Homeland Security

January 14, 2021
Posted by: Julianne Simpson
Credit: Shutterstock/sdecoret

The Israel-U.S. Binational Industrial Research and Development (BIRD) Foundation announced awards for two collaborative projects. Totaling $1.5 million, the projects will develop advanced homeland security technologies in the areas of threat detection and 3D mapping. The BIRD Homeland Security (HLS) program is a joint initiative funded by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) and the Israel Ministry of Public Security (MOPS).

The 2020 HLS awardees are:

January 5, 2021
Posted by: George I. Seffers
Biometrics systems tested by the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology (S&T) Directorate effectively identify most individuals even when they wear face masks. Credit: SergeyTinyakov/Shutterstock

A controlled scenario test by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) shows promising results for facial recognition technologies to accurately identify individuals wearing protective face masks, according to an S&T press release.

The tests were conducted as part of S&T’s 2020 Biometric Technology Rally, held this fall at the Maryland Test Facility, and could reduce the need for people to remove masks at airports or ports of entry.

December 11, 2020
Posted by: George I. Seffers
The Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate has announced the launch of a Startup Studio designed to rapidly field commercial technologies.  Photo courtesy of Department of Homeland Security

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) will launch its first Homeland Security Startup Studio in January. The program is a partnership with FedTech and is aimed at commercializing federally funded breakthrough technologies to support homeland security missions, the directorate announced December 10.  

December 2, 2020
By Maryann Lawlor
The TSA awarded Lavi Industries a sole-source small business contract for acrylic barriers and associated equipment at 37 airports throughout the United States in August 2020.

The Transportation Security Administration is in the market for small businesses that offer security technology. Because large companies quickly buy out a great deal of startups, the organization’s Small Business Programs office is looking at new ways to diversify this marketplace by facilitating investments.

Adequate funding is one of the biggest roadblocks for entrepreneurs who want to sell to government agencies as well as the tallest hurdle for the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA’s) program to overcome. Many small businesses just don’t have sufficient capital to keep their doors open through the lengthy process between requests for information and contract awards.

November 23, 2020
By Maryann Lawlor
Donald Pekoske (l), administrator, Transportation Security Administration, speaks with Federal Air Marshal’s Executive Assistant Administrator Michael Ondocin at the TSA 23rd virtual employee town hall meeting. Credit: TSA photo

Because of its overall mission and in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) offers industry numerous new ways to provide both standard and innovative solutions. The organization has published several documents that outline immediate and long-term plans and provide insights into where it will invest its limited resources. The information gives companies a better idea of where to devote their research and marketing dollars so they can partner with the agency.

October 23, 2020
By Maryann Lawlor
U.S. Marines assigned to 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing offload equipment from the aviation logistic ship S.S. Wright during Exercise Trident Juncture 18 at Orkanger Port, Norway. The exercise enhances the U.S. and NATO Allies’ and partners’ abilities to work together collectively to conduct military operations under challenging conditions. Credit: U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Cody J. Ohira

Ensuring the mobility of troops and support equipment in the European theater will depend on coordinated command and control. In anticipation of crises actions and needs, improvements are needed during the upfront coordination as well as to the last mile of transportation capabilities that are insufficient to meet the military’s equipment transportation needs.

October 15, 2020
By Robert K. Ackerman
(Clockwise from upper left) Webinar moderator James FX Payne, James P. Craft, Asha M. George, Scott Charney, David Bray and Steve Shirley discuss the findings and recommendations of the AFCEA Cyber Committee's White Paper "COVID-19 Compels Better NSEP Planning."

The United States had many plans at hand to deal with a national emergency on the scale of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the country failed to implement them properly. Part of the reason was institutional, but much was from a lack of coordination. And, the United States still is unprepared for the next disaster, whether natural or human-made.

October 1, 2020
By George I. Seffers
Department of Homeland Security scientists serve as the first line of defense against the COVID-19 pandemic.  Mongkolchon Akesin/Shutterstock

When the mysterious and deadly coronavirus invaded America’s shores in January, scientists who study deadly pathogens scurried to gather as much information as possible about the virus to help end the outbreak as soon as possible. They’ve answered some of the critical questions, but some answers are yet to come.

Some of those researchers work with a program called PANTHR for the Probabilistic Analysis for National Threats, Hazards and Risks within the Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology (S&T) Directorate. The program officially kicked off in October 2019, but it was created through a consolidation of ongoing efforts.

September 18, 2020
By Kimberly Underwood
Climate change and the damage it inflicts have profound implications to national security, experts say. Credit: Shutterstock/Sepp Photography

Leaders need to be aware of how climate change is affecting the United States and other nations, how countries will handle the impacts, and how that might change the geopolitics and power balance across the world. Already, near-peer adversaries, including China and Russia, are capitalizing on climate change, experts say.

For example, because of climate change, the Arctic has melting and thinning ice. For the intelligence community, strategic analysis of shifting routes, travel and operations in the Arctic Sea region is necessary, said David Titley, professor, International Affairs and professor, Practice, Department of Meteorology, and director, Center for Solutions to Weather and Climate Risk, Pennsylvania State University.

September 16, 2020
By Maryann Lawlor
Bryan Ware (top l) and Jeff Reed (bottom) discussed some of the global shifts in cybersecurity requirements. The two shared their observations during a panel moderated by Jon Check, cyber protection solutions, intelligence and space unit, Raytheon, during the Billington Cybersecurity Summit.

COVID-19 has done more than increase hand-washing and mask-wearing. It has meant an entirely new way of communicating and collaborating. Those on the front lines say some of these changes are here to stay and will last much longer than the pandemic simply because they are more efficient ways to do business.

September 10, 2020
By Julianne Simpson
Credit: Golden Sikorka/Shutterstock

The future of digital identity looks bright. In the next few years we can expect state DMVs to start issuing mobile driver licenses; Apple, Google and Samsung to begin building identity capabilities; and more shared services amongst government agencies, said panelists during the Federal Identity Virtual Collaboration event, known as FedID.

Serving on the panel titled “How Can Government Deploy Citizen Identity at Scale?” the participants all agreed industry and government must work on the endeavor together.

September 9, 2020
By Kimberly Underwood
Credit: Shutterstock/Golden Sikorka

States across the country are facing challenges around the ability to provide services and benefits during COVID-19. The underlying factor is how jurisdictions can verify and trust a citizen’s identity when the citizen cannot appear in person due to the pandemic, experts say.

“On the states’ side, if we think about how we as citizens establish our identity in our day-to-day lives, in most cases, we use our driver’s license,” said Tracy Hulver, senior director, Digital Identity, Idemia.

Hulver spoke about increasing trends in identity management during the Federal Identity Virtual Collaboration event on September 8.

September 8, 2020
By George I. Seffers
FBI officials indicate the bureau's next-generation iris recognition system could be fully operational by October. Credit: Gerd Altmann/Pixabay

The FBI’s pilot iris recognition program initiated in 2013 will likely be fully operational this fall, possibly by October 1. The agency also is developing tools to detect fingerprints that have been deliberately mutilated and a scanner large enough to get a print of the entire palm along with all five fingerprints.

August 26, 2020
By Robert K. Ackerman
Credit: Shutterstock/ozrimoz

Government and the private sector, particularly social media, are collaborating to forestall election manipulation by outside powers. These efforts aim at preventing disinformation campaigns from gaining a foothold in their steps to affect the upcoming November elections, but they also are maintaining vigilance against direct interference in the electoral process.

August 24, 2020
By George I. Seffers
New York City was one of the early hotspots for the spread of COVID-19. New York University researchers funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation have been studying human behavior near medical facilities to help inform policies on pandemics and other potential disasters. Credit: GagliardiPhotography/Shutterstock

New York University researchers are studying people’s behavior as they leave healthcare facilities to see how they physically interact with their immediate surroundings. The research will help develop localized disease-transmission models that can be applied to larger areas, such as cities. Potential models could be critical for predicting the continued spread of COVID-19 as well as future pandemics. The National Science Foundation (NSF) is funding the Three-dimensions to Enhance Response (DETER) one-year project.

August 12, 2020
Posted by George I. Seffers
The Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate intends to hold a virtual industry day next week seeking solutions to help fight the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo credit: U.S. Army

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) is seeking groundbreaking solutions to address current and future operational needs.

August 4, 2020
By Robert K. Ackerman
A COVID-19 patient is treated in a quarantine room by health care workers garbed in personal protective equipment. The pandemic has laid bare the shortcomings in U.S. national security emergency preparedness, and experts state that only a national effort will remedy the problem. Credit: Shutterstock/Mongkolchon Akesin

U.S. national security emergency plans are well documented with a disciplined approach, but their lack of coordination across agencies puts the United States in peril, say a group of government and industry experts. The country must begin to view national emergencies in a countrywide context instead of a narrow local or topical view, or else it will fall prey to whatever major crisis strikes next. The best way to do that is to build a comprehensive national security emergency preparedness (NSEP) capability that draws from lessons out of the Cold War and expertise from public/private partnerships. This also would be accompanied by a grading system that holds agencies accountable to Congress.

August 4, 2020
By Maryann Lawlor
Response personnel at 911 call centers nationwide will benefit from research to improve the interoperability and compatibility of Next-Generation 911 systems. Credit: Photo by U.S. Department of Commerce

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS)

July 29, 2020
By Kimberly Underwood
Firefighters from 502nd Civil Engineering Squadron at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph conduct an exercise in June 2019 to improve the base's resiliency. The San Antonio region is also preparing for any possible electromagnetic pulse events, which could be detrimental to power and operations. Credit: U.S. Air Force photo by Sean M. Worrell

Officials from the city of San Antonio, Joint Base San Antonio, other stakeholders and the region’s municipal energy company are moving to protect critical infrastructure against potentially damaging electromagnetic pulse attacks. The efforts include a pilot program, related analysis and a plan that addresses long-term operations in case of an electromagnetic pulse attack.

The region is pursuing the comprehensive efforts based on a March 2019 Presidential Executive Order (EO) 13865, “Coordinating National Resilience to Electromagnetic Pulses.” The EO set policy for electromagnetic pulse preparation, directed entities to examine how to protect, respond to and recover from such an attack.

July 24, 2020
 
Army National Guard Chaplain Lt. Col. Henry Roberson (center) gives communion to search and rescue workers across the street from the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, the site of a 1995 terrorist attack caused by a fertilizer bomb. The Department of Homeland Security's Science and Technology Directorate is building a modeling tool that will help officials plan for and counter attacks at special events. Photo by Tech. Sgt. Marvin Krause, U.S. Air Force

The Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology (S&T) Directorate’s Chemical Security Analysis Center (CSAC) is developing a modeling tool that estimates the hazard and related human health consequences from thousands of plausible threat scenarios.

The tool is called the Homeland Explosive Consequence and Threat (HExCAT), and it helps public officials to plan for attacks at special events, such as parades, elections, sporting events and inaugurations. After validation and further development, it will be integrated into national- and regional-level risk analysis.

July 10, 2020
By Robert K. Ackerman
Credit: Shutterstock/Wth

Threats to global security now include the ongoing pandemic, its exploitation by international malefactors and climate change, according to an ad-hoc group of international defense and national security experts. These experts spent two days brainstorming the future online, and their findings were analyzed by the world’s most well-known artificial intelligence (AI) computer.

Titled “Securing the Post-COVID Future,” the event exchanged ideas among active duty military and civilian expertise with several international organizations. Findings during the 50-hour nonstop event were evaluated by tools from Watson, IBM’s question-answering computer that bested Jeopardy!’s top two champions in a competition a few years ago.

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.

December 1, 2019
By Shaun Waterman
A Customs and Border Protection officer takes biometrics from an arriving foreign visitor. Integrating biometrics into the pre-arrival vetting process is one of the National Vetting Center’s key tasks.  Customs and Border Protection

The Department of Homeland Security interagency National Vetting Center has created an information clearinghouse that automatically checks the names of foreigners applying to come to the United States against highly classified databases in various intelligence agencies. The clearinghouse relies on a cloud architecture that agencies are building to share information and lays the foundation for powerful new tools that could leverage artificial intelligence and predictive analytics to help find foreign travelers who might be a threat to U.S. national security.

November 18, 2019
By George I. Seffers
The data captured from lightning strikes around the world may help to secure the U.S. electrical grid from cyber attacks. Credit: Vasin Lee/Shutterstock

Monitoring global lightning strikes could help detect cyber attacks on the U.S. electrical grid, according to Georgia Institute of Technology researchers who have a patent pending to do just that.

Lightning strikes roughly 3.5 million times per day on average. Each and every strike creates an electrical path miles tall that emits a very low frequency radio signal. Those signals bounce off the upper atmosphere and can be detected virtually anywhere in the world, explains Morris Cohen, an associate professor in the Georgia Tech School of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

October 18, 2019
Posted by Julianne Simpson
Credit: LuckyStep

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) is launching its latest S&T Impact Series case study, one that highlights many of the precautions and actions the department is taking to strengthen the nation’s cyber capabilities.

September 24, 2019
By Shaun Waterman
FinCEN Director Kenneth Blanco speaks at AFCEA International's Federal identity Forum and Expo September 24 in Tampa, Florida. Credit: Shaun Waterman

There’s a new federal player on the field in the identity security game—the U.S. Treasury’s anti-money laundering and financial intelligence office, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network known as FinCEN.

“Many of you may not know what we do,” FinCEN Director Kenneth Blanco told AFCEA International’s Federal ID Forum and Expo Tuesday, explaining that FinCEN was the regulatory agency that administers the Bank Secrecy Act—the primary federal law against terror financing and money laundering—and at the same time the principal financial intelligence agency for the U.S. government, providing access to its database of 30 million financial records to law enforcement agencies, regulators and foreign allies.

August 27, 2019
Posted by Kimberly Underwood
The one-year old Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency at the Department of Homeland Security is coordinating the protection of the nation’s critical infrastructure. Credit: Shutterstock/Imfoto

The Department of Homeland Security’s new Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, known as CISA, is charged with coordinating the protection of America’s critical infrastructure from cyber as well as physical attacks. Director Christopher Krebs recently released the agency’s top operational priorities. CISA, which was created in November 2018, will initially tackle supply chain risks, election security and industrial control system security, among other measures, according to the document, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency: Strategic Intent.

August 27, 2019
Posted by Maryann Lawlor
Sensors like those the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate and Intellisense Systems are developing can help give residents ample notice to evacuate before water levels such as those experienced on the Arkansas River in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, earlier this year. Photo by Jocelyn Augustino/FEMA

Deployable flood inundation sensors based on the Internet of Things are being developed to monitor flood-prone areas in real time to rapidly detect them and alert officials, industry and citizens to potential threats. State and local government jurisdictions operationally field tested early versions of the technology over a nine-month period. During the next phase, the sensors will be enhanced for production and commercialization to both domestic and international partners to help densify their flood sensing networks for alerts, warnings and notifications.

August 1, 2019
By George I. Seffers
Officials with the Homeland Security Department are sorting through the hope and hype of blockchain solutions as they prepare to transition from paper-based processes to digital documentation. Credit: Pixabay/xresch

Officials with the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate are exploring the potential for blockchain technology to prevent fraudulent government documents as agencies consider transitioning from paper-based processes to digital. And they’re not interested in cheap imitations.

July 15, 2019
Posted by George I. Seffers
The DHS Science and Technology Directorate is funding a $35 million, 10-year effort to create a research center of excellence focused on preventing and countering terrorist attacks. Credit: deepspace/Shutterstock

The Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) announced today $35 million in funding opportunities for a new DHS Center of Excellence (COE) for Terrorism Prevention and Counterterrorism Research (TPCR). Accredited U.S. colleges and universities are invited to submit proposals as the center lead or as an individual partner to work with the lead institution in support of the center’s activities.

July 11, 2019
 
 U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Homeland Security takes a closer look at how the government is using biometrics in protecting the nation. Credit: Shutterstock/Andrea Izzotti

The current climate surrounding the identification of citizens and deportation of noncitizens is fiery at best. And while facial recognition and other biometric technologies offer the government advanced tools to protect the homeland, some critics, including lawmakers, are sounding the alarm on how agencies are using identification data and whether citizens' privacy rights are being protected.