Homeland Security

September 24, 2019
By Shaun Waterman
(l-r) Monte Hawkins, director of the National Vetting Center, Charles Bartoldus, former official and now senior advisor to CT-Strategies, ODNI Identity Intelligence Executive Kathleen Lane, DHS CIO official Emily Barbero, NVC Chief of Staff Casie Antalis and NVC Technical Director Lori Vislocky speak at AFCEA International's Federal identity Forum and Expo in Tampa, Florida. Credit: Shaun Waterman

To guard America’s borders against a lengthening list of threats, the new interagency National Vetting Center (NVC) is flipping the script on watchlisting, officials said Monday.

Instead of compiling lists of individuals believed linked to terrorism or some other threat, the NVC is figuring out how to leverage all the information held by U.S. government agencies about any individual applying for entry to the country, the center’s director, Monte Hawkins, told AFCEA International’s Federal Identity Forum and Expo in Tampa, Florida.

July 15, 2019
Posted by George I. Seffers
The DHS Science and Technology Directorate is funding a $35 million, 10-year effort to create a research center of excellence focused on preventing and countering terrorist attacks. Credit: deepspace/Shutterstock

The Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) announced today $35 million in funding opportunities for a new DHS Center of Excellence (COE) for Terrorism Prevention and Counterterrorism Research (TPCR). Accredited U.S. colleges and universities are invited to submit proposals as the center lead or as an individual partner to work with the lead institution in support of the center’s activities.

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.

March 11, 2018
 
The Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate and Israel’s Ministry of Public Security are searching for companies or academic institutions in each country to work together on first responder systems, including unmanned aerial vehicles, border protection and systems to fight cyber crime. Credit: charles taylor/Shutterstock

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) and Israel’s Ministry of Public Security (MOPS) are seeking proposals to support collaborative research and development between U.S. and Israeli companies, or between a company and a university or research institute—one from the United States and one from Israel. 

December 19, 2018
 
Everett Kaneshige, chief strategy officer for broadband and telecommunications for the State of Hawaii (l) and Tom Lawless, U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) region IX coordinator, test satellite connectivity in remote areas affected by the Kilauea volcanic eruption. DHS has announced a new approach to information technology modernization, which opens new opportunities for industry, including small businesses. Credit: Grace Simoneau/FEMA

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Chief Procurement Officer Soraya Correa announced this week that DHS will follow a new strategy for obtaining information technology services. Rather than pursue a re-competition of the Enterprise Acquisition Gateway for Leading-Edge Solutions (EAGLE) II, the department will offer an array of options for industry, including greater opportunity for small businesses, under EAGLE Next Generation.

July 1, 2018
By Robert K. Ackerman
A mobile intensive care unit paramedic communicates using a land mobile radio. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is working with the full spectrum of emergency responders to improve communications interoperability during disaster events.

Just as methodical programs to improve emergency communications interoperability are building up speed, new technologies threaten to derail the entire effort. Emergency responders find that new mobile systems bring valuable capabilities, such as enhanced data access, and they embrace these technologies eagerly. But the advanced communications systems often do not mesh with each other as well as traditional broadband radio links, and their innovative approaches pose new challenges.

June 29, 2018
 
Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin have created a nerve gas detector using a smartphone, a box made of Legos and a chemical sensor. Credit: University of Texas at Austin

Researchers at the University of Texas, Austin, have designed a way to sense dangerous chemicals by rigging up a smartphone, a sensor and a box made from Lego bricks, the university has announced. The device could help first responders and scientists in the field identify deadly and difficult-to-detect nerve agents such as VX and sarin.

May 4, 2018
Posted by: George I. Seffers
Jack Lewis, a NIST associate, demonstrates the use of a virtual reality headset and controllers with NIST’s virtual office environment in which first responders search for a body in a fire. Credit: Burrus/NIST

Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) aim to make virtual reality simulations more of a reality for first responders, enabling firefighters, law enforcement officers and others to train for emergency operations and communications.

May 1, 2018
By Kimberly Underwood
Credit: JoeBakal/Shutterstock

One does not have to look too far beyond the headlines to see that the battle for world power is playing out in the information space. Free and open democratic societies increasingly are tested by rising autocratic countries employing high technology in information warfare.

For the United States to succeed in this battle, citizens, not just the government, need to be more discerning about information, experts say.

April 9, 2018
Posted by George I. Seffers
The U.S. Department of Energy has released a request for proposals for at least two next-generation exascale supercomputers. Credit: dlohner/Pixabay

U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry today announced a request for proposals potentially worth up to $1.8 billion for the development of at least two new exascale supercomputers, to be deployed at U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) National Laboratories in the 2021-2023 timeframe. Among other benefits, the systems will help nuclear security, a major piece of the nation’s critical infrastructure.

March 20, 2018
By Kimberly Underwood
The domain of information warfare has shifted from being a military battlefield to affecting all aspects of society, experts say. Credit: vchal/Shutterstock

One does not have to look too far beyond the headlines to see that the battle for world power is being played out in the information space. Free and open democratic societies increasingly are being tested by rising autocratic countries employing high technology in information warfare.

For the United States to succeed in this battle, citizens, not just the government, need to be more discerning about information, experts say.

February 1, 2018
By George I. Seffers
Ultimately, lessons learned and technologies developed under the Next Generation Cyber Infrastructure Apex program will benefit other critical infrastructure industries, such as oil and gas.

Within the next 12 months, a fledgling program at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will likely begin transitioning cybersecurity technologies to the finance sector in an effort to shore up the nation’s critical infrastructure. Technologies developed under the program ultimately could be made available to other sectors.

October 17, 2017
 
The Department of Homeland Security needs innovators who can use existing data to identify biothreats, such as viruses, bacterium, pathogens and biological toxins. (Photo courtesy of the National Institute of General Medical Sciences)

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology (S&T) Directorate has launched the Hidden Signals Challenge, a $300,000 prize competition to identify novel uses of existing data to uncover emerging biothreats. The challenge calls upon innovators from a wide variety of fields to develop concepts that will identify signals and achieve timelier alerts for biothreats.

October 6, 2017
 

Explosives trace detection experts from industry, academia and government laboratories will gather in Washington, D.C., on October 24 and 25 to discuss advances in trace detection technologies.

The two-day event put on by the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) will include presentations from S&T Homeland Security Advanced Research Projects Agency (HSARPA), the Transportation Security Administration and sponsored organizations performing research and development. Commercial companies, government laboratories and universities will present current research.

October 1, 2017
By George I. Seffers

A group of U.S. government researchers focused on fortifying homeland security has cybersecurity technology development down to a science.

Those researchers work for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), within the Science and Technology Directorate’s (S&T’s) Cyber Security Division. The division, like the entire department, supports a wide range of missions, including science and technology research along with protecting critical infrastructure, securing government systems, assisting law enforcement and developing, training and educating the cyber work force.

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 1, 2017
By Bill Sullivan
Bill Sullivan, professor of safety, security and emergency management at Eastern Kentucky University, suggests solutions for preventing active shooter and other attacks in schools.

The FBI examined 160 active shooter/mass murder incidents between 2000 and 2013 and found that 70 percent of these attacks occurred in schools or businesses. They also reported that these incidents are on the rise. As active shooter events have continued throughout the nation, various tactics have emerged, including the attack at Ohio State University where a student utilized a vehicle as a weapon and then assaulted victims with a knife. This same method of attack has occurred in other locations. Unfortunately, we can also predict that the use of explosives in such an attack is likely to happen in the future.

July 21, 2017
 

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) has awarded Salt Lake City-based startup Evernym a $749,000 Small Business Innovation Program (SBIR) award to develop an easy-to-use, decentralized mechanism for managing public and private encryption keys needed for the secure and scalable deployment of blockchain technologies.        

March 1, 2017
By Robert K. Ackerman
Power lines, such as these near the Celilo substation in Dallas Dam, Oregon, could go cold as a result of a cyber attack on the power grid. Adversaries already may have sown the seeds for shutting down power stations by embedding malware in a host of industrial control systems.

Enemy states and terrorist groups increasingly are developing the means to wage an attack on a nation’s power grid just as electric companies are relying more on automated information technology. Vulnerable supervisory control and data acquisition, or SCADA, systems offer access for attackers, who also are learning more devastating ways of bringing down a grid.

Small nation-states and organizations, in particular, are cultivating advanced methods of attacking electrical grids, and these groups may not be as inhibited about setting an attack in motion as the larger, well-known cyber superpowers. Many threats to the grid already may be in place, undetected and at work, ready for launching at will.

January 1, 2017
By George I. Seffers
The Secret Service’s chief information officer (CIO) says his highest priority is to provide the technology support to allow agents and uniformed division officers to complete their mission. That includes moving toward a more mobile environment.

The U.S. Secret Service is putting into place its first-ever cyber and information technology strategic plan, which provides a path forward through 2021. Among other goals, the plan calls for the agency to build a world-class network operations security center and to continue the march toward greater mobility for special agents and uniformed officers. 

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