Updates

DHS S&T Awards VTO Inc. $928K for Drone Forensics R&D

To increase law enforcement capabilities to identify, collect, and analyze evidentiary data from consumer and professional drones, the Department of Homeland Security  (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) has awarded a research-and-development contract to VTO Inc. of Broomfield, Colorado. The award is part of the S&T Cyber Security Division’s Cyber Forensics project.

50-Year-Old Flu Virus Model Revamped, Revealing Pandemic Prediction Possibilities

A University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine team discovers that a model of the influenza genome architecture untouched since the 1970s is not so perfect after all. The discovery reveals loopholes in the way the virus packages its genetic material, which could give scientists the opportunity to better predict pandemics and find new ways to disrupt the flu virus.

Space Station Project Seeks to Crystalize the Means to Counteract Nerve Poisons

The microgravity conditions of the International Space Station (ISS) may hold the key to improving our understanding of how to combat toxic nerve agents such as sarin and VX. That is the hope of Countermeasures Against Chemical Threats (CounterACT) project that is part of an initiative at the National Institutes of Health aimed at developing improved antidotes for chemical agents.

Biosecurity Stakeholders Offer Recommendations for National Biodefense Strategy

More than 50 public and private sector biosecurity stakeholders gathered at a meeting convened by the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security on June 22 in Washington, DC, to engage in a discussion about US biodefense capabilities and offer recommendations for the forthcoming National Biodefense Strategy and Implementation Plan.

FEMA Announces Funding Awards to Prepare Communities for Complex Coordinated Terrorist Attacks

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) officials announced funding awards for the Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 Program to Prepare Communities for Complex Coordinated Terrorist Attacks (CCTA Program). The CCTA Program will provide $35.94 million to selected recipients to improve their ability to prepare for, prevent, and respond to complex coordinated terrorist attacks in collaboration with the whole community.

Virginia Will Become the First State to Opt-In to FirstNet’s National Public Safety Broadband Network

Governor Terry McAuliffe signed a letter of intent declaring that the Commonwealth of Virginia will allow the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) and AT&T to proceed with the deployment of the Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network in Virginia. FirstNet is a dedicated public safety interoperable, nationwide mobile broadband network created to enable continued communication during a disaster or other large-scale event.

USGS Publishes a New Blueprint That Can Help Make Subduction Zone Areas More Resilient

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) has developed a blueprint for advancing science and resilience from subduction zone hazards. The plan leverages scientific and technologic developments, improves hazard assessments, addresses stakeholder needs, and maximizes capabilities through partnerships to reduce risks. The resulting products will inform decisions and policies to make communities and critical infrastructure less vulnerable.

DHS S&T Licenses New Cybersecurity Tech to Atlanta Small Business

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) announced that a network flow analysis technology that will help strengthen cybersecurity has transitioned to the marketplace through its participation in S&T’s Transition to Practice program. The Network FLOW AnalyzER has been licensed by zSofTech Solutions, an Atlanta business providing cybersecurity and information technology services.

Large-Scale Vehicle-Borne Improvised Explosive Device Testing

The Explosives Division (EXD) of the Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate has taken measures to address the threat of vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED, also known as car bombs) attacks directly. EXD’s Homemade Explosives program conducts large-scale VBIED testing to mitigate the threat posed by massive car bombs and to ensure such attacks do not occur in the United States.

Smart Quadcopters Find Their Way Without Human Help or GPS

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) Fast Lightweight Autonomy (FLA) program is advancing technology to enable small unmanned quadcopters to fly autonomously through cluttered buildings and obstacle-strewn environments at fast speeds (up to 20 meters per second, or 45 mph) using onboard cameras and sensors as “eyes” and smart algorithms to self-navigate.