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Going universal with emergency communications

IT snapshot: The deluge of problems started after the storm. People had to be rescued and they needed emergency supplies. The chief of police needed help and he knew it. But he couldn ' t communicate with the outside world. And when help did arrive, problems with interoperability kept the separate groups from communicating with each other. Eventually, things got better, but for a while all he could do was talk to himself —in more ways than one.

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iRobot brings battle-tested robots into homeland security

Given the tremendous success that its robots have had in Iraq detecting improvised explosives devices, the management of iRobot Corp., based in Burlington, Mass., is looking at the homeland security market for major growth in the future.

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The new preparedness

It is cyber and telecommunications security, fire and medical responsiveness, grants and training, infrastructure protection and the National Capital Region — diverse and disparate disciplines but all together under the new Directorate of Preparedness in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

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Of risks and regions

Ever since Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff announced a risk-based formula for Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) grants on Jan. 3, we've had the strange spectacle of cities insisting that they were at risk when the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) determined they weren't. One would think that being lowered from “ high-risk ” status to “ sustainment ” would bring a sigh of relief — after all, it means that the terrorists are not over the next hill. Instead, we have state and local officials insisting on the imminent threat to the cities they represent.

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Partners in Protection

Defining the proper relations between federal, state, local and tribal governments is one of the keys to effective homeland security—and one of the trickiest balancing acts in the nation. With the benefit of experience and a perspective from the heart of homeland security, a veteran official looks at the challenges DHS has faced and makes some suggestions for the future.

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The Question of Quarantine

For the first time, homeland security officials are facing the possibility of having to deal with large populations at risk from deadly disease. How people are protected and—if necessary, isolated—is a crucial issue that is only now getting the attention it requires.

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Italian Forces

Polizia di Stato (state police): The National Police Force of Italy, responsible for all law-enforcement duties, including investigation and protecting the highways. The Polizia di Stato is a civilian force under the command of the Ministry of the Interior.

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The Tipping Point

Things looked grim for the infant United States in the June of 1798. War with revolutionary France — a fellow republic of the enlightenment — was threatening and there was a strong suspicion that pro-French subversives in America were readying a coup d'etat.

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Redress at TSA

It was the kind of question that is Jim Kennedy's stock in trade.

What if an airline passenger is named Leslie James? "It could be a man; it could be a woman. One name could be the first name, both names could be the first name," said Joseph Alhadeff, chief privacy officer at Oracle Corp., Redwood Shores, Calif.

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Ron Taylor, General Dynamics C4 Systems

When Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans, the US Coast Guard rushed to the rescue, bearing in its arsenal a new system: Rescue 21. Designed to save at-risk mariners, the fledgling communications system more than proved its worth amidst the chaos and desperation of the inundated city and surrounding area.

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Arizona and New Mexico: Border Battles

Usually reserved for natural disasters or other national calamities, the state of emergency declaration isn'ttaken lightly. So in August, when officials in two southwestern states threw up their hands in disgust and declared states of emergency to describe their states'immigration battles, allowing them to tap into disaster funding to fight theproblem, the nation took notice. The declarations freed up $1.5 million in funding for border counties in Arizona and $1.75 million in New Mexico.

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Surveillance & Detection Technology: New Eyes on the Border

An unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) has taken center stage in efforts by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to more effectively patrol US borders—and is having an impact on all the agency's plans for deploying integrated surveillance technology.

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The Second Stage Review and SBI

The inspirations that prompted DHS to change its point of view from solely looking at ASI to expanding its vision to SBI likely sprang from Secretary Chertoff's Second Stage Review, said Hank Chase, a counterterrorism expert at Smart and Associates LLP, headquartered in Devon, Pa.

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