By Secretary Janet Napolitano
A decade has now passed since the tragic attacks of 9/11, when terrorists killed nearly 3,000 innocent men, women, and children from 90 different countries. Ten years later, there is no question that our country is stronger and more secure.
Working with law enforcement, first responders, private sector and international partners, and communities across the nation, we have built and strengthened a homeland security “enterprise” to address evolving threats, minimize risks, and maximize our ability to respond and recover from disasters of all kinds.
A key part of our work has been making sure that we get information, tools, and resources out of Washington, DC and into the hands of men and women on the frontlines.
For this reason, we have supported the creation of 72 state and local “fusion centers” across the country to serve as focal points where information about threats can be gathered, analyzed, and shared among federal, state, local, tribal, territorial, and private sector partners.
We have strengthened the Nationwide Suspicious Activity Reporting Initiative, which trains state and local law enforcement to recognize and report terrorism and crime indicators.
We have expanded the “If You See Something, Say Something™” campaign, a simple, effective program that empowers all Americans to play a role in protecting our homeland by reporting suspicious activity to the authorities.
This year, we also launched a new National Terrorism Advisory System, or NTAS, to provide real time information to the public about specific and credible threats and recommended security measures, replacing the old system of color-coded alerts.
Because of these efforts, we are a stronger nation than we were on 9/11. It is a testament to the hard work of many dedicated individuals working across government, in our states and communities, in the private sector, and overseas.
While we are safer and more secure than we were ten years ago, we know serious threats remain. Today, as we honor those we lost on 9/11, we also rededicate ourselves to the mission of protecting the United States.
We often say that homeland security begins with hometown security. All of us have a role to play in keeping our families, communities, and our nation safe, secure, and resilient. Thank you for continuing to do your part.