News

Pacific Northwest prepares for earthquakes, tsunamis with help from UW scientists

Scientists at the University of Washington are helping prepare the Pacific Northwest for earthquakes and resulting tsunamis, including the development of the first tsunami evacuation structure in the United States and a prototype earthquake early warning system.

CBP needs to enhance oversight of high-risk maritime shipments coming to US, GAO says

According to CBP policy, high-risk shipments should be scanned with radiation detection and nonintrusive inspection equipment. However, CBP agents can waive that examination if the shipment meets a "standard exception" or "articulable reason."

DHS can make significant reforms by looking at past Pentagon history, RAND analyst says

The Goldwater-Nichols Act, also known as the Department of Defense Reorganization Act, implemented "thoughtful, serious and reasoned reforms" at the Pentagon and similar legislation can help reform and improve DHS management and operational activities, wites Daniel M. Gerstein.

Number of foreign fighters in Syria/Iraq conflict eclipses 20,000, says London-based think tank

ICSR estimated that the number of foreign fighters from 14 countries in Western Europe has increased to 4,000, double what it was in December 2013. However, the Middle East – including Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and Morocco, among others – remains the "dominant source" of foreign fighters with 11,000.

NNSA should remain within Energy Department despite overlap with other agencies, says panel

As National Nuclear Security Administration laboratories shift away from a focus on nuclear projects and undertake more assignments from other agencies to address broader national security concerns, a larger debate over their governance has also emerged.

TSA seizes more than 2,200 firearms at airports in 2014, a 22-percent hike from prior year

TSA provided a rundown of seizures – and photos of the items – that officers made last year of prohibited items and those that appeared dangerous. The agency said it screened more than 653 million passengers last year, which was an increase of 14.8 million from the prior year.

TSA over-classified parts of DHS IT security report on JFK airport, says IG

The Homeland Security Department's inspector general said Transportation Security Administration officials are unnecessarily concealing information in a new report that highlighted the vulnerabilities of security controls of DHS technology systems at John F. Kennedy International Airport.

Sea-level rise, climate change should be among top research priorities over next decade, report says

A new National Research Council report identifies sea-level rise, the effects of climate change on marine ecosystems and better forecasting hazards among the top research priorities for ocean science over the next 10 years as scientists deal with flat or declining budgets.

Obama executive order seeks to boost Arctic policy coordination, cut greenhouse gas emissions

President Obama issued an executive order to improve coordination around federal policy and activities in the Arctic region, especially as it relates to the effects from climate change, and boost collaboration with state, local and tribal governments.

Despite fewer aircraft and flying hours, CBP's aviation maintenance contract rises, IG finds

The Homeland Security Department's inspector general said it could not reconcile maintenance labor hours to see if they were being recorded accurately. And the agency doesn't have adequate internal controls to address the problems.

House, Senate Republicans introduce border security bills, say Obama failed

Sponsors of both bills say the measures are needed because the Obama administration has failed to plug the southern border, a problem that's been exacerbated by the president's executive action on immigration, they contend.

Ohio needs to better account for homeland security grants, DHS IG reports

The government watchdog said it's unclear whether Ohio effectively used federal Homeland Security grants because it didn't have adequate performance measures and accounting practices – and that might leave the state potentially ill-prepared in responding to disasters.

2014 warmest year on record, NOAA and NASA scientists conclude

Temperatures collected around the globe show that every ocean had parts that were record warmest as well as many portions of Europe. Still, there were a few land areas where temperatures were actually cooler than average, most notably in North America and particularly across the United States.

Ebola outbreak exposed major weaknesses in US health system, report finds

The Ebola outbreak has exposed major vulnerabilities in the ability of the United States to contain severe infectious disease threats, according to a recent report from a non-profit health group.

House OKs bill funding DHS, but Senate likely to kill it due to immigration amendments

The House passed a nearly $40 billion spending measure that fully funds the Homeland Security Department, but the bill, which includes several controversial immigration amendments, will likely die in the Senate.

New study measures runoff from Greenland's ice sheet and contribution to sea-level rise

Eleven researchers from several universities, federal labs and other organizations – with funding from NASA's Cryospheric Sciences program – spent six days in July 2012 collecting measurements on the ice sheet that covers about 80 percent of Greenland. 

Big shake-up at Secret Service mired by lapses, low morale, Washington Post reports

Four senior officials in the Secret Service have been removed in the biggest management shake-up since the agency's director Julia Pierson resigned last October following a series of high-profile missteps, the newspaper reported Jan. 14.

Research shows that recent lethal terrorist attack on Pakistani school is 'atypical' historically

Between 1970 and 2013, more than 3,400 terrorist attacks against educational institutions occurred in 110 countries, representing about 2.7 percent of all global terrorist attacks during this period, research shows.

US gov't issues cybersecurity guidance to help energy sector protect critical infrastructure

The new guidance is designed to help the energy industry meet the goals of the National Institute of Standards and Technology's Cybersecurity Framework that contains voluntary standards, guidelines and practices to help bolster critical infrastructure protection.

Short emergency messages not as effective in alerting people about imminent threats, study finds

The study from the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism, or START also found that rearranging the content within the message and including a map showing an area that's been affected by a hazard could also improve public responses.