february 2020

Updates

Better Wireless Emergency Alerts Coming to a Cell Phone Near You

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Weather Service has changed the criteria that trigger a Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) warning about an imminent flash flood. Flash flood warnings now have damage threat tags, so WEAs will be issued for only the most life-threatening flood events.

Commentary

A Family Tradition – Old School Florida Smuggling, Chapter 6

by Robert C. Hutchinson -

The evolution of drug smuggling and related crimes in south Florida can be viewed through one family and their many criminal associates. The Barker Family entered the smuggling business in the 1970s and transitioned from marijuana to cocaine and illegal aliens by the 1990s. Through drug and alien loads, broad conspiracies, and multiple deaths, the smuggling group was active, successful, and notorious. This is an account of old school Florida smuggling through the long thread of one small family. It is a bit of a history lesson and a fascinating journey back in time.

Updates

BAE Systems to Develop Advanced Analytics to Detect Weapons of Mass Destruction Threat Activity

BAE Systems has received funding from the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's (DARPA) Defense Sciences Office to develop advanced analytics technology that will assist in the detection and deterrence of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) activity, helping to ensure national security.

Updates

DOD Officials Warn of Increased Threat From Weapons of Mass Destruction

The threat posed by the use and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) is rising, a Defense Department official told a House Armed Services Committee panel. China, “Russia, North Korea, Iran and violent extremist organizations have, or are pursuing, WMD capabilities that could threaten the United States or U.S. interests,” said Theresa Whelan, principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for homeland defense and global security.

Resilience

Police as Medical Responders in Active Threat Events

by Charles H. Kean -

April 20, 1999, was a bellwether day in American law enforcement history. An act of mass murder occurred at Columbine High School in Colorado that left 13 people dead and 21 injured, and the old model of responding to active threat events was changed forever. The active pursuit of the killer would no longer be a Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) problem to solve – it would be a first-arriving officer’s problem. Fast forward 18 years and the mass killing event at Florida’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shows how far the nation has come and needs to go to prevent more deaths.

Commentary

Solving the Preparedness Puzzle

by Catherine L. Feinman -

Emergency preparedness and response professionals have a lot to consider when getting ready for future disasters. Some threats have been around for years, but the methods for handling them have evolved. Other threats are new, requiring strategies and resources to evolve to address these threats. Like a puzzle, these professionals are tasked with finding the right combination of best practices, equipment, and resources.

Commentary

A Family Tradition – Old School Florida Smuggling, Chapter 5

by Robert C. Hutchinson -

The evolution of drug smuggling and related crimes in south Florida can be viewed through one family and their many criminal associates. The Barker Family entered the smuggling business in the 1970s and transitioned from marijuana to cocaine and illegal aliens by the 1990s. Through drug and alien loads, broad conspiracies, and multiple deaths, the smuggling group was active, successful, and notorious. This is an account of old school Florida smuggling through the long thread of one small family. It is a bit of a history lesson and a fascinating journey back in time.

Commentary

A Family Tradition – Old School Florida Smuggling, Chapter 4

by Robert C. Hutchinson -

The evolution of drug smuggling and related crimes in south Florida can be viewed through one family and their many criminal associates. The Barker Family entered the smuggling business in the 1970s and transitioned from marijuana to cocaine and illegal aliens by the 1990s. Through drug and alien loads, broad conspiracies, and multiple deaths, the smuggling group was active, successful, and notorious. This is an account of old school Florida smuggling through the long thread of one small family. It is a bit of a history lesson and a fascinating journey back in time.

Updates

DHS Announces Funding Opportunity for Fiscal Year 2020 Preparedness Grants

U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Acting Secretary Chad F. Wolf announced the release of Fiscal Year 2020 Notices of Funding Opportunity for eight DHS preparedness grant programs totaling nearly $1.8 billion. The grant programs provide funding to state, local, tribal and territorial governments, as well as transportation authorities, nonprofit organizations, and the private sector, to improve the nation’s readiness in preventing, protecting against, responding to, recovering from, and mitigating terrorist attacks, major disasters, and other emergencies.

Commentary

A Family Tradition – Old School Florida Smuggling, Chapter 3

by Robert C. Hutchinson -

The evolution of drug smuggling and related crimes in south Florida can be viewed through one family and their many criminal associates. The Barker Family entered the smuggling business in the 1970s and transitioned from marijuana to cocaine and illegal aliens by the 1990s. Through drug and alien loads, broad conspiracies, and multiple deaths, the smuggling group was active, successful, and notorious. This is an account of old school Florida smuggling through the long thread of one small family. It is a bit of a history lesson and a fascinating journey back in time.

Preparedness

The Future of Emergency Preparedness

by William H. Austin -

The National Archives Building in Washington, D.C. has an inscription on the Northeast corner that reads, “What is past is Prologue.” This simple but profound advice may easily be the emergency manager’s most calming guidance. The journey starts right now.

Updates

S&T and FEMA Social Media Planning Tool Supports Enhanced Emergency Management Operations and Communications Nationwide

The Social Media for Emergency Managers Guidance Tool, a Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology (S&T) Directorate and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) collaboration, will increase first responder and emergency managers’ ability to deliver messages to the public before, during, and after an incident by providing social media planning templates, resources, and best practices.

Reports

National Counterintelligence Strategy of the United States of America 2020-2022

This National Counterintelligence Strategy of the United States of America 2020-2022 report outlines a new approach to counterintelligence. This new strategy focuses on five key areas where foreign intelligence entities are hitting the United States hardest and greater attention is needed – critical infrastructure, key U.S. supply chains, the U.S. economy, American democratic institutions, and cyber and technical operations.

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Updates

HHS Pioneers First Foundry for American Biotechnology

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services launched the nation's first Foundry for American Biotechnology today to produce technological solutions that help the United States protect against and respond to health security threats, enhance daily medical care, and add to the U.S. bioeconomy.

Commentary

A Family Tradition – Old School Florida Smuggling, Chapter 2

by Robert C. Hutchinson -

The evolution of drug smuggling and related crimes in south Florida can be viewed through one family and their many criminal associates. The Barker Family entered the smuggling business in the 1970s and transitioned from marijuana to cocaine and illegal aliens by the 1990s. Through drug and alien loads, broad conspiracies, and multiple deaths, the smuggling group was active, successful, and notorious. This is an account of old school Florida smuggling through the long thread of one small family. It is a bit of a history lesson and a fascinating journey back in time.

Updates

SchoolSafety.gov Launches to Help Educators, Administrators, Parents, and Law Enforcement Prepare for Threats

The Trump Administration launched the Federal School Safety Clearinghouse website: SchoolSafety.gov. This website is a one-stop-shop of resources for Kindergarten through Grade 12 (K-12) administrators, educators, parents, and law enforcement to use to prepare for and address various threats related to safety, security, and support in schools.

Commentary

Poll and Comment: What role should federal agencies have in a disaster?

Many federal agencies created to prepare and respond to man-made and natural disasters may have returned to Pre-9/11 status. Too many important positions are filled by acting personnel or are vacant. Discontent is on the rise and retention is low. One reader's logical and reasonable explanations and solutions to these concerns, spurred DomPrep to create a readership flash poll. The results of that poll and the comments and recommendations provided by more than 100 emergency preparedness professionals are shared in this report. Warning: Many of the responses are disturbing.

Reports

Report – Poll and Comment: What role should federal agencies have in a disaster?

Many federal agencies created to prepare and respond to man-made and natural disasters may have returned to Pre-9/11 status. Too many important positions are filled by acting personnel or are vacant. Discontent is on the rise and retention is low. One reader's logical and reasonable explanations and solutions to these concerns, spurred DomPrep to create a readership flash poll. The results of that poll and the comments and recommendations provided by more than 100 emergency preparedness professionals are shared in this report. Warning: Many of the responses are disturbing.

View Full Report
Commentary

A Family Tradition – Old School Florida Smuggling, Chapter 1

by Robert C. Hutchinson -

The evolution of drug smuggling and related crimes in south Florida can be viewed through one family and their many criminal associates. The Barker Family entered the smuggling business in the 1970s and transitioned from marijuana to cocaine and illegal aliens by the 1990s. Through drug and alien loads, broad conspiracies, and multiple deaths, the smuggling group was active, successful, and notorious. This is an account of old school Florida smuggling through the long thread of one small family. It is a bit of a history lesson and a fascinating journey back in time.

Reports

Ready or Not 2020: Protecting the Public’s Health From Diseases, Disasters and Bioterrorism

Ready or Not provides an annual assessment of states’ level of readiness to respond to public health emergencies and recommends policy actions to ensure that everyone’s health is protected during such events. This 2020 edition reports overall preparedness improvement but also identifies areas that need attention.

View Full Report
Updates

New Report Recommends Ways to Strengthen the Resilience of Supply Chains After Hurricanes, Based on Lessons Learned From Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Maria

A new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine recommends ways to make supply chains – the systems that provide populations with critical goods and services, such as food and water, gasoline, and pharmaceuticals and medical supplies – more resilient in the face of hurricanes and other disasters, drawing upon lessons learned from the 2017 hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria.

Updates

FDA Takes Significant Step in Coronavirus Response Efforts, Issues Emergency Use Authorization for the First 2019 Novel Coronavirus Diagnostic

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency use authorization (EUA) to enable emergency use of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) 2019-nCoV Real-Time RT-PCR Diagnostic Panel. To date, this test has been limited to use at CDC laboratories; but this authorization allows the use of the test at any CDC-qualified lab across the country.

Commentary

Triggered Collapse, Part 2: Viral Pandemics

by Drew Miller -

The nation currently faces an age of bioengineered viral pandemics and collapse. Advances in biotechnology enable nations, terrorist groups, or even lone wolves to create genetically modified organisms (GMOs) such as a human-to-human transmissible version of avian flu or to modify a lethal virus to facilitate a longer period of contagion and undetected spread before symptoms manifest. Bioengineering enables almost anyone to modify and release a new virus that, in addition to a pandemic, could cause an ensuing collapse in economic activity as well as loss of law and order as people react to the threat. Some experts say that the threat of a natural or bioengineered viral pandemic is already here. As it becomes increasingly easier to modify existing pathogens, the threat will also rise as these pathogens are made to be more lethal and more transmissible.

Updates

Expanded Version of the Information Sharing Assessment Tool Now Available

Public safety and emergency management agencies need fast, reliable data to help them make the best possible decisions. The Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate’s Information Sharing Assessment Tool (ISAT) is a web-based self-assessment tool that helps public safety agencies understand their current information sharing capabilities and gaps.

Updates

DHS Issues Supplemental Instructions for Inbound Flights With Individuals Who Have Been in China

To protect the American people from exposure to the coronavirus, the Acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Chad F. Wolf issued instructions and directed all flights from China, and all passengers who have traveled to China within the last 14 days, to be routed through one of eleven U.S. airports. At these eleven airports, the United States Government has established enhanced screening procedures and the capacity to quarantine passengers, if needed.

Updates

DHS Selects the University of Nebraska Omaha to Lead Center of Excellence for Terrorism Prevention and Counterterrorism Research

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate announced the selection of the University of Nebraska Omaha to lead a consortium of U.S. academic institutions and other partners for a new Center of Excellence for Terrorism Prevention and Counterterrorism Research.

Updates

FDA Announces Key Actions to Advance Development of Novel Coronavirus Medical Countermeasures

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced critical actions to advance development of novel coronavirus medical countermeasures. As with any emerging public health threat, the FDA will collaborate with interagency partners, product developers, international partners and global regulators to expedite the development and availability of medical products needed to diagnose, treat, mitigate and prevent such outbreaks.