• Ukraine“Crimea must be returned to Ukraine,” U.S. tells Russia

    The United States has reaffirmed that it will maintain sanctions on Russia until it returns control of Crimea to Ukraine, nearly five years after Moscow annexed the peninsula. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said. “Crimea is Ukraine and must be returned to Ukraine’s control,” a U.S. State Department statement quoted Pompeo as saying.

  • Border wall58 former national security officials challenge national emergency declaration

    A group of 58 former senior U.S. national security officials will today (Monday) release a statement criticizing President Donald Trump’s for using, without factual justification, a national emergency declaration to fund a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. “Under no plausible assessment of the evidence is there a national emergency today that entitles the president to tap into funds appropriated for other purposes to build a wall at the southern border,” the group of former senior officials said.

  • National emergencyTrump declares national emergency

    President Donald Trump has declared a national emergency, bypassing Congress to build a wall along the southern U.S. border, and setting up a legal challenge that could help determine the limits of U.S. presidential power.

  • Border securityTrump's threat of national emergency declaration explained

    During a visit to the southern border Thursday, President Donald Trump again threatened to use emergency powers to bypass Congress and get billions of dollars to pay for a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border as a partial U.S. government shutdown over the issue stretched into its 20th day. What does such a declaration mean?

  • Considered opinion: Border securityTerrorists and the southern border: Myth and reality

    By Nicholas Rasmussen

    Taken at face value, rhetoric from the White House and DHS would lead Americans to believe that the United States is facing a terrorism crisis at our southern border. The situation being described is one in which thousands of terrorists have been stopped crossing our southern border to infiltrate the Homeland. If that were true, that would indeed be a crisis. Nicholas Rasmussen, who served as director of the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) under Presidents Obama and Trump, writes that “In reality, no such crisis exists. U.S. federal courthouses and prisons are not filled with terrorists captured at the border. There is no wave of terrorist operatives waiting to cross overland into the United States. It simply isn’t true. Anyone in authority using this argument to bolster support for building the wall or any other physical barrier along the southern border is most likely guilty of fear mongering and willfully misleading the American people.”

  • ImmigrationTrump signs immigration order to curb asylum claims

    The Trump administration has issued an executive order which would effectively ban migrants who illegally cross the U.S.-Mexico border from qualifying for asylum. The administration’s move comes as thousands of Honduran migrants are making their way north. The order means that the United States will no longer allow certain people who enter the country illegally to qualify for asylum.

  • Considered opinion: The Russia connectionCountering Russian election hacks

    By Eric Jensen

    According to a Center for Public Integrity report, the “U.S. military hackers have been given the go-ahead to gain access to Russian cyber systems as part of potential retaliation for any meddling in America’s elections.” Eric Jensen writes in Just Security that this signals a significant change to the U.S. cyber policy and is a clear indication that cyber actions have now entered the mainstream of national security tools. “For years, the “newness” of cyber capabilities have caused the level of authorization to remain at very high levels and subject to extensive interagency dialogue before even simple cyber tasks could be taken. These procedural requirements undoubtedly had the practical effect of limiting the number of cyber activities undertaken. By allowing DoD and other government agencies to function more autonomously within pre-approved guidelines reflects a normalization of cyber capabilities that has been too long in coming.”

  • Election securityWhite House MIA on midterm elections security

    The United States is less than a week away from the 2018 midterms, but the Trump administration has not put together a substantive, coordinated effort to fight disinformation or possible election interference. Law enforcement, homeland security, and intelligence officials held one 90-minute meeting at the Justice Department late last month and left without any answers. No one from the White House attended. In the absence of White House leadership or an overarching strategy, some agencies have taken individual actions. DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen has stepped forward and convened her own meetings with agency leaders on election security issues.

  • CybersecurityS&T awards $11.6 million to defend against network, internet disruptions

    Five research organizations were awarded separate contracts totaling $11,511,565 to develop new methods to identify and attribute Network/Internet-scale Disruptive Events (NIDEs), the DHS S&T announced last week.

  • SuperbugsNew FDA initiative to reduce overuse of antibiotics in animals met with skepticism

    Each year more than 2 million Americans suffer infections from bacteria that cannot be treated by one or more antibiotics—and at least 23,000 die. Approximately 70 percent of all medically important antibiotics in the United States are sold for use in food-producing animals. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced last week that the agency will soon be implementing a 5-year blueprint to advance antimicrobial stewardship in veterinary settings. The FDA wants to further its efforts to reduce the overuse of antimicrobial drugs and combat the rising threat of antimicrobial resistance. Critics charge the new FDA’s initiative is too timid.

  • SAFETY Act: 15 years onSAFETY Act at 15: 1,000 qualified antiterrorism technologies approved

    For fifteen years now, the S&T Office of SAFETY Act Implementation (OSAI,) under the Support Anti-Terrorism by Fostering Effective Technologies (SAFETY) Act, has been approving anti-terrorism technologies for liability protections. It has so far approved more than 1,000 Qualified Anti-Terrorism Technologies.

  • Considered opinion: Truth decay The West is ill-prepared for the wave of “deep fakes” that artificial intelligence could unleash

    By Chris Meserole and Alina Polyakova

    Russian disinformation has become a growing problem for Western countries. European nations are finally taking action, which is an important first step, but Chris Meserole and Alina Polyakova write “to get ahead of the problem, policymakers in Europe and the United States should focus on the coming wave of disruptive technologies. Fueled by advances in artificial intelligence and decentralized computing, the next generation of disinformation promises to be even more sophisticated and difficult to detect.” Bigger data, better algorithms, and custom hardware promise to democratize the creation of fake print, audio, and video stories. “Deep fakes and the democratization of disinformation will prove challenging for governments and civil society to counter effectively,” Meserole and Alina Polyakova warn.

  • SurveillanceHART: Homeland Security’s massive new database will include face recognition, DNA, and peoples’ “non-obvious relationships”

    By Jennifer Lynch

    The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is quietly building what will likely become the largest database of biometric and biographic data on citizens and foreigners in the United States. The agency’s new Homeland Advanced Recognition Technology (HART) database will include multiple forms of biometrics—from face recognition to DNA, data from questionable sources, and highly personal data on innocent people. It will be shared with federal agencies outside of DHS as well as state and local law enforcement and foreign governments. And yet, we still know very little about it.

  • Energy securityHere’s why Trump’s new strategy to keep ailing coal and nuclear plants open makes no sense

    By James Van Nostrand

    President Donald Trump recently ordered Energy Secretary Rick Perry to take “immediate steps” to stop the closure of coal and nuclear power plants. The proposal is premised on these power plants being essential to national security. To be sure, the coal and nuclear industries are in trouble. Thirty-six coal plants have retired since Trump was elected, and another 30 will close in the coming months. More than 1 in 10 of the nation’s nuclear reactors are likely to be decommissioned by 2025. But experts are not worried about any electricity shortages or outages between now and 2025. The Energy Department’s own assessment of whether the ongoing wave of coal and nuclear plant retirements are threatening grid reliability, found no cause for alarm. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission unanimously rejected an earlier proposal for the tax-payers to subsidize these declining industries. In short, there is no emergency that justifies this unprecedented intrusion into the electricity markets that would warrant forcing taxpayers and utilities to pay a premium to keep coal and nuclear plants online. The only “emergencies” are the financial woes of the plant owners caused by the rapid decline coal consumption and the nuclear industry’s weak outlook.

  • CybersecurityMapping DHS’s new cybersecurity strategy, highlighting S&T’s R&D support

    Last month at a cybersecurity conference, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen previewed the May unveiling of DHS’s new cybersecurity strategy and issued a stern warning to cybercriminals. The new DHS Cybersecurity Strategy was released 15 May. Nielsen said: “I have a news flash for America’s adversaries: Complacency is being replaced by consequences. We will not stand on the sidelines while our networks are compromised. We will not abide the theft of our data, our innovation and our resources. And we will not tolerate cyber meddling aimed at the heart of our democracy.”