Homeland Security

October 1, 2016
By George I. Seffers
Interoperable sensors deployed across a city can feed information to first responders, improving disaster response efforts.

Homeland security researchers are defining the specifications for a central hub device that will protect, connect and inform the next generation of first responders and may be one step toward a miniature Internet of Things designed specifically for emergencies. The hub may be a personal cellphone that will provide a customizable feed of voice, video and data from an array of Internet of Things sensors, enhancing response efforts and ultimately saving lives.

February 22, 2017
By Sandra Jontz
Adm. Philip Davidson, USN, commander of U.S. Fleet Forces Command, warns that the Navy is taking a risk by pushing modernization efforts to the back burner in favor of forward deployed fleet readiness. Photo by Mike Carpenter

The integrity of the U.S. Navy suffers today because the integrity of the force depends on capability, capacity and readiness—three areas that have taken a beating with a Navy at war for 15 years and the budget shortfalls threatening so many military arenas, said Adm. Philip Davidson, USN, commander of U.S. Fleet Forces Command. 

January 1, 2017
By George I. Seffers
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security offers free training designed to help protect the nation’s critical infrastructure, including the electrical grid.

The U.S. government is expanding and enhancing training on how to protect the nation’s critical infrastructure from both cyber and physical attacks. 

For more than a decade, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has offered a wide array of free training programs to government and private-sector infrastructure owners and operators. Critical infrastructure provides the essential services that underpin American society and serves as the backbone of the nation’s economy, security and health. It includes defense, transportation, finance, communications and other sectors.

February 13, 2017

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate has announced an opportunity for manufacturers of Global Positioning System (GPS) equipment used in critical infrastructure to test their products against GPS jamming and spoofing.

The GPS Testing for Critical Infrastructure (GET-CI) event, to be held April 17-21, at the Muscatatuck Urban Training Center in Butlerville, Indiana, is the first in a series of test opportunities.

February 1, 2017
By Maj. Gen. Earl D. Matthews, USAF (Ret.)

Now that Donald Trump has become the 45th president of the United States, he will be exposed to the nation’s soft underbelly: cybersecurity. Given rapid advancements in information and communication technologies, continued coupling of the digital domain with the physical world and advanced persistent threats, critical infrastructure protection poses a major challenge for the United States. 

This is where the president should focus his efforts. But is either the Department of Homeland Security or the Defense Department the right agency for cyber protection?

By Katie Helwig
Douglas Maughan from the Department of Homeland Security speaks to AFCEA committee members.

Douglas Maughan, director of the Cyber Security Division at the U.S.

November 1, 2016
By Matthew Dallimore
A radiation portal monitor (RPM) is used to scan vehicles and containerize cargo contaminated with naturally occurring radioactive materials (NORMs). Photo courtesy of Symetrica.

Radiation detection is critical to security across the globe. Led by the World Customs Organization, the industry is moving from a simple detection model to intelligent detection, which employs holistic solutions to improve radiation detection universally.

October 31, 2016
By David Young

The strongest assembled securities available today can’t fully safeguard the nation’s critical infrastructure assets. But the good news is that these vulnerabilities are front and center on official radars and primed for increased attention. For starters, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has designated November as Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience (CISR) month.

Ooctober 21, 2016
By Julianne Simpson

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Jeh C. Johnson gave a report on the department’s progress in cyber hiring, announcing more than 120 new employees.

The announcement comes during National Cybersecurity Awareness Month. “Cybersecurity has been one of our department’s most important missions, and hiring top cyber talent is crucial to our success in that mission,” he said in the statement.

September 28, 2016
By Julianne Simpson
The Coast Guard's national security cutters are 418 feet long and have a top speed of 28 knots.

The U.S. Coast Guard announced the service’s sixth national security cutter, Munro, will be commissioned April 1, 2017, at the Smith Cove Terminal in Seattle.

The cutter will be home ported in Alameda, California, and is named after Signalman First Class Douglas A. Munro, the Coast Guard’s only Medal of Honor recipient.

September 1, 2016
By Sandra Jontz
An Air Force Research Laboratory researcher holds up a sweat sensor prototype. The lab’s 711th Human Performance Wing and the University of Cincinnati conducted human trials for wearable sweat sensors that could measure biomarkers and alert users to physical exhaustion, stress or possible illness.

The future of wearable technologies will plug people—from head to toe—into the Internet using smart clothing embedded with sensors connected to smartphones that can relay an abundance of environmental, health and fitness information to apps that track users’ well-being. Designers are even creating tattoolike devices that gather data through skin contact and transmit it wirelessly to smartphones and remote diagnostic facilities. 

August 8, 2016
The Department of Homeland Security has made the Next-Generation Incident Command System globally available.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) has announced the Next-Generation Incident Command System (NICS), an information sharing tool for first responders, is now available worldwide.

August 5, 2016
By Sandra Jontz
The first Women in STEM panel held this week at AFCEA’s TechNet Augusta address issues that keep women from pursing and staying in STEM fields. Photo by Wayland Linwood.

It’s not easy for some women to find their voices among the cacophonous male-dominated chatter of the technology world, much less getting it heard by others—especially leaders.

How should women handle the frustrating problem of posing a question during a staff meeting, only to have it fall on deaf ears—an issue made worse when she then slides a sticky note to a male peer who asks it, gets it acknowledged and earns praise for it?

August 1, 2016
By Sandra Jontz
Researcher Elizabeth Montano prepares DNA samples to be analyzed by next-generation sequencing (NGS) technology. She has performed forensic genomics research and development at Battelle in Columbus, Ohio, for three years.

Elusive criminals are about to meet their match. Advances in forensic DNA profiling soon will give investigators and analysts the ability to pull genetic data once considered disposable. The breakthrough allows law enforcement to generate information such as gender, hair and eye color, ethnicity and geographic origin from the DNA samples of perpetrators who otherwise might evade detection if they were not part of a DNA database. Gone are the days when nonmatching DNA samples signified a dead end. 

August 1, 2016
By Lt. Gen. Mike Basla, USAF (Ret.)

The steady drumbeat of horrific terrorist attacks continues across our country and around the world. Most of these attacks are rooted in religious extremism, yet our administration and Congress keep debating terrorism terminologies and causes rather than taking aggressive and meaningful bipartisan steps that clearly identify the threats and lay out a comprehensive strategy to mitigate them. I am convinced that we will continue to struggle against extremist and other mass-murder threats until we come up with unified national positions on terrorism and gun control that most Americans can understand, accept and support.

July 21, 2016
By Sandra Jontz

Now that the federal government is collecting cyberthreat intelligence from agencies and private businesses, the repository undoubtedly will be a prime target by the very threat the program seeks to wipe out.

In June, the Departments of Homeland Security and Justice issued final guidance for the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA) of 2015, which Congress passed in December after years of industry efforts to push information sharing legislation over the finish line.

CISA paves the way for private companies to share cyberthreat information, not just with each other but with the government, and appointed the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) as the clearinghouse for all of that data.

July 5, 2016
By Sandra Jontz

Implicit biases—such as girls aren't as good as boys in science and math—have hampered advancements in work force diversity for decades. But what does it mean when girls themselves perpetuate the damaging erroneous stereotype? What can be done to entice girls to pursue classes in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) before they lose interest? Most people hold unconscious, implicit assumptions that influence their judgments and perceptions of others. People sometimes apply the biases unintentionally, which results in actions or the absence of action that can reduce the quality of the work force and create unfair and destructive environments.

July 18, 2016

The Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology (S&T) Directorate will host two industry days to provide additional insights to the mobile and cellular industry and researchers about the Mobile Threats and Defenses request for information (RFI).

May 17, 2016
By Sandra Jontz

SIGNAL Media continues with its multi-month project to highlight women in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, most commonly referred to as STEM. Today, we highlight the importance of appealing to the passions of the high-tech work force that seeks to make global differences; the positive impact of networking; and addressing the issue of equal pay and acknowledgement.

May 24, 2016
By Robert K. Ackerman
A U.S. Border Patrol Tactical Unit rides aboard an Office of Air and Marine UH-60 helicopter. Homegrown terrorism has moved to the top of the threat list at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

The greatest threat facing the U.S. homeland mixes both internal and external enemies, according to the Department of Homeland Security's undersecretary for intelligence and analysis. Homegrown violent extremists influenced by overseas radical ideologues top the list of hazards confronting the public and private sectors in their efforts to secure the country.

Many overseas terrorist organizations still see the United States as the enemy and a roadblock to achieving their objectives. But the threat within now grabs the lion’s share of attention from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) as well as from intelligence and law enforcement groups that strive to stay a step ahead of terrorists.

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