• Lute to leave DHS after shepherding cybersecurity executive order effort

    Jane Holl Lute, the deputy secretary of DHS, will leave the department to pursue her interest in the international Internet business. Lute was involved in formulating DHS position on cybersecurity, especially with the shift in President Barack Obama’s executive order on cybersecurity from two months ago, in which the role of private industry and DHS in bolstering Internet security was emphasized, and the role of the National Security Agency (NSA) diminished.

  • Flight attendants not invited to Hill hearings on airplane security

    The House Transportation Security Subcommittee has scheduled an upcoming hearing on Thursday titled “TSA’s Efforts to Advance Risk-Based Security: Stakeholder Perspectives,” but the hearing will not include a representative of America’s flight attendants. This omission has upset the Coalition of Flight Attendant Unions.

  • FAA fines NYC airports for using untrained personnel for fire, emergency duties

    The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) fined LaGuardia, Newark, and John F. Kennedy airports $3.5 million dollars for failing to train firefighters and aircraft-rescue personnel.

  • Lawmaker wants the FAA to keep Midway control tower operating

    Representative Dan Lipinski (D-Illinois) is not happy with the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) decision to add Midway Airport to the list of air ports whose air-traffic control towers  are subject to closing during overnight hours because of the federal budget cuts.

  • New Airport security system to help special needs travelers

    The Transportation Security Administration is training some of its employees to act as Passenger Support Specialists in order to help the disabled, people with medical condition, and people who are traveling with small children through the security process.

  • A more powerful terahertz imaging system developed

    Low-energy terahertz radiation could potentially enable doctors to see deep into tissues without the damaging effects of X-rays, or allow security guards to identify chemicals in a package without opening it. An electrical engineering research team has developed a laser-powered terahertz source and detector system which transmits with fifty times more power and receives with thirty times more sensitivity than existing technologies. This offers 1,500 times more powerful systems for imaging and sensing applications.

  • Budget cuts force the FAA to shut down 149 control towers

    The FFA will have to cut $637 million before 30 September. It plans to do so by give 47,000 employees two week furloughs, shutting down 149 control towers, and cutting overnight shifts at seventy-two different traffic facilities. Some worry about the impact these measures will have on air travel safety.

  • DHS asked to help shield Port of Hueneme from the effects of sequestration

    The Port of Hueneme is the only deep-water port between Los Angeles and San Francisco. Sequestration-related budget cuts mean the port’s six CBP and two Department of Agriculture inspectors can no longer work on Saturdays, or work overtime. This means that ships arriving at the port now have to wait outside until inspectors are available – at a cost to carriers of between $25,000 and $50,000 per day depending on the size of the ship. Port authorities and local businesses are worried that it will not be long before carriers direct their ships to other ports.

  • Lawmakers call on TSA to reverse knife rule

    Two leading lawmakers have called on TSA to reverse its ruling which would allow passengers to bring some types of knives with them on board. “The attacks on September 11, 2001, demonstrated that in the confined environment of an airplane, even a small blade in the hands of a terrorist can lead to disaster,” Rep. Ed Markey (S-Mass.) — who is running for the U.S. Senate seat recently vacated by John Kerry – wrote TSA director John Pistole.

  • Airports yet to be affected by sequestration-related cuts

    Since sequestration went into effect last Friday, both  airport authorities and DHS have been saying that that passengers should prepare themselves for  longer wait times at security checkpoints. So far, airports in major cities have reported no discernible increase in wait time at security lines.

  • TSA would allow knives on planes beginning 25 April

    The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) yesterday announced that, starting 25 April, the prohibition against carrying knives on board would be lifted. TSA would also allow other items banned since 9/11, such as lacrosse sticks, ski poles, and small, souvenir baseball bats. The flight attendants union was quick to condemn to move, calling the decision “dangerous” and “designed to make the lives of TSA staff easier, but not make flights safer.”

  • FAA investigates on-board dance

    Last month the Colorado College ultimate frisbee team, along with other passengers, took part in a YouTube sensation known as the Harlem Shake during a packed flight on Frontier Airlines from Colorado Springs to San Diego. The FAA is now investigating whether safety regulations were violated.

  • America’s outdated waterways, ports hurting economy

    Underinvestment in America’s inland waterways cost American businesses approximately $33 billion in 2010. Without a significant increase in investment, that number could increase to $49 billion by 2020. If improvements are not made, 80 percent of American locks will be functionally obsolete by 2020. The extended failure of just one lock can cost agriculture exporters up to $45 million and barge operators as much as $163 million.

  • Increasing the sensitivity of airport security screening

    The latest episode in the American Chemical Society’s (ACS) Global Challenges/Chemistry Solutions podcast series reports a simple way to improve the sensitivity of the test often used to detect traces of explosives on the hands, carry-ons, and other possessions of passengers at airport security screening stations.

  • Blast-resilient carriages to reduce impact of a terrorist attack on trains, metros

    Engineers have developed a blast-resilient carriages which are better able to withstand a terrorist attack and ultimately save lives. The engineers have e focused on two key areas — containing the impact of the blast and reducing debris — the main cause of death and injury in an explosion and the key obstacle for emergency services trying to gain access to injured passengers.