• ForensicsSeparating the DNA of identical twins

    Since its first use in the 1980s — a breakthrough dramatized in recent ITV series “Code of a Killer” — DNA profiling has been a vital tool for forensic investigators. Now researchers at the University of Huddersfield have solved one of its few limitations by successfully testing a technique for distinguishing between the DNA — or genetic fingerprint — of identical twins.

  • Iran’s nukesSecret side deal cuts Iran’s breakout time in half in little more than a decade

    Key restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program will ease in slightly more than a decade, cutting in half the time Iran would need to build a nuclear weapons. The AP had obtained a document from a source inside the IAEA — a document which was the only secret portion to last year’s agreement between Iran and the P5+1 powers. The document said that after a period of between eleven to thirteen years, Iran could replace its 5,060 older, and inefficient, centrifuges with up to 3,500 advanced centrifuges.

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  • Public safetyU.K. reviews security measures for large outdoor events

    Amber Rudd, the new British home secretary, told the House of Commons that she has ordered a full review of the security measures taken to protect large outdoor events such as festivals and other public gatherings. The review comes in the wake of the attack in Nice on revelers celebrating Bastille Day. Rudd said that additional security measures will be put in place, including what is known as the “national barrier asset” when police assess that there is a risk of vehicle attacks.

  • Guns3D printing: a new threat to gun control and security policy?

    By Daniel C. Tirone and James Gilley

    The threat of self-manufactured firearms is not new, but a critical barrier is collapsing. Until recently, most people did not have the skills to make a weapon as capable as commercially available ones. However, recent developments in the field of additive manufacturing, also known as 3D printing, have made home manufacturing simpler than ever before. The prospect of more stringent gun safety legislation is also fueling interest in at-home production. The worst threats 3D printing poses to human life and safety are likely some distance in the future. However, the harder policymakers and others work to restrict access to handguns or unconventional weapons, the more attractive 3D printing becomes to those who want to do harm.

  • R&DDHS report highlights R&D priorities for technologies used in the field

    The Department of Homeland Security has released the Integrated Product Teams for Department of Homeland Security R&D Fiscal Year 2016 Report. The report identifies twenty-four focus areas for technological research and development (R&D), which fall under five mission areas: aviation security, biological threats, border security, cybersecurity, and counterterrorism.

  • RoboBoatsThe future of naval force and RoboBoats

    The future of naval engineering was on display earlier this month, as thirteen teams of high school and college students did battle at the ninth annual RoboBoat Competition in Virginia Beach, Virginia. The competition is a robotics contest where teams program their student-built autonomous surface vehicles to navigate through a series of water-based challenges.

  • Baton Rouge hootingShooter motivated by 1960s-era Black Nationalism

    Gavin long, 29, who shot and killed three policemen in Baton Rouge before being fatally shot by the police, appears to have been motivated by 1960s-era Black Nationalism, which called on African Americans to take a strong, even violent, stance against mistreatment by authorities. Long left a long trail of on-line material, both postings and videos. In another video, referring to Native Americans, Long said, “When they were extincted [sic] by the same people that run this country, my question to you, just something you can think about: At what point should they have stood up?”

  • Nukes in TurkeyCoup attempt raises fresh questions about safety of U.S. nuclear stockpile in Turkey

    To the extent that news coverage of the coup attempt in Turkey touched on how the coup might affect the U.S. military presence in the country, the focus was on air operations the United States has been conducting against ISIS from the Incirlik airbase in southern Turkey. What was not discussed in the media was the fact that the base is home to the largest stockpile of U.S. nuclear weapons in Europe. The coup was the cause of fresh questions about the safety of these weapons, and the wisdom of storing them in such a vulnerable location.

  • Gun safetyReducing civilian firepower would boost police, community safety: Expert

    A recent study examined data on the number of homicidal deaths of police in two groups of states with roughly equal number of police officers – the eight states with the lowest levels of gun ownership and the twenty-three states with the highest rate of gun ownership. The study found that, over the period from 1996 to 2010, the rate of police homicide in the high-gun prevalence states was three times as high as the rate of police homicide in the low-gun prevalence states. In addition to restricting the firepower a person can amass, a Stanford University expert advocates efforts to build trust between communities and law enforcement agencies as a way to enhance both police and citizen safety.

  • Law enforcementAllocation of police resources affects economic urban welfare, inequality

    Decisions about how to allocate police resources in a community are likely to influence not only crime but also housing prices, overall economic welfare, and social inequality, according to a new study by economists. The researchers develop a model for examining the behavior of socioeconomic groups in response to two possible strategies: one in which police are concentrated in certain areas and another in which they are dispersed equally across the city. The researchers conclude that equal dispersal of police will lead to a city which is economically integrated, with housing prices comparable from one neighborhood to the next. Concentrating police in certain locations will lead to unequal neighborhoods but may produce greater overall wealth.

  • Hezbollah10 years after Second Lebanon War, Israel concerned next round will be far worse

    On the ten-year anniversary of the beginning of the Second Lebanon War, Israeli officials continued to warn that any future conflict with Hezbollah will result in unprecedented damage to the group. A senior IDF official said that the difference between the next war and 2006 “will be the difference between an operation and a war. 2006 was an operation, and we didn’t use all of our power. Next time it won’t just be planes flying around. … We will use all of our power to destroy Hezbollah militarily.”

  • GunsQuantifying the social cost of firearms: a new approach to gun control

    By Timothy M. Smith

    Another week in America, another week of sadness and hand-wringing prompted by gun violence – but the current debate focuses on the most violent actors (terrorists or those whose background check may not check out) and the most lethal guns (military-style rifles) — not necessarily the deadliest guns or those creating the greatest risks to society. A new dialogue is desperately needed among policymakers and the public. And it could begin by shifting our focus away from the regulation of guns toward understanding (and mitigating) the social costs of firearm fatalities. A potential reframing of the issue might be to estimate the social cost of gun deaths, establish the burden borne by each weapon, and seek policies that reflect it in the market for firearms. Across many different areas of government, this kind of analysis is applied all the time when examining the benefits and costs of potential policies. There may be enough Republican and Democrat lawmakers open to the idea of market-based policies that don’t directly restrict gun access, progressively impose higher costs to more dangerous guns, and generate resources to improve the safety and security associated with guns in America.

  • First response technologyDHS S&T demonstrates integration of first responder technologies

    More ruggedized protective equipment. Reliable and interoperable communications. The capability to filter vast amounts of data. These are all things DHS Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) Next Generation First Responder (NGFR) program envisions  to ensure future first responder are better protected, connected, and fully aware.

  • First response technologyRoundup of spring, summer 2016 First Responders Group technology

    The DHS S&T regularly posts a roundup of key updates from projects currently in the development stages in S&T’s First Responders Group (FRG). S&T the other day offered an outline of FRG’s accomplishments in April, May, and June.

  • Chemical warfareNew method helps identify chemical warfare agents

    Chemical warfare agents are powerful noxious chemicals that have been used as weapons of mass destruction. Finding trace amounts of a chemical warfare agent in a sample can be challenging, especially if the agent and the liquid it is in are both water-repellant, which is often the case. A new method for extracting, enriching, and identifying chemical warfare agents from oils and other organic liquids could help government officials and homeland security protect civilians more effectively from their deadly effects. The method uses nanoparticles to capture the chemicals.