News

DHS S&T competition awards 2 companies for tech proposals to track first responders indoors

The Homeland Security Department's Science and Technology Directorate announced that the Vreeland Institute and Certa Cito have won a prize competition around developing new technologies to track first responders inside buildings.

Scientists predict more Americans will be exposed to extreme heat as climate warms

Scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research and City University of New York say more people across the south from Georgia to Arizona will be exposed to extreme heat waves – but, overall, there will be a four- to six-fold increase in exposure by mid-century.

DHS not tracking employee usage of offline travel booking, possibly incurring greater fees, IG says

The web-based system is much cheaper than the making reservations by phone. Online fees cost about $7 to $10, while doing it offline costs about $30 to $37, or more than three times the cost.

Audit finds Coast Guard still lacks strong organizational approach to safeguard data

The Coast Guard has made progress in protecting personal and health data, but organizational challenges such as a lack of coordination among its privacy offices, incomplete contingency planning and infrequent security reviews of physical facilities could still put data at risk.

DHS awards final, $834M contract to complete advanced bio and agro facility

It's the third and final phase of construction of the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility, expected to cost a total of $1.25 billion. Construction is supposed to finished in 2020 with the facility becoming fully operational two years later.

GAO official says Coast Guard still falling short of modernizing fleet given funding levels

Over the past five years, the Coast Guard's budget for acquiring assets such as fixed-wing aircraft and various cutters has "fallen short" of what's needed to fully recapitalize the service's assets.

New report argues for narrowing role of nuclear weapons in US policies, diplomacy and forces

The report recognizes that nuclear weapons are "indispensable" to deter other nations from attacking the U.S. and allies with such weapons, but offer no other advantage over U.S. conventional military superiority.

House subcommittee OKs bill aimed at improving interoperable first responder communications

The State Wide Interoperable Communications Enhancement Act would require states to coordinate activities related to interoperability communications policies that are coordinated through an individual or group.

US regulators propose rules to strengthen power grid against potentially disruptive solar storms

The probability of severe solar storms are low, but they could have a significant impact on the power grid and cause blackouts and damage to equipment resulting in prolonged outages to the system. They can also interrupt communications satellites.

Are tech, other assets paying off in securing borders? Watchdog says DHS needs to review the data

The department could do a better job of collecting data and developing measures and metrics to assess what they're getting out of investments.

Probe finds 2 Secret Service agents 'likely' impaired by alcohol in White House incident

DHS inspector general said that the senior supervisors, Marc Connolly and George Ogilvie, "displayed poor judgment and a lack of situational awareness in driving into the scene. It was more likely than not that the two agents' judgment was impaired by alcohol."

IG: DHS should assess prosecutorial discretion use in immigration actions to plan future policy

Prosecutorial discretion provides DHS immigration enforcement agencies greater authority in deciding how far they want to enforce the law against a specific person so they can better prioritize their limited resources.

Inadequate TSA oversight of airport screening equipment could impact safety, DHS audit says

TSA hasn't issued guidance to airports on tracking and monitoring preventive maintenance. It also relies on contractors to provide data, but doesn't verify that the maintenance has been done and in a timely manner.

DHS secretary: Counterterrorism enters new phase, gov't seeking Muslim community help

Jeh Johnson says counterterrorism efforts wading into new territory as the Islamic State calls for attacks against U.S. military installations and local law enforcement and government buildings through social media.

Fed document aims to help US communities at risk from rail transport of crude oil

The Public Intelligence blog, which posted the document on its website May 4, obtained it from the official site of Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), who has long campaigned for better national standards for the rail transport of crude oil.

Rapid soil erosion, nutrition depletion could lead to global food insecurity, new paper argues

Humans aren't just causing global warming, they're also depleting soil resources faster than nutrients can be restored – an activity that could lead to global food insecurity over the next century, scientists warn in a new paper.

Experts: ISIS's social media terrorist messaging far ahead of US government efforts to counter it

Experts testified during a Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs hearing on how jihadists are using social media  held just a few days after two gunmen were killed in Garland, Texas, trying to attack a contest to draw the Prophet Muhammad.

NASA, DHS technology leads to rescue of 4 men trapped in Nepal earthquake debris

Advanced technology, called Finding Individuals for Disaster and Emergency Response, or FINDER, can detect heartbeats of people and was jointly developed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and DHS's Science and Technology Directorate.

Islamic State's mixed funding sources pose a challenge for US, int'l efforts to eradicate group

The Islamic State gets funding from oil revenue, selling looted antiquities, imposing taxes and fees, donations from other countries and ransom from kidnappings, among other means.

DHS IG finds major problem with CBP process that provides refunds to importers

The Homeland Security Department's inspector general designated the matter as a "material weakness," meaning it's a major problem with the agency's internal controls.