Homeland Security

February 25, 2010

AFCEA's 9th Annual Homeland Security Conference kicked off yesterday morning with a panel session focused on cybersecurity issues. The panelists highlighted a variety of ongoing federal initiatives to defend the nation's critical infrastructure from cyberattacks and discussed some of the new threats developing in cyberspace. Representing the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Bruce McConnell, counselor to the National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD) Deputy Under Secretary, outlined several efforts being undertaken by the department.

February 25, 2010

The popularity and growth of social media networks and blogs offers federal agencies new tools to get their message to the nation's citizens. However, the openness of social media platforms also presents a security challenge. A panel of government and commercial media experts pondered the implications of widespread adoption of social media platforms at AFCEA's Homeland Security Conference. The U.S. military has recently adopted social networking as an extension of its public affairs activities. Col. Kevin V. Arata, USA, director of the Army Online and Social Media Division, explained that the service wanted to formalize how it approached social media.

February 26, 2010
By Katie Packard

"If one of those types of attacks were to occur anywhere in the United States, nowhere else has the assets we have that are well-trained and ready. But those are the ones you hope never happen. No matter how good we are, there is no good outcome."-Cathy L. Lanier, chief of police, Metropolitan Police Department, Washington, D.C.

Find out what Chief Lanier is talking about in the full article, available online now at SIGNAL Online.

February 22, 2010

No, I'm not talking about the classic Marilyn Monroe film; I'm talking about AFCEA's Homeland Security Conference, going on this Wednesday and Thursday. The theme is "DHS: The 7-Year Itch-Renewing the Commitment." The event will cover such topics as cybersecurity, securing social media, transparency, identity management, information and intelligence sharing, and more. Speakers include Washington, D.C., Metropolitan Police Chief Cathy Lanier, Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez and W. Ralph Basham.

February 16, 2010
By Beverly Schaeffer

Ingenious tools are being developed to make even jury-rig specialist Mac MacGyver of TV fame envious. These technologies may soon be in the hands of first responders, thanks to work being done at the DHS's Homeland Security Advanced Research Projects Agency (HSARPA). The agency is pulling together the technology pieces-large and small-so responders are ready to roll when disasters strike.

February 4, 2010
By Maryann Lawlor

A swash-buckling Johnny Depp may be what most think of when the word "pirate" is mentioned, but the problem is much more serious that anything Hollywood could portray. Today's WEST 2010 mid-day panel discussed just how critical this problem has become-especially off the coast of Somalia-and what is holding back solutions from being implemented. Moderator Dr. Virginia Lunsford did an excellent job of juggling as she encouraged each panel member-as well as audience members-to speak their minds about the problem. Perhaps the most candid member of the panel was Col. David W. Coffman, USMC, commander of the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit.

December 14, 2009
By Katie Packard

February may seem far away, but it will be here in no time at all. Make plans now to attend two great events: the West 2010 Conference in San Diego and the Homeland Security Conference in Washington, D.C.

December 15, 2009
By Henry Kenyon

The DHS has instituted a new job application process for cybersecurity positions. The good news? It's free of KSAs. Right now the agency is hosting a virtual job fair for those interested. Applicants no longer have to worry about KSAs or a points system; they simply submit cover letters and résumés, which are reviewed by hiring managers. DHS officials will then contact candidates of interest to invite them to a private interview event.  

Interested in applying to the DHS? Visit the Web site now.

October 20, 2009
By Maryann Lawlor

The Honorable Michael Chertoff, former secretary of the Department of Homeland Defense, said that strategic convergence will distinguish the 21st from the 20th century in both threats and solutions. Speaking at the MILCOM 2009 luncheon today, Chertoff used the binary versus the quantum approach as an analogy to describe national security threats as well as the changes that must occur to deal with them. "In the 1990s, we had the tendency to view the world through a binary lens.

October 19, 2009
By Maryann Lawlor

MILCOM 2009's first panelists spoke about the practical challenges of the convergence of communications capabilities. Representatives from U.S. government agencies as well as local law enforcement agreed that plans for emergencies and special security events must involve collaboration and preparation, but they also admitted that a plan is just that-a plan. Everyone involved in the command and control of these activities-from the cop on the beat to the person in charge-must be ready for the unexpected.

September 14, 2009
By Henry Kenyon

The U.S. Coast Guard is taking steps to enhance its command, control, intelligence and reconnaissance capabilities with new unmanned aerial systems (UAS) and network-centric systems for its ships. At a press briefing late last week, RAdm. Ronald J. Robago, USCG, the service's new assistant commandant for acquisitions, discussed steps being taken to evaluate and select a new shipboard UAS.

July 17, 2009

A major disaster recovery exercise is concluding today in Washington D.C. The week long event was held by AT&T to test, evaluate, refine and improve how the company restores communications in the wake of a natural or manmade disaster. The network disaster recovery (NDR) exercise filled the capitol's Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium with equipment trailers and personnel providing satellite and broadband fiber optic communications links.

January 3, 2013
By Max Cacas

The purpose of the attack is purely robbery, says a cyber expert, who has shared his McAfee report with government officials.

February 28, 2012
By Maryann Lawlor

Chief information officers from throughout the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) had words of advice for companies that want to do business with them at the DHS 2012 Information Technology Industry Day. Among the top topics were the need for agile acquisition and acquisition of agile products, the call for information about the return on investment on the products companies offer, and changes in procurement strategies that could have a huge effect on how the government and commercial sectors interact.

March 1, 2012
By Maryann Lawlor

The budget’s not all that changing in the United States these days. As a result of less funding, computing, acquisition and cybersecurity approaches are transforming as well, according to experts speaking at the AFCEA International Homeland Security Conference. Some of the adjustments are minor tweaks, while others reflect a major change in the way the government does business.

March 2, 2012
By Maryann Lawlor

Resilience is more important than ever in the face of changes that are occurring throughout the government and range from responding to crises to working with small businesses. The indisputable largest development is the budget constraints originating in the federal government and trickling down to state and local governments as well as companies. But increased care in planning and a commitment to getting the job done in innovative ways meet these changes head on and not only will sustain organizations but in many cases will enable them to grow.

February 2012
By Robert K. Ackerman, SIGNAL Magazine


An advanced wind turbine generates electricity in Illinois. The Smart Power Infrastructure Demonstration for Energy Reliability and Security, or SPIDERS, project aims to use base energy sources to power an internal microgrid that would be secure from external cyberattacks.

February 2012
By Max Cacas, SIGNAL Magazine

The agency’s intelligence office builds bridges with the law enforcement community.

February 2012
By Rita Boland, SIGNAL Magazine


Law enforcement plays a critical role in the homeland security enterprise. Officers combat terrorism in many ways similar to the military, and they have the most chances to interact with terrorists stateside by responding to crimes such as suspicious activity and traffic violations.

February 2012
By George I. Seffers, SIGNAL Magazine


A U.S. Coast Guard reservist patrols the Delaware River near the Salem Nuclear Power Plant in Salem, New Jersey. An effort underway at Picatinny Arsenal, New Jersey, is designed to foster better data sharing between nuclear facilities and state agencies in case of an emergency.