Homeland Security : News, information, and reports related to homeland security at state, local and national levels
Updated: 6/20/2005; 7:12:40 AM.


Homeland Security


Monday, June 20, 2005

A handheld device for on-site detection of bacteria, viruses, molds, nucleic acids, mycotoxins and biotoxins won the Utah Innovations award for the biotechnology sector.  The BioDetector is made by AnzenBio and is applicable for military and homeland security purposes.  read more...

Salt Lake County is using GPS to support its crackdown on vehicle abuse.

Peter Quintas has a new weblog that tracks security / surveillance cameras around the world.  Read more...

Long Beach police are using Segways to patrol their streets.  A report on KSL radio this morning says that bomb squads in Utah are getting new Segways.

7:11:28 AM    comment []

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

David Stephenson, homeland security consultant and strategist, has started a weblog.  Stephenson has been an advocate for the use of EmXML as a collaboration standard for the emergency management / homeland security community.

6:58:08 AM    comment []

Monday, July 26, 2004

The 911 Commission issued its final report last week.  Copies were available at airports and bookstores almost immediately.  It is available for only $8 on Amazon where it is the #1 best seller (you might not want to read it online since it is over 500 pages).  Among the Commission's many recommendations:

Make homeland security funding contingent on the adoption of an incident command system to strengthen teamwork in a crisis, including a regional approach. Allocate more radio spectrum and improve connectivity for public safety communications, and encourage wide-spread adoption of newly developed standards for private-sector emergency preparednessósince the private sector controls 85 percent of the nationís critical infrastructure.

I think there is already a requirement for agencies to adapt an incident command structure specified by NIMS (National Incident Management System) to receive homeland security funding.  One problem is that not enough of the funding goes toward centrally coordinated infrastructure.

HHS and NYC Health Dept. are co-sponsors of the World Trade Center Health Registry, a survey to track the health impacts of those who might have been impacted by the World Trade Center incident.

7:42:09 AM    comment []

Thursday, July 22, 2004

The need to share information between law enforcement and intelligence agencies is one of many issues being discussed at the National Conference of State Legislators (NCSL) being held here in Salt Lake City this week.  The National Criminal Intelligence Sharing Plan outlines many of these issues including the need for systems like RISS and MATRIX.  The plan was developed by the Global Intelligence Working Group which was charged with overcoming long-standing barriers to information sharing.  The plan includes 28 specific recommendations.

The Department of Justice recently released this report on the use of law enforcement technology by small and rural agencies.  It provides a good baseline for states to measure against.

1:31:05 PM    comment []

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Here's a good presentation on RTLS standards.

Both the FCC and China's State Radio Regulatory Commission are pushing for international RTLS standards.

Last month, the US Dept. of Homeland Security unveiled HSIN-CI, the Homeland Security Information Network for Critical Infrastructure.  HSIN-CI is an unclassified network, which immediately provides the Departmentís Homeland Security Operations Center with one-stop 24/7 access to a broad spectrum of industries, agencies and critical infrastructure across both the public and private sectors.  This certainly requires substantial local interface which we need to better understand.  The network is being piloted on a local basis in Seattle, Dallas, and Indiana.

12:20:10 PM    comment []

Monday, June 21, 2004

The Task Force on State and Local Homeland Security Funding has released a new report.

The National Association of State Procurement Officials (NASPO) has a new website.  Here's a presentation on how Florida has conducted reverse auctions given at a recent NASPO conference.

HSARPA has scheduled a July conference to look at innovative technologies in homeland security.

New GAO report on the effectiveness of information systems used to monitor foreign students.

12:22:17 PM    comment []

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Just returned from Washington, DC, where we met with Dr. David Boyd, program director for Project Safecom.  We discussed finding funding opportunities for using RTLS and RFIDs as a UWIN-supported project.  Real Time Locating Systems (RTLS) are fully automated systems that continuously monitor and track the locations of assets and personnel.  In the homeland security context, we would have vehicle-mounted RTLS systems that could form a grid in responding to a given homeland incident or natural disaster.  These mobile RTLS systems would convey data to incident management through the 700 MHz statewide data network and or broadband 4.9 GHz and 802.11 access points depending on the location.  Check out this presentation (Reality Online) from Accenture.

Boyd is also involved in supporting the federal government's Integrated Wireless Network project. Perhaps UWIN should look at ways to partner with IWN.  Another agency to keep an eye on is HSARPA.  HSARPA is a homeland security agency fashioned after DARPA that was created last year.  I don't see much activity there yet.

Boyd also told us that Tom Ridge is planning to create a new program management office to create greater interoperability and innovation among the first responder community.   Here are a few more details.  Dr. Boyd has only been with Homeland since 2003 (that's right, it was only created then).  Here's more on his background.  His testimony to the House Reform Committee is a very clear statement of what Project Safecom is about.

NIST provides this interesting list of organizations, companies, and technologies associated with public safety wireless.  Their Advanced Network Technologies Division is interested in Wireless Ad Hoc Networks, an area where the latest Utah proposal seems to fit.

8:01:13 AM    comment []

Friday, May 07, 2004

Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge meets with Utah emergency responders. He was very complimentary of the UWIN project and stressed the importance of integrated communications systems.
John Kavanaugh was just promoted to vice president of Northrop Grumman, state and local public safety solutions, Commercial, State and Local Solutions business unit responsible for public safety command and control centers, highway transportation management centers, statewide wireless communications systems, automated identification systems, criminal justice systems, and other public safety solutions in the state and local marketplace.  Kavenaugh received his bachelor's degree in business administration from Weber State University.  NG also has an RFID implementation support center.

Tom Ridge will be in town today.  He will be giving the commencement speech at the University of Utah and then visiting with a small group of state and local government homeland security officials.

The May issue of Capitol Connections is online.

The Utah Wireless Integrated Network governance board meets today.

Accenture has a new eGov report.  I'm having a little trouble accessing it.

Wow, New York State just awarded their wireless network contract to M/A-COM.  Some say that the contract may be valued as high as $2 billion.  Utah's approach (UWIN) is certainly less costly - and hopefully just as well integrated.  The contract is the largest technology contract in New York's history, but will not include any coverage in wilderness areas of the Adirondacks or Catskills.

Arkansas Governor, Mike Huckabee, just announced the Arkansas Wireless Information Network (AWIN).  Phase I alone is projected to cost $27 million.  What we could do with that kind of money....  Arkansas passed several bills to develop statewide wireless back in 1999.  This is one of several collaborative projects for the state.

NENA will be holding a wireless E-911 conference here in Salt Lake City on May 23-25.  NENA also has a couple of E9-1-1 presentations on how to deal with VoIP:

We are analyzing the benefits of VoIP in conjunction with a new building that is nearing completion.

Governor Ernie Fletcher, the new Governor of Kentucky, held his first online chat the other day.  Governor Leavitt did that a few times here.  Here is the transcript from Fletcher's online session.  He discusses a few technology issues.

7:06:21 AM    comment []

Thursday, March 18, 2004

A UPI article examines the cyberwar that is taking place on the internet.  We are impacted by it everyday.  We installed MT blacklist yesterday to ward off the comment spam that had infiltrated the MT stuff that we are using to generate RSS feeds for production services.

"A global assault for control of millions of computers is occurring," Steven Sundermeier, said. "This appears to be a war for power and seniority among these authors."

According to another article in the Detroit News, the annual cost in software and lost productivity related to spam is between 10 and 87 billion dollars.

Bruce Schneier provides his monthly Crypto-Gram newsletter as an RSS feed.

Public Technology also recently published an analysis of global digital warfare.

12:38:04 PM    comment []

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Yesterday, HB36 (second substitute) was approved by the Senate Revenue and Taxation Committee.  This bill provides governance and revenue to implement E-911 for wireless carriers.  Utah is behind the curve in getting this done, but should move forward quickly if it is able to pass on the floor.  The second substitute bill has some major improvements over earlier versions.

Senator Burns of Montana recognized the first anniversary of the E911 Caucus yesterday.

The FCC's PSAP registry is a spreadsheet that identifies all known Public Safety Access Points in the country.  The registry lists 63 PSAPs for Utah.  I thought that there were only 46, so we need to reconcile what the FCC has listed with our local list.  I am somewhat surprised by the fact that the FCC maintains this kind of information in a spreadsheet as opposed to a database with an online interface.  The management of 911 in general, especially in this state, needs some major improvements.  Hopefully HB36 will help us begin to move down that road.

7:08:58 AM    comment []

Friday, January 30, 2004

I forgot to mention that last week the State of Nebraska renewed its contract with NIC.

Bill Gates, in a speech to the Arab technology conference, says that eGovernment is a "HUGE focus" for Microsoft.  Gates jointly announced Egypt's new eGov portal with Prime Minister Atef Ebeid.  Online service offerings look pretty lean right now.

Utah's Dept. of Alcoholic Beverage Control wants to move to dot net.  Most Utah state agencies are committed to J2EE.

Today's headlines on Governor Walker's decision to halt Utah's participation in MATRIX until more information is available (here's the state press release):

On Wednesday, the Dept. of Homeland Security announced a new National Cybersecurity Alert System.  Good timing - immediately after people were feeling the effects of the mydoom virus.

7:22:56 AM    comment []

Thursday, January 29, 2004

Concern about Matrix, a multi-state effort to enhance information available for homeland security, is nothing new.  This privacy watch site has been monitoring it for months.  I have mentioned it here on several occasions.  It looks like members of the Utah legislature are now taking notice.  Here is a quote from one Senator in a lengthy article in this morning's Deseret News:

"It certainly sounds like Big Brother to me, a paranoia that government wants to know what all the people are doing because government knows best."

Verdi White takes a practical approach (quoted in the Deseret News):

"We will evaluate this and see if it does have value, if we are able to interdict a crime or apprehend an abducted child. If it does have value, we will go to the Legislature and see if they want to participate in it."

Utah's participation currently is only as part of a federally-funded pilot project at this point in time.

7:22:57 AM    comment []

Friday, December 12, 2003

A new report by the Trust for America's Health (TFAH) evaluates all 50 states on the issue of bioterrorism preparedness.  According to the report, Utah was among the 75% of states that received a score of 50% or less based on 10 criteria.  The report looked at funding, infrastructure, and other related issues.  Utah was given credit for expanding the health emergency communications network, upgrading public health laboratories, and developing initial bioterrorism response plans.  The Department of Health has also made progress towards the implementation of a statewide emergency notification and alert system that can notify very specific geographic areas when needed.  They have coordinated closely with the Utah Counter-Terrorism Task Force and are actively supporting the Utah Wireless Integrated Network (UWIN) project.  I know that they are working hard to be able to adequately distribute and administer supplies from the national pharmaceutical stockpile, although they were not given credit for it in the report.

Full Report

8:32:48 AM    comment []

Wednesday, November 26, 2003

I finally got around to looking at DOE's report on the Aug. 14th blackout.  This report should be of interest to anyone involved in infrastructure protection.

A new website is up in conjuction with Governor Walker's watershed protection initiative: adoptawaterbody.utah.gov 

On November 19th, the US Senate heard a number of reports on agroterrorism:

In terms of technology, Dr. Colleen O-Keefe stated,

There is a serious discrepancy among states in terms of computer technology, mapping expertise, and animal tracking. Additionally, states with the appropriate mapping technology and data collection are the exception, rather than the rule. Accordingly, numerous states donít have the hardware or software capacity to utilize the technology some states possess. USDA must immediately implement an electronic system to track livestock movements and monitor disease outbreaks. At the very least USDA should identify states, such as members of the Council, to conduct a pilot project of an electronic tracking system that could be duplicated nationwide.

Dr. Penrose Albright of the Dept. of Homeland Security discussed technologies that might be used to enhanced agricultural biosecurity.

The new engineering building at Utah State University has been completed.  This was part of Governor Leavitt's initiative to expand science and education degrees in Utah which has resulted in new engineering facilities on four state campuses.  Micron is funding a new digital design laboratory in the USU engineering department.

12:37:13 PM    comment []

Friday, November 21, 2003

The next quarterly InfraGard (Rocky Mtn area) Meeting will be held on 12/17/03 at 1 pm.  It will be held at the new Salt Lake City Public Library which is located at 210 East 400 South, Salt Lake City, UT.   We will have three speakers for the meeting.  FBI Special Agents Ken Crook , Joint Terrorism Task Force;  Karl Schmae, Homeland Security Task Force; and Lt. Scott Blackburn, Utah Department of Public Safety, Division of Emergency Services and Homeland Security. 
7:11:38 AM    comment []

© Copyright 2005 David Fletcher.

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