The U.S. House of Representatives passed four bipartisan homeland security measures. These bills address the needs of cities seeking to preserve homeland security capabilities after they stop receiving homeland security grants, seek to ensure DHS law enforcement training programs are accredited, authorize cybersecurity education and training partnerships to support state and local governments, and improve the status of ICE officers in a Native American unit called the “Shadow Wolves”.
“At a time when there is so much division in this body, I am pleased that the House came together in a bipartisan way to approve homeland security measures that seek to help cities who suddenly find themselves without the resources to maintain capabilities achieved with DHS grants, improve the quality of training for DHS officers, ensure equitable treatment for Native American officers serving in ICE, and help States secure needed cybersecurity education and training. Given the complex and dynamic terrorism threat landscape – which includes constantly evolving cyber threats – I commend Congresswoman Demings for her steadfast commitment to ensuring first responders are prepared,” said House Homeland Security Chairman Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS). “And with the passage of the ‘Homeland Security Capabilities Preservation Act,’ we are one step closer to helping more communities stay prepared. I look forward to working with my colleagues in the Senate to ensure that all four bills become law.”
The four bipartisan bills that passed the House were:
The Homeland Security Capabilities Preservation Act (H.R. 5615) was introduced by Congresswoman Val Demings (D-FL) and passed by voice vote on March 7. This bill would direct DHS to develop a plan to provide bridge funding to urban areas that had developed homeland security capabilities with prior Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) funding but no longer participate in the program and need such funding to transition the costs of preserving such capabilities into their budgets.
The DHS Basic Training Accreditation Improvement Act of 2021 (H.R. 5616) was introduced by Congresswoman Val Demings (D-FL) and passed by a vote of 390-33 on March 7. This bill would require that the Department to prioritize ensuring that the basic law enforcement training programs for new officers and agents hired within DHS are accredited.
The National Cybersecurity Preparedness Consortium Act of 2021 (S. 658) was introduced by Senators John Cornyn (R-TX) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and passed by a vote of 403-19 on March 7. As amended by Chairman Thompson, the bill authorizes DHS to partner with one or more consortia of primarily nonprofit entities to assist in providing services, education, and training in support of cybersecurity preparedness for State, local, tribal, and territorial governments.
The Shadow Wolves Enhancement Act (H.R. 5681) was introduced by Ranking Member John Katko (R-NY) and passed with a vote of 387-33 on March 8. This bill would ensure that Native American officers serving in ICE Shadow Wolves tactical patrol units operating in the Tohono O’odham Nation have potential for career advancement by converting these officers to ICE Special Agents upon completion of special agent training requirements.