april 2021

Commentary

Information – Keep It Flowing

by Catherine L. Feinman -

Information flow is the process of efficiently moving information within and between jurisdictions and systems for the purpose of communicating, making decisions, and establishing policies and procedures. Whether preparing for, responding to, or recovering from a disaster, information flow is a determining factor in the success of any of these efforts.

Preparedness

Formalizing the Role of Intelligence & Investigation

by Michael Prasad -

Emergency managers need actionable intelligence before, during, and after disasters. More than just situational awareness, the collection, analysis, and sharing of intelligence can provide an incident’s response and recovery command and general staff with much needed decision-making information.

Updates

Statement by Secretary Mayorkas on the Confirmation of Deanne Criswell as FEMA Administrator

Deanne Criswell received confirmation to lead the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). She brings nearly six years of prior FEMA experience to this role and is the first woman to lead FEMA since its creation in 1979.

Preparedness

Coastlines Are Now a Moving Target – Literally

by John Englander -

In March 2021, a Cape Cod weather station in Chatham, Massachusetts was abandoned due to coastal erosion. With much media coverage, some of the articles mentioned that the situation is likely to worsen. The fact that they associated the erosion with climate change and that it was a weather station yielding research data about the changing climate added some irony.

Updates

Low-Cost NIST Demo Links Public Safety Radios to Broadband Wireless Network

Engineers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have built a low-cost computer system that connects older public safety radios with the latest wireless communications networks, showing how first responders might easily take advantage of broadband technology offering voice, text, instant messages, video, and data capabilities. NIST’s prototype system could help overcome a major barrier to upgrading public safety communications.

Updates

FLIR Wins DARPA Contract Worth Up to $20.5M to Develop Revolutionary New Protective Fabrics for Chem-Bio Defense

FLIR Systems Inc. announced it has won a contract with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to rapidly develop novel fabrics with embedded catalysts and chemistries that can fight and reduce chemical and biological threats upon contact. The revolutionary fabrics will be incorporated into protective suits and other equipment such as boots, gloves, and eye protection that can be worn by troops on the battlefield, medical experts, healthcare workers, and more.

Updates

DHS S&T Expands Pilot of Cybersecurity Tech for Emergency Communications Centers

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) is expanding pilot testing of a technology to improve the cybersecurity defenses of the nation’s emergency communications infrastructure. S&T funded SecuLore Solutions in the research and development of a cybersecurity defense solution based on predictive analytics and cyber data that helps detect and mitigate cybersecurity attacks against legacy emergency communications systems and new Next Generation 911 and Internet Protocol-based technologies.

Resilience

Public Order Policing & Volunteers

by Erik Westgard -

Two days into the May 2020 George Floyd riots in Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota, hundreds (on the way to ~1,500) of properties were burning, with smoke visible on the horizon. Top leaders appeared on television stating that law and order were breaking down and urging calm within the community. Based on media reports, there were a few places volunteers could help. One was in watching pandemic-vacated buildings, schools, churches, and grocery stores that were being systematically firebombed and looted. This was beneficial as volunteers deployed and were able to save some buildings such as a popular local Mexican restaurant complex near St. Paul (El Burrito Mercado) and a grocery store in Minneapolis. Another way in which volunteers could help was in intelligence gathering.

Updates

Pointing to the Future of Lifesaving Firefighting Technology

A groundbreaking new Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate tracking and location technology, Precision Outdoor and Indoor Navigation and Tracking for Emergency Responders (POINTER), will soon allow agencies to pinpoint their firefighters to within centimeters, helping to navigate them quickly and safely out of potentially disorienting emergency scenarios.

Updates

BARDA and FirstString Research Announce Partnership to Repurpose aCT1 Eye Drops as a Medical Countermeasure Against Mustard Gas Keratopathy

When responding to a chemical incident, mitigating long-term consequences of exposures is just as important as treating short-term injuries. Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) and FirstString Research have partnered to repurpose Alpha-connexin Carboxyl-Terminal 1 (aCT1) eye drops as a potential medical countermeasure against chronic eye injuries associated with sulfur mustard exposure.

Updates

DHS S&T SVIP Awards Funding to Monitor Current and Future Biological Threats

To develop capabilities to monitor the current COVID-19 pandemic and other future biological events, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) Silicon Valley Innovation Program (SVIP) has awarded $199,648 to Mesur.io Inc, for analysis and reporting of outbreak-related data.

Preparedness

Understand the Terrorist, Preempt the Threat

by Laura Ehrmantraut -

It is important to understand why people do the things they do when trying to figure out an individual’s motives and reasons. It is even more captivating when it involves an individual doing unspeakable actions toward another, such as murder or abuse. When it comes to terrorism, there are many different kinds of people who become terrorists – regardless of gender, orientation, religion, or race. These people have complex varying agendas, motivations, and reasons for their actions: religious, political, cultural, emotional, or perceptual. Understanding these reasons will help communities develop counterterrorism programs and support groups to help thwart terroristic actions.

Resilience

Supply Chain Management During a Pandemic

Three experts present their insights and experiences on managing a supply chain during a pandemic. Areas to be discussed:  TECHNOLOGY: How does technology enhance or complicate resilience and the supply chain? RELATIONSHIPS: How have relationships with customers and suppliers changed during the the pandemic?  COLLABORATION: How does federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial interfaces impact preparedness vis-á-vis the supply chain?

Reports

Biodefense in Crisis – Immediate Action Needed to Address National Vulnerabilities

This Bipartisan Commission on Biodefense report closely examines the extent of progress that has been made since the Commission released its National Blueprint for Biodefense in 2015Biodefense in Crisis provides a fresh assessment of governmental efforts to implement the Commission’s recommendations to prevent, deter, prepare for, detect, respond to, attribute, recover from, and mitigate biological threats. It also includes eleven updated recommendations based in-part on real-time learning during the pandemic.

View Full Report
Updates

DHS Makes $20 Million in Funding Available for Targeted Violence and Terrorism Prevention Grants

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is making $20 million available through the Targeted Violence and Terrorism Prevention (TVTP) Grant Program to help communities across our country develop innovative capabilities to combat terrorism and targeted violence. The TVTP Grant Program application period will close on May 25, 2021. State, local, tribal, territorial governments; non-profit organizations; and institutions of higher education are eligible to apply for funds to establish capabilities or fill gaps in their prevention capabilities.

Updates

S&T Partnership Enhances Public Safety Spectrum Efficiency, Improves Interoperability

Major events in any community are a massive planning effort. For public safety, this means planning to stay connected over open airways, which is achieved over public safety spectrum bandwidth. Having enough bandwidth is key to effectively coordinating staffing and communications resources. A grant from the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) is working to address this.