Homeland Security

July 1, 2020
By Maryann Lawlor
Capt. Liaquat Ali, USAF, deputy director of AF Connect, speaks to airmen about the Air Force Connect mobile app at the Air National Guard training and education center. Capt. Ali's team at the Pentagon rolled out the innovation, which allows both public and restricted-access communications on personal mobile devices. Photo by Master Sgt. Mike R. Smith, ANG

Under a joint pilot program, verifying the security of mobile application software for use within the federal government no longer needs to be time consuming or expensive. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), working with a partnership within the NSA, automated the process to determine if apps meet the agency’s National Information Assurance Partnership (NIAP) protection profile.

June 11, 2020
Posted by Maryann Lawlor
Unified communications benefit from mobile access and multi-use smart technologies such as smartphones and tablets to enable personnel to conduct their mission tasks. Credit: U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Ashley Hawkins/Released

More than two dozen research contracts have been awarded to 23 small businesses to participate in phase one of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate’s

June 3, 2020
By Kimberly Underwood
The Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency put in place a cyber situational awareness room on Tuesday to support state and local governments' voting primaries. Credit: Shutterstock/Melinda Nagy

Ten states and Washington, D.C., held primaries on June 2 as part of this year’s presidential and local election cycle. Along with other federal stakeholders, the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, known as CISA, has the role of helping to protect American’s confidence in the voting process by providing cybersecurity and a secure voting infrastructure.

May 7, 2020
By Kimberly Underwood
Dana Deasy, chief information officer, U.S. Defense Department, pictured speaking at the Pentagon last August, testified before the Senate as to the risks to GPS of allowing Ligado to operate in a nearby spectrum. Credit: DOD photo by Air Force Staff Sgt. Andrew Carroll

On May 6, the Senate Armed Services Committee held a hearing, “Department of Defense Spectrum Policy and the Impact of the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC’s) Ligado Decision on National Security,” to discuss the security risks of the FCC granting the company a license modification to commence terrestrial wireless operations. Taking that action presents a great risk to the military’s Global Positioning System (GPS) operations, now run by the U.S.

April 23, 2019
By Robert K. Ackerman
Ty Schieber, chair, CMMC Accreditation Body, promises to post "a tremendous amount of information" on his office's website over the next couple of days, while speaking at the AFCEA Virtual CCMC Symposium.

The success of the new Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) will hinge largely on diverse types of contractors sharing information and following security standards, said a panel of experts exploring CMMC ramifications. Speaking at AFCEA’s Virtual CMMC Symposium, the government officials emphasized that the CMMC will be both an opportunity and an obligation to the defense community

May 1, 2020
By Lt. Gen. Robert M. Shea, USMC (Ret.)

The coronavirus has justifiably prompted deep concerns over the security and stability of the U.S. supply chain and major portions of the critical infrastructure upon which our nation and our partner nations have become so dependent. Prompted by the shift to globalization, over time this has led to the outsourcing of many products, services and technologies that were once considered core national capabilities. Consequently, we have created dependencies and vulnerabilities that conflict with our national security. Some of these liabilities are evident in our efforts to bring the necessary resources to bear against the coronavirus. 

April 23, 2019
By Robert K. Ackerman
Credit: Shutterstock/Anatolii Stoiko

Ensuring the sanctity of defense information goes beyond keeping secrets from the enemy: it also brings to light vulnerabilities in the supply chain. One of the key tenets of the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) is to guarantee the sanctity of the supply chain in a time when data is particularly in peril.

A keynote fireside discussion group at AFCEA’s Virtual CMMC Symposium looked at the threats posed to the supply chain in light of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. Bob Kolasky, director, National Risk Management Center, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, Department of Homeland Security, provided a powerful presentation in which he pulled no punches about the threat.

April 16, 2020
Posted by George Seffers
The Homeland Security Department's Science and Technology Directorate has released a review of systems it developed and fielded that are now contributing to the COVID-19 response. Credit: Corona Borealis Studio/Shutterstock

The Homeland Security Department’s Science and Technology (S&T) Directorate has released a review of systems it has developed and fielded and their contributions to countering the COVID-19 pandemic.

The list includes:

Single Automated Business Exchange for Reporting (SABER)

SABER is a free, open-source software that enables businesses to report their operating status both during and after a disaster. Since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, users have leveraged SABER to:

April 10, 2019
By Robert K. Ackerman
The Navy hospital ship USNS Comfort heads up the Hudson River to take its position at a midtown pier to serve as a support hospital for New York City health facilities overwhelmed with COVID-19 coronavirus patients. Navy engineers worked feverishly to upgrade or repair communications systems just before it set sail. Credit: Elizabeth Natrella

U.S. Navy engineers, some working around the clock, updated the communications and networking capabilities of the two hospital ships dispatched to U.S. ports in the fight against the COVID-19 coronavirus. The USNS Comfort and the USNS Mercy originally deployed to New York City and Los Angeles, respectively, to provide hospital services to non-coronavirus patients in an effort to relieve local hospitals burdened with COVID-19 patients. Engineers with the Naval Information Warfare Systems Command (NAVWAR) tapped expertise from throughout the command as well as from counterparts with the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) to improve satellite communications and increase bandwidth.

April 8, 2020
Posted by Julianne Simpson
Credit: angellodeco/Shutterstock

A joint advisory published today by the U.K.’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) and U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) shows that a growing number of cyber criminals are exploiting the COVID-19 outbreak for their own personal gain.

April 1, 2020
By Kimberly Underwood
Among its other responsibilities in cracking hard issues, the National Risk Management Center, part of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, is examining the concept of vendor attestation to help vendors assess themselves against a set of commonly agreed-upon metrics. Credit: Shutterstock/deepadsigns

Daily cyber attacks and other threats naturally take up the short-term attention of many governmental agencies, but there is a need for a more strategic look at risks to the nation’s critical infrastructure. A center within the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, or CISA, is charged with examining how to address concerns in the long-term.

March 31, 2020
 
Anyone with 3D printing or other additive manufacturing capabilities can help counter the spread of the coronavirus by making N95-style masks. Credit: CDC image

A movement is underway to inspire 3D printing or other additive manufacturing experts and hobbyists to produce N95-style masks, visors and other critical medical supplies across the United States and the globe. 

The so-called Maker’s Mask is a mask created by Rory Larsen at the request of Kaiser Permanente in Seattle. Larsen created the mask from commercially available hobbyist-grade 3D printers and other common household materials. He intends to share his design freely and widely. 

March 25, 2020
By Kimberly Underwood
Amid the COVAD-19 crisis, first responders are turning more and more to communications through FirstNet, officials say. Credit: Shutterstock/Zoff

The COVID-19 pandemic, which to date has sickened tens of thousands of Americans and killed hundreds, is testing the viability of the FirstNet network in ways never seen before. The exponential increase in the number of cases in the country is pulling in more and more emergency medical services personnel, police officers, firefighters and other public safety officials, often in more remote areas, who all need real-time data exchange, network connectivity and communication tools.

March 23, 2020
 
Sandia National Laboratories’ Saturn accelerator, viewed through an artistic lens, tests countermeasures used to protect electronics against X-ray radiation from nuclear weapons. Laboratory officials have announced two new initiatives, one to protect the electrical grid, and another to help maintain a nuclear edge. Photo by Randy Montoya

To deter attempts to disable U.S. electrical utilities and to defend nuclear weapon systems from evolving technological threats, Sandia National Laboratories has begun two multiyear initiatives to strengthen U.S. responses.

March 17, 2020
Posted by Julianne Simpson
Essye Miller, principal deputy, DOD CIO, speaks at a town hall on the response to COVID-19. Credit: Screenshot of DVIDS video

During a town hall on the response to COVID-19, leaders at the Pentagon stressed the importance of cybersecurity as more employees shift to telework. Along with personal hygiene, Daniel Walsh, acting director, Pentagon Force Protection Agency, asked Pentagon personnel to practice good cyber hygiene.

Essye Miller, principal deputy, Department of Defense Chief Information Officer, echoed similar sentiments. “With the increased telework capability comes an increased attack surface for our adversaries. They are already taking advantage,” she said.

February 24, 2020
By Tim Mullahy
Members of the Oklahoma National Guard drive down Telephone Road in Moore, Oklahoma, May 21, 2013, en route to the neighborhoods devastated by a tornado. Cybersecurity needs to be a priority in the aftermath of major disasters when people and their personal data can be most vulnerable. U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Mark Hyber

It’s easy to forget that in the midst of a catastrophe, physical safety isn’t the only thing that’s important. As technology’s role in disaster response and relief becomes more and more prevalent, cybersecurity becomes an essential part of the process. Here’s why.

Few people are more vulnerable than those impacted by a crisis. Whether a man-made attack or a natural disaster, the widespread destruction created by a large-scale emergency can leave countless individuals both destitute and in need of medical attention. Protecting these men, women and children requires more than a coordinated emergency response.

February 21, 2020
By Robert K. Ackerman
Adm. James Stavridis, USN (Ret.), is an operating executive for The Carlyle Group and former supreme allied commander of NATO.

The United States is woefully underprepared to protect cyberspace against the worst-case scenarios threatening the country, says the former supreme allied commander of NATO. Adm. James Stavridis, USN (Ret.), operating executive for the Carlyle Group, warns that long-term solutions must be paired with near-term actions to prevent a host of cyber threats from crippling the United States militarily and economically.

February 10, 2020
 
The Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology directorate is working with four companies to develop sensors to help thwart wildfires threatening urban areas. Credit: U.S. Bureau of Land Management photo

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) selected four new industry partners to participate in a new wildfire sensors project with Smart City Internet of Things Innovation (SCITI) Labs.

January 17, 2020
Posted by Kimberly Underwood
The Department of Homeland Security is rolling out A Smart City Technology Integration Pilot in St. Louis, aimed at increased interoperability for public safety officials and first responders. Credit: Shutterstock/Rudy Balasko

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) reported on January 17 that its Science and Technology (S&T) Directorate had completed the final integration of a smart city technology pilot in St. Louis as part of a program designed to enhance overall public safety and streamline operations across the city’s departments.

“This final rollout event, which included a series of tabletop exercises and operational scenarios, demonstrated how these technologies could be leveraged by first responders, emergency managers and other city officials in real-life events, such as floods, fires or earthquakes,” the DHS indicated.

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