This week, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)’s Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad F. Wolf released a threat assessment report: Homeland Threat Assessment (HTA) that details the various threats that DHS is tracking, based on intelligence and operational components. DHS is following through on its promise to provide an annual report that identified the threats that the United States is facing, with a goal of informing leaders and the general public. During the month of CISA’s National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, this report particularly calls out various cyber threats to the U.S.
2020 Homeland Security Threat Assessment Findings of Note
The key areas that the report focuses on are the following:
- Cyber threats to the Homeland from both nation-states and non-state actors will remain acute – and will likely grow;
- The COVID-19 pandemic is creating new opportunities for the United States’ economic competitors to exploit the American people;
- China, Russia, and Iran may seek to use cyber capabilities to compromise or disrupt critical infrastructure used to support the 2020 elections and may also use influence measures in an attempt to sway the preferences and perceptions of U.S. voters;
- Ideologically motivated lone offenders and small groups will pose the greatest terrorist threat to the Homeland, with Domestic Violent Extremists presenting the most persistent and lethal threat;
- Transnational criminal organizations will continue to be an acute and devastating threat undermining public health and safety in the Homeland and a significant threat to U.S. national security with Mexico-based cartels posing the greatest TCO threat to the Homeland;
- The duration and severity of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States and within Central and South America and the Caribbean will shape migration to the United States’ Southwest Border, exacerbating the underlying economic and political conditions in the region. As COVID-19-related restrictions on mobility ease, we expect to see increased migration flow to pre-pandemic levels; and,
- Natural disasters continue to pose a threat to the life and safety of Americans while also impacting local and national economies.
Thoughts From Acting Secretary of DHS
“This HTA is as close as the American people will get to seeing and understanding the information that I see as Acting Secretary and that our employees see in their national security missions. As you read through the HTA you should have faith in knowing that these threats were identified using the best intelligence, operational information, and employee knowledge available to the Department,” said Acting Secretary Chad F. Wolf. “When the American people read this HTA they will be more aware of the traditional threats facing the Homeland like terrorism and organized crime. However, I think they will also realize that we face a significant threat in the Homeland from nation-states like China, Russia, and Iran.”