august 2020


Future of DHS Project: Key Findings and Recommendations

The Atlantic Council’s Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security convened the Future of DHS Project to inform the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) leadership team in January 2021 on the direction of DHS’s mission and how to address the challenges faced by the department. These are the key findings and recommendations.

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S&T-Funded App Allows Emergency Responders to Communicate Seamlessly on the Front Lines

The Bridge 4 Public Safety app, a free, interoperable, secure collaboration app is now available for authorized response personnel. The Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) developed this app in partnership with the Mobility 4 Public Safety (M4PS) – a consulting firm that specializes in regional, interoperable mobility strategy, and public safety collaboration.


Department of Energy Announces the First Five Consortium

The U.S. Department of Energy Artificial Intelligence and Technology Office announced the creation of the First Five Consortium, co-chaired with Microsoft Corporation. This cross-cut of industry, government, nonprofit, and academia has pledged their in-kind support to develop solutions that will improve the impact mitigation of natural disasters in the United States.


Cyber Essentials Toolkit-Chapter 3

The Cyber Essentials Toolkit is a set of modules designed to break down the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) Cyber Essentials into bite-sized actions for IT and C-suite leadership to work toward full implementation of each Cyber Essential. This chapter emphasizes protecting the information and applications on a network.

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Remote Contact Tracing: A New Twist on an Old Practice

by David Reddick & John Anthony -

The idea of contact tracing is nothing new. It has been practiced for decades to help stop the spread of infectious diseases such as smallpox and HIV. It has been taught to public health professionals for decades. However, with the global explosion of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, it has emerged as a key strategy to control the spread of infection.


Success Is Not Defined by Perfection

by Catherine L. Feinman -

All disasters are innately different, so no two responses can be identical. If no two responses are identical, then no single plan can be perfect for any specific disaster. And that is okay. Successful disaster management is about implementing the most relevant plan, finding the most reliable information available, and making the best decisions based on that information and accessible resources. This August edition of the DomPrep Journal presents four imperfect yet critical components of disaster response: models, disaster case management, contact tracing, and citizen response.


All Models Are Wrong (But Modeling Is as Necessary as Ever)

by Terry Hastings & Colin Krainin -

British statistician, George Box, famously stated that “all models are wrong, but some are useful.” The nation’s experience with COVID-19 has highlighted this fact as policy makers have struggled to calibrate their actions based on imperfect data and modeling. Yet, modeling is useful and will continue to be an important aspect of emergency management.


Fact Sheet: Explaining Operation Warp Speed

Operation Warp Speed aims to deliver 300 million doses of a safe, effective vaccine for COVID-19 by January 2021, as part of a broader strategy to accelerate the development, manufacturing, and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics (collectively known as countermeasures).


NACCHO Releases Comprehensive Survey of U.S. Local Health Department Funding, Programs, and Partnerships

The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) released its 2019 National Profile of Local Health Departments (Profile) report. The Profile is a critical resource for health departments, policymakers, and researchers to better understand funding, workforce, capacity, and other aspects that affect the way services are resourced and delivered by local health departments in their communities.


DHS S&T, DOT Select University of Illinois-Led Consortium to Research Interoperability for 911 Public Safety Comms

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T), in partnership with the Department of Transportation (DoT), has selected the Critical Infrastructure Resilience Institute, a DHS Center of Excellence led by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, to develop a framework and process for testing the interoperability and compatibility of Next Generation 911 systems.


What Happens in Vegas: Harvest Music Festival Mass Shooting

by Andrew Roszak -

While much of the news media has been focused on the coronavirus pandemic, violent incidents continue to occur throughout the United States. The shutdown of sporting events, schools, concerts, and other large events has led to an overall decrease in active shooter incidents. In fact, March 2020 was the first March without a school shooting since 2002.


What Happens in Vegas: Harvest Music Festival Mass Shooting Podcast

While much of the news media has been focused on the coronavirus pandemic, violent incidents continue to occur throughout the United States. The shutdown of sporting events, schools, concerts, and other large events has led to an overall decrease in active shooter incidents. In fact, March 2020 was the first March without a school shooting since 2002.

While active shooter events have recently declined, that does not mean they have not occurred. The past several months have seen many violent encounters, including:

  • May 20, 2020: Westgate Entertainment District, Glendale, AZ (3 people injured)
  • May 21, 2020: Naval Air Station, Corpus Christi, TX (1 person injured)
  • May 27, 2020: Centennial Bridge, Platte County, MO (2 people injured)

During this year’s July 4th weekend (Friday-Sunday, July 4-6), the nation experienced 21 shootings. These shootings resulted in staggering numbers, which left 16 dead and 98 wounded. The shootings occurred at shopping malls, nightclubs, large private gatherings, and protest sites.

Since July 4, there has been a continued uptick in violent incidents. A brazen attack on July 20 led to the death of a federal judge’s son after an individual dressed up as a FedEx worker. Also on July 20 in Las Vegas, numerous people ran for cover after a multitude of gunshots were fired outside of the Bellagio and Paris hotels. Even houses of worship have seen violent incidents. In Virginia on July 19, an assailant stabbed two individuals who were attending a Bible study class – including the police chief of Fairfax County, who was attending the event.

These incidents serve as an important reminder that violent incidents do not stop during a public health emergency.

Lessons Learned From the Las Vegas Mass Shooting

On 1 October 2017, Lacey Newman’s life changed forever. While attending the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival in Las Vegas, Nevada, a gunman opened fire. While many, including Lacey, began to run, a lot of attendees thought the gunfire was fireworks, and they falsely believed there was no cause for alarm.

After ducking for cover a few times, Lacey realized she had been shot in the leg and was bleeding profusely. Her friend, with no prior medical training, sprang into action. She took Lacey to a safe space and called out for help; a passerby stopped and provided a belt. They applied a makeshift tourniquet to Lacey’s leg, while her friend applied pressure to the wound, primarily using her entire body weight to stop the bleeding. Thankfully, these efforts saved Lacey’s life, and she was able to make a full recovery.

In July 2020, DomPrep Advisor Andrew Roszak conducted an interview with Lacey Newman about her swift response to the mass shooting, and lessons learned.

Visit Lacey’s website for more information about her efforts and current training initiatives:


FEMA Preparedness Grant Evaluation Request for Information

FEMA’s National Preparedness Assessment Division has issued a request for information in the Federal Register seeking input on measuring the impact that the Homeland Security Grant Program has on state, local, tribal, and territorial preparedness.


Preparing State and Local Leaders for an Explosive Attack

Explosives are a popular choice among terrorists for causing disruption, casualties, and destruction. Explosives are relatively easy to make, transport, and use. The Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate wants to make sure that state and local leaders have choices, by arming them with technology to plan for worst-case scenarios and mitigate the fallout of terrorist attacks.


Investing in Advanced Manufacturing to Support Public Health Preparedness

Many 21st century medical products are still being manufactured using technologies commonly employed since the middle of the last century. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has sought to encourage and facilitate the adoption of “advanced manufacturing,” which refers to new and emerging approaches for the production of medical technologies. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for adaptive manufacturing systems to accelerate the production of medical countermeasures.


Disaster Case Management: An Important Disaster Response Tool

by Senay Ozbay -

Effective disaster response and recovery involves identifying and establishing an organization that serves the needs of vulnerable populations utilizing pre-disaster risk assessments and crisis management communication, with planned and tested tools and robust resources. Disaster Case Management is one such tool.


S&T, EPA Are Helping Coast Guard Prepare to Clean Up Following an Anthrax Attack

If terrorists use anthrax as a bioagent on a ship or in a harbor, the U.S. Coast Guard must decontaminate the impacted area as quickly as possible to reduce the threat to personnel and civilians, while remaining ready to do its mission. The project Analysis for Coastal Operational Resiliency (AnCOR) aims to find the best, safest methods to decontaminate Coast Guard bases, stations, and vessels. The project is a partnership of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the Coast Guard.


NIST Launches Investigation of Face Masks’ Effect on Face Recognition Software

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) did a preliminary study to see how well face recognition algorithms identify people wearing masks. Even the best of the 89 commercial facial recognition algorithms tested had error rates between 5% and 50% in matching digitally applied face masks with photos of the same person without a mask.


CDC Releases New Resources and Tools to Support Opening Schools

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is releasing new science-based resources and tools for school administrators, teachers, parents, guardians, and caregivers when schools open this fall. The resources and tools support how to open schools safely by promoting behaviors that prevent spread, altering how a school and school day is structured, and outlining how to keep the school environment healthy through cleaning, proper ventilation, and other practices.