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DHS Orders Increased Security at Federal Buildings

On Tuesday, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson announced steps to enhance security at more than 9,500 U.S. federal buildings amid the ongoing threat of attacks from extremist groups. The Federal Protective Service is challenged to secure thousands of buildings where some 1.4 million people pass through each day, and the new steps highlight growing public concern over how ready the United States is to halt threats large and small – and in what way.

Fire Secret Service Director Pierson Today

The long list of recent security breaches around the Executive Office are inexcusable. Secret Service Director Julie Pierson seems more interested in defending her inept agency than she is in protecting the most powerful person in the world. In short, shame on you, Pierson. Be sure to let the door hit you on the way out.

Las Vegas Shooting is an Act of Terrorism

The shooting of two police officers in Las Vegas is the latest example of a growing trend in anti-government extremism, one that has not received appropriate public attention and concern despite presenting a lethal threat to all Americans.

One Year After Boston, Domestic Terror Threat Growing

Today marks the first anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombing. One year later, Boston is preparing for the marathon, and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev awaits trail on murder and terrorism charges. The country may be healing but the threat from domestic terrorism remains.

Border Surveillance is Necessary But at What Price?

There are a host of questions Congress ought to be asking about DHS’ use of Predator unmanned aerial vehicles to provide border surveillance. Congressional staff should know how the Predator’s cost stacks up against other alternative means of surveillance. Perhaps the problem is that decisions on what platform to use for border surveillance are not being made on the basis of risk-reward or cost-benefit.

Lessons in How to Communicate on a ‘Bad Day’

One of the challenges when a tragic event occurs is communicating to the public about it. What do seasoned professionals cite as most important in responding to devastating incidents? I reached out to two friends and former colleagues to get their take on how people should look to respond to “bad days.”

The Elephant in the Room – LAX Shooter is a Terrorist

Paul Anthony Ciancia, the 23-year-old who shot TSA agents at LAX, made his first court appearance this month. Since the shooting, news outlets have reported on the attack itself, on Ciancia’s mental state and on methods for improving security. Yet, in the extensive coverage of the shooter’s actions, there is one word that is conspicuously and erroneously absent: terrorist.

After Navy Yard, Quesitons on Mass Shootings and Mental Health

The recent attack at the Washington Navy Yard, where Aaron Alexis killed twelve people and injured three others, was the latest example of mass shootings that continue to plague the country. Attacks in public areas have precipitated discussions on emergency response, facility security and even gun control. One element in this tragic phenomenon that deserves more attention, however, is the role of mental illness.

In Search for New DHS Secretary, What About a Top Cop?

There is no conclusion yet on who President Obama will nominate to take over at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) when Janet Napolitano leaves next month. While Tom Ridge and Michael Chertoff (both former governors) and Napolitano (a Federal judge) did an admirable job leading the Department, perhaps the next Secretary should bring a stronger law enforcement background. A top cop – like a police chief or commissioner – could be just what the Department needs.

Homegrown Violent Extremism – Holding Up a Mirror to America

Last week, a Las Vegas couple was arrested for plotting to kidnap and kill police officers. This conspiracy to kill police officers is a case of homegrown terrorism, a growing threat to U.S. national security. When we look at the diversity of violent extremist ideologies and thousands of followers who present a threat to the United States, we are looking into a mirror.