december 2017

Updates

ASU Scientists Develop New, Rapid Pipeline for Antimicrobials

With hospitals more often reaching for antibiotics of last resort to fight infections, the worldwide scientific community has been challenged with developing new antimicrobials to safeguard the population. The Defense Advanced Research Program Agency, or DARPA put out a call for researchers to figure out a process for making at least 1,000 doses to potentially any pathogen within a week of its discovery. An Arizona State University team rose to the challenge.

Reports

Fire in the United States (2006-2015)

“Fire in the United States,” is a statistical overview of fires in the U.S., covering the period from 2006 to 2015, with a primary focus on 2015. This report provides the fire service and others with information that motivates corrective action, sets priorities, targets specific fire programs, serves as a model for state and local analyses of fire data, and provides a baseline for evaluating programs. 

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Reports

National Security Strategy of the United States of America – December 2017

This National Security Strategy lays out a strategic vision for protecting the American people and preserving their way of life, promoting their prosperity, preserving peace through strength, and advancing American influence in the world. 

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Resilience

ARTful Leadership & Disaster Management

by Eric J. McNulty -

Disaster preparedness and response professionals had a front-row seat for the turbulence in 2017. A historic hurricane season left first responders and the communities they serve struggling to keep up. Fires continue to ravage the west. Active shooter and terrorism incidents keep everyone on edge. Infectious disease outbreaks remain a constant worry. Cyberattacks open a new threat vector. Prolonged preparation, response, and recovery put stress on physical, emotional, financial, and infrastructure systems. Leaders must adapt to changing circumstances and needs.

Preparedness

Excess Equipment Sales & Potential National Security Threats

by James M. Rush -

Recent terror attacks have demonstrated that the modus operandi for terrorists to attack innocent people is to use whatever tools can easily be obtained. Some agencies and companies may inadvertently sell or donate the very equipment terrorists use to kill people and endanger national security. This proposal offers a barrier to terrorists wishing to exploit the healthcare, public health, chemical, and pharmaceutical industries in the area of excess equipment.

Commentary

Preparedness & Resilience Without the Hype

by Catherine L. Feinman -

As another calendar year comes to a close, agencies and organizations are reflecting on the events of 2017: hurricanes, mass shootings, wildfires, critical infrastructure failures, disease outbreaks, cyberattacks, and other incidents that have strained local resources. DomPrep’s readers are continually challenged to be prepared for, respond to, and mitigate the consequence of disasters. When a crisis occurs, the gaps in planning and response are forced into the spotlight. However, when disasters are diverted, the success often goes unseen. This edition of the DomPrep Journal recognizes and thanks all those who work behind on the firing line and behind the scenes everyday to make their communities safer and more resilient through their activities, informational resources, and recommendations.

Updates

DHS S&T Pilot Project Helps Secure First Responder Apps From Cyberattacks

A pilot project by the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) resulted in the successful remediation of potential cybersecurity vulnerabilities in mobile applications used by the nation’s public-safety professionals, supporting the creation of an on-going mobile app-testing program.

Commentary

The Presidency & Control of Nuclear Weapons

by Jerome H. Kahan -

“The whole point of U.S. nuclear weapons control is to make sure that the president – and only the president – can use them if and whenever he decides to do so,” said Alex Wellerstein, a historian of nuclear weapons at the Stevens Institute of Technology, in an article published on 1 December 2016. As presidents and circumstances change, it is important to understand presidential authority and legislation as they relate to nuclear weapons.

Resilience

Maryland’s Approach for Raising the Resilience Index

by Charissa Cooper & Jessica Nusbaum -

Threats, whether natural or manmade, have the ability to negatively impact communities. Although government agencies serve communities before, during, and after disasters, emergency management officials understand the realities of gaps that exist in disaster management systems exclusively managed by government. There is a mounting cognizance of the need for effective communication and coordination from a broad range of stakeholders to reduce the negative effects of a given disaster.

Updates

US/Canada Demonstrates Communications Interoperability Among First Responders

In mid-November 2017, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate and Defence Research and Development Canada’s Centre for Security Science tested and demonstrated that seamless communication is possible between first responders from both sides of the border during a major emergency.

Preparedness

Mass Fatality Research – New York & Beyond

by Katie Joel & Terry Hastings -

Low-probability, high-consequence situations, such as mass fatality events, often stress or overwhelm local response capabilities within a very short timeframe. The ability to handle these situations differs greatly depending on the size of the jurisdiction affected and its readily available resources. New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services Research conducted research to address this issue.

Updates

FDA Launches New Tool for Sharing Information That Allows Doctors to Better Manage Antibiotic Use; Improve Patient Care

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is announcing a new approach to get critical updates regarding antibiotics and antifungal drugs to health care professionals as part of an overall effort to combat antimicrobial resistance.

Updates

DHS S&T Is Enhancing the Autopsy Digital Forensics Tool

Autopsy–an open-source, digital forensics platform used by law enforcement agencies worldwide to determine how a digital device was used in a crime and to recover evidence–is being enhanced with the addition of several new capabilities requested by law enforcement.

Updates

Military Seeks to Learn Lessons of 2017 Hurricane Season

Following the recent hurricane season, Army Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Buchanan, the commander of U.S. Army North, said hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria delivered a combination of blows that caused great damage in Texas, Florida, the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, and the military learned a great deal about defense support to civil authorities in the process.

Updates

TSA and LAMTA Partner on a Demonstration Project of a New Device to Detect Suicide Vests

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is partnering with the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LAMTA) on a new device that can help officials detect whether an individual is concealing an improvised explosive device. The use of such a device enables a transit agency to help safeguard against terrorist threats in the mass transit environment.

Updates

Federal Resources Acquires Wright Tool Company

Federal Resources, headquartered in Stevensville, Maryland, completed the acquisition of Wright Tool Company, a leading provider of automotive and industrial equipment and tools, based in Troy, Michigan. Federal Resources, a prime supplier of defense and security solutions to U.S. and international governments, is expanding its products and services to include maintenance, repair, and operations.

Reports

Homeland Security: DHS's Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear Program Consolidation Efforts

In 2013, Congress directed the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to review its weapons of mass destruction programs, including the consolidation of chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and high-yield explosive mission functions. The Government Accountability Office reviewed DHS consolidation planning documents, interviewed relevant officials, and obtained selected updated information on DHS planning efforts.

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Resilience

10 Questions for Selecting Business Continuity Software

by Erin Valentine -

Being resilient when faced with an emergency or catastrophic event requires preplanning to ensure that operations can continue with minimal interruption throughout the event or restart soon after the event. Business continuity software can help bridge the continuity gap during these times. Answering these 10 questions before purchasing will help ensure a good match between the software and the user.

Preparedness

Indiana’s Emergency Response Guidelines for School Safety

by Robert Quinn -

The 2016 Legislative Session of the Indiana General Assembly passed Senate Enrolled Act 147 requiring the Indiana Department of Homeland Security (IDHS) to establish minimum standards and approve best practices no later than 1 July 2017 for a school emergency response system. The new guidelines are helping to improve school safety and security across the state and offer a template for other states to consider when reviewing and updating their emergency response systems.

Updates

Gene-Based Zika Vaccine Is Safe and Immunogenic in Healthy Adults

Results from two Phase 1 clinical trials show an experimental Zika vaccine developed by government scientists at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, is safe and induces an immune response in healthy adults.

Reports

Outbreak Response and Incident Management: SHEA Guidance and Resources for Healthcare Epidemiologists in United States Acute-Care Hospitals

This expert guidance document was developed as a resource to provide healthcare epidemiologists working in acute-care hospitals with a high-level overview of incident management for infectious disease outbreaks and to prepare them to work within an emergency response framework.

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Updates

FLIR Systems Introduces FB-Series ID Thermal Fixed Bullet Camera With Built-In Human and Vehicle Recognition Analytics

FLIR Systems Inc. introduced the FB-Series ID, the latest fixed bullet thermal security camera in the FB-Series family. Combining best-in-class thermal image detail and high-performance onboard analytics, the FB-Series ID is ideal for narrow to wide area perimeter detection and sterile-zone monitoring. The FB-Series ID features accurate video analytics that are capable of classifying human or vehicular intrusions.

Updates

Secretary Nielsen Announces the Establishment of the Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Office

Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen announced the establishment of the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction (CWMD) Office. The CWMD Office will elevate and streamline DHS efforts to prevent terrorists and other national security threat actors from using harmful agents, such as chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear material and devices to harm Americans and U.S. interests.

Commentary

Emerging Threats to Rail Infrastructure: Part I, Freight

by Joseph Trindal -

There is a desire for some bad actors to target rail systems, especially the hazardous materials freight rail network. This threat underscores the need for the rail transportation industry to maintain and strengthen partnerships with federal, state, and local authorities. With over 140,000 miles of infrastructure, there are difficult security challenges. For example, the U.S. rail system moves over 1.8 billion tons originated/year of freight, petroleum, chemicals, and military assets, making it a vital lifeline. A recent roundtable examined current issues and progress regarding this important topic from government and private sector experts.

Updates

Attorney General Sessions and Acting DEA Administrator Patterson Announce New Tools to Address Opioid Crisis

Attorney General Sessions announced new resources and stepped up efforts to address the drug and opioid crisis. These efforts include over $12 million in grant funding to assist law enforcement in combating illegal manufacturing and distribution of methamphetamine, heroin, and prescription opioids; the establishment of a new DEA Field Division in Louisville, Kentucky; and a directive to all U.S. attorneys to designate an opioid coordinator.   

Commentary

Remember the Past, While Imagining the Future

by Catherine L. Feinman -

The imaginations of television and filmmakers are often used to create futuristic worlds, with technologies that can be used as tools or as threats. Unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) are one such technology that is now off the screen and often seen in the sky. Like “The Jetsons” of the early 1960s, the airways offer many opportunities to transport people and objects from one place to another. With increased travel and transport, though, emergency preparedness, response, and resilience professionals must address the potential benefits of this technology as well as regulations and enforcement issues that could hinder daily and disaster operations. In a worst-case scenario, terrorists could conduct attacks using UAS equipped with explosives, weapons, or dispersal devices for chemical, biological, or radiological materials.

Reports

Natural Disasters of 2017: Congressional Considerations Related to FEMA Assistance

This insight provides a short overview of issues Congress may consider in its oversight of the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) federal assistance during the 2017 hurricane season (e.g., Harvey, Irma, and Maria) and other disasters (e.g., fires in California).

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Updates

Nature’s Silent Sentinels Could Help Detect Security Threats

DARPA’s new Advanced Plant Technologies (APT) program looks to seemingly simple plants as the next generation of intelligence gatherers. DARPA’s vision for APT is to harness plants’ natural mechanisms for sensing and responding to environmental stimuli and extend them to detect the presence of certain chemicals, pathogens, radiation, and electromagnetic signals.