Our picksDHS leadership in flux; using AI for security clearance; climate change & red states, and more

Published 10 April 2019

·  Almost half of Homeland Security’s senior leadership is in flux

·  Measles is a public-health emergency in the US — these 15 charts explain the vaccine problem

·  Anti-terrorism agents release findings on Sacramento Transit Security

·  What will climate change mean for security in Africa?

·  Don’t underestimate Corbyn’s pet Stalinist

·  The Pentagon wants to streamline security clearances by using AI. That’s a dangerous idea.

·  In congressional hearing on hate, the haters got their way

·  Climate change will ravage the red states, too

·  Teaching the Holocaust in Germany as a resurgent far right questions it

·  Can the Iran nuclear deal survive as the IAEA investigates Israeli allegations?

Almost half of Homeland Security’s senior leadership is in flux (Nigel Chiwaya, NBC News)
Twelve of 30 positions in the department’s leadership chart are being filled on a nonpermanent basis.

Measles is a public-health emergency in the US — these 15 charts explain the vaccine problem (Gina Echevarria and Benji Jones, Business Insider)
Measles is back in the United States, with more than 300 cases reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in early 2019. Scientists put much of the blame on the anti-vaccine movement, which is now thriving in some parts of the country. But overall, the US is doing fairly well when it comes to immunizations. The larger vaccine problem isn’t in the US, but abroad.

Anti-terrorism agents release findings on Sacramento Transit Security (Tony Bizjak, Sacramento Bee)
Federal agents reviewed the local transit system, checking stations and going over the agency’s training and security protocols. SacRT’s plan was “very strong.”

What will climate change mean for security in Africa? (Katie Bo Williams, Defense One)
The Pentagon faces different challenges in a continent where it has only one permanent base — but lots of troops.

Don’t underestimate Corbyn’s pet Stalinist (James Bloodworth, Foreign Policy)
Seumas Milne loves the Soviet Union, hates the EU, and has the ear of a possible future prime minister.

The Pentagon wants to streamline security clearances by using AI. That’s a dangerous idea. (John Bowers, Just Security)
In June of 2018, the White House announced that the government’s security clearance program – including for individuals in civilian roles – would be consolidated under the Department of Defense. This reorganization, largely motivated by an enormous backlog of clearance investigations, is aimed at streamlining the clearance process, and in particular the “reinvestigation” of individuals with clearances that require periodic review. At the core of these new efficiencies, the DoD claims, will be a “continuous evaluation” system which autonomously analyzes applicants’ behavior – using telemetry such as court records, purchase histories, and credit profiles – to proactively identify security risks. The rollout is already underway – the DoD had enrolled upwards of 1.2 million people in continuous evaluation as of November 2018. But the program is far from uncontroversial, raising credible privacy concerns and the hackles of advocacy groups including the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. As the DoD takes over millions of new civilian clearances, these worries will find a broader audience.
And, thanks to machine learning – a class of rapidly emerging technologies which make predictions on the basis of often subtle patterns in data – it seems that things may soon get a lot more complicated.

In congressional hearing on hate, the haters got their way (Issie Lapowsky, Wired)
Tuesday’s House Judiciary Committee hearing on the rise of hate crimes and white nationalism devolved into a four-hour squabble over who’s most hated, and who’s doing the hating, in America. The members of the committee and some of the eight witnesses who sat before them battled over whether anti-Semitism or anti-black hate is most deserving of their attention, and whether it’s white supremacists or Muslims or Democrats or the President who harbor the most hate. Meanwhile, in cyberspace, the comment section on the YouTube livestream of the hearing filled up with so much filth that YouTube had to shut it down.

Climate change will ravage the red states, too (Dave Levitan, Daily Beast)
Move away from the rising seas and you may find yourself fighting extreme temperatures, floods, and poison air.

Teaching the Holocaust in Germany as a resurgent far right questions it (Emily Schultheis, The Atlantic)
As those who lived through it are dying off, and some people claim it never happened, what will happen to sites of remembrance?

Can the Iran nuclear deal survive as the IAEA investigates Israeli allegations? (Emma Scott, Ian J. Stewart, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists)