Successful bipartisan efforts help revive Homeland Security Academic Advisory Council: Rep. Krishnamoorthi

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Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi responding on Fox News on March 1, 2022 State of the Union speech by President Biden. Photo: videograb Twitter @CongressmanRaja

According to Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Illinois, his bipartisan legislative effort has led to the Department of Homeland Security re-establishing the Homeland Security Academic Advisory Council (HSAAC), a council for Homeland Security officials to engage with higher education representatives.

In 2020, Rep. Krishnamoorthi and Congressman Ralph Norman, R-South Carolina, led a letter to the Homeland Security Subcommittee of the Appropriations Committee to include the establishment of the HSAAC, which is based on their Homeland Security Higher Education Advisory Council Act alongside Senator Dick Durbin, in the report language for the end of year appropriations bill.

“Their successful congressional efforts to re-establish the HSAAC will be crucial in protecting U.S. national security in higher education establishments, especially in light of the developing situation and security risks involved with Russia invading Ukraine,” the press release said.

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“Last Congress, I proudly introduced the bipartisan and bicameral Homeland Security Higher Education Advisory Council Act with Senator Dick Durbin and Congressman Ralph Norman to establish this important council, and we successfully passed the key components of this legislation in the FY21 Appropriations Bill,” said Congressman Krishnamoorthi. “HSAAC was dissolved at a precarious time when the threat of cyberattacks and intellectual property theft at academic and research institutions were on the rise. Today, we celebrate the formation of this critical body which will serve an integral role in increasing the long-term national security of the United States by forming lasting partnerships between academic and national security officials.”

“For almost two years, Rep. Krishnamoorthi and I have pressed the Department of Homeland Security to reestablish its Academic Advisory Council. This endeavor represents an important pipeline between DHS and our nation’s academic institutions, providing intelligence and resources that could be critical from a homeland security standpoint. I am pleased DHS has finally taken action on this front,” said Rep. Norman.

University of Illinois System President Tim Killeen and Ted Mitchell, president of the American Council on Education lauded Krishnamoorthi’s efforts, as did other top education sector leaders. .

The HSAAC originally formed in 2012 as a council for Homeland Security officials to engage with higher education representatives on issues around protecting academic research, campus and community resiliency, security and preparedness, and cybersecurity. It was dissolved in October of 2019 by the previous Administration, and it had not held a single meeting with its council members and partner institutions since July of 2017, the press release noted.

The newly reestablished HSAAC will consist of up to 30 diverse members appointed by the Secretary of Homeland Security, including representatives of two-year community colleges, K-12 school systems, Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Hispanic serving institutions, Tribal colleges, and Asian American, Native American and Pacific Islander serving institutions.

 

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