Homeland Security

February 1, 2015
By Sandra Jontz
The unmanned version of Kaman Corporation’s K-MAX platform demonstrates dropping water on a controlled fire during trials at Griffiss Air Force Base in New York.

After a successful three-year logistics run in Afghanistan aiding the U.S. Marine Corps, an unmanned aerial asset may be repurposed for battles of a slightly different kind, if officials from the Department of the Interior have their way. The unmanned version of the K-MAX medium-lift helicopter, used in the war zone to ferry cargo, might find a new mission in the United States—fighting wildfires under the purview of the federal agency tasked with protecting the country’s natural resources.

January 29, 2014
By George I. Seffers
Smugglers used a makeshift ramp to attempt to drive over a border fence in 2012 but fled when the truck didn’t make it over. Jeh Johnson, secretary of the Homeland Security Department, is calling for a 2015 appropriations bill to fund more technology to help secure the southern border.

Contrary to popular belief, illegal crossings along the southern border of the United States are at their lowest levels since the 1970s, according to Jeh Johnson, secretary of the Homeland Security Department (DHS), who is calling on Congress to pass a 2015 appropriations bill to fund additional security measures for border protection and homeland security.

November 6, 2014
George I. Seffers
Biobots detect and track sounds for search and rescue.

I know what you’re thinking—cockroach karaoke! But that’s just not right.

North Carolina State University researchers have developed technology that allows cyborg cockroaches, or biobots, to pick up sounds with small microphones and seek out the source of the sound. The technology is designed to help emergency personnel find and rescue survivors in the aftermath of a disaster.

December 12, 2014
By Maryann Lawlor

Podcasts are the audio on-demand equivalent of video these days. They are a bit more portable because anyone with a smartphone or tablet can tune in and catch up on episodes—not only all the time but also wherever they want. It’s a bit difficult to watch a movie while driving, although it’s been done. Podcasts also feature one other capability that on-demand viewing does not facilitate: audience participation.

December 10, 2014
By Robert K. Ackerman

The most dangerous threat to the United States may come from cyberspace rather than terrorists, according to a panel of experts. A cyberspace attack could wreak damage that would change the nature of the country, they suggested.

This was one of many issues discussed by a panel on cyber and intelligence on day two of TechNet Asia-Pacific 2014, being held in Honolulu December 9-11. The panelists offered that cyber and terrorism are the most realistic threats facing the United States.

November 25, 2014
By Sandra Jontz

The contractor that facilitates enrollment in the U.S. Transportation Security Administration’s PreCheck program developed an enrollment option to let employees of participating organizations sign up at their offices, saving them the trip to an airport or off-site enrollment center.

November 20, 2014
By George I. Seffers

The U.S. Department of Commerce, Washington, D.C., today announced the consolidated screening list (CSL), a streamlined collection of nine different screening lists from the U.S. Departments of Commerce, State and the Treasury that contains names of individuals and companies with whom a U.S. company may not be allowed to do business due to U.S. export regulations, sanctions or other restrictions. The CSL is designed to make it easier for U.S. companies to comply with export laws.

October 27, 2014
By Sandra Jontz
Replica grenades used as part of a Halloween costume discovered in a checked bag at Alaska airport.

You would think it would go without saying, but apparently not. So a U.S. Transportation Security Administration representative wrote a brief blog on a few Halloween travel tips if travelers are taking flight with costumes in tow.

It’s OK travel with some types of realistic replica items and props in checked luggage, but anything resembling a bomb or explosive is a no-no. Items that look like grenades, land mines, rocket launchers, shells or bombs cannot be taken on airplanes, even if they are toys or replicas.  

October 22, 2014

Reginald Brothers, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) undersecretary for science and technology, today announced the new visionary goals for the department’s Science and Technology (S&T) Directorate.

October 17, 2014

Toffler Associates, Reston, Virginia, recently announced it has been selected by an agency within the Department of Homeland Security as the prime contractor to provide strategic integration support services. The awarded blanket purchase agreement includes a total potential value of $50 million over five years (one-year base and four one-year option periods). Under the agency's strategic integration vehicle, Toffler Associates will provide mission critical operational integration, requirements development, analysis and improvement, organizational effectiveness and communications support services.

October 10, 2014

PositiveID Corporation, Delray Beach, Florida, has announced that it, in conjunction with its partner, ENSCO Inc., has been awarded a SenseNet Program contract from the U.S. Department of the Interior on behalf of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Science & Technology Directorate. The goal of this SenseNet award is to implement faster, less expensive bio-threat detection systems, using existing infrastructure where possible, to provide an added level of security.

October 7, 2014
By George I. Seffers

Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, released a proposal to secure the border entitled “Blueprint for Southern Border Security.” The proposal calls for a broad mix of technologies, including radar, manned or unmanned aircraft, aerostats and unattended ground sensors. The technologies deployed should be as varied as the terrain.

September 22, 2014
By Robert K. Ackerman

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has transformed into an organization with intelligence as its core of operations, according to its director. This approach strengthens the bureau’s traditional activities of crime solving, and it enhances its work protecting the country against enemies within its borders.

In a closing plenary speech, FBI Director James Comey described these activities at the AFCEA/INSA Intelligence and National Security Summit 2014, held September 18-19 in Washington, D.C. Comey explained that the bureau built on reforms begun by his predecessor, and they give the FBI increased strength in all its operations.

September 22, 2014
By Robert K. Ackerman

The director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) views cyberspace as one of the bureau’s top priorities across its entire mission set. Not only is economic national security threatened from cyberspace, it also may hold clues to deterring and preventing crimes—if the bureau can exploit it effectively.

“Cyber touches everything I’m responsible for,” said FBI director James Comey. “It’s not a thing, it’s a way.” Comey described the important of cyberspace at the final plenary session of the AFCEA/INSA Intelligence and National Security Summit 2014, held September 18-19 in Washington, D.C.

September 22, 2014
By Robert K. Ackerman

The U.S. Defense Department is developing new strategic approaches to deal with new threats that have novel aspects, and these approaches are being reflected in defense intelligence capabilities. These capability changes will need to take place concurrent with ongoing operations to address these challenges, according to a high-ranking Defense Department official.

September 17, 2014
By Rita Boland

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is looking to replace its Automated Biometric Identification System, or IDENT, in the next two to four years, an official with the department says. IDENT is DHS's central system for storing and processing biometric and associated biographic information for various homeland security purposes.

September 12, 2014
By Rita Boland

The Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate has transitioned the first technology in its Transition to Practice (TTP) program to commercial market two years ahead of schedule. The effort involves Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Quantum Secured Communication, which was picked up by the company Allied Minds. That private-sector entity exclusively licensed the technology in August 2013 and formed Whitewood Encryption Systems Incorporated to bring it to market. The product is a next-generation encryption system that leverages the quantum properties of light.

September 4, 2014
By Sandra Jontz

The National Capital Region joins two cities already part of the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) program to detect and deter nuclear and radiological threats with the award of a $30 million federal grant, which it will receive over the next five years.

August 27, 2014
By Sandra Jontz

Service members can get expedited travel screening at Transportation Security Administration (TSA) PreCheck airports using their Defense Department identification number when booking flight reservations. The security approach is available to all members of the U.S. armed forces, including the reserves, the National Guard and the U.S. Coast Guard.

August 21, 2014
By Sandra Jontz

The number of application centers offering screenings for admittance into the U.S. Transportation Security Administration’s PreCheck program has grown, and travelers can enroll for the PreCheck program at Palm Beach International Airport (PBI), San Francisco International Airport (SFO), Denver International Airport (DEN) and the off-airport IdentoGO Center by MorphoTrust, in Raleigh, North Carolina. There are now 302 enrollment centers in the nation and more than 486,000 registered passengers.

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