Homeland Security

October 4, 2018
By Maryann Lawlor
The RoboCup competitions are an opportunity for the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate to work with other government agencies to bring emerging technologies to fruition faster. Courtesy of DHS S&T.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) has reorganized its research and development (R&D) structure to more rapidly transition technology capabilities into operations and respond to emerging threats.

William N. Bryan, the senior official performing the duties of the undersecretary for science and technology, DHS, explains the revitalized configuration enhances the focus on the needs of the DHS operational components and homeland security operators across all levels of government.

October 3, 2018
By Kimberly Underwood
The Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate and the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s benchmarks are helping public safety officials by providing clear rules for evaluating how well robots perform tasks. Photo credit: DHS S&T

Over the last decade, emergency responders have increasingly relied on robots to assist with public safety functions that may be too dangerous for humans. Autonomous systems can perform search and rescue tasks, provide decision support, transport medical supplies, extinguish fires, map disaster areas or accomplish other important rescue functions.

September 26, 2018
By Shaun Waterman
Credit: Shutterstock/jijomathaidesigners

The Trump administration is moving to expand the information-sharing apparatus built to stop terrorists entering the U.S. to cover foreign hackers, weapons proliferators, international organized criminals and other kinds of threat actors — and extending it to aliens already in the country who apply for citizenship or other immigration benefits.

The move, in a pair of presidential memoranda signed over the past year, has created a host of policy and technical challenges for the agencies involved, officials told AFCEA’s Federal ID Summit in Tampa on Tuesday.

September 1, 2018
By Kimberly Underwood
 The federal government is building upon tried-and-true identification forms to create new ID frameworks for the digital age. Credit: Kisan/Shutterstock

The federal government, building on existing identity management practices, is investigating how it can leverage passports and other state and federally issued ID cards to verify identity in the digital age. The need to validate a citizen’s identity in person and online is only going to grow across platforms, experts say. And absent a secure commercial solution, the government may have to provide verification of identity.

September 1, 2018
By Jennifer A. Miller

Operational environments can be analyzed using a tool known by the acronym PMESII-PT, which identifies political, military, economic, social, information, infrastructure, physical environment and time variables. Lately, the economic domain has experienced significant disruptions throughout the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility, particularly Iran.

Last year’s national security strategy indicated that Iran is the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism.

July 1, 2018
By Robert K. Ackerman
A mobile intensive care unit paramedic communicates using a land mobile radio. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is working with the full spectrum of emergency responders to improve communications interoperability during disaster events.

Just as methodical programs to improve emergency communications interoperability are building up speed, new technologies threaten to derail the entire effort. Emergency responders find that new mobile systems bring valuable capabilities, such as enhanced data access, and they embrace these technologies eagerly. But the advanced communications systems often do not mesh with each other as well as traditional broadband radio links, and their innovative approaches pose new challenges.

July 1, 2018
By Kimberly Underwood
Public safety officials experiment with virtual mapping capabilities developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Public Safety Communications Research Division (PSCR). Credit: PSCR

Amid broad federal, state and local efforts to improve public safety communications, the National Institute of Standards and Technology is leading research to establish interoperability among diverse government organizations that aid the public when it is most in peril. The agency’s goal is for legacy systems and new mobile technologies to exchange vital voice and data communications in a crisis.

July 1, 2018
By George I. Seffers
It may be only a matter of time before first responders using mobile devices can share emergency data by piggybacking on spectrum donated by public television broadcasters.

It may be only a matter of time before first responders using mobile devices can share emergency data by piggybacking on spectrum donated by public television broadcasters. The datacasting capability allows one person to broadly share video or other data without running out of bandwidth or clogging traditional communication channels.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate’s (S&T’s) datacasting project has made major strides and will engage in two pilot demonstrations in the coming months before undergoing testing in the next fiscal year, which could lead to widespread deployment.

July 1, 2018
By George I. Seffers

While many government organizations are seeking to expand their social media influence, one social media group is expanding its influence within government.

The Social Media Working Group for Emergency Services and Disaster Management operates as a subcommittee under the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS’) Science and Technology Advisory Committee, but it is on its way to becoming a full-fledged federal advisory committee.

July 1, 2018
By Kimberly Underwood

Aiming to accelerate the U.S. government’s use of secure mobile technologies, the Cyber Security Division (CSD) in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is pursuing several research and development (R&D) projects, among other efforts, that focus on two main areas: mobile device security and mobile application security. The projects and related vendors are working to improve device security:

June 29, 2018
 
Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin have created a nerve gas detector using a smartphone, a box made of Legos and a chemical sensor. Credit: University of Texas at Austin

Researchers at the University of Texas, Austin, have designed a way to sense dangerous chemicals by rigging up a smartphone, a sensor and a box made from Lego bricks, the university has announced. The device could help first responders and scientists in the field identify deadly and difficult-to-detect nerve agents such as VX and sarin.

May 24, 2018
By Robert K. Ackerman
Credit: fuyu liu/Shutterstock

Domestic cybersecurity has some new potential vulnerabilities to defend, according to the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS’s) 2018 Cybersecurity Strategy. In addition to conventional concerns such as the water and power grids and the financial sector, the burgeoning number of Internet-connected devices and the global supply chain have emerged as areas that must be protected against a growing threat from a variety of adversaries.

May 4, 2018
Posted by: George I. Seffers
Jack Lewis, a NIST associate, demonstrates the use of a virtual reality headset and controllers with NIST’s virtual office environment in which first responders search for a body in a fire. Credit: Burrus/NIST

Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) aim to make virtual reality simulations more of a reality for first responders, enabling firefighters, law enforcement officers and others to train for emergency operations and communications.

May 1, 2018
By Kimberly Underwood
Credit: JoeBakal/Shutterstock

One does not have to look too far beyond the headlines to see that the battle for world power is playing out in the information space. Free and open democratic societies increasingly are tested by rising autocratic countries employing high technology in information warfare.

For the United States to succeed in this battle, citizens, not just the government, need to be more discerning about information, experts say.

April 30, 2018
Posted by George I. Seffers
Ionic Security Inc.’s prototypical plug-in for video surveillance systems is the first to successfully complete testing under the DHS Science and Technology Directorate’s Silicon Valley Innovation Program. Ionic will move to the pilot deployment phase of the program. Credit: simell1968/Pixabay

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science & Technology Directorate (S&T) is announcing today that Ionic Security Inc., based in Atlanta, is the first company to successfully complete prototype testing and move to the pilot deployment phase as part of the Silicon Valley Innovation Program (SVIP).

April 9, 2018
Posted by George I. Seffers
The U.S. Department of Energy has released a request for proposals for at least two next-generation exascale supercomputers. Credit: dlohner/Pixabay

U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry today announced a request for proposals potentially worth up to $1.8 billion for the development of at least two new exascale supercomputers, to be deployed at U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) National Laboratories in the 2021-2023 timeframe. Among other benefits, the systems will help nuclear security, a major piece of the nation’s critical infrastructure.

March 20, 2018
By Kimberly Underwood
The domain of information warfare has shifted from being a military battlefield to affecting all aspects of society, experts say. Credit: vchal/Shutterstock

One does not have to look too far beyond the headlines to see that the battle for world power is being played out in the information space. Free and open democratic societies increasingly are being tested by rising autocratic countries employing high technology in information warfare.

For the United States to succeed in this battle, citizens, not just the government, need to be more discerning about information, experts say.

March 14, 2018
By Maryann Lawlor
The DHS outlines capabilities that are ready to take the next step into the marketplace. Credit: ra2studio/Shutterstock

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate has released two publications, the 2018 Cyber Security Division Portfolio Guide and the 2018 Cyber Security Division Technology Guide, to help transition mature cybersecurity solutions to the marketplace.

By Beverly Cooper
The DHS has a multitude of components and missions that pull together to protect the nation.

Small business contracts and opportunities within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) encompass all facets of the agency’s mission, from preventing terrorism to providing border security, managing immigration, ensuring cybersecurity and providing disaster relief. In the last fiscal year, small businesses—in the role of prime contractors—received 47 percent of all strategically sourced contracts for products and services supporting the agency, explains Carla Thomas, DHS industry liaison.

February 1, 2018
By George I. Seffers
Ultimately, lessons learned and technologies developed under the Next Generation Cyber Infrastructure Apex program will benefit other critical infrastructure industries, such as oil and gas.

Within the next 12 months, a fledgling program at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will likely begin transitioning cybersecurity technologies to the finance sector in an effort to shore up the nation’s critical infrastructure. Technologies developed under the program ultimately could be made available to other sectors.

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