• Psychopathology & leadershipPresidential candidates may be psychopaths – but this is not necessarily a bad thing

    Oxford University’s Dr. Kevin Dutton has spent much of his career looking at psychopaths and researching psychopathic traits, identifying those which can be of benefit and those which can lead to incarceration. He contends that being a psychopath is not an all-or-nothing affair. Instead, psychopathy is on a spectrum along which each of us has our place. In a new study, Dutton finds that Donald Trump ranks above Adolf Hitler and only just below Idi Amin, Saddam Hussein, and Henry VIII. Hillary Clinton ranks between Napoleon and Nero.

  • CybersecurityDHS S&T awards $1.3 million to small businesses for cybersecurity R&D

    DHS S&T has awarded $1.3 million to thirteen small businesses for the development of new cyber security technology. Each business was awarded approximately $100,000 in preliminary funding through the DHS S&T Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. The SBIR proposal solicitation, released in December 2015, included four topics developed by Cyber Security Division program managers.

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  • Policy makingDo think-tanks matter? Expert says “think again”

    A recently published study found that public sector workers judged studies and reports generated by scholars affiliated with universities to be more credible than reports or studies purported to be from a think-tank or advocacy group.

  • Border PatrolNew Border Patrol chief faces uphill battle to reform agency

    By Andrew Becker

    As the first outsider appointed to run the Border Patrol in its 92-year history, former FBI official Mark Morgan starts his new job this week as chief with a target on his back. The selection of Morgan, a career FBI official, to run the 20,000-strong force sends a clear message: The Border Patrol has a culture problem that needs to be fixed. But with just seven months left in the Obama administration, the question remains whether Morgan can right an agency in turmoil or whether his appointment is merely symbolic.

  • CBPFeds tight-lipped on weeding out corrupt border agents

    By Neena Satija

    In a video message intended for the tens of thousands of men and women working to keep drugs and people from illegally entering the United States, then-Deputy Border Patrol Chief Ron Colburn wanted to leave little doubt about the consequences for those who betrayed their mission. But whether most — or even a significant fraction of — corrupt federal border agents really are caught and punished is an open question.

  • Risk assessmentNew tool to measure homeland security risks

    DHS has a broad and complex mission, with priorities that include preparing for and responding to a range of terrorist events, natural disasters, and major accidents.Researchers have applied a tool originally developed to address risks in environmental policy, the Deliberative Method for Ranking Risk, to aid in strategic planning for security.

  • CBPAfter 4 years CBP IA disabled vet still mired in employment procedures

    By Robert Lee Maril

    Lieutenant Commander J. Gregory Richardson (retired), a decorated Naval officer with almost thirty years of military service to his country, maintains that while employed as a GS-14 Senior Security Analyst in the Integrity Programs Division (IPD) at Customs and Border Protection Internal Affairs (CBP IA), his immediate supervisors and the Senior Executive at CBP IA repeatedly ignored his multiple medical issues. The failure of these supervisors, alleges Richardson, led to a deterioration in his medical conditions until, finally, he could no longer endure the pain from which he suffered. He missed many days at work, and this absenteeism, according to documents provided, was a major reason he was fired from IPD. Since 2013 Richardson has been seeking information from CBP about any investigations or reports about him while he was an employee.

  • InnovationDHS awards $3 million in Small Business Innovation Research awards

    The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) last week announced a total of $3.1 million in competitive research awards for twenty-nine small businesses located across twelve states and Washington, D.C. Each business was awarded approximately $100,000 in preliminary funding through DHS S&T’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. Thirty-one contracts were awarded in ten topic areas.

  • Border securityFederal border officials in El Paso accused of coercion, abuse

    By Julián Aguilar

    Federal officials stationed on the Texas-Mexico border called legal border crossers “whores” and criminals and subjected them to unwarranted searches and coercion, according to a complaint a civil liberties group submitted to the Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general Tuesday.

  • TechnologyDHS S&T launches interactive Year in Review

    Science and Technology Directorate’s (S&T) has launched its annual Year in Review — an interactive, Web-based report providing a guided tour of S&T’s successes and developments in 2015.S&T’s Year in Review includes highlights from thirty-seven of S&T’s projects.The review includes an introduction on programs and initiatives and further discusses how S&T meets its mission and fits into the larger mission of the department.

  • Border securityCBP MSC vehicle contracts to Telephonic appear problematic

    By Robert Lee Maril

    According to federal government documents, problematic contract inconsistencies predominate in yet another CBP surveillance technology program. The CBP contract in question calls for the production of Multiple Surveillance Capability (MSC) vehicles. Unfortunately, the unintended consequences of these documented problematic delays in the CBP and Office of Technology Innovation and Assessment (OTIA) acquisition process with Telephonics MSC vehicle contracts have serious ramifications. Equally troubling is that CBP MSC contract delays from 2010 to 2015 mirror SBInet delays from 2006 to 2011. These contract delays with Telephonics MSC vehicles, a surveillance technology already in place in other countries, continues to create a U.S.-Mexican border far less secure or safe than it should or has to be.

  • Presidents & use of forceU.S. more likely to use force in a military dispute when the president is a Southerner

    The United States is more likely to use force in a military dispute when the president is a Southerner, according to a new study. The study argues that “Southern honor” — an ethical code that emphasizes a reputation for resolve — pervasively shapes Southern presidents’ approach to disputes with other nations, making those presidents less willing than their peers from northern states to back down during international disputes. Consequently, Southern presidents have been more likely to use military force, resist withdrawal, and ultimately achieve victory, the study finds.

  • Decision makingU.S. national security decision making need to be leaner, more-focused

    A leaner, more-focused national security decision-making system can help the United States succeed in a period of tumultuous change, according to a new report. Increasing the effectiveness and efficiency of the National Security Council (NSC) is necessary as the country contends with many more state and nonstate actors, around-the-clock public scrutiny, and exploding nontraditional threats, according to the report.

  • Plum IslandPlum Island may be turned into a national park rather than sold to developers

    Members of the New York and Connecticut congressional delegations announced on Friday a plan to launch a study of Plum Island’s natural and historic resources, saying the plan is one step toward halting the sale of the island to developers. In 2009 DHS said the island would be sold to developers to help fund the new BioLab Level 4 on the campus of Kansas State University, which is set to open in 2022.

  • VisasTravel association to DHS: Tell Congress about visa overstays before tourism is restricted

    The U.S. Travel Association is urging DHS to address people who stay overstay the length of their approved visas before placing new restrictions on visa waiver programs that are designed to boost U.S. tourism. “We should not even begin to discuss further improvements to visa security without much-needed data from the Department of Homeland Security on visa overstays,” the association says.