U.S. homeland-security capabilities have improved immensely over the past decade. But there are still too many gaps - in funding, in legislative authority, and in the dwindling pool of career-minded nuclear scientists and engineers. A distinguished former DNDO official discusses some important steps the executive and legislative branches of government can take to remedy current deficiencies and upgrade overall U.S. nuclear capabilities.
About 120 personnel from more than 20 law enforcement agencies enhanced their awareness of weapons of mass destruction. The two-day training, spearheaded by the Madison-based 54th Civil Support Team, Wisconsin National Guard, ranged from briefings and equipment displays to hands-on training and tactical demonstrations at the Regional Emergency All-Climate Training Center and High Risk Entry Facility areas.
by Joseph Becker, Senior Vice President, Disaster Services, American Red Cross; Summarized by John F. Morton, Strategic Advisor -
The DP40 and DomPrep readers assess their opinions on the use of "social media" (Twitter, Facebook, etc.) in disaster response. The issues are important and may require the setting of policies - particularly in view of the legal ramifications involved with regard to liability.
The shelter is part of DHS Technologies' line of Deployable Rapid Assembly Shelter (DRASH) systems that have been used by military forces from around the world for more than 25 years. Able to provide personnel with an independently operational, mobile facility complete with power and air conditioning, the shelters have also been deployed extensively for use during humanitarian and disaster relief operations across the globe.
Faced with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center's warning of a 2010 hurricane season eerily similar to 2005, many state and local government officials are asking what they can do to keep their cities and states functioning during a major business disruption such as a hurricane. CDW Government LLC's (CDW-G) Seven Habits of Highly Resilient Organizations that state and local governments can adopt to best prepare their IT systems for a disaster.
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced that Philip Burdette has been named Federal Security Director (FSD) for Baltimore Washington International/Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI). He will be responsible for handling day-to-day operations of BWI as well as managing overall security of the airport. Burdette served as Deputy Federal Security Director beginning November 2008 and has been Acting Federal Security Director since February 2010.
Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano has announced that 100 percent of passengers flying domestically and internationally on U.S. airlines are now being checked against government watch lists through the Transportation Security Administration's (TSA) Secure Flight program - the second major step in fulfilling a key 9/11 Commission recommendation achieved this month.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), working with its federal, state, local, tribal & Mexican partners, has made significant progress in cracking down on border-related crime and smuggling while facilitating legitimate travel and commerce. To that end, the Department is implementing the following initiatives to strengthen and expand upon existing, successful efforts.
U.S. emergency managers and worst-case planners have been warning for many years that the possibility of a WMD attack against American cities is a "when, not if" scenario. The nation's ability to prevent, respond to, and recover from such an attack is much improved. But there are still serious deficiencies, greater national and international cooperation is needed, and improved technological capabilities as well. Meanwhile, the sands of time are running out, and even tomorrow could be too late.
No one - whether they be political decision makers, first responders, or individual citizens - will ever be satisfied with less than perfect safety. But major advances have been made in detection, deterrence, and response. One of the most important but relatively unpublicized advances is in the field of crowd control and evacuations, once an afterthought but now an essential component of the emergency manager's preparedness toolkit.
Smiths Detection has announced the expansion of its Edgewood (MD) facility to help supply the U.S. military with its lightweight Joint Chemical Agent Detector (JCAD) and to meet the global demand for its advanced x-ray checkpoint scanners.
Mistakes, misunderstandings, and miscalculations are extremely embarrassing. But they also are extremely helpful - IF they are made in practice rather than in actual operations. Which is why professional football and baseball teams work so hard in pre-season practice, and first responders focus so much emphasis on "just in case" training drills and exercises.
SAS, already a player in the worldwide public security and safety markets, intends to carve out a global leadership position, according to SAS CEO Jim Goodnight. "The Memex acquisition is a key element of our global initiative to enhance our law enforcement, criminal justice, homeland security, and intelligence offerings. I want SAS to be the first company public security organizations call to help them apply analytics to solve crime and protect citizens."
NICE Systems has announced that the Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport has completed implementation of the NiceVision Net IP video surveillance solution, in a follow-on project. This latest NICE deployment will help the airport both to improve safety and security for its 18 million annual passengers, and to provide a platform for future expansions and migration to IP video surveillance.
The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) has issued a final rule to establish a temporary certification program for electronic health record (EHR) technology. The temporary certification program establishes processes that organizations will be required to follow in order to be authorized by the National Coordinator to test and certify EHR technology.
In one of the world's largest coexistence sites, 2,700+ Infinova cameras - plus matrix switchers, fiber optic systems, other surveillance equipment, and software - were key to protecting 70 million-plus prospective visitors at the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to revise a primary national drinking water regulation to achieve greater public health protection against waterborne pathogens in the distribution systems of public water systems.
If a hotel has been overbooked most people go to another hotel just a block or two away. That solution does not work when a mass-casualty incident requires the evacuation of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of citizens. Immediately. Which is why local evacuation plans must anticipate the need for additional sheltering sites to house those forced out of their homes.
The rapid growth of mass-casualty incidents in recent years has led to much-needed new rules - now formulated at the federal level - to not only notify victims' families and friends, and usually the media as well. Implementing those rules requires organizational skills, advance planning, compassion, and an uncommon measure of common sense.
Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano has announced the adoption of final standards for the Voluntary Private Sector Preparedness Accreditation and Certification Program (PS-Prep) - a major milestone in the department's implementation of a program recommended by the 9/11 Commission to improve private sector preparedness for disasters & emergencies.
CDC (The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) has developed forms and toolkits - such as the Mortality Surveillance form, the Shelter Assessment Tool, the Community Assessment for Public Health Emergency Response (CASPER) toolkit, and others - to assist the preparedness & response community after a disaster strikes.
Steve Windley, the company's sales manager for the Middle East, observes: "Here at Avon, we believe that, if a mask is to fully protect its wearer every time it is put on, full training must be completed on not just how to wear it properly, but also how to maintain it. By doing this, we are able to increase and improve the thru-life capability of the mask, thereby enhancing its life, protection, and performance as well as bringing down the lifetime cost."
The National Incident Management System (NIMS) provides a systematic, proactive approach guiding departments and agencies at all levels of government, the private sector, & nongovernmental organizations to work seamlessly to prepare for, prevent, respond to, recover from, and mitigate the effects of incidents. Beginning in FY 2010, federal departments and agencies can measure the progress of NIMS implementation through responses to performance-based "metrics."
"America's firefighters play a critical role in disaster prevention and response," said DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano. "These Recovery Act-funded fire station construction projects and upgrades will strengthen community preparedness and the nation's emergency response capabilities."
Robert Blitzer, senior fellow for ICF International [also DomPrep40 member] - a leading provider of consulting services & technology solutions to government and commercial clients - has been named a 2010 Senior Fellow by The George Washington University Homeland Security Policy Institute (HSPI). Fellows will participate in roundtable sessions with senior government officials and collaborate to publish policy papers, including issue briefs, that speak to the day's most pressing homeland security challenges.
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) highlights opportunities - based on GAO's body of work on interagency collaboration - to strengthen interagency collaboration by focusing on four key areas: (1) developing overarching strategies; (2) creating collaborative organizations; (3) developing a well-trained workforce; and (4) improving information sharing.
Assistant Department of Homeland Security Secretary of Intergovernmental Affairs Juliette Kayyem gives testimony before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs on assessing the effects of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on states, localities, and the private sector.
The Korean tunnel application uses Arecont Vision's dual-sensor AV3130 3/1.3 megapixel full motion progressive scan IP cameras. Each camera contains a massively-parallel MegaVideo image processor chip that is capable of sustaining more than six billion operations per second, providing outstanding resolution and performance.
Experts in aviation safety have long recognized that what is described as a "near miss" is actually a "near hit." The Times Square bombing attempt deserves the same unflinching judgment: Disaster was avoided not because of the superior competence of DHS and TSA, but because of the greater incompetence of a bungling amateur.
The LCD-NEXUS is a highly selective & sensitive Chemical Warfare Agent (CWA) and Toxic Industrial Chemical (TIC) detector suitable for harsh environments. The portable system is capable of detecting harmful agents down to miosis levels, greatly increasing the quantity of critical information needed by emergency responders and military personnel.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced plans to send its underlying data and methodologies to support development of coastal water quality standards, also known as nutrients criteria, to the Science Advisory Board (SAB) for peer review. These proposed water standards aim to protect people's health, aquatic life, and the long-term recreational uses of Florida's waters.
"These state-of-the-art technologies will strengthen security for travelers by enhancing our capability to detect and disrupt threats of terrorism," said Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano. "Infusing these vital Recovery Act funds into critical airport security technology projects will create local jobs, streamline the passenger check-in process, and bolster security at airports across the nation."
The drill simulated a terrorist attack at the Port of Redwood City, providing an opportunity for city, state, county, and national agencies to train and rehearse their disaster and terrorism preparedness capabilities to meet a large-scale emergency. Over 200 trainees from approximately 20 hospitals, and the University of California San Diego Medical Center, activated the CommandAware web-based incident management system to ensure effective emergency response & collaborative networking for the drill.
Featuring the smallest multi-view footprint available, the ACX6.4-MV is an upgradeable Advanced Technology (AT) platform that provides investment protection through its modular design, which can be easily expanded in the field from one or two views up to a three-view configuration to address emerging threats.
Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano announced that the United States & France have established an arrangement to implement the Immigration Advisory Program (IAP) - which allows for the identification of high-risk travelers at foreign airports before they board aircraft bound for the United States - at Paris' Charles De Gaulle International Airport.
The five call taking positions at the Transylvania County 9-1-1 Center, now equipped with the Sentinel Patriot call processing solution, serve as the primary public safety answering point (PSAP) for handling emergency and administrative calls. The same call processing solutions also are installed on one remote workstation as a backup.
Nearly 20 federal and regional agencies took part in an exercise on 20 May at Joint Force Headquarters in Madison (WI) to learn, among other things, if they could communicate with one another in the event of a real emergency.
U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP) has announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the General Administration of Customs of the People's Republic of China on Supply Chain Security and Facilitation. The CBP-China Customs MOU will serve as a key component of a cooperative security and trade relationship between the two nations' customs agencies.
Avon Protection will supply 7,000 of its CBRN S10 respirators to the Australian Department of Defence (DoD), thereby reinforcing the strong relationship between the two that dates back to the 1990s. The S10 has been, and still is, the trusted respiratory system of the UK MoD (Ministry of Defence). It also continues to play an important part within many other international defence forces, and is widely regarded as offering the highest protection levels of any mask currently in service worldwide.
Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano will travel to the United Arab Emirates, at the invitation of UAE Minister of the Economy Sultan Bin Saeed Al Mansouri, to meet with her counterparts from the Middle East region and officials from the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to discuss ways to bolster global aviation security.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in collaboration with its partners in the Water Sector, is sponsoring the second Water Laboratory Alliance (WLA) Security Summit in San Francisco on June 16-17, 2010. The WLA gives the Water Sector an integrated network of laboratories and provides the capabilities needed to analyze water samples in the event of water supply contamination.
The best-laid plans of mice and men - not to mention emergency managers and healthcare officials - can oft go awry. That is particularly true, almost guaranteed in fact, when the plans are only on paper, the emergency assets needed have not been secured, and the numerous other actions needed to maintain continuity of operations have never been tested.
The Homeland Security Management Institute (HSMI) at Long Island University has been designated by Act of Congress as a DHS (Department of Homeland Security) National Transportation Security Center of Excellence, the only Homeland Security graduate education program to be designated in the United States.
Scott Health & Safety donated more than $600,000 worth of safety equipment to the Haitian first responders. The donations, made in partnership with Protect the Force and other safety equipment providers, were made to fire departments, the national power company, and various hospitals and clinics - all of which lost essential safety equipment during the earthquake.
ESi helped establish the Embassy's Command Center within 48 hours after the earthquake hit. WebEOC, the world's first Web-enabled emergency management communication software, was used in the Haitian Embassy Command Center to track missing persons, manage volunteers, and accept donations.
Memex Inc., a leading provider of intelligence management, data sharing, and search and analysis solutions, announced its support of the National SAR Initiative (NSI), enabling municipal and state law enforcement agencies to share Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs).
"If this outlook holds true, this season could be one of the more active on record," said Jane Lubchenco, Ph.D., under secretary of commerce for oceans & atmosphere and NOAA (National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration) administrator. "The greater likelihood of storms brings an increased risk of a landfall. In short, we urge everyone to be prepared."