In this final installment of my five-part interview with Virginia Task Force 1’s Capt. Joe Knerr and Lt. Rodney Vaughan, the two veteran rescuers reflect on the resiliency of the people of Japan, the lessons they’ve learned along the way and how their experiences in Japan compare with other disasters to which they have responded.
State and Local
May 9th, 2011 - by Rich Cooper
It’s important to recognize when a company puts moral responsibility ahead of quarterly profits. Such is the case of Anheuser-Busch, which, following the aftermath of last month’s deadly tornadoes that killed more than 300 people in Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee, began filling beer cans with the world’s greatest substance: water.
April 20th, 2011 -
The Department of Homeland Security today announced the launch of a new terror alert system. You can learn more at the DHS website, where a page dedicated to the new National Terrorism Advisory System outlines system. New alerts will also be posted to this same page.
April 5th, 2011 - by Janice Kephart
While driver’s licenses and birth certificates remain a tool sought by terrorists to support jihad in the United States, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano is still pushing for repeal of driver’s license and birth certificate standards supported by 9/11 Commission recommendations. Ironically, Secretary Napolitano continues to assail the REAL ID Act’s standards despite new statistics – still held tightly within DHS – showing that 41 states, plus D.C., have embraced REAL ID implementation even without DHS support or new monies.
March 16th, 2011 - by Rich Cooper
Here’s a piece I wrote for the Defense Media Network about Virginia Task Force 1, the International Search and Rescue Team from the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department. With Japan in great need after the 8.9 magnitude earthquake, Virginia Task Force 1 is already deployed in the Ofanuto area of Japan.
Peter King’s Homeland Security hearings on “The Extent of Radicalization in the American Muslim Community and that Community’s Response” convinced me to prepare this post about an initiative established in the DHS/ICE Special Agent in Charge office in New York City. From my perspective, the meetings were productive because they allowed ICE and Muslim communities to speak openly about initiatives, procedures and concerns about profiling.
March 14th, 2011 - by Rich Cooper
The images coming out of quake-damaged Japan are truly indescribable. Incidents like the 8.9 earthquake and its follow-on tsunami give us all a reason to pause from our daily lives to wonder what would we do if something like that happened here. That’s just the question the people behind the National Level Exercise 2011 have been asking themselves for nearly a year, as they have been working to pull all of the pieces together for the full-scale drill on the nation’s preparedness that will take place this coming May.
March 14th, 2011 - by Steve Serrao
How should law enforcement respond to “threats” against government officials, particularly when the “threats” do not rise to the level of criminal activity? Law enforcement has made great strides in collecting data on incidents and behaviors that are suspicious in nature. The advent of Fusion Centers and the Nationwide Suspicious Activity Reporting Initiative (NSI) has laid the framework. If we do not begin to look at the threats against our institutions by people who are aggrieved, violently inclined, or mentally ill, then we will likely see more of this kind of crime.
February 16th, 2011 - by Wendell Shingler
The saga continues on the shootings in Arizona in January, where Representative Gabrielle Giffords and at least 17 others were shot. Sadly, no, the saga is not on the status of the victims nor the families that lost loved ones. Our “News magazines” have now joined the blame game. Not in blaming Jared Loughner – they want to blame everyone and everything else.
February 2nd, 2011 - by David Olive
Homeland Security Today’s Mickey McCarter has written the most thorough piece on SBInet that I have seen in the past several years. While there is a significant amount of new information in this article, the last few paragraphs of McCarter’s story on the cost of UAVs is something that ought to raise eyebrows. I have yet to understand how DHS can cost-justify the use of Predator UAVs for border security and enforcement purposes.
The recent GAO report, “Federal Agencies Have Taken Steps to Improve E-Verify but Significant Challenges Remain,” paints a fairly optimistic picture of what the executive branch has done to improve E-Verify. Although the federal agencies responsible for E-Verify should be asked many tough questions, many of the issues identified in the report could actually be resolved by Congressional action, such as by comprehensively implementing Real ID.
Throughout my 25-year career as a sworn law enforcement officer, and having worked for the past five years internationally with law enforcement agencies on their intelligence management initiatives, I have challenged police executives to understand the key elements of Intelligence-Led Policing (ILP) and to employ this approach systematically. Today, as I travel around North America, I still find police agencies collecting volumes of information and – shockingly – not conducting the required analysis to incorporate this information into their strategic responses.
January 11th, 2011 - by Wendell Shingler
I hope Americans are awake and trying to obtain information from REAL news sources. At what point in our history did we rewrite the role of the press? For most of my life (and that has been a good while), their role was to report the facts of the news and confirm them before they are broadcast to the world. Clearly some have gone to sleep at the switch and believe that writing an editorial or “opinion piece” is now the news.
January 11th, 2011 -
In an article published today in CQ Homeland Security, Security Debrief Contributors Rich Cooper, Sam Rosenfeld, James Carafano and Security Debrief founder Chris Battle weighed in on how the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and others impacts DHS.
January 10th, 2011 - by Rich Cooper
Like the majority of the country, I’ve found myself moved by the tragic events of this past weekend’s shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and more than dozen others outside a Safeway in Tucson, AZ. With breaking news reports coming over the car radio on the car ride home, my 10-year-old son listened intently and asked a question that I think all of us asked ourselves in one shape or another: “Dad why would this guy just starting shooting at people? It’s bad enough he shot that lady but a 9 year old girl? Why?”
Sheriff Dupnik’s politicization of Arizona shootings a sad day for politics, law enforcement and the pursuit of justice
January 10th, 2011 - by Chris Battle
What kind of law enforcement professional would blithely discuss possible motives about a heinous and shocking crime to the media, to national television, while the investigation was ongoing? What kind of law enforcement professional would do such things without a shred of evidence? And, most important, what kind of man would make such an incendiary, partisan and politicized charges in the midst of chaos and grief when nineteen people had been killed or wounded during a tragedy that has led to national mourning?
January 7th, 2011 -
The Washington Post is reporting that a suspicious packaged ignited at a Washington, DC post office that screens mail sent to federal agencies.
December 10th, 2010 - by Sam Rosenfeld
Providing accurate coverage of any protest event, especially an event where there is violence, is difficult at the best of times; the media often misunderstand or misrepresent what actually happened. However, it is rare that the media coverage of an event is as inaccurate or misleading as some of the reports I have seen concerning the violence at the student protest in London yesterday. Much of what has been written and broadcast about yesterday’s incidents does not stand up to the facts. Without naming and shaming individual media groups, there were many glaring errors.
By Elaine Bussjaeger
The notion of the “citizen watch” is tried and tested. In communities throughout the country, neighborhood watch programs operate on a simple principle – you watch my back, and I’ll watch yours. In the ever-advancing technological age, how can this basic concept be modified for a new generation of smart phone-using, social media-minded citizens? The Department of Homeland Security, with its Small Vessel Security Strategy, has taken steps to rally citizens through social media as a kind of nautical “neighborhood watch.”
November 30th, 2010 - by David Olive
Over the Thanksgiving week, I could not get a story from the Houston Chronicle’s Dane Schiller out of my head – “Will eye in the sky over Texas ever shift its gaze to Mexico?” The article’s prime focus is whether Predators can be used to peer across the border into Mexico. Schiller, who regularly covers drug cartel and immigration activity along the southwest border, does America a great service in publicly stating what has been one of the so-called “dirty secrets” about the use of Predator UAVs for border enforcement purposes. The Border Patrol agents who are in pursuit and most in need of information from expensive technology are not seeing anything produced by Predator cameras.