• Obama offers strategic redefinition, expansion of DHS mission

    In July 2002, nearly a year before DHS was created under former president George W. Bush, a handful of advisers hastily drafted in private a 90-page national homeland security strategy; that document was later criticized for being partially responsible — by overemphasizing terrorism at the expense of natural disasters — for the Bush administration’s botched response to Hurricane Katrina; in October 2007 the Bush administration updated its homeland security strategy; the Obama administration has now revised and expanded Bush’s 2007 changes; the new strategy states that preventing terrorism remains the cornerstone of homeland security, but it expands the definition of homeland security to include other hazards, among them mass cyberattacks, pandemics, natural disasters, illegal trafficking, and transnational crime

  • Haiti earthquake a reminder that disasters are preventable

    While earthquakes are inevitable in earthquake zones, and hurricanes and tornadoes are inevitable under certain weather conditions — “there are no inevitable disasters,” a University of Colorado expert says; “There is no such thing as a natural disaster”; the scope of death and injury, the magnitude of damage to buildings and infrastructure, are the result not of nature – but of man-made decisions; what we see in Haiti is the result of decades of corrupt and ineffective Haitian governments, indifferent to the welfare of the Haitian people

  • Need seen for single U.S. disaster recovery agency

    The Obama administration has launched a series of meetings around the country which bring together government officials and representatives of non-profit, volunteer, and faith-based organizations to identify and share best practices and innovations in the area of disaster recovery; insights gathered at these meetings and at other similar meetings will go into recommendations for improving disaster recover policy to be presented to the Obama administration in April

  • Hazmat clean-up should be performed by qualified contractors

    During and the immediate aftermath of a disaster involving hazardous materials, local officials are often surprised to learn that first responders do not do hazmat clean-up; the fact is, most fire departments and other first responders, besides not having the equipment and personnel for these activities, do not have the necessary environmental permits; since hazmat clean-up should be done by qualified personnel, here are guidelines to help you find them

  • More money needed to boost England's flood defenses

    The U.K. floods of 2007 caused £3.2 billion in damage and recovery costs; U.K. Environment Agency (EA) says that there is a need to double the country’s investment in flood defenses to £1 billion a year by 2035 – or damages from future floods further - disruption, damage to infrastructure, and loss of business — could rise by 60 percent

  • Targeted attacks top telco nightmares, replacing botnet floods

    Targeted attacks against backend systems have replaced botnet-powered traffic floods as the main concerns for security staff at telcos and large ISPs; the most potent DDoS attacks recorded in 2009 hit 49 Gbps, a relatively modest 22 percent rise from the 40 Gbps peak reached in 2008

  • U.S. aging infrastructure a national security concern

    There many immediate and long-term economic benefits to investing in shoring up the U.S. crumbling infrastructure – but investing in creating a robust and resilient infrastructure is essential for national security as well: because the United States is the world’s dominant military power, the only real way for enemies to attack the country is through its infrastructure, including cyberspace, making infrastructure resilience critical

  • First U.S. national health security plan released

    HHS releases the U.S. first-ever National Health Security Strategy; Tte new strategy outlines areas for federal, state, and local government agencies and nongovernment groups to focus on over the next four years

  • Regional biodefense stockpiles could aid Europe in event of bioattack

    A plan for European preparation for a terrorist bioattacks calls for a regional stockpiling system within Europe; a Baltic stockpile, Nordic stockpile, and so on would be of great import and would aid in covering countries that have not expressed a desire to form their own stockpiles.

  • Rise in sea levels forces drastic changes on Florida

    If sea levels rise by only two feet, Florida stands to lose almost 10 percent of its land area and the homes of 1.5 million people; the zone which is vulnerable to 27-inch rise in sea level includes residential real estate worth $130 billion, half of Florida’s beaches, two nuclear reactors, three prisons, 37 nursing homes, and much more; the Florida government is considering changes to building codes and other precautionary measures.

  • Rise in sea levels threatens California ports, infrastructure

    Scientists expect ocean levels to rise by at least 16 inches over the next 40 years, causing flooding and endangering facilities throughout the state of California; the California Climate Change Center has estimated that nearly half a million people, thousands of miles of roads and railways, and major ports, airports, power plants, and wastewater treatment plants are at risk; in the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana region, sea level rise could expose $96.5 billion of infrastructure to damage.

  • Space Time Insight releases upgrade to Crisis Composite for extreme weather

    The new Crisis Composite software for electric utilities correlates the effects of ice storms, hurricanes, earthquakes, and man made events; the solution allows operators of critical infrastructure facilities access to rich geospatial analytics that enable fast, informed action

  • Appeals court rules dredging contractors not liable for Katrina flooding damage

    Private contractors involved in dredging the Mississippi River and outlet canals in and around New Orleans before Hurricane Katrina cannot be held liable for the storm’s damage; court rules that the dredging contractors qualify for government-contractor immunity

  • NICE acquires Orsus

    NICE, a leading provider of security solutions, acquires Orsus, a pioneer in situational awareness, for an all-cash $22 million; critical incidents have led organizations to make massive investments in a wide range of security technologies and in corresponding manpower; trouble is, these security tools often exist in different silos, which lead to information overload, making it difficult to get the complete picture and manage critical incidents effectively; the combined NICE-Orsus solution addresses this problem

  • Aussie telco says it is ready for the next Black Saturday

    The bushfires in Victoria, Australia on 7 February took 173 lives, ravaged thousands of hectares of land, and burned down hundreds of houses; providers Telstra and Optus were both hit hard by the fires too, with communications outages across fixed-line and mobile networks, Internet exchanges and power stations; Telstra says its systems are now more robust