In the near future, first responders could use cellular telephones to sweep sites for hazardous chemicals and then rapidly seal off mass transit tunnels with inflatable plugs, preventing the spread of toxic gases. These and other technologies are being developed by a U.S. government research organization focused on creating revolutionary advances in homeland security processes and applications.
The DHS has instituted a new job application process for cybersecurity positions. The good news? It's free of KSAs. Right now the agency is hosting a virtual job fair for those interested. Applicants no longer have to worry about KSAs or a points system; they simply submit cover letters and résumés, which are reviewed by hiring managers. DHS officials will then contact candidates of interest to invite them to a private interview event.
February may seem far away, but it will be here in no time at all. Make plans now to attend two great events: the West 2010 Conference in San Diego and the Homeland Security Conference in Washington, D.C.
"When I look at our adversaries around the world, what I see is that we can no longer kid ourselves into believing that we face challenges that will be easily boxed based on regions and categories."--The Honorable Michael Chertoff
The U.S. Coast Guard is taking steps to enhance its command, control, intelligence and reconnaissance capabilities with new unmanned aerial systems (UAS) and network-centric systems for its ships. At a press briefing late last week, RAdm. Ronald J. Robago, USCG, the service's new assistant commandant for acquisitions, discussed steps being taken to evaluate and select a new shipboard UAS.
The Defense Information Systems Agency is stepping up its outreach to homeland security partners in all tiers of government in another Defense Department effort to improve interoperability. Plans include building personal relationships and improving technical knowledge as personnel from the agency attend increasing numbers of events across the nation. The agency also is pursuing more formal synchronizations through high-level channels. Officials believe the work will result in better, more coordinated responses to catastrophes. The work often places the federal agency in a consultant role, advising others on best practices and new ideas for purchases and procedures.
A major disaster recovery exercise is concluding today in Washington D.C. The week long event was held by AT&T to test, evaluate, refine and improve how the company restores communications in the wake of a natural or manmade disaster. The network disaster recovery (NDR) exercise filled the capitol's Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium with equipment trailers and personnel providing satellite and broadband fiber optic communications links.
Held several times a year, this is the 54th and largest field NDR exercise conducted by AT&T, says Mark Francis, vice president of the company's Global Network Operations Center inBedminster, New Jersey. The company gathered more than 45 disaster recovery trailers and vehicles, including 28 tractor trailers, two emergency communications vehicles, four hazmat trailers, one satellite cell on light truck (COLT), and five smaller utility and support trailers.
During a disaster recovery, Francis explains that the company's strategy is to set up equipment in a large open area such as a stadium. All of the equipment forms the core of an AT&T regional office. The trailers can replace the fiber optic backbone equipment in an office and replace the central network. He notes that one of the goals of this exercise was to test high speed optical transport equipment operating at 40 gigabytes per second. The event also sets up mobile cellular communications systems for first responders.
An international research group is promoting the use of affordable, sustainable technologies to support stressed groups of people in the wake of natural and manmade disasters. These methods include the use of commercial shelters, water purification systems, solar power and lighting that can be rapidly acquired in bulk and shipped to a stricken area. By working across the government-civilian spectrum of agencies, organizations and nonprofit entities, the group seeks to create open-source resource templates that can be accessed by disaster management personnel.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency has awarded a grant for online donations management to control resources coming in during disaster response. This thrust to share information virtually streamlines efforts among government and private organizations as well as individuals, increasing the efficiency of outreach and eliminating the burden of unusable supplies. Through the system, the government and its associates can fill needs in the right places with the right solutions with less trouble and more collaboration.