• Syria’s chemical weapons can be destroyed within nine months: experts

    Weapons experts from the United States and Russia say most of Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile are kept as unweaponized liquid precursors, and thus could be neutralized in a short period of time without the risk that toxins could be stashed away by the regime for future use, or stolen by terrorists. A confidential assessment by the United States and Russia concludes that Syria’s entire arsenal could be destroyed in about nine months, assuming that Syrian officials fully cooperate with the weapons inspectors.

  • DARPA Young Faculty meet next generation of Army tech users

    Recipients of the DARPA Young Faculty Award (YFA) visited the United States Military Academy at West Point during its first Branch Week, 10-15 September 2013. The event brought “several hundred tons of military equipment, vehicles and weapons for the academy’s spin on a college career fair,” one observer said.

  • Number of U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen significantly reduced

    In the past several months, the United States has reduced the number of drone strikes on terrorist targets in Pakistan and Yemen. The United States launched 117 drone strikes in Pakistan in 2010, compared to twenty-one so far this year. Representative Mike Rogers (R-Michigan), chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, is concerned. “[The threat of terrorism is] not diminishing,” he said. “There have been counterterrorism changes made by the administration that have concerned us all, things that we’ve been working on for a period of months that we’re trying to work through that are very, very concerning. This is no time to retreat.”

  • How Sandy has changed storm warning procedures

    Superstorm Sandy slammed against the U.S. Eastern Seaboard in October 2012, inundating iconic communities. Those communities have been rebuilding since then and things are almost back to normal for most. Something else, however, has had to be rebuilt as well: the structured procedures for issuing warnings. The goal is to help communities better comprehend what natural disasters will bring their doorsteps.

  • Al Qaeda increases efforts to defeat U.S. drones

    Drone attacks have been an important part of America’s war against terrorism. These airstrikes have considerably limited the movements and operational freedom of al Qaeda operatives and other militants in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen, and Somalia. Al Qaeda has been exploring strategies and experts to allow it to counter America’s drone campaign.

  • More Americans see their electronic equipment seized by DHS at the border

    The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has released details of an investigation showing how U.S. law enforcement and other agencies exceed their powers in the name of homeland security. The ACLU points to the practice of the U.S. border agents searching and seizing the electronic devices of Americans at the border. Public data shows that more Americans are having their electronic devices searched.

  • Conference marks opening of UMass Lowell’s new Center for Terrorism and Security Studies

    Top counterterrorism and law enforcement officials and leading researchers are today (Tuesday) gathering at UMass Lowell to discuss the challenges they face in protecting the public and their work to find solutions to security threats. The event marks the opening of UMass Lowell’s new Center for Terrorism and Security Studies.

  • Compact aerostat offers affordable, portable surveillance solution

    Columbia, Maryland-based TCOM last week unveiled its newest aerostat platform, the 12M Tactical Aerostat. The system is designed to meet the needs of soldiers and first responders who require a compact, affordable, persistent surveillance solution which can be transported anywhere, rapidly deployed, and easily retrieved.

  • Iran indicates willingness to rethink nuclear program in exchange for sanction relief

    As part of a series of steps designed to present post-election Iran as more pragmatic, President Hassan Rouhani and his advisers indicated they would be willing to consider curbs on Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for relief from the crippling economic sanctions imposed on Iran. Some Western experts say that all these steps are more than mere cosmetic changes, while skeptics note that Obama has reached out to Iran before, with no results. Veterans of past nuclear negotiations with Iran also noted that it is likely that Rouhani’s team may not yet fully understand the kinds of concessions that the Islamic republic would be required to make to have the most painful economic sanctions lifted.

  • Teams show robust radio techniques at Spectrum Challenge event

    Radios are used for a wide range of tasks, from the most mundane to the most critical of communications, from garage door openers to first responders to military operations. Wireless devices often inadvertently interfere with and disrupt radio communications, and in battlefield environments adversaries may intentionally jam friendly communications. To stimulate the development of radio techniques that can overcome these impediments, the agency launched its Spectrum Challenge — a competitive demonstration of robust radio technologies that seek to communicate reliably in congested and contested electromagnetic environments without direct coordination or spectrum preplanning.

  • Updated, expanded “Crime Scene Investigation” guide now available

    Investigators and first responders can find the latest recommendations on crime scene investigations in the newly updated Crime Scene Investigation, A Guide for Law Enforcement.

  • Pentagon to review security clearance procedure, military base security

    Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel acknowledged at a news conference on Wednesday that the procedure for granting security clearances will be looked at, and probably needed fixing, telling reporters that “a lot of red flags” about Alexis’s past behavior were missed. Among the questions will be whether more personal information — even short of information on a criminal conviction — should be looked at before a security clearance is granted, and whether security clearance reviews should be conducted more often. Hagel also announced that he had ordered a broad review of procedures at military bases around the world.

  • California mulls costly earthquake early-warning system

    The price of an early warning system which would alert California officials about an earthquake within sixty seconds before a major temblor strikes would be $80 million. The California legislature passed a bill on 13 September, requiring the state to develop the earthquake warning system, but it is unclear whether Governor Jerry Brown will sign the bill.

  • NASA, DHS to demonstrate disaster rescue tool

    NASA and DHS are collaborating on a new radar device which detects heartbeats of victims trapped in wreckage. The device, known as the Finding Individuals for Disaster and Emergency Response (FINDER), can locate individuals buried under as much as thirty feet of crushed materials, hidden behind twenty feet of solid concrete, or from a distance of 100 feet in open spaces.

  • UN inspectors' repot on gas attack points to Assad’s elite military units

    Russia may say publicly that it does not know who launched the deadly 21 August gas attack on two Damascus neighborhoods, but the Russians must have had an inkling: Russia’s UN ambassador agreed to have an international team of weapon inspectors sent to Syria to investigate the 21 August attack on one condition: the inspectors’ mandate was narrowed to verifying that chemical weapons were used, but specifically prohibited the inspectors from assigning responsibility to the attack. Russia’s effort to shield Assad has resulted in a report, submitted Monday to the UN Security Council, which does not explicitly name the Syrian regime as the party launching the attack, but details buried in the report point directly at elite military formations loyal to Assad.