Index > Intelligence & Situational Awareness: Best Practices
February 11, 2011: Investment in infrastructure to meet the challenges posed by global climate change may spur economic growth and promote stability, a group of British engineering firms said recently. According to the BBC a new report found that communities will need "an infrastructure system that is more resilient to climate change. This will require Government, the public and private sectors and professional sectors such as engineers to come together and proactively meet the challenge of creating a climate resilient infrastructure system for the country."
January 2011: Australian government authorities are working overtime to try and help the communities of Queensland in the midst of epic flooding, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported. More than 9,000 homes in Brisbane, the country's third largest city, are expected to be impacted by flood waters, while the city's downtown central business center cut it's electricity, the BBC reported.
November 17 '08: As wildfires destroy homes in Southern California, social networking sites have been used by community first responders and citizens to spread important information, updates and maps in real-time. The fires have burned more than 1,000 homes, forced tens of thousands of residents to evacuate and have claimed over 20,000 acres in the past four days, Reuters reported. CNN reported Monday that at least one of the fires has been linked to human activity.
November 10 '08: Researchers working on disaster response communication technologies have announced new advancements in understanding how radio frequencies behave in difficult areas such as collapsed buildings, mine shafts and tunnels, CNN reported. Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology told the cable news channel that a "sweet spot" frequency has been found which allows radio communication to travel the farthest.
August 8 '08: The National Institute of Standards and Technology announced recently the creation of a new radio communications technology that can extend the range of radio communications for first responders working in buildings, underground and in other similarly difficult areas. The mesh network and breadcrumb system, Computer World reported, uses "relay devices [which] run software that can notify emergency crews when they need to place another of the breadcrumbs along their route to extend the range of communications down a hallway or tunnel."
July 24 '08: Last year, organizers from America's Emergency Network (AEN) announced a new public/private partnership providing a suite of communications technologies for the general public and state, local and federal emergency response officials and government agencies. AEN provides a website containing video feeds and bulletins issued by OEMs and other government agencies in addition to AEN-TV (for emergency response and government agencies) as well the radio based AlertFM warning system.
May 07 '08: The Twin Cities Security Partnership (TCSP), was a partnership Target founded with the FBI in 2004. The TCSP brings together community safety agencies at all levels including police, sheriffs, the ATF and even the Secret Service with major employers in the area to build relationships, receive training and share information on potential community security issues.
April 24 '08: The Network Centric Operations Industry Consortium, an international non-profit which works to integrate existing open standards communications frameworks around the globe, recently announced a new study and key findings of its Network-enabled Emergency Response project. The NEER project had two-key assertions: that every response organization should migrate all communications to IP capability; and that there should be a nation-wide "map-defined electronic registry of all emergency response organizations, their responsibilities and their information routing information."
April 23 '08: Honeywell announced in a press release that it would be partnering with Butler University to deploy Honeywell's Instant Alert© emergency notification system. The emergency alert service was announced last summer.
April 23 '08: The Quake Catcher Network, a group of seismologists in California, have formed to employ the use of personal laptops connected to the Internet to help monitor seismic activity in the San Francisco Bay and Greater Los Angeles Basin areas, MIT's Technology Review reported. Essentially, the network uses potentially hundreds of connected laptops' built-in motion sensors to measure minute movements over a large area.
April 15 '08: In a press release, a partnership was announced between LG USA and the Harris Corporation to deliver the MPH "in-band mobile" digital technology solution which will allow information to be sent to first responders and the general public through the digital spectrum and even when users are traveling at high speeds and using hand-held PDAs.
April 9 '08: In a press release, Proactive Communications Inc. and Digital Consulting Services announced the completion of a new satellite-based communications network which was built for the Florida National Guard. Officials said the new network would be online for the 2008 hurricane season.
March 31 '08: This year's FIRST Conference in Vancouver, British Columbia in June will focus on how businesses, government, organizations and communities can begin to address the challenges and security implications of an ever-interconnected world through the Internet. In a conference PDF, organizers said the event would target "making security a global issues with responsibilities shared globally [with] a proactive global response" to "asymmetric threats" such as terrorism and computer hacking.
March 31 '08: The Software Engineering Institute at Carnegie Mellon and the Financial Services Technology Consortium have announced the release of the CERT (R) Resiliency Engineering Framework a press release announced. The software provides a roadmap for organizations and businesses "to establish, manage and evaluate operational resiliency which encompasses both security and business continuity."
March 26 '08: In a press release, Envisage has announced that it will partner with the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy to provide the company's Acadis Readiness Suite to help automate the statewide management of the academy's training, certification, employment and officer records.
March 14 '08: The medical technology provider Welch Allyn announced recently it had developed a new wireless bedside data solution to transfer electronic medical records to a central database a press release announced. The new solution allows medical personnel to transfer records remotely and quickly and gives other personnel immediate access to that information.
March 11 '08: The technical and management services company Proxtronics, based in Springfield, VA has developed a Mobile Transportation Radiation Monitoring System (MOTRAMS) which measures and establishes baseline radiation levels along roadways, railways, waterways and within communities.
March 3 '08: Wi4Net has announced a new partnership with the City of Milwaukee to install wireless surveillance cameras and a network monitoring facility, a press release announced. Along with the partnership is Pivot3 Inc., makers of high capacity and high definition digital storage.
February 29 '08: Continuity Central has reported a new development from IBM that allows a 3-D virtualization of a business environment. According to the company's press release the new solution can bring in "real-time data from different facilities into a 3-D environment to visualize hot spots, data flow, server utilization and more to better monitor and manage the entire IT platform."
February 26 '08: The Washington Post reported that DHS will be working with two area companies to make sure the federal agency itself is prepared to handle a disaster and to ensure a continuity of operations. The companies, ICF International and its partner Lockstep Consulting "will help the department identify its mission-critical functions. The plan also will incorporate daily business functions," the Post reported.
February 22 '08: The City of Yuma, Arizona activated the Regional Communication System (YRCS) in 2007 as a way to "develop a shared public safety radio environment." The YRCS is a partnership that uses a P25 700/800 MHz trunked radio system with about 1,200 current users who include the Cocopah Indian Tribe, the US Army Yuma Proving Ground, and the local county and regional law enforcement, fire and EMS services.
February 21 '08: United Press International reported that Raytheon's Integrated Defense Systems has developed and will deploy an SUV-mounted radiation detection system that will be used by the Department of Homeland Security's Domestic Nuclear Detection Office, a press release read.
February 20 '08: A new report has been released by ESRI which outlines the dynamics of pushing geographically-based information to a user during a crisis. Parting from the traditional pull of information, having incoming data allows "the user to make better and more informed decisions."
February 19 '08: Sprint's Nextel Direct Connect push-to-talk service customers can now communicate using Motorola's MOTOBRIDGE IP solution, Washington Technology reported. "The new connectivity means that now any of the 20 million Direct Connect users can communicate with users of other radio systems, either on a day-to-day basis or during an emergency," WashTech reported.
February 14 '08: HSDailyWire.com reported that Ahura Scientific has released a new handheld chemical ID device which "allows first responders to analyze" compounds in the field. The device, called the TruDefender FT is three pounds and uses Fourier-Transform Infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy, the company's press release said.
February 13 '08: International IT consulting and resource management company EDS has been participating in several case studies involving the cities of Anaheim, California and Montreal, Quebec among others. Specifically, EDS helped the municipalities to increase their ability to respond to disasters, streamline information sharing among stakeholders, and to integrate computer aided dispatch systems and launch virtual emergency management solutions.
February 13 '08: In Miami-Dade County, Florida emergency management officials told Government Computer News back in 2004 that they were operating their response operations based on 25-year-old technology. To help the county with a more modernized telecommunications solution, Basking Ridge, New Jersey-based Avaya helped install a voice over IP community response solution.
February 12 '08: Purdue University and the state of Indiana have partnered to develop a radiation detection technology which could be put into regular cell phones. In a press release, the university said that the technology would "use a network of cell phones to detect and track radiation to help prevent terrorist attacks with radiological 'dirty bombs' and nuclear weapons."
February 11 '08: Miami Dade College will join the local Miami wireless emergency network system (WENS) Campus Technology reported. The Miami-Dade County network's capability is provided by Inspiron Logistics and it will allow officials to use a multi-media platform to release information, announcements and alerts to students, faculty and staff at the college.
February 7 '08: RAE Systems was selected to deploy a wireless AreaRAE toxic gas and radiation sensor network during the TOPOFF 4 exercises held in Guam and Oregon last October, a press release announced.
February 6 '08: On its official blog, Google has announced a series of five initiatives, including one that will locate and respond to areas around the globe where infectious disease and pandemic have arisen. The Predict and Prevent program will work to pinpoint locations of disease as well as identify resources, manpower, information and data which can respond, mitigate current or prevent additional outbreaks.
February 5 '08: A new report has been released by the UK-based Oxford Group, which works to find sustainable solutions to security questions facing the UK and the rest of the world. The new report outlines the potential challenges law enforcement agencies will face in the coming years if changes in the climate begin to stress resources among communities in both the developed and developing world.
February 5 '08: Announced in a press release, state and local government information and disaster officials will be able to attend a webinar hosted by CIBER that will teach "how to effectively coordinate emergency management activities across multiple government agencies." On hand to deliver the webinar will be AJ Briding, Certified Emergency Manager and Jerry Snees, USMC (Ret.), Office of Emergency Preparedness for the City of New Orleans.
February 4 '08: The Sacramento Bee reported a consortium of technologies companies who have partnered with the City of Sacramento to install a wireless Internet infrastructure. Construction will begin will be done by May and includes a consortium of Azulstar (formally Ottawa Wireless), Cisco Systems, Intel and SeaKay, wireless industry publication Unstrung.com reported.
February 4 '08: The Chesapeake Innovation Center in Anne Arundel County, Maryland has been helping businesses develop strategic homeland security-related models and focus. Recently two new companies, MGB Ltd. Spearhead Innovations which develops handheld container inspection devices and in-container detection technology, and OnLine LinkUp which builds "affinity networking websites" have joined.
January 31 '08: For the upcoming Super Bowl XLII in Glendale, Arizona, Allied Defense Group Inc. will be providing the surveillance solution through its subsidiary, NS Microwave, a press release announced.
January 30 '08: Spacenet has announced a new Emergency Communications Vehicle (ECV) "for disaster recovery and first responder organizations," the press release said. Spacenet's ECV "can typically be deployed in ten minutes or less and provides converged data, voice and video communications." The ECV vehicle is based on a HUMMER 2 and can be connected to Spacenet's Connexstar satellite service - the same technology used in the EPIC interoperable solution.
January 30 '08: The Washington Post reported Montgomery County, Maryland police officials who have partnered with Crimereports.com, a website run by Public Engines Inc. who are based in Salt Lake City, Utah. Crimereports.com provides an online mashup of location-based criminal reporting and in recent past has worked with the San Jose Police Department.
January 29 '08: In San Francisco last October, the city announced a new secure web-based information-sharing portal for first responders and community stakeholders, a press release announced. Working with Collaborative Fusion, a consulting, technology, first response and homeland security firm, the city has developed the www.HelpBayArea.org.
January 29 '08: In a press release, 3N (The National Notification Network) announced a new partnership to install an emergency notification network at Dickinson College in Carlisle, PA. The company said it plans to install the InstaCom mass notification system to act as a "virtual operations center," during a crisis.
January 23 '08: Avaya's Mobile Communications System was announced in 2006 and allows businesses and emergency management personnel the ability to establish remote communications capabilities using "self-contained communications units specifically designed for use in mobile or temporary locations." In January of 2007, Raytheon's JPS Communications said that its two-way radio communication technology ACU-2000 IP was MCS compliant - giving more range to the overall communications system.
January 23 '08: The Department of Homeland Security has launched a new resource website called the National Resource Framework Resource Center. The website's goal is to allow for emergency management officials, community organizations, religious organizations and public officials to come together and share best practices and ideas as well as find solutions to some of their preparedness and response questions.
January 23 '08: Contingency Planning & Outsourcing Inc., has developed a disaster recovery planing and management software (CPOTracker System) solution which provides a "series of templates ... [for] quick, effective and viable" recovery and planning. The software was developed to help companies navigate managing resources, government licensing and compliance issues as well as reporting on incidents, readiness, response and outreach.
January 22 '08: Regional school officials in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho said last summer that they would begin to use the Prepared Response Inc.,'s Rapid Response© crisis management system. Rapid Response© has been used in other parts of the country such as South Carolina.
January 18 '08: In a press release, the CompuDyne Corp. subsidiary Tiburon Inc., announced a new partnership with Anne Arundel County, Maryland to build "an integrated public safety system" which will use a computer-aided dispatch (CAD) system like the one recently installed last spring in Minneapolis.
January 17 '08: Core Street announced a partnership with the Los Angles Urban Area Security Initiative in 2006 to use the company's PIVMAN System credential verification technology. The PIVMAN System was selected by SuperCom, now known as Vuance.
January 14 '08: Enivsage has announced a new collaboration with the Army at Fort Gordon & Signal Center to manage the training of soldiers. Using the company's Acadis Readiness Suite Envisage will be able reduce the time and amount of resources necessary to build complex training and education scenarios.
January 11 '08: Vocera Communications has built a wireless communications device which uses WiFi, VoIP and speech recognition to connect doctors, nurses and EMS personnel working in hospitals. The technology operates over a wireless LAN (802.11) and is controlled by a small talking device which can be worn on the sleeve of scrubs or a jacket.
January 10 '08: Law enforcement agencies in Missouri are pooling their federal money, instead of focusing on regional programs, to fund a state-wide information-sharing program, Congressional Quarterly reported. Of note in this partnership is that local officials have said that by combining their resources, they are able to increase the breadth and scope of their abilities to take advantage of the Missouri Data Exchange project. The agencies will be using the COPLINK information and database suite, a press release announced. The technology was designed by Knowledge Computing Corp.
January 7 '08: The Louisville Courier-Journal reported that Motorola will begin the final steps in building an interoperable communications network for the metro area. The MetroSafe program was begun in 2005 and will link the Louisville emergency responders, police, fire and EMS into one communications network.
January 4 '08: Raytheon began a pilot program in early 2007 among six communities in the Quad City area in the Midwest. The Public Safety Communications Pilot program's goals were to increase interoperability, deliver broadband access for first responders to remote areas, and to introduce new services and applications which would enhance the response process.
December 20 '07: In a press release, the grain and energy cooperative CHS Inc., has announced a new emergency notification system which they will implement to "act as a fundamental component of the CHS emergency preparedness and continuity plan."
December 12 '07: Government Executive reported that the Coast Guard is expanding its coverage and use of the Rescue 211 system - a digital disaster and emergency response communications framework which will replace the National Distress Response System. The new wireless "command-and-control system" is being built by General Dynamics C4 Systems based in Scottsdale, Arizona.
December 7 '07: A Fox News affiliate in Portland, Oregon reported that while the recent storms knocked out power and some basic cell and phone services for thousands of residents, local amateur ham radio operators were hailed as essential components in the response and recovery.
December 6 '07: EWeek.com reported a new voluntary locally-targeted pilot project in New York called Notify NYC being launched December 10 which will "give New Yorkers in the pilot communities' access to [emergency alert] information while serving as a proving ground for different technologies," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said. New York-based Send Word Now will provide the digital messaging service.
November 21 '07: Officer.com reported that during the holiday season with record numbers of travelers, federal, state and local officials urge safety using the National Unified Goal for Traffic Incident Management. Use of the system will help increase public safety awareness in addition to creating a more "unified" approach to making travel more safe, officials said.
November 20 '07: When the I-35W Bridge collapsed in Minneapolis in August, residents near the crash sent cell phone pictures to responder officials; posted them onto Fickr sites and exchanged them over the city's wireless network. Officials used the open-sharing of data using private networks and existing private sector resources to help with response operations - something that Frontline Wireless wants to try and harness.
November 12 '07: NetworkWorld reported last week that NASA has partnered with the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta to help track and monitor the spread of diseases using a network of 14 orbital satellites. Through the Applied Sciences Program "data [are] collected daily to monitor environmental changes. That information is then passed on to agencies," like the CDC.
November 6 '07: Two geospatial technology companies have partnered to provide responders in California with detailed images of last month's wildfires, GISUSer.com reported recently. The companies, TerraGo Technologies and GeoEye took the large file images, each totaling about 19 gigs each, and compressed them into pictures only 600 mb each so that the pictures could distributed more easily.
October 24 '07: In Southern California, as wildfires continue to burn, close to 1 million people have been evacuated while President Bush declared a state of emergency allowing for federal aid and resources to be sent to the state. Officials have said they have learned from Hurricane Katrina, the LA Times reported.
October 11 '07: In a press release emergency response coordination and technology company ENVISAGE announced their charter membership with the Corporate Crisis Response Officers Association to help build upon the Essential Public Network. ENVISAGE officials said they hoped to help CCORA with technology, interoperability and data standards within the EPN to boost the network's capability.
October 9 '07: Neighborhood America, the organization which provides sponsorship for the National Blueprint, has announced a new enterprise social network solution for businesses, governments and organizations which can help with emergency preparedness and response. The networking technology uses Software as a Service which can help build secure and targeted social networks much like the Essential Public Network.
September 28 '07: In the aftermath of disasters and emergencies, many communities must find ways to recover without the help of state or federal assistance for the first 72 hours. To support response operations, businesses within that community can provide valuable assistance - with existing resources in the location of the recovery process - through cooperation with local, state and federal emergency responders and first responders. One of the ways to help coordinate such resources and information is through a network much like the Essential Public Network, launched today by the Corporate Crisis Response Officers Association.
September 27 '07: On the ESRI homepage a press release announced a new emergency vehicle tracking and situational awareness technology which has been installed on Charleston, South Carolina's EMS fleet. The new geographic information system (GIS) was first installed earlier this year and has since been approved to put into use in selected emergency response vehicles.
September 17 '07: Ten Native Nations will cooperate with the Department of Justice in a pilot program to help expand the AMBER Alert program, a press release read. Federal organizers said they hoped the ten initiatives would help strengthen information sharing among law enforcement agencies between the community, tribal, state and federal authorities.
September 13 '07: As the ninth tropical depression of the 2007 hurricane season forms off the coast of Texas and Louisiana, local and state governments are gearing up for the heavy rains and high winds. To keep communications operations before, during and after the storm and to help raise awareness about how to maintain contact with family members, AT&T has posted its best practices and preparedness plan for the company and for communities.
September 6 '07: Responders in South Florida are learning to use a new national location system to train for disasters, Naples Daily News reported. Using the National Grid System, the Southwest Florida Urban Search and Rescue learned how to send information about the location of disasters and their victims.
August 29 '07: Lockheed Martin has developed a new wearable technology which allows soldiers or first responders in the field to record information in real-time, a press release announced. The technology - called Wearable Intelligent Reporting Environment (WIRE) is a "spoken-language-understanding system".
August 24 '07: A new type of technology platform is now available to first responders which would allow changes to communications equipment to be done through software upgrades instead of having to replace hardware, Emerging Technology reported. The technology, called software-defined-radio will be able to change frequency capabilities using a program that can be changed on -the-fly.
August 24 '07: The San Jose Mercury News reported recently that a new video game/virtual reality training program has been developed by scientists at the Sandia National Laboratories. The game is called "Ground Truth" and it simulates various scenarios.
August 22 '07: Earlier last week when initial forecasts had predicted a possible Texas landfall for Hurricane Dean, Texas officials immediately began to plan their response and evacuation scenarios. The Houston Chronicle reported that Governor Rick Perry and state emergency officials would have worked under the National Incident Management System (NIMS) to coordinate a broad-base of operational management and cooperation.
August 22 '07: A planned emergency response exercise in Salinas, California will partner the Monterey Sheriff's Office, the Salinas Police Explorer Volunteers and the Girl Scouts of Monterey Bay at the Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital and it will simulate a bio-emergency response using the Portable Isolation Containment System.
August 10 '07: United Press International reported in Philadelphia a new emergency communication system which has gone online. The announcement was made by officials working with the Emergency Management and Public Safety Office in the Southeastern Counter Terrorism Task Force. The system was built by Roam Secure and its Roam Secure Alert Network services.
August 10 '07: Government Technology reported that the City of Tallahassee has been recognized by the Public Technology Institute for its Public Safety Project, a city-wide interoperable communications network.
August 10 '07: The Edmond Sun reported local hospitals are taking steps to integrate security and preparedness operations into their programs to help staff become more prepared. The Edmond Medical Center and Mercy Health Center train their staff through the first receivers certification course, and the hospital systems will now be linked via wireless Internet.
August 9 '07: Thousands of people were without power and city subway's were completely shut down on Wednesday morning after a series of intense thunderstorms hit the New York Metropolitan area, the New York Times reported.
August 7 '07: Using a computer-generated model of the United States, tech experts and the Department of Homeland Security are studying the ways in which a potential terrorist attack, natural disaster or infrastructure collapse might affect the nation's cities and communities, Bloomberg reported. The simulation programs are being run through a partnership with the Sandia National Laboratories, DHS and Los Alamos Laboratory.
August 2 '07 MojoPac has released new software which lets the user carry their vital applications and information with them - allowing them to boot up into any PC. According to the company's website, the MojoPac software "virtualizes the Windows operating system ... [while] installed applications and application configuration are all encapsulated ... so that they can be moved from one physical machine to another without dependency on the hardware or the Windows operating system."
July 31 '07: Local officials in San Ramon Valley are considering partnering with a medical information distribution service which would compile residents' information that could then be used to build smart lists of special needs during emergencies, the Contra Costa Times reported. Some of the obstacles facing the implementation of the plan include pricing, privacy and security.
July 26 '07: In Duval County, Florida, a new emergency alert system has been installed that will target specific areas of Jacksonville and the surrounding community in the event of an emergency with up to 60,000 telephone calls an hour, the Jacksonville Business Journal reported. The technology used, CodeRed is preloaded with the targeted community's phone numbers while businesses can be added.
July 11 '07: In a press release, Honeywell announced a new web-based notification system for the healthcare industry and academia. Instant Alert© Plus can send 100,000 30-second phone calls about disasters, terrorist attacks, or other emergencies to cell phones, pagers, email, PDS's or regular land-line phones.
July 10 '07: Kershaw County school system in South Carolina announced recently that it has installed an emergency and crisis management system for the 2007-2008 school year according to GIS User.com article posted by the network's company, Prepared Response Inc..
July 9 '07: New York City officials announced recently that they would begin a video surveillance network in Downtown Manhattan similar to the Ring of Steel network in London, the New York Times reported. The $90 million network will include license plate readers, about 3,000 public and private cameras as well as license plate readers.
July 2 '07: The San Francisco Chronicle reported that along with resident evacuations and the dangerous conditions created by the wildfires in the Lake Tahoe area - emergency managers and firefighters are having to contend with "disaster tourists" - people who sneak into the disaster areas to watch the response.
June 18 '07: Citizens for Rail Safety recently partnered with Penn State to release a new report which looks at current security measures in place to protect the nation's railroads and ways to highlight "glaring holes" so that they can avert the threat of a terrorist attack.
June 14 '07: Two global communications and network companies have partnered to create a mobile emergency response command center which can be used for field operational management for the 2007 hurricane season, a press release announced. The companies, PacStar and SpaceNet will design the Emergency Preparedness Integrated Communications system.
June 13 '07: The Department of Homeland Security has announced a new section for their Lessons Learned Information-Sharing website for special needs populations. The new section will host information about response and recovery operations for disabled and impaired populations. The section also represents a growing focus on those who depend upon the community to respond and prepare for disasters.
June 7 '07: According to officials in Louisiana, during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the single largest hurdle to response and rescue operations was the complete breakdown of communication among all levels of government, first responding agencies and emergency management operations. The Times Picayune reported that a new $32 million emergency communications system was installed which will allow officials from multiple parishes communicate with each other.
June 6 '07: The Payson Roundup in Arizona reported that the telemedicine group Humanitarian Emergency Logistics and Preparedness, or HELP is in discussion with several large technology companies to develop ways to increase telemedicine's reach into remote areas to provide medical response and relief.
June 5 '07: According to Washington Technology, the Department of Homeland Security's Science & Technology Directorate has released a notice and request for public comments on its TechSolutions program.
May 17 '07: Florida Gov. Charlie Crist said on Monday that gas stations along the state's hurricane evacuation routes must install emergency backup generators, NBC 6 and the Associated Press reported. However, Crist sent a letter to about 254 of the gas stations which have not installed the mandatory generators, the NBC affiliate reported.
May 11 '07: Several large fires around the country are burning while firefighters and local residents work to contain the blazes, the Associated Press reported. Meanwhile, CNN has provided a national map showing the wildfires.
May 4 '07: Two California counties are joining their radio response networks to improve communication and information-sharing, the Contra Costa Times reported. The new joined system would be digital and would "allow public safety agencies in both counties to communicate directly with each other via radio."
May 1 '07: According to a press release from the U.S. Northern Command, the U.S., and Canadian governments will cooperate with state and local authorities in Alaska, Indiana and Rhode Island, among other northern East Coast states during the response exercise called Ardent Sentry-Nothern Edge 07. The exercise will be the largest NORTHCOM has organize and will be held from April 30 to May 18.
April 19 '07: California National Guard troops and Los Angeles first responders are participating in a major emergency response exercise code named "Operation Vector", the Los Angeles Times reported. The three-day training exercise will include "a Hollywood-style convergence of" and earthquake coupled with a bioterror attack.
April 19 '07: Responders in Jennings County, Indiana will practice a simulated response to a nuclear threat at the Muscatatuck Urban Training Center the Associated Press reported. More than 1,000 National Guard troops are expected to attend the exercise which will be held May 10 - 18.
April 16 '07: A computer aided-dispatch (CAD) 911 call system in Minneapolis is helping law enforcement, fire and medical personnel respond to emergency calls in the city, a press release announced. The system was built over the course of two years and came online in March 2007.
April 16 '07: The Toledo Free Press reported that with money from the Department of Homeland Security and the state of Ohio, the Owens Community College has built a 110-acre, $20.5 million emergency preparedness training facility for first responders near the Toledo area.
April 12 '07: More than a half-dozen counties in Iowa will participate in emergency preparedness drills simulating a pandemic, Radio Iowa reported. The exercises also will include a full-scale exercise with law enforcement and EMT's as well as county and local health officials.
April 12 '07: The second full week in April is National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week. The week, honoring those in the emergency response industry who are instrumental in sending the right and timely information to those in the field, was mandated by Congress in 1994 after several states, prompted by California, began to recognize the responders' efforts.
April 5 '07: Virginia first responders in the City of Alexandria and in Arlington County are the first in the country to receive First Responder Authentication Credentials for quick field identification and response, WTOP reported. The FRAC cards, as they are called, are encoded with vital biographical and technical information and can be read by a wireless device.
April 3 '07: The World Health Organization and members of response communities in Japan and Southeast Asia participated in a simulated bird flu pandemic response exercise, Agence France-Presse reported. More than 1,000 experts and responders were involved in the exercises in Manila, Philippines.
April 3 '07: A new report released by the Government Accountability Office has found that federal coordination and oversight of state-run interoperable communications upgrades and programs lacked a strategy to integrate the various plans being put into place around the country. More than $2 billion in federal was given between 2003 and 2005 but there was no national plan "to coordinate investments across states."
March 28 '07: About 150 North Dakotan first responders and members of area schools, police, fire, public health agencies, airport personnel, and public schools will participate in a nighttime emergency response exercise at the Bismark Municipal Airport, the Bismark Tribune reported. The nighttime exercise was chosen because of the logistical difficulties it presents, organizers said.
March 27 '07: Rhode Island health officials have announced a new web-based service which will allow medical officials in the state's hospital system to share real-time information including video and imaging as well as data to help increase awareness about the status of hospitals the Kent County Daily Times reported.
March 22 '07: A new report released at a recent communications technology conference has found that collaborative applications in the field could help first responders close the "knowledge gap" which exists between emergency management directors and responders at the scene, the State College Local News reported.
March 21 '07: The insurance and financial services company AIG has announced that it has developed new services targeted at helping businesses mitigate the risks posed by natural disasters and terrorism and to help them recover in the aftermath, a press release announced recently.
March 16 '07: Researchers at Indiana University Bloomington have said that the blogging community can be utilized to help situational awareness and information-sharing among first responders during an emergency, a press release announced. After looking at the available information on the blogosphere during Hurricane Katrina, university officials said the potential is great if there can be a way to harness that information.
March 15 07: First responders in Virginia will be the first in the nation to be issued credentials for the field, a news release announced. More than 1,400 First Responder Authentication Credentials (FRAC) will be sent out through a joint venture sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security in the National Capital Region, the Virginia Department of Transportation and the Commonwealth of Virginia.
March 14 '07: Recently Alabama Homeland Security officials installed an $18 million radio communications system to boost capabilities for the state's first responders, EMS and police and fire officials. However, the Associated Press reported that during a recent severe weather disaster responders had difficulty talking with one another.
March 13 '07: A recent news release from the North Central Texas Council of Governments announced the creation of a new information-sharing network to help law state, regional and local law enforcement officials share resources to help fight crime.
March 9 '07: In San Diego, local first responders paired with regional emergency services personnel, police officials and members of the California Department of Forestry to test communications equipment reliability, News10 in San Diego reported. The exercise simulated a terrorist attack on the Alvarado Water Treatment Facility.
March 9 '07: First responders, members of the private sector and government officials have been testing new credentialling technology designed to increase field and situational awareness during a response to a disaster in the National Capital Region, a press release announced. During the "Winter Storm" exercise in February, officials worked to implement the "test to verify the integration and interoperability of credential system attributes such as qualifications, authorizations, certifications and privileges."
March 8 '07: A new report released at a recent communications technology conference has found that collaborative applications in the field could help first responders close the "knowledge gap" which exists between emergency management directors and responders at the scene, the State College Local News reported.
March 7 '07: According to a web release emergency management officials in Pennsylvania are planning to test a new emergency field management technology designed to increase field situational awareness. Members of South Central Regional Counter Terrorism Task Force will test the Incident Collaborator technology later this year.
March 6 '07: A two-part exercise in Hampton Roads, VA will gather emergency management officials, and federal, state and military officials to test emergency response operations simulating a simultaneous terrorist attack and hurricane along the East Coast, the Virginia Pilot reported.
March 5 '07: Members of Florida's emergency response community, in cooperation with local coastal towns and the Department of Homeland Security and the Coast Guard will participate in a two-day exercise designed to test responding to a large influx of Caribbean immigrants similar to the Mariel boatlift 1980 "or the Haitian exodus and Cuban rafter crises in 1994," the Palm Beach Post reported.
March 2 '07: About 80 search and rescue team members from the Texas Task Force are planning a simulated earthquake response exercise at the Disaster City facility in College Station a press release announced recently.
March 2 '07: A new E911 call center in the Town of Lockport, New York in Niagra County has given emergency management officials a leg-up in situational awareness and communications capabilities, the Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online reported. The multi-million dollar facility allows 911 operators locate and track emergency response equipment, vehicles, manpower and increases the center's ability to handle distress calls.
March 1 '07: A new federal intelligence coordinating group has been established to provide state, local and tribal government officials and emergency management operations with information related to terrorism threats, disasters and other related topics which will be specifically targeted based on individual needs, FCW.com reported.
February 23 '07: According to an investigation promulgated by Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell, poor planning, preparation, communication and response was to blame for the hundreds of motorists who were stranded by the severe winter storms which hit earlier in February, a press release announced. State officials said that thought the storm was highly unusual because of the mix of precipitation, the state should "have been better prepared."
February 23 '07: The Times Argus reported in Vermont that state and local police are practicing their coordination and response to a school shooting and how the various levels of law enforcement communicate with each other during the emergency. Drills in Rutland County were attended by about 50 officers, the Times Argus reported.
February 15 '07: In Ventura County, California, a new emergency call center has incorporated technology and operations into one location designed specifically for 911 emergency services, the Ventura County Star reported via LexisNexis.
February 15 '07: The severe winter storm that moved across the Midwest and into the Mid Atlantic and Northeast this week dumped ice and snow causing more than a dozen fatalities and slowing air and highway traffic. In Indiana, coordination among state and local responder agencies along with the Department of Homeland Security and the Red Cross helped to reduce the impact of the storm, responder officials told the South Bend Tribune.
February 13 '07: Emergency management and city officials in New York have announced new plans to incorporate picture imaging capabilities for the 911 and 311 services, the Associated Press reported. During an emergency, formally would-be callers soon will be able to send pictures from their mobile phones or cameras to call centers. There are similar projects being developed as well in Indiana, Vermont and Tennessee.
February 2 '07: To link first responders through a seamless interoperable communications network, Arizona Senator John McCain (R) has proposed a broadband network, a press release announced. The new national network would link responders and allow data sharing over the 700 MHz spectrum which would allow for real-time data transmission.
January 29 '07: Baltimore-area hospitals have entered into an information-sharing agreement that would help hospital officials and medical responders, "share information about resources and staffing" to mitigate the impact of a large disaster, Baltimore's City Health Department Commissioner Dr. Joshua Sharfstein said, the Examiner reported.
January 29 '07: To connect local Phoenix schools with law enforcement officials, the Phoenixville News reported that schools will now be equipped with a "panic button" that can alert police officials to a disaster. Local officials said the button was a "100 percent" improvement over current real-time information sharing.
January 17 '07: In San Juan County, New Mexico, local first responders and emergency management officials participated in an annual show-and-tell seminar with the public and area oil and chemical industry leaders, the Daily Times reported. The goal of the event was to educate public and industry leaders about the advances in technology and training acquired through federal grant purchases.
January 17 '07: Local New Jersey first responders and emergency management officials cooperated with Army National Guard Civil Support Teams from Fort Dix during a simulated chemical attack in a court room located in a municipal building, New Jersey.com's Express Times reported. The drill was managed by officials from Center for National Response.
January 4, '07: During Hurricane Katrina, Disaster Medical Assistance Teams (DMAT's) sent to help with the large numbers of injured victims being treated at the Superdome had to contend with scant resources, a growing frustration among those affected by the storm, and rising violence, the Contra Costa Times reported.
January 2 '07: The Washington Post reported over the weekend that state and local law enforcement agencies are increasingly moving toward creating domestic intelligence fusion centers which link federal, state and local government agencies with law enforcement and the FBI to share information to help fight the war on terror.
December 11 '06: In order to assess the nation's interoperable communications for first responders, and addressing the need for a definition of baseline communications abilities, the Department of Homeland Security released its National Baseline Survey on Interoperability a departmental release reported recently.
December 11 '06: After the attacks on September 11, 2001 the New York City Police Department revamped its counterterrorism and intelligence operations as well as the way police officials conduct their day-to-day operations by pulling together a list of "best practices' from other law enforcement agencies worldwide, McClatchy News reported late last week.
December 8 '06: More than 300 federal, state and local first responders, medical personnel, law enforcement officials and government officials participated in a simulated nuclear disaster outside the Tuscon area, the Arizona Daily Star reported earlier this week.
December 8 '06: Homeland Security officials in Washington DC are developing a rail security pilot program that would set up real-time video feeds along an eight-mile section of track to provide officials with quick data in case of a security breach or disaster, Security Info Watch reported recently.
December 7 '06: Initiatives in Virginia to link first responders into a statewide interoperable network are being met with commendation the Richmond Times Dispatch reported this week.
December 6 '06: New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg was joined by other city officials, first responders and fire and law enforcement officials on Tuesday to unveil the new New York City Office of Emergency Management built to replace the one destroyed during the 9/11 at the World Trade Center. According to a press release, the federally funded $50 million center will serve as a "central point of coordination for major emergencies and special events."
November 30 '06: When it comes to homeland preparedness and first response, recovery operations and exercises are only as valuable as the lessons learned from them, GovExec.com was told recently by industry experts and government officials. Part of the dilemma facing emergency response lies in understanding the complexity of large-scale disasters experts said.
November 28 '06: In Washington DC, 18 regional first responders will now be able to communicate with each other and members of federal, regional, state and local governments during an emergency through a new Unified Communications Center Washington Technology reported Monday.
The Galveston, Tx. county emergency management center is the first in the nation to combine a National Weather Service office with an emergency management department of local government. The 23,500-square-foot building has been designed to withstand a Category 5 hurricane (winds in excess of 155 mph) and will house the Galveston County Office of Emergency Management, the National Weather Service, Galveston County 9-1-1 District and members of the Texas Division of Emergency Management.
The City of Charleston Neighborhood Councils, some 97 strong and growing, provide a system of communication and a substantial base for providing training and preparation for disaster readiness for city residents. City staff regularly meet with neighborhoods and provide basic training for the neighborhoods as they understand that there is a period of time when the city and its citizens must be able to operate and function without outside help. Neighborhoods are encouraged to send representatives for CERT Training from the Charleston County Emergency Preparedness Division. CERT trained volunteers are prepared to be first responders in their neighborhoods. These volunteers and other neighborhood members offer a front line response for the individual neighborhoods in the City.
November 21 '06: Dallas law enforcement officials, medical first responders, firefighters and aviation agencies will have access to a fully interoperable communications service which will allow video, radio, and data services to be linked via an interoperable network, Government Technology's Public CIO reported recently.
November 20 '06: The Washington Post reported over the weekend that a new plan to streamline information-sharing among federal, state and local government officials will "reduce more than 100 restrictive and confusing categories of 'sensitive' federal information ... so local-level officials can better understand what they are told."
November 16 '06: Alaskan state officials are using more than $50 million in federal Department of Homeland Security funding to build a state-wide interoperable radio system that will link first responders, police officials and state and local governments, the Associated Press reported Monday.
November 15 '06: Responders in Tennessee are using dogs to help rescue and recovery efforts, Firehouse.com reported Tuesday. The Tennessee Task Force One is only just one of 28 emergency response groups trained in the US using dogs to help locate victims of terrorist attacks or natural disasters.
November 9 '06: Working with prison inmates, guards, and prison officials, the federal government is hoping to curb the threat of prison-grown American terrorism, USA Today reported this week.
November 7 '06: In recent statements made to police officials, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said federal efforts to build more than 20 fusion centers by the end of the fiscal year would help to trade and synthesize information between all levels of law enforcement, Washington Technology reported.
November 6 '06: US intelligence agencies are taking a cue from the online world and are beginning to use blogs, chat, and wikis for content and information-sharing as well as advanced, intelligence search engines that help funnel appropriate information to analysts, US News & World Report wrote last week.
October 20 '06: During the 113th annual conference of the International Association of Police Chiefs, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said information-sharing and cooperation between law enforcement agencies on all levels during the recent plane crash in New York was "a great example of the kind of coordination and information-sharing which is increasingly the hallmark of our relationship with local police."
October 18 '06: Many state and local homeland security agencies and emergency management offices are now spending federal homeland security money for "information-sharing, geospatial capabilities, intelligence fusion centers, biometrics and situational awareness applications," Washington Technology reported Monday.
October 9 '06: To help mitigate any economic damage to the New York Stock Exchange in the event of a large-scale disaster or terrorist attack, state officials in Pennsylvania, led by Governor Ed Rendell, have proposed a "Wall Street West" that would serve as a backup to the NYSE "so that markets can recover quickly in the event of another terrorist strike on New York," the Associated Press reported Monday.
September 28 '06: An evaluation of the Incident Command System and the National Incident Management System by the Journal of Homeland Security and Emergency Management has appeared in brief on the Metropolitan Medical Response System's website, an agency under the Department of Homeland Security.
September 19 '06: First responders and regional homeland security officials in Kansas City, Missouri participated in a training drill to evaluate the region's Tactical Interoperable Communications Plan (TICP), which was designed to coordinate the area's first responders, government officials, private sector business leaders and emergency preparedness managers, Kansas City InfoZine reported.
September 19 '06: A Department of Homeland Security-led, interagency program called CyberStorm revealed gaps in inter-agency communications and a lack of a clear understanding of the larger picture, a new report found recently.
September 18 '06: The Fairfax County regional government in Virginia has released a 112-page report detailing a response plan in the event that avian flu should break out, the Washington Post reported over the weekend. The report "depicts a grim scene of sick or at-risk people in widespread isolation or quarantine, at home or in hospital beds," the Post continued.
September 15 '06: In Texas, the nation's first fully interoperable communications network has been unveiled and will allow federal, state and local government agencies, first responders and the private sector communicate with each other "over their existing networks and equipment," according to a press release on Thursday.
September 12 '06: Five years after the attacks on September 11, 2001 New York City firefighters are still facing challenges in communicating with other first responders, and upgrading and improving their response capabilities and technologies, Government Computer News reported, chronicling an interview with Michael Pena, a top lieutenant with New York City's Rescue Company 1.
September 12 '06: In a new initiative just released by the Department of Homeland Security, a new intelligence program will use data-mining and other new technologies to track terror threats against the US, Washington Technology reported this week.
August 30 '06: After ten years of construction, the Alaska Land Mobile Radio System is ready to be used by more than 8,000 first responders while additions for state troopers, police and emergency responders is being incorporated, Government Computer News reported Tuesday.
August 29 '06: Massachusetts state officials, first responders, the medical community and every level of law enforcement in the state will cooperate in the region's largest disaster response exercise about one week after the fifth anniversary of September 11, 2001, the Boston Globe reported Tuesday.
August 23 '06: An emergency response requires multiple disciplines - everything from water treatment experts to nurses, cyber security specialists, firefighters, police, medical personnel and private sector power company employees. Having proper identification to organize all the various responders is essential for maintaining organization and efficiency during a time of crisis officials in homeland security have said.
August 16 '06: Federal, state and local first responders will have the ability to share and integrate information and resources using a new open-source database management tool, a Federal Emergency Management Agency press release said Tuesday.
August 8 '06: A new national standard for the collection, packaging, and subsequent testing of potentially dangerous powders like the anthrax virus has been created according to officials, Science Daily reported Monday. The new standard will allow first responders and federal authorities to test the powders in the field for forensic analysis.
August 7 '06: Security has been tight at the Sears Tower and other large buildings in Chicago since the attacks on September 11, 2001. Security officials at the Sears Tower in Chicago told Crain's that though terrorism threats are not an everyday occurrence, "We do have incidents everyday."
August 2 '06: Public demand for 9-11 footage has caused a cyber-gridlock on the government site hosting the information and videos according to the Richmond Times Dispatch in Virginia. Following the release of exhibits shown during the Zacarias Moussaoui trial, videos showing sometimes grizzly footage of the attacks would take close to 20 minutes to download, but the gridlock has caused the servers to clog denying people access to the information.
July 28 '06: In an effort to combine emergency preparedness and counterterrorism efforts on the federal, state and local levels, officials at the Department of Homeland Security have announced new plans to strengthen intelligence sharing at fusion centers in several large metro areas around the country. The fusion centers will help "to facilitate the two-way flow of timely, accurate, actionable information on all types of hazards," the department's press release said.
July 20 '06: State and local governments and their communities should move toward efforts at local preparedness and improve pandemic disease planning according to the National Governors Association's new "best practices"report, "Preparing for a Pandemic Influenza: A Primer for Governors and Senior State Officials." In the report, the NGA urged state and local governments that they "must be prepared to manage their responsibilities independently, without relying on the outside assistance that would be available for natural disasters or other localized incidents."
July 17 '06: Emergency response and management officials in Rhode Island told the Providence Journal changes in the state's communications system are a step-by-step process on the road to interoperable communication. Currently, "There's a spider web of communications systems throughout the state for public safety and government officials." However, in several areas, interoperable radio technology, a new Emergency Operations Center, laptops to help connect to the internet and coordination with amateur radio operators "to relay messages for state and local officials" are making inroads in the state's emergency response preparedness.
July 12 '06: Washington DC police practiced emergency evacuation drills using the crowds departing the city after the Fourth of July celebrations this year, the Washington Post reported last week. "This is the second year that officials tested their ability to move people out of the city in a hurry. They kept traffic lights on green, used police officers at intersections and coordinated the flow with Maryland and Virginia officials."
July 12 '06: The Associated Press reported Wednesday that a new digital national emergency warning system built by the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management System will be up and running by next year. Aaron Walker, a spokesman for DHS told the AP, "Anything that can receive a text message will receive the alert. ... We find that the new digital system is more secure, it's faster and it enables us to reach a wide array of citizens and alert them to pending disasters."
July 11 '06: The Department of Homeland Security will begin a pilot security screening program at New Jersey's PATH stations starting Thursday, the New York Times reported. "Starting at 10:00 am Thursday, riders may be electronically searched by handheld devices that look like cameras, told to step in front of machines that resemble phone booths or subjected to tests involving radar, infrared sensors and other technology" according to federal sources. The pilot program will last three weeks and comes on the heels of recent announcements from New York City officials and federal homeland security officials that a terrorist plot to blow up commuter tunnels into the city was uncovered.
July 5 '06: In an emergency, phone text messaging might prove the most effective method of communication according to the Times Picayune in New Orleans. During Hurricane Katrina, one student trapped in his dorm by the rising flood waters used his cell phone to text his family who in turn alerted rescuers. Because text messaging systems are not wired to a 9-1-1 system, those in need cannot send a message alerting a positioning system of their whereabouts.
July 3 '06: The Department of Homeland Security announced the completion of a report focusing on critical infrastructure and key resource protection (CR/KR) called the National Infrastructure Protection Plan (NIPP). Completion of the report "represents an unprecedented initiative ... that integrates critical infrastructure security efforts, sets protection goals and supporting objectives, and focuses resources according to risk," FCW.com reported according to DHS officials. Government Technology reported that completion of the report "fulfills requirements in [the] Homeland Security Presidential Directive (HSPD) 7 and the Homeland Security Act of 2002."
June 27 '06: Government Computer News continues its special reporting on current goings-on in the Department of Homeland Security this week. GCN released a series of articles last week which covered a large range of security, policy and technological issues, challenges and programs which included efforts at technology management and agency performance; the role of the Secret Service in money laundering cases; border security issues; biometrics and better screening practices; improving the state of FEMA; and port security. This week, the stories cover IT issues; the SBInet's development; biometrics and RFID; and other interoperable and cross-agency agendas.
June 26 '06: The annual TOPOFF exercises were completed last week according to the Department of Homeland Security. The exercises, designed to have several federal agencies working together to simulate a terrorist attack or natural disaster, operate within the guidelines of the National Response Plan (NRP) and the National Incident Management System (NIMS). DHS Undersecretary for Preparedness George Foresman said the the fourth TOPOFF exercise "provided an excellent opportunity to strengthen the nation's capacity for effective, coordinated action to address terrorist threats and major disasters."
June 16 '06: States along the Pacific Coast could see a drop in federal funding because of changes in homeland security and disaster funds while a report released has found an over-emphasis on technology rather than educational programs according to the Seattle Times. "Much of the $35 million in extra money appropriated after the disastrous Indonesian tsunami is being spent on detection and warning systems that will be of little benefit to people on the Pacific Coast," the Times found in a report released by the Government Accountability Office.
June 16 '06: The Associated Press reported Friday morning on a report it obtained from the Department of Homeland Security which reviewed the status of the nation's state and city emergency response plans. In the report, the department reviewed 131 state and city emergency plans around the country and found cause "for significant national concern," because of antiquated and uncoordinated programs. "Although emergency plans appear to be stronger in 18 states along the nation's 'Hurricane Belt', the analysis cited preparedness gaps ... Planning for evacuations also remain 'an area of profound concern," the AP wrote.
June 9 '06: A new report prepared for the Department of Transportation by the Batelle corporation examines the relationship of state and local officials communicating to those being evacuated from an area during an emergency. The crux of the report "is intended to illustrate how agencies need to interface with each other and what data and information need to be shared to effectively manage and deliver traveler information during disasters." Additionally, the report looks at "what information needs to be communicated to evacuees and other travelers under disaster conditions and how the advanced traveler information system (ATIS)," and other systems work with each other.
June 6 '06: Virginia homeland security officials are floating a plan to build an $8 million fusion center in Chester County which would have at its core an information management and dissemination system "that would allow state and local officials, as well as the public ... share information that could prevent a terrorist attack or other criminal enterprise," the Richmond Times Dispatch reported Tuesday. The system at the core of the new fusion center would be called the Virginia Information Intelligence Management System, but lawmakers are worried at the cost because of a decline in federal homeland security grants and other programs and projects already underway.
May 29 '06: Last Friday, New York City emergency officials along with federal Forest Service and city Fire Department authorities participated in an exercise that simulated an "All Risk" scenario of a Category 3 hurricane hitting New York City, a NYFD press release announced.
May 25 '06: A government-wide card identification system which will allow all agencies to use the technology is being put into place according to Government Computer News. Personal Identification Verification (PIV) Cards "contain integrated circuit chips, as well as biometric and cryptographic data and will be interoperable between agencies."
May 18 '06: Government Computer News found Wednesday that a report released by the Government Accountability Office titled "DHS Should Take Steps to Encourage More Widespread Use of its Program to Protect and Share Critical Infrastructure Information," elucidates ways in which the Department of Homeland Security can use available information from private sector entities working in sensitive national infrastructure industries to protect those resources.
May 17 '06: The Transportation Security Administration has published a report detailing terror attack mitigation measures, Reuters reported Wednesday. "In late April, DHS implemented the Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) program, which included name-based background checks on nearly 400,000 port workers in the United States," which was then "followed by a 275-page proposal detailing the program designed to deter people who pose a security threat from entering US ports."
May 17 '06: The first extensive test of the international Tsunami Warning System was tested on Wednesday according to the Associated Press that found more than 30 countries participating in a drill which would signal an imaginary 9.2-magnitude earthquake rocking the coast of Chile.
May 16 '06: The Department of Homeland Security announced on Monday that it was launching a new program designed to test the communications interoperability of law enforcement, first responders and the medical services, Fire Chief reported.
May 12 '06: Officials at the Department of Justice told Government Computer News that a new network designed to create a "card catalogue"-type system will be installed to allow federal, state and local law enforcement to collect and disseminate information on criminal activity.
May 9 '06: The Federal Emergency Management Agency announced Tuesday that a three day, multi-state tsunami exercise will be held in the Pacific Northwest later in May. "Pacific Peril" will "consist of a 'training day' presenting earthquake and tsunami hazards and response plans, a full day Command Post Exercise (CPX) and a final table top review," the FEMA website read.
May 5 '06: The Department of Homeland Security announced Thursday that it will begin a series of regional "table-top exercises" in the Gulf Coast, Mid Atlantic, New England and Southern states as well as Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands to help coordinate local, state and regional response and recovery officials in preparation of the upcoming 2006 hurricane season.
May 3 '06: A Chicago ABC affiliate reported Wednesday that state and local emergency management officials, first responders and homeland security officials will practice exercise drills designed to simulate two types of emergencies.
April 27 '06: State and local authorities in the Maryland, Virginia and Washington DC areas have integrated a standardized communications frequency so that first responders will be able to communication to each other during an emergency, Government Computer News reported Wednesday.
April 27 '06: The Senate released a report Thursday on the Federal Emergency Management Agency's response during Hurricane Katrina, CNN reported. In the report, lawmakers said the agency needs to be dismantled and reassembled and that the Department of Homeland Security should "create a National Preparedness and Response Authority within DHS to fuse the department's emergency management, preparedness and critical infrastructure assets 'into a powerful new organization that can confront the challenges of natural and manmade catastrophes,'" the cable news channel reported.
April 20 '06: A new Congressional report released last week found that open-source information is critical in the fight against terrorism, Washington Technology reported. "While the intelligence community traditionally has relied on signals, imagery and human intelligence," Wash. Tech. reported, "there is now a growing interest in open-source intelligence (OSINT) as well as in measurement and signatures analyses intelligence (MASINT)." Open-source information is defined as any information available to the public.
April 14 '06: 14 different law enforcement agencies cooperated in a joint terrorism drill on the University of Arizona campus on Thursday. A local NBC affiliate station reported that volunteer students "acted as victims as emergency crews treated them as if they had been exposed to an unknown chemical," while many students and some local fire fighters were not told of the drill so that "everything was as real as possible," KVOA reported in Tucson.
April 13 '06: Several governmental agencies are cooperating to create the Integrated Wireless Network, which "replaces stovepipe stand alone component systems, and supports law enforcement, first responder, and homeland security requirements with integrated communications services," a Department of Justice release read.
April 11 '06: In a recent survey compiled and aggregated by the report released by the National Governors Association, intelligence fusion centers are a top priority in homeland security preparations, according to Government Computer News.
April 7 '06: A report released by the National Governors Association this week looks into state homeland security directors' tasks at coordinating preparedness and communications practices.
April 5 '06: The Bush administration is nearing completion of a new counterterrorism plan, Reuters reported Wednesday. The information released Tuesday by the administration is in a "effort to bring greater integration and coordination to the counterterrorism activities of different agencies and departments including the CIA, FBI, Treasury Department, Pentagon and State Department," the news service reported.
March 28 '06: A federal report released Monday detailed two undercover government investigators who were able to cross the border into the United States from both the northern and southern borders smuggling enough radioactive material to make at least two dirty bombs - weapons containing radioactive material which is sent into the air as a poisonous cloud after an explosion, CNN reported Tuesday. "The investigators purchased a 'small quantity' of radioactive material from a commercial source," the cable news channel reported. The findings were reported in a Government Accountability Office report which was prepared for the Senate's Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations GOP Chairman Norm Coleman from Minnesota.
March 17 '06: A Government Accountability Office report released this week found several instances where dummy bomb materials made their way past airport screening personnel, ABC News reported Friday.