october 2015

Reports

A National Blueprint for Biodefense: Leadership and Major Reform Needed to Optimize Efforts

This report, released by the bipartisan Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense, co-chaired by Senator Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) and former Governor and Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge (R-PA), details the United States' vulnerability to bioterrorism and deadly outbreaks and emphasizes the need to transform the way government is organized to confront these threats.

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Updates

U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx Announces Unmanned Aircraft Registration Requirement

U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and FAA Administrator Michael Huerta announced the creation of a task force to develop recommendations for a registration process for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS). The task force will be composed of 25 to 30 diverse representatives from the UAS and manned aviation industries, the federal government, and other stakeholders.

Updates

Huerta Announces UAS Registration Task Force Members

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Administrator Michael Huerta announced the members of the new Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Registration Task Force. Earl Lawrence, director of the FAA's UAS Integration Office, and Dave Vos of Google X will co-chair the group. Interested parties who are not members of the task force may submit comments to the public docket.

Reports

Emergency Relief for Disaster-Damaged Roads and Transit Systems: In Brief

This report describes Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) assistance for the repair and reconstruction of highways and bridges damaged by disasters or catastrophic failures. It begins with a brief discussion of the legislative origins of federal assistance, and then addresses eligibility issues and program operation.

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Updates

USDA Awards Nearly $2.3 Billion in Loans for 77 Rural Electric Infrastructure Projects

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced nearly $2.3 billion in loans to build and improve rural electric infrastructure in 31 states. The funding includes more than $108 million for smart grid technology, $41 million for renewable energy improvements and $9 million for storm damage repairs. These loans will help build or improve 12,000 miles of transmission and distribution lines.

Resilience

Rural Idaho - Research Tools & Training Exercises

by Darin Letzring -

Although there is no shortage of information, the quality and validity of information varies considerably. Learning how to identify effective information tools and use them to their full potential takes time. However, in rural Idaho, information-gathering skills are being taught to help emergency planners and public health professionals to better navigate the vast World Wide Web of information.

Commentary

Technology vs. Good Planning & Training

by Steven P. Bucci -

There is no single solution to cybersecurity concerns. Technology is advancing, but nothing can replace solid planning and training. All three pillars are necessary to balance cyberthreats. If too much emphasis is placed on one pillar, the vulnerability gap will expand. Ensuring the constant growth and evolution of this trilogy is currently the best way to thwart threats that are ever evolving.

Updates

New Online Tool Reveals Terrorist Networks and Behavior Over Time

To enable a better understanding of how terrorist organizations network and function over time, the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) has launched the Big Allied and Dangerous (BAAD) online platform. This tool features updated, vetted and sourced narratives, and relationship information and social network data on 50 of the most notorious terrorist organizations.

Updates

CDC Launches Improved Online Foodborne Outbreak Search Tool

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a redesigned online tool making it easier to search data on foodborne disease outbreaks. The updated Foodborne Outbreak Online Database Tool (FOOD Tool) lets users search nearly 20 years of outbreak data by state, food, or germ.

Reports

Joint Criminal and Epidemiological Investigations Handbook

This handbook was developed to facilitate the use of resources and maximize communication and interaction between law enforcement and public health. This combined effort can minimize potential barriers prior to and during the response to a biological threat.

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Updates

FEMA to Assess Future Over-the-Air Broadcast Alerting Technology

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) National Continuity Programs' Integrated Public Alert and Warning System Division has begun to assess the feasibility of a public alert and warning capability that is being developed in the private sector.

Updates

Smiths Detection Inc.'s Dual-View Hi-Scan 6040-2is Qualifies for Updated Air Cargo Screening List

Smiths Detection Inc. announces its dual-view HI-SCAN 6040-2is X-ray has become its latest system to be accepted into the "Qualified" section of TSA's Air Cargo Screening Technology List (ACSTL.) The HI-SCAN 6040-2is is an advanced, dual-view X-ray inspection system which uses multiple views and sophisticated algorithms to indicate items that might be threats.

Resilience

Technology Development & Science-Based Solutions

by Rachel Bartholomew & Richard Ozanich -

Science-based research is useful in analyzing and reducing risks through the development of new technologies for detecting, sampling, and studying various contaminants and unknown substances. Teams of scientists at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory play a large role in ensuring that first responders have the necessary tools to perform their critical tasks.

Updates

Florida Task Force 4 (FL-TF4) Joint USAR Exercise Incorporates U.S. National Grid and Mission Manager

A recent large-scale training exercise, called MOBEX 2015, tested the readiness levels and skills of first responders with the Florida Task Force 4 (FL-TF4) and Lakeland Fire Department. The scenario revolved around a simulated tornado that ripped through Lakeland, Florida, on 8 October 2015, and trapped multiple "victims" in the path of its destruction.

Reports

National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases Innovative Technologies

Pathogens, diseases, and people move across borders. Infectious diseases constantly evolve. To advance the mission of reducing illness and death from infectious disease, the National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases (NCEZID), in collaboration with partners, has developed the following new tests and tools to better protect people from these wide-ranging, ever-changing threats.

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Updates

USDA Invests in Global Food Security

Establishing global food security is important not only to hundreds of millions of hungry people, but also to the sustainable economic growth of developing nations and the long-term economic prosperity of the United States. By helping countries become more food secure and raising incomes, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is also expanding markets for U.S. producers.

Resilience

Modular Solutions for Compounding Pharmacies & Biosafety Facilities

by Jessica Brown & Allan Swan -

A decade after Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast region, the effects of underprepared healthcare systems are still apparent. Nearly a year after the first case of Ebola was diagnosed on U.S. soil, the West African nations most affected by the disease remain burdened by insufficient infrastructure to properly isolate and treat patients on a large scale.

Updates

NOAA Awards $5.7 Million to Improve Hazardous Weather Forecasts

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Administrator Kathryn Sullivan announced $5.7 million in cooperative research agreements and grants to improve the forecasting of hazardous and extreme weather, which will accelerate the development and use of advanced observing systems, forecast models, and other decision-support tools to improve the nation's resilience to hazardous weather.

Reports

Maritime Critical Infrastructure Protection: DHS Needs to Enhance Efforts to Address Port Cybersecurity

The nation's maritime ports handle more than $1.3 trillion in cargo each year. A disruption at any one of these ports could have a significant economic impact. This statement addresses: (a) cyber-related threats facing the maritime port environment; and (b) steps that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has taken to address cybersecurity in that environment.

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Updates

USDA Adds Avian Influenza Vaccine Doses to the National Veterinary Stockpile

The United States Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) awarded contracts to two companies to manufacture doses of avian influenza vaccine. This action is being taken to develop the Agency's National Veterinary Stockpile, and does not signal a decision to vaccinate for highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI).

Updates

S&T Pilot Aimed at Improving First Responder Situational Awareness

The Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) has launched a pilot, the Incident Management Information Sharing (IMIS), to harness the capabilities of the Internet of Things (IoT) to improve first responders' situational awareness during emergencies, with new types of low-cost, data sharing, wireless sensors.

Reports

National Preparedness Goal-Second Edition

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) released the second edition of the National Preparedness Goal, which describes a vision for preparedness nationwide and identifies the core capabilities necessary to achieve that vision across the five mission areas. This second edition reflects the insights and lessons learned from real-world events and implementation of the National Preparedness System.

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Updates

NOAA Awards $48 Million to Advance Climate Research, Improve Community Resilience

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Climate Program Office announced it has awarded $48 million for 53 new projects. Research will be conducted by NOAA laboratories and operational centers, universities, and other agency and research partners to advance the understanding, modeling, and prediction of Earth's climate system and to improve decision making.

Preparedness

Virtual Exercises - A Cost-Effective Option

by Dawn Thomas -

Some exercises require a hands-on environment, whereas others can thrive in a virtual training space. FUSION X is one federally sponsored exercise that has evolved from a tabletop event at a single location to a virtual training for participants, who require flexibility and cost-effectiveness, at various locations throughout the United States.

Resilience

The Continuing Battle Over Privacy vs. Security

by Ellen C. Cornelius -

In this electronic age, there is a constant struggle between sharing critical information and protecting individual privacy with adequate security to prevent data and documents from falling into the wrong hands. To address these concerns, expectations of privacy, knowledge of liabilities, and development of policies must be examined.

Updates

HHS Launches Redesigned Online Radiation Treatment Resource

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has launched its first major redesign of the Radiation Emergency Medical Management (REMM) website. REMM provides key information about the diagnosis and treatment of radiation injuries and access to interactive clinical tools and data. The redesigned site now includes behavioral health resources and additional material.

Reports

Improving Active Shooter/Hostile Event Response

This report documents the key findings of the March 2015 Active Shooter Summit. Summit participants identified 29 discrete recommendations for an integrated active shooter/hostile events response. This report condenses and organizes the 29 specific recommendations into 10 broad recommended best practices.

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Updates

CDC Names Six New Medical Research Centers to Accelerate Health Care Innovations

New funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) more than doubled the number of CDC prevention epicenters. Six new U.S. academic institutions join the five existing epicenters working to identify possible new and improved ways to prevent the spread of infectious diseases like Ebola in healthcare facilities.

Updates

BARDA Sponsors Development of New Skin Substitute to Treat Large Burns

As part of an effort to develop new medical products to protect health and safety during chemical, radiological, or nuclear emergencies, a novel skin substitute called the Biodegradable Temporizing Matrix will take the next development steps under a contract awarded by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response.

Reports

Public Health Service Agencies: Overview and Funding (FY2010-FY2016)

Within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), eight agencies are designated components of the U.S. Public Health Service (PHS). The PHS agencies are funded primarily with annual discretionary appropriations. They also receive significant amounts of funding from other sources. This report provides an overview of these agencies and their funding.

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Updates

X-ray Scanning Rover

The Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate's First Responders Group (FRG) is developing the X-Ray Scanning Rover (XSR) to be a responder's eyes. It quickly and accurately scans packages and bags for leave-behind improvised explosive devices (LBIED) while keeping responders out of harm's way.

Updates

Harsh Conditions Can't Contain Researchers' Efforts to Test Radiation Detection Systems

Researchers from five laboratories and a private company recently spent two days in blistering 100 degree heat testing radiation detection technologies amidst cargo containers. The 15 researchers demonstrated the feasibility of using gamma-ray and neutron imaging detectors to identify radioactive materials using the laboratory's cargo container stack testbed.

Updates

DHS S&T Launches $100,000 Prize Competition to Support Future National Bio and Agro Defense Facility

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) launched the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF) "Think and Do Challenge." This prize competition seeks ideas to leverage NBAF resources in order to conduct research to protect the nation's animal agricultural industry and public health.

Updates

HHS Pursues Fast, Easy Test for Anthrax and Multi-Drug Resistant Anthrax Infections

With BARDA support, First Light Biosciences, Inc. of Bedford, Massachusetts will pursue the development of an anthrax diagnostic test for use in a doctor's office, hospital, clinic or field setting that will provide results within 20 minutes. In addition, the platform will also have the ability to test for multi-drug resistant anthrax infections.

Preparedness

Running to the Police, Not Away From Them

by Rodrigo (Roddy) Moscoso -

Building sustainable communities is a long-term effort that includes reestablishing positive relationships between police departments and the communities they serve. Repairing these damaged relationships means changing the visual perception, improving communication, providing education, and building awareness for the community members.

Updates

HHS Launches Resources System to Improve Disaster Preparedness

Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS) Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, the Technical Resources, Assistance Center, and Information Exchange features resource materials, a help line, just-in-time suggestions, and tools to share information gleaned from real-life experiences in preparing for, responding to, and recovering from disasters.

Reports

DOT's Federal Pipeline Safety Program: Background and Key Issues for Congress

Altogether, the U.S. energy pipeline network is composed of over 2.9 million miles of pipeline transporting natural gas, oil, and other hazardous liquids. The nation's pipeline networks are widespread and vulnerable to accidents. This report reviews the history of federal programs for pipeline safety, significant safety issues, and recent developments focusing on key issues for Congress.

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Updates

NSF Invests $40 Million in Research Infrastructure for Earthquake, Wind and Water Hazards

Recognizing the national need for resilience against multiple natural hazards, the National Science Foundation (NSF) initiated a new chapter in hazards research with a $40-million investment in Natural Hazards Engineering Research Infrastructure (NHERI). This will allow researchers to explore and test groundbreaking concepts to protect homes, businesses, and infrastructure lifelines.

Updates

EPA Proposes New Protections for International Hazardous Waste Shipments

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing enhancements to the oversight of hazardous waste shipments to help ensure safe management of imported and exported hazardous wastes. The rule proposes consolidation of the regulations so that one set of protective requirements will apply to transboundary movements of hazardous waste.

Updates

HHS Explores New Disaster Use of Approved 'Clot Busting' Drug

A clot-busting drug that already has been approved for use in treating strokes and heart attacks could find a new use as a lifesaving treatment for inhaled sulfur mustard under a development contract between the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS) Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response and the University of Colorado - Pediatric Airway Research Center.

Reports

Biosurveillance - Challenges and Options for the National Biosurveillance Integration Center

A biological event, such as a naturally occurring pandemic or a terrorist attack, could have catastrophic consequences, which underscores the importance of a national biosurveillance capability. This report discusses the (a) extent to which National Biosurveillance Integration Center is implementing its roles as a biosurveillance integrator, and (b) options for improving such integration.

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Updates

R&D by NIST and Partners Yields New Standard for Safer Ambulances

Thanks to a newly updated standard for ambulance design based on research and development (R&D) by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and two federal partners, emergency runs should soon be much safer for paramedics and other first responders.

Updates

HHS Enhances Preparedness With New Products to Treat Severe Burns

Four novel products to treat severe thermal burns will be developed and acquired under contracts with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response. The products are intended to enhance the available treatment options for disaster response and are being designed to find uses in routine clinical burn care.