News

Wildfire strategy sees varied challenges across nation

Accumulated vegetation, the proximity of communities to wildfire-prone areas, human-caused ignitions and the high cost of response emerge as the four national challenges identified in wildfire strategy the Obama administration released earlier this month.

Lawmakers: DoD, HHS bioterror programs redundant

Last October, the DoD began construction of a 30 acre complex for medical countermeasure manufacturing in Alachua, Fla., near Gainesville. It expects to complete the facility by the end of fiscal 2015. But HHS already runs three manufacturing facilities for medical countermeasures, which are vaccines and medicines for possible pandemics or bioterror attacks.

Arpaio not conceding that his office racially profiled Latinos

The sheriff of Maricopa County, Ariz. won't appeal a federal court's ruling that his office violated the constitutional rights of Latinos. That's not, Sheriff Joe Arpaio would have the world know, because he acknowledges that his office racially profiled Latinos – as some media outlets have recently reported.

Federal judge: ICE request led to Fourth Amendment violation

Police in Oregon violated an immigrant's Fourth Amendment rights when they honored an Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainer request without probable cause, a federal judge ruled April 11. Judge Janice Stewart of the U.S. district court in Oregon ruled (pdf) that Clackamas County misinterpreted the regulation that governs ICE detainers.

Teen tweet on terrorist threat results in arrest

Dutch police today arrested a teenager after she tweeted on Sunday a terrorist threat to American Airlines in what she quickly said was a joke.

Jones: Look beyond al Qaeda, drone strikes

Counterterrorism expert Seth Jones cautioned lawmakers not to dwell too much on the core of al Qaeda and lose sight of other groups during a House Foreign Affairs subcommittee hearing April 8. "Using the core al Qaeda and its strength or weakness as a gauge of the movement in my view is increasingly anachronistic," Jones said.

 

TRIA saves taxpayer dollars, says Rand

The Terrorism Risk Insurance Act saves taxpayer dollars, say two Rand scientists. The act makes the government a source of last-resort financial support in case terrorist attack-related insurance claims rise above a high threshold. The law's seven year authorization comes to an end this year.

OIGs: No need for major changes after Boston Marathon bombing

A review of the federal government's intelligence on Tamerlan Tsarnaev, one of the Boston Marathon bombers, says there is no need for significant changes to how counterterrorism agencies handle and share information.

Study seeks to understand rumor-mongering during emergencies

Tweets that propagated rumors during crises often contained ambiguous sources and mentioned direct experience with the event, says a study published in the journal Management Information Systems Quarterly.

Senate confirms two high-level DHS nominees

The Senate Monday confirmed two Homeland Security Department undersecretaries, further dropping the agency's rate of high-level vacancies.

Extreme drought portends active wildfire season

Drought expanded last month to cover 38.4 percent of the continental United States as of April 1, having increased by about 2.5 percentage points over four weeks. California has faced especially dire conditions this year, and drought worsened there during March as well. NOAA expects drought to continue – or intensify – this spring in California, west Texas, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico and portions of other western states.

Rockefeller: Zukunft will whiz through confirmation to be next Coast Guard commandant

Vice Adm. Paul Zukunft kept his expression even and his tone modulated, humble – but Tuesday's confirmation hearing for the position of the next Coast Guard commandant still ended with the 37-year service veteran aglow from approbation. "I think you'll be a whiz right through here, you'll be out of here before you know it," promised Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.)

Bills would finally authorize CBP, ICE

Two Homeland Security Department agencies that have never received formal authorization from Congress may soon get it for the first time.

NIST calls for tornado-resistant design in building codes

A review of the buildings that withstood the deadly 2011 tornado in Joplin, Mo., and those that collapsed has led the National Institute of Standards and Technology to recommend new building code standards. Safe rooms, storm shelters and nuclear power plants have tornado-resistant design standards, but no such standards exist for ordinary buildings. 

Centers for manufacturing emergency influenza vaccine ready in next few years

One of three organizations hired by the Health and Human Services Department for surge vaccine production in the event of a pandemic should be running at full capacity within three years, department officials say.

Coast Guard authorization bill sent to Senate

A bill authorizing Coast Guard discretionary spending for two years at $8.7 billion annually sailed through the House of Representatives – to the chagrin of some on the House Homeland Security Committee.

CFATS legislation advances to full House Homeland Security Committee

Legislation authorizing for three years the Homeland Security Department's dangerous chemical substance regulation program is now set to face the full House Homeland Security Committee following a Thursday vote.

California calls for maritime task force to address panga boats

Many maritime smugglers use panga boats, 20-40 foot fishing vessels that are made of fiberglass and difficult to detect. "This, coupled with the sheer size of California's coastline, means that most panga discoveries are made either through tips or by happenstance," says a report issued by California Attorney General Kamala Harris.

Muslim group issues detailed guide to intervene before violence

An extensive guide for thwarting violent extremism in the Muslim community calls for intervention in the lives of those who appear headed toward violence and, if that fails, ejection from the community. The Muslim Public Affairs Council, a Los Angeles-based advocacy group, published the 139-page guide.

World unprepared for instability exacerbated by climate change, says IPCC

The effects of climate change are already apparent and the world is unprepared for the risks they pose, warns a new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.