• Lessons for first responders on the front lines of terrorism

    Acts of terrorism are on the rise globally. Over the past several weeks alone, the world has seen stabbings, shootings and bombings in Flint, Tehran, London, Kabul and Bogota. Given the persistent risk of terrorist attacks and large-scale accidents, it’s more critical than ever to learn from past incidents. That will ensure that first responders can work together effectively during the chaotic but critical minutes and hours after an incident.

  • New technique detects radioactive material even after it is gone

    A new technique allows researchers to characterize nuclear material that was in a location even after the nuclear material has been removed – a finding that has significant implications for nuclear nonproliferation and security applications. The technique could identify and characterize a dirty bomb based on samples taken from a room the bomb was in a year ago. “This is a valuable tool for emergency responders, nuclear nonproliferation authorities and forensics, because it allows us to get a rough snapshot of the size of a radiation source, where it was located, how radioactive it is, and what type of radioactive material it is,” a researcher says.

  • Israel to buy urban warfare drones meant to minimize casualties

    The Israeli military is purchasing an unspecified number of small, multi-rotor drones that can be armed and have sufficient mobility to perform well in urban combat situations. The TIKAD drone is made by Duke Robotics, a Florida-based company that was co-founded by Lt. Col. Raziel “Razi” Atuar, a 20-year IDF veteran.

  • Psychopathic brains’ wiring leads to dangerous and violent actions

    Researchers have found that psychopaths’ brains are wired in a way that leads them to over-value immediate rewards and neglect the future consequences of potentially dangerous or immoral actions. Psychopaths “are not aliens, they’re people who make bad decisions,” one researchers said. “The same kind of short-sighted, impulsive decision-making that we see in psychopathic individuals has also been noted in compulsive over-eaters and substance abusers.” Psychopaths are “exactly what you would expect from humans who have this particular kind of brain wiring dysfunction.”

  • Smart quadcopters find their way on their own -- without human help or GPS

    Phase 1 of DARPA’s Fast Lightweight Autonomy (FLA) program concluded recently following a series of obstacle-course flight tests in central Florida. Over four days, three teams of DARPA-supported researchers huddled under shade tents in the sweltering Florida sun, fine-tuning their sensor-laden quadcopter unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) during the intervals between increasingly difficult runs. The quadcopters slalomed through woodlands, swerved around obstacles in a hangar, and reported back to their starting point all by themselves.

  • New virtual training prepares first responders for active shooter incidents

    Amidst the chaos of an active shooter event, preparedness is key to a seamless, swift and effective response—and a new video game funded by the DHS S&T and the U.S. Army Research Laboratory just might do the trick. Enhanced Dynamic Geo-Social Environment, or EDGE, is a virtual training platform, available now to all response agencies nationwide. Built on the Unreal Engine, it allows responders of all disciplines to assume discipline-based avatars and simultaneously role-play complex response scenarios.

  • Decrease in lead exposure in early childhood likely responsible for drop in crime rate

    Exposure to lead in the preschool years significantly increases the chance that children will be suspended or incarcerated during their school careers, according to new research. Conversely, a drop in exposure leads to less antisocial behavior and thus may well be a significant factor behind the drop in crime over the past few decades.

  • Could a tragedy like the Grenfell Tower fire happen in the U.S.?

    The Grenfell Tower fire in London has triggered questions about how the tragedy could have happened, whether it could happen elsewhere, and what might be learned from it to prevent future disasters. The Grenfell Tower fire spread much faster and more intensely than anyone expected. From what we know so far, there are physical, cultural and legal reasons dozens of people died. Addressing each of them will help British authorities, and fire protection and fire prevention professionals around the world, improve their efforts to reduce the chance of future tragedies like the one at Grenfell Tower.

  • Addressing the threat of vehicle-borne IEDs

    In July of 2016, a refrigerator truck packed with explosives detonated next to a crowded apartment block in Baghdad’s Karrada neighborhood. The blast killed 323 people and was one of the worst Vehicle–Borne Improvised Explosive Device (VBIED also known as car bombs) attacks ever recorded. On 30 May 2017, a VBIED in a tanker truck ripped through the embassy quarter of Kabul, killing more than 150 people. DHS S&T has taken measures to address this threat directly.

  • More rigorous approach to training of explosive-detecting dogs

    With a sense of smell much greater than humans, dogs are considered the gold standard for explosive detection in many situations. But that does not mean there is no room for improvement. In a new study, scientists report on a new, more rigorous approach to training dogs and their handlers based on real-time analysis of what canines actually smell when they are exposed to explosive materials.

  • Scintillating discovery at Sandia Labs

    Taking inspiration from an unusual source, a Sandia National Laboratories team has dramatically improved the science of scintillators — objects that detect nuclear threats. According to the team, using organic glass scintillators could soon make it even harder to smuggle nuclear materials through America’s ports and borders. The Sandia Labs team developed a scintillator made of an organic glass which is more effective than the best-known nuclear threat detection material while being much easier and cheaper to produce.

  • Immigration does not raise crime: Studies

    Immigration has no effect on crime, according to a comprehensive examination of fifty-one studies on the topic published between 1994 and 2014. The meta-analysis is the first on the relationship between immigration and crime. The reviewed studies most frequently found no relationship between immigration and crime. But among those that did find a correlation, it was 2.5 times more likely that immigration was linked to a reduction in crime than an increase.

  • House panel: DOD to regard climate change as a direct threat to U.S. national security

    During Wednesday’s markup of the Fiscal Year 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), the Emerging Threats and Capabilities Subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee passed by voice vote an amendment which acknowledges that “climate change is a direct threat to the national security of the United States.” The amendment instructs the Department of Defense to “ensure that it is prepared to conduct operations both today and in the future and that it is prepared to address the effects of a changing climate on threat assessments, resources, and readiness.”

  • Upgrades at Sandia’s Tonopah Test Range help weapons testing

    It’s been a challenge for Sandia National Laboratories’ Tonopah Test Range to keep decades-old equipment running while gathering the detailed information required for twenty-first century non-nuclear testing. Over the past several years, the 60-year-old Nevada range has changed the analog brains in instruments to digital, moved to modern communications systems, upgraded telemetry and tracking equipment and updated computing systems.

  • As adversaries bolster their capabilities, U.S. naval technology must keep pace

    U.S. Navy leaders say that as adversaries move quickly to advance their technological capabilities, the pace of technology development and delivery in the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps must accelerate in order to maintain the technological edge for U.S. warfighters. “We have a great opportunity to supercharge the engine of naval research,” says Chief of Naval Research (CNR) Rear Adm. David Hahn. “From discovery to deployment, innovative U.S. naval technology has been essential to mission success. We’re going to ensure that continues.”