Security (S&B/CBRNE) Magazine

Spring 2017

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

First elected in 2016, Congressman Mike Gallagher represents Wisconsin's 8th District in the U.S. House of Representatives. Mike is a 7th generation Wisconsin native, born and raised in Green Bay. Mike joined the United States Marine Corps the day he gradu- ated from college and served for seven years on active duty as a Counterintelligence/Human Intelligence Officer and Regional Affairs Officer for the Middle East/North Africa. He deployed twice to Al Anbar Province, Iraq as a commander of intelligence teams, served on General Petraeus's Central Command Assessment Team in the Middle East, and worked for three years in the intelligence community, including tours at the National Counterterrorism Center and the Drug Enforcement Agency. Mike also served as the lead Republican staffer for Middle East, North Africa and Counterter- rorism on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Prior to taking office, Mike worked in the private sector at a global energy and sup- ply chain management company in Green Bay. Mike currently serves on the House Armed Services Committee, where he is a member of the Seapower and Projection Forces, as well as the Readiness Subcommittees. He also serves on the Home- land Security Committee, where he is a member of the Counterter- rorism and Intelligence (CTI) and Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Protection (CIP) Subcommittees. Interview conducted by S&BP Editor Kevin Hunter JOINT COOPERATION TO MEET THE THREAT S&BP: Please speak to factors that created fertile ground for a counterterrorism task force. Rep. Gallagher: The threat of terrorist infiltration into the United States is real; the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has planned, conducted, or inspired more than 180 plots against the West, and America has been the number-one target. Terrorist groups like ISIS have exploited refugee flows to send operatives to strike the West, such as in Paris in late 2015. That same year, the National Counterterrorism Center reported to the Committee that it had identified individuals with ties to terrorist groups in Syria attempting to gain entry to the U.S. through our nation's refugee program. This is not a new problem, but it is evolving, and we must address it in the current terror threat landscape. All of the terrorists who attacked the United States on Septem- ber 11, 2001 entered legally using non-immigrant visas—as tourists, businessmen, or students. Some of them even overstayed their visas before killing thousands on that fateful day. One of the attackers who killed 14 people in San Bernardino, Cali- fornia in 2015 entered the homeland using a "fiancée visa." And ISIS has threatened to use our porous southern border to smuggle a weapon of mass destruction into the country. All of these threats highlight how critical it is to identify and stop terrorists before they pass through our borders. Although we have made significant progress since 9/11, gaps remain in our vetting procedures. A recent review by the Homeland Security Committee showed that the Department has made significant strides in making these screening databases more accessible and integrated, especially through its Data Framework initiative. I have concerns, however, that not everyone in the government actually has full access to all of the counterterrorism information that they are legally entitled to receive. These national security issues require bipartisan solutions to secure our country and citizens. Last Congress, the Committee launched a bipartisan Task Force on Combatting Terrorist and Foreign Fighter Travel which produced more than 50 recommendations to safeguard our homeland. The Committee has made it a priority to introduce legislation to combat these gaps in our security. We have come a long way in improving the screening of individu- als attempting to enter the United States, but we must never become content regarding the safety of our homeland. This task force seeks to build off the Homeland Security Committee's previous successes and better protect our nation. Mike Gallagher (R-WI) Wisconsin 8 th District Homeland Security Committee and Committee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence (CTI) VIEW FROM THE HILL 28 | S&BP and CST & CBRNE | Spring 2017

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