Showing posts with label Counter-terrorism. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Counter-terrorism. Show all posts

April 13, 2016

2016 Technology Advances - Doing Well Sir

In just the last few days and weeks, I have been astonished at the progress already being made towards the important technology advancements mentioned in Technology Forecast 2016

On the front for medical technology to fight cancer, just today it was announced that the foundation from Sean Parker (of Napster and Facebook) is providing a $250 million grant for a new cancer institute to advance the field of immunotherapy to boost the body's natural defenses (i.e. immune system) to fight the cancer.

In terms of space technology, famed astrophysicist, Stephen Hawking and venture capitalist, Yuri Milner are teaming up with a $100 million for research to develop "Starchips" (a nanocraft robot on a chip) for a voyage to another solar system 25 trillion miles away. 

Finally, there are advances for counter-terrorism technology on display with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection announcing in February a pilot of new biometric technology kiosks to capture and compare facial and iris biometrics for travelers exiting the U.S. to compare with their entry data and ensure an end-to-end visitor entry/exit solution.  

I am pleased at the commitment and progress we are making in these critical technology areas, and sincerely hope that these efforts will flourish for us all in the not too distant future. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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December 25, 2015

Technology Forecast 2016



Andy Blumenthal talks about three technology imperatives for 2016.

1) Medical technology
2) Counter-terrorism technology
3) Space technology

Enjoy and happy New Year!
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February 13, 2015

tURNING yOUR dEVICE aGAINST yOU!

So interesting article in BBC about the Samsung's "Listening TV."

This TV has voice activated controls and they don't just take commands, but...


"If your spoken words include personal or other sensitive information, that information will be among the data captured and transmitted to a third party."


So aside from hackers (and spies) being able to turn your phone and computer mics, cameras, and GPS location data on and off to surveil and eavesdrop on you, now the dumb television set can listen in as well. 


You can be heard, seen, and found...whether you know it or not. ;-)


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal with eyes and ears from here and here with attribution to Firas and Simon James)

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September 30, 2014

Speaking Truth To Power



Excellent video!
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February 15, 2013

The Counterterrorism Calendar


The National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) "leads our nations efforts to combat terrorism at home and abroad by analyzing the threat, sharing that information with our partners, and integrating all instruments of national power to ensure unity of effort."  The NCTC is part of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI). 

Not since the playing cards used in the 2003 Iraqi invasion with the most-wanted identified on the cards have I seen the employ of such a common tool for sharing such important information--until now with the development by the NCTC of a Counterterrorism Calendar

Typically, pin-up calendars have been devoted to beautiful models, Dilbert cartoons, and areas of personal interests and hobbies--such as cars, sports, aircraft, boats, or whatever.

I was impressed to see this concept used for sharing counterterrorism information; really, this is something that we should be mindful of every day--it's about our safety and national security.

The counterterrorism calendar has both a website and a PDF download

The website has an interactive timeline, map, and terrorist profiles--so you can learn about terrorism by time and space and those who commit the atrocities. 

Timeline--you can view by month and day the major terrorist acts that have occurred--and many days have more than one terrorist act associated with it--and only seven days out of the whole calendar year have no terrorist acts listed--so for those who are focused on just 9/11, there is a whole calendar waiting for you to view. 

Map--the map allows you to see the home base and geographical sphere of influence of many terrorist organizations--17 of them--along with a profile of each of those terrorist groups. There is also a button on the bottom of the page to see all the countries impacted with victims from 9/11--there are 91 countries shown with victims from this single catastrophic event alone.

Terrorists--the site has a list of terrorists with their profiles, identifying information, what they are wanted for, and amount of reward offered, or whether they have already been captured or killed. There is also a list of the 10 most wanted off to the right side of the page--with a rewards of $25 million listed for the #1 spot for Ayman al-Zawahiri.

The downloadable calendar has this information in a 160 page color-calendar--with a wealth of information for a calendar format like this--it is so large, I don't think you could actually hang this calendar because no regular push pins could actually hold it.

So if you can pull yourself away from the stereotypical Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Calendar, then you may actually be able to learn a lot about what our counterterrorism efforts are all about. ;-)

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January 27, 2013

Personal Bulletproof Shields


In light of the horrible school shootings we have witnessed in Sandy Hook Elementary School, Virginia Tech, Columbine High School, and more, people and companies are trying to figure out how to fight back. 

In some cases, ex-Marines have decided to stand guard at their children's schools.

In others, companies are coming up with emergency protective devices as a last line of defense for teachers and school children. 

Hardwire Armor Systems has developed a white board that doubles as a bulletproof shield. 

According to USA Today (22 January 2013), the whiteboards are 18" by 20", a quarter inch thick, and 3.75 lbs. and have three rubberized handles on the back for slipping your arm through.

The shield is large enough to cover the head and torso, is 2 1/2 times as strong as Kevlar, and "can stop a bullet from a handgun shot at point-blank range." 

The whiteboards are made of a similar ultra-strong polyethylene material used in Mine Resistant Ambush Protective (MRAP) vehicles in Iraq and Afghanistan, and they are light enough and less dense than water and will actually float. 

While we hope our teachers and children never need these to hold off an attacker until first responders arrive, it is good to know that they are there just in case to stop that deadly oncoming bullet. 

The whiteboard costs $299 and a smaller 10" by 13" bulletproof clipboard costs $109.To outfit a standard high school with whiteboards would cost $15,000 and for all 7 million teachers and administrators in America $1.8 billion. 

From teaching math and science to protecting our children and teachers, these ballistic shields can be part of a multi-layered defense plan for our schools--and I would think for corporate America, religious institutions, and government agencies as well--and is an awesome idea. ;-)

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October 29, 2012

Zombie Homeland Security Training 101


Unbelievable. The Halo Counter-terrorism Summit (Oct 29-Nov. 2, 2012) is hosting a mock Zombie Invasion as part of its emergency response training for about a 1,000 special ops, military, police, medical, firefighter, and other homeland security professionals. 

The Zombie Apocalypse training exercise is occurring mid-summit on October 31, Halloween--so it is quite timely for other ghoulish activities that day. 

There are two sessions--#1 at 4:30 PM and #2 at 7:00 PM.

Both the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) of The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) have posted the CDC's Zombie Preparedness guidance--saying that "if you are generally well equipped to deal with a zombie apocalypse you will be prepared for a hurricane, pandemic, earthquake, or terrorist attack."

I guess this is very good news with Hurricane Sandy or "Frakenstorm" bearing down on the East Coast this evening.  Zombies, you ain't got nothing on Frakenstorm! 

In Yahoo News, Brad Barker, the President of Halo Corp., explained why Zombies are good for training, especially in asymmetric warfare: "No one knows what zombies will do in our scenario, but quite frankly no one knows what a terrorist will do."

Barker also jested that "No doubt when a zombie apocalypse occurs, it's going to be a federal incident, so we're making it happen."

Frankly, I love to see this type of creativity brought to national and homeland security and believe that this makes it less likely that we'll be perpetually fighting yesterday's war, instead of tomorrow's. 

The key is that we think out of the box in terms of what will the adversary do next--from cyberwar to weapons of mass destruction, we can't afford to be blindsighted. 

So do I think that aliens or zombies are coming for us some day--let's just say, never say never. ;-)

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June 21, 2008

Fusion Centers and Enterprise Architecture

An important way to share law enforcement and intelligence information in a physical setting is through fusion centers.

Government Technology’s Emergency Management Magazine, Spring 2008, states “the ultimate goals of any fusion center is to prevent terrorist attacks and to respond to natural and man-made threats quickly and efficiently.”

“Data fusion involves the exchange of information from different sources—including law enforcement, public safety, and private sector—and with analysis, can result in meaningful and actionable intelligence and information…The fusion process allows relentless re-evaluation of existing data in context with new data in order to provide constant updates.”

Fusion centers bring together federal, state, local, tribal, and private sector subject matter experts to share information, provide risk and threat assessments, and provide a coordinated response.

“Nearly every state now has a fusion center to address gaps in data sharing.” In the fusion center, there is real time video monitoring that can be panned and zoomed, GIS mapping capabilities and the ability to amalgamate information. The advantage of the fusion center is that all participant organizations have the potential of seeing and hearing the same thing at the same time—although local authorities “cited difficulties accessing federal information systems.”

Not all fusion centers are permanent; some only are formed to deal with special security events like the Olympics and so forth. But those that do function 24x7 hone the skills of the participants by having them work together in a steady ongoing fashion.

While you would think that technology would do away with the need for fusion centers, since the information can be shared virtually, and therefore participants would not need to be co-located, there are benefits to having people deal with people from other organizations face-to-face.

As a User-centric enterprise architect and one who believes strongly that the human capital perspective is under-appreciated or neglected altogether, I appreciate the need for fusion centers, joint operations centers, interagency coordination centers, and the like to share not only information and technology resources, but to actually work together, cooperate, coordinate, and build stronger ties across functional and organizational silos. This is really what “enterprise” architecture is all about—breaking down the silos and building a unified, more effective and efficient organization.

The fusion center solution acknowledges that the challenge of law enforcement, intelligence, and counter-terrorism efforts needs to go beyond pure information technology initiatives. We can’t afford to just have siloed agencies and organizations working out of their own “corners.” There is a need for people to come together and collaborate in a face-to-face environment.

As architects, there is an erroneous tendency to focus on technology solutions. This is suboptimal. We need to look at business process improvement and reengineering, the introduction of new technology, and continuing to build an ever more skilled, innovative, and cohesive work force. This User-centric EA approach ties to a three-pronged approach of people, process, and technology.

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