Department of Homeland Security

October 4, 2021
Posted by George I. Seffers
Quantum computing advances in the coming years are expected to offer benefits while also posting a threat to national security. Guidance offered by the Department of Homeland Security and the National Institute of Standards and Technology is designed to mitigate that threat. Credit: graphicINmotion/Shutterstock

Today, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), in partnership with the Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), released a road map to help organizations protect their data and systems and to reduce risks related to the advancement of quantum computing technology.  

August 26, 2021
By Shaun Waterman
A facial recognition tablet takes a photo of a passenger boarding an international flight during the Sept 2018 launch of a U.S. Customs and Border Protection biometric exit pilot at Dulles International Airport in Virginia. U.S. CBP Photo by Glenn Fawcett

The best facial recognition systems work very well matching people of all races to their file photographs when tested in a real-world scenario, but when the volunteer subjects were wearing face masks, even the better performing systems showed increased racial disparities in performance, Department of Homeland Security officials told AFCEA’s 2021 Federal Identity Forum and Expo Tuesday.

August 5, 2021
Posted by Kimberly Underwood
U.S. Cyber Command cyber warriors and a French cyber professional collaborate during a July 21 training exercise, Cyber Fort III, at Fort George G. Meade, Maryland. The Command, along with federal agencies such as the FBI, NSA, DOD and the Department of Justice, will be collaborating with the new Joint Cyber Defense Collaborative to broaden U.S. cyber defenses. Credit: U.S. Cyber Command/Josef Cole

As the United States is more and more under siege against nefarious cyber attacks, the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, or CISA, has been working to educate, advise and partner to protect the nation. In its latest move, CISA has created the Joint Cyber Defense Collaborative to bring defensive cyber capabilities together across the federal government, local and state entities and the private sector, according to an August 5 statement from CISA.

January 14, 2021
Posted by: Julianne Simpson
Credit: Shutterstock/sdecoret

The Israel-U.S. Binational Industrial Research and Development (BIRD) Foundation announced awards for two collaborative projects. Totaling $1.5 million, the projects will develop advanced homeland security technologies in the areas of threat detection and 3D mapping. The BIRD Homeland Security (HLS) program is a joint initiative funded by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) and the Israel Ministry of Public Security (MOPS).

The 2020 HLS awardees are:

July 29, 2020
By Kimberly Underwood
Firefighters from 502nd Civil Engineering Squadron at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph conduct an exercise in June 2019 to improve the base's resiliency. The San Antonio region is also preparing for any possible electromagnetic pulse events, which could be detrimental to power and operations. Credit: U.S. Air Force photo by Sean M. Worrell

Officials from the city of San Antonio, Joint Base San Antonio, other stakeholders and the region’s municipal energy company are moving to protect critical infrastructure against potentially damaging electromagnetic pulse attacks. The efforts include a pilot program, related analysis and a plan that addresses long-term operations in case of an electromagnetic pulse attack.

The region is pursuing the comprehensive efforts based on a March 2019 Presidential Executive Order (EO) 13865, “Coordinating National Resilience to Electromagnetic Pulses.” The EO set policy for electromagnetic pulse preparation, directed entities to examine how to protect, respond to and recover from such an attack.

April 16, 2020
Posted by George Seffers
The Homeland Security Department's Science and Technology Directorate has released a review of systems it developed and fielded that are now contributing to the COVID-19 response. Credit: Corona Borealis Studio/Shutterstock

The Homeland Security Department’s Science and Technology (S&T) Directorate has released a review of systems it has developed and fielded and their contributions to countering the COVID-19 pandemic.

The list includes:

Single Automated Business Exchange for Reporting (SABER)

SABER is a free, open-source software that enables businesses to report their operating status both during and after a disaster. Since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, users have leveraged SABER to:

August 27, 2019
Posted by Kimberly Underwood
The one-year old Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency at the Department of Homeland Security is coordinating the protection of the nation’s critical infrastructure. Credit: Shutterstock/Imfoto

The Department of Homeland Security’s new Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, known as CISA, is charged with coordinating the protection of America’s critical infrastructure from cyber as well as physical attacks. Director Christopher Krebs recently released the agency’s top operational priorities. CISA, which was created in November 2018, will initially tackle supply chain risks, election security and industrial control system security, among other measures, according to the document, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency: Strategic Intent.

July 11, 2019
 
 U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Homeland Security takes a closer look at how the government is using biometrics in protecting the nation. Credit: Shutterstock/Andrea Izzotti

The current climate surrounding the identification of citizens and deportation of noncitizens is fiery at best. And while facial recognition and other biometric technologies offer the government advanced tools to protect the homeland, some critics, including lawmakers, are sounding the alarm on how agencies are using identification data and whether citizens' privacy rights are being protected.

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.

September 1, 2018
By George I. Seffers
Artificial intelligence-driven voice forensics can yield a great deal of information about a speaker, including physical characteristics, health, genealogy and environment. Credit: Shutterstock

In the future, voice analysis of an intercepted phone call from an international terrorist to a crony could yield the caller’s age, gender, ethnicity, height, weight, health status, emotional state, educational level and socioeconomic class. Artificial intelligence-fueled voice forensics technology also may offer clues about location; room size; wall, ceiling and floor type; amount of clutter; kind of device, down to the specific model used to make the call; and possibly even facial characteristics of the caller.  

January 26, 2018
By Beverly Cooper

Most of society recognizes that an accelerated threat environment, driven by continuous technological advances, is a danger to national and global security. Enemies are regularly overcoming the defensive barriers of organizations and individuals alike, causing crises on a regular basis. The problems are too prolific for any one sector to solve on its own, but public-private partnerships provide an opportunity for leveraging the strengths of all homeland security stakeholders, leading to stronger protection.

December 1, 2017
By George I. Seffers
Among the technologies being developed under the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Silicon Valley Innovation Program are wearable technologies to monitor the health and welfare of Customs and Border Protection K-9 partners.

A variety of systems cultivated under a Homeland Security rapid development program may be fielded late next year, bearing the first major fruits of the 2-year-old effort.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) kicked off its Silicon Valley Innovation Program in 2015 in an attempt to dramatically reduce the time to develop and deploy technology. The program focuses on all areas of the DHS mission, including information technology, finance, energy, health and first responders.

October 26, 2017
 
John Zangardi, who has been picked as the next chief information officer for the Department of Homeland Security, closes out AFCEA's Defensive Cyber Operations Symposium.

The White House announced on October 26 the intent to appoint John Zangardi, acting chief information officer (CIO) at the Department of Defense, to be the CIO for the Department of Homeland Security.

September 12, 2017
By Beverly Mowery Cooper
Claire Grady, senior officer performing the duties of the deputy secretary and under secretary for management, addresses the AFCEA Homeland Security Conference.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is in the middle of responding to two unprecedented weather events, working with state and local governments. But very important for success has been the work and collaboration of the industrial sector, said Claire Grady, senior officer performing the duties of the deputy secretary and undersecretary for management, DHS. Industry has provided visibility, traceability and communications across the response area, and this shows what we as Americans can accomplish together, she emphasized.

August 17, 2017
 
The Homeland Security Department is testing a new contact-free fingerprinting technology at select airports.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) is working with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to evaluate new identity verification technology that can reduce the time it takes for travelers to pass through security. Proof-of-concept testing is taking place in select TSA Precheck lanes at Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson Airport and Denver International Airport.

May 4, 2017
 

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has submitted a report to Congress that shows some good and bad news about the security of the government’s mobile device environment. "Threats to the mobile device ecosystem are growing, but also ... the security of mobile computing is improving,” said Dr. Robert Griffin, DHS acting undersecretary for science and technology, in a written announcement.

April 11, 2017
 
The Remote Video Surveillance System upgrade has achieved full operational capability.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has determined the Remote Video Surveillance System (RVSS) upgrade has achieved a full operating capability. The RVSS capability is currently operational in Nogales, Douglas, Naco, Yuma and Ajo, Arizona, with relocatable deployments planned this year in McAllen and Laredo, Texas.

Located on elevated towers and structures, the RVSS advanced electro-optical and infrared sensors provide persistent ground surveillance to border patrol agents. It uses a video management system with real-time analytics to effectively detect, track, identify, classify and respond to missions along U.S. borders.

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.

May 25, 2016
By George I. Seffers
Project iVe has its roots in a previous Department of Homeland Security and Berla Corporation program known as Blackthorn, which focused on gathering data from navigation devices such as Garmin, TomTom and Magellan.

U.S. Department of Homeland Security researchers are pursuing possible partnerships—both domestically and internationally—to continue developing a toolkit that provides access to the digital data stored by cars used in crimes, including terrorist acts.

May 26, 2016
By Sandra Jontz
ISS Global’s Dfuze software platform incorporates many data elements so law enforcement can log information from crime scenes such as the Boston Marathon bombing in April 2013.

Emerging surveillance technology seems ripped from tech-noir thrillers such as 2002's Minority Report, in which police jail would-be murderers before any violence actually has occurred. Just thinking about crimes gets people in trouble. While the predictive nature of today’s analytic tools might not have reached the same levels as in the futuristic action film, the technologies employed to defend the homeland are pretty close.

April 7, 2016
 

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology (S&T) Directorate announced today the implementation of a new technology to streamline and improve secure information sharing between the DHS and its partners. The Backend Attribute Exchange will simplify user identification and verification between different organizations for the Homeland Security Information Network (HSIN) by eliminating redundancies while ensuring proper security.

December 16, 2016
Maryann Lawlor

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is now accepting proposals for its upcoming Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program for fiscal year 2016. The Science and Technology (S&T) Directorate and the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO) jointly issued the solicitation. S&T and DNDO are seeking technical solutions from small businesses in 13 topic areas. The pre-solicitation is available online.

September 29, 2015
 

Raytheon will provide full lifecycle development and sustainment support for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and more than 100 federal agencies under a new DHS contract that could be worth approximately $1 billion, the company has announced. As prime contractor for the Network Security Deployment Division (NSD), Raytheon will help safeguard the .gov domain. Raytheon will support government efforts to develop, deploy and sustain systems that monitor, analyze and mitigate cyber threats to .gov networks.

 

September 28, 2015
 

The Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology (S&T) Directorate has awarded eight contracts totaling $14 million to create technology to defend against large and sophisticated Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks. The projects will become part of the Distributed Denial of Service Defenses Program.

The awards include:

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 7, 2015
By George I. Seffers

Officials with the Transition to Practice (TTP) program followed the commercialization of the Quantum Secured Communications system with the transition of Hyperion, a malware forensics and software assurance technology, to R&K Cyber Solutions LLC, an application development and cyber solution company based in Manassas, Virginia.

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.

April 21, 2015
By Sandra Jontz

We couldn’t be in California today for Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Jeh Johnson’s address at the largest cybersecurity conference, so we’re bringing you news from the next best thing—his prepared remarks.

“My message to you today is this: Government does not have all the answers or all the talent,” Johnson said at the RSA Conference 2015 in San Francisco. “Cybersecurity must be a partnership between government and the private sector. We need each other, and we must work together. There are things government can do for you, and there are things we need you to do for us.”

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.

February 27, 2015
By Sandra Jontz
U.S. House of Representative members await on the floor for the final tally of a vote Friday on DHS funding.

UPDATE: The U.S. Congress voted late Friday to fund the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), but could only reach an agreement to fund the DHS for one week.

Earlier, the U.S. House of Representatives failed to agree on a key vote that would have funded the DHS, even for another three weeks. House lawmakers bickered over whether to fully fund the DHS to the end of the fiscal year in September, and instead failed to agree on any kind of resolution, sending the issue back to lawmakers to hash it out. The late-night resolution averts a partial shutdown for a week.

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.

January 27, 2015
 

Avineon Inc., McLean, Va., a global provider of information technology, geospatial and engineering support services, announced it has been awarded an Enterprise Acquisition Gateway for Leading-Edge Solutions II (EAGLE II) contract by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The contract, designed to obtain information technology support services, was awarded under the unrestricted track for functional category one service delivery. Task orders for various services, including integration, software design and development, and operations and maintenance support, may be solicited under this contract by any DHS component.

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.

 

Luke J. McCormack has been appointed as chief information officer for the Department of Homeland Security, Washington, D.C.

July 25, 2012
 

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Science and Technology Directorate has unveiled an open source cybersecurity tool for information sharing across the Internet. Open Secure Socket Layer (OpenSSL) version 2.0 is a free, publicly available security application that meets all federal security guidelines and is now available for government agencies. All agencies using cryptographic software validated for Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) 140-2 can now use the new version, which applies to cryptography that protect sensitive or valuable data within the federal government.

June 27, 2012
By Beverly Schaeffer

Rosemary Wenchel has been appointed deputy assistant secretary for cybersecurity, National Protection and Programs Directorate, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Washington, D.C.

April 30, 2012
By Beverly Schaeffer

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has appointed Michael W. Locatis III assistant secretary for Cybersecurity and Communications at the National Protection and Programs Directorate.

February 28, 2012
By Maryann Lawlor

Members of the two morning panels at the DHS 2012 Information Technology Industry Day hammered home the need all DHS agencies have for information sharing and information security within a mobile environment. In addition to constrained budgets-a topic that all the panelists said was unnecessary to mention yet spoke about extensively-the agencies continue to face slow processes to put these capabilities into place. Among the hurdles that continue to surface are slow certification and accreditation processes, barriers to entrance for industry and exit from contracts for government, and management of authoritative data sources.

February 28, 2012
By Maryann Lawlor

Although not claiming victory, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has made some serious headway in improving cybersecurity, according to panelists discussing the topic at the DHS 2012 Information Technology Industry Day in Washington, D.C. Experts said the threats have not disappeared but rather have changed, and various DHS agencies have been learning how to better handle them. Alma Cole, chief systems security officer, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, described today's cyberthreats in a way the other panelists agreed with.

February 28, 2012
By Maryann Lawlor

Richard Spires, chief information officer, U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), kicked off DHS Industry Day by declaring that it is time to find the balance between the IT needs of individual DHS agencies and leveraging IT throughout the department as a whole. The department needs to take a "shared first" approach to commodities and then look at unique technologies needed by the individual agencies. Although the DHS on the whole has not always completed IT projects on time and on budget, Spires said that the council has set up centers of excellence that help determine how to assist the agencies achieve success.

February 21, 2012
 

The Federal Emergency Management Agency, part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, is looking for the next members of its National Advisory Council (NAC). The NAC provides external guidance on issues ranging from terrorist response to federal preparedness. The agency is seeking applications and nominations from qualified individuals in both the public and private sectors in emergency management, emergency response and cybersecurity. In addition, FEMA is seeking applications from state and local elected officials. Deadline for applications is Friday, March 9, 2012. More information is available online.

February 8, 2012
By Maryann Lawlor

Protecting any nation's citizens and institutions is difficult under any circumstances, but today's economic limitations make this task even more challenging. Government and business leaders will meet at the Ronald Reagan International Trade Center February 28 to March 1 to tackle this topic during AFCEA International's 11th annual Homeland Security conference. Conference discussion topics include cloud computing, cyberwar, procurement, wireless broadband and social media. Small businesses' interaction with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) also will be explored.

October 20, 2011
By Beverly Schaeffer

Mark Weatherford has been appointed deputy undersecretary for cybersecurity for the National Protection and Programs Directorate, Department of Homeland Security, Washington, D.C.

August 5, 2011
By George Seffers

General Dynamics Information Technology, Fairfax, Virginia, recently announced that it has been awarded a blanket purchase agreement to provide information technology support services to the U.S. Coast Guard Force Readiness Command (FORCECOM). The agreement has a ceiling value of $11 million over a five-year period. General Dynamics will provide FORCECOM with information technology and simulator support services for non-standard workstations and systems. Non-standard workstations are customized and stand-alone from the overall enterprise, and support command, control, communications, computers and intelligence systems, navigational, telecommunications and shipboard sensors.

June 13, 2011
By George Seffers

General Dynamics Information Technology, Fairfax, Virginia, has been awarded a task order through the U.S. General Services Administration's Alliant Contract to support the relocation of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's headquarters. The task order has a ceiling value of $876 million and duration of seven years if all options are exercised. As part of the relocation, General Dynamics will provide a seamless, state-of-the-art information-technology (IT) infrastructure that meets the computer networking, telecommunications, building management and physical-security requirements of the new Department of Homeland Security (DHS) headquarters.

February 23, 2011
By George Seffers

U.S. government agencies continue to expand their biometric identity management capabilities and their ability to share biometrics data among the various agencies and international partners, according to government officials speaking at AFCEA's Homeland Security Conference in Washington, D.C.

November 19, 2010
By Beverly Schaeffer

Rear Adm. Michael A. Brown, USN, has been nominated for assignment as director, cybersecurity coordination, National Protection and Programs Directorate, Department of Homeland Security, Washington, D.C.

November 10, 2010
By George Seffers

Lattice Incorporated recently announced that it has been awarded a prime contract by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to develop a demonstrable prototype device able to search for and identify bulk quantities of currency. The company has teamed with the University of Washington to research, design and develop a special-purpose concealed sensor platform specifically targeted to identifying large quantities of U.S. and Canadian concealed currency as well as Euros. In 2001, Congress criminalized the act of smuggling large amounts of cash as part of the U.S. Patriot Act.

September 29, 2010
By George Seffers

Northrop Grumman Corporation has been awarded a potential $2.63 billion task order by the U.S. General Services Administration to install a campus-wide information technology infrastructure for secure communications and operations at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) St. Elizabeths headquarters in Washington, D.C. Northrop Grumman will design, install, test, operate and maintain a seamless, integrated and secure information technology solution throughout the DHS consolidated headquarters campus.