Disaster Preparedness | Emergency Response
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.
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
Best Identity Management Platform
Best Certificate Management Solution
Best Compliance /Vulnerability Assessment Solution
Best Data Security/Loss Management Solution
Best Endpoint Security Solution
Best Forensic Software
Best Intelligence Data Fusion and Collaborative Analysis Solution
Lookingglass Cyber Solutions
Best Intrusion Detection/Prevention Solution
Vanguard Integrity Professionals
Best Network Security/Enterprise Firewall
Best Privileged Access Management Solution
Best Real-Time Dynamic Network Analysis
Best Continuous Monitoring Solution
Best Security Incident/Event Management Solution (SIEM)
CATEGORY 2 – VENDORS OF PHYSICAL SECURITY PRODUCTS & SOLUTIONS
PHYSICAL SECURITY ACCESS CONTROL & INDENTIFICATION
Best Biometric Identification Solution
Best Integrated System for HSPD 12/FIPS 201 Compliance
Best Platform for Physical and Logical Access
Best Interoperable First Responder Communications
Best Mass Notification Systems
Best Regional or National Public Safety Communications Deployment
Best Explosives Detection Solution
Best Long Range Detection Systems
Best Nuclear/Radiation Detection
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
Best Intelligent Video Surveillance Solution
Best Thermal/Night Vision/Infrared Cameras
HGH Infrared Systems
Best Network IP Cameras
Best Video Storage/Digital Transmission Systems
Best Perimeter Protection Solution
Best Crash Barriers
Best Physical Security Information Management (PSIM) Solution
Best Disaster Preparedness or Disaster Recovery & Clean-up Service
High-Rise Escape Systems
Best Facility Security/Force Protection Service
Best Homeland Security Training/Higher Education Solutions
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
Naval Air Systems Command (Kestrel Wide Area Persistent Surveillance)
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.
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:
Further information and entry forms for the 2011 Awards Program are available at:
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.
Swedish Authorities Strengthen Country's Preparedness with UMS, an Everbridge Company: Entire population capable of receiving SMS alerts during a crisis
OSLO, NORWAY – June 12, 2018 – Everbridge, Inc. (NASDAQ: EVBG), the global leader in critical event management and enterprise safety software applications, announced today that it has expanded the capabilities of the national alerting system that it is powering for the country of Sweden. Going forward, residents and visitors in Sweden will be able to receive SMS notifications on their mobile phones if they reside within an area where sudden events such as fire, extreme weather or a terror attack occur. All mobile operators in Sweden can now send location-based SMS alerts provided by Unified Messaging Systems (UMS), an Everbridge Company, with an "Important Message to the Public" from SOS Alarm, the system operator.
"The mobile phone is the best tool for reaching the population and for providing important information about how to act during major accidents and other severe events. This is a significant step forward that all mobile operators are now connected to this service, which is an important part of strengthening Swedish crisis preparedness and creating a safer Sweden for all," said Kenny Lorentzon, Head of Emergency Response Department at SOS Alarm.
UMS' Location Based Alerting System (LBAS™) is a solution that allows authorities to alert people in a specific geographic area in a quick and efficient manner. All mobile phones located within a defined area can be notified using location information from the mobile network without having to do anything to receive the messages. LBAS makes real-time dynamic alerting a reality.
"Having a national warning solution implemented in Sweden demonstrates a significant modernization of emergency preparedness services. The mobile phone is the first channel most people turn to when searching for information. SMS notification is both precise and time saving and can help save lives and keep businesses running when a critical event occurs," said Espen Gylvik, General Manager at Unified Messaging Systems, an Everbridge Company.
Following legislative changes that began on July 1, 2017, SOS Alarm now has the ability to send SMS alerts to anyone who resides in a defined geographic area in Sweden. Previously, Sweden only had the opportunity to send alerts to mobile phones 'registered' within an affected area. Neither UMS nor SOS Alarm stores data from mobile operators and the information transmitted cannot be used in other contexts.
About UMS, an Everbridge Company
UMS AS (Unified Messaging Systems), an Everbridge Company, is an Oslo based technology company with international operations. The company supports more than 1,200 customers worldwide with systems for public notifications. The company was founded in 1998, and was acquired by Everbridge in 2018, and is established as an industry leader within the area of critical communication and population alerting systems.
Everbridge, Inc. (NASDAQ: EVBG) is a global software company that provides enterprise software applications that automate and accelerate organizations' operational response to critical events in order to keep people safe and businesses running faster. During public safety threats such as active shooter situations, terrorist attacks or severe weather conditions, as well as critical business events including IT outages, cyber-attacks or other incidents such as product recalls or supply-chain interruptions, over 3,800 global customers rely on the company's Critical Event Management Platform to quickly and reliably aggregate and assess threat data, locate people at risk and responders able to assist, automate the execution of pre-defined communications processes through the secure delivery to over 100 different communication devices, and track progress on executing response plans. The company's platform sent over 2 billion messages in 2017 and offers the ability to reach over 500 million people in more than 200 countries and territories, including the entire mobile populations on a country-wide scale in Sweden, the Netherlands, the Bahamas, Singapore, Greece, Cambodia, and a number of the largest states in India. The company's critical communications and enterprise safety applications include Mass Notification, Incident Management, Safety Connection™, IT Alerting, Visual Command Center®, Crisis Commander®, Community Engagement™ and Secure Messaging. Everbridge serves 9 of the 10 largest U.S. cities, 8 of the 10 largest U.S.-based investment banks, all 25 of the 25 busiest North American airports, six of the 10 largest global consulting firms, six of the 10 largest global auto makers, all four of the largest global accounting firms, four of the 10 largest U.S.-based health care providers and four of the 10 largest U.S.-based health insurers. Everbridge is based in Boston and Los Angeles with additional offices in Lansing, San Francisco, Beijing, Kolkata, London, Oslo and Stockholm. For more information, visit www.everbridge.com, read the company blog, and follow on Twitter and Facebook.
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz.-- Axon (Nasdaq: AAXN), the global leader in connected law enforcement technologies, today announced that Axon Citizen for Communities is available for field trials for law enforcement agencies. This new public evidence submission portal will allow agencies to collect evidence from the public during both large-scale and smaller, day-to-day events. This tool is in addition to Axon Citizen for Officers, launched earlier this year, where officers can collect evidence in one-to-one scenarios. Axon Citizen for Communities is available for trials and pre-order and will begin shipping in the third quarter of 2018.
"For many years, agencies have been challenged with securely receiving and sorting through the massive amounts of evidence sent in by community members when a large-scale incident occurs," says Axon's CEO and founder, Rick Smith. "Axon Citizen for Communities accelerates the speed of investigations with all videos and photos being instantly categorized and searchable within our digital evidence management system, Evidence.com."
With Axon Citizen for Communities, agencies can create portals into which community members can upload photos and videos for both large and small-scale events where public evidence can support investigations. This tool will streamline the evidence collection process during critical incidents where evidence is being submitted by the public. The product's triage tool allows the agency to review submitted media as fast as possible to accept or decline submissions based on their relevancy to the investigation. Other benefits and features of both Axon Citizen for Communities and Axon Citizen for Officers include:
- Agencies simply text, email or publicly post links: Axon Citizen saves countless hours of sending out officers with thumb drives to manually collect digital files.
- Accelerates the review process: Axon Citizen's triage tool allows the reviewer to quickly decide which submissions to accept or decline.
- Streamlines searching: All submissions are automatically categorized and searchable within Evidence.com to simplify case building and remain in the audit trail and chain of custody.
- Offers network reliability: Axon Citizen provides agencies the infrastructure and tools needed to support public evidence submissions, during both large-scale and smaller, day-to-day events.
- Seamless integration with Evidence.com: Data submitted with Axon Citizen is maintained at the highest levels of security and compliance on Axon's Evidence.com solution.
Axon is a network of devices, apps, and people that helps law enforcement become smarter and safer. Our mission is to protect life. Our technologies give law enforcement the confidence, focus, and time they need to keep their communities safe. Our products impact every aspect of an officer's day-to-day experience:
- In the field - Our Smart Weapons offer a less-lethal intermediate use of force response and our body-worn and in-car cameras collect video evidence to capture the truth of an incident; and our mobile applications enable simple evidence collection.
- At the station - Our secure, cloud-based digital evidence management solution allows officers and command staff to manage, review, share, and process digital evidence using forensic, redaction, transcription, and other tools.
- In the courtroom - Our solutions for prosecutors make collaborating across jurisdictions and agencies easy so that cases can be resolved quickly.
We work hard for those who put themselves in harm's way for all of us. To date, there are more than 226,900 software seats booked on the Axon Network around the world and more than 200,000 lives and countless dollars have been saved with the Axon Network of devices, apps and people. Learn more at www.axon.com or by calling (800) 978-2737.
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Axon, Axon Citizen, Axon Network, Evidence.com, the "Delta Logo," "Protect Life," and Smart Weapons are trademarks of Axon Enterprise, Inc., some of which are registered in the US and other countries. For more information, visit www.axon.com/legal. All rights reserved.
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Protection against many common pathogens and environmental stressors is written into our DNA. Our skin responds to sun exposure. Our immune system mounts defenses when we get the flu. Our bodies inherently work to mitigate the potential for harm caused by these health threats. However, these intrinsic responses are not always quick, robust, or appropriate enough to adequately defend us from harm, which is why many people experience sunburn after intense sun exposure or suffer severe symptoms, even death, following exposure to the flu.
Military service members, first responders, and civilian populations face threats far more severe than sunburn and respiratory infections. Pathogens with pandemic potential, toxic chemicals, and radioactive materials can all quickly and powerfully overwhelm the body’s innate defenses. And though significant public and private investment has been focused on the development of traditional medical countermeasures such as drugs, vaccines, and biologics to guard against the worst effects of these health threats, current countermeasures are often limited in their effectiveness and availability during emergencies.
DARPA is looking to make gains beyond the status quo. Inspired by recent advances in understanding of when and how genes express their traits, DARPA’s new PReemptive Expression of Protective Alleles and Response Elements (PREPARE) program will explore ways to better protect against biological, chemical, or radiological threats by temporarily and reversibly tuning gene expression to bolster the body’s defenses against – or directly neutralize – a given threat.
“The human body is amazingly resilient. Every one of our cells already contains genes that encode for some level of resistance to specific health threats, but those built-in defenses can’t always express quickly or robustly enough to be effective,” said Renee Wegrzyn, the PREPARE program manager. “PREPARE will study how to support this innate resistance by giving it a temporary boost, either before or after exposure, without any permanent edits to the genome.”
The program will focus on four key health challenges as proofs of concept for what DARPA ultimately envisions as a generalizable platform that can be rapidly adapted to emerging public health and national security threats: influenza viral infection, opioid overdose, organophosphate poisoning, and exposure to gamma radiation.
“Each of these four threats are major health concerns that would benefit from disruptive approaches,” Wegrzyn said. “Seasonal flu vaccines, for example, are limited in that they try to hit a perpetually moving target, so circulating flu strains are often mismatched to vaccine strains. Programmable modulation of common viral genome sequences could potentially neutralize many more circulating viral strains simultaneously to keep up with moving targets. Combining this strategy with a temporary boost to host protection genes could change how we think about anti-virals.”
PREPARE requires that any treatments developed under the program have only temporary and reversible effects. In so doing, PREPARE diverges sharply from recent gene-editing research, which has centered on permanently modifying the genome by cutting DNA and inserting new genes or changing the underlying sequence to change the genetic code. Such approaches may cause long-lasting, off-target effects, and though the tools are improving, the balance of risk versus benefit means that these therapies are reserved for individuals with inherited genetic disorders with few to no other treatment options. In addition, some indications, including treatment of pain, may only require temporary solutions, rather than life-long responses.
The envisioned PREPARE technologies would provide an alternative that preserves the genetic code exactly as it is and only temporarily modulates gene activity via the epigenome and transcriptome, which are the cellular messages that carry out DNA’s genetic instructions inside cells. This would establish the capability to deliver programmable, but transient, gene modulators to confer protection within brief windows of time for meaningful intervention.
“Focusing only on programmable modulation of gene expression enables us to provide specific, robust protection against many threats at once, with an effect that carries less risk, is limited but tunable in duration, and is entirely reversible,” Wegrzyn said.
Success will hinge on developing new tools for targeted modulation of gene expression inside the body. Researchers must identify the specific gene targets that can confer protection, develop in vivo technologies for programmable modulation of those gene targets, and formulate cell- or tissue-specific delivery mechanisms to direct programmable gene modulators to the appropriate places in the body. Although the immediate program goal is to develop defenses against one of the four focus areas determined by DARPA, the ultimate objective of PREPARE is to develop a modular, threat-agnostic platform solution with common components and manufacturing architecture that can be readily adapted to diverse and emerging threats.
Research will be conducted primarily using computer, cell culture, organoid, and animal models to establish proof of concept. However, DARPA’s vision is to generate new medical countermeasures for future use in humans. As such, DARPA is working with independent bioethicists to identify and address potential ethical, legal, and societal issues.
By the end of the four-year program, DARPA aims for each funded team to submit at least one final product to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for regulatory review as an Investigational New Drug or for Emergency Use Authorization. Throughout the program, teams will be required to work closely with the FDA to ensure that the data generated and experimental protocols meet regulatory standards.
DARPA will hold a Proposers Day on June 13, 2018, in Arlington, Va., to provide more information about PREPARE and answer questions from potential proposers. For additional information, visit: https://fbo.gov/spg/ODA/DARPA/CMO/DARPA-SN-18-45/listing.html. Advance registration is required; please visit: https://events.sa-meetings.com/PREPAREProposersDay. A full description of the program will be made available in a forthcoming Broad Agency Announcement.
May 21, 2018 -- Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen M. Nielsen today announced the release of Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 Notices of Funding Opportunity for eight DHS preparedness grant programs totaling more than $1.6 billion. The grant programs provide funding to state, local, tribal, and territorial governments, as well as transportation authorities, nonprofit organizations, and the private sector, to improve the nation’s readiness in preventing, protecting against, responding to, recovering from and mitigating terrorist attacks, major disasters and other emergencies. The grants reflect the Department’s focus on funding for programs that address our nation’s immediate security needs and ensure public safety in our communities.
“The administration remains committed to strengthening the security and resilience of our state and local communities,” said Secretary Nielsen. “The DHS grant programs are flexible by design and will be used to help address evolving threats. They will go toward building and sustaining capabilities across all levels of government and the whole community to maximize preparedness.”
The FY 2018 grant guidance will continue to focus on the nation’s highest risk areas, including urban areas that face the most significant threats. For FY 2018, the Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) will enhance regional preparedness and capabilities by funding 32 high-threat, high-density urban areas. This represents Congressional intent to limit FY 2018 UASI funding to those Urban Areas that represent up to 85 percent of the nationwide risk, as stated in the Explanatory Statement accompanying the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, 2018 (Pub. L. No. 115-141).
Consistent with previous grant guidance, dedicated funding is provided for law enforcement and terrorism prevention throughout the country to prepare for, prevent and respond to pre-operational activity and other crimes that are precursors or indicators of terrorist activity.
Grant recipients are encouraged to use grant funding to maintain and sustain current critical core capabilities through investments in training and exercises, updates to current planning and procedures, and lifecycle replacement of equipment. New capabilities that are built using homeland security grant funding must be deployable if needed to support regional and national efforts. All capabilities being built or sustained must have a clear linkage to the core capabilities articulated in the National Preparedness Goal.
Preparedness Grant Program Allocations for Fiscal Year 2018:
Emergency Management Performance Grant (EMPG)—provides more than $350 million to assist state, local, tribal, territorial governments in enhancing and sustaining all-hazards emergency management capabilities.
Homeland Security Grant Program (HSGP)—provides more than $1 billion for states and urban areas to prevent, protect against, mitigate, respond to, and recover from acts of terrorism and other threats.
State Homeland Security Program (SHSP)—provides $402 million to support the implementation of risk-driven, capabilities-based State Homeland Security Strategies to address capability targets. States are required to dedicate 25 percent of SHSP funds to law enforcement terrorism prevention activities.
Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI)—provides $580 million to enhance regional preparedness and capabilities in 32 high-threat, high-density areas. States and Urban Areas are required to dedicate 25 percent of UASI funds to law enforcement terrorism prevention activities.
Operation Stonegarden (OPSG)—provides $85 million to enhance cooperation and coordination among local, tribal, territorial, state and federal law enforcement agencies to jointly enhance security along the United States land and water borders.
Since the enactment of the 9/11 Act, FEMA has required states to ensure that at least 25 percent of the total funds awarded to them under SHSP and UASI are dedicated toward law enforcement terrorism prevention activities (LETPA). The total LETPA allocation can be satisfied from SHSP, UASI or both. In addition, states must obligate at least 80 percent of the funds awarded under SHSP and UASI to local or tribal units of government within 45 days of receipt of the funds.
Tribal Homeland Security Grant Program (THSGP)—provides $10 million to eligible tribal nations to implement preparedness initiatives to help strengthen the nation against risk associated with potential terrorist attacks and other hazards.
Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP)—provides $60 million to support target hardening and other physical security enhancements for nonprofit organizations that are at high risk of a terrorist attack. This year, $50 million is provided to nonprofits in UASI-designated urban areas, and $10 million is provided to nonprofits located in any state or territory.
Intercity Passenger Rail - Amtrak (IPR) Program—provides $10 million to protect critical surface transportation infrastructure and the traveling public from acts of terrorism and increase the resilience of the Amtrak rail system.
Port Security Grant Program (PSGP)—provides $100 million to help protect critical port infrastructure from terrorism, enhance maritime domain awareness, improve port-wide maritime security risk management, and maintain or reestablish maritime security mitigation protocols that support port recovery and resiliency capabilities.
Transit Security Grant Program (TSGP)—provides $88 million to owners and operators of transit systems to protect critical surface transportation and the traveling public from acts of terrorism and to increase the resilience of transit infrastructure.
Intercity Bus Security Grant Program (IBSGP)—provides $2 million to owners and operators of intercity bus systems to protect critical surface transportation infrastructure and the traveling public from acts of terrorism and to increase the resilience of transit infrastructure.
All preparedness Notices of Funding Opportunities can be found at www.grants.gov. Final submissions must be made through the Non-Disaster (ND) Grants system located at https://portal.fema.gov.
Further information on DHS’s preparedness grant programs is available at www.dhs.gov and http://www.fema.gov/grants.
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