CVADA optimizes stadium and arena security (CVADA at Rutgers)
The Center of Excellence for Visualization and Data Analytics (CVADA) at Rutgers University (CCICADA) continues to improve security at our nation’s stadiums and large venues. The Vice President of Corporate Security and Safety for Ilitch Holdings Inc., Richard Fenton, commented:
"It's been our great pleasure, and our collaboration with CCICADA has contributed a number of design elements for the new arena that are truly ‘first of a kind’ for an NHL Arena.”
Ilitch Holdings provides security for teams including the Detroit Red Wings and Detroit Tigers.
The next phase of the Economics of Security project, beginning in September 2016, will explore benefits and costs of implementing security strategies at stadiums and large venues. It will assess the anticipated effectiveness of randomizing aspects of security such as patron and vehicle screening, location and schedule for deployment of security guards and law enforcement, security camera use, and updates of employee background checks.
Social media analysis tool enhances security of large events (CVADA at Purdue)
The Center of Excellence for Visualization and Data Analytics (CVADA) at Purdue University continues to enhance security at large events with the Social Media Analytics and Reporting Toolkit (SMART). SMART is a social media analysis system that provides analysts with scalable analysis and visualization of social media posts. CVADA recently supported:
- Virginia Tech vs. Tennessee College football game ("Battle at Bristol”) - The Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security used SMART to monitor crowd movement.
- River Fest in Cincinnati, OH - Coast Guard regional intelligence analysts used SMART to monitor social media traffic. There was a shooting near the event, and SMART allowed an analyst to monitor the "mood" of the crowd during the event, which he believed could be an important first indication of issues.
- Republican National Convention - Greater Cleveland, Ohio area public safety and law enforcement departments used SMART to monitor social media channels to support their activities including securing the hotel sites, delegations, and events taking place within their communities.
Researcher wins top award from Decision Analysis Society (CREATE)
The Decision Analysis Society awarded their highest honor, the 2016 Frank P. Ramsey Medal, to a researcher from the National Center for Risk & Economic Analysis of Terrorism Events (CREATE). Dr. Vicki Bier was recognized for distinguished contributions to the field of decision analysis. Her highly cited work combines risk analysis and game theory with decision analytic modeling and lays a theoretical foundation for decisions regarding the allocation of defensive resources. Her work has also focused on creating sound methods for eliciting and synthesizing judgments in challenging situations. This award recognizes Bier’s leadership, intellectual and practical contributions to decision analysis and closely related fields. (POC: Gia Harrigan)
ZADD co-lead awarded $2.3M for livestock Ebola vaccine research (ZADD at Kansas State)
In August, the Defense Threat Reduction Agency and NewLink Genetics awarded the National Center for Zoonotic and Animal Disease Defense (ZADD) co-lead at Kansas State University with a $2.3 million grant. The grant will provide funding to test a newly developed human Ebola vaccine in livestock.
CREATE presents risk ranking methodology webinar (CREATE)
The National Center for Risk and Economic Analysis of Terrorism Events (CREATE) held a webinar at DHS S&T August 11 to demonstrate the Deliberative Process for Risk Ranking, a methodology developed by CREATE researchers Henry Willis and Russell Lundberg. The session described the methodology and its potential application for DHS and other federal agencies.
MSC helps USCG and industry enhance maritime cybersecurity (MSC)
The Maritime Security Center of Excellence (MSC) participated in Port of New York/New Jersey Cybersecurity Table Top Exercises (TTXs) August 9-11. USCG Sector New York Area Maritime Security Committee (AMSC) Cyber Subcommittee coordinated the exercise to promote DHS cyber training, create a common understanding of cybersecurity between the USCG and industry, and develop a framework for Cyber Security Plans. The exercise involved several cyber threat scenarios and to exercise the response to cybersecurity incidents by the Oil & Gas industry, Container Terminals and Ferry Boat Operators. Outcomes from the Cybersecurity TTX will be used to create sound cybersecurity protocols and procedures for the maritime community.
AgConnect tested in animal disease outbreak exercise (ZADD at Texas A&M)
In August, the National Center for Zoonotic and Animal Disease Defense (ZADD) at Texas A&M conducted a multi-stakeholder technology exercise using the AgConnect system. The exercise tested the technology’s performance and provided insights into the potential impact the system will have on stakeholders’ ability to understand potential animal outbreak incidents. This data-driven exercise was held at the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service Emergency Operations Training Center in College Station, Texas, and used a notional, high-consequence porcine disease scenario affecting swine in five states (Indiana, Colorado, Kansas, Iowa, and Texas). Participants included DHS, U.S. Department of Agriculture, state veterinarians and industry representatives, including one major swine integrator.
CRC improves official hurricane warnings (CRC)
Coastal Resilience Center of Excellence’s (CRC’s) Dr. Isaac Ginis and colleagues contributed improvements to the National Weather Service’s operational hurricane prediction models. The CRC team has improved the ocean and wave model components of the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL) and Hurricane Weather Research and Forecasting (HWRF) models. The National Weather Service adopted these improvements in July, meaning the upgraded models have become operational at the National Weather Service and will be used by the National Hurricane Center for issuing official hurricane warnings. Based on retrospective testing of the upgrades the HWRF and GFDL hurricane models are expected to produce more accurate predictions of storm intensity and structure over the ocean and during hurricane landfall. The upgrades will help track storms in the Northern Hemisphere basins, including the Central Northern Pacific, Western North Pacific and North Indian Ocean. CRC used these new models to provide storm surge guidance for Hurricane/Tropical Storm Hermine.
BTI presents homeland security symposium on gangs, terrorism, and radicalization (BTI)
The Borders, Trade, and Immigration (BTI) Institute held a symposium, Gangs, Terrorism, and Radicalization, at the University of Texas at El Paso in August. This symposium is part of a Homeland Security Symposium Series focused on addressing supplemental educational/training needs within different homeland security enterprise related domains. This seminar is a three-part series to examine the important similarities and differences across criminal, deviant, and extremist groups. Drawing from research on street gangs, Dr. Scott Decker, a Foundation Professor in the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Arizona State University with expertise in the areas of gangs, violence, and criminal justice policy, discussed issues such as levels of explanation, organizational structure, group process, and the increasingly important role of technology and the internet in the context of radicalization.
Terrorism in 2015 declined worldwide but increased in the West (START)
The National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) released the 2015 update for the Global Terrorism Database (GTD) this summer, which was featured on the FiveThirtyEight blog. The dataset revealed a decline in worldwide terrorist attacks and related fatalities, from 17,000 incidents and 43,000 fatalities in 2014, to 15,000 and 38,000, respectively. This was largely due to fewer attacks and deaths in Iraq, Pakistan, and Nigeria and represents the first decline in total terrorist attacks and deaths worldwide since 2012. However, the data show that the number of attacks and fatalities rose in Western Europe and North America. Although terrorist attacks took place in 92 countries in 2015, they were heavily concentrated geographically. More than 55% of all attacks took place in five countries (Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, and Nigeria), and 74% of all deaths due to terrorist attacks took place in five countries (Iraq, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Syria, and Pakistan). ISIS, Boko Haram, and the Taliban were the deadliest terrorist groups of 2015, causing over half of all terrorism-related fatalities. However, the range of motivations for all attacks in 2015 remained broad from violent Islamist extremism to anti-governmentalism and racism. (POC: Gia Harrigan)
Food Defense Conference addresses critical food supply challenges (FPDI)
The Food Protection and Defense Institute (FPDI) hosted a Food Defense Conference in Minneapolis in June, where over 150 subject matter experts from industry, academia, and government discussed and evaluated the Center’s research progress. The event provided opportunities for researchers to discuss and receive feedback on their approaches to addressing critical challenges in protecting our nation’s complex food supply chains, including detecting contamination events and predicting opportunities for economically motivated adulteration of food. Rep. Betty McCollum (D-Minn.), highlighted the critical work that DHS Office of University Programs performs in guiding research and structuring programs that address homeland security challenges such as protecting the nation’s food and agriculture supply.
Working with U.S. and Canadian Coast Guard to support maritime mass rescue operations in the Arctic (ADAC)
The Arctic Domain Awareness Center (ADAC) led the inaugural Arctic-related Incident of National Significance (Arctic IONS) workshop June 21-22 at the University of Alaska, Anchorage. This workshop addressed specific challenges faced by U.S. and Canadian first responders should they need to respond to a major arctic event. Specifically, it covered rescue and recovery of a cruise ship experiencing a catastrophic emergency in Arctic waters. The workshop included panels on: (1) achieving total accountability of personnel; (2) improving medical preparedness and response with rescue and recovery in an Arctic region major response operation; (3) identifying and mitigating related/relevant hazards to Arctic major response operations; and (4) advancing Arctic region rescue response coordination, awareness and communications. The symposium was hosted in partnership with the U.S. and Canadian Coast Guards and served as a forum to collaborate and generate areas of study and future research projects for COE researchers, students and new partners. ADAC will host a series of IONS workshops to assist the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) in identifying knowledge gaps and capabilities relevant to incidents of national significance.
Brown bag series at DHS S&T on threat assessment in food defense (FPDI)
This spring, the Food Protection and Defense Institute (FPDI) presented a brown bag series, “Threat Assessment in Food Defense” at the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate. This series addressed high impact challenges and the theory and methods deployed by the Institute in building tools and models for assessing potential threats to our nation’s food supply. These tools can often be adapted and applied to other supply chains. Sessions included:
- Big Data: Making Sense and Deriving Insight – April 19
An overview of research and methodologies developed at FPDI to identify, curate, analyze, and display unstructured and disparate data that may enable actionable insights for food defense and other fields. Presented by: FPDI Director Dr. Amy Kircher.
- Data Layers in Threat Assessment of the Food Supply Chain - May 5
An overview of research and methods developed by FPDI to perform criticality assessments of food supply chains and how these approaches may be applied to non-food supply chains. Presented by: FPDI Researchers Dr. Tim Boyer and Mr. John Hoffman.
- Adaptive Decision Support Using Intelligent Adversary Modeling - June 15
Presentation of an adaptive intelligent adversary game theory model that enables an advanced risk analysis approach that balances risk with achieving other objectives, such as decision-making in scenarios with currently available but not necessarily accurate data. Presented by: FPDI Director of Research Dr. John Larkin and Investigator Dr. Chip White.
For more information, contact FPDI at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Collaborating with TSA to address risks to transportation security (CREATE)
The National Center for Risk and Economic Analysis of Terrorism Events (CREATE) and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) co-hosted a two-day event at Georgetown University June 13-14 to discuss threats, challenges, and consequences of terrorist activity as they relate to the TSA mission. The agenda featured panel experts in fields including measurement and modeling, detection and mitigation, deterrence theory, economic risk, and cyber security. The event was held to align research efforts of both entities as they tackle anticipated transportation security challenges in the future. At the symposium, TSA Administrator Peter Neffenger and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Under Secretary for Intelligence and Analysis General Francis X. Taylor provided keynote addresses to more than 100 participants from across DHS, the federal government, and the academic community.
Connecting researchers, government and industry for math and computer science collaboration (CVADA at Rutgers)
The Center for Visualization and Data Analytics (CVADA) at Rutgers University held their annual Reconnect Workshop June 12-18 at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. This year's Reconnect Workshop focused on Mathematical and Computational Tools for Cybersecurity including encryption analysis, the intersection of game theory and cybersecurity, and policy and regulations in the cyber domain. Reconnect Workshops are collaborations between academia, government and industry to introduce faculty to the role of the mathematical and computer sciences in homeland security and provide opportunities for government and industry participants to learn about new research. Participants may also develop materials for publication in CVADA-Rutgers research reports, classroom use or sharing with colleagues.
Helping to enhance port safety and security (MSC)
The Maritime Security Center (MSC), through its partnership with Louisiana State University (LSU), held an Active Shooter Exercise to enhance port safety and security operations June 8 at the Port of New Orleans. The exercise involved passengers preparing to embark and/or disembark from a cruise ship with an active shooter incident taking place. In addition to the exercise, nationally renowned facilitators and subject matter experts in active shooter operations, economic impact and port emergency operations led a discussion forum in the areas of: intelligence and information sharing, operational coordination, and economic recovery. Participants in the exercise and discussion forum included: U.S. Coast Guard Sector New Orleans, Customs and Border Protection, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Federal Bureau of Investigations New Orleans Division, the Joint Terrorism Task Force, START, Carnival and Princess Cruise Lines, Port of New Orleans, Harbor Police, and other local first responders. MSC and LSU will also provide support and guidance to a Port of NY/NJ Cybersecurity Workshop and Table Top Exercise in August.
State Department releases Country Reports on Terrorism based on START data (START)
The State Department released the 2015 Country Reports on Terrorism (CRT), for which the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) provides the statistical annex using its Global Terrorism Database. The official video and transcript of the release is located here.
Collaborating with FEMA on Role of States in Disaster Recovery Training Video (CRC)
The Coastal Resilience Center of Excellence (CRC) worked with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to produce an instructional video and accompanying guide, “The Role of States in Disaster Recovery.” The project was sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate and FEMA and includes interviews with former Governors James B. Hunt Jr. and Haley Barbour along with other state-level officials who played an active role during the initial recovery periods following hurricanes Floyd and Katrina. The film focuses on the unique role of states in preparing administrative and other infrastructure in advance of and after disasters.
FEMA Administrator Speaks at Coastal Resilience COE (CRC)
FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate spoke at a Coastal Resilience Center of Excellence (CRC) event February 17 at the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill. Feb. 17 on Open Emergency Management in the 21st Century during a session of the UNC Natural Hazards Resilience Speakers Series Seminar. The seminar is part of the UNC Graduate Certificate in Natural Hazards Resilience, sponsored by CRC and several UNC academic departments. CRC Director Dr. Gavin Smith developed and teaches the certificate program along with other experts from across the nation.
Joint COE Intelligent Adversary Model Review (CREATE, FPDI, START)
Three COEs—the National Center for Risk and Economic Analysis of Terrorism Events (CREATE), National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START), and the Food Protection and Defense Institute (FPDI)—participated in a joint COE Intelligent Adversary Model Review Feb. 10-11. The event reviewed a model developed by FPDI researchers for applications in food supply chain risk and vulnerability assessment. START led a peer review panel representing methodologies such as game theory, expert elicitation, and probabilistic risk assessment with both quantitative and qualitative approaches. Results of the workshop will be leveraged to enhance the Criticality Spatial Analysis (CRISTAL) tool, a major investment by OUP at FPDI in the process of transition and commercialization. CRISTAL documents supply chains and scores a variety of risks during food production and distribution. The intelligent adversary model will be included to leverage expert models to assess risk of adulteration.
Understanding Terrorism and ISIS Resources and Training (START)
The National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) offers a range of resources to understand terrorism and specifically the Islamic state (i.e., ISIS or ISIL). In January, START launched the third iteration of its newly updated Massive Online Open Content (MOOC). “Understanding Terrorism and the Terrorist Threat” runs through March and explores the basics of terrorism studies through lectures, readings and interactive discussions. START also offers resources to better understand ISIS, global terrorism, and foreign fighters. It has also developed a self-paced online training series, “Core Capabilities and Potential Durability of ISIL”, which includes 35 minutes of video and suggested reading materials. This training is intended for decision-makers, analysts and operators seeking to understand, anticipate, and respond to ISIL. START can also deliver tailored professional development series (in-person or online) on the topics agencies are most interested in, as they are currently conducting for the Transportation Security Administration.
Adapting Food and Agriculture Software for Other Critical Infrastructure Sectors (FPDI)
The Food Protection and Defense Institute (FPDI) received an award from the Paul G. Allen Ebola Program to adapt two current tools for use in medical supply chain resilience. FPDI is partnering with the World Food Program (WFP) on the project, “Building Resilience in Disaster Response Systems,” which will improve medical supply chain visibility, both upstream (manufacturers / suppliers) and downstream (distribution) to improve the response to international incidents such as Ebola. It can also help the Federal Emergency Management Agency and state and local response organizations better coordinate food distribution in an emergency with a mobile app. This project will be enhancing two FPDI-developed tools to improve medical supply chain resilience:
- Criticality Spatial Analysis (CRISTAL) can enable private sector food firms to assess hazards and identify critical facilities and transportation links in their supply chains. This can facilitate targeted vulnerability assessments and allocation of mitigation resources. See video demonstration.
- Focused Integration of Data for Early Signals (FIDES) can identify emerging disease outbreaks and supply chain vulnerabilities.
These tools are just a few examples of FPDI projects that are developed for the food and agriculture sector but can later be expanded to apply to other critical infrastructure sectors and supply chains.
Developing and Implementing Transboundary Animal Disease Training Across the Nation (ZADD at Texas A&M)
The Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVM) and the National Center for Zoonotic and Animal Disease Defense (ZADD) at Texas A&M have been awarded $1.2 million by DHS S&T’s Chemical and Biological Defense Division (CBD) to develop and implement a nationwide scientific business development and management educational program. Texas A&M’s project will develop a novel training curriculum to equip next generation scientific professionals with the skill sets required to transition research discoveries (for example, vaccines or diagnostics) to the marketplace. CBD invited the submission of proposals with innovative approaches to develop training programs for preparing next-generation transboundary animal disease (TAD) scientists to respond to these diseases in preparation for the new National Bio and Agro-defense Facility (NBAF)’s state-of-the-art biocontainment facility, which will provide the opportunity to study emerging TAD that threaten U.S. animal agriculture and public health.
Coast Guard Commandant Speaks at Maritime Risk Symposium (MSC)
The Maritime Security Center (MSC), in collaboration with the U.S. Coast Guard USCG, hosted the 6th Annual Maritime Risk Symposium in November at Stevens Institute