Homeland Security

December 11, 2015

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) today announced its first Innovation Other Transaction Solicitation (OTS) aimed at non-traditional performers such as technology startups to offer solutions to some of the toughest threats facing DHS and the homeland security mission. Awarded through Other Transaction Solicitation HSHQDC-16-R-B0005, the first call for proposals is looking for solutions to improve situational awareness and security measures for protecting

November 16, 2015
By Sandra Jontz
Screen shot from Twitter of ISIL's reported threat of Paris-type attack on Washington, D.C.

A militant group claiming affiliation with the terrorist faction that carried out the deadly choreographed attacks in France on Friday released an alarming video Monday reportedly threatening a Paris-style attack in Washington, D.C.

In a video circulated by several news agencies, a militant clad in a camouflage flak vest vows a new round of attacks by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), singling out an attack on the U.S. capital city.

November 10, 2015
By Sandra Jontz
A service member networks with employers during the Hiring Heroes Career Fair at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California.

Hiring veterans is more than a patriotic gesture—it makes good business sense, offers Susan Fallon, vice president of global strategies and business development at Monster Government Solutions. Business leaders recognize veterans not only for their talents and work experiences, but also for their leadership skills and their adherence to discipline, teamwork, time management and respect for the hierarchy.

“It’s good for employers and good for veterans, who are a tremendously talented and a proven work force—the kind of folks you want in your companies,” Fallon says.

September 28, 2015
By George I. Seffers
To determine facial examiners' skills in matching whether faces in two images are the same person, researchers pushed the boundaries by adding inverted images and photos with backgrounds to the standard face-matching of closely cropped head shots.

Trained forensics examiners from the FBI and law enforcement agencies worldwide were far more accurate in identifying faces in photographs than nonexperts and even computers, according to a new assessment. The assessment provides “the first strong evidence that facial forensic examiners are better at face recognition than the rest of us,” Jonathon Phillips, a face recognition researcher at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), said in a written announcement.

September 14, 2015
By Sandra Jontz

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) added two cities to its Domestic Nuclear Detection Office’s (DNDO) Securing the Cities program, an effort to increase the nation’s capabilities to detect and protect against radiological and nuclear threats. Officials on Monday announced the addition of Houston and Chicago to the program.

September 3, 2015
By George I. Seffers
Helicopters drop water and fire retardant on a fire near the Mexican border. AUDREY will provide tailored information to firefighters, whether in the air or on the ground.

Researchers are linking together the power of the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence and cloud computing to create a personal assistant to provide total situational awareness to first responders. The advanced program is wise enough to provide only the information necessary for each user, smart enough to ask questions and versatile enough for virtually anyone to use, including firefighters, warfighters, factory workers and home owners.

If all goes well, the system is set to begin prototype testing within the next 16 months, and an initial capability could be fielded soon.

September 1, 2015
By George I. Seffers
The Science and Technology Directorate and Homeland Security Investigations, both within the Homeland Security Department, are working together to evaluate state-of-the-art biometric technologies and ultimately to integrate those technologies into existing investigation tools. Because child exploitation images and videos pose the greatest challenge, technologies that aid in those investigations likely will benefit a broader range of missions.

The Department of Homeland Security’s Non-Cooperative Biometrics Program will evaluate cutting-edge technologies, such as facial recognition and tattoo identification, and integrate them into current investigation tools. The program specifically focuses on technologies to aid in the fight against child exploitation, but because those are some of the most technologically challenging cases, the program has implications for other missions as well.

March 15, 2013
By Maryann Lawlor

To help government and industry connect, network and learn about requirements and solutions, SIGNAL Media offers Event eNews websites for several major AFCEA International events that feature near real-time coverage as well as daily wrap-ups of speakers and panel discussions. The sites offer attendees the opportunity to follow along or see what they may have missed, and global security professionals who could not attend a conference stay abreast of the discussions that take place there. In addition, Twitter feeds and content comment sections can foster continued conversations well after events come to a close.

July 1, 2015
By Robert B. Dix Jr.

Notwithstanding the public rhetoric about the value of the public-private partnership and collaboration with the private sector, the reality is the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) instead has moved to disenfranchise its long-standing engagement with many of the private sector owners and operators of the nation’s critical infrastructure.

July 1, 2015
By George I. Seffers
A color-enhanced typhimurium strain of salmonella (red) invades cultured human cells. The hundreds of microbes living on and in the human body have proven to be surprisingly unique.

A recent study indicates the communities of microbes found in and on the human body can be used to identify individuals, much like fingerprints and other biometric data. The discovery could lead to a new form of biometrics supporting the identification of criminals and enhancing personalized medicine.  

May 22, 2015
By Bill Nolte

In less than four months, we will mark another anniversary of September 11. It may not be an especially notable anniversary—as would the 15th or the 20th—but it nonetheless can provide an opportunity to assess where the United States and its people stand roughly midway through the second decade of homeland security.

First of all, let us acknowledge that “homeland” remains a euphemism for “domestic.” September 2001 forced us to accept that we no longer could defend U.S. interests only at a distance, but instead we must defend our territory within our territory in ways we have not needed to do for a century. Realistic or not, this remains an unpleasant development for Americans to accept.

May 21, 2015
By George I. Seffers
DHS S&T has awarded two Innovation Prizes to companies offering solutions for first responders.

The Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS's) Science and Technology (S&T) Directorate today announced the winners of the S&T’s first innovation prize competition: The Vreeland Institute Inc., Copake, New York, and Certa Cito LLC, Rochester, New York. The competition, “Indoor Tracking of the Next Generation First Responder” focused on the challenge of keeping track of first responders when they are inside buildings, tunnels and other structures.

May 19, 2015
By Sandra Jontz

The good news: There's no such thing as a killer sun flare that could destroy Earth. But annual losses due to power outages throughout the United States caused by solar storms are estimated at more than $100 billion, officials say. Engineers from several government agencies and industry partners have teamed up to explore solutions to better predict, and thus mitigate, adverse impacts solar storms have on power grids.

May 1, 2015
By Sandra Jontz

The Small Business Administration (SBA) could not fully determine federal agencies’ compliance with spending requirements on programs established to stimulate small business grow and development because most federal agencies surveyed submitted incorrect data, according to a Congressional investigative report.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO), an independent investigative arm of the U.S. Congress, found the SBA cannot fully determine if all 11 agencies analyzed met spending requirements for fiscal 2013, citing that nine of the 11 participating agencies failed to follow SBA’s guidance on submitting data on total extramural research and development obligations, the office reported.

May 1, 2015
By Sandra Jontz
Deputy Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas speaks at the Homeland Security Conference in Washington, D.C., in March. Photography by Michael Carpenter

As nations teeter on varying threatening precipices of instability around the world posed by terrorist aggressions in the Middle East, tensions on the Korean peninsula and continuing piracy issues off of the Eastern shores of African nations, the list of threats in the United States is no shorter or less worrisome.

March 16, 2015
By Suzanne Petrie Liscouski

We all appreciate and value the opportunities to hear from government. The AFCEA Homeland Security Conference afforded industry and government officials alike the chance to talk and share ideas. One topic of conversation piqued my interest that I think will resonate with both industry and government.

March 11, 2015
By Sandra Jontz
Kurt Reuther, acting DHS principal deputy undersecretary for intelligence and analysis, speaks during the Homeland Security Conference and Expo. Photo by Mike Carpenter

AFCEA Homeland Security Conference and Expo Online Show Daily: Day 2

Quote of the Day:
"Standards are like toothbrushes: Everyone has one and no one wants to use someone else's."
—Dan Cotter, director of interoperability and compatibility with the DHS's science and technology First Responders Group

Look out social media aficionados—the FBI could be watching your every post. Well, maybe not every one, and maybe not of everyone. But as social media has become a recruitment tool for terrorists, the popular public platforms have become a new hub for law enforcement as they ramp use of automation technology to scour for actionable intelligence.

March 11, 2015
By George I. Seffers

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) has announced its first business accelerator program, EMERGE!, aimed at entrepreneurs who have innovative ideas that address the unique needs of the homeland security community and whose wearable technologies could be adapted for first responder operations.

March 10, 2015
By Sandra Jontz
Deputy Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas speaks at the Homeland Security Conference. Photo by Mike Carpenter

Cybersecurity is one of the critical homeland security priorities, along with the threats posed in the varying domains of aviation, border security and maritime, said Alejandro Mayorkas, deputy secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). On top of those concerns, add unrest from around the world that poses a threat to national security. As such, securing the nation means the U.S. government simply cannot do it alone.

Enter private industry to the homeland security stage, Mayorkas said Tuesday during the Homeland Security Conference in Washington, D.C.

March 10, 2015
By Sandra Jontz
Carlos Kizzee from The Center for Internet Security and Rich Struse with the DHS talk about cybersecurity and information sharing at Homeland Security Conference.

Knowing the cybersecurity threat might be half the battle toward mitigating problems, but the popular push and mounting trend toward increased information sharing, particularly between industry and the federal government, is not the be all and end all, according to one security expert.

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