Homeland Security

June 20, 2019
Posted by Kimberly Underwood
The Department of Homeland Security is reaching out to the private sector for ideas about advanced cloud-based biometric technology for immigration and border security.

The Department of Homeland Security, or DHS, has made a steady march toward the use of digital biometric data for identity management. After the attacks of 9/11, Congress mandated that DHS identify foreign airline travelers coming into the United States through digital fingerprints, and after that, required a biometric identification program for foreign nationals leaving the country. Since then, the department has added biometric identity management for U.S. citizens.

June 6, 2019
By Maryann Lawlor
Unlike standard GPS-enabled map apps, QuickRoute settings include options such as “Use Controlled Opposing Lanes” and “Show QuickRoute Alerts on Map.”

First responders can’t always use the same apps the general public depends on to get to their destination by the fastest route. Commercial apps may not factor in delays such as weather events, traffic accidents or the size and weight of their vehicles.

April 24, 2019
By Robert K. Ackerman
Suzette Kent, federal chief information officer, Office of Management and Budget, describes the information security thrusts the federal government will undertake during her keynote address at the AFCEA Homeland Security Conference in Washington.

The federal government is moving forward with coordinated efforts to improve its information system security before year’s end. Both growing threats and potential advantages are compelling these concurrent thrusts.

Suzette Kent, federal chief information officer, Office of Management and Budget, described these efforts during the Wednesday keynote address at the AFCEA Homeland Security Conference in Washington, D.C. Personnel, methodology and technology all are playing a role in these diverse actions, which aim to help secure government data and access to it.

April 17, 2019
By Maryann Lawlor
Rear Adm. Christian Becker, USN, commander, Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR), discusses the defense industry’s role executing the Chief of Naval Operations “A Design for Maintaining Maritime Superiority 2.0” during a combined AFCEA and NDIA event. SPAWAR works closely with industry to provide the tactical networks, space systems and C4ISR technology assets and services U.S. Navy fleet operators require. U.S. Navy photo by Rick Naystatt/Released

Threats to U.S. homeland security are more numerous, more complex and evolving more rapidly. This accelerated threat environment is enabled in great part by emerging technology that has emboldened adversaries to doggedly evade defensive barriers.

Defeating these hostile threat attempts depends on building effective private-public partnerships, says John M. Kreger, vice president, public sector programs, Center for Programs and Technology, The MITRE Corporation. “Successful private-public partnerships can enhance the technological impact and achieve efficiencies to help further our homeland security mission,” he states.

April 1, 2019
By Kimberly Underwood
Given that one of the water sector’s challenges in protecting infrastructure from cyber attacks is cost, research is needed into affordable security measures for control systems. Credit: Daniel Jedzura/Shutterstock

The water and wastewater treatment industry is facing cybersecurity threats. The risks affect the sector disproportionately compared to other utilities, given local-level water processing operations.

Along with physically securing its critical infrastructure, the water industry has to leverage available tools to protect against cyber attacks, an expert says.

April 1, 2019
By Robert K. Ackerman

The growing interconnection among the elements of the critical infrastructure may hold the key to safeguarding it against an increasingly sophisticated threat picture. Many elements of the critical infrastructure depend on each other, and securing them in a coordinated endeavor holds promise for combatting adversaries who are targeting it on a daily basis.

April 1, 2019
By Robert K. Ackerman

A 2018 exercise developed by the Army Cyber Institute at West Point and hosted by the city of Houston provided participants with a full view of potential critical infrastructure crises while also offering a path to security and resiliency. Known as the Jack Voltaic 2.0 Cyber Research Project, the exercise exposed critical infrastructure issues to 200 participants from 44 organizations.

March 26, 2019
Posted by Kimberly Underwood
A screenshot depicts the virtual reality environment for the EMS scenario for the NIST Public Safety Communications Research Division’s Haptic Interfaces for Public Safety Challenge. Credit: PSCR

The requirement to share information and communicate effectively via radio or other equipment during natural disasters, fires, crimes or catastrophes has only increased for police officers, firefighters and other public safety personnel. The National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST's) Communications Technology Laboratory, known as the CLT, has been working to improve interoperability among the first responders and other public safety organizations, conducting research to update legacy systems and harness new mobile technologies to exchange vital voice and data communications in a crisis 

March 11, 2018
 
The Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate and Israel’s Ministry of Public Security are searching for companies or academic institutions in each country to work together on first responder systems, including unmanned aerial vehicles, border protection and systems to fight cyber crime. Credit: charles taylor/Shutterstock

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) and Israel’s Ministry of Public Security (MOPS) are seeking proposals to support collaborative research and development between U.S. and Israeli companies, or between a company and a university or research institute—one from the United States and one from Israel. 

February 25, 2019
Posted by Kimberly Underwood

The Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate is teaming up with NASA and the Federal Aviation Administration in order to manage unmanned aerial vehicle traffic. With projections of seven million drones that could congest the national airspace, the federal agencies needed a capability to control the domain.

They are creating the Unmanned Aircraft Systems Traffic Management  infrastructure, or UTM, a cloud-based, automated air traffic management system, according to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T). The UTM would then communicate with a required UAS Service Supplier interface on drones.

February 13, 2019
By Maryann Lawlor
Automated machine learning expedites the development of predictive models ensuring they are up to date.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is benefiting from the first three technologies to successfully transition from the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate’s Silicon Valley Innovation Program (SVIP).

December 19, 2018
 
Everett Kaneshige, chief strategy officer for broadband and telecommunications for the State of Hawaii (l) and Tom Lawless, U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) region IX coordinator, test satellite connectivity in remote areas affected by the Kilauea volcanic eruption. DHS has announced a new approach to information technology modernization, which opens new opportunities for industry, including small businesses. Credit: Grace Simoneau/FEMA

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Chief Procurement Officer Soraya Correa announced this week that DHS will follow a new strategy for obtaining information technology services. Rather than pursue a re-competition of the Enterprise Acquisition Gateway for Leading-Edge Solutions (EAGLE) II, the department will offer an array of options for industry, including greater opportunity for small businesses, under EAGLE Next Generation.

December 11, 2018
Posted by Kimberly Underwood
To protect the nation, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) is pursuing multiple drone intrusion detection research and development efforts. Photo Credit: Shutterstock/Yupa Watchanakit.

The number of unmanned aerial vehicles in the sky is expected to triple this decade. The need to find or manage drones in the sky, especially adversarial drones, will correspondingly grow, experts say.

In response, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology (S&T) Directorate, through its research and development, is developing capabilities to improve the management of vulnerabilities that drones present, the department recently announced.

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.

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