News

US, Canada officials seek to improve joint emergency response through simulations

The United States and Canada recently completed the initial phase of a cross-border, information-sharing experiment to improve responses to emergencies that might affect both nations.

Interaction with 'Ebola czar' varies, but largely beneficial, says government panel

Despite the varying level of interaction between federal homeland security and health officials with the the White House-appointed "Ebola czar," Ron Klain has improved coordination on the issue, said most testifying at a Senate hearing in which Klain was absent.

Secret Service taking steps to improve training, communication amid missteps, acting director says

The new acting director of the Secret Service recently told congressional lawmakers that he's addressing communications failures and gaps in training that allowed a White House fence jumper in September to get as far as the East Room of the mansion.

Nearly 18,000 people died in terrorist attacks in 2013, new global report shows

In 2013, nearly 18,000 people around the world were killed in terrorist attacks, a 61-percent increase from the prior year, according to the recently published annual Global Terrorism Index report. Most of the terrorist incidents were concentrated in only a handful of countries – Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nigeria and Syria – collectively accounting for nearly 15,000, or 82 percent, of the fatalities.

DHS needs to improve FOIA processing, cost reporting, congressional investigators say

Although the Homeland Security Department pledged three years ago to steadily reduce backlogged Freedom of Information Act requests, the number has risen even higher, congressional investigators said.

Westerners fighting for jihadi groups in Syria and Iraq go there for many reasons, new report says

Westerners are going off to fight alongside jihadists in Syria and Iraq for diverse reasons, ranging from a desire to live in an "authentic Muslim caliphate" to "jihadist cool," a new RAND report explains.

From cybersecurity to transportation, IG lists major challenges facing DHS

The IG's report listed a number of challenges across the Homeland Security Department over the last year through investigations and audits, but it didn't contain any recommendations.

White House releases report, toolkit to help communities deal with climate change impacts

On the heels of last week's U.S.-China deal to limit greenhouse gases, a White House task force is proposing several measures that  federal agencies can take to help communities better prepare for impacts from climate change.

GAO: Cost effectiveness of alternative-to-detention program for illegal aliens unclear

Immigration authorities need to better assess the cost effectiveness of an alternative-to-detention program that releases illegal aliens into the community as they await removal proceedings, congressional investigators said in a Nov. 13 report.

Jihadist propaganda encouraging lone-wolf attacks against law enforcement officers, intel shows

Recent jihadist messages are encouraging "individual jihad" or "small cell" operations to target and attack law enforcement officers and others in the West, warns an intelligence bulletin to local, state and federal government agencies.

FEMA needs to better track costs, performance of long-term recovery efforts, audit finds

The Federal Emergency Management Agency risks mismanaging disaster relief funds because it doesn't track costs or performance data for offices established to deal with long-term recovery efforts, a recently released internal audit found.

Lightning strikes across US could increase by 50% through the century, scientists predict

And while more lightning strikes could mean a higher incidence of human injuries and deaths, it could also result in more wildfires since half of all such fires now are started by lightning.

DHS secretary says enhanced measures taken to identify, stop spread of Ebola in US

The Homeland Security Department has enhanced screening procedures at ports of entry and invoked its authority to prevent people who may be infected with the Ebola virus from flying into the United States, the department's secretary testified at a recent Senate hearing.

Sub-Saharan conflicts linked to hotter temperatures from climate change, new study finds

Higher risk of armed conflicts in sub-Saharan Africa has been statistically linked to rising temperatures created by climate change, a new study from the University of Colorado Boulder found.

DHS seeks recommendations on biometric data storage, analysis

The Homeland Security Department is turning to industry to get information about advanced technologies and systems that can help improve the storage, matching capabilities and analysis of biometric data.

Most law enforcement pros use social media in investigations, but training and policies lacking

Facebook, YouTube and Twitter have been essential in investigating, solving and preventing crimes, but a new LexisNexis study shows that many law enforcement agencies lack formal policies, training or dedicated staff to use such social media tools.

White House dedicates $5.6B to counter ISIL

The Obama administration announced Nov. 7 it will request $5.6 billion for Overseas Contingency Operations to counter the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL. The additional funding comes five months after the administration's original OCO request, which funds some Defense and State Department efforts, as well as other international programs.

FEMA implementing better rules to track funding allocated to fusion centers, GAO says

While the Government Accountability Office found that FEMA — which is the Homeland Security Department's lead agency responsible for such grants — required states to provide justification for such funding starting in fiscal 2012, the data is still unreliable.

New online map displays national perspective of storm surges along Eastern, Gulf coasts

With about 22 million people living in hurricane-prone areas along the East and Gulf coasts, the federal government recently released an interactive, online map that can help them evaluate their own risks to storm surges.

New report examines nuclear weapons materials that have gone missing

Despite a greater focus on nuclear terrorism as a top threat to international security, a new report tries to shed light on nuclear weapons materials that have gone missing – an area that has gotten very little scrutiny.