• Exploiting complexity: DARPA’s Mosaic Warfare vision

    DARPA’s Strategic Technology Office (STO) seeks to turn complexity into a powerful new asymmetric weapon via rapidly composable networks of low-cost sensors, multi-domain command and control nodes, and cooperative manned and unmanned systems. The “mosaic warfare” concept envisions a system in which individual components can respond to needs in real time to create desired outcomes.

  • Identifying toxic threats, preparing for surprise

    Predicting chemical attacks is no small task, especially when there are so many toxic substances. There is no crystal ball to aid us in sorting through them all to identify and characterize the potential threats. Instead, intelligence and defense communities use a broad network of tools to forecast hazards to safeguard our warfighters and nation. A new project from the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) seeks to improve the U.S. defensive capability by creating a crystal ball to more rapidly determine the toxicity of such chemical hazards and increase our ability to prepare for surprise.

  • NK has 13-30 nuclear weapons, and will have up to 60 nukes by 2020

    North Korea is estimated to have 33 kilograms of separated plutonium, and between 175 and 645 kilograms of weapon-grade uranium. If NK used 70 percent of the available estimated stocks of plutonium and weapon-grade uranium to make nuclear bombs, then, depending on the yield of each bomb, its nuclear arsenal would now consist of between 13 and 30 nuclear weapons. Based on a cumulative estimate, North Korea is currently expanding its nuclear weapons at a rate of about 3-5 weapons per year. Through 2020, North Korea is projected to have 25-50 nuclear weapons. Depending on the operation of the Experimental Light Water Reactor (ELWR) at Yongbyon, NK could have up to 60 nuclear weapons by the end of 2020.

  • U.S., Israeli firms boost joint production of anti-missile systems

    Companies in Israel and the United States have ramped up production of the projectiles that are at the center of Israel’s multi-layered anti-missile defense systems. Israel’s missile defense systems—including the Arrow-3, David’s Sling, and Iron Dome—are all heavily funded by the U.S. In exchange, U.S. companies get a share of the work in developing the systems.

  • Police turn to hackathons as crime fighting goes digital

    Police and law enforcement staff are turning to hackathons – collaborative events for developing technology – to come up with new ways of searching for clues within the terabytes of data that many people produce every year.

  • British model kidnapped to be auctioned off on the web as sex slave

    Chloe Ayling, a 20-year old British model was drugged, handcuffed, gagged, and put in a bag in the trunk of a car by kidnappers who then auctioned her off on line as a sex slave. Ayling, who was held by the captive for a week, was drugged with ketamine, and then taken by balaclava-clad men to a remote Italian farmhouse where she was chained to a chest of drawers. Her captors claimed they were members of a group called “Black Death.” They threatened that if her agent failed to pay a $300,000 ransom, they would use a “deep web” auction to sell her sell her to people in the Middle East who were looking for sex slaves.

  • Tethered drone tested in securing Trump’s vacation golf course in New Jersey

    DHS has announced it will test a tethered drone for surveillance over the Trump National Golf Course in New Jersey, where the president is on a 17-day vacation which started on Friday. Tethered drones fly at altitudes of 300-400 feet. The fly autonomously, but an operator on the ground can control the cameras.

  • Hacking functional fabrics to aid emergency response

    Hazardous environments such as disaster sites and conflict zones present many challenges for emergency response. But the new field of functional fabrics — materials modified to incorporate various sensors, connect to the internet, or serve multiple purposes, among other things — holds promise for novel solutions. Over the weekend, MIT became a hotbed for developing those solutions.

  • Experimental box to track nuclear activity by rogue nations

    Researchers are carrying out a research project at Dominion Power’s North Anna Nuclear Generating Station in Virginia that could lead to a new turning point in how the United Nations tracks rogue nations that seek nuclear power. The years-long project centers on a high-tech box full of luminescent plastic cubes stacked atop one another that can be placed just outside a nuclear reactor operated by, say, Iran. The box would detect subatomic particles known as neutrinos produced by the reactor, which can be used to track the amount of plutonium produced in the reactor core.

  • Syrian opposition shoots down Israeli “spy” eagle near Idlib

    Opposition forces in Syria the other said they had captured a dead eagle which had a camera and surveillance equipment strapped to its belly. Arab neighbors of Israel have occasionally accused the Jewish state of using trained animals for surveillance and disruption purposes. In December 2010, the Egyptian tourism minister accused Israel of training sharks to attack European tourists at Egyptian Red Sea resorts in order to deter European tourists from coming to Egypt.

  • Undocumented immigration does not worsen drug, alcohol problems in U.S.: Study

    Despite being saddled with many factors associated with drug and alcohol problems, undocumented immigrants are not increasing the prevalence of drug and alcohol crimes and deaths in the United States, according to a new study. According to the study, rather than increasing substance abuse problems, a 1 percent increase in the proportion of the population that is undocumented is associated with 22 fewer drug arrests, 42 fewer drunken driving arrests and 0.64 fewer drug overdoses — all per 100,000 people. The frequency of drunken driving fatalities was unaffected by unauthorized immigration rates.

  • George Mason’s new Center of Excellence for Criminal Investigations and Network Analysis

    DHS S&T has selected George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia to lead a consortium of U.S. academic institutions and other partners for a new Center of Excellence (COE) in Criminal Investigations and Network Analysis (CINA). The Center’s research will focus on criminal network analysis, dynamic patterns of criminal activity, forensics, and criminal investigative processes.

  • Breakthrough in countering deadly VX

    First developed in the United Kingdom in the early 1950s, VX is one of the most toxic chemical weapon threats facing soldiers on the battlefield – and civilians as well, as the use by VX by Saddam Hussein and Bashar al-Assad shows. DoD currently uses the Reactive Skin Decontamination Lotion (RSDL) for broad-spectrum agent elimination on unbroken skin, but a capability gap exists for treating chemical agent exposure to large affected areas or open wounds.

  • Testing communication systems for public safety use

    DHS S&T says that by partnering with first responders to gauge capability gaps and leverage existing technologies, it can develop new technologies, test and evaluate existing technologies, and work with industry and the innovation community to ensure solutions are available to first responder agencies. For example, S&T’s First Responder Group (FRG) recently examined a couple of noteworthy existing communications technologies and evaluated them for public safety use.

  • North Korean missiles can reach major U.S. cities beyond West Coast

    Based on current information, the recent missile test by North Korea could easily reach the U.S. West Coast and a number of major U.S. cities beyond the West Coast. News reports say that North Korea again launched its missile on a very highly lofted trajectory, which allowed the missile to fall in the Sea of Japan rather than overflying Japan. The reports also say the maximum altitude of the launch was 3,700 km (2,300 miles) with a flight time of about 47 minutes. If those numbers are correct, the missile flown on a standard trajectory would have a range 10,400 km (6,500 miles), not taking into account the Earth’s rotation.