Biological weapons present a potentially catastrophic threat to the United States, and one way the nation’s security professionals have sought to mitigate this threat is through BioWatch, a detection warning system. The program’s flaws and high costs have prompted some to call for the end of BioWatch, but as I wrote in a recent piece for the LA Times, this is not a good idea.
December 12th, 2012 - by Steven Bucci
December 10th, 2012 - by Ronald Marks
There are few spots left around the world without Internet access, and few people who cannot reach out to access it. It has been relatively free of state interference and American dominated. However, the Net has had mounting problems, and 2012 has marked the end of the old Internet as we knew it. The days of an American-controlled freewheeling Internet with unlimited access and relatively cost-free access are over.
December 5th, 2012 - by Guest Contributor
By Michael Beland
With Election Day behind us, Washington is engaging in the Potomac Two-Step that is the Interregnum—with one foot dancing to the tune of the 112th Congress and the other to the potential activities of the 113th. There are areas, especially in the homeland security arena, where the Executive and Legislative Branches should plan to work together to make significant progress for the country in the next Congress.
December 3rd, 2012 - by Stephen Heifetz
In the logistics business, there is little tolerance for uncertainty. The supply chain, from the producer to the consumer, must be finely tuned so goods arrive at the right destination within tight time frames. TSA rules, particularly security procedures for processing cargo transported by air, can dramatically affect supply chain performance. Yet, there are no TSA enforcement guidelines detailing the agency’s discretion in enforcing noncompliance with air cargo security rules.
November 28th, 2012 - by David Olive
On Tuesday morning, the White House issued a new fact sheet and posted a blog on the President’s blog site concerning the newly created White House Homeland Security Partnership Council. Both documents go a long way toward answering some of the questions raised over the origin and purpose of the new Council. Is this a serious effort? If the nomination process is still going on in six months, the answer will be in the negative.
Since Israel’s last incursion into Gaza in December 2008, Hamas and its fellow “resistance organizations” in Gaza have been taking advantage of weak Egyptian control over the Sinai Peninsula to hasten the smuggling of medium and short-range rockets. Hamas’s strategy is to attempt to deter Israel from launching attacks against the organization by amassing a rocket arsenal that will allow it to strike deep into Israel. It is highly unlikely that this latest round of fighting will fundamentally change a reality in which Hamas continues to rule in Gaza and Israel lacks any realistic alternatives to changing the equation.
November 19th, 2012 - by David Olive
Congratulations are in order for the amazing success recently achieved by CBP’s Office of Air and Marine. CBP plans to award a sole source contract to General Atomics to buy up to 14 Predator UAVs, at a potential cost of $443,090,000 over a 60-month period. So, congratulations to CBP. While the rest of the DHS mission will be subject to budget cuts amid the sequestration debate, and seemingly without concern for those personnel who will be laid off, CBP is telling the rest of us we can be comfortable knowing that giant drones will be patrolling the skies above the U.S. borders for up to 20 hours at a time at the mere cost of $3,500 per hour.
Honoring our country’s military is important. For those who lay down their life to uphold the freedoms we cherish, we rightly celebrate their service, not just on Veterans Day, but year round. Celebrations took place across the country on Sunday, but while thousands of veterans received their just tribute, there was at least one soldier who did not. After 37 years of honorable service, four-star General David Petraeus’ reputation is being dragged through the streets and dissected in media reports. This is not how we honor our veterans.
November 7th, 2012 - by David Olive
On October 26, the White House quietly issued an Executive Order entitled: “Establishing the White House Homeland Security Partnership Council.” For the life of me I cannot figure out why this was released. I’m not sure that anyone from the White House or the Department of Homeland Security is willing to say why it was necessary or that they can explain how this isn’t duplicative of efforts already underway.
Whether or not President Barack Obama gets another term or Gov. Mitt Romney pulls out a victory, it can be anticipated that after four years, current DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano will move on. So who is in the wings to take her spot? Listed below are some of the names of people that I think would be on a short list of a second term Obama White House or a new Romney White House.
Over the past several days, we’ve seen some remarkable examples of leadership in times of challenge. For as good as all of these efforts may be, however, there is one decision that makes no sense to me. The decision to proceed with the New York City Marathon this weekend is the wrong decision. Let’s put a few things on the table here first.
November 1st, 2012 -
By Doug Doan
So far, none of the presidential candidates have mentioned much about Homeland Security. With so many other problems, issues surrounding how best to organize, manage and lead the vast DHS bureaucracy are just not that important. Too bad. I would have liked to see the candidates talk about what they might do. Here is an agenda that I happily provide.
The images from Hurricane Sandy are jaw dropping. From flooded subway stations, waterfalls into the Ground Zero area, destroyed piers, boardwalks and homes, Hurricane Sandy – “The Frankenstorm” – was a big one that Mid-Atlantic States, New Jersey and NYC have long feared. Right now, we don’t know the full costs in lost lives or destroyed infrastructure and homes, but we do know this – it’s going to take some time to get things back to any sense of normal in the affected regions.
October 22nd, 2012 - by Stephen Heifetz
U.S. government agencies often seek more power. They generally do that by asking Congress for a new law conferring additional authority or by simply asserting the power based on old law. The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, or CFIUS, has made a recent bold play that follows the second path. CFIUS now has asserted that it is a full-scale regulator, with the power to issue orders on its own.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and his congressional colleagues’ proposed Cyber Security Act of 2012 is the wrong solution for America’s cybersecurity problem. The split is not between Democrats and Republicans; it is between competing views of the way to better security. The main reason these efforts are wrong is that they are based on a regulatory model. This sort of solution is a 19th-century answer for a 21st-century problem.
Many companies are examining the possibility of switching to Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) as a method of significantly reducing their IT infrastructure capital costs. Here is but another example of how short-term versus strategic thinking is creating havoc in American business. The dangers associated with BYOD far outweigh the short-term benefits. Convenience and a perception of cost reductions appear to again be trumping sound security practices.
October 10th, 2012 - by Rich Cooper
Since news of the shooting of a fourteen year old Pakistani girl by a Taliban gunman, a ninth grader named Malal Yousafzai broke, I’ve wrestled with feelings of heartbreak and sheer anger. This young woman could be my own daughter, another happy ninth grader, and what happened to her is nothing short of despicable. Much of the world finds the Taliban abhorrent, but what I find just as disturbing is the deafening silence coming from the streets of Pakistan, Afghanistan and other places in this region. People seem to be willing to riot over a stupid YouTube video, but when the blood of child is spilled, where is the outrage?
An interesting thing happened this weekend – two diverse voices came in violent agreement on the threats America faces today. First, CBS reporter Laura Logan, a renowned Middle East war correspondent; then, Governor Mitt Romney, in a foreign policy speech at the Virginia Military Institute this past weekend. They separately emphasized that only by showing strength to foreign radical groups will we ever hope to have a degree of safety.
The White House’s 2009 Cyber Review estimated the loss of intellectual property from companies as a result of cyber-based hacking in 2008 alone exceeded $1 trillion in value. FBI Director Mueller said in 2009 that his Bureau was aware of 3200 Chinese front companies operating in the United States. Kudos to House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers for telling the American public about the significant efforts of countries like China to utilize every means available to spy on American companies – something the National Economic Security Grid has designated as the “Advanced Persistent Asymmetrical Threat.”
October 1st, 2012 - by Ronald Marks
After twenty years of rapid growth, we now stand with an unregulated and uncontrolled Internet vulnerable to attack and disruption from anywhere and by anyone on the planet. We have minced around the edges of doing something about this essential part of our daily lives for years. The time has come to declare reality. It is a public utility. It affects all Americans lives. It needs to be regulated by the government.