By mid-November, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials are scheduled to complete development of an interactive, digital training module to teach commercial airline employees to assist in the fight against human trafficking. The BLI training course is an interactive, self-paced training module that details human trafficking indicators aviation personnel are most likely to observe in the air environment. Furthermore, the course provides information on how to report human trafficking to U.S. law enforcement effectively.
The Titus unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) is smaller, lighter, faster and smarter than its predecessors in the Andros family of systems. Titus weighs 135 pounds and measures 27 inches long, 16 inches wide and 23 inches high. It retains the four-articulator design common to Andros vehicles and also features a unique operator control unit with a hybrid touch-screen and game system-style physical controls.
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has published for public review draft recommendations to ensure the confidentiality of sensitive federal information residing on the computers of contractors and other nonfederal organizations working for the government.
Emergency responders may be able to anticipate unfolding disasters before they have to respond, as a result of a new system that combines situational input with simulation. When floodwaters are rising or a fire is spewing toxic fumes, emergency personnel can simulate in real time how the threat might expand and evolve and plan their responses accordingly.
The system incorporates modules that allow it to simulate and predict how a disaster scenario might evolve. Different emergency response groups can use it to coordinate activities. With its situational awareness inputs, this permits responders to stay a step ahead of an unfolding disaster while ensuring an efficient, coordinated response during and after the emergency.
The Department of Homeland Security’s SAFETY Act is finding a new application as it may serve to protect against the potential for lawsuits arising from the National Institute of Standards and Technology Cybersecurity Framework. Lawyers are answering questions from clients about possible legal actions, and the department and institute are working together to ensure developers work with confidence.
AFCEA/INSA Intelligence and National Security Summit 2014
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Quote of the Day:
“The things we see today may be abominations, but they are not aberrations. They are the new normal.”—Brig. Gen. Michael Groen, USMC, director of intelligence, U.S. Marine Corps.
The U.S. government is adopting changes to the cloud computing certification program that will better protect against potential insider threats. The improvements include additional penetration testing, more thorough testing of mobile devices, tighter controls over systems being carried from a facility and more stringent scrutiny of systems connecting from outside the network.
U.S. Defense Department and interagency special operators are scheduled to begin receiving new tactical mesh networking equipment this month. The kit provides a mobile, ad hoc, self-healing network that offers a full range of situational awareness data, including intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance feeds, blue force tracking and a voice over Internet protocol capability.
U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker appointed five experts as new board members for the First Responder Network Authority, a nascent independent board tasked by Congress to develop the first-ever nationwide EMS network.
Better known as FirstNet, the endeavor falls under the Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), and will be a wireless public safety broadband network to provide better communications technology for police, fire and rescue personnel.
Pritzker appointed Thursday the following individuals:
U.S. border patrol agents watched on surveillance videos as suspected drug smugglers chatted on cellular phones. But when agents sought phone records for investigations into the suspected nefarious activity along the Texas-Mexico divide, commercial service providers came up empty-handed. There simply were no logs. How were the smugglers evading commercial providers?
U.S. Customs and Border Protection turned to Lockheed Martin for its LUMEN Active Defense technology of sensors that can help detect rogue cellular base stations devised to circumvent cellular service providers.
The price of failure to provide adequate cybersecurity ultimately may be too high for any nation to tolerate. Yet, the cost of effective cybersecurity may be too much for a nation to afford. The consequences of a damaging cyberattack on a part of the critical infrastructure could be catastrophic, yet securing national capabilities from cyberattack will require more than just government or industry action. Both groups must work in concert to produce results that are greater than the sum of their parts, but no single approach to cybersecurity will work to protect the diverse government and commercial assets that are both extremely vulnerable and highly critical to a nation’s well-being.
The Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) newly released strategic priorities for the next four years differ little from its vision in the Quadrennial Homeland Security Review (QHSR) of 2010, though officials recognize the need for tweaks to mission points as it works to address emerging threats to national security.
The department’s in-house assessment, mandated by Congress, spotlights its five security missions as combating threats of terrorism, both foreign and domestic; securing and managing U.S. borders; enforcing immigration laws; safeguarding cyberspace; and strengthening national preparedness and resiliency.
The Instant Eye small unmanned aerial system received approval last Thursday from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to be used by an energy company, which will conduct research, development and training to see if the system is practical for inspecting infrastructure such as pipelines, power lines and insulators on towers. It is the first unmanned quadrotor to receive FAA certification and may be the lightest aircraft ever certified. The approval opens the door for the system to be used for a wide range of commercial applications.
With the war in Afghanistan winding down, the U.S. Defense Department’s rapid deployment office, which specializes in identifying, developing and quickly fielding game-changing technologies, now will take a more long-term approach. Slightly stretching out the process will offer more flexibility to procure the best possible systems, will present more opportunities for interagency and international cooperation and may cut costs.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has canceled the new generation of autonomous biodetection program after a Congressional oversight committee criticized the department’s acquisition process.
The biodetection program called BioWatch Generation-3 (Gen-3) would have operated 24 hours a day, year round in U.S. population centers to continuously monitor the air for agents of biological concern and give officials an early warning capability.
Cybersecurity remains a priority for the U.S. Defense Department, with officials protecting resources for it in the face of overall budget constraints. Guidance from the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2014 directs a mission analysis of cybercapabilities not only in the active military, but also across partners, to help forces maintain their edge in protecting the nation.
In the coming months, extremists fighting in the Syrian civil war likely will begin returning to Europe, funneling through the Balkans where they can find cheap weapons, like-minded allies and temporary accomplices in the form of organized criminal groups. Conditions are ripe, according to experts, for those individuals to spread across Europe, launching terrorist attacks on major cities.
Intelligence agencies could have investigated more thoroughly and shared information more effectively, but even if they had performed perfectly, they may not have been able to prevent last year’s Boston Marathon bombing, according to a report delivered today before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.
Dealing with the world’s increasing complexity is the primary challenge to keeping the homeland secure, according to Adm. Thad Allen, USCG, (Ret.), executive vice president of Booz Allen Hamilton and former commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard. He lists border security, the cyberthreat, information sharing, terrorism, criminal organizations and climate change as elements adding to that complexity.
“We have to start understanding that the root problem we’re trying to deal with is to defeat complexities that inhibit working across boundaries to deliver solutions,” he said while serving as the morning keynote speaker on the first day of the AFCEA Homeland Security Conference in Washington, D.C., in March.
Officials from across the Homeland Security Department (DHS) stressed the need for strong partnerships during the third and final day of the AFCEA Homeland Security Conference, Washington, D.C.
Luke McCormack, DHS chief information officer, and Nick Nayak, DHS chief procurement officer, set the tone for the day while sharing the morning’s welcome message. McCormack related that when he first started his job, Nayak phoned him up, called him “Cool Hand Luke,” and offered to help in any way he could. “It was at that moment we formed a partnership, and it has been growing stronger every day,” McCormack recalled.