News

Brookings chronicles Baghdadi's rise to lead the Islamic State and his motivations

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria since 2010, is described in a new Brookings Institution essay as a politically cunning, religious scholar – and "soccer star" – able to ally himself with powerful friends while imposing a harsh and brutal rule over millions of his subjects.

FBI seeks help from US antiquities leaders to bar Islamic State from cashing in on looted artifacts

Leaders in the art and antiquities market are being asked to help prevent the trade of illegally obtained artifacts so the terrorist group does not get funds. The FBI is providing them with a one-page document, explaining what they can do and who to contact.

S&T clears way for PathScan cybersecurity detection technology to be commercialized

A Los Alamos National Laboratory-developed technology that detects network anomalies and has been used exclusively in the government sector is being commercialized by Ernst & Young LLP, the Homeland Security Department's research arm announced.

Terrorist attacks involving firearms more common outside US than domestically, says report

Of the 2,646 terrorist attacks carried out in the United States and Puerto Rico from 1970 to 2014, 346 involved firearms as the primary weapon, according to a report by the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism.

Projects worth $18M awarded to research how infectious diseases arise from human impacts

The program funds projects that permit scientists to study the impact of large-scale environmental events such as the destruction of habitats, invasions of non-native species, and spread of pollution on viral, parasitic and bacterial diseases in humans and animals.

Future coastal flooding risks, economic losses will rise in several major US cities, analysis finds

The analysis by Risk Management Solutions found that hurricane-driven storm surge are increasing economic and insurance losses at several coastal cities, including Tampa and Miami. The firm also reviewed New York, Boston and Baltimore in addition to New Orleans

Food insecurity rising due to extreme weather events from climate change, new report says

Analyzing climate and crop models, the task force found that what would have been called a 1-in-100 year event from 1951 to 2010 may become a 1-in-30 year event before the middle of the century.

Power outages longer each year for customers, linked to severe weather, new study finds

While the frequency of U.S. power outages has been unchanged in recent years, the total number of minutes that customers have been without electricity has increased every year, mainly due to extreme weather.

Globally, July was hottest July in 136 years; first 7 months of 2015 also hits record, NOAA says

The combined average temperature over global land and ocean surfaces was 0.14 degrees Fahrenheit higher than the previous record set in 1998. It was also 1.46 F higher than the 20th century average of 60.4 F.

Senators urge TSA to implement mandated rail security measures after European attack

Sens. Richard Blumenthal from Connecticut and Cory Booker from New Jersey said in a recent letter to TSA Administrator Peter Neffenger that "action on congressional mandates has languished for far too long."

DHS revising grant guidance to mandate communications equipment be interoperable

The inspector general said in a audit that grant guidance issued by the Office of Emergency Communications and the Federal Emergency Management Agency "does not prevent grantees from purchasing non-interoperable equipment."

Contributions, reporting 'sporadic' in first year of broad coalition effort to fight the Islamic State

Almost one year ago, President Obama announced some 60 nations and partner organizations formed a coalition to "degrade and ultimately defeat" the Islamic State. But the Congressional Research Service pointed out in a new report that members' contributions have varied widely and fewer than half are active in the military effort against the terrorist group.

Global warming intensifying California drought that will become permanent by 2060s, study says

Global warming is worsening California's drought – already in its fourth year – by as much as 27 percent because higher temperatures are evaporating more moisture from plants and soil, according to the recently published study.

DHS IG: FEMA regional office not meeting certain emergency management responsibilities

Region V – which manages emergency management activities in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio – does not have policies and procedures to provide temporary public transportation during disasters, process public assistance appeals in a timely manner, and doesn't hold required meetings regarding regional issues.

Steps taken to improve DHS conference expense reporting after agency watchdog finds problems

From fiscal 2014 to the first quarter of 2015, Homeland Security Department officials disclosed expenses for only 15 percent of the 187 hosted conferences they were required to report to the department's inspector general.

TSA workers' comp program continues to concern auditors, despite improvements

The Transportation Security Administration has taken several key steps over the last eight years to better manage workers' compensation claims, but a new audit finds a few more concerns, including duplicate case management systems and potential for higher agency chargeback costs.

Mimicking nature, device uses soundwaves to detect cracks in critical infrastructure

Researchers at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow have developed a device that spots structural problems in aircraft structures, oil and gas pipelines and nuclear plants.

National Seed Strategy unveiled to restore lands damaged by wildfires, invasive species, other threats

In 2012, more than 2 million acres of sagebrush habitat burned across four western states. Officials said this environment is worsening due to wildfires and droughts. In the east that same year, Hurricane Sandy damaged native plant habitats, which stabilize soils, filter water and absorb storm surges, the release said.

Immigration officials not doing enough to assess fraud in foreign investor visa program, GAO says

Federal immigration officials aren't doing enough to identify and address unique fraud and national security risks in an immigrant visa program that encourages foreign individuals to make capital investments and create jobs in the U.S. in exchange for a green card and path to citizenship, congressional investigators said in a recent report.

Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri reemerges after nearly a year of silence

Al-Zawahiri was tapped by Osama bin Laden to lead the terrorist group, but Brooking Institution's Bruce Riedel notes "he is a poor speaker, prone to ideological fights and lacks bin Laden's charisma."