The National Homeland Security Consortium (NHSC), comprised of 22 associations representing state, local, and private-sector professionals responsible for the nation’s security, released their COVID-19 Pandemic After-Action Report. This report looks at the problems and issues throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and provides corresponding recommendations and best practices.
For many years, large outdoor sporting events have requested government and nongovernment organization mobile command and communications trucks to support races. Although traditionally used by incident commanders, volunteer amateur radio groups have found various ways to collaborate during special events and use these resources in Minneapolis, Minnesota to support medical operations.
To take a multidisciplinary, multijurisdictional approach to disaster preparedness and response, agencies and organizations must connect both in person and virtually. Mutual aid agreements enable agencies to share resources and develop a collaborative strategy for addressing emerging threats. Although predicted by experts, the threats that presented over the past year – namely, a global pandemic and large-scale cyberattacks on critical infrastructure – still caught many communities by surprise.
The nation has experienced unprecedented times due to the COVID-19 pandemic given the requisite need for social distancing and isolation experienced from stay-at-home orders. Daily lives were transformed. For homebound children, this was disruptive and changed daily routines. While at home, children engaged in a variety of safe and supervised activities, such as home schooling, play activities, crafts, games, etc. A side effect of social distancing is temporary physical isolation from many important influences in their lives, such as school and teachers, sports, community organizations, extended relatives, classmates, and friends.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) successfully tested four prototype technologies for early detection of wildfires in California this week. The test was the second phase of S&T’s Wildland Urban Interface wildfire sensor technology program, which brings together government and private sector partners to identify technologies that meet first responders’ operational needs and ensure the nation’s critical infrastructure remains secure and resilient.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Tembexa (brincidofovir) to treat smallpox. Although naturally occurring smallpox no longer exists, concerns about potential uses of variola virus as a bioweapon has made smallpox drug development an important component of the U.S. medical countermeasures response.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) today unveiled a new type of public-private partnership that enables investments using venture capital practices. Through the BARDA Ventures program, the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), part of the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, is launching a partnership with the nonprofit organization Global Health Investment Corporation (GHIC) to accelerate development and commercialization of technologies and medical products needed to respond to or prevent public health emergencies, such as pandemics, and other health security threats.
The COVID-19 pandemic brought child predators into people’s homes. In the critical areas of human trafficking and child exploitation, the risks to children increased due to criminals shifting their methods and techniques to online streaming services. Increased virtual learning and stay-home mandates forced children to transition from a classroom environment to home learning via virtual platforms. This transition done in the perceived safety of a child’s home under the supervision of his/her parent was and remains fraught with inherent danger.
First responders are often in critical response scenarios where a hands-free voice interface would improve both safety and efficiency, which could ultimately translate into saving lives. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) partnered with the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory to develop Automated Speech Recognition (ASR) technology. The resulting innovation is known as the Direct Artificial Intelligence System Interface, or DAISI, which enables voice-activated capabilities in noisy operational environments.
Teledyne FLIR announced the launch of the identiFINDER® R700 Backpack Radiation Detector, an advanced mobile system that offers capability for broad-area radiological monitoring missions. The company also announced that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has placed the first order for the device as part of its Helium-3 Alternative Implementation Backpack Program (HAIBP). Programmed out of the Counter Weapons of Mass Destruction office, the $6.5 million award spans nine months of product deliveries.
The Department of Homeland Security’s Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced a security directive that will require critical pipeline owners and operators to report confirmed and potential cybersecurity incidents to the DHS Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and to designate a cybersecurity coordinator, to be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It will also require critical pipeline owners and operators to review their current practices as well as to identify any gaps and related remediation measures to address cyber-related risks and report the results to TSA and CISA within 30 days.
To help the energy industry improve its resilience against cyber risk, the World Economic Forum convened over 40 senior executives to establish a blueprint for evaluating cyber risk across the oil and gas industry. This white paper is the result of their in-depth discussions to illuminate the industry’s best practices and create new solutions for corporate leaders to address cyber risk. It presents six principles to help boards at oil and gas companies govern this risk and strengthen their organization’s cyber resilience.
The buildup to World War II illustrated the negative effect that huge wartime demand for medical supplies, equipment, and pharmaceuticals had on public and private healthcare systems in the United States. After the war, the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) began building and pre-positioning federally owned medical materiel in storage depots domestically and materiel management centers in the European and Pacific theaters of operations. Collectively, these inventories were named war reserve materiel (WRM) and consisted of billions of dollars of medical materiel. The WRM was designed to provide wartime start-up supplies until medical materiel manufacturers could ramp up production to levels capable of supporting both wartime and civilian healthcare needs simultaneously. The medical WRM was also used to provide medical support to contingencies and humanitarian assistance missions both at home and abroad.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) plays a critical role in protecting the United States from chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and emerging infectious disease threats. FDA ensures that medical countermeasures (MCMs)—including drugs, vaccines and diagnostic tests—to counter these threats are safe, effective, and secure. This report details the FDA's work, including a snapshot of COVID-19 response efforts.