• Protecting the U.S. Food Supply Chain

    An attack on our food supply—whether from intentional tampering, or due to contagious animal disease—could be dangerous to human health and could cause long-lasting economic impacts. DHS S&T is working to protect the U.S. food supply chain – from the farm to the table.

  • Sarcasm Detector for Online Communications

    Sentiment analysis – the process of identifying positive, negative, or neutral emotion – across online communications has become a growing focus for both commercial and defense communities. Sentiment can be an important signal for online information operations to identify topics of concern or the possible actions of bad actors. The presence of sarcasm – a linguistic expression often used to communicate the opposite of what is said with an intention to insult or ridicule – in online text is a significant hindrance to the performance of sentiment analysis.

  • Scanning People with Their Shoes On

    Taking shoes off for scanning at airports is one of the most inconvenient parts of flying and one that can slow the security screening process. But one day soon, even those without a “pre-check” status may be able to keep their shoes on, step on shoe scanner, walk through a next-generation body scanner and speed safely on to their boarding gates.

  • New Biosensor Detect Toxins and More

    A new device is not quite the Star Trek “tricorder” medical scanner, but it’s a step in the right direction. The Portable EnGineered Analytic Sensor with aUtomated Sampling (PEGASUS) is a miniaturized waveguide-based optical sensor that can detect toxins, bacterial signatures, viral signatures, biothreats, white powders and more, from samples such as blood, water, CSF, food, and animal samples.

  • U.S. Should Make Monitoring and Detecting Nuclear Threats a Higher National Priority

    To address current and evolving nuclear threats, the U.S. needs a higher prioritized and more integrated program for monitoring, detecting, and verifying nuclear test explosions, nuclear weapon stockpiles, and the production of fissile material, says a new report from the National Academies of Sciences.

  • Iran Says 60 Percent Enrichment “Under Way” at Natanz Site

    Iranian officials say the country has begun enriching uranium up to 60 percent purity, higher than it has ever done before, despite ongoing talks between Tehran and world powers to revive the 2015 nuclear deal. Under the 2015 nuclear deal, Iran had committed to keep enrichment to 3.67 percent. Recently it has been enriching up to 20 percent, saying the deal was no longer enforceable. Enriching uranium to 60 percent would be the highest level achieved by Iran’s nuclear program, it is still short of the 90 percent purity needed for military use.

  • UN Watchdog Confirms Assad Used Chemical Weapons against Civilians

    The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) on Monday released the findings of the second report by the OPCW Investigation and Identification Team (IIT). IIT concludes that units of the Syrian Arab Air Force used chemical weapons in Saraqib on 4 February 2018.Since 2011, the year the civil war in Syria began, the Assad regime has launched atleast 336 chemical attacks, using Sarin and chlorine, against Sunni civilians.

  • Strengthening Nuclear Storage Research

    Today, nuclear power utilities store over 80,000 metric tons of spent nuclear fuel across the nation. Since the fuel will remain in dry storage longer than was expected, scientists are working to better understand exactly how the fuel behaves under extended storage conditions, how the canisters age, and the forces the two would undergo when shipped and stored for long periods.

  • New Tool Assesses Risk of Wild-Life Origin Viruses

    Researchers have a developed a new framework and interactive web tool, SpillOver, which “estimates a risk score for wildlife-origin viruses, creating a comparative risk assessment of viruses with uncharacterized zoonotic spillover potential alongside those already known to be zoonotic.”

  • Retaining Knowledge of Nuclear Waste Management

    Sandia National Laboratories have begun their second year of a project to capture important, hard-to-explain nuclear waste management knowledge from retirement-age employees to help new employees get up to speed faster. The project has experts share their experience with and knowledge of storage, transportation, and disposal with next generation scientists.

  • Monitoring Current and Future Biological Threats

    DHS S&T has awarded $199,648 to Mesur.io Inc., for analysis and reporting of outbreak-related data. The Mesur.io project proposes to adapt their Earthstream Platform to provide DHS and NBIC with data that tracks metrics related to an outbreak or emergence to predict various risks of a biological threat.

  • Biohazard: A Look at China’s Biological Capabilities and the Recent Coronavirus Outbreak

    When people think about weapons of mass destruction (WMD), they tend to think of things that go “boom.” The bigger the weapon, the bigger the boom, and the worse the impact. However, not all weapons need a big boom to be effective. Every day, millions of people are affected by a weapon that has the potential to do far more damage than a nuclear bomb, a weapon we cannot see, a weapon we call germs.

  • Pathogens Have the World’s Attention

    The novel coronavirus has demonstrated just how devastating a transmissible pathogen can be—and just how difficult to contain. Nathan Levine and Chris Li write that “the sobering truth is that, as deadly diseases go, the world got lucky. The global case fatality rate of COVID-19 is around 2 percent. One need only compare this to SARS (10 percent), smallpox (30 percent), pulmonary anthrax (80 percent), or Ebola (90 percent) to consider that the coronavirus could easily have been much, much worse.”

  • Homeland Security for Radiological and Nuclear Threats

    Radiation exposure events are complicated: there is a variety of radiation sources, and since radiation is invisible, and its effect may not always be immediately apparent, first responders and emergency services must prepare for a “worried well” of people requiring attention: individuals who do not have other physical injuries but are concerned about whether they have received a radiation exposure.

  • Toxic: A History of Nerve Agents, from Nazi Germany to Putin’s Russia

    Nerve agents are very much in the news these days. Bashar al-Assad’s government in Syria repeatedly used Sarin against its own people during that country’s civil war. The Putin regime employed Novichoks in both Russia and the United Kingdom against citizens it deemed insufficiently loyal to Moscow. North Korea’s Kim Jong Un utilized VX in the assassination of his brother at an airport in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Across the globe, the use of nerve agents is challenging the international nonproliferation regime in numerous ways.