Feds working to overcome challenges, early failures in public-facing mobile apps

As agencies continually release public-facing mobile apps to better serve American citizens, the directors and strategists behind their creation are the first to admit there is room for improvement.

DHS grant programs come under scrutiny in aftermath of Ferguson riots

The images coming out of Ferguson, Missouri, have put the pentagon on the defensive as mainstream media outlets question the department’s program to transfer excess military equipment to state and local law enforcement agencies. But the so-called militarization of local police departments may have less to do with the Pentagon and far more to do with post-9/11 Department of Homeland Security counterterrorism grant programs.

New CBP-backed app allows U.S. citizens to skip the customs line

U.S. Customs and Border Protection is trying to make international travel a little less arduous for people entering the United States.

Agencies have big information gap when it comes to CDM

A SANS institute survey says the Department of Homeland Security’s CDM program needs better word-of-mouth among government agencies.

DHS, FBI investigating contractor hack

Federal law enforcement authorities are investigating a hacking incident at a contractor responsible for conducting background investigations for the Department of Homeland Security. Company officials said cybersecurity experts believe the intrusion “has all the markings of a state-sponsored attack.”

5 IT legislative initiatives that went nowhere before recess

As August begins, the inhabitants of the Capitol building are skipping town for five weeks. In its exit, the legislative branch left several IT bills left unfinished on the table and will have less than two months before November’s midterm election and about four months until the 114th Congress takes office to address some of the major technology issues.

Agencies showcase disaster tech at White House Demo Day

More than a half dozen agencies and just under 20 private companies met at the White House July 29 to highlight new digital tools to help citizens cope in the aftermath of a disaster.

CBP’s Wolf Tombe on innovating federal government

Wolf Tombe, chief technology officer for the Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection, discusses with FedScoopTV his leadership innovating “the nation’s largest law enforcement organization.”

Credible intelligence behind TSA policy change on electronics

The director of TSA acknowledged Thursday the existence of credible intelligence that led the agency July 2 to require passengers at certain overseas airports to power on their electronics devices before boarding direct flights to the United States.

USGS 3-D mapping data aims to save lives and money

The Interior Department’s U.S. Geological Survey, along with several other federal agencies, launched a $13.1 million partnership called the 3-D Elevation Program earlier in July. Working together with academia, private companies and state and local governments, the agencies aim to develop 3-D mapping and enhanced elevation data of the U.S. for more accurate topographical representations.

Significant national security challenges remain 10 years after 9/11 commission report

A decade after the 9/11 Commission issued its final report on the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks against the United States, the threat from global terrorism may be more pronounced than ever, with major new vulnerabilities emerging in cyberspace and a Congressional homeland security oversight system plagued by duplication and turf battles.

Cybercom event explores agency roles in cyber incident response

Cybersecurity and incident response are practices engrained in most every 21st century federal agency. But when it comes to a massive cyber attack requiring the aid of multiple, partnering groups, which agency does what? Last week, the U.S. Cyber Command demonstrated a specific framework for how several critical agencies can play complementary roles in the national cyber incident response process.

Anti-social: Feds wonder why social media companies drag feet on accessibility issues

The Federal Communications Commission hosted a panel of experts Thursday to talk about the challenges and ongoing need to make social media platforms more accessible to those with disabilities. But there was one group of representatives that was notably absent from the proceedings: the social media companies themselves.

GSA rolls out dashboard for Connections II purchases

Accessing non-classified government purchasing data just got a little easier with the launch of the General Services Administration’s Connections II dashboard.

Miller calls on VA to answer for cybersecurity shortfalls

House Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla., has called on five senior VA officials, including Acting Secretary Sloan Gibson, to testify at next week’s scheduled hearing on “longstanding information security weaknesses” that have enabled “data manipulation” throughout the agency.

NSA adds to Cyber Ops Centers for Excellence

New York University, the United States Military Academy, Towson University, The University of Cincinnati and the University of New Orleans have been added to a list of now thirteen universities recognized be the National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Operations.

House passes DHS bill to enhance social media use in disasters

Communication during emergencies has changed drastically in the past decade, evidenced by the use of tools like Twitter to spread important information during crises. Taking advantage of that shift, the House of Representatives passed legislation by vote of 357-19 Tuesday requiring the Department of Homeland Security to form a social media working group to provide guidance and preparedness for social media use should an attack occur.

DHS health care IT in disarray

The Department of Homeland Security last year deployed a multi-million dollar electronic health record system to provide end-to-end health care services for the tens of thousands of illegal immigrants currently held in DHS detention facilities. But a new report by the health arm of the National Academy of Sciences shows the department has largely failed to provide its own employees in high-risk jobs with even the most basic health services and has yet to deploy an electronic system capable of capturing information on employee health, safety and readiness.

TSA targets explosives disguised as carry-on electronics

According to the new directive, security at many foreign airports with direct flights stateside may require passengers to power up their electronic devices at checkpoints. If owners are not able to power the devices for examination, they will not be allowed to bring them on their flight, TSA said in a release.

DHS opens new science and technology test facility

DHS unveiled a new test facility June 27 to evaluate new biometric devices and technologies for improving security and efficiency at U.S. ports of entry.

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