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Today's News

Boston shut down as bombing suspects chased down

Boston bombing
suspects

The greater Boston area is shut down with bus and subway service suspended and local businesses and universities closed, as federal and local authorities chase down two men believed to have carried out the Boston Marathon bombings.

One suspect, pictured in photos and video released by the FBI the evening of April 18, is dead, apparently after a shootout and car chase with police. The other suspect, who was also in the released pictures and video, remains at large prompting early morning warnings from police for residents in the Boston suburb of Watertown and adjacent suburban towns to remain indoors.

Reportedly, the men shot and killed a campus police officer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge (MIT), MA, and wounded a transit authority officer the night of April 18, about five hours after the FBI publicly released the suspects’ photos. The two men also reportedly carjacked a vehicle and lead police on a chase in which the suspects reportedly hurled explosives at their pursuers.

One suspect was pronounced dead at a local hospital after the shootout.

Police and federal authorities have called both suspects extremely dangerous and “terrorists,” with reports saying the remaining man could have explosives with him, or on him.

The Associated Press reported early on April 19, that the men are brothers from Chechnya and have lived in the U.S. for one year and also identified the living suspect as Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev, 19, of Cambridge, MA.

The unprecedented, dramatic events began to unfold just after 5 p.m. on April 18 after the FBI at a press conference unveiled video capture and photos of the two men captured by private security cameras at a downtown department store near the finish line of the April 15 marathon.

At around 10 p.m., reports of a shooting near the MIT campus at a 7-11 store in Middlesex County, MA, came in and a subsequent carjacking. A statement from the Middlesex County district attorney the evening of April 18 said an MIT campus police officer responding to a report of a disturbance in the area of Vasser and Main streets was reportedly shot.  According to authorities, the officer was found evidencing multiple gunshot wounds.  He was transported to the hospital and pronounced dead.

“During the exchange of the gunfire, we believe that one of the suspects was struck and ultimately taken into custody. A second suspect was able to flee from that car and there is an active search going on at this point in time," Colonel Timothy Alben, superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police, told a news conference later that night.

Law enforcement, homeland security, White House vow to find Boston bomber

Copley
Square
explosion

Federal, state and local investigators are in the initial stages of tracking down the person or persons responsible for two bombs detonated near the finish line of the Boston Marathon on April 15 that killed three people and wounded over 100, but said no one has claimed responsibility for the attack.

The latest details to emerge from the afternoon of chaos in the city included news that the bombs  -- which were stuffed in trashcans near the race route  -- contained ball bearings or BBs meant to cause even more substantial injuries to bystanders.

A third device, which didn’t detonate, was found near the race grandstand at the finish line. Federal authorities have also told news organizations that the explosive devices were small and didn’t contain high explosives like C-4.

The New York Times reported two additional explosive devices were found in downtown Boston. Security measures in other U.S. cities, including Washington, D.C. and New York City, have been stepped up in response to potential future attacks, as have security measures in cities across the world, including London, where another marathon event is scheduled in the coming weeks.

Three people, including an eight year old boy, were killed in the blasts that occurred within 100 yards of one another near Boston’s Copley Square. More than 140 were injured, some grievously, with shrapnel injuries that first responders likened to battlefield wounds.

Many of the wounded included children and a two-year-old child was being treated at Boston’s Children’s Hospital for critical head injuries.

A motive for the attacks has yet to be determined. No person or organization, foreign or domestic, has claimed responsibility.

The Pakistan Taliban, which has threatened to carry out domestic attacks on the U.S. denied responsibility for the attack the evening of April 15.

“The situation remains fluid, and it remains too early to establish the cause and motivation,” said an FBI statement issued at 9 p.m. on April 15.

Hours before, in a televised statement president Obama said it was unclear who was behind it, but whoever it was would “feel the full weight of justice.” White House officials have called the incident an act of terrorism.

Department of Homeland Security secretary Janet Napolitano, like other federal agency officials in Washington sent her condolences to the families of the dead and injured and added that her agency is providing “any support necessary” for the investigation. She also encouraged vigilance in the aftermath of the attack.

House Homeland Security Committee chairman Michael McCaul (R-TX) and other members of the committee, including ranking member Bennie Thompson (D-MS) in an April 15 statement said much the same, offering thoughts and prayers for the victims and thanks to first responders and the public for their actions in the minutes after the bombs went off and as the investigation moved forward.

The chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE) vowed to “get to the bottom of this” and use the information gathered along the way to bolster future defenses.

GSN 2012 Awards announced: White House deputy of homeland security recognized for leadership at annual gala

GSN Awards 2012

Hundreds of the best of the homeland security community’s federal, state and municipal government officials, government contractors, systems integrators, IT vendors and physical security product and solutions providers all came together the night of November 29 in a ballroom of the Washington, D.C. convention center to receive accolades.

The GSN awards dinner, which has become a Washington tradition over the last four years, offered a chance for the excellence and civic-minded spirit of homeland security efforts nationwide to be recognized.

Not only were the best tools and technologies acknowledged , but the people and groups who use them, from local police departments in Florida and Washington state, to the White House, were honored at the event.

During the awards ceremonies, Richard Reed, Deputy Assistant to President Obama for Homeland Security, received the second annual Government Security News/Raytheon Award for Distinguished Leadership and Innovation in Public Safety and Security. Reed was chosen for tireless work in his key role in leading the development of national policy related to resilience, transborder security and community partnerships. He has been described as the president’s eyes and ears during disasters. In crises, such as the Gulf oil spill, H1N1 pandemic, and Haiti earthquake, Reed has sprung into action at the White House, coordinating information and gathering people to cope with these catastrophes.

Reed told Government Security News in an interview after the dinner that gatherings like GSN’s awards ceremony were invaluable in demonstrating that the hard work of creating a resilient, strong response to crises is performed by thousands of individuals, like those in attendance. Gatherings that bring the diverse emergency response and homeland security communities together can broaden perspectives and spur new ideas, he said.

Reed has been a determined, mostly behind-the-scenes, captain of federal emergency response efforts during the Bush and Obama administrations, helping prepare for, and respond to, some of the worst natural disasters the nation has known, from one of the deadliest tornado seasons in history in the Midwest, to historic wild fires in the west, and massive storms in the eastern U.S.

Reed said the key to capable response to such staggering events lies not only in federal hands, but in enabling state, local and even personal responses. Getting resources and training in place before disasters happen goes a long way in an effective response and recovery, he said. “The true first responders are friends, neighbors and co-workers” in the immediate aftermath of a disaster, said Reed. Local police, firefighters and other agencies arrive second, he said. Enabling people with information concerning what resources are available or where they can go for help or supplies empowers them, said Reed.

Government Security News managing partner Adrian Courtenay has made the GSN/Raytheon award an annual tradition. The prize is sponsored by the Raytheon Company, a technology and innovation leader specializing in defense, homeland security and other government markets throughout the world, which is headquartered in Waltham, MA.

Notable 2012 government excellence award winners included the local police departments in Tampa and St. Petersburg, FL, for their ground-breaking work in preparing for the Republican National Convention in Tampa this past summer. The departments put together comprehensive plans to gently defuse potentially volatile political demonstrations at the event. Both departments were also praised for implementing an innovative interoperable communications network during the GOP convention.

The Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory was recognized for its groundbreaking work on a small radiation detector. The Naval Air Systems Command won an award for its work on the Kestrel Wide Area Persistent Surveillance program, which developed an aerostat for long-term surveillance capabilities to protect ground soldiers in Afghanistan.

The complete list of GSN’s 2012 Award winners appears below: 

CATEGORY 1 – VENDORS OF IT SECURITY PRODUCTS AND SOLUTIONS

 

Best Anti-Malware Solution

 

Invincea

 

Best Identity Management Platform

 

Alert Enterprise

 

Best Certificate Management Solution

 

Entrust

 

Best Compliance /Vulnerability Assessment Solution

 

Agiliance

 

Best Data Security/Loss Management Solution

 

WAVE Systems

 

Best Endpoint Security Solution

 

StillSecure

 

Best Forensic Software

 

Silvertail

 

Best Intelligence Data Fusion and Collaborative Analysis Solution

 

Lookingglass Cyber Solutions

 

Best Intrusion Detection/Prevention Solution

 

Intellidyne

Vanguard Integrity Professionals

 

Best Network Security/Enterprise Firewall

 

Black Lotus

 

Best Privileged Access Management Solution

 

Kikusema

Xceedium

 

Best Real-Time Dynamic Network Analysis

 

Fidelis Security

 

Best Continuous Monitoring Solution

 

ForeScout

Redseal

 

Best Security Incident/Event Management Solution (SIEM)

 

NetIQ

 

CATEGORY 2 – VENDORS OF PHYSICAL SECURITY PRODUCTS & SOLUTIONS

 

PHYSICAL SECURITY ACCESS CONTROL & INDENTIFICATION

 

Best Biometric Identification Solution

 

Fulcrum Biometrics

 

Best Integrated System for HSPD 12/FIPS 201 Compliance

 

Brivo

 

Best Platform for Physical and Logical Access

 

Alert Enterprise

 

COMMUNICATIONS

 

Best Interoperable First Responder Communications

 

Covia Labs

 

Best Mass Notification Systems

 

AtHoc

 

Best Regional or National Public Safety Communications Deployment

 

Desktop Alert

 

DETECTION PRODUCTS

 

Best Explosives Detection Solution

 

AS&E

 

Best Long Range Detection Systems

 

Vidisco

 

Best Nuclear/Radiation Detection

 

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

 

VIDEO SURVEILLANCE

 

Best Intelligent Video Surveillance Solution

 

Panasonic

 

Best Thermal/Night Vision/Infrared Cameras

 

HGH Infrared Systems

Vumii

 

Best Network IP Cameras

 

Axis Communications

 

Best Video Storage/Digital Transmission Systems

 

Panasonic

 

OTHER PRODUCTS

 

Best Perimeter Protection Solution

 

Senstar

 

Best Crash Barriers

 

Nasatka

 

Best Physical Security Information Management (PSIM) Solution

 

NICE Systems

 

SERVICES

 

Best Disaster Preparedness or Disaster Recovery & Clean-up Service

 

High-Rise Escape Systems

 

Best Facility Security/Force Protection Service

 

Whitestone Group

 

Best Homeland Security Training/Higher Education Solutions

 

Bellevue University

 

Category 3: Government Security News 2012 Government Excellence Awards

 

Most Notable Airport Security Award

 

Defense Manpower Agency

 

Most Notable Maritime/Port Security Program

 

Ohio Department of Public Safety/Northern Border Initiative

 

Most Notable Railroad/Mass Transit Security Program

 

Denver Regional Transportation Authority

 

Most Notable Critical Infrastructure Program, Project or Initiative

 

U.S. Veterans Administration Hospital, Tucson, AZ

 

Most Notable Cyber Security Program, Project or Initiative

 

U.S. Department of Energy

 

Most Notable Emergency Response Implementation

 

U.S. National Guard

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)

 

Most Notable Law Enforcement Interdiction, Arrest or Counter-Terrorism Program

 

Orange County Intelligence Assessment Fusion Center

 

Most Notable Municipal/County Programs, Projects or Initiatives

 

Seattle, Washington Police Department

Tampa and St. Petersburg, Florida Police Departments

 

Federal Government

 

Naval Air Systems Command (Kestrel Wide Area Persistent Surveillance)

GSN 2012 Homeland Security Awards program open for entries

The Government Security News 2012 Homeland Security Awards Program officially opened for entries on May 1, once again featuring 45 Awards in three broad Categories:Best Vendors of IT Security Products and Solutions, Best Vendors of Physical Security Products and Solutions and the 2011 Government Excellence Awards.

Returning as corporate Sponsors of the 2012 Program are BRS Laboratories of Houston, TX -- a leading software development company for video behavioral recognition software that deploys easily and rapidly on large scale video networks and provides actionable information without inundating end users with false alarms -- and Entrust, Inc. , of Dallas, TX, which offers physical/logical access, mobile security, certificate management and other identity-based solutions to governments and large enterprises.  Additional sponsors will be announced, and profiles of all 2012 sponsors, will be published in coming weeks. Companies interested in joining the ranks of sponsors of the 2012 Awards Program should contact GSN Publisher and World Business Media President, Edward Tyler, at 212-344-0759, ext. 2001.

The cost to submit an entry in the 2012 program is $295 for vendors of IT security and physical security products and solutions. As in previous years, there is no cost for entries in the 10 categories of awards for federal, state and local government agencies. Vendors of IT and physical security products and solutions may nominate themselves or be nominated by colleagues or government clients, while government agencies or departments may similarly nominate themselves or be nominated by other agencies, colleagues or vendors.

According Adrian Courtenay, managing partner of World Business Media, several new categories created in 2011 to acknowledge successful initiatives of federal, state or local agencies in responding to emergencies, countering terrorism and preventing crime will again be included in 2012. These categories are “Most Notable Emergency Response Implementation – Federal, State or Local”; “Most Notable Law Enforcement Interdiction, Arrest or Counter Terrorism Program – Federal, State or Local”; and “Most Notable Counter Terrorism or Crime Prevention Program”.

In the 2011 contest, the Bastrop Country, TX, Unified Command (including county, state and federal government agencies) was awarded the trophy for “Most Notable Emergency Response Implementation” in battling 2011 Texas wildfires in Bastrop County. The United States Customs and Border Protection, Detroit Sector, was winner in the “Most Notable Law Enforcement Interdiction or Arrest” category for a dramatic arrest on St. Clair River in Detroit, and the Los Angeles Police Department was recognized for having the “Most Notable Law Enforcement Counter Terrorism or Crime Prevention Program.”

Another category that was new in 2011, “Most Notable Cyber Security Program or Technology – Government or Military”, will also be continued, in recognition of the emergence of Cyber Security as a vitally important component of overall security for any nation. The winner of this award in 2011 was the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The 2012 Awards Program will once again culminate with a gala awards dinner in the fall, at a venue to be announced shortly. In the 2011 program, the “GSN/Raytheon Award for Distinguished Leadership and Innovation” was introduced and presented to Admiral Thad Allen (US Coast Guard-ret.), who came out of retirement twice in recent years to serve his country, first in heading up the federal response to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, and later in managing the response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

In remarks for the 2011 Awards Dinner audience, Admiral Allen said the continuing work of technology companies and first responders was key in any disaster. He urged everyone to become a “lifelong rapid learner” to better cope with disasters, both man-made and natural. He also said “reconciling opportunity and competency” when disaster strikes is essential to any effective recovery, and being on top of the latest, most effective technology is a product of being a lifelong rapid learner. He also said clear communications is also a key to effective response and amplified his call for a nationwide interoperable first responder radio network. 

Photos of the 2010 awards reception and dinner are available at www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/, and video interviews with Admiral Allen, as well as sponsors and winners in the 2011 Awards program, are available at the GSN Video Center at www.gsnmagazine.com/videocenter.

Entry forms and other information about the 2012 Awards Program are available at www.gsnmagazine.com/hsa2012/welcome.

Va Police Chiefs Assn signs up for online training at PoliceCommunity.Net

The Response Network, of Hanover, NH, a provider of online training programs for law enforcement and public safety professionals, has announced that it has entered into a strategic partnership with The Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police (VACP) to develop customized in-service training courses that will be available to all Virginia law enforcement personnel on the company’s PoliceCommunity.net online training portal.

“We believe that the Response Network’s online training portal is the only solution that can meet the standard we have set for quality, creativity and cost-effectiveness,” said a statement released by Dana Schrad, Executive Director of the VACP. “The Response Network’s online in-service training courses are nothing less than compelling. They engage as they educate and that is not a small achievement. We look forward to developing a series of courses that will benefit the Virginia law enforcement profession.”

In an interview with Government Security News, Bradley Naples, President and CEO of the Response Network, said the first online in-service course developed exclusively for VACP will be titled, “The Virginia Commonwealth Law Enforcement Legal Updates and Changes in the Law,in conformance with Virginia law, which requires regular legal training for all Virginia sworn law enforcement officials.

Naples added that there are a number of Virginia law enforcement agencies that already use PoliceCommunity.net for online, in-service training, including the Virginia Beach Police Department, Newport News Police Department and the Hampton Police Division. The portal’s overall membership recently passed the 10,000 member milestone, said Naples, as police departments in Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, New Hampshire, Ohio and South Dakota also signed on.

The PoliceCommunity.net portal presently offers nine basic courses, representing more than 50 hours of in-service training, with three more courses scheduled to come online before the end of this calendar year. One of the great value propositions of the portal is that an annual subscription is available at the price of $74.95 per officer, which is substantially less expensive than locally-produced courses, which typically cost around $300 per officer.

The nine courses currently being offered are:

  • Emotional Intelligence for Law Officers
  • Community Policing/Customer Service
  • Use of Force
  • Domestic Violence
  • Active Shooter for Public Safety
  • Becoming an Exemplary Peace Officer/Applied Ethics
  • Blood-borne Pathogens
  • Avoiding Ethnic and Sexual Harassment
  • Mental Health for Law Enforcement

While the prices of online training are very competitive, Naples noted, there are some things you can’t teach online, such as defensive tactics or using your weapons. “But, the more you can tie troops together collegially,” he observed, “the better you’re going to do. There’s a phenomenal revolution going on in training.”

Naples went on to explain some of the obstacles that police officers have to deal with regularly. “Law enforcement officers have a job that is almost impossible,” Naples said. “They deal with life and death issues and see pain, suffering and death. If they don’t take care of themselves physically and emotionally, they can become angry, cynical, bitter and empty, with no pleasure in their lives. They have to be able to reduce mental error. If you use force -- taser or spray -- it’s going to require EMS, and if the persons who have been tased go into ‘excited delirium,’ they can die. Death and lawsuits are the two most significant reasons for training. Millisecond decisions are required, and people will judge if you used reasonable force, or was it excessive.”

“The better educated you are, the better you can handle yourself,” Naples said.

In addition to costing less than traditional officer training programs, Naples believes that online training can bring officers together and bring out creative work products from them, helping them to become exemplary peace officers, while realizing that, “it is not what you got, but what you gave. Not what you made, but what you built. It’s not only competence, but character. The legacy for officer and agency is what’s important.”

The two book-end courses for law enforcement, he said, are Mental Health and Ethics -- and these subjects are covered in depth in the initial series of law enforcement in-service, online training available from Response Network and PoliceCommunity.net.

Technology integration is another reason cited by Naples for online training, as law enforcement officers are being asked to handle more and more complex technology within their vehicles. He attributes the need for in-service training to three different trends:

  • Reduced budgets and the collapse of federal, state and local funding;
  • The entry of the Internet generation, raised on Facebook and smart phones, into law enforcement, and,
  • The fact that the Internet has evolved into an easy, reliable and trusted means for global media distribution.

In the opinion of Naples, the continued rise in adoption rates for high-quality online training is an inevitability in law enforcement, as it is has been in many other professions, as demonstrated by the proliferation of online universities in one field after another.

“Online training can be accessed 24/7, viewed as often as necessary, and it provides a consistent training message from officer to officer.”

GSN 2011 Awards Program opens for entries on April 26

Government Security News has announced that its 2011 Homeland Security Awards Program  will officially open for business and start accepting entries in the program’s 45 awards categories on Tuesday, April 26.

The 2011 program contains a number of exciting new categories, reflecting the dynamically changing threat environment, in all three of the overall awards groupings: Best Vendors of IT Security Products and Solutions, Best Vendors of Physical Security Products and Solutions, and the 2011 Government Excellence Awards.

The cost for each entry in the 2011 program is $295 for vendors of IT security and physical security products and solutions. As in previous years, there is no cost for entries in the 10 categories of awards for federal, state and local government agencies.

Vendors of IT and physical security products and solutions may nominate themselves or be nominated by colleagues or government clients, while government agencies or departments may similarly nominate themselves or be nominated by other agencies, colleagues or vendors.

Adrian Courtenay, Managing Partner of GSN’s parent company, World Business Media, LLC, cited two intriguing new categories in the government sector that have been selected to acknowledge solid “boots on the ground” achievements of federal, state or local agencies in responding to emergencies, countering terrorism and stopping crime. These categories are “Most Notable Emergency Response Implementation – Federal, State or Local” and “Most Notable Law Enforcement Interdiction, Arrest or Counter Terrorism Program – Federal, State or Local.”

Acknowledging the increasing importance of cyber security and the threat of cyber war among nation-states, Courtenay also pointed out that the government awards in 2010 have been expanded to include a category titled, “Most Notable Cyber Security Program or Technology – Government or Military.”

Returning for its third year as a sponsor of the GSN Awards Program is founding sponsor ArcSight, now a business unit of Hewlett Packard Software and Solutions, whose enterprise threat and risk platform is an integrated product for collecting, analyzing and assessing security and risk information. ArcSight is also a repeat winner in the GSN awards program for its Security Incident Event Management (SIEM) products for collecting, analyzing and assessing security incident event information.

Also returning as event sponsors are General Dynamics C4, located in Phoenix, AZ, a major developer and integrator of secure communications and information systems and technology; and  Mutualink, another GSN award winner, which creates networks of interoperable communities that can instantly share radio, voice, text, video and data files, and telephone communications in a secure environment.

The fourth and final sponsor to date in the 2011 Awards Program is Behavioral Recognition Systems, Inc., of Houston, TX, also known as BRS Labs, whose software uses the fascinating, scientifically developed cognitive reasoning and artificial intelligence of behavioral analytics to leverage a stream of intelligence from millions of surveillance cameras worldwide, in order to provide alerts regarding abnormal or suspicious behavior.

Profiles of each of the 2011 sponsors will be posted on the GSN Web site in the coming weeks.

Additional companies or organizations interested in joining the ranks of 2011 sponsors of the GSN 2011 Homeland Security Awards Program should contact GSN Publisher and World Business Media President, Edward Tyler, at 212-344-0759, ext. 2001.

According to Courtenay, the 2011 Awards Program will culminate with the annual awards dinner in early November at a venue to be announced shortly. “It’s going to be hard to top last year’s elegant dinner and spectacular after-dinner keynote presentation by four-star General Barry McCaffrey (USA-Ret.). But we’re going to try!”

In 2010, the GSN awards were presented to a sold-out ballroom at the JW Marriott Hotel in Washington, DC, that included many distinguished government and military officials, academics, law enforcement and public safety professionals from across the country, along with the systems integrators, defense contractors and vendors of products and solutions used in homeland security.

Photos of the 2010 awards reception and dinner are available at:

www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/.

Further information and entry forms for the 2011 Awards Program are available at:

www.gsnmagazine.com/hsa2011/welcome.

Obama seeks three percent hike in discretionary budget at DHS

Despite official murmurings a few months ago that the fiscal year 2011 budget request for DHS might decline slightly, the budget package unveiled on February 1 actually shows a three percent increase in “discretionary spending” by DHS in 2011, versus the prior year, and modest growth, at approximately the predicted rate of inflation, in the outer years.

“The total fiscal year 2011 budget request for DHS, including fee funded and mandatory spending, is $56.3 billion, a two percent increase over the fiscal year 2010 enacted level,” said Peggy Sherry, the acting  chief financial officer at DHS, in a telephone conference call with journalists on February 1. “The department’s fiscal year 2011 net discretionary or appropriated funding request is $43.6 billion, an increase of three percent over the fiscal year 2010 enacted level.”

In releasing his overall budget request, President Obama proposed a freeze in government spending for a portion of the discretionary domestic spending plan for three years, but he specifically exempted homeland security expenditures from that freeze. “It won’t apply to our national security – including benefits for veterans,” said Obama in remarks he made in the White House on February 1.

Some observers speculated that the slight bump up in DHS spending may have resulted from the nationwide trauma caused by the failed Christmas Day underwear bombing attempt, and the urgent call for stronger screening measures at the country’s airports. However, a DHS official who participated on the conference call with journalists, but requested anonymity, would not attribute the budget increase to that terrorist attack.

“As part of the budget process, we examined different scenarios and options,” explained the official. “Those are discussions that are internal to the Administration and what you see in the budget release today is the end product of all those budget deliberations.”

Among the thousands of individual line-items for specific programs and planned procurements are the following highlights:

Advanced imaging systems – The 2011 budget requests an additional $214.1 million to install about 500 extra advance imaging technology machines at airport checkpoints, above and beyond the 500 systems that had already been planned. These funds will place such whole body scanners in 75 percent of the country’s largest airports, said Sherry.

Explosive detection – Beyond body scanners, DHS will seek an additional $85 million to bolster international flight coverage by federal air marshals, an increase in $60 million for an additional 800 explosive trace detection machines and a $71 million bump up to pay for an additional 275 K-9 teams at airport check points.

Border Patrol – The new budget envisions a decrease of 180 personnel in the ranks of the Border Patrol, which will be achieved largely through attrition. A DHS official suggested that the overall operating effectiveness of the Border Patrol will not be affected by this decline in personnel slots because the Border Patrol has almost doubled in size during the past five years. “A lot of the agent workforce, the substantial portion of it, has only a couple of years experience,” said this DHS official. “As they become more seasoned and more mature in their jobs, their effectiveness will increase, and because we are not doing the extensive hiring of 2,000 to 3,000 new agents a year, we can afford to put less into training improvement.”

Cyber-security – By contrast, DHS is planning a substantial beef-up in its cyber-security efforts. The new budget seeks $379 million to develop the National Cyber Security Division, which will attempt to safeguard the dot.gov and dot.com domains, and limit the nation’s vulnerability to computer attacks. DHS wants to add another $5 million to the $5 million that was in last year’s budget for the National Cyber Security Center, which one DHS official characterized as “still in its infancy.” The budget envisions an increase in the Center’s staffing to 40 people and the enhancement of its expertise, so it can integrate with other cyber-centers throughout the federal government.

Terror trials – Contrary to media reports that a terror trial in Manhattan might require a billion dollars in security measures, the 2011 budget request for DHS includes only $200 million for such security measures, which would be available through the traditional urban area grant programs. “The department took a look at it and we think $200 million is really our best estimate of the costs,” said the DHS official.

Federal contracting – In what it calls “re-balancing the workforce,” DHS is planning to rely less on outside vendors and more on internally recruited and trained personnel, particularly in the areas of cyber-security --  where DHS is authorized to hire as many as 1,000 new cyber-specialists – and the intelligence work often referred to as “connecting the dots.” “In our analysis and operations activity, we have a major increase in the number of feds doing intelligence type work,” said Sherry.

Coast Guard – A DHS fact sheet issued by the Office of Management and Budget points out that the budget request includes $538 million for a fifth National Security Cutter and $240 million to produce four new Fast Response Cutters. Even so, the new budget seeks funds for 1,100 fewer active duty Coast Guard personnel. “We are looking to reorganize and restructure certain elements of the Coast Guard to create greater efficiency,” explained a DHS official, “and there are obviously tradeoffs made as part of that to ensure we could continue to recapitalize the Coast Guard.”

President Obama’s budget request was delivered to Capitol Hill and will now undergo months of scrutiny by lawmakers. Fiscal year 2011 begins officially on October 1, 2010.

National Governors Association Selects 4 States for Assistance in Energy Security Exercise

Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho and Maryland to Review and Test Energy Emergency Response in a Simulated Environment


WASHINGTON -- The National Governors Association (NGA) competitively selected four states – Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho and Maryland – to participate in a focused technical assistance project to enhance their experiences in the GridEx V energy security exercise and support the states' energy security planning efforts.

GridEx is a biennial exercise conducted by the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) to simulate a cyber and physical attack on the electric grid across North America. Participants include members of the electric sector, other critical infrastructure operators, law enforcement, and state, local and federal officials from across the country. The GridEx V exercise will take place Nov. 13-14, 2019.

Supported by the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Cybersecurity, Energy Security, and Emergency Response, NGA will work with the four states to prepare for, participate in, and share lessons learned and promising practices from the exercise via phone consultations, an in-person workshop planned for January 2020.

During the exercise, participants will remotely respond to simulated cyber and physical events to determine how their organizations, including governors and states, might respond in a real-world event. Governors play critical roles during widespread electric grid outages and NGA's project will help participating states improve their ability to respond and recover from these incidents, enhance emergency communications, build relationships with electricity and other critical infrastructure operators, and identify infrastructure resilience needs.

"As a national leader in cybersecurity and a pioneer in micro-grid development, Maryland is proud to partner with the National Governors Association and other states on the GridEx emergency preparedness exercise," said Governor Larry Hogan, chair of the National Governors Association. "Our technology-driven infrastructure is increasingly vulnerable to cyberattack with the electric grid as a prime target, but we are committed to protecting our state against threats to our infrastructure with the best ideas and latest technologies."

"In order for Idaho to respond to a significant emergency event involving our energy infrastructure, we need to better understand all our stakeholders, their infrastructure and single points of failure, and how we can best mitigate those potential failures in a coordinated effort," Governor Brad Little said. "Idaho welcomes the opportunity to participate in this exercise and take advantage of assistance from our partners."

"I ran on the goal of reaching 100 percent renewable energy in Colorado by 2040, and we've already made significant progress toward achieving this commitment. We must also continue to improve our energy infrastructure and security to ensure grid reliability and resilience," Governor Jared Polis said. "Our state is excited to join this exercise."

"We are honored to be selected for the opportunity to participate in this important exercise that will help stakeholders in Hawai'i and other states enhance their capabilities to respond to severe events affecting the reliability of their energy systems," said Governor David Ige. "Improving grid resiliency in the face of potential cyber and physical threats is a top priority for Hawai'i as we strive to strengthen our national security and achieve our aggressive clean energy goals."

After the exercise, the four selected states will contribute to an after-action report to identify state-focused challenges and lessons learned. The state teams also will participate in a two-day, post-exercise workshop with experts, in which they will explore these results and lessons further and develop action plans to improve energy security in their states. 

### 

Founded in 1908, the National Governors Association (NGA) is the nonpartisan organization of the nation's 55 governors. Through NGA, governors share best practices, address issues of national and state interest and share innovative solutions that improve state government and support the principles of federalism.

Govs. Edwards and Hutchinson to Lead National Cybersecurity Summit in Louisiana

SHREVEPORT, LOUISIANA Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards and Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, co-chairs of the National Governors Association's Resource Center for State Cybersecurity, will preside over the two-day National Summit on State Cybersecurity in Shreveport-Bossier, Louisiana, next month.

 

The semiannual summit will explore the most pressing topics in states' efforts to protect themselves against cyber threats; trends in state cybersecurity strategies; how to train the next generation of cybersecurity professionals; safeguarding the electric grid; and statewide disaster planning, among other topics.

Gov. Hutchinson, as co-chair of the NGA's Resource Center for State Cybersecurity, is taking a leading role in the summit, which provides governors of the 55 states and territories with resources, tools and policy guidance to help craft and implement effective state cybersecurity policies and practices. Gov. Edwards co-chaired the center beginning in 2018.

 

Formerly an undersecretary in the Department of Homeland Security, Gov. Hutchinson is also the co-chair of the Council of Governors and has spearheaded a significant initiative on coding and STEM in K-12 education.

"On any given day, the guardians of Arkansas's systems block thousands of attempted attacks from all over the world. The bad guys never rest," Gov. Hutchinson said. "Good stewardship of our state's resources includes guarding the gates into our systems and protecting the information. This summit will be an excellent time to sharpen our knowledge."

 

Since 2012, the NGA Resource Center for State Cybersecurity has served as the premier partner for governors and state agencies seeking to implement best practices in cybersecurity. In 2015, NGA convened the first nationwide summit on state cybersecurity in San Jose, California. The association hosted its second national summit in Leesburg, Virginia, in 2017. Building on this past success, Gov. Edwards has invited teams from all of the states, territories and the District of Columbia to Shreveport-Bossier to learn about the latest threats, exchange ideas, and identify actionable steps to implement holistic cybersecurity strategies.

WHEN: 8:30 a.m. May 14, 2019, through 5 p.m. May 15.
 

WHERE: Hilton Shreveport, 104 Market Street, Shreveport, Louisiana 71101.

 

IF INTERESTED: Please email James Nash at [email protected] or call 202-624-3658.

Mercury Systems Introduces Second Generation of Space-Qualified Solid State Drives in 6U SpaceVPX Form Factor

Improved error correction algorithms for long-term data integrity in radiation-intense environments

 

ANDOVER, Mass., April 04, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Mercury Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ: MRCY, www.mrcy.com) announced the start of customer engagements for its second generation of the TRRUST-Stor VPX RT family of radiation-tolerant solid state drives (SSD) featuring up to 940GB user capacity in a 6U SpaceVPX form factor. The new device delivers enhanced versatility with improved error correction code (ECC) and both Serial RapidIO® and Peripheral Component Interconnect Express (PCIe ®) host interfaces. As the first space-qualified storage devices leveraging the SpaceVPX standard for agile interoperability, the TRRUST-Stor VPX RT family enables accelerated system design directly addressing the growing demand for low Earth orbit (LEO) satellites and mission critical systems operating in radiation-intense environments.

In terrestrial environments, the NAND flash memory devices used in a traditional SSD device are prone to data corruption without the use of ECC. In radiation-exposed environments, data corruption is vastly accelerated due to the occurrence of single-event effects (SEE) and total ionizing dose (TID) degradation which negatively impact the functionality of the NAND flash memory used in the device.

To counter these damaging effects, Mercury has improved the ECC performance of the original 3U TRRUST-Stor VPX RT device. With 30% more error corrections built-in, the Company's new 6U device integrates high-reliability defect mitigation thereby enabling normal read and write operations in the presence of harmful ionizing radiation. Additionally, the new SSD features redundant NAND flash to further improve long-term reliability and data integrity.

Recognizing that no two missions have identical requirements, Mercury's new device is built on a platform to readily enable cost versus performance customization. New product variants can be quickly realized where the ECC, spare device count, user capacity and power consumption are optimized for specific programs. The scalable manufacturing and test resources of the Company's Advanced Microelectronics Centers assure a seamless transition of custom product variants through volume production.

"With the successful adoption of our 3U TRRUST-Stor VPX RT SSD for multiple LEO satellite applications, we are proud to introduce the next generation of commercial SSD technology optimized for space and other radiation-intense environments while sustaining greater than 1 GB/s data transfer rates," said Iain Mackie, Vice President and General Manager of Mercury's Microelectronics Secure Solutions group. "Whether our valued customers are designing a single satellite, a constellation of satellites or a terrestrial computing system exposed to radiation, Mercury is committed to reducing our customers' program risk by leveraging the scalable manufacturing and test capabilities of our Advanced Microelectronics Centers."

Today's product announcement exemplifies Mercury's commitment to expanding the breadth of its space-qualified product portfolio for defense prime contractors and commercial satellite manufacturers. As a further testament to this commitment, the Company is also developing new architectures to provide feature-rich space-grade SSD devices of up to 32TB user capacity for space radar applications. Mercury also offers a comprehensive portfolio of space-qualified RF and microwave solutions that have been trusted on every mission to Mars without device failure.

Mercury designs and manufactures its entire portfolio of space-qualified SSD devices in a Defense Microelectronics Activity (DMEA)-accredited facility for design, packaging, test and broker services. The Company's dedication to excellence in all aspects of industrial security has been recognized by the Defense Security Service (DSS) with Superior ratings of several of its sites, including this DMEA-accredited facility.

Mercury is now accepting orders for TRRUST-Stor VPX RT 6U flight units for delivery in the last quarter of calendar year 2019. Additionally, Mercury welcomes inquiries from customers whose system designs may benefit from a 3U form factor variant of the second generation product, which is currently under development. For application assistance, additional product information or purchase inquiries, customers can visit http://www.mrcy.com/Rad-Tolerant-SSD or contact Mercury at [email protected] or (866) 627-6951.

Mercury Systems – Innovation That Matters®
Mercury Systems is a leading commercial provider of secure sensor and safety-critical processing subsystems. Optimized for customer and mission success, Mercury's solutions power a wide variety of critical defense and intelligence programs. Headquartered in Andover, Mass., Mercury is pioneering a next-generation defense electronics business model specifically designed to meet the industry's current and emerging technology needs. To learn more, visit www.mrcy.com and follow us on Twitter.

Forward-Looking Safe Harbor Statement

This press release contains certain forward-looking statements, as that term is defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, including those relating to fiscal 2019 business performance and beyond and the Company's plans for growth and improvement in profitability and cash flow. You can identify these statements by the use of the words "may," "will," "could," "should," "would," "plans," "expects," "anticipates," "continue," "estimate," "project," "intend," "likely," "forecast," "probable," "potential," and similar expressions. These forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those projected or anticipated. Such risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, continued funding of defense programs, the timing and amounts of such funding, general economic and business conditions, including unforeseen weakness in the Company's markets, effects of any U.S. Federal government shutdown or extended continuing resolution, effects of continued geopolitical unrest and regional conflicts, competition, changes in technology and methods of marketing, delays in completing engineering and manufacturing programs, changes in customer order patterns, changes in product mix, continued success in technological advances and delivering technological innovations, changes in, or in the U.S. Government's interpretation of, federal export control or procurement rules and regulations, market acceptance of the Company's products, shortages in components, production delays or unanticipated expenses due to performance quality issues with outsourced components, inability to fully realize the expected benefits from acquisitions and restructurings, or delays in realizing such benefits, challenges in integrating acquired businesses and achieving anticipated synergies, increases in interest rates, changes to cyber-security regulations and requirements, changes in tax rates or tax regulations, changes to generally accepted accounting principles, difficulties in retaining key employees and customers, unanticipated costs under fixed-price service and system integration engagements, and various other factors beyond our control. These risks and uncertainties also include such additional risk factors as are discussed in the Company's filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, including its Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2018. The Company cautions readers not to place undue reliance upon any such forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date made. The Company undertakes no obligation to update any forward-looking statement to reflect events or circumstances after the date on which such statement is made.

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