november 2021

Updates

CISA Updates Services Catalog

CISA recently released the next edition of the CISA Services Catalog. Version 2.0 includes more than 50 of the most critical services CISA offers that can be requested by your organization to help build resiliency across all readiness levels.

Updates

2021 Reader Survey: Domestic Preparedness Journal

The Domestic Preparedness Journal invites you to respond to the 2021 Reader Survey.

Updates

DHS Begins Implementation of Immigration Enforcement Priorities

The Department of Homeland Security today announced it will begin implementation of the Guidelines for the Enforcement of Civil Immigration Law signed by Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas on September 30.

Preparedness

The Dangers of Not Protecting the “3Ps” During Events

by Kole (KC) Campbell -

On 5 November 2021, an apparent crowd crush at the Astroworld music festival in Houston, Texas resulted in ten deaths and untold injuries. While the criminal investigation is in its early stages at the time of this article, the music festival undoubtably represents some failures of safety and security planning and execution. The death count and reported injuries are too high to be the normal cost of holding events. Disturbing videos from the event, in addition to statements from concert goers and first responders, belie assertions that initial observations by subject matter experts are impossible until the completion of the investigation. The events at Astroworld are a reminder of the need to “protect the 3Ps” at concerts and special events, and the fact that these activities must be balanced.

Commentary

Safety: Protecting Communities From Dangers & Risks

by Catherine L. Feinman -

The word safety is commonly used in the workplace and sounds good when it is tacked onto other words or used in phrases – for example, public safety, safety officer, safety lock, safety culture, safety goggles, and various slogans like “safety first,” just to name a few. However, the true meaning of the word should not get lost in such casual terms used in daily routines.

Reports

State of Emergency: What Transportation Learned from 9/11

The Transportation Research Board (TRB) published this special issue of the TR News to document positive outcomes in Transportation Safety and Security since 9/11.

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Updates

Statement by National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan on the U.S. Approach to Strengthening the Biological Weapons Convention

The National Security Advisor, Jake Sullivan, announces intention to strengthen and revitalize the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) and the Ninth Review Conference.

Podcast

Protecting GPS Satellites, Signals, and America Webinar

Protecting GPS Satellites, Signals, and America

 

On 17 November 2021, the Domestic Preparedness Journal and the Resilient Navigation & Timing Foundation hosted a panel discussion on the vulnerabilities of the global positioning systems (GPS) and potential efforts to deter attacks on and interference with GPS satellites and signals. The Honorable John Garamendi, Congressman for the 3rd District of California and Chair of the House Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee, provided an introduction. Dana A. Goward, President of Resilient Navigation and Timing Foundation, and David Olive, Principal at Catalyst Partners LLC, moderated the discussion. The panel included:

  • Dr. Scott Pace, Director of George Washington University’s Space Studies Institute and Former Executive Secretary at the U.S. Space Council
  • George Beebe, Vice President for Studies at the Center for the National Interest and author of “The Russia Trap"
  • Greg Winfree, Director of the Texas Transportation Institute and Former Assistant Secretary of U.S. Department of Transportation

Essential Asset, High-Priority Target

GPS is essential to the nation’s economy, safety, and security. Its positioning, navigation, and timing (PNT) services have been integrated into so many critical applications and infrastructure that many homeland security officials have called it a single point of failure for critical infrastructure.

This integration makes GPS a high-priority target for non-state and nation state adversaries. Government reports released this summer have discussed serious and growing threats to all U.S. space assets from Chinese and Russian anti-satellite weapons. “Kamikaze,” “Russian Doll,” and “Kidnapper” satellites, as well as terrestrial lasers, have all been added to ongoing concerns about signal jamming and spoofing.

Increasing the threat to the United States are terrestrial Chinese, Russian, and Iranian systems that provide their populations’ GPS-like services making those nations less vulnerable to disruption of space-based services. This has created a technology resilience gap, a strategic asymmetry that could easily lead to an escalating series of responses and armed conflict.

What the Panelists Say About GPS Vulnerabilities and Solutions

Despite being an integral part of daily life, GPS is vulnerable to numerous threats. All critical infrastructures are in some way dependent on GPS – some much more so than others. GPS signals are weak and easy to disrupt. Numerous intentional and unintentional activities can have devastating effects, including but not limited to the following: denial of service, intentional wide area jamming, spoofing, environmental threats, solar activity such as coronal mass ejections, anti-satellite lasers, kinetic threats, accidental satellite damage, and degradation.

Building resilience is the way to combat these various threats and protect GPS systems and the timing signal. For example, a terrestrial-based navigation system (e.g., eLoran systems) could provide a solution because satellite systems (high-frequency, low power) are more vulnerable to spoofing than eLoran (low-frequency, high power). Although diversity in systems and having an alternative source for GPS are key to resilience, the limiting factor is the ability of the nation to build systems fast enough and at scale to outpace the threats.

Of course, it is not only a question of what needs to be done, but who should do it – the public or the private sector. It can be problematic trying to separate the civilian and military responsibilities because any private-sector threat can become a national security concern. In many cases, it is necessary for industry to work with government to reach common goals. Private sector industries can generally innovate at a faster pace but may lack the resources. The federal government may have the resources but moves slowly.

Responses to Participant Questions

Question:  Which three sectors are not using GPS as stated by Greg Winfree?

Answer from Greg Winfree:

Great question, and thanks for asking! As we discussed on the panel, it is hard to imagine ANY critical infrastructure not using some service from GPS, and they all do.

At one time the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) determined that the National Monuments and Icons, Water and Wastewater Sector, and Agriculture and Food critical infrastructure sectors did not use GPS timing. We now know that is not true. GPS timing enables wireless networks and SCADA systems which enable a wide variety of services for all those sectors. GPS is especially important in precision farming, as I mentioned.

So, an old soundbite that I won’t use again! Thanks for making me take a look at it! 

 

Question: If the US were to commit to building a terrestrial alternative to GPS (covering both military and civilian uses), how long might that take?

Answer from Dana Goward:

It depends upon how the U.S. went about it.

If the administration decided to build a government owned and operated system, it would likely take eight to twelve years as discussed on the panel. Not only would money have to be appropriated, but the responsible department would have to create a major systems acquisition staff and follow an extensive set of formal procedures.

On the other hand, there are numerous mature technologies available today from commercial entities that could provide services to complement and backup GPS. If the government decided to contract for these services, it could take only two or three years for the funding to be approved, contracts to be let, and to have the services up and running.

 

Question: What other ground-based location systems are there besides LORAN?

Answer from Dana Goward:  

There are a number of mature technologies that are available. In January the Department of Transportation reported to Congress on a demonstration of some of these. That report is available here. The demonstration was not all inclusive, though, and other systems are in operation and more are being developed. As examples, two of RNT Foundation’s corporate supporters, Locata and iPosi, did not participate in the demonstrations.

These systems vary greatly in what they do and how they do it. Some provide location only, some timing only, and others provide both. Some provide highly precise information over limited areas, some are slightly less precise but cover much larger areas.

The RNT Foundation recently published a white paper discussing requirements and evaluation criteria for timing services the government might be interested in as ways to complement and backup GPS. This paper also that also applies to location services and is available here.

 

Question: What are the pluses and minuses to e-Loran?

Answer from Dana Goward:  

Every system has its pluses and minuses. Here are a few for eLoran:

Pluses:

Signal - eLoran uses a powerful, difficult to disrupt signal at least a million times stronger than GPS. The navigation and timing signal can also carry additional information. As a new build, it could incorporate all the most modern encryption, authentication, and cyber protocols.

Cost & Coverage – The effective range of transmissions can be a “continental” system as transmitter ranges are 800 to 1,000 miles radius over land and 1,500 miles over water. This means less infrastructure and expense per area covered compared to many other systems. The Air Force developed deployable versions of Loran in the 1960’sand 1970’s that they and the Coast Guard installed and operated in the United States, Vietnam, and Italy. So, conceivably coverage could be established wherever it was needed.

Transmission Site Maintenance and Security - Hardware on earth can be more easily maintained and upgraded. Technology serving the homeland would be on sovereign U.S. territory and added physical security could be easily implemented if deemed necessary.

International Issues - Other nations, some friendly, some not, operate eLoran, or its equivalent. Having a U.S. system would make us more knowledgeable about other nations’ capabilities. This could also be the basis for apolitical international cooperation.

Minuses:

Accuracy – GPS accuracy, depending upon conditions and receiver quality, is often around two feet. Some terrestrial systems can achieve centimeter accuracy. eLoran, in its current configuration, has only been demonstrated to an accuracy of 15 to 30 feet.

Coverage – At the current state of the technology, it cannot provide global coverage. Land-based Loran coverage can only serve land masses and ocean areas within about 1,500 miles of land.

Existing Infrastructure – While the federal government still owns most of the former Loran sites within the U.S., most all of the towers have been taken down or are no longer serviceable.

Reports

Fire Risk in 2019

The risk of death or injury from fire is not the same for everyone. This topical fire report explores fire risk for people living in the United States and why for some groups of people, fire risk is more severe.

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Resilience

Cassandra’s Curse: Disasters Revisited

by Rodney Andreasen -

The study of Greek mythology can provide examples of failure to heed the call of emergency management specialists and experts. The story of Cassandra is an illustration of this warning. To win her favor, the Greek god Apollo gave her power to predict the future. However, once she received the gift, she refused further advances, angering Apollo. In retaliation, he cursed her with an additional power of an inability to convince anyone the predictions were true. For emergency managers and other related agencies, Cassandra has come to represent the challenges faced when trying to convince others that predicted events will happen.

Updates

Fire Protection Research Foundation Receives Grants to Help Improve Firefighter Safety, WUI Evacuation Modeling, and More

The Fire Protection Research Foundation (FPRF), the research affiliate of National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), has received four direct grants that will advance safety in a variety of areas.

Reports

National Terrorism Advisory System Bulletin

The Secretary of Homeland Security has issued an updated National Terrorism Advisory System (NTAS) Bulletin regarding the current heightened threat environment across the United States.

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Updates

A Secure Environment to Create the Future of Cybersecurity Solutions

The Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) are partnering to develop CISA’s Cybersecurity Laboratory.

Healthcare

Another Opportunity to Prepare for Quarantines

by Robert C. Hutchinson -

An article published in 2013 discussed the considerable challenges of quarantine order implementation and enforcement during a future pandemic or other serious threats to public health. That discussion was after the emergence of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), but before the re-emergence of the Ebola virus in West Africa. The level of preparedness for the rapid execution of federal quarantines has not greatly improved since 2013. The nation’s readiness may have even diminished during the current pandemic due to social, political, and organizational discord.

Updates

AmeriCorps Makes more than $10 Million Available to Senior Volunteer Programs

AmeriCorps, the federal agency for national service and volunteerism, announced today it will make more than $10 million available to new AmeriCorps Seniors grantees to address ongoing needs created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Updates

DHS Selects Northeastern University to Lead Center of Excellence for Engineering Secure Environments from Targeted Attacks

Today, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) announced the selection of Northeastern University to lead a consortium of U.S. academic institutions and other partners for a new Center of Excellence for Engineering Secure Environments from Targeted Attacks (ESE).

Updates

National 911 Program Kicks Off Computer-Aided Dispatch Assessment Project

The assessment will lend understanding to the costs and challenges of establishing interoperable 911 computer-aided dispatch (CAD) data-sharing capability across the United States.

Reports

SECURITY GUIDANCE FOR 5G CLOUD INFRASTRUCTURES - Part I: Prevent and Detect Lateral Movement

The NSA and CISA hosted a 5G study group to explore potential threat vectors and vulnerabilities inherent to 5G infrastructures and provided guidance to manage the threats.

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Reports

DHS STRATEGIC FRAMEWORK FOR ADDRESSING CLIMATE CHANGE

The Department of Homeland Security released the Strategic Framework for Addressing Climate Change to guide how DHS will continue to combat climate change. 

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Reports

Climate Change and International Responses Increasing Challenges to US National Security Through 2040

This National Intelligence Council has released a National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) in response to a Presidential tasking to assess the national security impacts of climate change.

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Commentary

Human-Machine Teaming: A Vision of Future Law Enforcement

by Corey Fallon, Kris Cook & Grant Tietje -

Neither human nor robot, a digital police officer (D-PO) is a vision in machine teammates: an artificial intelligence-based partner that can be reached through multiple devices including the patrol car’s on-board computer and officers’ mobile devices. A D-PO has access to multiple data sources including live security camera feeds and criminal databases as well as other D-POs assigned to officers. Scientists and engineers, like those at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), are working in the field of human-machine teaming to bridge the gap between today’s tools and the machine teammates of the future.