Tuesday, October 30, 2012

2 SOPS accepts command and control of newest GPS satellite

by Scott Prater
Schriever Sentinel

10/30/2012 - SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo.  -- The 2nd Space Operations Squadron accepted satellite control authority of its third Global Positioning System Block IIF satellite during a ceremony here Oct. 26.

Following its launch from Cape Canaveral, Fla., Oct. 4, acquirers from the Space and Missile Systems Center and operators from the 50th and 310th Space Wings first performed a three-week check out of the spacecraft before placing it into a primary slot in the GPS constellation.

Col. Bernard Gruber, GPS director at SMC, initiated the Oct. 26 ceremony by transferring satellite control authority of the vehicle, known as SVN-65, to the 14th Air Force.

"Everything went smoothly following the launch," Gruber said. "This is the third GPS Block IIF that we've placed on orbit and the process seems to get better with each launch. We were able to decrease the timeline for checkout of the vehicle and it's clear we're on the right track for future success."

Col. Todd Brost, 14 AF director of operations and exercises, accepted SCA and transferred it to 50 SW Commander, Col. James Ross.

"Shrinking the checkout timeline is important because it means we can get these satellites available to the users as quickly as possible," Ross said. "This is a great model for the acquisition and operational communities to work together as a team."

Following acceptance of SCA, Ross then delegated command and control of SVN-65 to Lt. Col. Thomas Ste. Marie, 2 SOPS commander.

"I want to thank the full team who executed such a smooth transition from the Space and Missile Systems Center personnel who traveled from California, to the local partnership with our Air Force Reserve teammates in 19 SOPS, to my own team at 2 SOPS," Ste. Marie said. "Launch and initialization is one of those things that can keep a commander up at night, but there were no worries at all. It is this synchronized triple partnership between these organizations that made this SCA possible."

Global Positioning Satellites transmit digital radio signals to receivers on the ground, allowing military and civilian users to calculate their time, location and velocity.

The Block IIF series is the fifth generation of GPS spacecraft and provides improved timing technology, a more jam-resistant military signal and higher powered civilian signal compared to previous models. SVN-65 was designed to operate on orbit for 12 years and includes a reprogrammable processor capable of receiving software uploads.

Lt. Col. Dean Holthaus, 2 SOPS director of operations, had kudos for the Boeing team, who built not only this Block IIF satellite, SVN-65, but also the Block IIA it replaced.

"SVN-65 brings increased capability to the warfighter and replaces an aging satellite in the operational constellation that has served admirably and far surpassed its design life," Holthaus said.

The launch and orbit of SVN-65 was of particular significance for 2 and 19 SOPS members, who dedicated the launch and checkout to former 19 SOPS satellite vehicle operator, Capt. Vivian Elmo, who was killed in a traffic crash during the summer of 2011. Elmo played an integral role in the launch and operation of the first two GPS Block IIFs.

The new vehicle joins 30 other GPS satellites currently on orbit in operational status.

The next GPS Block IIF vehicle launch is slated for May of 2013.

Math-Science Group Expands Advanced Placement in Military-Connected Schools

By Lisa Daniel
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 30, 2012 – Military-connected students are getting better access to Advanced Placement courses in public high schools and more support in those classes thanks to the efforts of a national nonprofit organization.

The National Math Science Initiative is expanding a program it started two years ago to add the College Board’s AP courses in high schools with high populations of military-connected students. The NMSI started its Initiative for Military Families in the 2010-11 school year by adding AP courses in math, science and English at two public high schools near Fort Hood, Texas, and two near Fort Campbell, Ky., and giving them extra support, NMSI Vice President Gregg Fleisher recently told American Forces Press Service.

The program was expanded to 52 high schools in 15 states for the school year that began this fall, Fleisher said. They hope to expand to 80 schools by next fall, he said.

“The program is designed to get more schools to offer more courses to more students to see what college is like,” Fleisher said.

The nonprofit College Board has developed college-level curriculum in 34 courses, according to the board. Students who pass, or “qualify,” on an AP final exam receive college credit for having taken the course in high school.

Students who take AP courses are better prepared for college and those who pass an AP exam are three times more likely to complete college, Fleisher said.

Most American high schools participate in the AP program, according to the College Board, but some do not and the number and variety of courses vary from school to school. The NMSI started its Initiative for Military Families at the request of former Secretary of the Army Pete Geren, who raised concerns that military children need more opportunities for AP courses, as well as the consistency that the AP program offers as they move from school to school, Fleisher said.

NMSI’s Initiative for Military Families offers additional support by training teachers, providing equipment and supplies and waving or lowering AP exam fees, Fleisher said.

NMSI began in 2007 with donations from Exxon Mobil, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation to expand math and science education in American schools. The Initiative for Military Families is a public-private partnership that includes the Department of Defense Education Activity, the Office of Naval Research, the Army Education Outreach Program and several charitable groups and major defense contractors.

“We work with the teachers so that they can be the best that they can be,” Fleisher said. “We provide the latest technology, the latest pedagogy and the latest content for teachers to impart on their students.”
About 1.8 million children have a parent in the military and program officials “understand some of the pressures” they endure by having a parent deployed or being new to a school, Fleisher said.

“We try to be sensitive to it, but the best we can do is simply to provide the best quality education for them at these schools,” Fleisher said.

In the past two years, NMSI has doubled the number of students taking and passing AP math, science and English exams in participating schools, Fleisher said. In Hawaii, the number of students taking and passing AP exams has increased 82 percent since NMSI added four schools to the program, he said, and in Oklahoma, 35 percent of the state’s passing scores came from the two high schools where NMSI created programs. And, the program is showing great results in closing the achievement gap among minority students, he said.

“Schools just need a little boost and we’re able to do that for them,” Fleisher said.

New AFRC Mobile App Focuses to Improve Resiliency among Airmen

by Air Force Reserve Command Public Affairs Office

10/30/2012 - Robins Air Force Base, Ga. -- As part of the Wingman Toolkit outreach effort, the Air Force Reserve Command launched a mobile app on October 30 that gives Airmen the tools necessary to bring balance to their busy, stressful lives.

The Wingman Toolkit provides Airman and families with access to useful information and resources to help them overcome stress and strengthen their resilience to life's challenges. Its primary purpose is to connect Airmen and their families with in-depth knowledge of the Four Pillars of Comprehensive Airman Fitness, which focuses on physical, mental, social and spiritual health.

Comprehensive Airman Fitness was designed to teach Airmen how to build resiliency by approaching life's challenges with a positive attitude; increasing strength and endurance through physical activity; developing and maintaining personal friendships; and strengthening a set of principles and values that sustain an individual's sense of well-being and purpose.

Lt Col David F. Ubelhor, chief mental health consultant to the AFRC Command Surgeon, said the app is part of a proactive initiative to improve resiliency among Airmen, in a broader effort to help people strive for wellness and avoid emotional crisis.

"Using the tips found in each pillar will help Airmen be better prepared to get themselves and others to safer, healthier places in life," Ubelhor said. "There are also reminders about the suicide-intervention method to Ask, Care and Escort (ACE) and quick access to the 24-hour crisis line. The first responsibility of any Wingman is to seek help when necessary."

The Wingman Toolkit mobile app is an extension of the Wingman Toolkit website. The site, originally developed in 2010, functions as an all-encompassing initiative to make better Wingmen, help Airmen build resilience, and remind people about suicide prevention. The information found on the Wingman Toolkit is tailored to the specific needs of Air Force Reserve Airmen and their families but is easily accessible by any Airman.

For more information visit AFRC.WingmanToolkit.org or www.facebook.com/AFRCWingmanToolkit.

Monday, October 29, 2012

AF to save $2.6 million with electronic record scoring system

by Tech. Sgt. Steve Grever
Air Force Personnel Center Public Affairs

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO - RANDOLPH, Texas – Air Force officials implemented an electronic record scoring system in July for all central officer promotion boards. The new system is projected to save the service more than $2.6 million once it is adopted across all total force components.
The electronic Board Operations Support System, or eBOSS, allows board members to use ergonomic, touch-screen workstations with user interfaces similar to a smartphone or tablet computer to view and score digital personnel records. The stations are also height adjustable to allow board members to sit or stand while scoring records.

“eBOSS eliminates the need and subsequent costs of administrative assistants. Future efficiencies and manpower savings will occur incrementally as record management activities are dramatically reduced,” said Col. Ramona Dolson, AFPC promotion board secretariat director.
Many board members who used eBOSS during central officer boards in June and September said they had positive experiences using the new scoring system.

“Senior leaders at all levels were impressed with the system’s performance. Additionally, eBOSS was even more efficient for staff members than we originally thought, as a single technician could complete work that was previously very manpower intensive,” said Lt. Col. Steve Zubowicz, AFPC promotion board secretariat operations chief.
The Air Force first used eBOSS for line captains and major/lieutenant colonel medical service corps boards in July and then for the colonel, lieutenant colonel and major medical/dental corps central selection boards in September. Officials will implement eBOSS incrementally as interfaces are developed for existing promotion and vectoring systems. In 2013, eBOSS is scheduled to be used for active duty, senior non-commissioned officer evaluation boards.

Dolson stressed that Airmen need to ensure their personnel records are accurate in the Personnel Records Display Application linked from the myPers website before they are accessed during central officer boards. Each Airman’s record will meet an eBOSS-administered board from the information recorded in PRDA. AFPC’s Board Secretariat will no longer maintain paper selection records on officers starting in 2013.

Friday, October 26, 2012

DOD Funds Study of Omega 3 Benefit in Reducing Suicides

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 26, 2012 – The Defense Department is funding a new study to determine if something as simple as drinking smoothies with high concentrations of the fatty acids found in fish oils can help to reduce suicides among veterans.

The study, to kick off in January, will assess the effect of Omega 3 fatty acids on 350 volunteer participants who have attempted suicide or are considered to be at risk of doing so, said Bernadette Marriott, a Medical University of South Carolina professor who is the study’s principal investigator.

The university is collaborating in the clinical trial with researchers from the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center in Charleston, S.C., and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, part of the National Institutes of Health. Ron Acierno, director of the post-traumatic stress disorder clinic at the Charleston VA center, will partner with Marriott as an onsite collaborator.

The Military Operational Medicine Joint Program Committee is funding the study, and the Army Medical Research and Materiel Command’s Congressional Directed Medical Research Programs Office will manage it.

The test subjects, to be recruited over the next three years from the Charleston VA center and the local veteran population, will drink two child-size juice boxes of commercially available, smoothie-type drinks each day for six months, Marriott said.

Half the veterans will receive about 4 grams of Omega 3 fatty acids in their drinks each day, said Joseph Hibbeln, acting chief of NIAA’s nutritional neurosciences section. This, he said, should elevate the concentration of Omega 3s in the experimental group’s blood to levels commonly found among populations of fish-eating countries such as Japan and Iceland.

The other half of the test subjects, the control group, will receive placebos.

Both groups will continue to receive the same mental health care services as before the study.

Meanwhile, researchers will evaluate them as they begin the study and periodically over its course to assess their depression and anxiety levels and performance on cognitive tests, Marriott said. They also will take blood samples to measure Omega 3 levels.

The investigators will have no idea until after the study which test subjects received Omega 3 doses and which were in the control, Marriott said.

Based on previous studies in both animals and humans, Marriott said she expects to see much higher Omega 3 levels in the experimental group, with corresponding improvements in their mood and performance levels.

Hibbeln has been a pioneer in linking Omega 3 deficiencies with depression and violent or impulsive disorders. For the past 20 years, he has advanced the theory that the brain, made up of fats and oils, depends on Omega 3 nutrients to operate properly and fully experience pleasure.

He uses the analogy of a tree that grows deep roots, a sturdy trunk and abundance of leaves only if it’s properly fertilized and gets the nutrients it needs.

The problem, he explained, is that the human body gets Omega 3s only through food and nutritional supplements. And the typical American diet is extremely low in Omega 3 fatty acids -- with military populations consuming even fewer.

Exacerbating the problem, Hibbeln said, is that their diets tend to be high in Omega 6s, the oils commonly found in French fries, chips and other processed foods. Within red blood cells, Omega 6s are like “insurgents” who crowd out the few good-guy Omega 3s, he explained.

That double-whammy, he said, puts people at increased risk of suicide and other emotional distress.
Assessing the blood of 800 active-duty military members who committed suicide between 2002 and 2008, Hibbeln said all had “profoundly low levels of Omega 3 fatty acids, by evolutionary and world standards.”

The suicide victims had particularly low levels of docosahexaenoic acid or DHA, an Omega 3 fatty acid concentrated in the brain. The levels were so low that, based on other studies, it could have elevated the service members’ risk of suicide by 75 percent, Hibbeln said.

But equally troubling was that the control group in that study, which consisted of 800 active-duty service members, had similarly low levels of Omega 3s in their blood.

Hibbeln recalled another era in military history when a nutritional deficiency caused an operational challenge. Only when the British navy began feeding lemons and limes -- a great source of Vitamin C -- to its sailors did they stop suffering from debilitating cases of scurvy.

Recognizing the potential benefits of Omega 3s, the Army Natick Soldier Systems Center in Massachusetts, has started infusing them into combat rations. Natick food scientists already have started introducing them into lemon poppy seed cake and a salmon in alfredo sauce entree.

Hibbeln said he’s hoping the new study will show results like those in another he conducted that involved 49 patients who were admitted to an emergency room in Ireland for multiple episodes of “self harm.” In that study, all the patients were sent home from the hospital without psychotherapy services, but half received 2 grams of Omega 3 fatty acids to take each day.

The results among that experimental group impressed even Hibbeln. “The active group had reduced their suicidal thinking by 45 percent,” he said. “They reduced their depressive symptoms by 50 percent, reduced their perceptions of stress by 33 percent and increased their reports of a sense of happiness by 30 percent.”

Hibbeln acknowledged that he doesn’t expect a smoothie drink or fish-oil capsule to be the end-all in solving the chronic suicide problem among military members and veterans.

“Low Omega 3 fatty acids or low levels of any one nutrient are never going to be the sole cause of suicide or depression,” he said. “People are very complex, lives are complex and biology is complex. But when you kick the legs out of that fundamental nutrient, everything else gets worse and everything else gets magnified.”

But Marriott said she sees the new study as a way to give new hope to military members and veterans struggling with depression and suicidal tendencies. “We’re very excited about this, and the prospect that such a small change could make a big difference that helps a lot of people,” she said.

The findings could have far-reaching impact beyond the military, Marriott said, noting that suicide is the 10th largest cause of death in the United States.

“This study will have important ramifications, not just for veterans, but for all Americans,” she said.

Cyber security vital to 50 SW mission assurance

by Scott Prater
Schriever Sentinel

10/25/2012 - SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo.  -- October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month. As part of a nationwide campaign to inform Americans about the dangers and pitfalls of cyberspace, organizations such as the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Cyber Command have issued tips and advice for people on how to safeguard their computers from viruses, worms and malware; the culprits that crash hard drives, freeze applications and render systems useless.

For Air Force installations, however, these threats can be potentially much more damaging, both in scale and importance. Cyber security then, takes on a much bigger level of significance for 50 SW units both here and around the world.

"It's easy for many of us to think back to the last time our workstation went down, or our e-mail quit working" said 50 SW IA manager Deborah Turner. "In that scenario we can't get anything done. Now, think if that scenario occurred throughout the entire network at the 50 SW; our satellite operators could potentially be looking at blank screens."

It should be no surprise to Airmen, civilians and contractors on base that the 50 SW uses computers and networks to support theater operations.

Bill Nelson, 50 SW IA security engineer, explains that despite this knowledge, the insider threat remains one of the most severe threats to 50 SW networks.

"People sometimes think, 'I can't effect anything; they're flying satellites in another building,'" Nelson said. "But, it's this type of natural complacency or a lack of self importance from just one individual that can be devastating to a network, and in turn, to the wing's mission."

Nelson explained that these attitudes can be rectified through knowledge. All people need to do is develop an understanding of how their actions can effect a network.

Turner and Nelson recommend the following guidelines for maintaining proper cyber security while on duty at Schriever.

 Remember that you are part of this fighting force and your part of the fight is to protect your end of the network.
 Every unit has an assigned Information Assurance Officer. Know who your unit IAO is.
 Report anything out of the ordinary to your IAO.
 Become familiar with the IT service response aid. (every work station in the 50 SW at Schriever should have one)
 Never plug a USB thumb drive or other similar type of device into your network computer.
 Beware of phishing attempts.
 Never click on a web link from an unknown origin.
 Review your user network access privilege agreement.

Ultimately, Nelson and Turner contend that good cyber security practices stem from people taking personal responsibility.

"When you realize we have one Air Force network we're talking one single point of failure," Turner said. "We're not there yet, but we're headed that way, hence it's important for people to understand that the perimeter of their network is expanding. Before, if someone introduced a virus via a flash drive, all they would do is slow up a local network. Now, it's possible that same action could result in mission failure for warfighters in theater."

Osan plays major role in energy savings

by Staff Sgt. Stefanie Torres
51st Fighter Wing Public Affairs

10/26/2012 - OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- The Air Force is no stranger to the saying "do more with less," and that's exactly what Team Osan has in mind when being energy efficient.

The Department of Defense is the single largest consumer of energy in the nation and the Air Force consumes more energy than any other service, explained Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley at the 2012 National Clean Energy Summit Aug. 7.

"Energy is a critical part of everything we do in the Air Force and across DOD," Donley said. Reducing energy demand and increasing energy supply sources are vital areas as the department looks to identify efficiencies and expand capabilities, he added.

Therefore, during October's energy awareness month, Osan has stepped up to meet federal and executive order mandates to reduce annual energy usage, explained 2nd Lt. Lara Harris, 51st Civil Engineer Squadron energy conservation manager.

"Although saving energy is an on-going effort that each member should be participating daily in our lives, having a dedicated month to advertise energy conservation helps bring awareness to action," she said. "Since the mandates, Osan has met our annual goal every year of reducing our energy usage. The Air Force spends over $1 billion each year in facility energy - electricity, water, and heating fuel. Even if we save a few percentages, it plays a large part in the big Air Force picture."

Osan alone has installed smart meters, low-draw induction lights, detected water leaks, and researched possible clean energy sources, the captain explained. These projects as well as each individual's efforts have contributed to Osan's energy conservation successes, and it's easy.

"Everyone can play a part in saving energy," Harris said. "For dorm residents, it's as easy as replacing traditional light bulbs with CFL bulbs, which are available at the 51st CES Self-Help office. Turning off water faucets while brushing teeth or shaving, and ensuring windows are closed while AC is on makes a difference."

Airmen can also help at work by removing personal appliances, turning off lights or equipment, logging off computers, and reporting facility problems.

"Something as simple as everyone at Osan turning off their monitors at the end of the day and the start of weekends can save an annual amount of $82K base-wide," she said.

Osan was just awarded funding for a Ground Source Heat Pump project, the first-ever renewable energy project set to begin in November, explained the captain. The project will use geothermal energy for heating rather than purchasing expensive fuel.

"This is a key step toward meeting the federal goal of having 100 percent renewable energy by 2030," she said. "We can't do it without everyone's help. If everyone makes a conscious effort to conserve energy, we can continue to meet federal mandates and contribute to the fight as a team."

"The base energy team is developing more renewable and alternative energy type of projects," said Kristi Yu, 51st CES resource efficiency manager. "The next project will be the passive solar technology type application. The base energy team is putting the effort to help carbon footprint reduction through clean energy use."

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Assistant Attorney General for National Security Lisa Monaco Speaks at the “2012 Cybercrime Conference”

Good afternoon.   Thank you for having me here today.   I am grateful to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Washington and to U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan, for organizing a conference on this important topic.   Thank you all for taking the time out of your schedules to discuss these issues.   Events like these are critical to helping us succeed in combating cyber threats.
The Threat
If there is one thing we all know from the presentations today and our work in the field, it is the seriousness of the cyber threat.   The President has called it “one of the most serious economic and national security challenges we face as a nation.”   It’s hard to quibble with that.   Hardly a day goes by when cyber events don’t show up in the news.   As many of you know, over the last several weeks, financial institutions in the United States have been hit by a series of Distributed Denial of Service (or DDOS) attacks.   Such attacks are relatively easy to carry out, but they can cause serious harm by disrupting companies’ website services and preventing customer access.   Although these disruptions have been temporary, their frequency and persistence underscores recent Intelligence Community warnings about the “breadth and sophistication of computer network operations . . . by both state and nonstate actors.”   The cyber alarm bell has been rung.   The Intelligence Community’s most recent Worldwide Threat Assessment confirms that U.S. networks have already been subject to “extensive illicit intrusions.”   The head of the National Security Agency and the Pentagon’s Cyber Command, for one, believes such intrusions may have resulted in “the greatest transfer of wealth in history.”
We often think of national security threats, like that of a catastrophic terrorist attack, as questions about prevention.   But the cyber threat is not simply looming – it is here.   It is present and growing.   Although we have not yet experienced a devastating cyber attack along the lines of the “cyber Pearl Harbor” that Defense Secretary Panetta recently mentioned – we are already facing the threat of a death by a thousand cuts.   Outside the public eye, a slow hemorrhaging is occurring; a range of cyber activities is incrementally diminishing our security and siphoning off valuable economic assets.   This present-day reality makes the threat of cyber-generated physical attacks, like those that might disrupt the power grid, appear no longer to be the stuff of science fiction.   And all of this comes against the backdrop of sobering forecasts from the highest ranks of our national security community.   FBI Director Mueller – a man not prone to overstatement – predicts that “the cyber threat will pose the number one threat to our country” in “the not too distant future.”
Despite all we know about intrusions against U.S. businesses and government agencies, what is more sobering still is the Intelligence Community’s assessment that “many intrusions . . . are not being detected.”   Even with respect to those that are detected, identifying who is behind cyber activity can be uniquely challenging.   Technologies can obscure perpetrators’ identities, wiping away digital footprints or leaving investigative trails that are as long as the web is wide.   Cyber intrusions don’t announce themselves or their purpose at the threshold.   Depending on the circumstances, the purpose or endgame of a particular intrusion may be anyone’s guess – is it espionage?   Mere mischief?   Theft?   An act of war?  
The threats are as varied as the actors who carry them out.   A growing number of sophisticated state actors have both the desire and the capability to steal sensitive data, trade secrets, and intellectual property for military and competitive advantage.   While most of the state-sponsored intrusions we are aware of remain classified, the onslaught of network intrusions believed to be state-sponsored is widely reported in the media.   We know the Intelligence Community has noted that China and Russia are state actors of “particular concern,” and that “entities within these countries are responsible for extensive illicit intrusions into US computer networks and theft of US intellectual property.”   Indeed, “Chinese actors are,” according to a public report of our top counterintelligence officials, “the world’s most active and persistent perpetrators of economic espionage.”   And we know that Secretary of Defense Panetta has stated that “Iran has also undertaken a concerted effort to use cyberspace to its advantage.” 
In cases involving state actors and others, trusted insiders pose particular risks.   Those inside U.S. corporations and agencies may exploit their access to funnel information to foreign nation states.   In these cases, perimeter defense isn’t worth much; the enemy is already inside the gates.   The Justice Department has prosecuted a number of corporate insiders and others who obtained trade secrets or technical data from major U.S. companies and routed them to other nations via cyberspace.
Earlier this year, in the first indictment of foreign state-owned entities for economic espionage, several companies controlled by the government of China were charged in San Francisco for their alleged roles in stealing a proprietary chemical compound developed by a U.S. company for China’s benefit.   While this particular theft was not cyber-enabled, cyberspace makes economic espionage that much easier.   In an Internet age, it is no longer necessary to sneak goods out of the country in a suitcase; a single click of a mouse can transmit volumes of data overseas.   Indeed, the Department has secured convictions of individuals who stole corporate trade secrets by simply e-mailing them overseas.   In one recent case, a chemist downloaded a breakthrough chemical process just developed by his company in the United States and e-mailed it to a university in China where he had secretly accepted a new job.
The other major national security threat in cyberspace is cyber-enabled terrorism.   Although we have not yet encountered terrorist organizations using the Internet to launch a full-scale cyber attack against the United States, we believe it is a question of when, not if, they will attempt to do so.   Individuals affiliated with or sympathetic to terrorist organizations are seeking such capabilities. We have already seen terrorists exhorting their followers to engage in cyber attacks on America.   Just this year, an al-Qaeda video released publicly by the Senate Homeland Security Committee encouraged al-Qaeda followers to engage in “electronic jihad” by carrying out cyber attacks against the West.
Terrorists have already begun using cyberspace to facilitate bomb plots and other operations.   These activities go beyond the use of cyberspace to spread propaganda and recruit followers.   For example, the individuals who planned the attempted Times Square bombing in May 2010 used public web cameras for reconnaissance, file sharing sites to share operational details, and remote conferencing software to communicate.   Najibullah Zazi attempted to carry out suicide bomb attacks against the New York subways around the anniversary of 9/11 three years ago.   After returning to the United States from terrorist travel, he used the Internet to access the bomb-making instructions he had received in Pakistan and tried to communicate via the Internet in code with his al-Qaeda handlers in Pakistan just prior to the planned attack.   Khalid Aldawsari, who was convicted in June of this year in the Northern District of Texas, used the Internet extensively to research U.S. targets and to purchase chemicals and other bomb-making materials.
Evolving To Meet the Threat -- Learning from the Counterterrorism Model
The threats we face in cyberspace are changing, and we must change with them.   Of course, we have faced similar challenges before.   After the devastating attacks eleven years ago, we learned some hard lessons.   We have since put those lessons into practice:   working across agencies to share information, and bringing down legal, structural, and cultural barriers.   Law enforcement’s approach to terrorism has become intelligence-led and threat-driven.   We have erected new structures, including the National Security Division, which I am privileged to lead.   As the first new litigating division at the Justice Department in nearly fifty years, the National Security Division was created to bring together intelligence lawyers and operators on the one hand, and prosecutors and law enforcement agents on the other, to focus all talent on the threats before us.  
Since September 11, we have made great progress against terrorism by developing effective partnerships that help us identify threats and choose the best tools available to disrupt them.   Much of our success is attributable to the all-hands-on-deck approach we have adopted for countering terrorism.   From where I sit, I can see this change reflected in our day-to-day operations.   In our investigations, for instance, we actively seek to preserve the ability to prosecute even while using intelligence tools and vice versa.   We must bring the same approach, a whole-of-government approach, an all-tools approach, to combat cyber threats to our national security.   Investigations and prosecutions will be critical tools for deterrence and disruption, ones that we have a responsibility to use.   But they are not the only options available.   The diversity of cyber threats and cyber threat actors demands a diverse response.   This nation has many tools – intelligence, law enforcement, military, diplomatic, and economic – at its collective disposal as well as deep, and diverse, expertise.   The trick is in harnessing our collective resources to work effectively together.
Those of us charged with investigating and disrupting cyber threats to national security and advising operators and agents must be creative and forward-looking in our approach.   First, we must consider – in conjunction with our partners – what cyber threats will look like in the coming years.   Only by knowing what is on the horizon can we ensure that the right tools exist to address cyber threats before they materialize.   Second, we must be vigilant to prevent the formation of what the WMD Commission after 9/11 called “legal myths” that have led to “uncertainty” in the past “about real legal prohibitions” among operators.   And, together with operators, we must consider what kinds of tools, investigations, and outreach we can launch now to lay the groundwork for future cyber efforts.   These may be relatively simple things, like standardized protocols and established points of contact to make reporting intrusions easier.   Or they may take the form of institutional relationships between the government and the private sector for sharing information.   
On an operational level, both public and private sector attorneys need to be able to tell clients what options they have available to deal with cyber threats.   If cyberspace is an “information super-highway,” then lawyers are the GPS system in a client’s car:   It is our job to tell the client how to get there.   When obstacles get in the way, we should tell the client how to avoid them.   We must look ahead, anticipate jams, and route clients around them.  
This metaphor is particularly applicable in the cyber realm.   As cyber events unfold in real time, we learn more about our adversary, the means available to him or her, and the vulnerabilities in our own systems.   Our advice must adapt accordingly.   For those of us in government who act as operational lawyers, it is important in this environment to be clear about where the legal debate stops and the policy debate begins.   For those of you in the private sector, I imagine one concern is that your clients not be left vulnerable in a shifting legal landscape.   And for those of you in academia, we need your help testing boundaries and pushing forward with questions that need to be asked and answered by all of us as we navigate this legal space together.  
One of the significant operational challenges we face is the same one the Intelligence Community confronted in reorganizing itself after the attacks of September 11.   The cyber threat demands ready and fluid means of sharing information and coordinating our actions.   At the National Security Division, we have made this evolution, and combating this threat, a top priority.   Working with our partners – including the FBI, the U.S. Attorney community, and the Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section (one of their leaders, Richard Downing is here today) – we are ensuring that all resources are brought to bear against national security cyber threats.   
To help accomplish these goals, the National Security Division established earlier this year a National Security Cyber Specialists’ Network to serve as a one-stop shop in the Justice Department for national security-related cyber matters.   The network brings together experts from across the National Security Division and the Criminal Division and serves as a centralized resource for the private sector, prosecutors, and agents around the country when they learn of national security-related computer intrusions.   Each U.S. Attorney’s office around the country has designated a point of contact for the network.   These skilled Assistant U.S. Attorneys will act as force multipliers, broadening the network’s reach and ensuring a link back to their counterparts at headquarters.   Drawing upon the Joint Terrorism Task Force model, which has been successful in the terrorism realm, the network seeks to improve the flow of national security cyber information to offices throughout the country.   This means more information, earlier on, in national security cyber incidents.   Thanks to the contribution of other parts of the Department, especially CCIPS, the FBI, and the U.S. Attorney’s offices, the network has helped us to focus nationwide on bringing more national security cyber investigations.   Through this nationwide network, we are consolidating and deepening the Department’s expertise, institutionalizing information sharing, ensuring coordination, and pursuing investigations.
We have also trained our attention on the diverse cyber capabilities that reside throughout the government.   The U.S. Secret Service, the Department of Commerce, and the Department of Defense, not to mention the FBI, are all common partners in this fight, each using their distinct tools to achieve a common goal.   We have enhanced our joint work with the FBI’s National Cyber Investigative Joint Task Force, where we now have a dedicated National Security Division liaison.  
Within DOJ, we are putting more prosecutors against the threat and focusing on how to best equip and educate our cyber cadre.   Through the National Security Cyber Specialists’ Network, we are training prosecutors around the country.   Next month, more than 100 prosecutors will gather in Washington, D.C. to share expertise on everything from digital evidence to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.   No matter who the perpetrator is, being an effective adviser today requires an understanding of the technologies at hand.   Perhaps we should all take a page from Estonia—where I understand they’re beginning a system of teaching first graders how to program!   As courts confront these technologies, we also have a role in helping them grapple with what these changes mean for the development of the law and interpretations of existing legal authorities.
Partnership with the Private Sector
Of course, the need for collaboration does not end there.   While interaction with the private sector is something that does not always come easily to the national security community, which is accustomed to operating in secrecy, it is absolutely necessary here.   The Intelligence Community has noted the considerable portion of U.S. companies that report they have been the victims of cybersecurity breaches as well as the increased volume of malware on U.S. networks.   Private companies are on the front lines.   Individual defenses, as well as broader efforts to reform – like the legislation proposed by the Administration last year – will require our joint efforts.
To succeed in these efforts, we must develop a greater understanding of the concerns and pressures under which our private sector partners operate.   A home computer user, whose machine is used in a botnet attack might not have much incentive to remove or check for malware.   But a company targeted by such an attack has considerable incentive to do so.   When dealing with corporate victims, the government must understand the competing interests at play.   Companies may have shareholders, reputational concerns, and sometimes legal limitations.   Yet we cannot fight the current or the future threat with old mindsets on either side.   My colleague, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, has spoken compellingly about the need for a “culture of security” and a “culture of disclosure” in industry.   For our part, we need to understand the private sector’s concerns; we need to understand that it is not just the red tape of government that industry fears.   They also fear that the disclosure of computer intrusions will bring yellow tape as well – that it will disrupt business by converting the corporate suite into a crime scene.   Reporting breaches and thefts of information is the first step toward preventing future harm.   For our part, we will work with industry.   We will share information where we can and use protective orders and other tools to protect confidential and proprietary information.  
How we respond to cyber intrusions and attacks, and how we organize and equip ourselves going forward, will have lasting effects on our government and its relationship with the private sector.   Particularly in these early moments, in what will no doubt be a sustained endeavor, it is incumbent upon us to take notes – to identify impediments, legal questions, technical challenges, and address them together.   All the while we must bear in mind the great potential of these technologies and the importance of not stifling them as we find better ways to make them secure.
We have heard the warnings about the potential for a cyber 9/11, but we are, for the moment, in a position to do something to prevent it.   The cyber threat poses the next test of the imperative that we see law enforcement and national security as joint endeavors.   Our work offers an opportunity to demonstrate the strength and adaptability of the lessons we have learned over the last eleven years in the fight against terrorism.   U.S. Attorney’s Offices – and all of you sitting in this room – are at the forefront of these issues.   I look forward to pursuing the threats we face in partnership.   Thank you for being with us today.

Excellence in estimating: JB Charleston PMEL shop strives for perfection

by Staff Sgt. Rasheen Douglas
Joint Base Charleston Public Affairs

10/25/2012 - JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C. -- From calibrating torque wrenches to bomb diagnostic equipment, one shop lives up to its name as the "back shop of all back shops." The Precision Measurement Equipment Laboratory on Joint Base Charleston - Air Base makes sure Airmen can accurately and precisely take care of their equipment to perform their jobs.

This shop consists of 20 Airmen with a mission that seems to never stop.

PMEL supports all the units at JB Charleston. However, PMEL's support far extends beyond the borders of the base. They provide regional support for Air Mobility Command as well as multiple Coast Guard vessels.

PMEL calibrates and repairs test measurement and diagnostic equipment. Their job requires expert knowledge of many mathematical formulas.

"The slightest measurement, even a micro-inch off, can mean the difference between life and death," said Tech. Sgt. Patrick Howells, TMDE assistant flight chief. "An error in calibrating even the smallest piece of equipment could lead to catastrophic consequences down the line."

"PMEL is responsible for calibrating nearly 5,000 pieces of equipment at any given time,"said Howells. "Fifty-five percent of the workload comes from JB Charleston, 15 percent is their own equipment used to help the shop maintain standards, and 30 percent supports off-base customers ... one of which is Boeing. "

They work with Boeing in testing the test cell used to access their engines. They help certify that the test cell is accurately calibrating vibration, oil pressures and the engine's thrust of power.

Across the Air Force, PMEL houses their own Quality Assurance team, and JB Charleston is no exception. Highly-trained members are selected from within the lab and are responsible for ensuring the items certified by PMEL technicians are safe, accurate, reliable and traceable. The PMEL QA team also monitors the laboratory environment to include lighting, cleanliness, positive airflow, humidity and temperature.

The PMEL shop must also maintain a 73-degree temperature. It is imperative that the PMEL facility stays at this temperature and doesn't lose power because certain PMEL equipment needs about 45 days to warm up. It would stop equipment from being calibrated and returned to use, affecting mission effectiveness, according to Howells.

Recently, the PMEL upgraded to a $90,000 facility to help keep their equipment at the right temperature. The facility remains at 73 degrees 98 percent of the time, which allows the unit to remain a certified PMEL shop.

PMEL's last inspection was completed in October, 2011 and the lab received an on-the-spot certification.

Inspections are conducted every two years, and the top enlisted experts in the career field inspect the shop for a full week. The inspection is similar to a Unit-Compliance Inspection and evaluates the PMEL's technicians, practices and procedures.

"JB Charleston has received three consecutive on-the-spot certifications," said Howells. "I've been in the career field for 15 years now and never have I seen any PMEL shop have three consecutive on-the-spot certifications."

As PMEL continually strives for perfection, in the background they help JB Charleston perform its successful mission.

Saving money and the environment the hazardous way

by Tech. Sgt. Phillip Butterfield
35th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

10/25/2012 -  MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan -- Like most large industrial areas, Misawa Air Base produces hazardous waste as a byproduct of its daily activities. Some of the waste produced includes used oil, lead acid batteries and paint. But, where does it all go?

Thankfully, the base has an area setup to handle and store hazardous waste; keeping it from polluting the environment and helping people and the base save money.

The hazardous waste storage area, located on main base, operates in a hub and spoke fashion, with approximately 40 waste collection points feeding the storage area.

"It's important to handle hazardous waste correctly so it doesn't get out into the environment," said Senior Airman Bryan Alvarado, 35th Logistics Readiness Squadron Vehicle Maintenance Support Section technician. "Plus, you need to be trained to handle hazardous materials, not everyone can do it."

In fiscal year 2012, the hazardous waste storage area collected or had brought to them more than 77,000 tons of hazardous waste. This waste was then transferred off base helping to keep the environment free from pollution.

However, keeping hazardous waste under control and the environment clean isn't the only activity that takes place at the area. The hazardous waste storage area saves the base money by using local contractors for waste disposal and saves people money by operating a free issue and turn in supply point.

"Last year we used local contractors to get rid of our waste oil and fuel and only spent 6,000 Yen," said Koji Takayama, hazardous waste storage area site manager. "Normally, we would have the Defense Logistics Agency here hire a contractor to come and get these fluids at 20 Yen a pound and when you have 105 tons it can get expensive."

Moreover, the real money saving treasure isn't the use of local contractors, it's the free issue. Free issue is a section of the hazardous waste storage area where people can bring their unwanted household cleaners, car care products or bottled gases in for free. Then it gets sorted and people can come in and take whatever they want for free.

"This is a win-win," said Takayama. "We save the environment by using up chemicals and not just throwing them away, and if we have what you are looking for you can have it for free."

Industry Partnerships Key to Mobility Strategy, Official Says

By Claudette Roulo
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 25, 2012 – The Defense Department's partnerships with industry, particularly in the mobile realm, are essential to its future success, the department’s deputy chief information officer for command, control, communications and computers and information infrastructure said here yesterday.
"I think that's what's going to make or break us in the future," Air Force Maj. Gen. Robert E. Wheeler told attendees at the 2012 Security Innovation Network conference.

DOD's plans for mobility, spectrum policy and programs, and national leadership command capabilities all are interconnected, he said.

Mobility -- the ability to perform the department’s functions in various locations -- hinges on the effective use of the wireless spectrum across all of DOD's systems, Wheeler said. This includes planning for the president's order to free up 500 megahertz of the spectrum, as well as future technological changes. National leadership command capabilities tie back to mobility as well, he added, because the president and other senior leaders need the ability to make decisions while on the move, anywhere in the world.

"They're all tied together," he said, "and there's a thread that goes between them all."

Wheeler said that DOD's agility -- its ability to change quickly in response to technology -- worries him.
"This is an area that DOD is getting better at, but we're still not perfect yet," he said. "Our acquisition programs are known throughout the world to be large, … but not to be very fast."

That's something that has to change, especially in regard to "tech-heavy" areas, Wheeler said. "We're trying to make sure that the way we write our programs and build them [includes] that ability, the agility, to move and to change quickly, unlike in the past."

The need for speed must be balanced with security, he said, and DOD is working with industry to accomplish that from the beginning of the acquisitions process. "No matter which way you look at this, we have to have cybersecurity dialed in from the beginning,” he added. “It has to be dialed in at the right level and dialed in at the right speed."

DOD also has to be able to move more quickly in the mobility arena, he said. Mobility is an important part of being able to keep up with change, he added, noting that decisions now are made at a much higher rate than in the past, and DOD is going to become much smaller in the future.

"What do we have to have? Access to information any time, anywhere and on any device," Wheeler said. Without communications, DOD can't conduct operations, he said.

DOD released its mobile device strategy earlier this year, and will release the implementation plan in the next few days, the general said. The bottom line, he said, is that DOD's approach to mobile devices provides cost savings to the nation, increases communications security and jumps the productivity curve.

DOD has an "intense" interest in adapting commercial mobile technology, Wheeler said, noting that mobility pilot programs are ongoing throughout the department. All of them use mobile devices to communicate in one of three ways: off the network, or via commercial Internet; secure but unclassified; or classified.

Each of the three "bins," he said, has unique security requirements and will have its own application store where users can download mission-related apps.

The Pentagon has issued an open request for proposals to build the mobile applications store, Wheeler said. Applications submitted to the store will be approved, disapproved or returned for revision within 90 days, he added.

"The key to us is streamlined certification," Wheeler said. "If somebody says [certification will take] six months to a year, it's useless. … Things change too dramatically. Even 90 days is probably a little bit too long."

Mobility also is tied to spectrum policy, the general said.

The president has asked for the federal government and commercial industries to clear 500 MHz of spectrum to use for economic development, he said. That could enable broadband companies to put a 4G network, for example, across the nation, including in rural areas, he added.

A change like that would have an extremely significant economic impact on the country, Wheeler said, similar to the impact of GPS and other breakthroughs.

"I would argue that it would transform the nation," the general added.

But vacating spectrum is costly and time-consuming, Wheeler said, as it requires equipment replacement and new acquisition strategies. And because U.S. allies have bought equipment that frequency shifts would affect, it also has international implications. Those allies may not be able to simply change to a different frequency, because their home country's spectrum also may be crowded, he explained.

"In the future, we have to have the ability to go to multiple bands with our equipment," Wheeler said, and to be cost-effective, that ability needs to be built into the planning process from the beginning.

Spectrum crowding isn't strictly a negative issue, the general said. "Scarcity is the mother of all inventions," he said, noting that new ways to use the communications spectrum have been developed that probably wouldn't have been had there been enough spectrum to go around.

For example, he said, some new technologies allow a frequency to be shared, rather than owned by a single user who may not use its full capacity. In the short term, Wheeler said, DOD is shifting the focus to sharing frequencies instead of clearing and auctioning off frequencies.

Long-term spectrum plans include exploring the concept of a national spectrum research facility and developing a long-term spectrum strategy, the general said.

DOD is working on increasing system flexibility, operations agility and refreshing and updating the regulatory framework, Wheeler said.

"While we're working very quickly to do this, we also have to have the regulatory requirements -- to include laws -- that allow us to do some of that sharing," he said. But that can be a slow process, he added, so the regulatory process has to become faster and work in tandem with the acquisition process.

Long-term Defense Department strategy has to connect to the national and commercial strategies, Wheeler said. "Connecting those dots is something that we have been trying to do for about the past decade correctly, and I actually think we're getting close," the general said.

Industry can help by understanding the budget and political environments, Wheeler said. "It's an environment where, obviously, all of the budgets are restricted right now … as our nation comes out of the economic slump," he said.

Despite what many view as a negative economy, Wheeler said, he sees a lot of opportunity for development. "Watching all the innovation [coming] out of scarcity in the Department of Defense … shows me that there's probably more opportunity now than there's been in many years to fix some of the problems that have been difficult in the past."

Success will consist of a partnership between government and industry, Wheeler said, noting that many companies are finding out they need the same levels of cybersecurity and innovation as DOD does.
"If you come in and make it more secure, cheaper for the department overall and help us with productivity, you're going to get in the door, because that's what we need,” the general said. “It's good for the taxpayer, it's good for the nation, and I don't care what agency you're going into, they're going to need your help."

DOD Seeks Ways to Streamline Information Sharing

By Amaani Lyle
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 25, 2012 – Streamlined information sharing between the government and the private sector would benefit efforts to protect the nation from a cyberattack, a senior Defense Department official said here today.

Eric Rosenbach, deputy assistant secretary of defense for cyber policy, said in a panel discussion during the Security Innovation Network’s annual conference that while he and his colleagues have a mandate to defend the nation from cyberattack, the process is complex.

“One of the key aspects is … being able to see an attack coming, … and the only way you’re going to be able to do that is from information that almost certainly comes from the private sector in addition to intelligence sources,” Rosenbach said.

Legislation is the “nudge” DOD and its partners need to standardize the information-sharing policy process in light of the volume of information traded between the government and private sector, Rosenbach said. A proactive approach within the law, he added, can minimize haphazard information sharing and cybersecurity once a threat is detected.

“We spend a lot of time trying to reform [the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act] to put in a legal parameter … that would allow the federal government to do the things we need it to do in terms of surveillance and warning,” he said. Precision and clear roles and responsibilities, such as the Department of Homeland Security leading domestic cybersecurity, can enable optimal collaboration among the departments and services while teaming with the private sector, he added.

“We really are thinking hard about how to slenderize [information sharing policy] and make it more agile … to get more innovation in and also [how to] simplify the acquisition process,” Rosenbach said.

The last year has been encouraging for DOD cyber policy officials, he said, and further refining policy in coming years will help to make organizational aspects clear, if not bolstered.
“We’ve made a lot of progress on policy issues that had been kind of stagnant,” Rosenbach said.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Public Safety Technology in the News

A Closer Look at the Forensic Science of Fibers
St. Olaf College News, (10/09/2012), Rachel Palermo

A Minnesota college will research new ways to analyze fibers found during crime scene investigations, thanks to a $114,000 grant from the National Institute of Justice. St. Olaf College associate professor of chemistry Doug Beussman will work with students over the next three years to research analysis of trace forensic evidence using isotope ratio mass spectrometry. As explained in the St. Olaf College News, currently, when fiber or thread is found at a crime scene, the color and the type of fabric can be determined, but cannot be connected to a specific shirt. However, the atoms in the fabric’s molecules can relate to where the material is from because the environment affects the pattern of isotopes. Different white cotton T-shirts have different isotope patterns and can be distinguished from one another. Connecting the T-shirt fibers found at the crime scene to the T-shirt of a suspect could count as circumstantial evidence, according to Beussman.
Link to Article

Governor Malloy Comes to Thomaston to Announce $500,000 Grant for Emergency Communications
Litchfield County Times, (10/10/2012)

The town of Thomaston, Ct., has received a $500,000 state grant to help pay for a $4 million upgrade to the town’s municipal emergency communications system. The new system will include mobile radios for vehicles, portable radios that can be carried and two 130-foot tall towers to supplement two existing towers. The system will be used by all town public safety departments, public works, the highway department and the Water Pollution Control Authority. Thomaston citizens approved the project during a town meeting in September. The state grant will help alleviate the tax impact on citizens.
Link to Article

Law Enforcement Logs On: How Authorities Use Online Activity to Fight Gang-Related Crime
CBS News, (10/10/2012), Julia Dahl

Due to recent success using social media to investigate gang activity, the New York City Police Department is doubling the size of its gang squad and emphasizing that officers should monitor social media sites. NYPD is among a growing number of police departments using social media as an investigative tool. Jeremiah Johnson of the National White Collar Crime Center (NWCC) said more police departments are requesting training, and the International Association of Chiefs of Police found that 74 percent of 600 law enforcement agencies recently surveyed said they are using social media to help solve crimes. Officers can create their own false profiles and obtain information. Also, to help law enforcement capture more social media activity, NWCC is adding new X1 Social Discovery software to its social media training. The software allows police to input monikers from sites such as Facebook and Twitter, and the software will scan for updates to those accounts.
Link to Article

Cuyahoga County Sheriff: Super High Tech Boat Coming to Cleveland to Patrol & Protect Lake Erie
newsnet5.com, (10/11/2012), Paul Kiska

The Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Department has a new 30-foot boat to help combat crime on Lake Erie. The Boston Whaler is equipped with advanced tools and technology to fight drug smuggling, human trafficking, terrorism and other crimes. The boat was paid for using a grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The Lorain County Sheriff’s Department has been using a $500,000 Boston Whaler for nearly a year.
Link to Article

Atlanta Council Votes to Spend $2 Million for Video Cameras
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, (10/15/2012), Ernie Suggs

Atlanta will be getting an additional 112 security cameras. The city council has approved $2.25 million for the cameras, which are part of an effort to address crime largely in downtown areas. Most of the cameras will be installed in the Zone 5 police district, which includes downtown, Georgia State University, Georgia Tech, midtown, Atlantic Station and the Georgia Dome. The other cameras will be spread in the other five zones. The additional cameras will bring the total number of cameras in the city to 762. The cameras are monitored out of the city’s Loudermilk Video Integration Center, which is housed in the city’s E911 Center.
Link to Article

Marshall Police, WV State Police Receive Innovation for Justice Award
HuntingtonNews.Net, (10/17/2012)

Marshall University and the West Virginia State Police have received a United States Attorney’s Award for Innovation in Justice for their collaborations on digital forensics, DNA testing and investigations. The award recognized the noteworthy 20-year partnership and collaboration between the Marshall University Forensic Science Center and the West Virginia State Police. Cpl. Robert J. Boggs, a digital forensics investigator with the police, said, “Having a law enforcement investigative element placed inside an academic institution provides a chance to combine resources and efforts to do real good for the public. Digital forensics changes very rapidly, and having access to academic resources from professors and graduate students as well as access to the best hardware and software really makes a difference when investigating, and ultimately having a successful prosecution.”
Link to Article

Some Pittsburgh Motorcycle, Bicycle Officers Now Wear Cameras
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, (10/18/2012, Taryn Luna

Pittsburgh police are embracing the old adage, “a picture is worth a thousand words.” About 45 motorcycle and bicycle officers are now wearing cameras while on patrol. The cameras are slightly larger than a tube of lipstick and can be mounted on sunglasses, uniforms and helmets. The cameras cost about $1,000 each and can hold up to four hours of audio and video recordings. Officers have to manually turn the devices off and on. The vendor is working on upgrading the device to include an automatic record trigger, which should be available next spring.
Link to Article

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Police Wellness and Survival
PoliceOne.com, (10/17/2012), Charles Remsberg

During a recent webinar, health experts offered several suggestions for how law enforcement officers can fight fatigue, stress and other health issues that often come with the job. Behavioral scientists provided updates on the state of the profession during a 90-minute national webinar called “Healthy Officers Are Safer Officers,” sponsored by Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and the National Institute of Justice. The scientists discussed problems that urgently need to be addressed to improve officer wellness and performance and reduce officer deaths. Citing potential safety-related fatigue problems, one researcher found that officers on 12-hour shifts tended to be sleepier and less alert. Eight-hour shifts were associated with five times more overtime than 10-hour shifts and three times more than 12-hour shifts. Another researcher said 40 percent of officers are plagued by sleep problems. Suggestions from the panelists include screening officers for sleep disorders, regular exercise to help counter dangerous tiredness, peer support programs, and instilling a “culture of wellness” in law enforcement officers, starting in the police academy.
Link to Article

Will Private DNA Services Replace State Crime Labs?
Government Technology, (10/11/ 2012), Brian Heaton

A new Cloud-based DNA service could possibly serve as an alternative to state-run crime labs for DNA processing. The advantage of the technology, which is called Local Entry Accessible DNA (LEAD) and which uses Rapid DNA tools, is that police departments would sometimes not have to rely on state agencies to get samples processed. Existing DNA profiles can be uploaded to the LEAD database via an Internet connection by a local state crime lab, or can be sent to the lab of Sorenson Forensics, which developed the LEAD technology, to be analyzed and added to the LEAD system. However, using Rapid DNA is limited to cheek swabs, so genetic material taken from other areas of the body would have to be processed in a traditional laboratory. Also, LEAD is not connected to the FBI national DNA database that state crime labs use; the system would search on an individual agency’s database, or agencies could elect to share their databases with one another.
Link to Article

Prince George’s County Wins $432K Public Safety Grant
BowiePatch, (10/18/2012), Bryan P. Sears and John Davisson
The U.S. Department of Justice has awarded Prince George’s County a $432,311 grant as part of $6.3 million provided to the state, county and local governments in Maryland for violent crime reduction. The funding is based on a formula that considers population and violent crime statistics. Money from the program is used to pay for law enforcement, prosecutions, education, drug treatment and technology improvements. Neighboring Montgomery County received a total of $159,701; Baltimore received the most funding, at $762,900.
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