President Obama delivered a major counterterrorism speech this afternoon laying out America’s modified approach to this ever-dangerous issue. In it, Obama has once again made a run at closing most of Gitmo. He also is beginning to move the use of drones away from CIA and back to the Defense Department.
May 23rd, 2013 - by Ronald Marks
May 22nd, 2013 - by Rich Cooper
This week, a category 5 tornado ripped through Moore, Oklahoma, leveling the suburban area with winds up to 200 mph. The ability to bounce back and re-establish normalcy as quickly as possible is critical after any disaster. For businesses, resilience is essential because of the important role the private sector plays in community recovery. Yet, not all businesses are aware of what it takes to build resilience into their operations or why it is so important.
May 21st, 2013 - by Justin Hienz
With Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev buried in a Virginia cemetery, the question of what to do with his body is answered. Yet, for more than a week, it was the subject of heated public debate. The case of Tsarnaev raises intriguing questions. What should be done with the bodies of mass murderers? Why are they such a point of contentious debate? Would there have been a similar outcry if Tsarnaev self-identified as Sovereign Citizen or Neo-Nazi?
May 17th, 2013 -
There are 166 detainees at the Guantanamo Bay Detention Center, and more than half are on a hunger strike to protest their imprisonment. The Joint Detention Group at Guantanamo is in an impossible situation. On the one hand, they are obligated to look after the detainees and keep them alive. On the other hand, their efforts to do so are criticized, with some seeming to suggest forced feeding rivals the water-boarding controversy of years past.
May 13th, 2013 - by Justin Hienz
As editor of Security Debrief, I get a lot of interesting e-mails. Yet, a lot of what hits my inbox is just noise. Yesterday, however, I received an e-mail that was unlike any other. The first line of the e-mail read: “I have information which can help to prevent a terrorist attack from happening.”
May 10th, 2013 - by David Olive
Yesterday, the House Homeland Security Committee held the first in what will likely be a series of hearings on the Boston Marathon bombing. Other congressional committees will want to hold separate (and probably duplicative) hearings on the tragic event as well. As I (and others) have written before, in an era when all federal agencies are being forced to cut programs and spending, it would behoove Congress to lead by example and consolidate its oversight, per the 9/11 Commission’s advice offered nearly a decade ago.
May 10th, 2013 - by Jeffrey Sural
This week, the House Homeland Security Committee held its hearing examining the Boston Marathon bombing. Parts of the testimony at the hearing focused on the motives of the bombers and the current belief that the brothers Tsarnaev were radicalized Islamists. Congressman Peter King has focus on this issue, for which he has been regularly criticized. Has he been vindicated?
May 9th, 2013 -
The House Homeland Security Committee held a hearing today to discuss the Boston Marathon bombings. Among the witnesses was Security Debrief contributor Erroll Southers. His testimony presents critical insight into homegrown violent extremism and the steps counterterrorism and law enforcement can and should take to better address the ever-present threat of terrorism.
The civil war in Syria may have begun in March 2011 with peaceful protests against regime policies, but it is now unquestionably a brutal sectarian conflict characterized by massacres and ethnic cleansing. It is now clear that the Syrian humpty dumpty, with its mix of Sunnis, Alawis, Christians, Druze, Kurds, Ismailis, and other communities, cannot be put back together again. One action that could potentially bring stability and advancement to Syria is partition.
The fallout from the Boston bombings three weeks ago continues to impact national security. The country has a renewed enthusiasm for homeland security, and while the Boston bombings slipped up the security radar, if history is any teacher, it would seem the United States should be on high alert in April. Indeed, there appears to be a security phenomenon at work that defies efforts to protect the homeland, particularly during the third week.
May 3rd, 2013 - by Ronald Marks
We now have information on 800,000 people in our terrorist databases. We have “big data,” as the people would say who pretend to know something about it. Big Data, they often claim, will solve the problem. To my mind, we have a big search, analysis and distribution problem, and despite “big data” claims of prowess, connecting the dots before a terrorist strikes is never going to be an easy thing.
May 2nd, 2013 - by L. Vance Taylor
In an era of diminished budgets and vanishing security grants, a recent break in at the Carters Lake Water Treatment Plant in Georgia highlights how the federal government is leaving small water systems, and the communities they serve, hanging in the wind. I’m not suggesting DHS throw obscene amounts of money at rural water systems, but I would argue that these systems can make major strides with small amounts of money.
The Center for International Policy recently released a report entitled “Drones Over the Homeland,” which provides an excellent analysis of CBP’s Unmanned Aerial Vehicle program from inception to the present. It adds significantly to the debate Congress should be having about the wisdom of using UAVs for surveillance. I hope congressional appropriators will take note.
April 26th, 2013 - by David Olive
The Office of the Chief Procurement at DHS sent a “heads-up” notice that ought to get more than passing interest from the private sector. Yesterday, DHS posted a Request for Information on FedBizOpps seeking comments and suggestions on the data fields in the DHS Acquisition Planning Forecast System (APFS). DHS officials have repeatedly promised to update the APFS and make it more user-friendly, and this RFI is evidence they are sticking to their promise.
April 24th, 2013 - by Rich Cooper
As the Boston area recovers from the tragic and unprecedented events of the past week, the lessons learned will be far reaching. Emergency management professionals, like their counterparts in law enforcement, are pretty good culturally at pulling together “after-action” reports that chronicle what they did right and what they can do better next time. Those lessons learned will offer new chapters to study and consider in terms of planning and preparations for any future incidents of this magnitude but in terms of the private sector, there are a number of lessons learned that need to be studied as well.
April 23rd, 2013 - by Ronald Marks
Americans love speed. It is buried deep in their psyche. The good news is we move information fast. The bad news is we sometimes move it too fast. The news of the recent Boston Bombings spread as quickly but far more broadly through social media. The dizzying volume and speed of information was breathtaking. So was the misinformation, rumor and desire to be the first – right or wrong. Thus the challenge of the Internet Age begins – can news be speedy and accurate?
April 23rd, 2013 - by Robert Liscouski
You may not have seen a recent article in Eurasia Review describing how Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb is using Internet games to target children at an early age, luring them into extremist beliefs. While Congress is actively seeking ways to limit the extent of those violent acts, we have a moral obligation to consider how other proven sinister forces might be threatening – with the use of popular media – our children and those predisposed to manipulation.
April 22nd, 2013 - by Justin Hienz
In a democratic society, the government’s job is to serve the people. The same can be said of the press. Of late, however, both pillars in the American experiment have fallen short of their raison d’etre. At the recent National Association of Government Communicators Communications School, I met some government public affairs officers and journalists having a frank and friendly conversation about how we can do better.
April 22nd, 2013 -
One week ago, Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev walked through a crowd at the Boston Marathon and dropped homemade bombs near the finish line, killing three people and injuring more than 180 others. While investigators wait to question Dzhokhar, homeland and national security experts are looking to U.S. processes and policies for identifying violent extremists. Security expert Dave McWhorter spoke to Canada news broadcast CTV about the hunt for the Boston bombers.
You have heard the saying, if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and looks like a duck, it must be a duck. News sources and government officials tell us we live in a world of constant cyber attack, so we must be at war, right? In cyber world, this kind of talk is harmful and obscures the new world in which we really exist. We are not at war – we are in conflict, and some of the tools we are using cross interesting and controversial 20th-century political lines.