april 2016

Updates

Datacasting Is Changing the Game for Public Safety Communications

The Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate's (S&T) game changing datacasting system was successfully used by the City of Houston and its first responders to securely share information between different responding agencies during the Republican Presidential Candidates' Debate on February 25 and the NCAA Men's Final Four Basketball Tournament April 1-4.

Reports

DHS Appropriations FY2016: Protection, Preparedness, Response, and Recovery

This report is part of a suite of reports that discuss appropriations for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for FY2016. The report provides an overview of the administration's FY2016 request for protection, preparedness, response, and recovery, as well as the appropriations proposed by Congress in response, and those enacted thus far.

View Full Report
Updates

Smiths Detection Announces $17M Chemical Detector Order From the U.S. Army

Smiths Detection Inc. announced a $17.2 million follow-on production order from the U.S. Army under the Department of Defense's Joint Chemical Agent Detector program. Smiths Detection's Lightweight Chemical Detector is a cost-effective and reliable solution that protects military personnel, police and hazmat responders by alerting operators when dangerous chemicals are detected.

Resilience

Emergency Services/Critical Infrastructure Analysis Methodology

by David Flanigan & Steven Taylor -

The nation's critical infrastructure - loosely defined as the fundamental facilities, structures, and systems necessary for the basic functioning of daily life - is comprised of diverse components controlled and managed by a mixture of private sector and government organizations with varying levels of responsibility. Understanding the interconnectedness between sectors is key.

Preparedness

Bending the Cost Curve Through Better Design

by David J. Kaufman -

The financial costs of natural disasters have been steadily climbing in recent decades. For policy makers to reverse this trend, they must understand the nature of the risks they face, the short-term and localized lenses through which financial decisions are viewed, the pricing signals for risk, and the standardized building measures needed to strengthen development practices.

Commentary

Improving the Grade for Critical Infrastructure

by Catherine L. Feinman & Joe D. Manous Jr. -

All infrastructure is not the same. Across disciplinary sectors, agencies and organizations must identify the key elements necessary to ensure "a system" (e.g., community) has a minimum level of resilience, as a system is only as strong as the weakest link. DomPrep hosted a roundtable discussion to address "Critical Infrastructure - A Failing Grade."

Updates

Increased Use of Type of Diagnostic Test Poses Challenge to Tracking of Foodborne Illness

Changes in the tests that diagnose foodborne illness are helping identify infections faster but could soon pose challenges to finding outbreaks and monitoring progress toward preventing foodborne disease, according to a report published in CDCs Morbidity and Mortality Week Report. The report included the most recent data from CDCs Foodborne Diseases Active Surveillance Network, or FoodNet.

Reports

The Nation Faces Multiple Challenges in Building and Maintaining Biodefense and Biosurveillance

This statement describes a range of historical and present challenges to building and maintaining the nation's biodefense and biosurveillance. It is based on prior work issued from December 2009 through March 2016 on various biodefense and biosurveillance efforts, and reviews the 2015 report of the Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense for selected updates.

View Full Report
Updates

USDA Invests $103 Million in Vital Watershed Projects

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing up to $103 million in post-disaster recovery and the rehabilitation of aging dams in 19 States. "The Emergency Watershed Protection program is vital to communities repairing damage and making improvements to reduce future damage from natural disasters," Vilsack said.

Reports

National Incident Management System (NIMS) Refresh

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is in the process of reviewing and refreshing NIMS and is seeking stakeholder input on the draft. National engagement provides an opportunity for interested parties to comment on the draft NIMS, so that it reflects the collective expertise and experience of the whole community. The National Engagement period concludes at 5:00pm on May 9, 2016.

View Full Report
Commentary

Five Myths - The Cost of Resilience

by Dana Goward -

Roads crumble, bridges fall. It is not that the United States cannot maintain, improve, and build more infrastructure. It is that so many people believe it is too difficult because of these myths. The myths have to be debunked to allow new ways of thinking.

Resilience

Water Sector Resilience & Redundancy

by Steven E. Bieber & Pamela P. Kenel -

With a rich history of coordinated water supply planning, the National Capital Region has been conducting regional workshops and creating new study results to enhance its ability to address the region's water needs during a crisis. The resulting information will spur further discussion and assessment of drinking water system alternatives for the region.

Preparedness

Revisiting PROTECT

by Ian Schaefer -

Two decades of federally funded research and development culminate in a real-time chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and explosive (CBRNE) system for detection, surveillance, and crisis management for the nation's critical infrastructure. Argonne National Laboratory continues to tailor this system for various transit and other critical infrastructure environments.

Updates

DHS S&T Demonstrates Precision Timing Technology at the New York Stock Exchange

The Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology (DHS S&T) announced the successful demonstration of the Enhanced Loran (eLoran), a precision-timing technology for financial transactions at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). eLoran is a low-frequency, high-power radio navigation signal that is broadcasted by ground-based transmission stations.

Reports

FEMA-Progress and Continuing Challenges in National Preparedness Efforts

Following the federal response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the Post-Katrina Act was enacted in 2006, requiring the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to establish a national preparedness system and assess the nation's overall preparedness. This statement addresses FEMA's progress in strengthening federal preparedness efforts and managing preparedness grants.

View Full Report
Updates

DHS S&T Announces New Cybersecurity Risk Analysis Tool on the Commercial Market

The Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology (DHS S&T) Directorate announced that a fifth cybersecurity technology has been licensed for commercialization as part of the Cyber Security Division's Transition to Practice program. The Physical and Cyber Risk Analysis Tool technology assesses cyber risks simultaneously with physical risks.

Resilience

Lockdown at Washington College

by Rodrigo (Roddy) Moscoso -

When the decision was made to cancel classes on Monday, 16 November 2015, the week before the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday break, Public Safety Director Gerald (Jerry) Roderick drew upon his many years of experience and planning on how to deal with a possible threat to Washington College campus in Chestertown, Maryland.

Updates

PAHO Offers to Provide Technical Support for Pilot Studies of New Mosquito Control Technologies

The Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) is offering to provide technical cooperation to support pilot studies of new mosquito-control technologies, as part of its response to the Zika virus. New tools under development to combat the Aedes mosquito that transmits Zika include Wolbachia bacteria, genetically modified mosquitoes, and others.

Updates

Alaska Still a Likely Portal for Avian Influenza

The U.S. Geological Survey released additional evidence that western Alaska remains a hot spot for avian influenza to enter North America. The new report announces that, although no highly pathogenic avian influenza viruses have been found in Alaska, the state remains an important area to monitor due to migratory bird flyways from North America and Eurasia that overlap the region.

Reports

The 2015 National Security Strategy: Authorities, Changes, Issues for Congress

The Obama Administration released a new National Security Strategy (NSS) on 6 February 2015. It was the second NSS document to be published by the Administration. The 2015 document retains much of the underlying thought of the 2010 version. This report details the similarities and differences between the two documents and potential oversight questions for Congress.

View Full Report
Updates

NIH Awards Six Grants to Explore How Combination Adjuvants Improve Vaccines

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), has awarded six grants totaling $3.1 million to researchers exploring the molecular mechanisms behind combination vaccine adjuvants - substances that improve the effectiveness of vaccines.

Commentary

Rising Sea Level - A Stealth Threat

by John Englander -

Sea-level rise is in the news with increasing frequency. Yet, the longer-term threat is largely underestimated. The risks in terms of economic impact, emergency preparedness, and national security have profound strategic importance. The latest news from Greenland and Antarctica strongly suggests that there is no time to waste when it comes to preparing for this threat.

Preparedness

Replacing Aged Infrastructure: The Bundled Bridges Approach

by Thomas Clark -

Pennsylvania serves as a case study for a new project that could help fortify the nation's aging infrastructure. A new cost-effective approach for rehabilitating bridges is improving safety, mobility, and resiliency for communities across the state as other states learn key lessons in order to implement similar programs within their jurisdictions.

Preparedness

Critical Infrastructure & Strategic Assessment

by David L. Wegner & Sheri Tickner -

Globally, government agencies are at a nexus in how to plan for and address society's dependence on infrastructure to sustain economies, support and protect people, and implement strategies to provide for an appropriate level of reinvestment. Partnerships with the private financial world would help develop an effective framework for investments and acceptance of risk.

Healthcare

U.S. Response to Outbreaks of Avian Influenza

by Gary A. Flory -

Although avian influenza outbreaks occur periodically in poultry flocks, only recently has avian influenza been considered a significant threat to human health and the global economy. The 1997 emergence of H5N1 first brought attention to avian influenza's ability to cause disease in humans. However, human infection with influenza from avian sources is not a new phenomenon.

Reports

The Impacts of Climate Change on Human Health in the United States: A Scientific Assessment

This assessment's findings represent an improvement in scientific confidence in the link between climate change and a broad range of threats to public health, while recognizing populations of concern and identifying emerging issues. These considerations provide the ability to identify, project, and respond to future climate change health threats.

View Full Report
Updates

Carter: DoD-MIT Partnership to Produce Fabrics That See, Hear, Sense

Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced that the Department of Defense (DoD) is partnering with an 89-member consortium to establish a new manufacturing innovation institute focused on revolutionary fibers and textiles. The Advanced Functional Fabrics of America is a competitively selected group of companies, universities, nonprofits, research organizations, and startup incubators organized by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Updates

Information Applications and Standards - Bringing Interoperable Capabilities to First Responders

Information Application and Standards (IAS) is a crosscutting division within the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate that aims to apply open standards to the technologies responders use in the field daily. IAS was established to bring more attention to information sharing, which has become a critical issue for first responders.

Updates

New Mouse Model to Aid Testing of Zika Vaccine, Therapeutics

A research team at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri, has established a mouse model for testing of vaccines and therapeutics to battle Zika virus. The mouse model mimics aspects of the infection in humans. The infection has been linked to microcephaly and Guillian-Barré syndrome.

Preparedness

The Complexity of Credible Coverage

by The Center for Public Safety Innovation -

Getting it fast and getting it right go hand in hand. The new video from the Center for Public Safety Innovation (CPSI), called Law Enforcement & Media Today: The Complexity of Credible Coverage, shows journalists how to get the best information from law enforcement when time matters.

Updates

Fact Sheet: U.S. Participation in the Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction

The Global Partnership seeks to fund and coordinate projects and activities in the areas of chemical, biological, nuclear and radiological security. The Global Partnership identifies and funds work in countering Weapons of Mass Destruction terrorism risks and vulnerabilities by pairing Global Partnership member programs with nuclear security needs in countries worldwide.

Reports

FEMA Damage Assessment Operations Manual

The FEMA Damage Assessment Operations Manual is part of an effort to provide a user-friendly, streamlined post-disaster damage assessment process that builds on the existing knowledge and expertise of state, tribe, and local partners to identify damage after a natural or manmade disaster.

View Full Report
Updates

Sandia Inks Emergency Response Pact With California Fire and Rescue Training Authority

Sandia National Laboratories and the California Fire and Rescue Training Authority (CFRTA) signed a memorandum of agreement to develop new concepts and capabilities for emergency planning, exercise, and response. This agreement builds on a recent grant to Sandia to build three emergency response scenarios for the state and the CFRTA on wildfire, chlorine tanker release, and radiological dispersal device.

Updates

FEMA Launches New Preparedness Feature to Smartphone App

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) launched a new feature to its free smartphone app that will enable users to receive push notifications to their devices to remind them to take important steps to prepare their homes and families for disasters. The reminder feature allows users to receive pre-scheduled safety and preparedness tips.

Preparedness

Active Shooter - When Lock Down Is Not Enough

by Rodney E. Andreasen -

Law enforcement officers, paramedics, and other responders have received extensive training in dealing with active shooters and the wounds resulting from active shooter incidents. However, the potential force multipliers in all these attacks that are just beginning to receive attention are the potential victims at the scene.

Updates

FDA Clears Roche's Investigational Zika Blood Screening Test

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced the availability of an investigational test to screen blood donations for Zika virus. The screening test may be used under an investigational new drug application for screening donated blood in areas with active mosquito-borne transmission of Zika virus.

Updates

NIST-Partners Set Research Agenda for Protecting Firefighters From Harm

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) teamed with the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation to host a symposium where representatives of the fire service and fire research communities identified and prioritized firefighter health and safety issues, and then created a guide for addressing them through scientific study and technology development.

Reports

Report on the CDC Surveillance Strategy and the Integrated CDC Surveillance Platform

This report focuses primarily on public health data that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) collects - for surveillance of disease, injury, and exposure to health threats - from state, tribal, local, and territorial health departments, including their public health laboratories, and from hospitals and other healthcare providers.

View Full Report
Updates

The Army's New Chemical Defense Testing Lab

The Non-Traditional Agent Defense Test System is a collection of specialized chambers designed to test chemical agent protection, detection, and decontamination equipment under operational conditions most relevant to today's warfighter. This laboratory is the only facility in the world that allows an entire system to be fully immersed in chemical agent while testing.