Homeland Security

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As a former state and federal prosecutor, Kathleen worked throughout her career to show that law enforcement can be tougher and smarter – matching aggressive enforcement with innovative crime-reduction strategies, utilizing new technologies and intelligence-driven investigations, and forming strong community partnerships to help prevent crime.

In Congress, protecting our country remains Kathleen’s top priority, and as a member of the Homeland Security Committee, she is a vocal advocate for a tougher and smarter approach to fighting terrorism and protecting our country. Kathleen knows we must be prepared to do whatever it takes to defeat anyone who threatens the American people and our interests and allies abroad, and we must do so in the smartest way possible – utilizing advanced technology and intelligence tools to target and attack our enemies, supporting our international partners in their efforts to combat terrorists, and developing innovative strategies for countering radicalization around the world.


As the top Democrat on the Transportation Security Subcommittee, Kathleen is a leader in the effort to strengthen the security of our nation’s aviation and ground transportation sectors, which are and will always be top targets for terrorists.

Enhanced screening for airport workers: After several high-profile incidents in which airport and airline workers smuggled weapons, drugs and other dangerous items past airport security and onto commercial flights, Kathleen and Subcommittee Chairman John Katko (R-NY) introduced H.R. 3102, the Airport Access Control Security Improvement Act of 2015, which streamlines and strengthens TSA’s vetting and screening procedures for airport and airline employees. The bill passed in the House on October 6, 2015.

Maintaining TSA Screening Equipment: In May, 2015, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Inspector General issued a report that found that TSA’s failure to maintain sensitive screening technology threatened the life of the equipment, which could force TSA to rely on less effective equipment, creating significant security risks. In light of this report, Kathleen authored H.R. 2770, the Keeping Our Travelers Safe and Secure Act, which TSA to develop and implement a comprehensive preventive maintenance process for airport screening equipment, including specific maintenance schedules, guidance for TSA personnel and contractors on how to conduct and document maintenance actions, mechanisms to ensure compliance, and penalties for noncompliance. The bill passed in the House on July 27, 2015 with broad bipartisan support.

Raising Awareness on Chinese State-Owned Rail car Manufacturer: In May 2019, Kathleen led a New York Delegation letter to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) expressing concerns over a Chinese state-owned company’s plan to design a new set of subway cars. Over the past five years, a Chinese state-owned enterprise has won four major contracts to build metro cars for transit systems across the United States. These rail cars would include modern train control technology, Wi-Fi, and other systems that could be susceptible to cyber-attack, hacking, or left vulnerable to backdoors in key systems.  Kathleen sent specific questions to the MTA regarding the agency's cybersecurity protocols and whether it has conducted a threat assessment of these companies. With millions of passengers riding on the New York City Subway system every day, it is important that we take steps to ensure the integrity of our systems and mitigate any cyber risks before attacks happen.

Kathleen knows that climate change and our dependence on fossil fuels are not only threats to our environment and public health – they’re threats to our national security. Our military leaders aren’t waiting around for politicians to stop debating whether or not climate change is real – they know it’s real, and they’re taking action, leading the transition towards alternative energy sources and more diverse, more resilient power grids. Right now, our dependence on fossil fuels places an enormous burden on our servicemembers operating around the world. American troops on the ground are forced to spend massive amounts of time, effort and resources delivering, retrieving and protecting fuel – and that leaves them in danger. In the Iraq War, between 2003 and 2007, one out of eight U.S. Army casualties was killed while protecting fuel convoys.

That’s the burden that climate change and fossil fuel dependence are imposing on our military, and it’s only going to get heavier as fossil fuel emissions continue to lead to rising sea levels and more frequent, more intense extreme weather events. When Superstorm Sandy struck Long Island, we got a glimpse of the extreme weather events that we’ll see more frequently if we fail to take action to combat climate change. We saw the vulnerabilities of our power grid and critical infrastructure, and we saw how the military responds to help recover from such events. And if climate change continues at its current pace, our military will be forced to devote more and more people, more and more money, and more and more time to assist with recovery efforts – leaving them with fewer resources to protect our country from all the other threats to our national security. That’s why Kathleen is working to raise awareness of the national security risks of climate change so that we follow the military’s lead and take a unified, comprehensive approach to developing renewable energy sources and clean technology.

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