, Guam, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianna Islands, and insular territories throughout the Pacific Ocean.

Question: What role did DoD play in the response to Hurricane Katrina?

Answer: DoD's response to the catastrophic effects of Hurricane Katrina was the largest and most rapid military deployment within the United States since the Civil War. More than 72,000 Federal military and National Guard personnel were deployed in response to Hurricane Katrina — more than twice the number that deployed in response to Hurricane Andrew in 1992 (more than 29,000). These forces were directly employed in saving lives through extensive search and rescue, evacuation, and medical assistance. Other military capabilities employed during the response included 23 ships, 68 fixed-wing aircraft, 293 helicopters, amphibious landing craft, space-based imagery, night vision capabilities, port and waterway surveillance, mortuary teams, and large-scale construction support provided through the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and U.S. Navy Seabees. Additionally, nine DoD installations served as logistical staging areas for the delivery of supplies and as sites for Federal Medical Shelters. Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, was designated as the central collection point for foreign relief donations. During the response to Hurricane Katrina, DoD acted on more than 90 hurricane-related requests for assistance from civil authorities requiring a broad range of military capabilities. Some of these requests were approved orally by the Secretary of Defense or the Acting Deputy Secretary of Defense, and were in execution when the approval paperwork caught up later. DoD felt a sense of urgency and acted upon it, as provided for within the National Response Plan.

Question: What is DoD's role if there were a pandemic influenza outbreak within the United States?

Answer: Under The National Strategy for Pandemic Influenza, which was published in November 2005, DoD is responsible, specifically, for developing its own plan to implement this Strategy and, generally, for supporting civil authorities, when authorized by the President or the Secretary of Defense, in the implementation of this Strategy. In addition to the National Strategy, the Federal Government recently released an Implementation Plan for the National Strategy for Pandemic Influenza. This document provides a framework to the National Strategy, assigns preparedness and response tasks to Federal departments and agencies, and describes U.S. Government expectations of non-Federal entities, including State, local, and tribal governments, the private sector, international partners, and individuals. The Implementation Plan translates the National Strategy into over 300 tasks to achieve the goals of the National Strategy. Under the Implementation Plan, Federal departments and agencies, including DoD, focus on four Federal planning priorities:

  1. protection of the health and safety of personnel and resources;
  2. determination of essential functions and services and the maintenance of each;
  3. support the Federal Response to a Pandemic; and
  4. effective communications. DoD's Implementation Plan addresses each of the planning priorities, in alignment with the three pillars of the National Strategy.

The top priority within DoD is the protection of DoD forces, which are composed of the uniformed military, DoD civilians, and contractors performing critical roles, as well as the associated resources necessary to maintain the readiness of the Total Force. Of equal importance is our ability to execute our primary mission of the defense of our homeland. Priority consideration is also given to protecting the health of DoD beneficiaries and family members, who rely upon military treatment facilities and on private health care providers. In addition to the protection of DoD forces, DoD has a supporting role in the national and international response to a pandemic influenza. The National Strategy directs DoD, along with all other Federal departments and agencies, to examine ways to support a government-wide response to a pandemic. DoD is developing plans to utilize its medical surveillance and laboratory testing facilities abroad to provide early warning and tracking of a pandemic influenza. Potentially, the military could provide transportation of essential resources with its air and ground transportation assets. National Guard units and members — to whom the Posse Comitatus Act does not apply when in State Active Duty or Title 32 status — could provide security for the protection and distribution of pharmaceuticals. Another potential support role for DoD could be the provision of surge medical capability such as health and medical care providers.

Question:  What tasks will DoD perform in a pandemic influenza outbreak within the U.S.?

Answer: DoD has identified 19 critical tasks that the Department will perform to provide protection for its personnel, mission assurance, and support to civil authorities, both foreign and domestic, in response to a pandemic influenza outbreak. These tasks are already driving the shape and content of joint training, military exercises, and coordination with interagency partners. These tasks include:

  • Medical intelligence
  • Force Protection (including Force Health Protection)
  • Biosurveillance, disease detection, and informatio n sharing
  • Interagency planning support
  • Surge medical capability to assist civil authorities
  • Medical care to U.S. forces
  • Patient transport and strategic airlift
  • Installation support to civilian agencies
  • Bulk transport of pharmaceutical/vaccines/commodities
  • Security in support of pharmaceutical/vaccine production and distribution
  • Protect defense critical infrastructure
  • Communications support to civil authorities
  • Quarantine assistance to civil authorities
  • Military assistance for civil disturbances
  • Mission assurance: Defense Industrial Base
  • Mortuary affairs
  • Continuity of operations/government
  • Support to international allies and non-governmental organizations
  • Public affairs support to civil authorities

Additionally, the five geographic combatant commanders (U.S. Northern Command, U.S. Southern Command, U.S. Pacific Command, U.S. Central Command, and U.S. European Command) are developing more detailed plans to protect DoD personnel, ensure mission continuity, support local or host-nation authorities, and interagency partners. These commanders are synchronizing their plans at the regional level with our international partners, as well as with other Federal, State, and local authorities.

Question: What types of medical supplies and other assets will DoD be able to provide to State and local public health providers to help respond to a national medical emergency, such as a pandemic flu?

Answer: In accordance with Emergency Support Function Annex #8 (Public Health and Medical Services) of the National Response Plan, DoD may provide the following:

  • Medical equipment and supplies, including medical, diagnostic, and radiation-emitting devices, pharmaceuticals, and biologic products in support of immediate medical response operations and for restocking health care facilities in an area affected by a major disaster or emergency;
  • Available DoD medical supplies for distribution to mass care centers and medical care locations being operated for incident victims with reimbursement to DoD;
  • Available personnel to support inpatient hospital care and outpatient services to victims who become seriously ill or injured regardless of location (which may include mass care shelters);
  • Victim identification and mortuary services; establishing temporary morgue facilities; performing victim identification by fingerprint, forensic dental, and/or forensic pathology/anthropology methods; and processing, preparation, and disposition of remains;
  • Available DoD transportation services to evacuate and manage victims/patients from the patient collection point in or near the incident site to National Disaster Medical System (NDMS) patient reception areas;
  • Coordination of arrangements for the procurement and transportation of medical equipment and supplies;
  • Available logistical support to health/medical response operations;
  • Available medical personnel for casualty clearing/staging and other missions as needed, including aero-medical evacuation and medical treatment. Mobilizes available Reserve and National Guard medical units, when authorized and necessary to provide support;
  • Available military medical personnel to assist in the protection of public health (such as food, water, wastewater, solid waste disposal, vectors, hygiene, and other environmental conditions);
  • Defense Coordinating Officers, Emergency Preparedness Liaison Officers, and Joint Regional Medical Planners to provide evaluation and risk management support; Coordination of patient reception, tracking, and management to nearby NDMS non-Federal hospitals, Veterans Affairs hospitals, and DoD military treatment facilities that are available and can provide appropriate care; Available blood products in coordination with DHHS; and
  • DoD confirmatory laboratory testing support in coordination with DHHS.

Question: What is the role of the National Guard in a pandemic influenza outbreak within the U.S.?

Answer: When federalized, National Guard personnel support DoD assigned activities in support of the Federal Government response. When not federalized, National Guard personnel support the State governors in fulfilling the responsibilities of the States.

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Border Security

Question: What is DoD's role in the security of the U.S. borders?

Answer: In accordance with Section 202 of Title 6, U.S. Code, DHS is responsible for "[s]ecuring the borders, territorial waters, ports, terminals, waterways, and air, land, and sea transportation systems of the United States" and "[p]reventing the entry of terrorists and the instruments of terrorism into the United States." DoD's role in the execution of this responsibility, as noted earlier, is to provide support to DHS, when requested, appropriate, lawful, and approved by the President or the Secretary of Defense.

Question: How has DoD supported the security of the U.S. borders?

Answer: Since 1989, National Guard personnel have provided counter-drug support to law enforcement agencies such as the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection (CBP). This support has included: aerial reconnaissance; minor construction; tactical observation posts; training; intelligence analysis; linguist support; transportation; and military training exercises executed in vicinity of the border to provide terrain denial.

Additionally, Title 10 Federal military forces support the counter-drug effort, usually in the “detect” role in accordance with 10 U.S.C. §124. This support is conducted for individual missions only, and must be requested by and be in support of a domestic law enforcement agency.

DoD supports requests from DHS, the Department of Justice (DOJ), and the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Task Force Headquarters for unique military assistance such as reconnaissance (ground-based, aviation-based, and maritime), logistics, transportation, engineer support along the southwest border, as well as intelligence programs and training.

Since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, DoD has also engaged in a number of activities to assist civil authorities in improving the security of our borders, including:

  • March - August 2002. DoD mobilized some 1,600 National Guard personnel along the northern and southern borders to support the U.S. Customs Service, the Immigration and Naturalization Service, and the Border Patrol, in their heightened post-9/11 security posture.
  • October - November 2003. A Predator B Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), scheduled for future delivery to DoD, operated in support of DHS Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Operation SAFEGUARD, a humanitarian/law enforcement effort to protect the lives of illegal aliens and enforce immigration law during crossings along the Southwest border into the United States. Operation SAFEGUARD provided an opportunity for DoD to demonstrate UAV capabilities to border authorities. Operation SAFEGUARD also served to highlight the policy, legal, and infrastructure issues that must be examined in tandem with technology development. These include challenges associated with the use of UAVs in controlled domestic airspace as well as the extensive infrastructure (e.g., communications, exploitation tools, imagery analysts) required to process and exploit information collected by UAVs.
  • June - September 2004. DoD UAVs operated in support of the Arizona Border Control Initiative (ABCI), which sought to detect illegal entry and smuggling/drug activity along the Arizona - Mexico border, and to aid in the rescue of lost or injured persons.
  • November 2004 - January 2005:
    • JTF-N supported the DHS/CBP operation WINTER FREEZE, an operation to interdict suspected transnational threats along the U.S.-Canadian border in the Swanton and Buffalo sectors (New Hampshire, Vermont, and New York). The military provided aerial reconnaissance and interdiction sorties and augmented two Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and High-Yield Explosive (CBRNE) detection checkpoints.
    • Army Hunter UAVs flew sorties to detect illegal entry/drug activity along the Arizona - Mexico border in support of the ABCI.
    • June 2005. DoD supported a DHS bi-national interagency exercise, “Operation San Juan,” involving CBP and Royal Canadian Mounted Police activities along the northwest border in Washington state. DoD provided surveillance radars, ground sensors, and military personnel to operate them.
    • September 2005. DoD supported DHS/CBP by providing flight operations support at Fort Huachuca, Arizona, to UAV operations supporting counterterrorism border enforcement efforts.
    • October - November 2005. JTF-N supported DHS CBP's efforts to interdict transnational threats in the El Paso Sector by conducting multi-sensor operations (ground-based forward-looking infrared, tactical unmanned aerial vehicles, ground sensors, ground surveillance radars) in Hidalgo, Grant, Luna, and Dona Ana counties of New Mexico.
    • June 2006 - July 2008. At the direction of the President, DoD provided, on an immediate, short-term basis, National Guard personnel (6,000 from June 2006 - July 2007; 3,000 from July 2007 - July 2008) to augment and enhance DHS/CBP’s ability to execute its border security mission. In this operation — Operation JUMP START — National Guard personnel provided aviation, engineering, medical, entry identification, communications, vehicle maintenance, administrative, and other non-law enforcement support to DHS/CBP. In addition, the National Guard improved the Southwest border infrastructure by building more than 38 miles of fence, 96 miles of vehicle barrier, more than 19 miles of new all-weather road, and road repairs exceeding 700 miles.
    • July 2010 - Present. As part of his strategy to enhance security along the Southwest Border, the President agreed to the temporary use of up to 1,200 additional National Guard personnel, when required, in Arizona, California, New Mexico, and Texas to bridge to longer-term enhancements in border protection and law enforcement personnel from DHS and DOJ to target illicit networks’ trafficking in people, drugs, illegal weapons, money, and the violence associated with these legal activities. These additional National Guard personnel are providing criminal investigative analysts to DHS/ICE; ground surveillance (EITs) to support DHS/CBP’s Border Patrol; and command and control for participating National Guard personnel.

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DoD Domestic Preparedness Support Initiative

Question: What is the DoD Domestic Preparedness Support Initiative?

Answer: Section 1401 of the Bob Stump National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2003 (Public Law 107-314) required the Secretary of Defense to designate a DoD senior official to coordinate DoD efforts to identify, evaluate, deploy, and transfer DoD technologies and equipment to Federal, State, and local first responders technology, items, and equipment in support of homeland security. In concert with interagency partners at DHS and DOJ, the program aims to improve the efficiency, effectiveness, and consistency of these efforts.

Question: What technology has the DoD Domestic Preparedness Support Initiative actually transferred?

Answer: The DoD Domestic Preparedness Support Initiative facilitates and documents several efforts and works to expand public awareness of these efforts via outreach and communication initiatives. For example, the DoD logistics community transfers surplus items and equipment directly to participating states, which can also leverage the power of certain federal procurement contracts to get the best value for eligible purchases. In addition, DoD subject matter experts provide training and expertise directly to first responders in areas such as interoperable communications and chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear defense. Furthermore, DoD organizations that conduct research, development, test, and evaluation activities actually do the transfer of technology to organizations that serve the first responder community, including other research and technology centers, private sector technology developers and manufacturers, and educational institutions.

Question: What has worked? What are some success stories?

Answer: Over the years, there have been many success stories. Here are a few examples of capabilities developed with DoD support that are currently available to first responders (note: citation of these examples does not imply DoD endorsement of their civilian applications):

  • QuikClot and HemCon are two blood clotting (hemostatic) products that were developed with DoD assistance (QuikClot with Navy/Marine Corps sponsorship and HemCon with Army sponsorship). Both of these products are in use in the military and have saved lives on the battlefield. Both have been adapted for use by first responders and have stopped bleeding in emergency situations long enough for the patients to get to medical treatment.
  • The MIOX (Mixed Oxide) water purification technology produces a strong bleach-like decontaminant for water. MIOX was a commercial development whose miniaturization for field use was funded by DARPA. It is in use by the military in the field. It is also available for sale to the public and to first responders for water purification in emergency and disaster situations.
  • An enzyme-based decontaminant was developed for use by the military in decontaminating nerve agent “war gases.” It has now been adapted and is available as DEFENZ for use by first responders in decontaminating organo-phosphorous insecticides and, if necessary, chemical agents.

Question: What advantages does the DoD Domestic Preparedness Support Initiative provide to first responders?

Answer: The program can provide an avenue to leverage DoD research, inventories, and capabilities. For instance:

  • Select technology and equipment already in the DoD inventory are available to law enforcement agencies (https://pubweb.drms.dla.mil/cmis/) and firefighters (http://www.fs.fed.us/fire/partners/fepp/DODprogram/index.html).
  • Advanced technologies developed in DoD labs are often made available for licensing by commercial developers, which, in turn, frequently results in accelerating these technologies’ availability to the public.
  • DoD has programs specifically develop technologies that have dual-use (military and civilian) potential.
  • DoD test and evaluation programs and facilities (such as ranges, specialized test equipment, and Joint Capabilities Technology Demonstrations) prove the utility of technologies and equipment in environments and for applications that suit both warfighter and first responder missions.
  • DoD can specifically mature/advance development of technologies identified by first responders as valuable to their mission.
  • DoD cooperative research and development (R&D) agreements. DoD can enter into a cooperative R&D agreement with DHS, DOJ, other Federal agencies, State or local agencies, non-government organizations, and private sector enterprises to pursue specific projects.

Question: Does the DoD Domestic Preparedness Support Initiative provide funds to purchase technology or equipment for first responders?

Answer: No, the focus of the DoD Domestic Preparedness Support Initiative is on providing an avenue for first responders to take advantage of the opportunities available from DoD. Specific opportunities to acquire technology and equipment can be found on the Technology Transfer Program mainpage.

Question: What is "technology transfer"?

Answer: “Technology transfer” is the intentional provision of knowledge, expertise, facilities and equipment, and other resources for application to military and non-military systems. Organizations can transfer equipment, technical data, knowledge, expertise, or intellectual property. There are a number of vehicles through which we can accomplish tech transfer (equipment transfer, data exchange, license agreement, Cooperative Research and Development Agreements, loan, personnel exchange, and more). The DoD Domestic Preparedness Support Initiative facilitates this process for DoD by identifying first responder needs, finding potential answers for these needs in DoD equipment items/acquisition programs/R&D programs, and facilitating connections between the first responders and these programs.

Question: What is about Federal support for enhancement of State and local anti-terrorism response capabilities?

Answer: Section 803 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2004 (Public Law 108-136) required the Administrator for Federal Procurement Policy to establish a “program under which States and units of local government may procure through contracts entered into by the Department of Defense or the Department of Homeland Security anti-terrorism technologies or anti-terrorism services for the purpose of preventing, detecting, identifying, deterring, or recovering from acts of terrorism.” Under this program, DoD and DHS may, but are not required to, award contracts using the procedures established by the Administrator of General Services for the multiple awards schedule program of the General Services Administration.

Question: Is the program required by section 803 currently up and running?

Answer: No. Activation of the program will occur once the Office of Management and Budget has approved implementing instructions.

Question: Who is the DoD Domestic Preparedness Support Initiative team?

Answer: DoD’s Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense and Americas’ Security Affairs, DHS’s Science and Technology Directorate, and DOJ’s National Institute of Justice Science and Technology.

Question: Who actually does the identifying, evaluating, deploying, and transferal of technology and equipment?

Answer:

  • Identifying The DoD Domestic Preparedness Support Initiative team works with DHS, DOJ, and non-governmental organizations to identify needs. The team then attempts to find potential answers to these needs.
  • Evaluating Given the appropriate mechanism (CRADA, MOA, contract, etc.), DoD or other government labs can test candidate technologies, as can private sector facilities. Advanced Technology Demonstrations, Joint Concept Technology Demonstrations, and joint/interagency exercises often offer valuable opportunities to evaluate candidate technologies.
  • Deploying/Transferring Offices of Research and Technical Applications, as well as Research, Development, and Acquisition program managers.

Question: How can I learn what technologies are available?

Answer: There are several avenues open to discovering what technologies are available. Contact the Office of Research and Technical Applications at DoD laboratories and agencies. Browse DoD First Link which provides a service for linking first responder needs to available technology. Browse DoD TechLink and DoD TechMatch, which showcase available DoD technologies, many of which can be applied to increase first responder capabilities.

Question: Is DoD funded to pay for developing technology for first responders?

Answer: No, funding is provided to DoD by Congress to develop capabilities for DoD’s warfighting mission, including defense of the United States. While DoD does develop technologies that may also be of use to first responders—and, in fact, does purposely develop dual-use technologies—DoD is generally prohibited from developing capabilities exclusively for first responder use.

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DoD Protected Critical Infrastructure Information Program (PCII)

Question: What is the PCII Program?

Answer: The Protected Critical Infrastructure Information (PCII) Program, part of the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) National Protection and Programs Directorate, is a congressionally authorized information-protection program to enhance information sharing between the private sector and government. Qualifying information submitted to the government and validated as PCII is protected from public disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and similar State and local disclosure laws, and use in civil litigation. Federal, State, and local government analysts use PCII in pursuit of a more secure homeland, focusing primarily on:

  • Analyzing and securing critical infrastructure and protected systems;
  • Identifying vulnerabilities and developing risk assessments; and
  • Enhancing recovery preparedness measures.

PCII can be shared directly with the DHS-established PCII Program or with DHS field representatives and other Federal agencies designated to receive PCII by the PCII Program Manager.

General information about the PCII Program may be found at or request additional information through.

Question: What is the DoD PCII Program?

Answer: The DoD PCII Program is the means for DoD Components to gain access to PCII. It is established within the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense, Homeland Defense and Americas’ Security Affairs, in the Defense Critical Infrastructure Program (DCIP) Office. The DoD PCII Program Office (DoD PPO) is the sole DoD office authorized to implement, manage and oversee all DoD PCII activity. The DoD PPO will facilitate training, respond to questions about all aspects of and provide operating procedures for PCII.

Question: What protections are offered by the PCII Program?

Answer: Information designated as PCII is protected throughout its lifecycle. PCII Program safeguards ensure PCII is:

  • Accessed only by authorized and properly trained individuals;
  • Used appropriately for analysis of threats, vulnerabilities and other homeland security purposes;
  • Protected from disclosure under FOIA and similar State and local disclosure laws; Not used in civil litigation unless the submitter consents: and
  • Not used as the basis for regulatory action.

Question: What are the responsibilities of the PCII Program Office?

Answer: After checking to make sure information submission requirements are met, the PCII Program Office validates submitted information as PCII, and facilitates access to and safeguards PCII. Responsibilities also include: establishing guidelines for handling, using, and storing PCII; training users on safeguarding PCII; and accrediting government entities to handle PCII.

Question: What is Critical Infrastructure Information?

Answer: CII is information not customarily in the public domain, and related to the security of critical infrastructure or protected systems, including documents, records or other information concerning:

  • Actual, potential, or threatened interference with, attack on, compromise or incapacitation of critical infrastructure or protected systems by either physical or computer-based attack or other similar conduct that violates Federal, State, local, or tribal law, harms interstate commerce of the United States, or threatens public health or safety;
  • The ability of any critical infrastructure or protected system to resist such interference, compromise, or incapacitation; including any planned or past assessment, projection, or estimate of the vulnerability of critical infrastructure or a protected system, including security testing, risk evaluation thereto, risk management planning, or risk audit; and
  • Any planned or past operational problem or solution regarding critical infrastructure or protected systems, including repair, recovery, reconstruction, insurance, or continuity, to the extent it is related to such interference, compromise, or incapacitation.

For further information on CII, please see the Critical Infrastructure Information Act of 2002 (CII Act) and “Procedures for Handling Infrastructure Information; Final Rule” (title 6 CFR part 29).

Question: What are the requirements for accessing PCII?

Answer: PCII is made available only to those Federal, State and local government employees and their contractors who:

  • Are trained in the proper handling, use, and safeguarding of PCII;
  • Have homeland defense responsibilities as specified in the CII Act, the Final Rule; and policies and procedures issued by the PCII Program Office;
  • Have a need to know the specific information; and
  • Sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement (non-Federal employees).

In addition to these requirements, government contractors must modify relevant contracts to comply with requirements of the PCII Program. Although contract modification is not a prerequisite to accessing PCII; the contractor must contractually acknowledge its responsibilities with respect to PCII as soon as practicable. To avoid delayed or interrupted access to PCII, contact the DoD PCII Office at 703-602-5730, ext. 147 to learn more about contract modification.

Question: Do the same requirements apply to DoD access to PCII?

Answer: Yes. DoD PCII users must comply with the same requirements. Additionally, the DoD PPO, which oversees all DoD PCII activity, requires Components to contact it for training, which is a prerequisite for access. Completion of training, however, neither grants immediate nor automatic access to PCII.

Question: When would DoD authorized users require access to PCII?

Answer: Authorized users require PCII access only on a need-to-know basis for the specific PCII for purposes such as identifying critical infrastructure vulnerabilities, planning for prevention and incident responses, issuing alerts and warnings and responding to incidents. Access to PCII is governed by the CII Act, the Final Rule, and DoD and DHS PCII policy and procedural guidance.

Question: Are there penalties for intentionally mishandling PCII?

Answer: Yes. Recognizing that receipt of CII submissions from the private sector is contingent upon keeping submissions safe from unauthorized access, distribution, and misuse, the CII Act and the Final Rule provide for criminal and civil penalties to apply should there be any intentional mishandling of PCII.

All Federal, State and local government employees with access to PCII, including the PCII Program Manager, all PCII Program staff, PCII Officers and Deputy Officers, and all Designees of the PCII Program Manager share responsibility for ensuring that PCII is properly safeguarded in accordance with stringent procedures. Federal, State, and local government employees who do not follow safeguarding procedures may be subject to disciplinary action including criminal and civil penalties and loss of employment. State laws governing theft, conspiracy, and trade secrets may apply to government employees and contractors who intentionally mishandle PCII. The CII Act and Final Rule do not limit any enforcement mechanism.

Question: Are the penalties the same for DoD personnel for intentionally mishandling PCII?

Answer: Yes. To prevent mishandling, the DoD PCII Program Office will conduct audits and undertake other measures to ensure the appropriate handling of PCII.

Question: Who can submit information to the PCII Program Office?

Answer: Private sector companies, and State and local government offices with information about critical infrastructure that is not customarily in the public domain, as defined by the CII Act and the Final Rule, may provide such information to the PCII Program Office. The information must be submitted in good faith and not be submitted in place of compliance with a regulatory requirement. The information must also include the required statements. Entities that may submit information include, but are not limited to:

  • Private sector companies;
  • Information Sharing and Analysis Organizations;
  • Trade associations and
  • State and local government entities.

Question: Can information be submitted directly to DoD Components and other Federal entities and be protected under the PCII Program?

Answer: Under certain circumstances. DoD Components are to contact the DoD PCII Program Office for specific guidance regarding directly receiving PCII. The PCII Program Manager has discretion to declare certain categories of subject matter or types of information as categorically protected PCII and to set procedures for receiving and processing of such information. CII within a Categorical Inclusion Arrangement will be validated by the PCII Program Office, upon a DoD Component receiving it, provided the information includes Express and Certification Statements, and the PCII Program Office has pre-validated that category of information as PCII. An agreement must be executed between DHS and the Federal agency stating conditions and other terms before a Federal agency may receive categorically included PCII directly from the private sector, State or local government. Contact the DoD PCII Program Office for specific information regarding requirements for a Categorical Inclusion Arrangement.

Question: What must accompany the CII to qualify it for PCII protection?

Answer: Two items must be included with the information submitted for PCII protection:

  • An Express Statement, requesting the protections offered by the CII Act; and
  • A Certification Statement, that includes contact information from both the private sector company and the individual authorized to voluntarily submit the CII and a declaration that the information is not customarily in the public domain.
  • The DoD PCII Officer can provide Components with soft copies of the Express and Certification Statements for use. Contact information is 703-602-5760, ext. 147.

Question: When accompanied by an Express Statement and a signed Certification Statement, will the CII be granted the presumption of protection throughout the entire review and validation process?

Answer: Yes. However, if there is no Express Statement, the CII will be returned as it can not be protected from disclosure and use in civil litigation if there is no accompanying Express Statement. If the Certification Statement is incomplete, submitters will be asked to provide a complete Certification Statement within 30 calendar days of the receiving that request. If a completed Certification Statement is not received within 30 days of the request, the PCII Program Office will either return the information in accordance with the submitter’s written preference or destroy it in accordance with the Federal Records Act and DHS regulations.

Question: Is participation in the DoD PCII Program mandatory for DoD Components?

Answer: No. If a DoD component, however, requires access to PCII, then participation in the DoD PCII Program is the only way to gain access to PCII. Qualifications and training requirements must be met prior to access, and would-be users must have a need-to-know the requested PCII.

Question: Can DoD Components validate information received from the private sector as PCII?

Answer: No. Only the PCII Program may validate information as PCII. The PCII Program Office must make that determination before information may be protected as PCII. No information will have PCII protections if it is not validated by the PCII Program Office.

Question: Can CII in the possession of DOD Components be validated as PCII?

Answer: No. Only future information given by the private sector with the Express and Certification Statements attached will be considered for validation as PCII by the PCII Program Office.

If there is a need for a DoD Component to receive PCII directly from the private sector, then a special arrangement must be in place, referred to as a Categorical Inclusion Arrangement, prior to receiving the information. Contact the DoD PCII Officer at 703-602-5730, ext 147 for more information on a Categorical Inclusion.

Question: What types of information-sharing partnerships and programs can benefit from PCII protections (Current and Future)?

Answer: Information-sharing programs within DHS that have benefited from PCII protections include:

  • National Cyber Security Division’s United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) Secure Portal Submissions Capability,
  • Infrastructure Information Collection Division’s Risk Analysis and Management for Critical Asset Protection (RAMCAP) Program,
  • Constellation/Automated Critical Asset Management System (ACAMS),
  • Protective Security Coordination Division’s Chemical Comprehensive Review,
  • Site Assistance Visits (SAVs) and Buffer Zone Plans (BZPs).

Question: Where can I get more information on the DoD PCII program and how do I schedule training?

Answer: DoD PCII Program and training information can be gained from three sources:

  • Visit the DCIP public website under the PCII tab
  • Call the DoD PCII Program Office at 703-602-5730, ext. 147,
  • Email the DoD PCII Program.

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    Contact Information
    Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense and America's Security Affairs
    2600 Defense Pentagon
    Washington, D.C. 20301

    Contact the Department of Defense