US cities could see more power disruptions from major storms in future, new research shows

Johns Hopkins University researchers looked at historic hurricane records along with a dozen plausible scenarios in which climate change could affect the intensity, frequency and location of future storms to determine which of 27 cities would be most vulnerable to power outages.

GAO: FEMA overspent 'hundreds of millions of dollars' in administrative costs during disasters

The agency is not requiring that established targets for reducing administrative costs during disasters be met, congressional investigators said in Dec. 17 report.

Senate fails to extend terrorism risk insurance program heavily supported by business

That means the Terrorism Risk Insurance Program, which provides a federal backstop for insurance coverage, if losses from such attacks exceed a certain threshold will expire Dec. 31.

Former DHS special agent sentenced to 3 years for obstructing probe, falsifying records

A former agent within the Homeland Security Department's office of inspector general was sentenced Dec. 15 to more than three years in prison for impeding an internal investigation and falsifying records in the Texas field office.

Infrastructure protection, resource competition among Arctic warming concerns, says State's Papp

A warmer Arctic is changing the region and pushing new issues forward, including critical infrastructure protection and claims on future resources, said Ret. Coast Guard Adm. Robert Papp at a recent congressional hearing.

TSA must measure effectiveness of expedited passenger screening, GAO says

Congressional investigators want the Transportation Security Administration to better measure the effectiveness of a process in which randomly selected airport passengers go through expedited screening lanes.

Safety problems force ICE to move employees from facility following internal audit

The Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency agreed to move several of its employees working at a Los Angeles facility to another office space after an internal audit revealed that the building's inadequate fire sprinklers and alarm system posed an "immediate and potential danger" to them.


Several handheld firefighter radios fail in simulated tests, NIST researchers find

Firefighters might lose communications during an incident if their handheld radios are exposed to high temperatures, according to new tests conducted by the National Institute of Standards and Technology researchers.

DHS seeks help of small businesses to develop security-related solutions

The Homeland Security Department's research and development arm recently released a pre-solicitation notice to small businesses regarding the potential development of innovative technologies from forensics to cybersecurity to wearable communications.

Sophisticated cyber attack tools available underground to anyone, Senate panel says

Several federal law enforcement and computer security officials told a Senate panel Dec. 10 that increasingly sophisticated malware and other tools designed to infiltrate information systems are available to any individual, organization or country at relatively lower costs through underground markets.

New federal water, ecosystem datasets available to help assess climate change impact

The White House, Interior Department and several other agencies this week released large government datasets on water and ecosystems as well as new geospatial tools to help communities prepare and cope with impacts from climate change.

House extends terrorism insurance backstop program by 6 years; measure goes to Senate

The House on Dec. 10 overwhelmingly voted to extend a federal-private sector risk-sharing program by six years that makes affordable terrorism risk insurance widely available.

ACLU wants DOJ profiling guidance extended to security and border activities

The Justice Department is expected to update guidance Dec. 8, prohibiting federal law enforcement officials from profiling individuals based on national origin, religion, gender, sexual orientation, and gender identity, in addition to race and ethnicity that was banned more than a decade ago.

US government's invention secrecy orders highest in 20 years, watchdog group says

At the end of fiscal 2014, the federal government has 5,520 invention secrecy orders that prohibit both the issuance of a patent and its public disclosure, according to recent blog post by the Federation of American Scientists.

FEMA agrees to reforms to help Hurricane Sandy victims get benefits, lawmakers announce

After meeting with the Federal Emergency Management Agency over complaints about flood damage claims from homeowners affected by Hurricane Sandy, several U.S. lawmakers said agreed-to reforms should help victims resolve issues and get the benefits they need.

Sandia lab testing how aging electronics in nuclear weapons affect performance

As part of a three-decade-long program, researchers at Sandia National Laboratories are studying in real time how aging electronic components within a nuclear weapon affect performance.

Obama administration has legal authority on immigration actions, Jeh Johnson tells Capitol Hill

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson defended President Obama's recent executive actions on immigration Dec. 2, telling lawmakers on Capitol Hill that the administration has the legal authority to proceed.

Energy IG verifies 'unsuitable' behavior by commander in federal nuclear transport office

An internal Energy Department investigation has substantiated several allegations of "unsuitable, reportable behavior" by an operations squad commander within a federal office that transports government-owned nuclear material within the United States.

New National Counterintelligence and Security Center created within intelligence community

There's a new agency within the U.S. intelligence community that is expected to more effectively integrate counterintelligence and security missions.

CRS: Pause on some federally funded biological research could have broader impact

The extent and impact of a federal moratorium levied this year on certain research projects involving influenza, Middle East respiratory syndrome and severe acute respiratory syndrome viruses are unclear, according to recent Congressional Research Service analysis.