Saturday, October 25th, 2014

Promises about Homeland Security on The Obameter

Ensure the Guard and Reserves can meet their homeland security missions

"The poor readiness of America's Guard and Reserve forces threatens our ability to respond to natural disasters or terrorist attacks at home. We saw this, sadly, after both Hurricane Katrina and the tornadoes in Kansas. Because of the depletion of its resources in Iraq, the National Guard is less ready today than it was on 9/11. Nearly 90 percent of units have serious equipment shortages; many have less than 1/3 of the equipment they require. A particular focus of Obama's plan will be to reverse the trend of "cross-leveling," the cannibalizing of soldiers and machines from units back home for missions abroad."

Allocate Homeland Security funding according to risk

"Direct our precious homeland security dollars according to risk, not as a form of general revenue sharing."

Create a real National Infrastructure Protection Plan

"The federal government's National Asset Database, which is supposed to guide homeland security priorities, lists 77,069 potential U.S. targets including petting zoos and popcorn factories. Experts say this database is relatively useless for any level of homeland security planning. Barack Obama's Department of Homeland Security will develop a meaningful critical infrastructure protection plan across the nation and will work with the private sector to ensure that all real targets are prepared for disasters both natural and man-made."

Establish regulations to secure chemical plants

"Barack Obama will establish a clear set of federal regulations that all plants must follow, including improving barriers, containment, mitigation, and safety training, and, where possible, using safer technology, such as less toxic chemicals."

Improve port security through better radiation detection

"Will redouble our efforts to develop technology that can detect radiation and determine the danger it poses, and he will work with the maritime transportation industry to integrate this technology into their operations so as to maximize security without causing economic disruption."

Prioritize security investments in refineries, pipelines and power grids

"Barack Obama will prioritize security investments in our refineries and pipelines and power grids."

Increase funding for local emergency planning

"Obama is committed not only to rolling back the funding cuts that have affected first responders, but also to increasing federal resources and logistic support to local emergency planning efforts."

Improve communications systems for first responders

"Barack Obama supports efforts to provide greater technical assistance to local and state first responders and dramatically increase funding for reliable, interoperable communications systems. He also supports a more rapid turnover of broadcast spectrum to first responders."

Phase out highly enriched uranium (HEU) from the civil sector

"HEU is not needed for the vast majority of civilian purposes and most reactors using HEU should be converted to operate on lowenriched fuel that cannot be used in nuclear weapons or shut down so that terrorists cannot get their hands on it. With Barack Obama and Joe Biden's leadership, the U.S. will lead the effort to remove HEU from vulnerable research reactor sites around the world, assist in the conversion process, give unneeded facilities incentives to shut down, enhance physical protection measures pending HEU removal, and blend down recovered civil HEU for use as power reactor fuel."

Expand federal bioforensics program for tracking biological weapons

"Barack Obama and Joe Biden will expand the U.S. government's bioforensics program for tracking the source of any biological weapon so that the U.S. will be able to rapidly identify any adversary who uses a biological weapon and respond surely and swiftly."

Create a national cyber adviser to coordinate security of electronic infrastructure

"Barack Obama and Joe Biden will declare the cyber infrastructure a strategic asset, vital to national security and the global economy, and develop and deploy systems to protect it. ... Barack Obama and Joe Biden will establish the position of national cyber advisor who will report directly to the president and will be responsible for coordinating federal agency efforts and development of national cyber policy."

Develop a comprehensive cyber security and response strategy

"Barack Obama and Joe Biden will ensure that his administration develops a Cyber Security Strategy that ensures that we have the ability to identify our attackers and a plan for how to respond that will be measured but effective."

Initiate a grant and training program for law enforcement to deter cyber crime

"Barack Obama and Joe Biden will also initiate a grant and training program to provide federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies the tools they need to detect and prosecute cyber crime."

Mandate standards for securing personal data

"The federal government must partner with industry and our citizens to secure personal data stored on government and private systems. An Obama administration will institute a common standard for securing such data across industries."

Secure the borders

Will support "additional personnel, infrastructure and technology on the border and at our ports of entry."

Improve emergency response plans

"Will further improve coordination between all levels of government, create better evacuation plan guidelines, ensure prompt federal assistance to emergency zones, and increase medical surge capacity."

Appoint experienced disaster official to head FEMA

"Will professionalize and depoliticize the appointment of FEMA's director. Like the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the FEMA Director will have a fixed term of office to insulate him or her from politics. The FEMA Director will report directly to President Obama, serve a six-year term and will have professional emergency management experience."

Direct rebuilding efforts from the White House after a catastrophe

"Immediately following a catastrophe, Barack Obama will appoint a Federal Coordinating Officer to direct reconstruction efforts. The job of the FCO and his or her staff will be to cut through bureaucratic obstacles, get federal agencies to work together and to coordinate efforts with local officials. Obama and Biden will ensure bipartisan staffing to ensure that politics do not override the real needs of the recovering community."

Create a national catastrophe insurance reserve

"Will create a National Catastrophe Insurance Reserve that would be funded by private insurers contributing a portion of the premiums they collect from policyholders. Such a framework would neither distort the insurance market nor discourage risk avoidance and risk mitigation investments because insurers would not be forced out of high-risk markets for fear of bankruptcy in the event of a disaster. With this program in place, disaster victims would no longer have to depend solely on taxpayerfunded federal disaster aid loans."

Make security part of new infrastructure design

"Will ensure that security is considered and built into the design of new infrastructure, so that our critical assets are protected from the start and more resilient to naturally-occurring and deliberate threats throughout their life-cycle."