the WHITE HOUSEPresident Barack Obama

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Homeland Security

The President is committed to securing the homeland against 21st century threats by preventing terrorist attacks and other threats against our homeland, preparing and planning for emergencies, and investing in strong response and recovery capabilities. 


Guiding Principles

The President’s highest priority is to keep the American people safe. He is committed to ensuring the United States is true to our values and ideals while also protecting the American people. The President is committed to securing the homeland against 21st century threats by preventing terrorist attacks and other threats against our homeland, preparing and planning for emergencies, and investing in strong response and recovery capabilities. We will help ensure that the Federal Government works with states and local governments, and the private sector as close partners in a national approach to prevention, mitigation, and response.

The National Security Strategy, released May 27, 2010, lays out a strategic approach for advancing American interests, including the security of the American people, a growing U.S. economy, support for our values, and an international order that can address 21st century challenges.

Defeat Terrorism Worldwide

Administration also intends to provide $5 billion in assistance through the Shared Security Partnership over the next several years to enhance the ability of our partners to improve their own security and work with us to defeat terrorism worldwide.

Strengthen Our Bio and Nuclear Security

Attacks using improvised nuclear devices or biological weapons, as well as outbreaks of a pandemic disease, pose a serious and increasing national security risk, We will focus on reducing the risk of these high-consequence, nontraditional threats:

  • Ensuring that decision-makers have the tools they need to manage disease outbreaks by linking health care providers, hospitals, and public health agencies. By building on America's unparalleled talent and through international partnerships, we can create new drugs, vaccines, and diagnostic tests, and manufacture them more quickly and efficiently.
  • Strengthening our nuclear security by enhancing our nuclear detection architecture and ensuring that our own nuclear materials are secure. By establishing well-planned, well-rehearsed, plans for coordinated response, we will also ensure a capability that can dramatically diminish the consequences of chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear incidents.

Improve Intelligence Capacity and Information Sharing

Gathering, analyzing, and effectively sharing intelligence is vital to the security of the United States. In order to prevent threats, including those from terrorism, we will strengthen intelligence collection to identify and interdict those who intend to do us harm. The information we collect must be analyzed as well as shared, and we must invest in our analytic capabilities and our capacity to share intelligence across all levels of government. As we grow our intelligence capabilities, the President is also committed to strengthening efforts to protect the privacy and civil rights of all Americans.

Ensuring a Secure Global Digital Information and Communications Infrastructure

The United States is an increasingly digital nation where the strength and vitality of our economy, infrastructure, public safety, and national security have been built on the foundation of cyberspace. Despite all of our efforts, our global digital infrastructure, based largely upon the Internet, is not secure or resilient enough today and future purposes. Effectively protecting cyberspace requires strong vision and leadership and will require changes in policy, technology, education, and perhaps law.

  • Soon after taking office, the President called for a comprehensive review of the security and resiliency of the global digital infrastructure, a top priority in his administration.
  • By harnessing the efforts of all parts of the U.S. Government in partnership with academia, the private sector, the civil liberties community, international partners, the Congress and state and local governments, the United States will continue to innovate and adopt cutting edge technology, while enhancing national security and the global economy.

Promote the Resiliency of our Physical and Social Infrastructure

Ensuring the resilience of our critical infrastructure is vital to homeland security. Working with the private sector and government partners at all levels will develop an effective, holistic, critical infrastructure protection and resiliency plan that centers on investments in business, technology, civil society, government, and education. We will invest in our Nation's most pressing short and long-term infrastructure needs, including modernizing our electrical grid; upgrading our highway, rail, maritime, and aviation infrastructure; enhancing security within our chemical and nuclear sectors; and safeguarding the public transportation systems that Americans use every day.

Pursue Comprehensive Transborder Security

To address transnational threats effectively, we must take a comprehensive approach to securing our borders, including working with international partners, state and local governments, and the private sector. The President supports efforts to develop and deploy technology to maximize port security without causing economic disruption, and enhancing the security of key transportation networks—including surface, air, and maritime networks—that connect our nation and the world. However, we must also work to address issues such as immigration that are directly related to our ability to effectively secure our borders.

Ensure Effective Incident Management

The Obama Administration has already effectively managed several domestic events, including severe winter ice storms throughout the Midwest and record flooding in North Dakota and Minnesota. Our goal is to improve coordination and to actively listen to the concerns and priorities at all levels of government. In doing so, we can create better evacuation planning guidelines, increase medical surge capacity, and increase Federal resources and logistics to better support local emergency planning efforts. Additionally, we will develop detailed interagency contingency plans for high-risk attack and disaster scenarios and test these plans through realistic exercises. Finally, we support efforts to provide greater technical assistance to local and state first responders and dramatically increase funding for reliable, interoperable communications systems.