Security (S&B/CBRNE) Magazine

SUM 2016

Security & Border Protection and CST & CBRNE Source Book, published jointly, concentrate on WMD response, NGB training, counterterrorism, and border security

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Page 29 of 35 28 | S&BP and CST & CBRNE l Summer 2016 Hill Perspective: Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs S&BP: What in particular motivated you to want to be on the Homeland Security Committee? Sen. Peters: As a U.S. Senator, one of my top priorities is to keep Americans safe from the evolving threats against our nation, and that's why I'm pleased to serve on the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. Through my work on the Committee, I've been able to better assess the extent of threats to our nation's homeland ranging from cyber-attacks to lone-wolf terrorism, as well as efforts to mitigate our security vulnerabilities. As a former Lt. Commander in the U.S. Navy Reserve, I am committed to supporting our military and law enforcement agencies as they work to protect our country from dangers at home and abroad. S&BP: Please discuss in detail your proposed Tunnel Amendment to the 2015 NDAA. Sen. Peters: Last year, President Obama signed into law a bipartisan amendment I introduced with Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) authorizing joint U.S.-Israel research on anti-tunnel defense. Israel is our closest ally in the Middle East and a long-standing democracy in a region rife with instability. Our amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act will further promote cooperation between Israel and the U.S. in the research, development and testing of technology to better detect and destroy underground tunnels used for violent attacks and illegal activity. Israel's security is constantly under threat from terrorist groups, including Hamas and Hezbollah, which utilize tunnels to launch attacks, smuggle weapons and kidnap Israelis. Boosting anti-tunnel defense collaboration will help Israel address these threats and protect American assets abroad, including our diplomatic and military facilities and personnel. This collaboration will also help the U.S. Border Patrol and other law enforcement personnel combat drug smugglers and human traffickers operating in tunnels along America's Southern border. Earlier this year, federal agents discovered a tunnel over 800 yards long, where they found over 2,000 pounds of cocaine and over 11,000 pounds of marijuana and made three arrests. By boosting our country's ability to identify and eliminate these tunnels where terrorists and criminals are operating, we can better protect our Southern border while further solidifying our alliance with our closest ally in the Middle East. S&BP: How have your experiences on the Homeland Security Committee changed your thinking in proposing new legislation to protect America's borders? Sen. Peters: While extremists set on committing heinous acts of terrorism continually target America and our allies, one thing that keeps me up at night is the danger posed by cyber attacks - from intellectual property theft to data breaches and strikes on our critical infrastructure and financial institutions. We have already seen cyber attacks that compromised the sensitive information of millions of Americans, including federal agencies such as the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and the IRS, and major businesses such as Sony and Target. And allegations of Iranian hackers obtaining access to controls of a dam in New York show the vulnerabilities of our domestic infrastructure. Despite the far-reaching consequences of a cyber attack, state and local governments vary widely in their abilities to respond to and prevent attacks. I introduced the State and Local Cyber Protection Act with Senator David Perdue (R-GA) to help address these disparities and improve coordination of cybersecurity efforts between state and local governments and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Specifically, my bill requires DHS's National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center (NCCIC) to assist state, local and tribal governments in identifying cyber vulnerabilities, implementing protection measures, providing technical assistance and personnel training, and developing policies and procedures consistent with best practices and international standards developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology. S&BP spoke with U.S. Senator Gary Peters, a member of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, regarding efforts to provide enhanced oversight at the nation's borders in the face of increasing border security challenges such as refugee migration and human trafficking at home and abroad. Securing the Homeland

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