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Office of Homeland Security (OHS)

OHS leads the Department in all its programs and initiatives that support the National Preparedness Goal. This includes all Departmental activities that fall under the Goal’s five mission areas of Prevention, Protection, Mitigation, Response, and Recovery.

Matt Allen

Director, Office of Homeland Security

Matt Allen joins USDA Office of Homeland Security from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.  He most recently served as the Senior Advisor to the Chief Operating Officer, providing advice and counsel to the Office of the Administrator and senior Agency leaders.  More...

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Office Of Homeland Security (OHS) provides Departmental executive leadership in government-wide initiatives and leads security, preparedness, and response efforts through training, coordination, and the development and execution of policies to ensure employees and stakeholders are prepared to support the USDA mission.

Office of the Director (OD)

The OD oversees OHS’s 5 Divisions, provides regular updates to the Office of the Secretary, the Assistant Secretary for Administration, and the Subcabinet, and coordinates all budget, procurement, human resources, and other cross-divisional initiatives. OD champions the security and protection of USDA workforce and facilities by chairing the USDA Security Council and partnering with all Agencies to strengthen security for USDA locations. OD serves as the Departmental Continuity Coordinator for all continuity of government events. The National Security Systems Program Office provides the Secretary of Agriculture, Executive Staff, Staff Offices, and Agencies with the ability to communicate Classified National Security Information (CNSI) within, and external of the Department in a secure and cost effective manner; and ensures that the requirements as directed by the White House, for the Continuity of Operations (COOP) and the Continuity of Government (COG) are met.

USDA’s National Security System Program (NSSP) ensures that appropriate personnel have the capability to communicate up to the Top Secret/SCI level utilizing fixed and mobile secure voice, secure video teleconferencing and secure data communications.

The NSSP manages the Communication Security (COMSEC) account and ensures that all devices utilized for communicating classified national security information (CNSI are operational at all times.   The NSSP Office conducts training for personnel utilizing CNSI systems and provides guidance to agencies and offices related to handling classified computer systems.

Radiation Safety Division (RSD)

The Radiation Safety Division (RSD) is the operational radiation safety office for all of USDA; implementing policies and procedures established by the USDA Radiation Safety Committee to ensure the safe acquisition, use, and disposal of ionizing radiation sources within USDA.

RSD provides technical assistance to all of USDA during its response to nationally significant radiological emergencies (such as nuclear power plant accidents). RSD coordinates USDA's participation on the Federal interagency Advisory Team for Environment, Food, and Health; providing human health protective action recommendations to State, Tribal, and local governments during radiological emergencies.

Personnel Document Security Division (PDSD)

The Personnel Document Security Division (PDSD establishes and implements the policies and procedures that govern the management and administration of the security programs in the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) in accordance with Executive Order (E.O.) 13526. The OHS prescribes the policies, procedures, and standards that govern the granting of eligibility for access to Classified National Security Information (CNSI) and suitability determinations; the procedures required to process security and suitability investigations; the adjudication criteria for determining eligibility for access to CNSI; the conditions that may result in the suspension, revocation, downgrade, or denial of an individual’s eligibility for access to CNSI; suitability actions; and the requirements for allowing an individual access to special access programs.  Eligibility for access to classified information is granted in accordance with E.O.13526; Suitability determinations are made in accordance with 5 CFR 731; access to SCI and other controlled access program information governed by Intelligence Community Directive (ICD 704)

Information Security

PDSD controls access to CNSI by establishing and implementing USDA's "Access to Classified Information" program as required under E.O.  13526 - "Classified National Security Information and its implementing directive - 32 CFR. This includes protective requirements for:

  • Required initial, annual refresher and specialized training for employees authorized access to CNSI
  • Identification of classified information
  • Marking (including downgrading/declassification)
  • Handling
  • Processing
  • Storing
  • Transmitting
  • Accounting for/tracking
  • Destroying
  • Secure Room Accreditation

PDSD processes requests for access to Secure Compartmented Information (SCI) for individuals who possess a Top Secret clearance and a valid requirement for access to SCI materials.  OHS manages the SCI program for USDA including initial and annual SCI refresher training, accreditation of Secure Compartmented Information  Facility (SCIF), identification, marking, processing, handling, storage, transmission, accountability and destruction of SCI materials.    .  The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is the approval authority for granting of USDA employees SCI access.

Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI)

PDSD is responsible for establishing and overseeing the CUI Program in USDA; ensuring the agency has CUI implementing policies and plans; implementing a CUI education and training program and ensuring agency personnel, including if applicable contractors, receive appropriate CUI awareness training; and providing updates on CUI implementation efforts to the CUI Executive Agent.  E.O. 13556 and 32 CFR Part 2002, institutes national policy on the handling, safeguarding, and control of CUI. CUI is any information the Government creates or possesses, or that an entity creates or possesses for or on behalf of the Government, that is required or specifically permitted to be protected under law, regulation, or Government-wide policy. CNSI is not part of the CUI Program.

National Security Division (NSD)

The National Security Division is the Department’s bridge to the Intelligence Community, National Security Council, and interagency working groups on national security threats and policy coordination; guides the Food and Agriculture Sector security and resilience efforts; provides strategic intelligence; protects against insider threats and foreign intelligence entities; and advises on the impact of foreign investments to our economic and national security.

Emergency Programs Division (EPD)

EPD serves as the focal point for emergency information and coordination of senior leadership notification and awareness regarding natural disasters or man-made emergencies within the scope of the USDA mission.

EPD manages the 24/7 Operations Center which monitors global events and assists in the development and coordination of policies, capabilities, and procedures for reporting and alert notification of emergencies impacting the USDA mission or personnel. The EPD Operations Center serves as the USDA contact point for Federal Executive Branch Operations Centers throughout the National Capital Region.

Continuity Planning Division (CPD)

CPD assists the USDA Continuity Coordinator with providing oversight and coordination of the development and administration of the Department Continuity Program. This includes: Providing guidance and direction regarding continuity of operations to the Office of the Secretary, Departmental staff offices, mission areas, and agencies.

CPD also represents and acts as a liaison for the Department in contacts with other Federal entities and organizations concerning matters of assigned continuity program responsibilities.  The CPD also oversees the Department continuity of operations and emergency relocation facility planning, development, equipping, and preparedness to ensure that resources are in constant state of readiness.

Office of Homeland Security
1400 Independence Avenue, S.W.
Washington, DC 20250
(202) 720-2582