march 2017

Updates

Encryption Requirements to Change P25 CAP Approved Equipment List

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced a change in the Project 25 Compliance Assessment Program (P25 CAP) listing of grant-eligible radio equipment for first responders. In order to be fully compliant with all P25 CAP requirements, radio equipment that requires encryption must use Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) 256.

Reports

Select Agents and Toxins Biosafety/Biocontainment Plan Guidance

This document is intended to provide guidance and assist entities in developing and implementing a written biosafety/biocontainment plan. This template summarizes current regulatory and procedural criteria for registered entities and provides examples for verifying compliance. 

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Resilience

Coastal Resilience Grants – States Left Holding the Sandbag

by Rodrigo (Roddy) Moscoso -

The federal Fiscal Year 2018 (FY18) budget plan includes significant reductions to most domestic programs, and a common theme across agencies appears to be the elimination of grant programs, particularly those supporting environmental protection and monitoring. Beyond reductions to the Environmental Protection Agency’s budget, other agencies involved in similar activities are also facing significant cutbacks.

Updates

New Training System Improves Airport Screening Efficiency

Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Transportation Security Officers (TSOs) must screen every bag boarding commercial aircraft within the United States. The Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate’s Office for Public Safety Research developed a training system that not only makes TSOs more efficient, but also maintains their accuracy.

Updates

New Brain-Inspired Cybersecurity System Detects 'Bad Apples' 100 Times Faster

Sophisticated cybersecurity systems excel at finding “bad apples” in computer networks, but they lack the computing power to identify the threats directly. Instead, they look for general indicators of an attack; calling them “apples.” These limits make it easy for new species of “bad apples” to evade modern cybersecurity systems. The Neuromorphic Cyber Microscope, designed by Lewis Rhodes Labs in partnership with Sandia National Laboratories, directly addresses this limitation.

Updates

Transportation Security Administration and American Public University Expand Partnership

American Public University, part of American Public University System, announced that it has been selected by the Transportation Security Administration’s Institute of Higher Education to provide quality, career-relevant academic programs to up to 20,000 TSA employees at 147 airports nationwide.

Updates

FEMA Emergency Management Institute Course: E0279 Retrofitting Flood-Prone Residential Buildings

FEMA's Emergency Management Institute is offering a course "Retrofitting Flood-Prone Residential Buildings." This course will cover the concepts of flood-proofing and retrofitting, regulatory framework, design parameters, benefit-cost analysis, and technical feasibility considerations. This course provides engineering and economic guidance to architects, engineers, and local code enforcement officials in retrofitting existing one- to four-family residential structures situated in flood-prone areas.

Updates

DHS Announces $35M Funding Opportunity for New Center of Excellence in Cross-Border Threat Screening and Supply Chain Defense

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate announced $35 million in funding opportunities for a new DHS Center of Excellence for Cross-Border Threat Screening and Supply Chain Defense. The goal of the Center will be to research and develop solutions, protocols, and capabilities to support the identification of potential biological threats within the DHS operational environment that could disrupt critical infrastructure supply chains.

Updates

Biometrics Report Highlights the Technological Strides Made for Law Enforcement

The use of face detection and recognition has the potential to contribute to the capabilities of future law enforcement applications, such as high volume screening in crowded places, low volume forensic examinations, and crime scene investigations. The Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate’s Face in Video Evaluation (FIVE) Program provides an independent evaluation of face recognition algorithms for various law enforcement applications.

Resilience

Reducing Recidivism Among Islamic Extremists

by Richard Schoeberl -

As the United States embarks on new policies and a new administration, its citizens must be more vigilant now than ever before. There will continue to be an upsurge in extremist ideology and high recidivism rates among convicted terrorists who have now reengaged in violence. Rehabilitation may be the only real solution to combat this ongoing threat.

Updates

A New Toolkit for Rapid Bacterial Detection

Finding the right treatment plan for patients who have antibiotic-resistant infections is a costly and time-consuming effort. To assist doctors in rural areas or developing countries, a research team, including Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) scientists and collaborators from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, developed a diagnostic kit that is low-cost, portable and easy to use.

Reports

Position Paper: Bioterrorism Preparedness & Response

This paper presents the InterAgency Board’s position on developing a national bioterrorism response capability: proposed equipment, training, and capability requirements for a validated biothreat response team; structured and validated activities that should occur during the incident characterization and initial response phases of a bioterrorism response; and equipment and training standards. 

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Updates

Immune Molecule Protects Against Zika Virus Infection in Animal Models

A molecule naturally produced by the immune system protects mice and monkeys against Zika virus infection, an international team of researchers has found. Administering the molecule, called 25-hydroxycholesterol (25HC), to pregnant mice reduced Zika virus infection in the fetal brain and protected against Zika-induced microcephaly.

Healthcare

Defining Leadership Options in a Disaster Response

by Wendy W. Nesheim -

Many actively practicing medical professionals are trained and available to deploy to the site of a natural or manmade disaster within hours after an event occurs. Although these medical professionals work with established and traditional leadership styles during their regular “day jobs,” the complex nature of disasters requires leadership approaches in the field that may seem inconsistent or even contradictory.

Reports

MCMi Program Update Fiscal Year 2016

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Medical Countermeasures Initiative (MCMi) program has been updated for Fiscal Year 2016. The FDA continues its ongoing work to advance the development and availability of medical countermeasures to protect against chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) threats. This report covers these activities, including medical countermeasure-related regulatory science, legal actions, and policy actions.

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Updates

New UN Supply Chain System to Slash Delays, Save Lives in Large-Scale Health Crises

In collaboration with partners and as a part of a global supply chain network, the United Nations (UN) emergency food relief agency has set about developing the first-ever information platform to better manage supply chains and efficiently match deliveries with demand in responding to large-scale health emergencies such as pandemic outbreaks.

Updates

Oral Delivery System Could Make Vaccinations Needle-Free

Patients could one day self-administer vaccines using a needleless, pill-sized technology that jet-releases a stream of vaccine inside the mouth, according to a proof-of-concept study conducted at University of California-Berkeley. The technology is a step toward improved oral vaccine delivery, which holds the promise of building immunity in the mouth’s buccal region of cells, where many infections enter the body.

Updates

CNA Talks: Justice and Policing in the U.S.

This podcast covers everything from police reform and evidence-based research to body-worn cameras and police departments’ use of social media. Hear what some of today’s top criminal justice experts think about training, transparency, accountability, community policing, crisis intervention, and federal support of the police.

Updates

DHS Developed Software Powers Humanitarian Project

Krona, software originally developed at the U. S. Department of Homeland Security’s National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasures Center (NBACC) to sequence DNA for biodefense, is now being used by Microsoft to sequence mosquito DNA in the fight against disease.

Healthcare

Creating a University Disaster Medical Response Team

by Ruben D. Almaguer -

As one of the top 10 disaster-prone states in the nation, Florida continues to strengthen its ability to prepare for and respond to any disaster requiring specialized emergency surgical or critical care medicine. With shrinking budgets and increased demand, building effective and rapid disaster medical response capabilities requires more than just collaboration among governments, healthcare providers, hospitals, and the private sector.

Updates

NRL Develops Lighter, Field Repairable Transparent Armor

Research chemists at U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) have developed and patented a transparent thermoplastic elastomer armor to reduce weight, inherent in most bullet-resistant glass, while maintaining superior ballistic properties. In addition to being transparent, and lighter than conventional bullet-resistant glass, it also is repairable in the field.

Preparedness

The How and the Why of Crowd Management

by Stephen Maloney -

On a Saturday night in 2013, a fire broke out in a nightclub in Sao Paulo, Brazil. More than 240 people, mostly college students, were killed. Two years later, two people were killed and more than 70 injured in a stampede to exit a club in Malta, due to a possible gas leak. Although the immediate causes of the two incidents were different, a common factor that led to so many dead and injured was poor management of large groups.

Updates

DHS S&T Invites Counter UAS Developers to Submit Tech for Assessment

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) is inviting developers of counter unmanned aerial system (C-UAS) technologies to participate in technology assessments. Selected C-UAS technology solutions will be assessed in an operationally relevant environment. Based on the findings, DHS S&T will provide best practices and strategies to federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.

Updates

Yellow Fever in the Americas-Current Outbreak Warrants Close Watch

The unusually large outbreak of yellow fever now occurring in rural Brazil deserves careful attention by world health authorities. “In light of the serious nature of this historically devastating disease, public health awareness and preparedness, even for individual cases, is critical,” said Dr. Anthony S. Fauci and Dr. Catherine Paules of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Updates

USDA Issues Update on Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza in Tennessee

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Veterinary Services Laboratories has confirmed the full subtype for the highly pathogenic H7 avian influenza reported in Lincoln County, Tennessee. USDA continues to work with the Tennessee Department of Agriculture on the joint incident response. An epidemiological investigation is underway to determine the source of the infection.

Updates

WHO Stresses Urgent Need for R&D for Drug-Resistant TB Alongside Newly-Prioritized Antibiotic-Resistant Pathogens

The World Health Organization (WHO) reaffirms the critical need for research and development (R&D) of new antibiotics to tackle the threat of drug-resistant tuberculosis (TB), as well as other antibiotic-resistant pathogens that have recently been prioritized as posing great risk to human health.

Updates

It's a Blast: Imaging High Explosive Detonators

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) scientists and collaborators at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) for the first time have taken 3D snapshots of operating high explosive detonators. The research is important for assessing aging margins, safety and performance, and in developing new and improved detonation designs.

Reports

Tribal Emergency Preparedness Law

This introduction to tribal emergency preparedness law outlines and provides examples of tribal emergency preparedness authorities. It also addresses federal Indian law and the principles governing relationships among tribes, states, and the federal government in the context of emergency preparedness. The brief concludes with a discussion of cross-jurisdictional coordination between tribes and other jurisdictions.

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Commentary

Border Control Challenges – A Year Later

by Robert C. Hutchinson -

One year ago, DomPrep convened subject matter experts to discuss their experiences with and knowledge about border control challenges. A lot has happened in that year, so it is time to examine what has changed, what still needs to be addressed, and what will likely still be discussed a year from now.

Updates

Open Science Prize Announces Epidemic Tracking Tool as Grand Prize Winner

A prototype online platform that uses real-time visualization and viral genome data to track the spread of global pathogens such as Zika and Ebola is the grand-prize winner of the Open Science Prize. The winning team created its prototype to pool data from researchers across the globe, perform rapid phylogenetic analysis, and post the results on the platform’s website.

Podcast

Chemical Weapons, Now the Norm

The recent assassination of North Korea’s Kim Jong Nam raises questions about the VX nerve agent, which could affect emergency responders who have not been recently trained or have not come in direct contact with this deadly chemical. On Thursday, 2 March 2017, DomPrep hosted a 30-minute audio podcast with four subject matter experts.  

During this 30-minute discussion, you will learn:  The approximate amount of lethal material available worldwide, the reasons that chemical weapon agents are a clear and present threat to local and state officials, the difficulty in detecting them, the need for prompt awareness and response, and the ways in which chemical weapons have become the new norm.

 

Reports

Electricity: Federal Efforts to Enhance Grid Resilience

This report identifies grid resilience efforts implemented by federal agencies since 2013, highlights the results of these efforts, examines the extent to which these efforts were fragmented, overlapping, or duplicative, and considers the extent to which agencies had coordinated the efforts. 

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Updates

WHO Publishes List of Bacteria for Which New Antibiotics Are Urgently Needed

The World Health Organization (WHO) published its list of antibiotic-resistant “priority pathogens” – a catalogue of 12 families of bacteria that pose the greatest threat to human health. The list was created in a bid to guide and promote research and development of new antibiotics, as part of WHO’s efforts to address growing global resistance to antimicrobial medicines.

Updates

USDA Invests $103 Million to Protect Lives, Property After Natural Disasters

Acting Deputy Agriculture Secretary Michael Young announced U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing up to $103 million in fiscal year 2017 for disaster recovery efforts to help state, local and tribal units of government protect lives and property in disaster-affected areas following natural disasters.

Reports

Community and Institutional Preparedness Synergies

The importance of involving communities in all phases of emergency preparedness is highlighted in this new European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control report. The report identifies factors that can act as enablers/barriers of community and institutional synergies and concludes with a series of key messages on effective practices to facilitate community engagement. 

 

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Updates

NIH Begins Study of Vaccine to Protect Against Mosquito-Borne Diseases

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health, has launched a Phase 1 clinical trial to test an investigational vaccine intended to provide broad protection against a range of mosquito-transmitted diseases, such as Zika, malaria, West Nile fever and dengue fever, and to hinder the ability of mosquitoes to transmit such infections.

Reports

DOD, HHS, and DHS Should Use Existing Coordination Mechanisms to Improve Their Pandemic Preparedness

This report assesses the extent to which: (a) the Department of Defense (DOD) has guidance and plans for supporting civil authorities in the event of a domestic outbreak of a pandemic disease; and (b) the Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Homeland Security (DHS) have plans to respond to a pandemic when DOD support capabilities are limited.

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Updates

IBM and The Weather Company Unveil World’s First Mobile Weather Alerting Platform for Underserved Populations in Emerging Markets

IBM and The Weather Company introduced new Mesh Network Alerts technology that provides a mobile method of communicating with underserved populations in developing countries to notify of potential severe weather events or disasters – even in areas with limited Internet connection or when cellular networks are disrupted due to an outage.

Resilience

The Evolving Chemical/Biological Terrorism Threat

by Ashley Frohwein -

On 1 January 2017, British Minister of State for Security Ben Wallace warned that the Islamic State group (IS) has no moral qualms about carrying out a mass casualty attack with chemical weapons in Britain, and pointed to a December 2016 Europol report warning that IS may use chemical and biological (CB) weapons against European targets. The threat is growing.