Last Build Date: Mon, 20 Jun 2005 13:12:27 GMTCopyright: Copyright 2005 David Fletcher
Mon, 20 Jun 2005 13:11:28 GMT
A handheld device for on-site detection of bacteria, viruses, molds, nucleic acids, mycotoxins and biotoxins won the Utah Innovations award for the biotechnology sector. The BioDetector is made by AnzenBio and is applicable for military and homeland security purposes. read more...
Salt Lake County is using GPS to support its crackdown on vehicle abuse.
Long Beach police are using Segways to patrol their streets. A report on KSL radio this morning says that bomb squads in Utah are getting new Segways.
Tue, 03 Aug 2004 12:58:08 GMT
David Stephenson, homeland security consultant and strategist, has started a weblog. Stephenson has been an advocate for the use of EmXML as a collaboration standard for the emergency management / homeland security community.
Mon, 26 Jul 2004 13:42:09 GMT
The 911 Commission issued its final report last week. Copies were available at airports and bookstores almost immediately. It is available for only $8 on Amazon where it is the #1 best seller (you might not want to read it online since it is over 500 pages). Among the Commission's many recommendations:
Make homeland security funding contingent on the adoption of an incident command system to strengthen teamwork in a crisis, including a regional approach. Allocate more radio spectrum and improve connectivity for public safety communications, and encourage wide-spread adoption of newly developed standards for private-sector emergency preparednesssince the private sector controls 85 percent of the nations critical infrastructure.
I think there is already a requirement for agencies to adapt an incident command structure specified by NIMS (National Incident Management System) to receive homeland security funding. One problem is that not enough of the funding goes toward centrally coordinated infrastructure.
Thu, 22 Jul 2004 19:31:05 GMT
(image) The need to share information between law enforcement and intelligence agencies is one of many issues being discussed at the National Conference of State Legislators (NCSL) being held here in Salt Lake City this week. The National Criminal Intelligence Sharing Plan outlines many of these issues including the need for systems like RISS and MATRIX. The plan was developed by the Global Intelligence Working Group which was charged with overcoming long-standing barriers to information sharing. The plan includes 28 specific recommendations.
The Department of Justice recently released this report on the use of law enforcement technology by small and rural agencies. It provides a good baseline for states to measure against.
Wed, 07 Jul 2004 18:20:10 GMT
Here's a good presentation on RTLS standards.
Last month, the US Dept. of Homeland Security unveiled HSIN-CI, the Homeland Security Information Network for Critical Infrastructure. HSIN-CI is an unclassified network, which immediately provides the Departments Homeland Security Operations Center with one-stop 24/7 access to a broad spectrum of industries, agencies and critical infrastructure across both the public and private sectors. This certainly requires substantial local interface which we need to better understand. The network is being piloted on a local basis in Seattle, Dallas, and Indiana.
Mon, 21 Jun 2004 18:22:17 GMT
The Task Force on State and Local Homeland Security Funding has released a new report.
The National Association of State Procurement Officials (NASPO) has a new website. Here's a presentation on how Florida has conducted reverse auctions given at a recent NASPO conference.
New GAO report on the effectiveness of information systems used to monitor foreign students.
Wed, 26 May 2004 14:01:13 GMT
Just returned from Washington, DC, where we met with Dr. David Boyd, program director for Project Safecom. We discussed finding funding opportunities for using RTLS and RFIDs as a UWIN-supported project. Real Time Locating Systems (RTLS) are fully automated systems that continuously monitor and track the locations of assets and personnel. In the homeland security context, we would have vehicle-mounted RTLS systems that could form a grid in responding to a given homeland incident or natural disaster. These mobile RTLS systems would convey data to incident management through the 700 MHz statewide data network and or broadband 4.9 GHz and 802.11 access points depending on the location. Check out this presentation (Reality Online) from Accenture.
Boyd is also involved in supporting the federal government's Integrated Wireless Network project. Perhaps UWIN should look at ways to partner with IWN. Another agency to keep an eye on is HSARPA. HSARPA is a homeland security agency fashioned after DARPA that was created last year. I don't see much activity there yet.
Boyd also told us that Tom Ridge is planning to create a new program management office to create greater interoperability and innovation among the first responder community. Here are a few more details. Dr. Boyd has only been with Homeland since 2003 (that's right, it was only created then). Here's more on his background. His testimony to the House Reform Committee is a very clear statement of what Project Safecom is about.
NIST provides this interesting list of organizations, companies, and technologies associated with public safety wireless. Their Advanced Network Technologies Division is interested in Wireless Ad Hoc Networks, an area where the latest Utah proposal seems to fit.
Fri, 07 May 2004 13:06:21 GMTHomeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge meets with Utah emergency responders. He was very complimentary of the UWIN project and stressed the importance of integrated communications systems.John Kavanaugh was just promoted to vice president of Northrop Grumman, state and local public safety solutions, Commercial, State and Local Solutions business unit responsible for public safety command and control centers, highway transportation management centers, statewide wireless communications systems, automated identification systems, criminal justice systems, and other public safety solutions in the state and local marketplace. Kavenaugh received his bachelor's degree in business administration from Weber State University. NG also has an RFID implementation support center. Tom Ridge will be in town today. He will be giving the commencement speech at the University of Utah and then visiting with a small group of state and local government homeland security officials. The May issue of Capitol Connections is online. The Utah Wireless Integrated Network governance board meets today. Accenture has a new eGov report. I'm having a little trouble accessing it. Wow, New York State just awarded their wireless network contract to M/A-COM. Some say that the contract may be valued as high as $2 billion. Utah's approach (UWIN) is certainly less costly - and hopefully just as well integrated. The contract is the largest technology contract in New York's history, but will not include any coverage in wilderness areas of the Adirondacks or Catskills. Arkansas Governor, Mike Huckabee, just announced the Arkansas Wireless Information Network (AWIN). Phase I alone is projected to cost $27 million. What we could do with that kind of money.... Arkansas passed several bills to develop statewide wireless back in 1999. This is one of several collaborative projects for the state. NENA will be holding a wireless E-911 conference here in Salt Lake City on May 23-25. NENA also has a couple of E9-1-1 presentations on how to deal with VoIP: VoIP E911 Solutions VoIP / E911 Recommendations for Path Forward We are analyzing the benefits of VoIP in conjunction with a new building that is nearing completion. Governor Ernie Fletcher, the new Governor of Kentucky, held his first online chat the other day. Governor Leavitt did that a few times here. Here is the transcript from Fletcher's online session. He discusses a few technology issues.[...]
Thu, 18 Mar 2004 18:38:04 GMT
A UPI article examines the cyberwar that is taking place on the internet. We are impacted by it everyday. We installed MT blacklist yesterday to ward off the comment spam that had infiltrated the MT stuff that we are using to generate RSS feeds for production services.
"A global assault for control of millions of computers is occurring," Steven Sundermeier, said. "This appears to be a war for power and seniority among these authors."
According to another article in the Detroit News, the annual cost in software and lost productivity related to spam is between 10 and 87 billion dollars.
Public Technology also recently published an analysis of global digital warfare.
Wed, 25 Feb 2004 13:08:58 GMT
(image) Yesterday, HB36 (second substitute) was approved by the Senate Revenue and Taxation Committee. This bill provides governance and revenue to implement E-911 for wireless carriers. Utah is behind the curve in getting this done, but should move forward quickly if it is able to pass on the floor. The second substitute bill has some major improvements over earlier versions.
The FCC's PSAP registry is a spreadsheet that identifies all known Public Safety Access Points in the country. The registry lists 63 PSAPs for Utah. I thought that there were only 46, so we need to reconcile what the FCC has listed with our local list. I am somewhat surprised by the fact that the FCC maintains this kind of information in a spreadsheet as opposed to a database with an online interface. The management of 911 in general, especially in this state, needs some major improvements. Hopefully HB36 will help us begin to move down that road.
Fri, 30 Jan 2004 13:22:56 GMT
Bill Gates, in a speech to the Arab technology conference, says that eGovernment is a "HUGE focus" for Microsoft. Gates jointly announced Egypt's new eGov portal with Prime Minister Atef Ebeid. Online service offerings look pretty lean right now.
Utah's Dept. of Alcoholic Beverage Control wants to move to dot net. Most Utah state agencies are committed to J2EE.
Today's headlines on Governor Walker's decision to halt Utah's participation in MATRIX until more information is available (here's the state press release):
On Wednesday, the Dept. of Homeland Security announced a new National Cybersecurity Alert System. Good timing - immediately after people were feeling the effects of the mydoom virus.
Thu, 29 Jan 2004 13:22:57 GMT
Concern about Matrix, a multi-state effort to enhance information available for homeland security, is nothing new. This privacy watch site has been monitoring it for months. I have mentioned it here on several occasions. It looks like members of the Utah legislature are now taking notice. Here is a quote from one Senator in a lengthy article in this morning's Deseret News:
"It certainly sounds like Big Brother to me, a paranoia that government wants to know what all the people are doing because government knows best."
Verdi White takes a practical approach (quoted in the Deseret News):
"We will evaluate this and see if it does have value, if we are able to interdict a crime or apprehend an abducted child. If it does have value, we will go to the Legislature and see if they want to participate in it."
Utah's participation currently is only as part of a federally-funded pilot project at this point in time.
Fri, 12 Dec 2003 14:32:48 GMT
(image) A new report by the Trust for America's Health (TFAH) evaluates all 50 states on the issue of bioterrorism preparedness. According to the report, Utah was among the 75% of states that received a score of 50% or less based on 10 criteria. The report looked at funding, infrastructure, and other related issues. Utah was given credit for expanding the health emergency communications network, upgrading public health laboratories, and developing initial bioterrorism response plans. The Department of Health has also made progress towards the implementation of a statewide emergency notification and alert system that can notify very specific geographic areas when needed. They have coordinated closely with the Utah Counter-Terrorism Task Force and are actively supporting the Utah Wireless Integrated Network (UWIN) project. I know that they are working hard to be able to adequately distribute and administer supplies from the national pharmaceutical stockpile, although they were not given credit for it in the report.
Wed, 26 Nov 2003 18:37:13 GMT
I finally got around to looking at DOE's report on the Aug. 14th blackout. This report should be of interest to anyone involved in infrastructure protection.
On November 19th, the US Senate heard a number of reports on agroterrorism:
In terms of technology, Dr. Colleen O-Keefe stated,
There is a serious discrepancy among states in terms of computer technology, mapping expertise, and animal tracking. Additionally, states with the appropriate mapping technology and data collection are the exception, rather than the rule. Accordingly, numerous states dont have the hardware or software capacity to utilize the technology some states possess. USDA must immediately implement an electronic system to track livestock movements and monitor disease outbreaks. At the very least USDA should identify states, such as members of the Council, to conduct a pilot project of an electronic tracking system that could be duplicated nationwide.
Dr. Penrose Albright of the Dept. of Homeland Security discussed technologies that might be used to enhanced agricultural biosecurity.
The new engineering building at Utah State University has been completed. This was part of Governor Leavitt's initiative to expand science and education degrees in Utah which has resulted in new engineering facilities on four state campuses. Micron is funding a new digital design laboratory in the USU engineering department.
Fri, 21 Nov 2003 13:11:38 GMTThe next quarterly InfraGard (Rocky Mtn area) Meeting will be held on 12/17/03 at 1 pm. It will be held at the new Salt Lake City Public Library which is located at 210 East 400 South, Salt Lake City, UT. We will have three speakers for the meeting. FBI Special Agents Ken Crook , Joint Terrorism Task Force; Karl Schmae, Homeland Security Task Force; and Lt. Scott Blackburn, Utah Department of Public Safety, Division of Emergency Services and Homeland Security.
Wed, 29 Oct 2003 15:23:51 GMT
States are meeting today and tomorrow with the FCC in Washington DC to discuss E-911 deployment. The meetings are being streamed live. The Emergency Services Interconnection Forum has developed a readiness packet checklist for Phase 2. Chairman Powell of the FCC spoke this morning of the goals for the coordination initiative:
Jim Stewart of UEN provides a brief summary of yesterday's UWIN technical committee meeting on his weblog. Although a large share of potential UWIN users are law enforcement, we see it as much more than that, particularly as we focus more on the data component. The governance board of UWIN will meet again in early November.
Tue, 28 Oct 2003 23:32:39 GMT
I met with Randy Hughes, Utah's new Enterprise Architect this afternoon. I am excited about having an enterprise architect on board and hope that we will be able to leverage his work toward new innovations and services. The Department of Homeland Security completed the first version of their enterprise architecture in four months under Steve Cooper's direction. We should be able to do that.
Earlier today, DHS unveiled details for the US-VISIT sytem.
Fri, 03 Oct 2003 14:32:31 GMTA national conference on justice statistics and information is concluding today in San Francisco. Sponsored by the Bureau of Justice Statistics and the Justice Statistics and Research Association, the conference was loaded with interesting presentations. BJS supports the World Factbook of Criminal Justice Systems - not to be confused with the CIA's World Factbook which has always been one of my favorite resources. The CCJJ website won the national award at the conference. Watch for details on Utah.gov. The Weed and Seed Data Center is an interesting related program. Check out what the program is doing in your state. The site also has a good presentation on the use of GIS for tracking and projecting criminal activity. We will be focusing one of our product management council meetings (November or December) on how to enhance web information and functionality with GIS. aside: UDOT is among the state and local agencies participating in the Stormwater Coalition's current campaign. UDOT has now officially transitioned to their new website. The 2003 Urban Mobility Study was just released and contains all kinds of interesting information on congestion and transportation throughout the country. Adobe continues to add functionality and performance to its acrobat suite. We will have a presentation from Adobe on Oct. 16th at 2 pm in Room B110 of the State Office Building. Product managers and web developers are invited. An online tour of the 6.0 product is available. An enterprise workgroup has been formed and is being coordinated by Jeannie Watanabe to look at how to add workflow and database integration to the hundreds of static forms that the State has online. The weekly Homeland Security Newsletter from the Institute for Homeland Security has some interesting news today. And Marty Stephens has been named to the senior advisory committee of the National Homeland Security Council. Rory Perry has developed a new resource for using RSS and weblogs in the public sector. The Utah College of Applied Technology with its 10 campuses has created a huge matrix of course offerings from throughout the state. This data needs to be compiled in a searchable format that enables the user to make reasonable comparisons. Everybody's talking about Jeremy Allaire's RSS-Data concept. I still need to absorb it... Political blogs are the rage. Check Outside the Beltway. Wow, and the DC Metro Blogmap has blogs scattered all over the capital city (mouse over each metro station).[...]
Wed, 01 Oct 2003 00:29:41 GMTThe CJIS Group has an online database of bids and awards for Criminal Justice and Public Safety IT projects throughout the country. Even the summary data looks interesting. The detail is restricted to password only access. Utah received an award of $442,365 for EOC "corrective construction" among the $81 million awarded late last week by DHS. Unfortunately, we didn't receive any of the interoperability grant money that was awarded. No one from Utah was among those receiving awards from the new DHS Scholars and Fellows program. New applications for 2004 can go in after October 1, 2003. The massive systems integration bid for US Visit has been narrowed down to Accenture LLP, Computer Sciences Corp., and Lockheed Martin. The Homeland Security Act passed Congress on the 26th. Here is what was allocated to the states through ODP (text): For grants, contracts, cooperative agreements, and other activities, including grants to State and local governments for terrorism prevention activities, notwithstanding any other provision of law, $3,287,000,000, which shall be allocated as follows: (1) $1,700,000,000 for formula-based grants and $500,000,000 for law enforcement terrorism prevention grants pursuant to section 1014 of the USA PATRIOT Act of 2001 (42 U.S.C. 3714): Provided, That no funds shall be made available to any State prior to the submission of an updated State plan to the Office for Domestic Preparedness: Provided further, That the application for grants shall be made available to States within 30 days after enactment of this Act; that States shall submit applications within 30 days after the grant announcement; and that the Office for Domestic Preparedness shall act within 15 days after receipt of an application or receipt of an updated State plan, whichever is later: Provided further, That each State shall obligate not less than 80 percent of the total amount of the grant to local governments within 60 days after the grant award; and (2) $725,000,000 for discretionary grants for use in high-threat, high-density urban areas, as determined by the Secretary of Homeland Security: Provided, That no less than 80 percent of any grant to a State shall be made available by the State to local governments within 60 days after the receipt of the funds: Provided further, That section 1014(c)(3) of the USA PATRIOT Act of 2001 (42 U.S.C. 3714(c)(3)) shall not apply to these grants: Provided, That none of the funds appropriated under this heading shall be used for the construction or renovation of facilities: Provided further, That funds appropriated for law enforcement terrorism prevention grants under paragraph (1) and discretionary grants under paragraph (2) of this heading shall be available for operational costs, to include personnel overtime and overtime associated with Office for Domestic Preparedness certified training, as needed.[...]
Wed, 24 Sep 2003 14:12:23 GMTGeorgia is considering joining Matrix while some states are having privacy concerns. Directions Magazine writes about the merits of the National States Geographic Information Council (NSGIC). The Indian state of Kerala offered a bid to outsource the management of its online lottery, but got no takers. I guess they're all too busy with outsourced projects from U.S. companies. Some Chinese local governments are working to become more responsive. For example, the City of Shanghai is soliciting public input on municipal construction projects through its portal (here's the English version). They have some nice online maps. Eight states are meeting in Dakota Dunes this morning to coordinate management of the Missouri River. The USGS maintains an excellent clearinghouse of information on the river. Indian tribes and federal officials will also be attending. VOA News reports on the current status of the H1B visa debate. CLASS, a primary information source for State Department counter-terrorism efforts was knocked offline yesterday by a virus. California is joining other states in banning spam. The GAO released a report yesterday on technologies to support wildland fire management. Also,l a report on Border and Transportation Security, including information on the US Visit system. The federal government is spending $380 million this year on US-Visit (through 2014, the estimated cost is over $7 billion). It will include information that is needed by the states to support their homeland security efforts. The GAO is calling for a governing board that will be accountable for the implementation of the system that includes stakeholders. The Utah Departments of Health and Transportation will be announcing a new website this afternoon, part of a yearlong campaign focused on the benefits of walking. And, a couple of blogs worth reading: The Web Standards Project Simon Incutio Ideas in Technology and Publishing[...]
Thu, 28 Aug 2003 14:33:10 GMT
A new GAO report on homeland security is out. The report, "Efforts to Improve Information Sharing Need to Be Strengthened", makes the basic recommendation that the Department of Homeland Security involve other federal agencies, as well as state and local government in the process of developing its enterprise architecture model. I am a little curious why NASCIO is having a panel discussion at its upcoming meeting (Sep. 7-10) without including a representative from DHS. That's flawed.
I'm getting ready to head back to Park City for Utah's Partnership for Voice and Data Interoperability Event. We are continuing to make progress towards state/local interoperability and this event will highlight some of those areas.
Wed, 27 Aug 2003 19:42:07 GMT
The third quarter meeting of the InfraGard of the Wasatch has been scheduled for 9/17/03 at 12 pm. This meeting is being sponsored by Computer Associates. The speaker will be Brian Grayek, Technology Strategist to the Office of the CTO, Computer Associates. Those planning to attend should RSVP to Cheney Eng-Tow via e-mail as soon as possible. The meeting will be held at the Parks Department Building located at 1965 West 500 South, Salt Lake City, UT. If there are any questions, please contact me.
Tue, 19 Aug 2003 14:35:35 GMTThe Washington Post posted this video of Tom Ridge's comments on the homeland security alert system to the NGA. Governor Leavitt's update on the streamlined sales tax project was received favorably. According to the Post, "Governor Leavitt and Virginia Gov. Mark R. Warner (D) said the governors will support an extension of the moratorium on taxing Internet access but oppose any effort to extend the moratorium to bundled services that combine telephone and Internet access." Governor Kempthorne of Idaho is taking over as the new NGA chair. I'm glad Kempthorne is paying attention to egov. According to the Idaho Statesman, Kempthorne already is asking technology companies and e-government specialists to think about ways to get the governors to see, feel and sense the issues next year. Apparently, he is even involving Bill Gates. Mitt Romney on homeland security, This isnt a matter of money, this is a matter of establishing procedures and working groups that continue to strengthen our intelligence capability and the communication of intelligence across different levels of government. It appears that with Governor Leavitt moving to the cabinet, perhaps Romney will become the champion of homeland security among the governors. A letter from a coalition of northeastern states to DHS requests that "centers be established in each state or on a regional basis, staffed by top secret-cleared personnel who would maintain a direct, secure line of communication between state police, local police departments and the federal government." They are asking for more information than what they get through NLETS and NCIC. Phoenix ran out of gasoline the other day, so Governor Janet Napolitano left the NGA meetings early to address the issue. I didn't realize that Arizona has no gasoline refineries in the entire state. Several months ago, states worked together to create the Center for State Homeland Security. It is a partnership between NEMA, the Adjutant Generals Association, and Mitretek. They publish a weekly homeland security newsletter. A new Senate minority committee report alleges that states are still being kept in the dark on homeland security issues. The problem with this report is that it sounds more like Lieberman campaign rhetoric than an objective study of the issues. According to a recent poll, the Swiss are seeking more e-government services. Their portal, www.ch.ch, is available in French, Italian, and German, but my impression is that it still needs a lot of work.[...]
Fri, 15 Aug 2003 13:58:25 GMTMajor power failures and another aggressive worm. I haven't had time to say much about recent events, but they have already sparked a review of a number of processes. The Blaster virus impacted several Utah agencies, although the process of recovery was pretty well coordinated and our people acted pretty quickly to restrict damage. Most agencies had taken precautions in advance and were ready for the attack. The initial post-mortem indicates that about 1,400 machines were impacted here. With respect to the blackout, CNET mentions that wireless communications were fraught with problems while landlines performed pretty well. I think that our state operated wireless networks (including UCAN) are better able to cope with an outage. Most of the transmitter and relay sites are able to operate on emergency generator power, etc., but we should re-evaluate the system to make sure that we haven't introduced any vulnerabilities. I wonder what the loss ($$) was just for spoiled food resulting from no refrigeration. We also experience some outages in Utah. New York City Emergency Management Mayor Bloomberg's press conference this morning / New York police officers responded to 80,000 911 calls, it sounds like the Office of Emergency Management did an admirable job responding to this emergency. They are also doing an excellent job assuring that information on the website remains current. Our Division of Emergency Services is sponsoring a statewide public officials conference next week and I'm sure the blackout will be on everyone's mind as they discuss some very relevant topics, including the statewide incident management system and GIS. I will be participating on a panel at the Western CIO Summit to be held in Park City on the 25th and 26th. Several governors will be attending, along with state and federal CIOs. The event will focus on security, interoperability and egovernment. The agenda looks really interesting. Next week, we will be hosting a group of government leaders from the PRC that have been participating in the China Leaders in Development Program at the Kennedy School at Harvard. "The Utah activities support and reflect the CLDs academic mission and strategic message and objectives. The Utah program will provide a direct complement to the teaching that the participants will receive in Cambridge. This field trip is intended to demonstrate practical applications of the American political system at the state and local levels rather than provide instruction on political theory and/or logistical issues. " Here's a Chinese press release on the program. And an English article in Renmin Ribao. I think the program is co-sponsored by Tsinghua (shown at right) and Beijing University. New developments in the MATRIX project. Wetlands Dispute Could Be Clue to Leavitt - The State It is always interesting to see my newsfeed in someone else's format. This is my homeland security category on the Transportation Security Information Clearinghouse website which was developed as part of National Cooperative Highway Research Project.[...]
Fri, 08 Aug 2003 14:39:44 GMT
RAND has been working with the Oklahoma City National Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism to put several databases online:
This is a very interesting resource. As far as chronology, terrorists generally like to maximize the impact of their actions, so they pay careful attention to dates and anniversaries. The database identifies 845 terrorist incidents in Spain from 1997 to the present, which is the most for any country in Europe. Most of these are attributable to ETA and the Basque movement.
Tulsa University of Tulsa is designated as a Center of Excellence in Information Assurance by the National Security Agency and offers advanced degrees in information assurance. The University is working on ways to protect national telecommunications networks.