News

Federal efforts to enhance nation's resilience to disasters needs overall strategy, GAO says

Such a strategy could help identify, prioritize and guide future funding. But without it, GAO said it increases the risk that the government and its partners will see "lower returns on investments or lost opportunities to strengthen key critical infrastructure and lifelines."

USGS, universities collaborate on improving earthquake early warning system on west coast

The collaboration will entail continued "development of scientific algorithms to rapidly detect potentially damaging earthquakes, more thoroughly test the system and improve its performance."

New TSA administrator addresses agency's failures, low morale and future of airport security

House lawmakers this week grilled the new head of the Transportation Security Administration, an agency beset with problems such as serious screening and security lapses at airport checkpoints, low morale, and faulty equipment, among other challenges. But they also called Peter Neffenger a "breath of fresh air."

Pentagon report spells out global climate change risks as national security issue

Climate change is a security risk and will exacerbate poverty, environmental degradation, social tensions, ineffectual leadership and weak political institutions, threatening the stability of several countries, according to the Defense Department.

DoD: 192 labs in all 50 states, 7 countries, 3 US territories inadvertently sent live anthrax

CDC began its investigation after it received a call May 22 from a private company that tested a sample it had received from a lab at the Army's Dugway Proving Ground in Utah and found that it contained live anthrax rather than inactivated samples.

DHS signs agreement with GSA, gaining access to OASIS professional services contract

OASIS and the small business component provide access to a wide range of services, including program management, management consulting, logistics, engineering, scientific and financial.

FAA warns drone operators not to interfere with efforts to fight wildfires else face penalties

This summer, firefighters in California were about to drop fire retardant from low-flying aircraft on a fire burning thousands of acres of wildlands in the San Bernardino Mountains when they saw a small drone flying between two of the planes. Because of this, officials had to ground their aircrafts.

Experts: Feds not doing enough to protect US power grid from disruptive solar flares, EMPs

Two billion dollars would be required to protect the electric grid from threats including naturally occurring EMPs, radio-frequency weapons, cyber bugs and hacking, physical sabotage and severe weather, and $10 billion to $20 billion would be needed to protect "all critical infrastructures."

Army Corps of Engineers needs stable funding to address climate change impacts, GAO says

From 2010 through 2014, there were 49 extreme weather events with losses exceeding $1 billion. And, without performing risk assessments before an extreme weather event, the corps will continue to take a piecemeal approach.

GAO: State Dept. should assess countering extremist violence program to gauge impact

Such an evaluation would help the department's counterterrorism bureau ensure accountability, better measure the program's impact and effectiveness, and shape future programming decisions, but it's been postponed since 2012.

GAO: Thousands of chemical facilities may be providing bad data on toxic release threats

Investigators said they found that more than 2,700 facilities – at least 44 percent of facilities with a toxic release chemical – misreported the Distance of Concern, the radius of an area that could be exposed to a toxic chemical cloud. 

House OKs bill, restricting funds for 'sanctuary cities' not complying with immigration laws

The bill was introduced after the July 1 killing of 32-year-old Kathryn Steinle in San Francisco. She was allegedly shot by a Mexican national previously convicted of seven felonies and deported five times, mostly for narcotics charges.

New report: Disaster planning still not meeting children's needs decade after Hurricane Katrina

Of the 81 recommendations in the National Commission on Children and Disasters report, Save the Children found that only 17 have been fully met with 44 still in progress and 20 yet to be addressed.

GAO: DoD taking steps to protect against insider threats, but more info sharing, oversight needed

The Defense Department is stepping up efforts to protect resources and people against internal threats following high-profile shootings over the past six years at Fort Hood and Washington Navy Yard, but isn't consistently sharing information that could further enhance protection.

Americans largely back US military campaign against ISIS, but many say it's not going well

The Pew national survey, conducted July 14-20, of 2,022 adults via landline or cellphone finds that 63 percent approve of the military campaign – up from the 54 percent that approved of the campaign in August 2014 when airstrikes started. Currently, only 26 percent disapprove.

DHS IG: ICE devising long-term plan for L.A. building shuttered last December due to safety issues

Between 2008 and 2014, the agency spent about $4.2 million to fix parts of the building, remove mold, and convert a part of the first floor to office space. In January, ICE awarded another $1.6 million to repair the fire suppression system with the plan to return personnel to the building by this fall.

Establishing risk thresholds for climate change could shape better policy, says new int'l report

Just as national security or public health risks are assessed, tangible thresholds can be established to calculate risks from climate change so they can be addressed more effectively, an international group of scientists and policy experts conclude.

NRC, DHS, DOT Interagency agreement finalized to safely transport radioactive materials

The agreement creates a comprehensive and consistent framework among the three agencies "to coordinate, to the maximum extent practicable, their respective responsibilities and activities" regarding transporting such materials across the U.S.

Feds say Islamic State terrorists targeting law enforcement for weapons, gear to further attacks

The one-page Roll Call Release reported there were at least two instances in which the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria inspired individuals to steal weapons or other specialized gear from law enforcement officials.

US Forest Service using high-resolution satellite data, advanced modeling to fight wildfires

The Agriculture Department's Forest Service is using NASA's Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership, which provides greater detail of smaller wildfires than ever before.