Homeland Security

August 1, 2016
By Sandra Jontz
Researcher Elizabeth Montano prepares DNA samples to be analyzed by next-generation sequencing (NGS) technology. She has performed forensic genomics research and development at Battelle in Columbus, Ohio, for three years.

Elusive criminals are about to meet their match. Advances in forensic DNA profiling soon will give investigators and analysts the ability to pull genetic data once considered disposable. The breakthrough allows law enforcement to generate information such as gender, hair and eye color, ethnicity and geographic origin from the DNA samples of perpetrators who otherwise might evade detection if they were not part of a DNA database. Gone are the days when nonmatching DNA samples signified a dead end. 

August 1, 2016
By Lt. Gen. Mike Basla, USAF (Ret.)

The steady drumbeat of horrific terrorist attacks continues across our country and around the world. Most of these attacks are rooted in religious extremism, yet our administration and Congress keep debating terrorism terminologies and causes rather than taking aggressive and meaningful bipartisan steps that clearly identify the threats and lay out a comprehensive strategy to mitigate them. I am convinced that we will continue to struggle against extremist and other mass-murder threats until we come up with unified national positions on terrorism and gun control that most Americans can understand, accept and support.

July 21, 2016
By Sandra Jontz

Now that the federal government is collecting cyberthreat intelligence from agencies and private businesses, the repository undoubtedly will be a prime target by the very threat the program seeks to wipe out.

In June, the Departments of Homeland Security and Justice issued final guidance for the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA) of 2015, which Congress passed in December after years of industry efforts to push information sharing legislation over the finish line.

CISA paves the way for private companies to share cyberthreat information, not just with each other but with the government, and appointed the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) as the clearinghouse for all of that data.

July 5, 2016
By Sandra Jontz

Implicit biases—such as girls aren't as good as boys in science and math—have hampered advancements in work force diversity for decades. But what does it mean when girls themselves perpetuate the damaging erroneous stereotype? What can be done to entice girls to pursue classes in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) before they lose interest? Most people hold unconscious, implicit assumptions that influence their judgments and perceptions of others. People sometimes apply the biases unintentionally, which results in actions or the absence of action that can reduce the quality of the work force and create unfair and destructive environments.

July 18, 2016

The Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology (S&T) Directorate will host two industry days to provide additional insights to the mobile and cellular industry and researchers about the Mobile Threats and Defenses request for information (RFI).

May 17, 2016
By Sandra Jontz

SIGNAL Media continues with its multi-month project to highlight women in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, most commonly referred to as STEM. Today, we highlight the importance of appealing to the passions of the high-tech work force that seeks to make global differences; the positive impact of networking; and addressing the issue of equal pay and acknowledgement.

May 24, 2016
By Robert K. Ackerman
A U.S. Border Patrol Tactical Unit rides aboard an Office of Air and Marine UH-60 helicopter. Homegrown terrorism has moved to the top of the threat list at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

The greatest threat facing the U.S. homeland mixes both internal and external enemies, according to the Department of Homeland Security's undersecretary for intelligence and analysis. Homegrown violent extremists influenced by overseas radical ideologues top the list of hazards confronting the public and private sectors in their efforts to secure the country.

Many overseas terrorist organizations still see the United States as the enemy and a roadblock to achieving their objectives. But the threat within now grabs the lion’s share of attention from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) as well as from intelligence and law enforcement groups that strive to stay a step ahead of terrorists.

June 22, 2016
By George I. Seffers

Cloud computing, mobile devices and apps and automation are some of the top technologies that will affect the future of homeland security, according to a panel of technology officers at the 2016 AFCEA Homeland Security Conference in Washington, D.C.

“If you talk about technologies we’re really leaning on today, of course it’s the usual suspects. We really do need to make better use of virtualized infrastructure, i.e. cloud technologies and services,” said Michael Hermus, chief technology officer, Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

June 21, 2016
By George I. Seffers
Russell Deyo, undersecretary for management, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, addresses attendees at the AFCEA Homeland Security Conference in Washington, D.C.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) may sometimes seem like a confused teenager, but it is growing and maturing and striving to make the country stronger, reports Russell Deyo, the DHS undersecretary for management.

June 22, 2016
By George I. Seffers

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is seeking wearable computers to monitor the canines used to protect U.S. borders. The department also seeks a Global Travel Assessment system and Internet of Things security solutions, officials told the 2016 AFCEA Homeland Security Conference audience.

July 21, 2016
By George I. Seffers

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is taking steps to improve the Einstein system, which provides cyber situational awareness across government agencies.

The Einstein system was instrumental in helping to uncover the massive breach into the Office of Personnel and Management’s (OPM) networks, according to Phyllis Schneck, deputy under secretary for cybersecurity and communications, National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD), DHS.

June 21, 2016
By George I. Seffers

Anyone walking into the Air and Marine Operations Center may at first be impressed with the numerous workstations, the big screens and live video flowing in from cameras mounted on planes and data flowing from a variety of sensors in the United States and elsewhere. But first impressions can be deceiving.

“There’s lots of data flowing in, but it still looks like 1969 in the NASA space center. That model hasn’t changed much,” said Tony Crowder, director of the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Air and Marine Operations Center.

June 21, 2016
By George I. Seffers

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) started a pilot program last week at Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport to collect biometrics on passengers leaving the country. This marks the first time the United States has collected such information. A CBP official said the government released a request for information last night and hopes to release a request for proposals next year.

May 25, 2016
By George I. Seffers
Project iVe has its roots in a previous Department of Homeland Security and Berla Corporation program known as Blackthorn, which focused on gathering data from navigation devices such as Garmin, TomTom and Magellan.

U.S. Department of Homeland Security researchers are pursuing possible partnerships—both domestically and internationally—to continue developing a toolkit that provides access to the digital data stored by cars used in crimes, including terrorist acts.

May 26, 2016
By Sandra Jontz
ISS Global’s Dfuze software platform incorporates many data elements so law enforcement can log information from crime scenes such as the Boston Marathon bombing in April 2013.

Emerging surveillance technology seems ripped from tech-noir thrillers such as 2002's Minority Report, in which police jail would-be murderers before any violence actually has occurred. Just thinking about crimes gets people in trouble. While the predictive nature of today’s analytic tools might not have reached the same levels as in the futuristic action film, the technologies employed to defend the homeland are pretty close.

May 17, 2016
By Katie Helwig

AFCEA International's annual Homeland Security Conference takes place June 21 and 22 at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, D.C., with small business interests well represented during the event.

Experts will be on hand to address year’s theme: “Securing the Nation—Solving Technology and Human Capital Challenges: People, Partners and Priorities.” Sending one representative will not be enough to maximize its value in growing your business.

February 25, 2016
By Sandra Jontz
A screengrab of an interactive Esri story map uses imagery and maps to plot the migration of Syrians to Europe. Courtesy Esri via Twitter

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) granted greater access to some of its Web-based infrastructure geospatial information, a move that facilitates collaboration between agencies and gives the public greater access to data, officials said.

DHS opened 275 geospatial datasets, half of the agency’s offerings through the ArcGIS Online program that manages the Homeland Infrastructure Foundation-Level Data (HIFLD) collection, David Alexander, a geospatial information officer at DHS, said during the Esri FedGIS conference this week in Washington, D.C.

The U.S. Department of Commerce today issued the "Public Safety Analytics R&D Roadmap," which outlines opportunities to spur innovation and improve public safety by making data more accessible and useful for police, firefighters, emergency medical services and other first responders.

April 13, 2016

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced today a partnership with the NASA Center of Excellence for Collaborative Innovation (CoECI) to develop new technology solutions through publicly crowdsourced prize competitions.  

Crowdsourcing and incentive prizes across industry have led to the successful creation of advanced technologies, such as autonomous vehicles and improved data analytics. The DHS Science and Technology (S&T) Directorate is expanding its efforts to solicit innovations like these through its partnership with NASA, according to an S&T statement

April 7, 2016

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology (S&T) Directorate announced today the implementation of a new technology to streamline and improve secure information sharing between the DHS and its partners. The Backend Attribute Exchange will simplify user identification and verification between different organizations for the Homeland Security Information Network (HSIN) by eliminating redundancies while ensuring proper security.

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