• The seeds of the alt-right, America’s emergent right-wing populist movement

    Over the past year, far-right activists – which some have labeled the “alt-right” – have gone from being an obscure, largely online subculture to a player at the very center of American politics. Long relegated to the cultural and political fringe, alt-right activists were among the most enthusiastic supporters of Donald Trump. Former Breitbart.com executive Steve Bannon – who declared the website “the platform for the alt-right” – is the president’s chief political strategist. To its critics, the alt-right is just a code term for white nationalism, a much-maligned ideology associated with neo-Nazis and Klansmen. The movement, however, is more nuanced, encompassing a much broader spectrum of right-wing activists and intellectuals. Unlike old-school white nationalist movements, the alt-right has endeavored to create a self-sustaining counterculture, which includes a distinct vernacular, memes, symbols and a number of blogs and alternative media outlets. Now that it has been mobilized, the alt-right is gaining a firmer foothold in American politics.

  • The gift Bush and Obama gave Trump: Expanded war-making powers

    Thanks to the military interventions by the George W. Bush and Barack Obama administrations, the former presidents have effectively expanded executive authority for Donald Trump to go to war, a new study says. The study of U.S. military interventions between 2001 and 2016 found considerable similarities in the way Bush and Obama navigated around consultation and authorization protocols with Congress and the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).

  • Immigrant detention centers are referred to as “family centers” but resemble prisons

    Despite federal officials labeling centers where immigrant women and their families are held as family detention centers or release programs as “Alternative to Detention.” Researchers found the detention complexes function like jails and prisons and that ATD programs are essentially expanded surveillance schemes.

  • White House needs clear action plan in wake of Charlottesville: ADL

    The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) called on President Donald Trump to follow up his words on Monday with a strong plan of action that will ensure the kind of white supremacist violence and anti-Semitic and racist incitement witnessed in Charlottesville will not happen again. Trump’s statement came two days after the events, and after a disappointing initial reaction from the president that seemed to equate the haters with counter protesters. “This is a moment when we desperately need leadership,” said Jonathan A. Greenblatt, ADL CEO. “But I think we should expect our leader in the highest office in the land to step above the lowest possible bar. Statements are not sufficient at this stage in the game. We need to move from words to action. The threat is not over.”

  • Charlottesville attack shows homegrown terror on the right is on the rise

    Dealing effectively with far-right violence requires that we treat its manifestations as domestic terrorism. I consider domestic terrorism a more significant threat than the foreign-masterminded variety in part because it is more common in terms of the number of attacks on U.S. soil. The number of violent attacks on U.S. soil inspired by far-right ideology has spiked since the beginning of this century, rising from a yearly average of 70 attacks in the 1990s to a yearly average of more than 300 since 2001. This trend reflects a deeper social change in American society. The iceberg model of political extremism can illuminate these dynamics. Murders and other violent attacks perpetrated by U.S. far-right extremists compose the visible tip of an iceberg. The rest of this iceberg is under water and out of sight. It includes hundreds of attacks every year that damage property and intimidate communities. The significant growth in far-right violence in recent years is happening at the base of the iceberg. Changes in societal norms are usually reflected in behavioral changes. It is thus more than reasonable to suspect that extremist individuals engage in such activities because they sense that their views are enjoying growing social legitimacy and acceptance, which is emboldening them to act on their bigotry.

  • Strengthening security of first responder sensor systems

    Metronome Software is developing a technology solution that will significantly enhance the security of mobile device-based sensor systems used by first responders with funding provided by DHS S&T. The Next Generation First Responder (NGFR) Apex program is integrating multi-threat personal protective equipment, plug-and-play sensors and advanced communications devices to provide multi-layer threat protection and immediate situational awareness to first responders.

  • 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.