• DHSMarine Gen. (Ret.) John Kelly to lead Homeland Security

    President-elect Donald Trump has chosen Gen. John F. Kelly, 66, a retired four-star Marine general whose son was killed in combat in Afghanistan, as his nominee for secretary of homeland security. Kelly led U.S. Southern Command, and served for forty years in the Marine Corps. He led troops through tough battles in western Iraq. In 2003 he was promoted to brigadier general while in active combat – the first Marine colonel since 1951 to be recognized this way.

  • Iran’s nukesTrump may release documents with secret details of Iran deal

    Documents containing previously-unpublished details of the nuclear deal with Iran could be released after Donald Trump is inaugurated as president next month. The documents, which the Obama administration has refused to release publicly, are stored in special rooms in the Capitol complex called Sensitive Compartmentalized Information Facilities (SCIFs) that are normally used for storing top-secret information. However, the Iran documents are not officially designated as classified, and therefore could be released by the Trump administration relatively easily.

  • Airport securityTSA could save money by waiving PreCheck fees for frequent travelers

    There is an easy way to reduce lines at the airport, increase security and save the Transportation Security Administration money, according to a new study: waive the $85 fee for frequent fliers to enroll in the TSA PreCheck program, which allows pre-screened, verified travelers to go through expedited security at airports.

  • GunsA license to print: how real is the risk posed by 3D printed guns?

    By Thomas Birtchnell

    3D printed guns are back in the news after Queensland Police reported last week that they had discovered a 3D printer in a raid on what appeared to be a “large-scale” weapons production facility as a part of Operation Oscar Quantum. But the fact is that 3D printing technology is not yet at the stage where it can readily produce weapons. Although it can be used to help rogue gunsmiths work their shady trade. And we should remember that it’s not only 3D printing that enables people to build illicit firearms. With the right tools, a skilled gunsmith can make a weapon in their back shed. However, 3D printing can make that process easier and more accessible to less skilled individuals.

  • TerrorismGame theory may help protect against terrorist attacks

    Defenders must perpetually defend numerous targets using a limited number of resources, whereas attackers are able to surveil and learn defenders’ strategies and attack after careful planning. Game-theoretical algorithms can be used by defenders optimally to randomize their patrols so that attackers cannot predict which target defenders are going to protect at any given time.

  • Nuclear energyFuture of nuclear energy unclear

    Despite a turbulent history, the allure of nuclear energy — electricity production on a massive scale with minimal emissions — remains attractive. Its low emission rate is why the United Nations International Panel on Climate Change recommends doubling the world’s nuclear capacity by 2050. Yet the bulk of the 100 nuclear reactors currently operating in the U.S., which continue to produce about 20 percent of the nation’s energy, are reaching retirement age, and energy market forces don’t always favor nuclear.

  • Emerging threatsWarming-driven loss of soil carbon might equal U.S. emissions

    For decades scientists have speculated that rising global temperatures might alter the ability of soils to store carbon, potentially releasing huge amounts of carbon into the atmosphere and triggering runaway climate change. Yet thousands of studies worldwide have produced mixed signals on whether this storage capacity will actually decrease — or even increase — as the planet warms. It turns out scientists might have been looking in the wrong places. A new study finds that warming will drive the loss of at least 55 trillion kilograms of carbon from the soil by mid-century, or about 17 percent more than the projected emissions due to human-related activities during that period. That would be roughly the equivalent of adding to the planet another industrialized country the size of the United States.

  • AssassinationsChile to seek extradition of secret agents for deadly 1976 U.S. attack

    Chile’s supreme court has ruled that the Chilean government could ask the United States to extradite two former secret police agents in the regime of General Augusto Pinochet, who, in 1976, placed explosives in a car in Washington, D.C., killing a former Chilean ambassador and a U.S. citizen. In a unanimous decision on Monday, said the Chilean foreign ministry should begin the procedures needed to seek the extradition of Michael Townley, a U.S. citizen, and Armando Fernandez Larios, a Chilean. Both now reside in the United States.

  • IranExpert: Don’t ignore Iran’s chemical, biological weapons threat while enforcing nuclear deal

    While President-elect Donald Trump will likely be stricter in enforcing the terms of the nuclear deal with Iran, the incoming administration should not ignore the threat that Iran’s chemical and biological weapons programs pose, says an expert.

  • Border securityIf we hire them, they will come: The demand side of border security

    By Jay Root, Jolie McCullough, and Julián Aguilar

    A fundamental truth underlies the nation’s collective failure to stop illegal immigration and smuggling over the southern border: The United States demands the cheap labor and drugs. The Texas Legislature’s almost $800 million border security apparatus relies on stopping the supply of uninspected people and drugs. It’s all about boots on the ground, assets in the air, boats in the water. But addressing the country’s demand for cheap labor and drugs? Or its role in supplying the weapons drug cartels and smugglers use to protect their loads? Not so much.

  • Border securityFortress island Britain? What could happen to U.K. borders after Brexit

    By Cathal McCall

    The key objective of Brexiteers – those at the forefront of the political campaign to extract the UK from the European Union – is to control, and preferably prevent, the movement of “outsiders” to Britain, including those from mainland Europe. State borders are where that control can be asserted, so the key question is: where to establish this Brexit bordering regime? The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (UK) is the state in question, so it is logical to assume that we’re talking about its borders. But this assumption is problematic because of the border that meanders for 500km across the island of Ireland.

  • Software securityCreating safer, less vulnerable software

    We can create software with 100 times fewer vulnerabilities than we do today, according to computer scientists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). To get there, they recommend that coders adopt the approaches they have compiled in a new publication.

  • Extreme weatherU.S. to face five-fold increase in extreme downpours across parts of the country

    At century’s end, the number of summertime storms that produce extreme downpours could increase by more than 400 percent across parts of the United States — including sections of the Gulf Coast, Atlantic Coast, and the Southwest. The intensity of individual extreme rainfall events could increase by as much as 70 percent in some areas. That would mean that a storm that drops about 2 inches of rainfall today would be likely to drop nearly 3.5 inches in the future.

  • Extreme weatherClimate change to drive stronger, smaller storms in U.S.

    The effects of climate change will likely cause smaller but stronger storms in the United States, according to a new framework for modeling storm behavior. Though storm intensity is expected to increase over today’s levels, the predicted reduction in storm size may alleviate some fears of widespread severe flooding in the future. The new approach uses new statistical methods to identify and track storm features in both observational weather data and new high-resolution climate modeling simulations.

  • Water securitySyrian crisis altered region’s land and water resources

    The Syrian civil war and subsequent refugee migration caused sudden changes in the area’s land use and freshwater resources. Using satellite imagery processed in Google Earth Engine, researchers determined the conflict in Syria caused agricultural irrigation and reservoir storage to decrease by nearly 50 percent compared to prewar conditions.

  • Female terrorists ISIS deploys more women as frontline suicide bombers

    Security services in many countries are facing a new challenge: More and more women are sent or inspired by ISIS to engage in terrorists acts in Europe and the Islamic world. Female followers of ISIS have until now been largely limited to support roles I the organization. Since the summer, however, as the retreat of ISIS in the face of a U.S.-led coalition campaign accelerated, the organization has reversed its policy on women in operational roles.

  • Female terroristsFemale jihadists play critical roles in terror groups

    A new study examining the roles of American jihadi women and found a significant increase in their participation in terrorist activity in the past five years. Within the wider movement, American women served primarily as plotters, supporters, and travelers. While few female American jihadists appear to act alone or carry out violent plots, many support activities along with friends, siblings, and romantic partners. The women are active online and offline, and social media use is common.

  • CybersecurityBen-Gurion University, PayPal join forces in cybersecurity research

    Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) and PayPal announced a new partnership this morning in order to conduct joint research and development in the fields of big data, machine learning and cyber security. It is the first such collaboration between PayPal and an Israeli university. PayPal’s involvement in big-data and machine learning technology has been supported by its significant R&D activity in Israel, starting with the acquisition of Fraud Sciences in 2008 and the establishment of a global risk and data sciences R&D center in Tel-Aviv.

  • ImmigrationHow Trump’s deportation plan threatens America’s food and wine supply

    By Justine Vanden Heuvel and Mary Jo Dudley

    Mass deportations of up to three million undocumented immigrants are expected to begin in January, when President-elect Donald Trump takes the oath of office and begins to turn his campaign promises into government policy. While Trump claims criminals are his primary target, reports suggest there aren’t enough of them to actually reach his goal. A prominent migration think tank estimates that only 820,000 undocumented immigrants have been convicted of a crime. So that means Trump would have to deport several million immigrants without criminal records to reach his goal. These people work in a range of industries, accounting for about 16 percent of those employed in agriculture, 12 percent in construction, 9 percent in hospitality, and 6 percent in manufacturing. So while kicking felons out of the country is justifiable, it seems to us that deporting the law-abiding undocumented workers who help drive our economy by undertaking jobs that Americans refuse to do is not.

  • DetectionImprove trace detection of explosives by sniffing like a dog

    By mimicking how dogs get their whiffs, a team of government and university researchers have demonstrated that “active sniffing” can improve by more than ten times the performance of current technologies that rely on continuous suction to detect trace amounts of explosives and other contraband.

  • Disaster preparationsUSGS, DoD partner in preparing for major natural disasters

    In 2003, USGS partnered with the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) - U.S. Northern Command (USNORTHCOM) to establish a liaison between the two organizations to facilitate science support in the event of a major natural disaster. The USGS liaison coordinates requests for science information and expertise, and general civil support and humanitarian assistance activities. This science support enables USNORTHCOM to perform critical national defense and civil support missions, as well as understand the impacts of natural disasters.

  • TornadosIs climate change responsible for increasing tornado outbreaks?

    Tornadoes and severe thunderstorms kill people and damage property every year. Estimated U.S. insured losses due to severe thunderstorms in the first half of 2016 were $8.5 billion. The largest U.S. impacts of tornadoes result from tornado outbreaks, sequences of tornadoes that occur in close succession. New research shows that the average number of tornadoes during outbreaks—large-scale weather events that can last one to three days and span huge regions—has risen since 1954. But the researchers were not sure why.