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Homeland Security

Better Visibility for Border Security

February 1, 2013
By Rita Boland

U.S. officials tasked with securing routes into and out of the country are beginning to employ a technology that will pull together disparate information in a way that could save their lives or the lives of others. Though it was not designed exclusively for agents trying to control international movements, these personnel are early adopters, using the system to prevent illicit goods, undesirable persons or rampant violence from making its way over national boundaries.

The Global Information Network Architecture (GINA) is a system of systems that draws in information from many stovepiped sources regardless of their coding or programming. Originally, GINA was developed through a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) and Xslent LLC Technologies. The work since has transferred to a CRADA between Big Kahuna Technologies LLC and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Engineering Research and Development Center. The NPS now works with GINA through a version licensed to the U.S. government or through a standing contract with Big Kahuna Technologies for the DOD [Defense Department] Information Assurance Certification and Accreditation Process version.

GINA employs a hybrid methodology that leverages model-based architecture and component-based development—two major approaches to contemporary software development. According to a paper titled “GINA: System Interoperability for Enabling Smart Mobile System Services in Network Decision Support Systems,” written by project personnel, both approaches aim at reducing, if not eliminating, the amount of coding required to develop a system.

Industry Organizes to
 Speed Border Security Technology Development

February 1, 2013
By Max Cacas

Competing companies are working to a common goal of testing and selling new technologies to government.

A newly created research and development consortium aims to expedite the piloting and testing of new technology for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, one of the Department of Homeland Security’s top missions. This effort, using a successful Defense Department procurement model, also hopes to expand innovation by making it possible for small businesses that don’t traditionally do business with the government to bring their ideas forward.

One hallmark of the Border Security Technology Consortium (BSTC) is that very large, established defense and homeland security contractors are members along with the small, newer nontraditional firms. “All of the tasks are under full and open competition within the consortium, and so there’s incentive for both the consortium and the government to have as much participation as possible,” emphasizes Mervyn Leavitt, vice president for applied research and development with SCRA. It is the nonprofit research company that organized and manages the consortium at the request of some of its charter members.

“With government regulations, sometimes it’s very difficult for nontraditionals that normally don’t do business with the government to break in, and often these are the firms that have very innovative ideas,” Leavitt adds.

At the heart of the BTSC is a special federal procurement vehicle known as the Other Transaction Authority (OTA). OTAs are used in agencies such as NASA and the departments of Defense, Transportation and Homeland Security, and they are designed primarily to expedite science and technology-related research and development. In the realm of rapid prototyping and development, OTAs make such work attractive to small companies.

General Dynamics to Enhance Airport Monitoring

February 1, 2013
George I. Seffers

 
General Dynamics Information Technology, Fairfax, Va., was awarded a contract by the City of Los Angeles, Los Angeles World Airports, to enhance the closed circuit television (CCTV) and video management and storage system at the Los Angeles International Airport. The contract has a potential value of $27.3 million over three years. General Dynamics will design, install, configure and integrate a state-of-the-art CCTV, video management and storage system which includes more than 2,500 interior and exterior cameras, as well as 120 workstations throughout the airport. The system will integrate with the airport’s existing network, delivering digital storage and streaming video to security stations airport-wide. The CCTV and video management system will also integrate with airport alarms, sensors, audio feeds and a computer-aided dispatch system. In addition, General Dynamics will train more than 120 users. 

DHS Awards Surveillance Contract

January 22, 2013
George I. Seffers

 
Integrated Microwave Technologies LLC (IMT), Mount Olive, N.J., has been awarded a Technical Investigative Surveillance (TechOps) contract by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. IMT’s contract is a competitive five-year Indefinite Delivery, Indefinite Quantity agreement, awarded in the video category, which includes covert video equipment such as transmitters and receivers offering mobile, fixed and multiple concealment technologies. IMT will deliver interoperable technical investigative surveillance solutions in support of federal agency requirements. 

Evidence of Possible Spring Cyber Attack on Banking Industry

January 3, 2013
By Max Cacas

The purpose of the attack is purely robbery, says a cyber expert, who has shared his McAfee report with government officials.

A cyber attack that could result in the theft of millions of dollars from American banks could take place this spring, according to a report from a noted cybersecurity expert. 
“What we’re dealing with here is a digital bank robber,” according to Ryan Sherstobitoff, a threats researcher with McAfee Labs and the principal author of the report entitled, “Analyzing Project Blitzkrieg, a Credible Threat.” And the attack mastermind could take additional steps to deter attacked banks from defending themselves and hinder their ability to recover stolen funds following such an attack.

The group behind the potential attack “is a collaboration or an alliance of ‘botmasters’ run by an individual named vorVzakone with the clear intention of robbing financial institutions,” Sherstobitoff explains in a report that was issued in mid-December. The white paper is based on months of in-depth analysis of Project Blitzkrieg, as it has been dubbed by vorVzakone’s website, and tracking the online activities of vorVzakone dating back to late summer 2012. “We know from forum posts he had published on an underground Russian cyberforum that was really meant for cybercriminals,” explains Sherstobitoff.  Those posts detailed how the attack was to be coordinated around the release of a variant of the trojan malware popularly known in the hacker community as Gozi Prinimalka.

General Dynamics to Develop and Deploy Data Collection Infrastructure

December 13, 2012
George I. Seffers

 
General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems, Fairfax, Va., was awarded a contract by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to develop and implement the Test, Evaluation and Monitoring Network (TEMnet) for TSA’s Systems Integration Facility (TSIF) located at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. This 30-month task order was awarded under the Enterprise Acquisitions Gateway for Leading Edge Solutions (EAGLE) indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract and is valued at approximately $5 million. General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems will design, develop and deploy an integrated data collection infrastructure for test and evaluation of systems at the TSIF. This environment will enable quick and accurate access to test data for analysis of technologies, systems and procedures. 

General Dynamics to Support FBI Computer Forensic Networks

December 13, 2012
George I. Seffers

 
General Dynamics Information Technology, Fairfax, Va., was awarded a task order to provide information technology services to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) Computer Analysis Response Team Storage Area Network (CARTSAN). The CARTSAN environment provides FBI personnel with the necessary infrastructure to efficiently and effectively acquire, process and present latent digital information contained within physical evidence. The task order has a potential value of $42.2 million over five years. The company will provide systems administration, computer engineering, program management, application programming and integration and system security engineering, including cyber security. This task order was awarded under the FBI Information Technology Supplies and Support Services (FBI IT Triple S) contract.  

Robotic Autonomous Activities Advance

December 13, 2012

A vision-driven robotic arm will enable the precise long-range delivery of a payload weighing up to one pound into difficult-to-reach environments.

 

Meet Vince Patton, Ed.D., Vice President, Homeland Security Programs

December 17, 2012
By Rachel Eisenhower

After growing up as the fifth child out of 10, it comes as no surprise that Master Chief Petty Officer Vince Patton, USCG (Ret.), thrives as part of a team. He joined AFCEA International in 2011 and recently took the helm of the newly established Homeland Security Department. It’s the latest role in a career that has taken Patton across the globe, from Coast Guard cutters to classrooms and beyond.

West Virginia County Purchases Emergency Response System

December 10, 2012
George I. Seffers

 
Kanawha County, W.Va., Metro Emergency Operations Center (Metro 911) is implementing New World Systems' Aegis Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) solution to improve emergency response through integrated mapping and automated dispatch tools. New World's CAD will allow Metro 911 to leverage Kanawha County's geographic information systems data to help dispatchers quickly locate emergencies and send the closest first responders. It also will save significant time for dispatchers with easy-to-use screens and more instant access to information. Covering a geographic area of 911 square miles, Metro 911 receives more calls for service than any other county in West Virginia. New World's CAD, built on the Microsoft platform with embedded mapping, will help Metro 911 better serve a population of more than 200,000 residents.

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