• DetectionMarine Organisms as Underwater Detectives

    Because marine organisms observe changes in their environment using a combination of senses, they offer unique insights into the underwater world that are difficult to replicate using traditional engineering techniques. DARPA wants to leverage marine organisms for persistent monitoring and detection of underwater vehicles to bolster shores and harbors protection.

  • The Russia connectionMystery Over Russian’s Suspected Poisoning Deepens with New FBI Records

    By Mike Eckel and Carl Schreck

    RFE/RL Exclusive: In hundreds of FBI documents obtained exclusively by RFE/RL, new clues to the suspected poisoning of Russian opposition activist Vladimir Kara-Murza — and new details about how serious the U.S. government considered his case.

  • Argument: Chemical weaponsHow Putin Borrowed a Page from Assad’s Chemical Weapon Playbook

    Russia use of Novichock to poison opposition leader Alexei Navalny highlights a problem against which Western countries have not yet been able to devise an effective policy: the use of chemical weapons by authoritarian regimes against domestic regime critics. Preventing Russia, or any other autocratic ruler, from using poisons against domestic opponents is a tall order, Gregory D. Koblentz writes, but “Understanding the motivations of authoritarian leaders, and the intensity of their concerns about regime security, however, is the first step towards devising an effective strategy for deterring their use of chemical, and possibly someday biological, weapons against their own people.”

  • Radiation detectionRadiation Detection System to Protect Major U.S. Metropolitan Region

    An exercise last December at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey was the culmination of a five-year effort to develop and deploy an automated, high-performance, networked radiation detection capability for counterterrorism and continuous city-to-region scale radiological and nuclear threat monitoring.

  • FloodsHelping Urban Communities Install Low-Cost Sensors to Reduce Flood Risks

    Floods are costly and dangerous events that impact communities across the U.S. every year. DHS S&T released a guidebook to help communities deploy and operate low-cost sensors for flood monitoring and management.

  • Navalny poisoningNavalny's Team: Water Bottle with Novichok Traces Found in His Hotel Room in Tomsk

    Associates of Aleksei Navalny say traces of the nerve agent used to poison the Russian opposition politician were found on a water bottle in the hotel room he was staying in in the Russian city of Tomsk. When Navalny was flown to Germany for treatment, the bottle was sent along, and German scientists found tracers of Novichock in the bottle. Traces of the toxic Novichock, a favorite poison of the Russian intelligence services against critics of the Putin regime, were also found in samples taken from Navalny’s body.

  • PERSPECTIVE: PoisoningHistory of Nerve Agent Assassinations

    Poisoning political opponents or enemies is not new. Reviews of chemical and biological weapons (CBW) usage through the 20th century similarly list successful and attempted assassinations with mineral poisons or animal and plant toxins in and outside of war. Modern chemical weapons (CW) – typically human-made toxic compounds standardized for use on battlefields – have rarely been selected to target individuals – but a spate of recent political poisonings indicate that this may be changing.

  • Navalny poisoning“Weapon of Terror”: A Novichok Creator Tells How Navalny Case Differs from the Skripal Attack

    By Mark Krutov

    Medical specialists in Germany have determined that Russian opposition politician Aleksei Navalny, who is being treated in a hospital in Berlin after falling ill on 20 August on a flight from Tomsk to Moscow, was poisoned with a form of the Soviet-developed nerve agent Novichok. The toxin found in Navalny is from the same group of poisons as the one used in the March 2018 poisoning of former Soviet intelligence officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, in the English city of Salisbury. Both Skripals survived the attack and were released after spending weeks in the hospital.

  • ExplosivesChemical Fingerprint for Explosives in Forensic Research

    The police frequently encounter explosives in their forensic investigations related to criminal and terrorist activities. Chemical analysis of explosives can yield valuable tactical information for police and counterterrorist units.

  • Nuclear detectionUltrasensitive Measurements Detect Nuclear Explosions

    Imagine being able to detect the faintest of radionuclide signals from hundreds of miles away. Scientists have developed a system which constantly collects and analyzes air samples for signals that would indicate a nuclear explosion, perhaps conducted secretly underground. The system can detect just a small number of atoms from nuclear activity anywhere on the planet. In terms of sensitivity, the capability – in place for decades – is analogous to the ability to detect coronavirus from a single cough anywhere on Earth.

  • The Russia connectionName Your Poison: Some of the Exotic Toxins Which Fell Kremlin Foes

    The poisoning last Thursday by Kremlin operatives of Alexey Navalny, one of the leaders of the Russian opposition (he is now fighting for his life in a German hospital) is reminiscent of dozens of other such poisonings of opponents and critics of the Russian (and, before that, Soviet) regimes. Poisoning has been the Russian secret services’ preferred method of dealing with irritating critics, and these services have at their disposal a large and sophisticated laboratory — alternatively known as Laboratory 1, Laboratory 12, and Kamera (which means “The Cell” in Russian) – where ever more exotic toxins are being developed for use against regime opponents and critics.

  • Explosives detectionNext-Generation Explosives Trace Detection Technology

    Explosive materials pose a threat whether they are used by domestic bad actors or in a theater of war. Staying ahead of our adversaries is a job that DHS DOD share. The two departments’ research and development work is no different.

  • Bomb-sniffing locustOne Step Closer to Bomb-Sniffing Cyborg Locusts

    Researchers found that they could direct locust swarms toward areas where suspected explosives are located, and that the locusts’ brain reaction to the smell of explosives can be read remotely. Moreover, a study found locusts can quickly discriminate between different smells or different explosives. “This is not that different from in the old days, when coal miners used canaries,” says a researcher. “People use pigs for finding truffles. It’s a similar approach — using a biological organism — this is just a bit more sophisticated.”

  • Nuclear threatsNuclear Threats Are Increasing – Here’s How the U.S. Should Prepare for a Nuclear Event

    By Cham Dallas

    On the 75th anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, some may like to think the threat from nuclear weapons has receded. But there are clear signs of a growing nuclear arms race and that the U.S. is not very well-prepared for nuclear and radiological events. Despite the gloomy prospects of health outcomes of any large-scale nuclear event common in the minds of many, there are a number of concrete steps the U.S. and other countries can take to prepare. It’s our obligation to respond.

  • Nuclear accidentsTracking the Neural Network's Nuclear Clues

    Following the 2011 earthquake in Japan, a tsunami disabled the power supply and cooling in three Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant reactors. The reactors’ cores largely melted in the first 72 hours. The disaster helped inspire PNNL computational scientists looking for clues of future nuclear reactor mishaps by tracking radioactive iodine following a nuclear plant reactor breach.