News Briefs

January 13, 2015

The Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) is reorganizing to focus on five Cs: cyber, cloud, collaboration, and command and control, Lt. Gen. Ronnie D. Hawkins Jr., USAF, DISA director, announced Monday at a luncheon event hosted by AFCEA's Washington, D.C. Chapter.The transformed agency will include four centers—business and development, implementation and sustainment, resource management and operations—that will centralize many functions within the agency.In addition to the reorganization, DISA announced Monday that the Joint Force Headquarters DoD Information Network should achieve an initial operating capability Thursday and will provide an operational capability within the cyberdomain.

January 14, 2015
By Sandra Jontz

The Twitter and YouTube accounts for the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) are back online after hackers, stated to be in support of the Islamic State militant group, broke into the accounts and posted menacing messages.

Military officials still are investigating the breach, which occurred Monday and prompted officials to suspend the accounts.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said the hack was “a violation, it wasn’t a big deal,” but it illustrated that militant groups are technologically capable.

December 23, 2014
By George I. Seffers

The National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence (NCCoE) is inviting comments on a draft project to secure medical devices known as networked infusion pumps, which convey fluids, drugs and nutrients into patients' bloodstreams. Hospitals are increasingly using the devices and connecting them to a central system, which makes them more vulnerable to cyberthreats.

A networked infusion pump can allow centralized control of the device’s programming as well as automated cross checks against pharmacy records and patient data to ensure the right dose of fluids or medication are delivered at the right time to the right patient.

December 19, 2014
By Sandra Jontz

Cyber attackers might have compromised computer files of more than 40,000 employees following an attack on federal contractor KeyPoint Government Solutions, according to the Office of Personnel Management (OPM).

OPM issued a statement on the breach and began notifying employees that files might have been compromised.

“While there was no conclusive evidence to confirm sensitive information was removed from the system, it is possible that personally identifiable data may have been exposed,” reads an OPM statement.

KeyPoint Government Solutions conducts background checks for government agencies. One of its competitors, USIS, suffered a breach earlier this year.

December 19, 2014
By Maryann Lawlor

The Advantage Business Media Young Mind Awards challenges middle school, high school and college students to design, build and present an innovative solution that solves a problem utilizing a wireless technology. Applicants must identify and describe a problem or process that needs improvement, build the product solution and demonstrate how their solution helped resolve the problem or improve the process.

Students are required to submit their designs and a short video demonstrating their finished product. A panel of judges comprising industry-recognized professionals will review the submissions based on four principles: creativity, comprehensiveness, clarity of expression and demonstration. 

November 20, 2014
By George I. Seffers

The U.S. Department of Commerce, Washington, D.C., today announced the consolidated screening list (CSL), a streamlined collection of nine different screening lists from the U.S. Departments of Commerce, State and the Treasury that contains names of individuals and companies with whom a U.S. company may not be allowed to do business due to U.S. export regulations, sanctions or other restrictions. The CSL is designed to make it easier for U.S. companies to comply with export laws.

November 17, 2014
By Sandra Jontz

Veterans seeking work in the field of cybersecurity can earn certifications through a new scholarship program.

Veterans transitioning to the civilian work force can apply for scholarships to earn one of the following certifications: Certified Cyber Forensics Professional (CCFPSM), Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), Certified Secure Software Lifecycle Professional (CSSLP), Certified Authorization Professional (CAP), HealthCare Information Security and Privacy Practitioner (HCISPPSM), Systems Security Certified Practitioner (SSCP) or Associate of (ISC)².

November 6, 2014
By Sandra Jontz

The U.S. Defense Department’s research agency has simplified the process for researchers trying to break into the federal marketplace and earmarked up to $700,000 in seedling funds for cutting-edge biotech ideas.

The Biological Technologies Office of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) created a simplified proposal process to lure new businesses and academic researchers who have not worked previously with the federal government.

Through the new EZ Broad Agency Announcements (BAA) process, applicants submit a two-page white paper describing their ideas to begin the consideration process.

October 27, 2014
By Sandra Jontz
Replica grenades used as part of a Halloween costume discovered in a checked bag at Alaska airport.

You would think it would go without saying, but apparently not. So a U.S. Transportation Security Administration representative wrote a brief blog on a few Halloween travel tips if travelers are taking flight with costumes in tow.

It’s OK travel with some types of realistic replica items and props in checked luggage, but anything resembling a bomb or explosive is a no-no. Items that look like grenades, land mines, rocket launchers, shells or bombs cannot be taken on airplanes, even if they are toys or replicas.  

October 27, 2014
By Sandra Jontz

Sonoma 2511XEngineers are packing more powerful sensors into smaller and smaller forms for use on lighter aircraft and unmanned aerial vehicles, giving the U.S. military unprecedented high-end multi-spectral capability from greater distances.

October 22, 2014

Reginald Brothers, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) undersecretary for science and technology, today announced the new visionary goals for the department’s Science and Technology (S&T) Directorate.

October 22, 2014

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has published the final version of the "U.S. Government Cloud Computing Technology Roadmap, Volumes I and II," which focuses on strategic and tactical objectives to support the federal government’s accelerated adoption of cloud computing.

The road map leverages the strengths and resources of government, industry, academia and standards development organizations to support technology innovation in cloud computing, according to a written announcement from NIST.

October 9, 2014
By Sandra Jontz

The Defense Department's premier research agency put a call out for technology that can detect and identify from great distances dangerous biological and chemical substances. 

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) issued a broad agency announcement for the development of the small devices for the new Spectral Combs from UV to THz (SCOUT) program, according to the agency.

October 7, 2014
By George I. Seffers

Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, released a proposal to secure the border entitled “Blueprint for Southern Border Security.” The proposal calls for a broad mix of technologies, including radar, manned or unmanned aircraft, aerostats and unattended ground sensors. The technologies deployed should be as varied as the terrain.

October 6, 2014
By Ali Cybulski

As part of National Cyber Security Awareness Month, (ISC)², a nonprofit that educates and certifies information security professionals, is sharing a series of weekly security awareness tips. The series will include tips for more secure software as well as advice targeted at conference attendees, parents, teachers, senior citizens, homeowners and CEOs.

The first set of tips provides guidance for conference attendees, including:

October 2, 2014
By George I. Seffers
NATO deploys unmanned systems to gather data in support of counter-mine operations.

Multiple autonomous underwater vehicles equipped with modern sensors relevant to NATO minehunting missions are being employed at sea during the Multinational AutoNomy Experiment (MANEX ‘14), held September 22 to October 13, 2014, along the Italian coast, between Framura and Bonassola, in the Ligurian Sea.

September 12, 2014
By Rita Boland

The Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate has transitioned the first technology in its Transition to Practice (TTP) program to commercial market two years ahead of schedule. The effort involves Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Quantum Secured Communication, which was picked up by the company Allied Minds. That private-sector entity exclusively licensed the technology in August 2013 and formed Whitewood Encryption Systems Incorporated to bring it to market. The product is a next-generation encryption system that leverages the quantum properties of light.

September 15, 2014
By Maryann Lawlor

The Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) is seeking information from small businesses as potential sources to provide cyber-related support services; to conduct activities; and to create products to improve the U.S. Defense Department's cyber systems. Specifically, the agency's omnibus indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contract will support the U.S. Cyber Command's ability to operate resilient, reliable information and communication networks; counter cyberspace threats; and assure access to cyberspace.

September 4, 2014
By Sandra Jontz

The National Capital Region joins two cities already part of the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) program to detect and deter nuclear and radiological threats with the award of a $30 million federal grant, which it will receive over the next five years.

August 27, 2014
By Sandra Jontz

Service members can get expedited travel screening at Transportation Security Administration (TSA) PreCheck airports using their Defense Department identification number when booking flight reservations. The security approach is available to all members of the U.S. armed forces, including the reserves, the National Guard and the U.S. Coast Guard.

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