• Florida shooting

    A spokesperson for the white supremacist group Republic of Florida (ROF) claimed to the Anti-Defamation League on Thursday that Nikolas Cruz, the man charged with the previous day’s deadly shooting spree at a Parkland, Florida, high school, was associated with his group. If Cruz’s role is confirmed, the Parkland school shooting would be the second school shooting by a white supremacist in the past two months. In December 2017, another young white supremacist, William Atchison, engaged in a shooting spree at a high school in northwest New Mexico, killing two students before shooting himself.

  • School shooting

    When deadly school shootings like the one that took place on Valentine’s Day in Broward County, Florida occur, often they are followed by calls for more stringent security measures. While some of these measures seem sensible, overall there is little empirical evidence that such security measures decrease the likelihood of school shootings. Surveillance cameras were powerless to stop the carnage in Columbine and school lock-down policies did not save the children at Sandy Hook. We believe what is missing from the discussion is the idea of an educational response. Current policy responses do not address the fundamental question of why so many mass shootings take place in schools. To answer this question, we need to get to the heart of how students experience school and the meaning that schools have in American life. It is time to think about school shootings not as a problem of security, but also as a problem of education.

  • Homegrown terrorism

    University of Arkansas researchers recently received a $716,000 grant from the National Institute of Justice to study where terrorists prepare their acts as opposed to where they commit domestic acts of terrorism. The goals of the three-year study are to better understand spatial connections between a terrorism incident and the steps leading to it, and to create a model that could help assess terrorism risks for specific geographic areas or locations.

  • Bioweapons

    The suspicious letter which was sent to Vanessa Trump, the wife of Donald Trump Jr., was postmarked from Boston and contained corn starch, law enforcement officials told CNN. Vanessa Trump and two other people were taken to New York Presbyterian-Weill Cornell Medical Center as a precautionary measure.

  • Israel-Syria

    The incursion on an Iranian drone into Israeli airspace and the subsequent Israeli response on Saturday shows that Israel considers Iran’s efforts “to consolidate their strategic position” in Syria and Lebanon to threaten the Jewish state “unsustainable,” two experts say. They characterized the downing of the drone after it entered Israeli airspace and the subsequent attacks by the Israeli Air Force against targets in Syria as “the most significant clash to date between Israel and the so-called Axis of Resistance—Iran, Syria’s Assad regime and Hezbollah—since Iran began deploying soldiers and proxies to Syria six years ago.”

  • Hate groups

    The 11 August 2017 Unite the Right event in Charlottesville, Virginia, brought white supremacists of all stripes together for a weekend of protest that turned to deadly violence. Six months later, what has happened to the far-flung and disparate groups that make up America’s white supremacist movement? Analysts say that for America’s white supremacist movement, the period since Charlottesville has been a time marked by seismic structural shifts and more than a few power struggles. Divisions have deepened, and the spirit of solidarity that animated the racist crowds in Charlottesville has long since dissipated. And yet, by some measures, evidence of white supremacist activism and engagement is more conspicuous than ever before.

  • Hate groups

    In a new study, University of Utah geographers sought to understand the factors fueling hate across space. The researchers found that in all U.S. regions, less education, population change, and ethnic diversity correlated with more hate groups, as did areas with higher poverty rates and more conservative political affiliation. The Utah geographers assert that organized hate is motivated by the desire to protect a place from the perceived threats that “outsiders” pose to identity and socioeconomic security. The contemporary expression, “hate,” is shaped by the intermingling histories and present-day conditions of a place. A hate group is defined as an organized group or ideology with beliefs or practices that malign an entire class of people due to their immutable characteristics.

  • Air travel security

    Students from James Madison University (JMU) will be tackling air travel security issues for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) as part of their spring semester of the Hacking 4 Defense (H4D) class. The H4D team will look for innovative approaches that will enable the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to be able to associate passengers with their personal belongings.

  • Israel-Iran

    For the first time, Iran sent a military drone from one of its bases in Syria, in response to which Israel, for the first time, bombed Iranian targets in Syria, killing several Iranian soldiers. An Israeli jet was shot down by an Iranian anti-aircraft missile, and in response Israel bombed and destroyed nearly half of Syria’s air defense systems, in addition to attacking other Syrian and Iranian targets.

     

  • Israel-Iran

    The interception of an Iranian drone that targeted Israel suggests that the chances for a war between Israel and Iran-led forces, the first Israel-Shia war, have increased, General (ret.) Amos Yadlin, the former head of Israel’s military intelligence, said. “There is a determination by Iran to build a military force in Syria and Lebanon, and there is determination by Israel not to let it happen. And the two vectors are colliding,” Yadlin said. “Maybe instead of the first northern war, we should call it first Shia war, Israel-Shia war. Because it will be the Shia axis, led by Iran, with Hezbollah and the Syrian regime and Shia militia from all over the Middle East.”

  • Hemispheric security

    The Colombian FARC’s political movement announced earlier today (Friday) that it was suspending its campaigning activities for the 9 March legislative elections because threats and violent protests have disrupted its rallies in several cities in Colombia. Two years ago the Colombian government signed a peace agreement with FARC, ending a violent insurgency which began in 1964. Colombian are evenly divided over whether or not an accord with FARC was a good idea, but polls show that the overwhelming majority of Colombians – around 80 percent — believe that even with a signed accord, former guerrilla members should be in prison, and, if not in prison, that they should at least not play a role in national politics.  

  • Designer pathogens

    Synthetic biology has led to the creation of new products, markets, companies, and industries. At the same time, the technology poses potential risks to biosafety and biosecurity, as recently demonstrated by the synthesis of horsepox virus, a cousin of variola, the virus which causes smallpox. DHS S&T sponsored a workshop to discuss the evolving role of databases which contain genetic sequences of pathogens and toxins — termed “sequences of interest” — which pose safety or security concerns.

  • Terrorism

    Mediterranean migrant boats headed for Europe could be carrying fugitive ISIS fighters, Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano has asserted at a Rome conference, where he has been hosting African, EU, and UN officials. “It is in our interests, to defeat the business model of traffickers whose profits are used to finance organized crime and, we have the evidence for this, terrorism,” Alfano said. Analysts note that as a result of increased operations by the EU’s border agency, Frontex, in the central Mediterranean, migration pressure has shifted west to Algeria and Morocco as migrants, still intent on reaching Europe, head for Spain, some via its African outposts of Ceuta and Melilla.

  • Chemical weapons

    Labs performing scientific analysis for the UN chemical weapons watchdog have confirmed that the Assad regime has continued to use chemical weapons against Sunni civilians in Syria – chemical munitions from stocks which the regime was supposed to have relinquished in 2013. The analysis also concluded that it would have been virtually impossible for the anti-regime rebels to carry out a coordinated, large-scale chemical strikes with poisonous munitions, even if they had been able to steal the chemicals from the government’s stockpile.

  • African security

    Turkey’s engagement with Somalia is striking for its brevity and ostensible success. Turkey has been involved in Somalia since just 2011, yet Ankara can point to a string of reported accomplishments and an arguably outsized presence in an often violent country regularly described as a failed state. Turkey’s presence in Somalia certainly embodies one of the most interesting regional geopolitical developments in the past decade. It also represents one of the most misunderstood and confusing. Why did Turkey choose Somalia? And, after its initial humanitarian intervention in 2011, what internal and external forces have shaped and expanded that involvement? Furthermore, what explains Turkey’s reported triumphs? Turkey’s actions have arguably improved the situation in Somalia over the past six years. This is because Ankara has actually attempted to assuage rather than solve Somalia’s long-standing problems outright. Investment is largely driven by profits and assistance is targeted, coordinated and based on needs. These interventions rarely come with the types of strings attached that characterize other efforts seeking to restructure Somalia. This has been welcomed by many Somalis for whom requirements for political reform or the creation of accountability mechanisms ring hollow.

  • Hate groups

    New data released Thursday by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) shows an alarming increase in white supremacist propaganda on U.S. college campuses during the 2017 fall semester. Since 1 September 2016, ADL’s Center on Extremism has recorded 346 incidents where white supremacists have used fliers, stickers, banners, and posters to spread their message. These incidents targeted 216 college campuses — from Ivy League schools to local community colleges — in 44 states and Washington, D.C. During the fall semester of 2017 (1 September through 31 December), there were 147 such incidents, a staggering 258 percent increase over the 41 incidents that took place during the fall semester of 2016.

  • Hate groups

    The Community Security Trust’s (CST) 2017 Anti-Semitic Incidents Report, published Thursday, shows that CST recorded 1,382 anti-Semitic incidents in the United Kingdom in 2017, the highest total CST has ever recorded for a calendar year. This is a 3 percent increase from the 1,346 incidents recorded during 2016, which was itself a record annual total. The previous record high was in 2014, when CST recorded 1,182 anti-Semitic incidents. A copy of the report can be downloaded here. In addition to the 1,382 anti-Semitic incidents, a further 872 reports of potential incidents were received by CST in 2017 but were not deemed to be anti-Semitic and are not included in this total. Many of these 872 potential incidents involved suspicious activity or possible hostile reconnaissance at Jewish locations; criminal activity affecting Jewish people and buildings; and anti-Israel activity that did not include anti-Semitic language, motivation or targeting.

  • Weapons of mass terror

    Reports of chemical weapons use around the world raises serious concerns about non-state actors’ access to weapons of mass terror (WMT) and reinforces fears of a possible terrorist attack with chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear (CBRN) weapons in the West. Today’s terrorist networks move operatives, money and material across borders and through the crevices of the global economy, making tracking such adversaries a daunting challenge. In this new norm, the security of the United States will rely on novel, game-changing modeling techniques and solutions to curtail mass terror events.

  • Terrorism

    One of ISIS’s most notorious bomb-making videos is frequently and continually uploaded to Google web platforms, and there is little indication that the company is taking the appropriate steps to prevent these reuploads. “You Must Fight Them O Muwahhid” is one of ISIS’s most infamous videos, urging attacks in the West, displaying knife attack tactics on a live human target, and notably, providing instructions for building an explosive device with easily obtainable materials.

  • Terrorism

    The annual report from the Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security documents a continuing decline in the number of Muslim-Americans associated with violent extremism in 2017. The total for the first year of the Trump administration continued a downward trend which was visible in the final year of the Obama administration. Muslim-American extremists have caused 140 deaths in more than 16 years since September 11, 2001. Over the same period, there have been approximately 260,000 murders in the United States, and 267 lives were lost in mass shootings in 2017 alone (this figure does not include the victims of Muslim-American extremists). Since 2012, 78 Muslim-Americans have been identified as joining militants abroad, according to the report. More than half of these individuals have since been killed or detained.