News

CRS: FEMA needs better performance measures for national preparedness

The Congressional Research Service questioned whether the Federal Emergency Management Agency has done enough to prepare for risks to national security in an Aug. 12 report archived by the Federation of American Scientists. The CRS brief doesn't supply any answers or suggestions but rather lays out questions it thinks should be answered after reading FEMA's National Preparedness Report.

DHS's science and technology arm developing long-term, 'big picture' strategic plan

DHS' Science and Technology Directorate is seeking input from other federal, state, local, local, territorial, nongovernmental and private-sector organizations to help develop the "big picture" plan and define core "North Star" visionary goals.

DHS announces milestones for several trusted traveler programs

The Transportation Security Administration's TSA PreCheck program has enrolled more than half a million travelers since it was launched in December. The Customs and Border Protection's has enrolled more than three million travelers in its Global Entry, NEXUS and SENTRI programs.

Brief: Addressing violence, poverty in Central America will help curb migration to US

The United States should work with Mexico and Central American nations to find regional solutions to the violence and economic stagnation that's spurring the migration of tens of thousands of unaccompanied children and others to cross the Texas border, according to a policy brief by a nonpartisan think tank.

Cultural differences complicate responses to international CBRN incidents, report says

Cultural differences can be a key hurdle in responding to chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear incidents in foreign countries, says a report from the National Research Council.

Congressional Research Service finds renewed focus on domestic terrorism

Countering domestic terrorism appears to have become a top priority again at the Justice Department, according to a brief from the Congressional Research Service.

California may fund legal services for unaccompanied migrant children

California may fund legal services for unaccompanied minors who crossed the border into the United States and were apprehended by federal agents.

US courts committee backs expanded FBI authority to remotely access computers

The federal judiciary's rules committee has backed a Justice Department proposal that would broaden the ability of agents to remotely gain access to people's computers possibly involved in criminal activities.

UPDATED - Researchers find security flaws in body X-ray scanners now used in some gov't facilities

A team of university researchers said, in lab tests, they were able to hide firearms and other contraband from full-body, backscatter X-ray machines that were used at U.S. airports between 2009 and 2013.

DHS seeks to 'mature' program to ensure security, safety of high-risk chemical facilities

The department on Aug. 18 published an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking in the Federal Register, asking the public and other stakeholders how to 'fullly mature' the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards, or CFATS, program and improve it.

IG: FEMA's 50-percent rule costing gov't hundreds of millions of dollars in overpayments

Hundreds of millions of dollars were lost due to a misinterpretation of a Federal Emergency Management Agency rule that funds the replacement or repair of facilities after a natural disaster, according to a recent Homeland Security Department inspector general report.

More arrests, bank account seizures in ongoing DHS campaign to curb influx of illegal immigrants

More than 360 smugglers have been arrested and more than $800,000 in illegal payments to smuggling networks have been seized from nearly 440 bank accounts as part of an aggressive campaign to curb the sharp rise in illegal immigration along the southwest border.

Disease outbreak worries put pressure on US customs officers

When a deadly infectious disease like Ebola breaks out overseas, the responsibility to keep infected individuals out of the United States partly falls on customs officers with little medical training who staff long lines of travelers waiting to enter the country.

FBI tightening use of national security letters after extensive review, but typo problem persists

The FBI has made notable strides in bringing its practices around national security letters more into compliance with the law, but not when it comes to typographical errors, says a new report from the Justice Department's inspector general.

Worries mount over law enforcement using technology to disrupt protests amid Ferguson unrest

While the use of military-style tactics and equipment to quash protests in Ferguson, Mo., last week drew widespread concern about police infringing on First Amendment rights, some civil liberties advocates are increasingly concerned about software that law enforcement could potentially exploit to thwart protests as well.

Education Dept: Unaccompanied migrant children entitled to US education

The basic education rights of the tens of thousands of unaccompanied children who have migrated across the southwestern border this year are no different from those of other children in the United States, the Education Department said in guidance released last week.

Report: DHS needs to improve cyber threat data sharing with critical infrastructure sectors

A voluntary program to share cyber threat data with organizations across 16 critical infrastructure sectors has expanded over the past year. But the Homeland Security Department's watchdog recently said enrollment has been slow and the quality of information shared needs improvement.

CDC sends 'disease detectives' to Africa to stop Ebola spread, boosts US preparation

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said 55 "disease detectives" and other highly trained experts are in four West African countries, helping to stop the spread of Ebola there.

IG blames ICE for poor planning, communication in releasing 2,000-plus detainees in 2013

Poor planning, budget limitations, increased apprehensions and lack of communication with Homeland Security leaders and the White House led Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials to release more than 2,000 immigration detainees--including some criminals--in early 2013, the department's watchdog found.

CBP launches new mobile app to help travelers expedite entry into United States

Travelers to the United States will now be able to submit their passport information and customs declaration form through a new smartphone or tablet app as a way to expedite their entry process, the Customs and Border Protection agency said recently.