• Uniform Framework for Quantifying Disaster-Related Deaths, Illness

    To more accurately quantify disaster-related deaths, injuries, and illnesses, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and other agencies supporting disaster response should adopt a uniform national framework of data collection approaches and methods for distinguishing direct from indirect disaster deaths, says a new congressionally mandated report from the National Academies of Sciences.

  • Reforming DHS

    The arrests of U.S. citizens on the streets of Portland, Oregon, by unidentified DHS personnel have raised concerns about the department, its mission, and its focus. These concerns were expressed, among others, by former DHS secretaries. Michael Chertoff, Tom Ridge, and Jeh Johnson. A new report published the Center for American Progress (CAP) recommends five immediate steps that the next administration and Congress should take to begin to refocus the department and prevent its personnel from being used in the future as federal police force.

  • 19 Years after 9/11, Americans Continue to Fear Foreign Extremists and Underplay the Dangers of Domestic Terrorism

    Nineteen years after the 9/11 attacks, Americans’ ideas of what terrorism is remain tied to that morning. But focusing solely on Islamist extremism groups like al-Qaeda when investigating, researching and developing counterterrorism policies does not necessarily align with what the numbers tell us. Homegrown far-right extremism also poses a persistent and lethal threat to the lives and well-being of Americans. This risk is often underestimated because of the devastating impact of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. It is imperative to support policies, programs and research aimed at countering all forms of violent extremism.

  • Combatting Potential Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) Attack

    Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) weapons have the potential to disrupt unprotected critical infrastructure within the United States and could impact millions over large parts of the country. DHS says it continues to prepare against evolving threats against the American homeland, most recently highlighting efforts to combat an EMP attack.

  • Technology Can’t Predict Crime, It Can Only Weaponize Proximity to Policing

    Predictive policing is a self-fulfilling prophecy. If police focus their efforts in one neighborhood and arrest dozens of people there during the span of a week, the data will reflect that area as a hotbed of criminal activity. The system also considers only reported crime, which means that neighborhoods and communities where the police are called more often might see a higher likelihood of having predictive policing technology concentrate resources there.

  • Two Boogaloo Followers Charged with Trying to Sell Weapons to, Become Mercenaries for Hamas

    Federal prosecutors charged two self-proclaimed “Boogaloo Boys” with trying to sell weapons to someone they believed was a member of the Palestinian Islamist terrorist group Hamas for the purpose of attacking Israeli and U.S. soldiers. Prosecutors said that the two also considered becoming “mercenaries” for Hamas in order to raise funds for and boost the reputation of the Boogaloo movement.

  • To Prevent Extremist Violence in the United States, Think Beyond the Homeland Security Box

    Over the past decade, with the FBI focused on surveilling and otherwise investigating suspected terrorists, the United States has relied on the Department of Homeland Security to work with local law enforcement, municipalities and communities to strengthen their capacity to prevent violent extremism. “Our research and experience shows that the department’s emphasis on security can be counterproductive and that the most promising strategies can be found in models and partnerships led by actors not involved in security,” Eric Rosand, and Stevan Weine write.

  • NSA’s Post-9/11 Mass Surveillance Program, Exposed by Snowden, Illegal: Court

    The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has ruled that the National Security Agency (NSA) intelligence’s surveillance program exposed by whistleblower Edward Snowden was unlawful, and possibly unconstitutional. Critics of the program say that in addition to violating privacy rights, the program’s was ineffective: Billions of phone calls and email messages were collected and scanned over the years, but only a handful of terrorism suspects were seized, and even fewer were convicted.

  • Antifa Protester Suspected of Killing Trump Supporter in Oregon

    For the first time, a self-identified member of the militant movement known as antifa has been implicated in a fatal shooting and is reportedly under investigation in the killing of a supporter of President Donald Trump on Saturday in Portland, Oregon. If Reinoehl is implicated in the case, it would mark the first time in recent years that an antifa supporter has been charged with homicide, said Brian Levin, an expert on terrorism and extremist movements. Gary LaFree, a University of Maryland criminologist, says “We’re getting these situations where people with opposing perspectives are going in as volunteers” to enforce their views in violent ways, while the police “are not exactly sure what to do in this circumstance,” he said. “I think it’s going to be inevitable if you keep having situations like this, things are going to get out of hand.”

  • What – or Who – Is Antifa?

    The movement called “antifa” gets its name from a short form of “anti-fascist,” which is about the only thing its members agree on. Antifa as a decentralized collection of individual activists who mostly use nonviolent methods to achieve their ends. There are more militant anti-fascists, too, who mostly engage in non-militant activism but are willing, at times, to use more confrontational tactics. These people are more open to counterprotesting, sabotage and the use of force, which includes acts of violence.

  • Chemical 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.

  • A Fort Hood Serial Killer on the Loose?

    A dozen Texas Senate members are reupping their request for a congressional investigation into the Fort Hood military base after a soldier was found dead earlier this week, becoming at least the ninth person stationed at the Killeen post to have been found dead this year.

  • Rise in Gun Purchases after Mass Shootings Tied to Fear of Firearm Regulations

    Surges in firearm acquisition after mass shootings is a well-documented phenomenon, but analytic research into the causes of this behavior — be it driven by a desire for self-protection, or a fear that access to firearms will be curtailed — is sparse. A new is applying a data science methodology to create a model of the “firearms ecosystem” to identify how decisions to buy guns are affected by individual, social network, and state-level factors.

  • Why Americans Are Buying More Guns Than Ever

    Americans have been on a record gun-buying spree in recent months. Gun sales typically have seasonal cycles, with more guns being sold in winter months, and increase in presidential election years and after high-profile mass shootings. However, the 2020 pandemic spurred a record-setting surge in demand for firearms. Gun sales first spiked in March, when lockdown orders began in the U.S. The figures jumped again in June following nationwide protests over the killing of George Floyd. Our research examines American gun culture and offers insights into the complex relationship between Americans and guns. We believe there are three general reasons why people are purchasing firearms now.

  • Amateur Drone to Aid in Natural Disaster Damage Assessment

    It wasn’t long after Hurricane Laura hit the Gulf Coast Thursday that people began flying drones to record the damage and posting videos on social media. Those videos are a precious resource, say researchers at Carnegie Mellon University, who are working on ways to use them for rapid damage assessment.