An Address by DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano on the State of our Homeland Security


On Thursday, January 27, 2011, the Homeland Security Policy Institute hosted a Policy and Research Forum featuring the Hon. Janet Napolitano, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Secretary Napolitano announced that the DHS will discontinue the color-coded alerts of the Homeland Security Advisory System (HSAS) in favor of a new system, the National Terrorism Advisory System (NTAS) that will more effectively communicate information about terrorist threats by providing timely, detailed information to the public, government agencies, first responders, airports and other transportation hubs, and the private sector. The Secretary also called upon students to apply their skills in service to their country as the next generation of homeland security leaders.

Introduction By:

Steven Knapp, President, The George Washington University

Steven Knapp became the sixteenth president of The George Washington University in August 2007. His priorities include enhancing the university’s partnerships with neighboring institutions, expanding the scope of its research, strengthening its worldwide community of alumni, enlarging its students’ opportunities for public service, and leading its transformation into a model of urban sustainability.

Moderated By:

Frank Cilluffo, Director, Homeland Security Policy Institute

Frank J. Cilluffo, an Associate Vice President at The George Washington University leads GW's homeland security efforts on policy, research, education, and training. Cilluffo directs the multi-disciplinary Homeland Security Policy Institute, a nonpartisan “think and do tank” that builds bridges between theory and practice to advance homeland security through a multi and interdisciplinary approach.

Speaker Biography

Janet Napolitano, Secretary, U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Janet Napolitano is the third Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security and is leading our nation's collective efforts to secure our country from the threats we face - from terrorism to natural disasters.

To counter the threat of terrorism, Napolitano has forged new partnerships with international allies, and expanded information sharing with federal, state and local law enforcement - building a collaborative effort to detect and disrupt threats early on.

She has initiated a new, more strategic course to strengthen security along our southwest border, deploying additional personnel and advanced technology, while working closely with Mexico to combat violent international drug cartels - resulting in increased seizures of illegal contraband along the border and throughout our country's interior.

Napolitano also has forged a smart and effective approach to enforcing our immigration laws and prioritizing public safety while targeting criminal aliens and aggressively pursuing employers that knowingly take advantage of illegal labor.

She has strengthened the nation's ability to prepare for, respond to and recover from disasters by cutting through red tape and expediting decision-making along the Gulf Coast, providing new resources to build resilient communities and bolster their response capabilities, and calling on all Americans to play a role in the shared responsibility of making our homeland secure.

In each of these areas - counterterrorism; border security; immigration enforcement; and disaster preparedness, response and recovery - Napolitano is building upon the skills and resources of this young department by deploying the best that science and technology have to offer; reinvigorating partnerships with state, local and tribal governments and the private sector - our nation's first detectors and first responders; and implementing a bold Efficiency Review that is making the Department a leaner, smarter agency better equipped to protect the nation.

Prior to becoming Secretary, Napolitano was in her second term as Governor of Arizona and was recognized as a national leader on homeland security, border security and immigration. She was the first woman to chair the National Governors Association and was named one of the top five governors in the country by Time Magazine. Napolitano was also the first female Attorney General of Arizona and served as U.S. Attorney for the District of Arizona.

Napolitano was born in New York City and grew up in Pittsburgh, Penn., and Albuquerque, N.M. She graduated from Santa Clara University, where she won a Truman Scholarship and was the university's first female valedictorian, and received her Juris Doctor from the University of Virginia School of Law. Before entering public office, Napolitano served as a clerk for Judge Mary M. Schroeder on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and practiced law in Phoenix at the firm of Lewis and Roca.


Aloise, Eugene. (2010) "Nuclear Terrorism: Strengthening Our Domestic Defenses, Part I." Testimony. Statement to the U.S. Senate, Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs. Washington, DC; United States Senate

Bergen, Peter and Bruce Hoffman. (2010) "Assessing the Terrorist Threat." Washington, DC; Bipartisan Policy Center

Cilluffo, Frank J., Jeffrey B. Cozzens, and Magnus Ranstorp. (2010) "Foreign Fighters: Trends, Trajectories & Conflict Zones." Report. Washington, DC; Homeland Security Policy Institute

Homeland Security Newswire. (2011) "Napolitano says Israeli-style security is not suitable for U.S." Washington, DC; News Wire Publications

Leiter, Michael E. (2010) "Nine Years After 9/11: Confronting the Terrorist Threat to the Homeland." Testimony. Statement to the U.S. Senate, Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs. Washington, DC; United States Senate

Napolitano, Janet A. (2010) "Nine Years After 9/11: Confronting the Terrorist Threat to the Homeland." Testimony. Statement to the U.S. Senate, Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs. Washington, DC; United States Senate

Napolitano, Janet A. (2010) "Remarks by Secretary Napolitano at the Atlantic's Cybersecurity Forum." Remarks. Washington, DC; National Press Club

U.S. Department of Homeland Security. (2010) "Quadrennial Homeland Security Review Report: A Strategic Framework for a Secure Homeland." Report. Washington, DC

U.S. Senate, Select Committee on Intelligence. (2010) "Current and Projected National Security Threats to the United States." Hearing. Washington, DC; United States Senate

About HSPI's Policy & Research Forum Series

HSPI's Policy & Research Forum Series spotlights cutting-edge security policy solutions and innovative research. The Series is designed to provide thought leaders in the United States and abroad with a uniquely constructive venue in which to discuss current and future security issues and challenges.