The Air Force and Arlington County, Virginia, are taking preventative measures against hackers such as the ones that recently attacked Sony, costing them over $170 million. It's not just money at risk for government networks, however.
Biometric technology capabilities continue to grow, and so do government data sharing efforts.
Creating a national strategy for deterring cyber attacks faces difficult challenges, according to Gen. Keith Alexander, USA, U.S. Cyber Command commander and director of the National Security Agency.
As criminals turn to clandestine methods of entry into the United States, leaders in the maritime domain are working overtime to minimize threats by increasing data-sharing capabilities.
Participants in a biennial U.S. Department of Homeland Security cybersecurity exercise evaluated the relevance of the U.S. national response plan in an event that featured more players than ever before. Representatives from federal and state government, the private sector and foreign countries all worked together to examine the United States’ ability to handle cybercrises. The personnel also enjoyed the privilege of being the first to employ and review a new center dedicated to coordinating actions during a serious real-world incident.
Held in September 2010, Cyber Storm III was the primary vehicle to exercise the National Cyber Incident Response Plan (NCIRP)—the recently created blueprint for cybersecurity incident response. The plan examines the roles, responsibilities, authorities and other key elements of the nation’s cyberincident response and management capabilities. Evaluations by participants will help the government refine the document moving forward.
The convergence of threats is increasing the requirements for sharing unclassified data that address maritime domain awareness and homeland defense. The U.S. Defense Department’s Executive Agent for Maritime Domain Awareness is coordinating the requirements of combatant commands, the services and the department’s four intelligence agencies to scrutinize the gaps and seams in data-sharing capabilities and technologies. Closing these gaps and tightening these seams is crucial to protecting U.S. shores from, among other dangers, weapons of mass destruction.
The U.S. Coast Guard is facing the dilemma of its traditional threats combining to pose a synergistic danger to U.S. homeland security. Longtime menaces such as drug smuggling, alien immigration and terrorism may be merging their organizations and their tactics to pose an even greater threat to the nation. Stopping these threats will require data sharing and consolidation. Unfortunately, even organizations willing to share information often find legal and technological roadblocks in their way. Rear Adm.
An automated system for managing and retrieving crime-related intelligence is providing several municipal police forces with the capability to share data in a standard format. This system offers the potential for tracking suspicious activities and alerting officials to potential crimes before they occur, and this counterterrorism application has spurred the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to fund its introduction at the state level.
Dynamics Research Corporation recently announced a four-year, $20 million contract award to support the enterprise architecture needs of the Department of Homeland Security's Office of the Chief Information Officer. Awarded through the General Services Administration Alliant contract, the work will modernize the department's information technology assets and architecture, providing for collaboration across divisions and centralizing the capture and management of enterprise knowledge.
Lattice Incorporated recently announced that it has been awarded a prime contract by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to develop a demonstrable prototype device able to search for and identify bulk quantities of currency. The company has teamed with the University of Washington to research, design and develop a special-purpose concealed sensor platform specifically targeted to identifying large quantities of U.S. and Canadian concealed currency as well as Euros. In 2001, Congress criminalized the act of smuggling large amounts of cash as part of the U.S.
The United States may need a "dot-secure" cyber realm to protect vital infrastructure elements such as banking.
Northrop Grumman Corporation has been awarded a potential $2.63 billion task order by the U.S. General Services Administration to install a campus-wide information technology infrastructure for secure communications and operations at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) St. Elizabeths headquarters in Washington, D.C. Northrop Grumman will design, install, test, operate and maintain a seamless, integrated and secure information technology solution throughout the DHS consolidated headquarters campus.
Booz Allen Hamilton, Incorporated, Herndon, Virginia, was awarded a nearly $24 million contract for biometrics, identity management, and homeland security technologies research and analysis for Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Atlantic. 55th Contracting Squadran, Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, is the contracting activity.
SRC Incorporated recently received a contract from the Department of Homeland Security's Immigration and Customs Enforcement (DHS-ICE) agency with a potential value of nearly $42 million to establish and maintain a Security Operations Center to help protect critical information technology infrastructure. This contract will enable ICE to monitor its information technology assets 24 hours a day and evaluate and respond to cyber security threats. SRC will lead a team to provide innovative cybersecurity solutions, process improvement strategies and best-of-breed technologies for ICE.
The United States is improving its ability to respond to the ever-present threat of a chemical, biological or nuclear incident in the 21st century by establishing 10 National Guard Homeland Response Forces across the country. These units each will comprise hundreds of members who will be trained in the various skills necessary to save lives in the event of a catastrophe.
The increase of information sharing between agencies is by far the greatest tool the U.S. has to support homeland security and aid in homeland defense.
The U.S. cyber infrastructure receives double protection with help from the DHS' new cybersecurity integration center. Do you believe the NCCIC is equipped to handle and accomplish its mission? Can any single organization be? Will layers of bureaucracy hinder its effectiveness?
"If one of those types of attacks were to occur anywhere in the United States, nowhere else has the assets we have that are well-trained and ready. But those are the ones you hope never happen. No matter how good we are, there is no good outcome."-Cathy L. Lanier, chief of police, Metropolitan Police Department, Washington, D.C.
Managing the myriad programs designed to provide border security has proved challenging. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has launched a variety of technology efforts designed to enhance border security. Likewise, civilian firms are deeply involved with DHS in supporting these programs. Two panels running Wednesday examined the government and industry perspectives of coordinating border security.
While many conferences suffer from waning interest as panel session after panel session present valuable information over two days, this year's AFCEA Homeland Security conference proved to be quite the opposite. Discussions about upcoming contracting opportunities was at least part of the reason.