Homeland Security Acting Secretary McAleenan Visits the National Vetting Governance Board to Commend Interagency Cooperation

WASHINGTON (STL.News) – Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin K. McAleenan visited the National Vetting Governance Board on Friday to congratulate and thank representatives from multiple agencies for their work on standing up the new National Vetting Center (NVC).

In attendance were members from the Department of Justice, Department of State, Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, along with several representatives from the Intelligence Community (IC).

“Led by DHS, the National Vetting Center is an essential and long-awaited component of the U.S. government’s national vetting enterprise,” Acting Secretary McAleenan said.  “The NVC fills a critical need to improve how federal officials identify individuals who may present a threat to national security, border security, homeland security, or public safety.  The NVC is just another step in realizing the 9/11 Commission’s recommendations regarding the need for interagency collaboration to ‘connect the dots’ and make more informed decisions about threats to the United States.”

The NVC strengthens, simplifies, and streamlines the complex way intelligence and law enforcement information is used to inform operational decisions, allowing agencies to contribute their unique information while complying with applicable law and policy and maintaining robust privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties protections.  Furthermore, the NVC’s technology process allows for information held by national security partners to be checked before the travel benefit is issued, ensuring we keep potential threats away from our borders.

The Acting Secretary expressed gratitude to the group, highlighting the immediate impact on the of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)’s mission.  “Through the NVC, CBP can now receive near-real time responses from national security partners for more than 35,000 Electronic System for Travel Authorization applications each day.”

However, he stressed that while DHS is tasked with managing the NVC, the NVC process that has been designed is a resource for the entire government and will support additional vetting programs in the future.

National Security Presidential Memorandum-9, signed Feb. 6, 2018, called for the establishment of the NVC.  The Memorandum also directed the creation of an Intelligence Community Support Element, which facilitates, guides, and coordinates all IC efforts to use classified intelligence and other relevant information within IC holdings in direct support of the NVC.  The Center officially began initial operations in December 2018 and currently supports the vetting of visa waiver travelers.