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// by Homeland Security Today

US-VISIT: Keeping America’s doors open and our nation secure

Before its inception, US-VISIT (United States Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology Program) was the subject of fear and criticism, particularly regarding its impact on travelers’ privacy and on the flow of people and commerce across borders. These fears have proven to be unfounded and unwarranted based on real-world experience.

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Taxes and turmoil at TSA

Funding homeland security has never been easy, but when President George Bush chose to use airport user fees to fund a variety of improvements in fiscal year 2006, he raised it to a whole new level of difficulty.

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Robots to the rescue

Research now under way may revolutionize medical care in hazardous conditions or at disaster scenes.

Imagine an automated ambulance that arrives at an emergency scene and opens up to reveal a pair of robots who begin finding and extracting wounded people. These robots then deliver the wounded to a team of robot-medics, who assess their injuries and perform life-saving surgery.

It’s not that far-fetched.

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Richard Ashooh, BAE Systems

Vice President of Strategic Relations & Homeland Security,BAE Systems

Not far from where Richard Ashooh sits at theNashua, NH, headquarters of BAE Systems Information and ElectronicSystems Integration, there is a prime example of the kind ofinteroperability issue that confronts both the company and the firstresponders it serves.

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To COTS or Not?

When it comes to security, the question of whether to go with commercial off-the-shelf or your own software becomes serious, and the stakes can be high. Every solution has its advantages—and its vulnerabilities.

 

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Our first birthday

This issue marks the first birthday of HSToday. That may not sound terribly significant in the grand scheme of things, but for a startup publication, it’s a major milestone. Keep Reading

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Russia’s homeland security—and ours

On Sept. 1, 2004, almost 1,000 children and parents in Beslan, Russia, were assembling in the courtyard of their school to celebrate the first day back after summer. Without any warning, a truck carrying almost 40 terrorists appeared. The terrorists, brandishing automatic weapons, surrounded the parents and students and ordered them into the school. Those who were too slow to enter the building were either shot or thrown through the windows. Keep Reading

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When and how tooutsource grant writing

Grant writing tends to be a profession that most people just stumble into. There are few degree programs that include grant writing in the curriculum, and even those that exist have not led huge numbers of people into the field. Those who find themselves in the position full time tend to have landed there as a result of a desire to work in the nonprofit or public sector—and have a knack for research and writing, if not a painstaking attention to detail. Keep Reading

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New directions for DHS

Editor’s Note: On March 16, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff gave a speech at George Washington University in Washington, DC outlining his plans for the future and providing basic direction for the department. Given the significance of the speech as a foundation for his and the department’s future actions,we provide excerpts here. The entire speech is available at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) website athttp://www.dhs.gov/dhspublic/display?content=4391.

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Setting Up Screening

The new Office of Screening Coordination and Operations will consolidate many programs into a single body. Advocates see more effective protection—critics see Big Brother.

Checking into the backgrounds of aliens and others who want to fly planes or transport hazardous materials is brisk business in homeland security. Recognizing that background checks at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), spread across various offices, essentially call for the same effort regardless of the program, the White House has proposed in the FY 2006 budget combining the work into an Office of Screening Coordination and Operations (SCO) within the Border and Transportation Directorate.

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Anthony Robbins, Silicon Graphics

President, SGI Federal, Senior Vice President of North American Field Operations, Silicon Graphics Inc.

In the 1990s, at the height of the tech boom, Anthony Robbins watched his friends in Silicon Valley go into hot, high-stakes startups and dot-coms, rocketing to fortunes in new, untried fields.

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Top HS execs agree: The long-term trends are up

Homeland security spending, particularly in the procurement and research and development accounts, promises to increase in coming years, benefiting industry even as the pressure from the federal deficit grows.

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NorthCom’s Tough Choices

The founding of the US Northern Command was a step in the right direction—but two years later, national authorities have to make some serious decisions about taking homeland defense into the future.

 

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Mission Stress

The National Guard has a vital mission to fulfill in homeland security. But it also has a vital, and growing, role in the overseas war on terror. Both demand people and resources. Can the conflict be resolved?

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Food without Fear

Long haunted by the threat of agroterrorism, authorities have been strengthening defenses against the danger to Americans’ food—but some knowledgeable experts question how effective those efforts have been.

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Spinning the ‘smart shirt’

Scientists are weaving new technology into an old item of apparel, giving it a dazzling array of possibilities that could save lives in the future.

Imagine a shirt that monitors your body’s vital signsin combat conditions, detects bullet wounds and can sense the presence of chemical weapons to automatically seal, clean and decontaminate itself.

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Rough Ride on the Rails

While the president’s proposed FY 2006 budget substantially boosts homeland security funding, rail and surface transportation security remains an orphan—yet again.

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Solving the Southern Cargo Question

The real issues of securing the trade that flows through the US-Mexican border aren’t being addressed—but there are some tough measures that can be taken. Two experts on Mexican-American trade provide their views of the actions necessary to both make security a reality and let trade flow.

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Laser Danger in the Cockpit

Are lasers on their way to being the next terrorist weapon of choice? The events of late last year and early 2005 have alerted authorities to the need to take action.

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