DHS IG says Coast Guard is improving issues with healthcare travel program

The Coast Guard may have improperly granted approval to members stationed outside the contiguous United States to seek healthcare services that led to unnecessary costs and lost productivity – issues that have since been corrected.

Congress replays DHS funding debate this week; countdown resumes to Friday midnight deadline

Congressional lawmakers will again wrangle this week to fund the Homeland Security Department before a March 6 deadline. Lawmakers avoided a partial shutdown when it approved a one-week funding extension for the department, which had been running on a continuing resolution that was set to expire last Friday.

Crime, violence and poverty in Central America drove child exodus to US over the last 2 years, GAO says

Federal officials conducted interviews with migrants, their families and other organizations, analyzed various reports, and conducted surveys, among other things. The GAO report also included examples of programs implemented by those officials to address the migration.

FDA OKs trials for experimental Ebola drug to begin in Liberia

Since the outbreak of the disease nearly a year ago in West Africa, nearly 24,000 people have been infected and nearly 10,000 have died across Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone.

Clock ticks for Congress to pass full DHS budget; Johnson warns of impacts to department

The Senate Feb. 26 is poised to pass a clean bill that it advanced the day before by a 98-2 vote. It fully funds DHS, which has been operating on a continuing resolution for fiscal 2015. That resolution expires on Feb. 27 at 11:59 p.m. 

Proposal to Hurricane Sandy victims from FEMA, insurers draws condemnation from judges

A panel of federal magistrate judges overseeing Hurricane Sandy insurance disputes slammed a confidentiality agreement from insurance carriers that would have required homeowners to stop cooperating with state and federal probes into fraud allegations in exchange for a settlement, the International Business Times reported Feb. 25.

New bill would provide wildfire victims access to same resources as other natural disaster victims

Such funds can be used to mitigate the effects of wildfires such as flooding and mudslides as well as prevent future fires. For every dollar spent on mitigation, Americans save $4 in future disaster costs.

Pew: Americans increasingly favor US military action, ground troops against Islamic State

Pew found that 63 percent of the U.S. public now approves of a military campaign against the Islamic State, while 30 percent disapproves. Last October, 57 percent approved while 33 percent disapproved.


New DHS assessment highlights rise of sovereign citizens threat, CNN reports

Among the findings, violence from sovereign citizens this year "will occur most frequently during routine law enforcement encounters at a suspect's home, during enforcement stops and at government offices," according to the report.

Helping communities deal with climate change is major focus in '16 budget, says OMB official

The White House is increasing investments to help communities improve their preparedeness and resilience to the effects of climate change in the proposed fiscal 2016 budget.

Army developing new advanced technologies to sniff out, precisely ID chemical, biological threats

Both technologies are being developed at the Army's Edgewood Chemical Biological Center. One is a small electronic device called the VOCkit system, while the other is a a hand-held device called "SmartCAR," which stands for the smart color-metric assay reader.

New NIST-funded center aims to enhance local resilience, recovery from major weather hazards

The National Institute of Standards and Technology awarded $20 million over five years to develop the new Community Resilience Center of Excellence, which will be based in Fort Collins, Colo. The agency has the option to renew the award for another five years after that.

Obama taps Secret Service vet Joseph Clancy to head agency, ignoring calls for an outsider

In December, an independent panel convened by Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson recommended appointing a director from outside the Secret Service who could act independently of the agency's traditions and personal relationships.

Secret Service taking steps to strengthen certain acquisition policies, oversight, says DHS IG

The Secret Service should have its own policies and procedures and a designated "component acquisition executive" that strengthen its acquisition program as well as integrate best practices into its daily operations, the IG report said.

Climate change could create 'megadroughts' in Southwest, Central Plains, new NASA study projects

The study, published Feb. 12 in the journal Science Advances, projected that higher levels of man-made greenhouse gas emissions increased the risk of droughts that can last for three decades or more, in these regions – even greater than what's been seen during the last 1,000 years.


Lack of continued DHS funding would greatly disrupt operations, several agency officials say

Several Homeland Security Department officials testified at a congressional hearing that their agency's operations, staff and work with emergency officials and the private sector would be significantly jolted if lawmakers don't fund the department past Feb. 27.

US intel officials say tracking radicalized foreign fighters difficult, numbers may be greater

U.S. intelligence and law enforcement officials said they're tracking a growing number of foreign fighters, including more than 150 Americans, who've traveled to Syria and Iraq to fight with terrorist organizations. But they admitted they may not be aware of all such fighters coming from Western countries.

Public-private partnership seeks to improve cybersecurity defenses for energy companies

The National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence is seeking participants who can provide products and technical expertise that would enable energy companies to essentially gain a greater "situational awareness" of their operations so they can take quick and appropriate action to investigate and address problems as well as share the information with other companies.

New research finds increase in Midwest floods; possible link to climate change

The study looked at Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Ohio, Michigan, Minnesota, Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri, West Virginia, Kentucky, North Dakota and South Dakota. The region has been troubled by large floods in recent years, resulting in signficant agricultural damage, billions of dollars in economic losses, deaths and displaced residents.

Two new House bills seek to enhance airport security, effectively use TSA funding

A pair of House bills introduced last week seek to address security at U.S. airports, including assessing security response plans and ensuring that Transportation Security Administration funding is used cost effectively.