Index > Legal & Intergovernmental: Best Practices
January 2011: Australian government authorities are working overtime to try and help the communities of Queensland in the midst of epic flooding, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported. More than 9,000 homes in Brisbane, the country's third largest city, are expected to be impacted by flood waters, while the city's downtown central business center cut it's electricity, the BBC reported.
January 2011: Since the attacks of September 11, 2001 the public and private sectors have been working together to find new ways of securing the country's critical infrastructure through federal action like the Homeland Security Act and the Homeland Security Presidential Directive 7 (HSPD-7). There have been other - private sector-driven steps taken as well, but it is with the cooperation of the federal government that industry can improve optimally on its preparedness, resiliency and response operations.
November 3 '08: According to Washington Technology, the federal government is making preparations for the release of updated information sharing guidelines for state and local governments to help "achieve baseline capabilities necessary to share terrorism and law enforcement data." The guideline suggestions, which include increased partnership and participation with the private sector, will be published in a report titled "Baseline Capabilities for State and Major Urban Area Fusion Centers."
October 27 '08: In a report that is being considered a first of its kind for the DC area, the Washington Post reported a new collaboration between the Nonprofit Roundtable and Deloitte to look at the ability of nonprofit groups to coordinate and respond to a disaster.
August 29 '08: State and local officials in Louisiana and other Gulf Coast states have begun to make preparations for Hurricane Gustav as it begins to strengthen into a hurricane. In New Orleans, city officials have begun to make evacuation preparations on the third anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, the Associated Press reported. And in Louisiana, the Getagameplan.org website, the product of a partnership between the United Way, the American Red Cross, the State of Louisiana and the Governor's Office of Louisiana, is live with up-to-date information for those preparing for the storm.
August 15 '08: Late in July, the Department of Homeland Security signed an agreement with the ANSI-ASQ National Accreditation Board (ANAB), based in Milwaukee, "to establish and oversee the development and implementation of the accreditation and certification requirements" for the private sector to strengthen its preparedness and resilience, the Suburban Emergency Management Project reported (courtesy of HSDL). Accreditation guidelines have not been announced yet, but participation is voluntary and will be driven by the marketplace.
July 22 '08: In a press release from the Environmental Protection Agency, the federal government announced a new report which examines the health, settlement dynamics and impacts of climate change on communities in the United States - broken down into regions. The report covers areas ranging from population redistribution to local, state, regional and national disaster recovery in the face of increasingly severe weather. Many of the findings suggest increased economic, infrastructural, and societal pressures.
May 28 '08: HLSWatch, while talking about federal officials encouraging a do-it-yourself approach to hurricane preparedness and building on personal preparedness wrote that federal officials are working to alert communities and the private sector through the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS).
May 9 '08: The Katrina Environmental Research and Restoration Network (KERRN) was created to help research ways to prepare for and respond to major environmental disasters. The organization is hosted by Tulane/Xavier Universities' Center for Bioevironmental Research and was begun after Hurricane Katrina ravaged the Gulf Coast in 2005.
May 06 '08: Relief aid agencies heading to the affected region's of Myanmar's Irrawady Delta are facing challenges due to the remote location of many villages and the destruction caused by Cyclone Nargis, the New York Times reported. "Bad roads, a lack of cooperation from the country's military government and a breakdown in telecommunications are factors that could hamper relief efforts," the Times reported.
May 5 '08: According to the Associated Press, a new report outlines treatment priorities during a pandemic. The findings in the report were compiled by a partnership of federal and state officials along with experts from the medical and academic communities. "The proposed guidelines are designed to be a blueprint for hospitals" the AP reported.
May 2 '08: Though many businesses and organizations have disaster response and continuity plans in place, there is no national certification standard for those plans, the Conference Board recently announced. However, using statistics gathered from a DHS-funded study, three-quarters of the 302 senior corporate executives surveyed said they had an emergency preparedness plan in place, the group found.
April 30 '08: Members of US and Mexican federal, state and local emergency response agencies and government officials have announced a partnership targeting cross-border disaster preparedness training and response. The disaster training is conducted through the US-Mexiao Border 2012 Program which has joined multiple US and Mexican federal agencies together.
April 28 '08: The Federal Food Safety and Inspection Service's Food Defense & Emergency Response program under the purview of the USDA has released a new food defense plan for warehouses and food distribution centers in the event that the nation's food supply comes under attack from a terrorist or other man-made threat.
April 22 '08: The Naval Postgraduate School Center for Homeland Defense and Security has posted the new 2008 - 2013 FEMA Strategic Plans which were announced recently. The five-year plan outlines the goals and missions of the federal agency in working with federal, state, local and private sector stakeholders and officials to respond, prepare and recover from national, natural and man-made emergencies through five state goals.
April 16 '08: Pennsylvania officials said in a press release in 2007 that photovoltaic solar panels would be used to help provide 4.8 kilowatt hours of power to be used for critical government systems "that protect public health and safety". The solar cells were installed through a partnership with BP's US solar branch and represent a large statewide sustainability campaign spearheaded by Governor Ed Rendell.
April 15 '08: The University of New Hampshire has partnered with the state's Department of Safety with the support of the US Department of Justice to develop Project54. The stated goal of Project54 is to help integrate communications technology which was developed without extensibility or integration in mind. Project54's CATlab has out-rigged more than 913 police cruisers in New Hampshire and helped to demonstrate a new digital television communications capability in Las Vegas with Harris Corporation and LG.
April 14 '08: The Associated Press reported earlier that the FCC has released guidelines which outline a national emergency alert system using text messaging. Washington Technology reported that the new plan lacks a federal sponsor and FEMA has declined as well.
March 24 '08: In a press release the American Chemistry Council's Chemical Information Technology Center (ChemITC) said it had "facilitated the participation of 10 chemical companies" during the Cyber Storm II cyber security response drill. According to officials, the industry IT group helped to coordinate existing response and recovery plans as well as technology resiliency communications processes.
March 19 '08: The Center for Infectious Disease Research & Policy at the University of Minnesota (CIDRAP), reported that a recent pandemic response exercise conducted by the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta was the fourth in a series of similar exercises begun in January 2007.
March 12 '08: The Associated Press reported a new study released by the National Academies which found that "Climate change will affect transportation primarily through increases in several types of weather and climate extremes," and that federal, state and local governments should "incorporate climate change into their long-term capital improvement plans ... and emergency response plans."
March 10 '08: The Chicago Sun-Times reported a new program begun by Mayor Richard Daley to link the city's public schools' 4500 surveillance cameras into a network which can be accessed by police and first responders. The addition of the public schools' cameras will augment the existing 10,000 public and private cameras already being monitored by the city's law enforcement agencies.
March 7 '08: The Navy has partnered with Northrop Grumman to build the Law Enforcement Information Exchange, also known as LInx, the Washington Post reported. The system currently joins more than 400 law enforcement agencies together. Linx is also used by 100 police agencies in the National Capital Region.
March 7 '08: Law enforcement agencies across the country are beginning to share and exchange information and data through a new federal network called the National Data Exchange System, the Washington Post reported. N-Dex, as the system is called, is a way for local and state law enforcement agencies to share information with their federal counterparts and remove many of the "top-down" roadblocks facing earlier attempts to share information and communicate, PoliceOne.com reported.
March 3 '08: Wi4Net has announced a new partnership with the City of Milwaukee to install wireless surveillance cameras and a network monitoring facility, a press release announced. Along with the partnership is Pivot3 Inc., makers of high capacity and high definition digital storage.
March 3 '08: Washington Technology reported that L-3 subsidiary MPRI Inc. will partner with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to help train federal agency "with preparedness training and simulation exercises to cope with a wide range of hazards, including acts of bioterrorism and pandemic outbreaks," WashTech reported.
February 29 '08: The House Foreign Affairs Committee approved legislation recently which would create "standby groups of civilian specialists with diverse skills" who would be called upon to help respond to domestic and international crises, a press release from the Friends Committee on National Legislation announced.
February 26 '08: The Washington Post reported that DHS will be working with two area companies to make sure the federal agency itself is prepared to handle a disaster and to ensure a continuity of operations. The companies, ICF International and its partner Lockstep Consulting "will help the department identify its mission-critical functions. The plan also will incorporate daily business functions," the Post reported.
February 22 '08: The City of Yuma, Arizona activated the Regional Communication System (YRCS) in 2007 as a way to "develop a shared public safety radio environment." The YRCS is a partnership that uses a P25 700/800 MHz trunked radio system with about 1,200 current users who include the Cocopah Indian Tribe, the US Army Yuma Proving Ground, and the local county and regional law enforcement, fire and EMS services.
February 21 '08: Reuters reported that a new report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found that many states in the are more prepared for a public health emergency or biological attack "but still lacked trained staff and specialized facilities."
February 20 '08: In the Financial Times, John Podesta from the Center for American Progress wrote that the US military will have five "key areas" to confront when facing the challenges posed by climate change. In many cases, Podesta wrote, the Pentagon will be the world's most capable first responder when helping affected communities afflicted by disasters.
February 19 '08: Wyoming officials have announced a new statewide interoperable communications system which will link first responders, emergency management and government officials together, the Torrington Telegram Online reported. The system is called Wyolink and it will be 80 to 85 percent complete by March this year. Eventually, officials said the system will be linked to other states' systems.
February 5 '08: A new report has been released by the UK-based Oxford Group, which works to find sustainable solutions to security questions facing the UK and the rest of the world. The new report outlines the potential challenges law enforcement agencies will face in the coming years if changes in the climate begin to stress resources among communities in both the developed and developing world.
February 5 '08: Announced in a press release, state and local government information and disaster officials will be able to attend a webinar hosted by CIBER that will teach "how to effectively coordinate emergency management activities across multiple government agencies." On hand to deliver the webinar will be AJ Briding, Certified Emergency Manager and Jerry Snees, USMC (Ret.), Office of Emergency Preparedness for the City of New Orleans.
February 5 '08: Entrepreneur.com hosted a piece by Visa Senior Vice President of Commercial Solutions Darren Parslow who wrote, "Purchasing cards help enable city, county, and state agencies to procure emergency supplies and services not only quickly, but under conditions when even basic infrastructure such as power grids, telecommunications networks, and banking systems are disrupted and suppliers are without power or have been destroyed."
February 4 '08: The Chesapeake Innovation Center in Anne Arundel County, Maryland has been helping businesses develop strategic homeland security-related models and focus. Recently two new companies, MGB Ltd. Spearhead Innovations which develops handheld container inspection devices and in-container detection technology, and OnLine LinkUp which builds "affinity networking websites" have joined.
January 30 '08: The Washington Post reported Montgomery County, Maryland police officials who have partnered with Crimereports.com, a website run by Public Engines Inc. who are based in Salt Lake City, Utah. Crimereports.com provides an online mashup of location-based criminal reporting and in recent past has worked with the San Jose Police Department.
January 29 '08: In San Francisco last October, the city announced a new secure web-based information-sharing portal for first responders and community stakeholders, a press release announced. Working with Collaborative Fusion, a consulting, technology, first response and homeland security firm, the city has developed the www.HelpBayArea.org.
January 29 '08: EMS scholarship grants have been awarded to 33 recipients around the country, medical distribution company Bound Tree Medical announced. The biannual scholarship was developed by the company "to reduce the financial burden of individuals that are focused on starting or furthering their education in the EMS field," the company said on its website.
January 24 '08: The Maritime Association of South Carolina/Port of Charleston (MAPCHA) is working to bring together community members under one organization while serving as a conduit for communication to ports and its stakeholders. During the ReadyCommunities's Charleston Pilot, MAPCHA helped to coalesce resources and manpower from many sectors by using and supervising the Essential Public Network.
January 23 '08: The Department of Homeland Security has launched a new resource website called the National Resource Framework Resource Center. The website's goal is to allow for emergency management officials, community organizations, religious organizations and public officials to come together and share best practices and ideas as well as find solutions to some of their preparedness and response questions.
January 18 '08: In a press release, the CompuDyne Corp. subsidiary Tiburon Inc., announced a new partnership with Anne Arundel County, Maryland to build "an integrated public safety system" which will use a computer-aided dispatch (CAD) system like the one recently installed last spring in Minneapolis.
January 18 '08: The New York Interfaith Disaster Services was established in 2003 after the attacks on 9/11. The 501(c)(3)'s mission is to provide "disaster readiness, response and recovery services for New York City." NYDIS' mission in disaster recovery includes "all phases of a disaster life cycle, including sustained advocacy, mitigation education, preparedness training, disaster planning, and recovery programs."
January 14 '08: Enivsage has announced a new collaboration with the Army at Fort Gordon & Signal Center to manage the training of soldiers. Using the company's Acadis Readiness Suite Envisage will be able reduce the time and amount of resources necessary to build complex training and education scenarios.
January 14 '08: The University of Arkansas has released an announcement about a new study (Download here - large file though!) looking into the nation's rural transportation networks' security. In the press release, the University said that more than 83 percent of the country's "infrastructure is not urban," and that since 9/11, much of the focus on homeland security had been looking at the state of more populated areas.
January 10 '08: Law enforcement agencies in Missouri are pooling their federal money, instead of focusing on regional programs, to fund a state-wide information-sharing program, Congressional Quarterly reported. Of note in this partnership is that local officials have said that by combining their resources, they are able to increase the breadth and scope of their abilities to take advantage of the Missouri Data Exchange project. The agencies will be using the COPLINK information and database suite, a press release announced. The technology was designed by Knowledge Computing Corp.
January 7 '08: The recent severe winter storms which hit the West Coast and Pacific Northwest with heavy rains, hurricane-force winds and feet of snow caused state officials in California to declare a state of emergency while in Nevada, heavy rains caused levees to break, the Associated Press reported. At least three people were killed as a result of the storm system which dumped more than five feet of snow in parts of the Sierra Nevada.
January 4 '08: The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel reported that the State Bar of Arizona will host an emergency preparedness and response seminar later this month. The seminar will focus on business community management issues and the legal implications which could arise from disasters such as pandemics, man-made disasters, or natural emergencies.
December 27 '07: The Environmental Protection Agency has announced a new website focusing on preparedness and environmental issues in collaboration with Mexico called the U.S.-Mexico Environmental Program Border 2012. The program "is a results-oriented program that takes a 'bottom-up' approach to addressing the environmental and public health needs of the border region."
December 21 '07: Reuters reported that a new 2007 report on America's national preparedness capabilities has found that there are gaps in overall preparedness programs ranging from "biological attacks to a flu pandemic, and funding for preparedness is falling." The new report, released by Trust for America's Health was preceded by a similar report released last year.
December 12 '07: In a press release, the RAND Corporation announced a new study which "gives rail security planners and policymakers a framework to develop cost-effective plans to secure their rail systems from terrorist attacks." The authors cite terrorist attacks in London and Madrid as highlighting the "vulnerability of rail travel and the importance of rail security for passengers."
December 7 '07: Earlier this summer, members of the public and private sectors gathered in Monroe County, Michigan to test their response and communications abilities to an emergency situation, the Monroe News reported. The emergency response exercise, called Operation Safeguard, a partner with the National Congress, hosted representatives from the local, state and federal governments, railroad companies, the American Red Cross, the National Guard, the Department of Agriculture, police enforcement agencies, EMS responders and other responder agencies.
December 6 '07: EWeek.com reported a new voluntary locally-targeted pilot project in New York called Notify NYC being launched December 10 which will "give New Yorkers in the pilot communities' access to [emergency alert] information while serving as a proving ground for different technologies," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said. New York-based Send Word Now will provide the digital messaging service.
December 6 '07: The Associated Press reported state officials at the Georgia Emergency Management Agency are working on water shortage mitigation plans in the face of a looming crisis. According to the AP, Georgia residents "may be down to just a few months of easily accessible water, and the faucets could run dry if reservoirs aren't replenished soon."
December 5 '07: The Medical University of South Carolina, a National Congress partner, announced in a press release earlier this fall, that they would begin a five-year study on the effects of disasters on mental health through a federal grant totaling $3.89 million from the National Institutes of Health. The study would coincide with the creation of the National Center for Disaster Mental Health Research with the cooperation of Dartmouth Medical School, the University of Michigan, Yale University and the University of Oklahoma.
December 5 '07: The Seattle Post Intelligencer reported that a state of emergency has been declared in Washington by Governor Chris Gregoire and in Oregon by Governor Ted Kulongoski. The late fall storms have knocked out power to more than 50,000 people while completely inundating Interstate 5. Officials said the road should re-open Thursday or Friday pending little damage to the infrastructure, however some estimates put the total cost of damage in the hundreds of millions.
December 4 '07: BLU-MED Response Systems, a Washington State-based partner with the National Congress, has announced two new contracts to help communities in Idaho's District Four and Suffolk County, New York increase their hospital surge capacity capabilities. In a press release, the company said it would provide two types of deployable medical shelters which could handle a full-scale medical emergency.
November 26 '07: Computerworld reported that a public safety communications group will get a license for 10MHz of wireless spectrum from the FCC "in anticipation of the spectrum being used to build out a nationwide emergency communications network." The announcement comes as other groups work to wrangle the spectrum for interoperable communications.
November 12 '07: NetworkWorld reported last week that NASA has partnered with the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta to help track and monitor the spread of diseases using a network of 14 orbital satellites. Through the Applied Sciences Program "data [are] collected daily to monitor environmental changes. That information is then passed on to agencies," like the CDC.
November 8 '07: California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has ordered a review of Southern California's response to the recent wildfires which burned more than 2,000 homes, the NBC affiliate in San Diego reported. Gov. Schwarzenegger has said a task force will look into ways that response efforts could be tweaked to produce better results for the future.
November 8 '07 Planning and communications gaps still exist among healthcare providers and "private physicians often are left out of heath care disaster plans that focus on hospitals and public health workers," a new report released by PricewaterhouseCoopers has found according to the San Diego Union-Tribune. Released at the end of October, the report also found federal funding for disaster preparedness in decline.
November 6 '07: Washington Technology has reported that the Federal Communication Commission "is endorsing adoption of the common alerting protocol technical standard for the nation's next-generation emergency alert system," which was developed by over 130 emergency managers and technology experts working under the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards in 2004. The new standard would help to solve interoperable communications hurdles facing different responder agencies using various frequencies, languages and practices.
November 6 '07: Reuters reported Monday that a new report released by the Center for Strategic & International Studies and the Center for a New American Security entitled "The Age of Consequences: The Foreign Policy and National Security Implications of Global Climate Change" has found that domestic and international security concerns will begin to grow as the earth's climate changes and heats up.
October 29 '07: The New York Times reported that the fires in Southern California are giving federal disaster response officials an opportunity to review their recovery operations - a first since Hurricane Katrina in 2005. According to the Times, part of the disaster response operations include making sure that federal relief funds are given to those who need them and avoid fraudulent claims.
September 25 '07: Using new research originally developed to help find new ways of producing human stem cells, one researcher at the University of Georgia has announced a new way to detect chemical agents in the field. The Atlanta-Journal Constitution reported that researcher Steve Stice said his neural cell research could "create a portable chemical weapons detection system that could be used for homeland security."
September 20 '07: On the Penn State's Live website, the school's efforts at preparing its community for disasters were highlighted through cooperation and participation during the National Preparedness Month campaign, sponsored by DHS. Disaster information resources for the school are bolstered through the Extension Disaster Education Network which also has been used by other community groups across the country.
September 17 '07: Ten Native Nations will cooperate with the Department of Justice in a pilot program to help expand the AMBER Alert program, a press release read. Federal organizers said they hoped the ten initiatives would help strengthen information sharing among law enforcement agencies between the community, tribal, state and federal authorities.
September 6 '07: The Washington Post reported that according to a newly-released report to Congress by the Government Accountability Office, several hurdles, including a lack of funding, unclear priorities and continuing reorganizations hamper the Department of Homeland Security's ability "to achieve its mission of preventing and responding to terrorist attacks or natural disasters."
August 27 '07: The Associated Press reported new plans from Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick to overhaul the state's emergency response apparatus. The governor also said the new effort will coincide with a public awareness campaign in September to raise emergency preparedness education in the state "to preserve critical resources for first responders by encouraging the general public to develop personal and family emergency response plans."
August 24 '07: Changes to the Earth's climate will also mean that countries will face greater and diverse security challenges, officials in Norway said recently. Reuters reported that John Ashton, British climate change ambassador told a conference of 13 nations that global warming "should be recast as a security issue, such as the war on terrorism, to help mobilize support for tougher global action to cut emissions of greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels."
August 23 '07: San Francisco city officials have begun a $22 million area-wide initiative to prepare the city for a disaster by improving communication and response plans through the Bay Area Super-Urban Area Initiative.
August 23 '07: Virginia Tech officials announced they have concluded a series of three internal reviews which looked into the April 16 shooting which killed 32 people. In the announcement Tech President Charles Steger said the goal was "to look at strengths and weaknesses of our existing systems/infrastructure and how they may be improved or augmented to address emergency situations that might arise in the future."
July 25 '07: Medical News Today reported that last week the Department of Health and Human Services released a new location-based medical and health preparedness and response guidebook to help "communities identify the healthcare facilities (hospitals and nursing homes) that could be available and prepared to provide assistance under emergency conditions in their communities."
July 24 '07: A new survey released by Juniper has found that teleworking for government employees is a best practice which strengthens continuity of operations in the event of an emergency. The results were announced in a press release on Monday. Charles Church, the chief information officer for the Department of Homeland Security's National Protection and Programs Directorate said, "the survey shows that we are moving in the right direction for emergency preparedness ... that teleworking is a 'must have' for effective COOP planning."
July 24 '07: The Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency have been working on disaster recovery and response credentials for private sector organizations which help to repair and maintain critical infrastructure, Federal Computer Week reported late last week.
July 16 '07: The 16th annual Alarm Awards were held in the U.K. recently, highlighting those organizations which have worked to employ best practices to keep business continuity running after a disaster. The Alarm website provides information on public sector organizations and their best practices to help construct a blueprint for emergency preparedness.
July 10 '07: Government Health IT reported that a new website has been launched by the National Health Information Network's agencies last week "to provide tools, information and resources for companies and public organizations." The website will be the "starting" point for obtaining information for medical first responders and health officials, GovHealthIT reported.
June 28 '07: A survey published by Cisco networks found that new mobile and remote-location technologies are being used by the federal government "as agency executives strive to integrate secure, collaborative business processes and applications into their communications infrastructure," and that "unified communications" will help with federal disaster recovery operations.
June 21 '07: A new peer-reviewed "Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness" journal has been created by the American Medical Association which will focus on public-health issues and the emergency management behind it, a press release announced. The publication will be published twice in 2007 and then become a quarterly in 2008.
June 13 '07: Two years ago in 2005, ChoicePoint had more than 163,000 consumer records' hacked by criminals who were posing as legitimate customers. Now, the CIO of the company has told PC World that the company has used the lessons-learned to provide best practices for other similar companies.
June 13 '07: The Department of Homeland Security has announced a new section for their Lessons Learned Information-Sharing website for special needs populations. The new section will host information about response and recovery operations for disabled and impaired populations. The section also represents a growing focus on those who depend upon the community to respond and prepare for disasters.
June 5 '07: According to Washington Technology, the Department of Homeland Security's Science & Technology Directorate has released a notice and request for public comments on its TechSolutions program.
June 1 '07: Over the last week, a 31-year old Atlanta man infected with a rare strain of tuberculosis resistant to almost all forms of medication traveled from the U.S. to Europe and back again potentially infecting dozens of people with the deadly virus while American and European health officials failed to share critical information about his whereabouts, and exposed gaps in international pandemic response and preparendess the International Herald Tribune and other news sources reported.
May 30 '07: Center for Disease Control officials have quarantined an airline traveler who has been diagnosed with a fatal drug-resistant form of tuberculosis CNN reported. The man, who flew from the U.S. to France and who returned to the U.S. by car via Toronto, was the first person to be ordered under such guidelines since 1963.
May 11 '07: President Bush has signed a new national security directive effectively establishing a national policy to promote the "continuity of Federal Government structures and operations" under the National Continuity Coordinator. The NCC will also oversee state, local, tribal government operations and will provide information to the private sector to help keep continuity of operations before, during and after disasters.
May 8 '07: The Department of Homeland Security must coordinate and support the 17 information-sharing networks better according to a Government Accountability Office report released recently. The report recommended that to improve coordination among the information networks, DHS officials must "implement coordination and collaboration practices, and ensure its efforts are consistent."
April 27 '07: Officials from the Department of Homeland Security and faculty from the University of California, Davis will sponsor a town hall meeting for the REAL ID program which seeks to standardize states' license requirements for identification. According to Government Technology, the town hall meeting will be the only open forum in the country on the federal program.
April 20 '07: According to a press release from the Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt, the federal agency has released new guidelines designed to help develop and purchase "countermeasures against" chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear threats.
April 18 '07: The Federal Emergency Management Agency recently sent a letter to Congress saying that its revisions to the National Response Plan might not be able to hit the June 1 deadline, the Associated Press reported.
April 13 '07: Broadcast companies working in the Gulf Coast region will begin to prepare for the upcoming 2007 hurricane season by implementing a new emergency alert messaging platform called ALERT FM a press release announced. The new system will be showcased during the National Association of Broadcasters 2007 Show, in Las Vegas April 14 - 19.
April 10 '07: A bipartisan bill being proposed in the Senate would require the U.S.' security agencies to assess the national security impacts of global climate change, the Boston Globe reported. Under the proposed bill, the director of national intelligence would be required to conduct a "national intelligence estimate" on climate change.
April 6 '07: To help the City of Los Angeles learn about pandemic preparedness, Town Hall Los Angeles and the President and CEO of the pharmaceutical company Roche, George Abercrombie, will hold a pandemic preparedness event later in April, a press release from Town Hall Los Angeles announced.
April 3 '07: A new report released by the Government Accountability Office has found that federal coordination and oversight of state-run interoperable communications upgrades and programs lacked a strategy to integrate the various plans being put into place around the country. More than $2 billion in federal was given between 2003 and 2005 but there was no national plan "to coordinate investments across states."
April 2 '07: The Department of Homeland Security's Science and Technology Directorate has created a new technology oversight project called the TechSolutions Program to help deliver new and emerging technologies to first responders. DHS Undersecretary for S&T Jay Cohen said the goal was to develop a forum where first responders could take their ideas about technological best practices and apply them to research and development.
March 29 '07: The Associated Press reported that James Lee Witt, former head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, has released a new report detailing the Pennsylvanian state government's response to the Valentine's Day winter storm. In the independent report, commissioned by Gov. Ed Rendell, Witt said that an inexperienced staff, miscommunication and lack of resources were to blame.
March 13 '07: Alabama state officials and their federal counterparts have announced the creation of the National Computer Forensics Institute to be supervised by the Department of Homeland Security, InformationWeek reported. "The new center is focused on being an aid in the field of computer forensics and digital evidence analysis," the technology publication found according to a homeland security news release.
March 13 '07: A recent news release from the North Central Texas Council of Governments announced the creation of a new information-sharing network to help law state, regional and local law enforcement officials share resources to help fight crime.
March 12 '07: FBI Special Agent Warren T. Bamford told the Boston Globe that if a terror cell were to plan an attack on U.S. soil, local and state police would be on the front line of response. "If we're going to stop a terrorist attack, the person it's going to be stopped by is a police officer of citizen."
March 8 '07: A new report released at a recent communications technology conference has found that collaborative applications in the field could help first responders close the "knowledge gap" which exists between emergency management directors and responders at the scene, the State College Local News reported.
March 5 '07: Members of Florida's emergency response community, in cooperation with local coastal towns and the Department of Homeland Security and the Coast Guard will participate in a two-day exercise designed to test responding to a large influx of Caribbean immigrants similar to the Mariel boatlift 1980 "or the Haitian exodus and Cuban rafter crises in 1994," the Palm Beach Post reported.
March 1 '07: A new federal intelligence coordinating group has been established to provide state, local and tribal government officials and emergency management operations with information related to terrorism threats, disasters and other related topics which will be specifically targeted based on individual needs, FCW.com reported.
February 26 '07: Top level White House officials ran an emergency response exercise to test the Bush administration's ability to communicate and respond to a roadside bomb attack in the U.S., the Associated Press reported. The three-hour exercise was supervised by White House homeland security advisor Frances Townsend - President Bush did not participate in the exercise however.
February 9 '07: The Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency have announced the creation of a National Advisory Council that will be comprised of federal, state and local emergency management directors, non profit organizers, and private sector businesses and organizations who will work to redesign FEMA, a DHS press release announced.
February 2 '07: House Homeland Security Chiarman Rep. Bennie Thomspon (Miss.), said in a speech during a hearing that "federalizing" mass transit rail security efforts was one of the highest priorities, Congressional Quarterly reported. Thompson also said that he wanted to bridge the gap between the federal spending "on commercial airliners and that spent per passenger on public rail and transit."
January 22 '07: Emergency management officials near Richmond, Kentucky have constructed a backup operations center to support the local Berea area in case of a disaster. The new EOC, officials told the Richmond Register has "all the necessary components for an efficient emergency response." Funds from state and federal governments and the Army helped to install the EOC.
January 19 '07: In the late summer of 2005 as Hurricane Rita bore down on the Gulf Coast region, city emergency management planners in Galveston, under the direction of Mayor Lyda Ann Thomas worked out an emergency evacuation plan that proved so effective, all 60,000 residents and 3,200 disabled citizens were evacuated from the island community safely before the storm hit.
January 18 '07: Delegates from the United States Conference of Mayors met with newly-elected House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Ca) to discuss homeland security grants and other "critical issues", a press release announced this week. The meeting on Capitol Hill focused on a 10-point plan called the "Strong Cities, Strong Families for a Strong America." The plan will be presented to the mayors' annual winter meeting in Washington D.C..
December 27 '06: According to the Des Moines Register state lawmakers are floating plans which address ways to keep the state government running in the event of a large-scale disaster, pandemic or terrorist attack.
December 14 '06: Federal Times reported this week that the 109th Congress passed legislation creating a new federal agency designed to combat the threat of bioterror. The Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act was pushed by Senators Richard Burr (R-NC) and Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn) and it included language to create the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA).
December 12 '06: Efforts are underway to construct a Nationwide Health Information Network that would link medical officials, first responders and EMS allowing them to share multi-media information in real-time, a Health and Human Services departmental release announced. Officials hope the NHIN will become a "network of networks" to help with the flow of interoperable information and communication.
December 6 '06: New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg was joined by other city officials, first responders and fire and law enforcement officials on Tuesday to unveil the new New York City Office of Emergency Management built to replace the one destroyed during the 9/11 at the World Trade Center. According to a press release, the federally funded $50 million center will serve as a "central point of coordination for major emergencies and special events."
December 5 '06: The Canadian government has developed a pandemic plan that addresses the first triage stages in the event of an influenza outbreak, the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota reported. The plans were first published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) and they include other types of triage plans "such as severity scoring systems."
The City of Charleston Neighborhood Councils, some 97 strong and growing, provide a system of communication and a substantial base for providing training and preparation for disaster readiness for city residents. City staff regularly meet with neighborhoods and provide basic training for the neighborhoods as they understand that there is a period of time when the city and its citizens must be able to operate and function without outside help. Neighborhoods are encouraged to send representatives for CERT Training from the Charleston County Emergency Preparedness Division. CERT trained volunteers are prepared to be first responders in their neighborhoods. These volunteers and other neighborhood members offer a front line response for the individual neighborhoods in the City.
November 8 '06: Navajo tribal leaders have signed an agreement with US federal officials at the Federal Emergency Management Agency to coordinate relief and response operations, a FEMA press release announced recently. The agreement is the first of its kind to amalgamate federal and tribal response operations in the area.
November 7 '06: In recent statements made to police officials, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said federal efforts to build more than 20 fusion centers by the end of the fiscal year would help to trade and synthesize information between all levels of law enforcement, Washington Technology reported.
October 19 '06: The Department of Justice has released a new report focusing on the role of law enforcement during an emergency. In the report, the Department suggests that though medical response provides a critical foundation for emergency response and preparedness, "law enforcement will need to quickly coordinate its response with public health and medical officials, many of whom they may not have worked with previously."
October 11 '06: The Navy is working to create a wireless Internet blanket over the world's oceans to help track commercial and military sea vessels in an effort to help boost communication and sea lane and port security, NetDefense reported this week.
September 21 '06: Tribal leaders in St. Regis Mohawk Reservation are working on a pandemic flu plan that coordinates with their adjoining reservation in Canada, Indian Times reported Wednesday.
September 19 '06: A Department of Homeland Security-led, interagency program called CyberStorm revealed gaps in inter-agency communications and a lack of a clear understanding of the larger picture, a new report found recently.
September 14 '06: Washington DC area government officials, first responders and emergency management operators have approved a strategic homeland security plan the Washington Post reported Thursday. The two-year effort was finalized in a 118-page plan that includes responses from "everything from decontaminating victims of a chemical attack to providing for stranded pets."
September 12 '06: In a new initiative just released by the Department of Homeland Security, a new intelligence program will use data-mining and other new technologies to track terror threats against the US, Washington Technology reported this week.
September 5 '06: As President Bush announced his administration's new National Strategy for Combating Terrorism, the Department of Homeland Security began the month-long National Preparedness Month. The Washington Post reported Tuesday the president's goal, on the heels of the fifth anniversary of the September 11 attacks would be to incorporate "our increased understanding of the enemy and sets the course for winning the War on Terror," a White House press release read.
August 16 '06: Federal, state and local first responders will have the ability to share and integrate information and resources using a new open-source database management tool, a Federal Emergency Management Agency press release said Tuesday.
August 10 '06: A new study released by the Brookings Institution has found that rebuilding efforts in New Orleans are progressing since Hurricane Katrina, though "a lack of healthcare and other services and a dearth of affordable housing could stymie a full recovery," the Associated Press found in the report.
July 12 '06: The Associated Press reported Wednesday that a new digital national emergency warning system built by the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management System will be up and running by next year. Aaron Walker, a spokesman for DHS told the AP, "Anything that can receive a text message will receive the alert. ... We find that the new digital system is more secure, it's faster and it enables us to reach a wide array of citizens and alert them to pending disasters."
June 26 '06: The annual TOPOFF exercises were completed last week according to the Department of Homeland Security. The exercises, designed to have several federal agencies working together to simulate a terrorist attack or natural disaster, operate within the guidelines of the National Response Plan (NRP) and the National Incident Management System (NIMS). DHS Undersecretary for Preparedness George Foresman said the the fourth TOPOFF exercise "provided an excellent opportunity to strengthen the nation's capacity for effective, coordinated action to address terrorist threats and major disasters."
June 8 '06: Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt announced Thursday new federal funding to states, territories and major urban areas to help with bioterrorism research and prevention. The funding, which will total close to $1.2 billion will be used "to improve infectious disease surveillance and investigation, enhance the preparedness of hospitals and the health care system to deal with large numbers of casualties, expand public health laboratory and communications capacities and improve connectivity between hospitals, and city, local and state health departments to enhance disease reporting," a press release announced. The new funding will be awarded through a cooperative effort with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta which will move funds toward a national, city-wide initiative designed to inoculate those living in urban areas to stop the spread of a pandemic disease.
May 29 '06: Potential new changes in the structure of the Department of Homeland Security would mean that the National Disaster Medical System would not longer be under the control of the Department, Congress Daily reported last week.
May 22 '06: State and local governments around the country are coordinating their emergency preparedness efforts to discuss issues such as avian flu and other national or natural disasters. The Contra Costa Times reported Monday in California that local responder organizations are looking to improve radio communications systems among first responders.
April 27 '06: The Senate released a report Thursday on the Federal Emergency Management Agency's response during Hurricane Katrina, CNN reported. In the report, lawmakers said the agency needs to be dismantled and reassembled and that the Department of Homeland Security should "create a National Preparedness and Response Authority within DHS to fuse the department's emergency management, preparedness and critical infrastructure assets 'into a powerful new organization that can confront the challenges of natural and manmade catastrophes,'" the cable news channel reported.
April 21 '06: A federal report released two days ago but published back in March by the Inspector General's Office at the Department of Homeland Security found that the standardization of communications for the first responder community in the United States by the Department of Homeland Security "has appropriately centralized the standards adoption process within S&T (Science and Technology Directorate), and has effectively partnered with Standards and Development Organizations (SDOs) and other external organizations to fulfill its standards adoption mission."
April 19 '06: Government Computer News reported Tuesday that the General Services Administration will begin to test several "products for interoperability under Homeland Security Presidential Directive 12 and Federal Information Processing Standard 201," which will help the Department of Homeland Security to strengthen communications abilities using cross-platform technologies.
April 13 '06: A new program begun by the Department of Homeland Security is looking to help frequent border crossers move across the border into the US from Mexico and Canada. The People Access Security Service card, also called PASS would work with "frequent border crossers with existing trusted traveler programs for Canadians, Mexicans, and truck drivers," Government Computer News reported this week.
April 13 '06: Several governmental agencies are cooperating to create the Integrated Wireless Network, which "replaces stovepipe stand alone component systems, and supports law enforcement, first responder, and homeland security requirements with integrated communications services," a Department of Justice release read.
April 13 '06: The New York Times reported Thursday that federal guidelines for rebuilding homes in New Orleans were announced "allowing tens of thousands of homeowners to return to their neighborhoods at costs far less than they had feared."
April 5 '06: The Bush administration is nearing completion of a new counterterrorism plan, Reuters reported Wednesday. The information released Tuesday by the administration is in a "effort to bring greater integration and coordination to the counterterrorism activities of different agencies and departments including the CIA, FBI, Treasury Department, Pentagon and State Department," the news service reported.
March 21 '06: The Washington Post reported last week that the Federal Communications Commission "voted to create a public safety and homeland security bureau within the agency to help it respond faster to natural disasters and terrorist attacks, and to better prepare for emergencies."
March 13 '06: There is an emerging tool in the war on terror which has been in development for the last ten years in colleges and universities. The New York Times reported over the weekend that "Network Theory" was developed by mathematicians, physicists and sociologists to help researchers paint pictures on human interaction, relationship and movement but is now beginning to be used by American intelligence agencies to help comb the internet and the voluminous amounts of data coming in to look for terrorists. "By mapping ... connections, network scientists try to expose patterns that might no otherwise be apparent," the Times reported.
March 7 '06: American and Mexican officials have reached an agreement to curb violence and improve security along the two countries' borders according to an action plan released by the Department of Homeland Security.
February 23 '06: A report being released on Thursday by the White House's Domestic Security Advisor Frances Fragos Townsend has said the United States must change its response systems regarding national, natural and terrorist emergencies, the New York Times reported. In the report, Townsend "does not advocate removing the Federal Emergency Management Agency from the Department of Homeland Security, which some members of Congress have urged," but the report does "call for many other changes in how federal agencies respond to disasters, including asking the Department of Housing and Urban Developement to play a more central role in finding temporary housing for victims."
February 1 '06: A nonpartisan Government Accountability Office report just released says that Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and former Federal Emergency Management Agency Director Mike Brown should have been the "central focal point," of the federal response effort during Hurricane Katrina, the Associated Press reported Wednesday.
January 26 '06: Two representatives from New York are pushing legislation in Congress for appointment of a federal health inspector to lead the treatment and testing of those workers who helped clear the rubble from the Twin Towers after their collapse on September 11, 2001.
January 5 '06: A report compiled by the inspector general, Richard Skinner, in the Department of Homeland Security has found that it is essential for "participating responders as well as coordinating departments and agencies to have a common operation picture, which is essential to an efficient and effective command-and-control structure," during the biennial TOPOFF exercises, Government Computer News reported.
December 20 '05: Government Computer News reported Monday that the Department of Homeland Security has issued a public comment on its interoperability measures to "coordinate public safety communications and interoperability, known as SAFECOM."
November 29 '05: The Bush administration and Congress have not provided adequate goals and measurements of success in the war on terror according to a new Congressional report.
November 10 '05: A new repository of public information will made available to intelligence agencies for analysis, research, training and IT management and in the hopes that government agencies will be able to coordinate that information to help fight the war on terror. Government Computer News reported this week that the Open Source Center will be created through the office of the Director of National Intelligence but that it will be "based at the CIA."
September 29 '05: Congressional leaders on the Hill and the Bush administration are engaged in a debate with the Department of Defense about the role of the National Guard and the military in times of national emergencies. After Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast, federal efforts to evacuate people from New Orleans and other stricken areas left little room for error and resources were stretched thin while state and local officials called on Washington for greater help.
July 25 '05: The job of protecting the nation's cities and small towns against the threat of a terrorist attack is an essential step in the war on terror. Recently, an article in the New Yorker Magazine highlighted the efforts by the New York City Police Department's commissioner Ray Kelly to strengthen his city's defenses against the threat of another attack in the light of this month's attacks in London and Egypt.
June 21 '05: During the moments after the attacks on 9/11, lawmakers took efforts to show the country that they were still working and that government and Congress was still functioning. Recently, the Department of Homeland Security announced further efforts to test the ability and functionality of Congress under a national emergency.
May 18 '05: An added bill slipped into legislation providing additional funding for operations in Afghanistan and Iraq would create federal requirements for Americans wanting to obtain a driver's license. The REAL ID act, as it is called, would require people to produce "an authentic copy of their birth certificate to apply for a new driver's license or renew an old one. The certificates must be verified at the counter by a Department of Motor Vehicles agent, along with other identification, such as Social Security numbers and utility bills," the Washington Post reported last week.
May 16 '05: The House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly in favor of a new spending requirements for states and their first responder programs, adjusting an older formula that gave some rural states more funding per capita than others. The Associated Press reported last week that acting on recommendations from the 9/11 commission, the House voted 409-10 in favor of what Rep. Chris Cox (R-CA) called and end to wasteful spending.
March 31 '05: America's spy agencies were "dead wrong" when it came to information that former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, a presidential commission said on Thursday. The report also said the United States knew "disturbingly little" about many of the people, organizations or groups who wanted to do harm to the country, the Associated Press reported on Thursday. The "scathing report," the AP wrote, "recommended dozens of organizational changes."
February 24 '05: In a modern-day, post 9/11 version of the Monroe Doctrine, the Department of Homeland Security has stepped up its efforts at protecting the Western Hemisphere against the threat of terror. DHS has announced an additional $1.6 million to "expand counter-terrorism coordination ... bringing the total US contribution to $5 million since the 9/11 attacks."
February 10 '05: A previously undisclosed government report, now declassified, has revealed there were 52 detailed warnings made to the Federal Aviation Administration before the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. The warnings, the Associated Press reported Thursday, "said five security warnings mentioned al-Qaeda's training for hijackings and two reports concerned suicide operations not connected to aviation."
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