Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

February 28, 2014

Friday Free Forum

Filed under: General Homeland Security — by Philip J. Palin on February 28, 2014

On this day in 1993 various law enforcement agencies raid the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas.  This unfolding event will involve a wide range of natural, accidental, and intentional factors over the next fifty days.

What’s on your mind related to homeland security?

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Comment by E. Earhart

February 28, 2014 @ 6:23 am

Happy 75th Birthday U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary

Since 1939, when congress established the U.S. Coast Guard Reserve in an effort to build upon the boating experiences of civilians, Auxiliarists have reached out to their communities and supported the men and women of the Coast Guard.

Auxiliary members build upon their skills developed in their military and civilian careers to serve as a force multiplier.

Each year, Coast Guard auxiliarists volunteer more than two million hours benefiting boaters and their families.

JHC, is this organization a “force multiplier”? Do they provide assistance during emergency situations?


Comment by E. Earhart

February 28, 2014 @ 6:25 am

US SS, part of DHS, international, and not just POTUS Protection

Counterfeit Currency Found In Illinois Strip Club.
The Peoria (IL) Journal Star 2/25, reports that hundreds of counterfeit $20 bills were recovered at a strip club in Peoria, Illinois. The bills were discovered to be counterfeit by a customer exchanging bills with another customer. The bills were collected to be turned over to the Secret Service.


Comment by E. Earhart

February 28, 2014 @ 6:30 am

DHS . . . Modern Day Monuments Men

Rare vessel headed back to Italy.
HSI calls it the transfer back to the Italian government “the culmination of an extensive investigation” by HSI. The item returned was a kalpis, “a ceramic vessel used in ancient times for holding water.” This particular “vessel dates to about 510 B.C. and is valued at about $665,000.” According to HSI, “more than 6,600 artifacts have been returned to 24 countries” since 2007.

HSI Investigation Into Sale Of Korean Artifact Leads To Detroit Arrest. HSI said in a statement that it is a “committed partner in the effort to ensure that items like these are returned to their rightful owners.” HSI officials “note the division plays a leading role in criminal investigations that involve the illegal importation and distribution of cultural property, including the illicit trafficking of cultural property. The division’s Office of International Affairs, through its 73 attaché offices in 47 countries, works closely with foreign governments to conduct joint investigations.”

HSI agents “have returned more than 6,600 illegally transported artifacts to 24 countries since 2007, including paintings, manuscripts and other cultural items taken from France, Germany, Poland, Austria, Italy, Peru, China, Cambodia and Iraq.”

Comment by John Comiskey

February 28, 2014 @ 6:36 am

On Friday February 28,2014 smart HLS risk management is on this HLS-minded bloggers mind. Risk management has something to do with smart practices.

Smart practice are interesting/clever ideas embedded in some practice that might be applicable to another
situation. See: http://www.amazon.com/Practical-Guide-Policy-Analysis-Eightfold/dp/1608718425/ref=sr_1_1?

Comment by John Comiskey

February 28, 2014 @ 6:38 am

HS Risk Lexicon -A HLS smart practice

In 2010, DHS’s Risk Steering Committee defined risk as the “potential for an unwanted outcome resulting from an incident, event, or occurrence, as determined by its likelihood and the associated consequences.”

The committee also offered a “sample usage” and an “extended definition” of the term:

Sample Usage: The team calculated the risk of a terrorist attack after analyzing intelligence reports, vulnerability assessments, and consequence models.

Extended Definition: potential for an adverse outcome assessed as a function of threats, vulnerabilities, and consequences associated with an incident, event, or occurrence.

The committee was informed by the Risk Lexicon Working Group that included representatives from DHS components that served as the HLS Risk Community of Interest. Notably, the definitions were developed through a three-phase process:

1 collection
2 harmonization
3 validation, review, and normalization (included validation against non-DHS sources)

The committee’s three-phase process is commendable. Defining clearly terms like risk is a HLS imperative. Members of the HLS enterprise must make risk-based decisions. To do so, the enterprise must understand risk and its broadest implications.

So too must members of the HLS enterprise understand “homeland security” and its broadest implications.

Were a HLS Community of Interest to define HLS, they might adapt the three-part process smartly.

QHSR 2014 do tell

Comment by John Comiskey

February 28, 2014 @ 6:40 am

Top Ten Global Risks Template -Another HLS smart practice

The World Economic Forum’s Top Ten 2014 Global Risks 2014 might serve a HLS Risk Profile Smart Practice Template

The World Economic Forum (WEF) identifies itself as an independent organization committed to improving the state of the world by engaging business, political, academic, and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas. See http://www.weforum.org/ and http://www.weforum.org/reports.

Other sources, however, thought less of the WEF. See:http://www.huffingtonpost.com/steven-strauss/us-politicians-meeting-with-criminal-entities_b_4586094.html

WEF Top Ten Global Risks

1 Fiscal crises in key economies
2 Structurally high unemployment/underemployment
3 Water crises
4 Severe income disparity
5 Failure of climate change mitigation and adaptation
6 Greater incidence of extreme weather events
7 Global governance failure
8 Food crises
9 Failure of a major financial mechanism/institution
10 Profound political and social instability

HLS is a broad community of interests (HLS Enterprise) that prevents, mitigates, responds to, and helps others recover from all-hazards. All-hazards is broadly defined here as intentional, natural, and accidental threats.

The Strategic National Risk Assessment and its mandated National Preparedness Goal purport to serve as a unifying national risk profile that facilitates preparedness. See: http://www.dhs.gov/xlibrary/assets/rma-strategic-

This blogger thinks that the SNRA, NPG, and the now annual national preparedness reports are smart ideas.

GAO concluded that DHS (in this case mostly FEMA) has made preparedness progress, but much more can be done. See: http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-13-637T

DHS should adapt the WEF template smartly

Comment by E. Earhart

February 28, 2014 @ 6:41 am

Waco and Ruby Ridge

The Waco incident also brings to mind another similar situation . . . Ruby Ridge. Bureau Hostage Rescue Team (HRT) Commander same person in each incident.

Comment by John Comiskey

February 28, 2014 @ 6:43 am

Risk (the board game) -Another HLS smart practice

Russian President Vladimir Putin called the collapse the USSR “the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the [20th]century.”

Ukraine stands between the core of the former USSR and the West or at least the E.U.

The annexation of the Sudetenland was a prelude to a meta-geopolitical catastrophe -the invasion of Poland by the former Third Reich and predecessor USSR.

As Charles Krauthammer suggests, the current situation has the underpinnings of a 1939 Munich agreement less the marching armies and more so economic imperialism. See above link.

Hasbro, the current producers, of the 1957 board game Risk (originally The Conquest of the World) might have to update the game again to reflect the Ukraine crisis. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Risk_(game)

The object of the board game is to occupy every territory on the board [map of the world] and in doing so, eliminate the other players. The game has gone through several revisions even a peace-objective knockoff -Glasnost The Game. See:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glasnost_The_Game.

The HLS enterprise should adapt the game of Risk to the unique needs of the HLS landscape.

BTW, the Wikipedia Risk page above provides outcome probabilities that exceed GAO data-metric prerequisites.

Comment by E. Earhart

February 28, 2014 @ 6:46 am

“Waco: More than Simple Blunders?”
by Joe Rosenbloom III
Wall Street Journal October 17, 1995

The sabotage of an Amtrak train in Arizona last week and the bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City in April have a common element: a Waco connection. “Remember Waco” is the subtext to these flagrant crimes, either as true terrorist motive or red herring.
Mistakes that the government made at Waco are likely to be long remembered.

Comment by John Comiskey

February 28, 2014 @ 6:58 am

E. Earhart,

USCG Auxiliary are force multipliers and uniquely so. They see many things and both say some things and do some (significant) things. [See something-say something exemplar]

Auxiliarists provide aerial and nautical beacons/platforms on vast high seas and local waterways. They know what is wrong with maritime situations because they know what is right (safe/secure). Some have unique communications capabilities and training alongside regulars.

WWII necessarily demonstrated Auxiliary coast watching capabilities AND significance of Merchant Marine.

Comment by William R. Cumming

February 28, 2014 @ 8:37 am

Great comments by all!

I continue to struggle with basics like what are the first principles of HLS and EM? One that must be observed is that actions taken must be Constitutional. Thanks Phil for your continued discussion and interest in the founding charter.

Another is that as I have continued to point out from time to time the Stafford Act could use a comprehensive restatement. IT IS NEITHER AN ALL-HAZARDS statute nor a comprehensive domestic response system. Could it be and/or should it be?

I recently requested of my two US Senators that they task CRS to do a long-range study of the policy and legal implications of the absence from that Act of the following terms:
[1] Climate change;
[2] Public health;
[3] Terrorism;
[4] radiological [incidents and events].

As with most of my requests to Congress probably no answer back. Yet I think readers of this blog might quickly come up with the significance of these omitted terms.

And of course there are other holes in the domestic crisis management system mandated to be developed by the Executive Branch.

Comment by John Comiskey

February 28, 2014 @ 8:59 am

HLS is an evolution of primary issue attention cycles. Hence the tyranny of the ad hocs.

Stafford Act does need comprehensive (all-hazards) and not ad hoc reform.

Comment by William R. Cumming

February 28, 2014 @ 9:21 am

John C.! The Annual Preparedness report was statutorily mandated in PKEMRA 2006. That statute fully effective March 31,2007. Four [4] have been released to-date.

Comment by Meredith

February 28, 2014 @ 1:00 pm

While browsing through DrudgeReport.com I found an interesting article that had to do with Homeland Security. The article is about “students and staff at Tennessee State University will be required to present identification badges at any time that can also track their movements in and out of buildings” (Torres, 2014). http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/372240/tenn-state-university-requires-students-wear-trackable-ids-alec-torres This new policy is as result of multiple break ins and vandalism around the campus. As expected this new policy has some students worried about their privacy while others believe that it will make the campus safer. However, as of right now the school doesn’t care what the student’s opinion is. “Failure to comply with the new policy may result in employee disciplinary action, student judicial action, or removal from University property” (Torres, 2014).

It’s interesting this article just came out at the same time our Homeland Security Class in technology is learning about Radio Frequency Identification (RFID). It’s no surprise reading this article and learning that Universities are now adopting updated id badges to track student’s movement. Government offices and agencies around the U.S. have been doing this since 9/11 to prevent unauthorized people, “fraud, counterfeiting and exploitation”(Datacard, 2014). http://www.datacard.com/government/government-employee-and-military-id

Comment by William R. Cumming

February 28, 2014 @ 3:08 pm

Thanks Meredith! Could be and IMO an important development! Do all cell phones now have reverse 911 and tracking capability?

Disclosure: I have land line only!

My understanding is over 1M land lines dropped monthly in USA!

Comment by Justin Blake

February 28, 2014 @ 4:18 pm

Meredeth, this is a very important issue that has been seen emerging in more public places over the last several years. This technology was once only used in the most secure government facilities, then large corporations, now it is used in almost every work-place and school across the country. In all dormitories on the Monmouth University campus a student or employee must scan a University I.D. in order to unlock the door to the building. In many cases these entrances and exits are logged into a networked system providing information on when a person comes or goes from a specific area.In more sophisticated programs, individuals that carry the transponders with them are able to be tracked with their exact movements through-out an area outfitted with the proper receivers. “Alliance Tech is a company that specializes in this activity; they produce radio frequency identification (RFID) tags and tracking software for companies as well as analyze the data to see what employees are most efficient and if they are in areas they are not supposed to be.”(alliancetech.com, 2014) The RFID tags also only enable authorized users to open certain doors and even activate certain equipment.
During my time interning for my counties Prosecutors Office, I was also introduced to a way of tracking individuals by using cellular and wi-fi based technology. Even if a cell tower is unable to find the exact location of someone at a specific time, if the wi-fi connection is activated any wi-fi hot spot can pick up on the signal and it is logged, even if the wi-fi connection is not actually connected to that specific hot spot. In a world where privacy becomes less and less, we should always be expected to be monitored and tracked; how that information is used and interpreted as well as who can view it is a completely different debate.


Comment by E. Earhart

February 28, 2014 @ 7:28 pm

Does anyone know what the traditional gift is for an 11th Anniversary?

Comment by David Gomez

February 28, 2014 @ 8:16 pm

Items made of steel are the traditional gift for the 11th anniversary. Might I suggest a locomotive?

I wanted to comment on your observations regarding Ruby Ridge and Waco. Having been involved in both incidents while a member of the Behavioral Science Unit at the FBI Academy, it is correct to assume that mistakes by the government are long remembered. While the FBI is frequently the object of derision for the ultimate actions at both locations, it is prudent to note that both incidents were precipitated by the actions of other federal law enforcement agencies, not the FBI. However, in my opinion, it doesn’t matter what agency started or ended either incident; what is remembered is the actions/perceived over-reactions of the US Government. The current state of anti-government rhetoric is probably the biggest terrorist threat domestically, above and well beyond that posed by transnational terrorist groups like al Qa’ida.

Comment by David Gomez

February 28, 2014 @ 8:24 pm

I was wondering if you are aware of the extent to which private corporations track the activities of customers? Many businesses have counters at the doorway in order to track the number of patrons who enter and leave an establishment in order to calculate the percentage of sales by visitor. And at the point of sale, names, credit card numbers, e-mail address’s and sales history are all collected with or without a patrons permission in order to develop marketing strategies. And yet we grouse over the government or quasi-government institution’s similar attempts to collect information in order to provide not sales data, but updated security.

From a homeland security perspective i wonder why we differentiate between what private industry is allowed to collect and analyze and what the US Govt is allowed top collect and analyze. Comments?

Comment by E. Earhart

February 28, 2014 @ 8:36 pm

Mr. Gomez, thank you for shedding light on the proper protocol for an 11th Anniversary. It is no surprise someone from the Bureau would have been right on it.

February 28, 2014

Tomorrow, March 1st, we mark eleven years since the creation of the Department of Homeland Security.

. . .

Our greatest challenge within DHS, and within the homeland security community, is to learn from and adapt to the changing character of the evolving threats and hazards we face. 9/11; Hurricane Katrina in 2005; the underwear bomber in 2009; the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010; Hurricane Sandy in 2012; and the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013 illustrate these evolving threats and hazards.

Through these challenges and others, we have accomplished a lot: We have worked to keep the traveling public secure, protected our borders and ports of entry, welcomed the newest citizens of our great country, worked hand in hand with our partners in communities across the country to respond to natural disasters, and helped improve cybersecurity and the security of critical infrastructure—the systems Americans count on every day for water, electricity, banking and more.

As we continue to build on our success, we will constantly look for ways to work smarter and become more efficient in carrying out our missions on behalf of the American people.

. . .


Jeh Charles Johnson
Secretary of Homeland Security

Comment by Ashley

February 28, 2014 @ 10:58 pm

Meredith, Justin & David:
I find it very interesting that there is a difference between companies collecting personal data compared to the US government collecting it. For example: the incident at Target where thousands and thousands of people personal information was stolen from their systems. We do not give companies the permission to keep our credit on file if we use them there. There is no agreement or contract signed. However, without thinking of the violation of our privacy, we continue to use credit cards everywhere possible.

This also reminds me in one of our older discussions we had in our technology class about the implementation of the ‘ring of steel’ concept that NYC is trying to adopt from London. Privacy is a huge concern on the citizens because of the many surveillance cameras. It is a concern because misuse of these surveillance cameras could happen, such as using the cameras to circle in on females. However the ‘ring of steel’ concept has proven to help detect terrorist activity and other illegal activity in London and privacy violation is not of concern. If this is new concept can help detect illegal activity from drug busts to terrorist’s activity, then why fight the concept over something that we deal with everyday such as privacy.

The future of HLS could benefit greatly from the ‘ring of steel’ concept, even if it is just a small step in detecting and preventing other attacks.

Comment by Kevin G

February 28, 2014 @ 11:06 pm

Wanted to talk a little about the Ukraine turmoil as Russia begins to play a similar game as to entice the Ukraine government into making an aggressive move. Ukraine has already warned that any move by Russian troops off of their base in Crimea “will be considered a military aggression” (BBC, 2014). Russia used a similar justification for sending troops into Georgia’s breakaway region of South Ossetia in 2008, routing Georgian forces which had tried to take back control (BBC, 2014). Could this chess move be something Obama needs to better address? President Obama’s statement to Putin was indeed a warning, however a simple statement explaining that there will be costs if Russia does take action, which really does not give too much weight to the threat. Could this be something that America could say out of conflict or is military involvement needed? It would be interesting as to what role America will play as this unfolds. As a fragile economy attempting to recover, a costly endeavor would belittle any progress we currently made.

Comment by Kevin G

February 28, 2014 @ 11:08 pm


BBC(28 February 2014).BBC:Ukraine crisis in maps. Retrieved from: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-26387353

BBC(28 February 2014).BBC:Ukraine crisis: Obama warns Russia against intervention. Retrieved from: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-26394846

Comment by Ashley

February 28, 2014 @ 11:14 pm

Also wanted to add that I just saw on the news at 11pm in a casino called Sands Bethlehem which is about 20 mins from me in Bethlehem PA, SSN’s and other personal information was stolen from hackers and again the violation of privacy was not brought up. Just another example like Target that I wanted to bring up.

Comment by David Gomez

February 28, 2014 @ 11:23 pm

Ms. Earhart,
I wholeheartedly agree with Secretary Jeh’s comments on the nature of HLSec and the future role of DHS. Comments like his have been along time coming to DHS. My only hope is that during the next 3 years, the proof is in the pudding, and DHS matures into an actual Homeland Security department and not just a rapidly devolving political anachronism.

Comment by John Comiskey

March 1, 2014 @ 6:21 am

HLS Watch bloggers and especially Friday free forum bloggers,

Thank you for sharing your thoughts yesterday, Friday February 28, 2014. As some of you know, this blogger has enlisted the help of some colleagues and students to explore the meaning of HLS on Fridays.

Some guidelines were suggested to colleagues and more concrete requirements to students who earn part of their grade in a graduate level HLS course for their participation.

The guidelines center on the notion of let a thousand flowers bloom.

This blogger has taken to preparing for the Friday forum starting on the Saturday prior.

Yesterday, blogger E. Earhart asked what if NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly had created the NYPD CT Enterprise after the 1993 WTC attack instead of after the 2001 WTC attack.

What if questions make you think. Next week, this blogger will continue with some “HLS what ifs.”

For more on what ifs see: Imagination First: Unlocking the Power of Possibility

Comment by Christopher Tingus

March 1, 2014 @ 10:38 am

Friday Free Forum:

PUTIN MOVES: Russian president asks for approval to use military in Ukraine
DESPITE WARNING FROM OBAMA that ‘there will be costs’ if the Russian military intervenes in Ukraine, President Vladimir Putin asks his parliament for permission to mobilize forces to protect interests.


…and enough of downsizing our arsenal in strong Democracy!

This weakened nation, our beloved Republic at the hand of Barry Obama and his pledge to his father, Hussein Obama and his anti-colonial types with vision to weaken the US and bring par with other nations has been allowed to promote this very dangerous and emerging threat by the “KGB Putinites” who see a weakened America and nothing but a Chicago city street slicker at the helm and whether Democrat or Republican, this unfolding Ukrainian scenario will not bide well for America whose will has been broken!

Saturday, March 1, 2014 9:43:58 AM

News Alert

Putin asks parliament for permission to use military in Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin asked his parliament Saturday for permission to use the country’s military in Ukraine, moving to formalize what Ukrainian officials described as an ongoing deployment of Russian troops in the strategic region of Crimea.

President Barack Obama warned Moscow on Friday that “there will be costs” if Russia intervenes militarily.
Monday, teachers and schools should begin to point out to students just where Russia and the Ukraine are located and by the way, it is time for at least the youngsters in school to learn about the following gentleman for this individual will inevitably play a significant role in world affairs and even those at Homeland Security should study up on this gentleman and never underestimate the substance of what he will be quoted more and more as time passes….

Baron Karl-The-odor zu Guttenberg, yes folks, Baron Karl-The-odor zu Guttenberg and in fact the “KGB Putinites” who scoff at this Chicago city street slicker’s talk of lines in the sand and costs to Russian troops if they involve themselves in the Ukraine while they are already controlling two airports and a State Department wet behind their ears with no clue to the reality of this tumultuous and dangerous world and an administration and the Executive branch so tainted by its own diminished capacity to think past slavery issues and so intensely focused on the redistribution of wealth, well as India builds its air craft carrier and aligns itself with Japanese interests who will inevitably tie themselves to China, America’s Dod and a poor choice as Secretary of Defense so incapable as well, you the students of history and government will remember this name and hear much about Mr. Guttenberg!

While Mr. Guttenberg’s Wife’s lineage is impressive and she is the great-great-grand-daughter of Otto von Bismarck who as students you will now turn to the history pages and learn of Otto von Bismark who is the father of the modern German state and first Chancellor of modern day Germany which is filling the void of this weakened US global presence and influence and will inevitably lead us to major conflict once again!

Let’s all get a grip on history and let’s all get really current and put down your worthless texting and get serious about Life, history and current events for We the People by enabling the color of one’s skin to supersede the capabilities and qualities necessary to lead the free world and safeguard the Constitution and the teachings of the Gospel has allowed Barry Obama and this “Chicago-Hollywood-Washington charade” to hoodwink far too many while the “Brutes of Tehran” and the “KGB Putinites” continue to expand their interests met by more empty politician’s rhetoric and while the Rev Wright who Barry Obama listened to for 20+ years and talked about the right of Tehran to have WMD in hand as long as the “Zionists” had such in hand, without strong leadership by Congress on both sides of the aisle who enable this administration to do whatever it pleases, well, time for You to learn of a Bavarian who will inevitably show the strength and challenge these thugs –

A member of a wealthy aristocratic family with bloodlines traced as far back as 1158, as students, quickly learn about Guttenberg’s forefathers who were conferred the title of Baron of the Holy Roman Empire! In fact, Mr. Guttenberg is related to the Hapsburgs with a rich history as you will now learn given your newest in technology gadgets and a click of the button will reveal why You need to learn about a really skilled politician whose words and slogans are not just empty political rhetoric, but will even have an effect on your Life as well!

God Bless America!

Unfortunately, Biblical scripture and the lessons of Life afforded to us as a guide as well as the Constitution and even good ‘ol Glory have been forsaken and laws are not enforced, the Republicans and Democrats in Congress are there to serve self-interests only and shortly, all of us here on “Main Street USA” will suffer far much more anguish and to some extent, OUR failure to safeguard our Judeo-Christian principles and to assure that the checks and balances imposed on those we have “entrusted” to serve our beloved Republic, well, it is again 1938-1939 and OUR failings and a media so engrossed in itself and prostitute for this Executive White House will not bode well for us –

God Bless us all!

Daniel 11:21: “And in his estate shall stand up a vile person, to whom they shall give the honor of kingdom: but he shall come in peaceably, and obtain the kingdom by flatteries” –

A man characterized as having a “fierce countenance” – “an understanding of dark sentences” –

re Homeland Security – Global Strife – Baron Karl-The-odor zu Guttenberg

Christopher Tingus
“Main Street USA”

Comment by Christopher Tingus

March 1, 2014 @ 11:49 am

Russian lawmakers OK use of military force in Ukraine

Unanimous vote in upper house
Russian President Vladimir Putin sought the approval, saying the lives of Russian citizens and Russian military personnel are threatened in Crimea.

The “line in the sand” drawn by the empty rhetoric of a Chicago city street slicker and nothing more and now more empty words much like the empty rhetoric we have heard since ’08:

Obama: ‘There will be costs for any military intervention in Ukraine’

Mr. Obama et al, while the perpetrators of the “Benghazi Massacre” sip their wine at their favorite restaurant and while you talk of veto to a bill to diminish the power of the corruptness of the IRS and we see even the Republican party fail in every way to truly stand forthright for our beloved Republic so “there will be costs for any military intervention” well, if you are relying on the corruptness of the UN and its security Council where the KGB sit as well, the ramifications in costs will be to truly undermine the good ‘ol USA which is void of any power! Do Not underestimate Putin nor the KGB!

God Bless good ‘ol Glory for my American flag has now been turned upside down since ’08 and it flutters in the wind in such posture to truly depict a nation in much peril!

Christopher Tingus
“Main Street USA”

Comment by Christopher Tingus

March 1, 2014 @ 11:12 pm

session on resilience at the Koshland Science Museum at the National Academy of Sciences. The two lead discussants were Prof. Susan Cutter and Dr. Warren Buffet. For future public events, check the website of the museum.

Upcoming Workshops at NIST

On April 7, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), Gaithersburg, Md., will host the first of six workshops devoted to developing a comprehensive, community-based disaster resilience framework. The framework will focus on buildings and infrastructure systems, and inform development of private-sector standards and codes. The workshop will begin at 8 a.m. at the NIST campus and is open to all interested parties.

As called for in the President’s Climate Action Plan, NIST is leading a collaborative, nationwide effort to develop the framework. It will help communities to establish performance goals for buildings and infrastructure systems necessary to achieve community resilience and to identify existing codes and standards that can be implemented to achieve resilience. The framework will also identify gaps in codes, standards, and best practices that need to be addressed.

The six workshops will explore the role that buildings and infrastructure systems play in enabling communities to protect people and property and to recover more rapidly from natural and man-made hazards. They will engage the broad network of stakeholders to focus on the role that buildings and infrastructure lifelines play in ensuring community resilience. Stakeholders include, but are not limited to, planners, designers, engineers, and contractors; facility owners, managers and users; local, state and federal government officials, utility owners, operators and regulators; standards and model code development organizations; insurers and re-insurers; industry and professional associations; disaster response and recovery groups; and academic experts. For more information, please see http://www.nist.gov/el/building_materials/reslience/index.cfm.

To register go to: http://www.nist.gov/el/building_materials/reslience/disreswksp.cfm .

The workshop registration fee is $55. Space is limited and we encourage you to register early. Please do not miss this opportunity to attend and to contribute your valued input as we work with communities and other stakeholders to develop a Disaster Resilience Framework for the built environment.

For more information, please contact:

Stephen A. Cauffman
Lead, Disaster Resilience
National Institute of Standards and Technology
Gaithersburg, MD 20899-8611
Phone: 301-975-6051
E-mail: stephen.cauffman@nist.gov

Comment by Christopher Tingus

March 2, 2014 @ 8:59 am

Friday Free Forum:

….and while the WH and State department staff, Michelle and Barry and the kids along with clueless Hagle were at home watching the Olympics, the brilliant “KGB Putinite” strategists were invited to Cairo not to give a 4th June “New Beginning” speech, but to sign a pact of military and economic cooperation with the Egyptians still willing to receive our billions, but replacing any hope of US influence as this “testosterone deficient” US executive failure continues to erode not only Naval and Air Force superiority, but any serious credibility….

While I may be the only to believe that Mr. Putin along with the perpetrators of the “Benghazi Massacre” are sipping their drinks w/little care as to what Barry Obama says and are correct in assessing it as simply empty rhetoric, We here on “Main Street USA” are truly worried that the proposed diminished military arsenal to protect our beloved Republic will lead to our demise.

Kindly see:


Whether republican, Democrat, Black, White or Blue, a self-serving and truly corrupt Congress on both sides of the aisle, failing in every way to utilize whatever means to protect our Constitution and to enforce our laws with even an AG contrary to the enforcement of such…well, imagine how shallow a nation we have become and a media who has not a clue as to its responsibility to stand forthright as well, thus folks, We are in much peril!

Now that the Egyptians have signed their pact with the “KGB Putinites” – let’s cut the billions sent to Egypt and strengthen the security of our power grid as well as transfer any monies remaining to bolster our US defense and the DoD!

By the way, when you have an opportunity, look at the physical attack in San Jose and then when discussing Homeland Security and our Power Grid so vulnerable whether by a balloon 100 miles high with small WMD attached or a Korean or a satellite sent into orbit by tehran to detonate small WMD wiping out our electric grid or just by solar flare, let’s use the billions be exported here and protect ourselves from any attack for the void in any serious foreign policy leaving us so diminished globally speaks to cutting Not our military, but cutting foreign aid and using it here to strengthen ourselves….We have a clueless bunch of cronies in this “Chicago-Hollywood-Washington” charade and it is time to stand up for our Judeo-Christian principles, our Constitution and good ‘ol Glory so trampled on by even the illegal immigrants in this country who are law breakers, yes, law breakers and the only country in the world which would permit those whose visas have expired to remain in the country!

God Bless our beloved Republic!

Christopher Tingus
“Main Street USA”

Comment by William R. Cumming

March 2, 2014 @ 11:34 am

Thanks Chris for the NIST agenda!

As to the Ukraine imbroglio te Crimea safely back in control of Russia for rest of this century!

Now the question is whether Russia will militarily move to the Polish border or just take the Eastern Ukraine to the line of the Dnieper River.

For background see: . http://hnn.us/article/154867

And meanwhile the stealth diplomacy continues for the Han Chinese and their world-wide diaspora continues as they laugh at Putin and Obama shuffling the deck chairs.

Comment by Christopher Tingus

March 2, 2014 @ 11:50 am

Ukraine mobilizes troops after Russia’s ‘declaration of war’
By Marie-Louise Gumuchian and Ian Lee, CNN
updated 11:05 AM EST, Sun March 2, 2014

Accuses Russia of ‘declaration of war’
Ukraine’s new Prime Minister calls on Russia to ”pull back the military,” which has surrounded three bases in Crimea.

Ukraine’s new leaders accused neighbor Russia of declaring war, as Kiev mobilized troops and called up military reservists in a rapidly escalating crisis that has raised fears of a conflict.
Amid signs of Russian military intervention in Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula, Russian generals led their troops to three bases in the region Sunday, demanding Ukrainian forces surrender and hand over their weapons, Vladislav Seleznyov, spokesman for the Crimean Media Center of the Ukrainian Defense Ministry, told CNN.
Speaking by phone, he said Russian troops had blocked access to the bases, but added, “There is no open confrontation between Russian and Ukrainian military forces in Crimea” and said Ukrainian troops continue to protect and serve Ukraine.
“This is a red alert. This is not a threat. This is actually a declaration of war to my country,” Ukrainian interim Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said.
Speaking in a televised address from the parliament building in the capital, Kiev, he called on Russian President Vladimir Putin to “pull back his military and stick to the international obligations.”
“We are on the brink of the disaster.”

Let us hope that this does Not escalate, humanity deserves better and it is time that we learn from history and we Respect one another’s dignity and freedom of choice! There is no reason for conflagration…for the anguish and suffering. Let us not only leave this to the politician, let us strive to promote integrity by demanding transparency, not just empty political rhetoric!

We have such wonderful and evolving technology in this 21st century, let us utilize such innovation and knowledge for the betterment of mankind, not to again, tear the lives of good people….

Comment by Christopher Tingus

March 2, 2014 @ 8:57 pm

Friday Free Forum:


Medvedev: New revolution possible
As Ukraine’s new leaders accuse Russia of declaring war, Russia’s PM warns that blood could be spilled amid growing instability

Comment by Christopher Tingus

March 2, 2014 @ 8:59 pm

West scrambles to defuse Ukraine
crisis as Putin remains defiant
MORE THAN 6,000 RUSSIAN TROOPS pour into Ukraine’s Crimea region, US officials say, in perhaps the tensest standoff between the West and Russia since the end of the Cold War.

Comment by William R. Cumming

March 3, 2014 @ 5:27 am

IMO the Ukraine has little or no effective armed forces and cannot either mobilize or oppose the seizure of the Crimea by Russia.

And the US led with its chin on this one!


Apparently $100B a year was not enough to allow the IC [Intelligence Community] with its 17 components to predict Russian seizure of the Ukraine.

QUESTION: Have Stafford Act outlays ever exceeded $100B in any FY or CY? NO!

Comment by John Comiskey

March 3, 2014 @ 8:06 am


IC’s 2014 open-source World Wide Threat Assessment suggests that IC was aware of Russian threat to Ukraine:

Putin’s 2012-2013 crackdown on the opposition defused the popular challenge to his hold on power;
however, the Kremlin confronts a growing trend of opposition politicians taking their fight to the local ballot box. ….

The campaign to keep Ukraine from signing an Association Agreement (AA) with the European Union
(EU) underscores the importance the Kremlin continues to attach to its goal of Eurasian integration.
Russia will have to compete for influence with the EU in the West and increasingly with China in Central
Asia; both will pose challenges to its pursuit of Eurasian integration. ….

As Ukraine heads toward the presidential election scheduled to take place in 2015, political
developments in Ukraine probably will continue to be shaped by opposition and public anger over the
Yanukovych administration’s abuse of power, the need for Yanukovych to maintain the loyalty of key
elites, and his efforts to balance Ukraine’s relationship with Russia and the West. Political developments in Ukraine will increasingly be shaped by public protests over Yanukovych’s refusal to sign the Association Agreement (AA) and the presidential election scheduled to take place in 2015. Yanukovych
backed away from signing the AA with the EU at the Eastern Partnership Summit in November 2013,
probably because Moscow offered the only option for immediate financial support to avert a financial
crisis that would threaten his reelection bid. Firmly intent on maintaining his hold on power, Yanukovych
will probably resort to coercion, extralegal means, and other tactics to tilt the playing field in his favor and ensure his reelection, threatening a further erosion of democratic norms.

The first tranche of Russia’s $15 billion aid package that Kyiv and Moscow signed in December will allow
Kyiv to stave off a fiscal crisis in the short term but risks increasing Ukraine’s economic dependence on
Moscow. Russia’s aid package removes incentives for Kyiv to enact painful economic reforms necessary to spur growth, and the ambiguous terms of the bailout leave Kyiv more vulnerable to Russian pressure,
particularly on energy issues.

See: http://www.dni.gov/files/documents/Intelligence%20Reports/2014%20WWTA%20%20SFR_SSCI_29_Jan.pdf

The IC attempts to identify adversaries “intentions” and “capabilities.” *OSINT *tear-line assessments are less telling then classified assessments.

*OSINT = open-source intelligence

**Tear Line Report = segment of classified report that is torn to allow others to see unclassified parts

Intelligence reduces the fog of war and enhances policy maker’s decision making capabilities.

What if we reduced/eliminated the $100 B Intelligence Budget?

This question is a prelude to Friday’s Free Forum blog when this blogger will ask a number of HLS what-ifs.

Comment by William R. Cumming

March 3, 2014 @ 9:54 am

Thanks John for comments and great link!

Now IMO and as always could be wrong! Y is finished forever as a political power in the Ukraine or any portion.

Russian military decrepit outside Strategic Force.

Putin has swallowed the Crimea and I predict he will gobble EASTERN UKRAINE.

It will become increasingly clear over the rest of the Century Russia likely to exit only west of the Urals. German financiers and Han Chinese will struggle over fate of Siberia.

Comment by Beauty Salons in Nine Mile Falls

March 3, 2014 @ 4:33 pm

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Comment by Christopher Tingus

March 3, 2014 @ 8:09 pm

Standing here at Chatham fish pier not looking for sharks, but rather Russian and Iranian submarines….com’on now, the KGB and Putin are really worried about a kid from Chicago who doesn’t know beans about int’l foreign policy nor will Hillary be there to take the call as we saw at the “Benghazi Massacre” so while some say this is political, I say, let’s get a grip on our politicians for their self-serving ways will as we have seen by the spiraling $17 trillion debt, our Homeland Security is truly threatened in portraying all these outright weakness!

16,000 Russian troops deployed
in Crimea, Ukraine officials claim

UKRAINE OFFICIALS SAY 16,000 Russian troops have been deployed in Crimea, a sign of widening military intervention in peninsula as America’s UN ambassador warns Russia there was no justification for an invasion.

Comment by Christopher Tingus

March 3, 2014 @ 9:13 pm

When it comes to Homeland Security:

Lets have faith that right makes might; and in that faith let us, to the end, dare to do our duty as we understand it.

Abraham Lincoln

Let us again stand forthright in this 21st century in full support of our US Constitution and our beloved Republic!

Christopher Tingus
PO Box 1612
Harwich (Cape Cod), MA 02645

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