Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

September 19, 2014

Friday Free Forum

Filed under: General Homeland Security — by Philip J. Palin on September 19, 2014

On this date in 1985 a strong earthquake kills about 400 in Mexico City.

On this date in 2010 the Macondo Well, source of the Deepwater Horizon spill, was sealed.

On this date in 1676 Jamestown, the capital of the Virginia colony, is burned to the ground by insurgents led by Nathaniel Bacon.

What’s on your mind related to homeland security?


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Comment by Christopher Tingus

September 19, 2014 @ 6:18 am

Getting Out of Harm’s Way: Evacuation from Tsunamis
Released: 9/16/2014 12:30:00 PM

Contact Information:
U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey
Office of Communications and Publishing
12201 Sunrise Valley Dr, MS 119
Reston, VA 20192 Leslie Gordon
Phone: 650-329-4006

MENLO PARK, Calif. — Scientists at the U.S. Geological Survey have developed a new mapping tool, the Pedestrian Evacuation Analyst, for use by researchers and emergency managers to estimate how long it would take for someone to travel on foot out of a tsunami-hazard zone. The GIS software extension, released this week, allows the user to create maps showing travel times out of hazard zones and to determine the number of people that may or may not have enough time to evacuate. The maps take into account the elevation changes and the different types of land cover that a person would encounter along the way.

Maps of travel time can be used by emergency managers and community planners to identify where to focus evacuation training and tsunami education. The tool can also be used to examine the potential benefits of vertical evacuation structures, which are buildings or berms designed to provide a local high ground in low-lying areas of the hazard zone.

The Pedestrian Evacuation Analyst software can assist communities with tsunami planning by answering questions such as:

How long could it take for people to evacuate out of tsunami-hazard zones?
Will people have enough time to evacuate before the first tsunami waves arrive?
If people don’t have enough time to evacuate, then where could vertical-evacuation refuges provide high ground?
How do you compare the benefits of multiple sites for potential vertical-evacuation refuges?

“The tool can be used to provide valuable decision support for tsunami evacuation planning and vertical evacuation siting, which is just in the beginning stages in the U.S. Pacific Northwest,” said Jeanne Jones, USGS geographer who led the development of the software tool.

The tool has enabled USGS researchers to better understand various aspects of community vulnerability to tsunamis, including community comparisons based on evacuation times, vertical-evacuation decision support, the impact of post-tsunami recovery decisions, and the evacuation challenges posed by different types of tsunami threats.

The software tool can be downloaded online, and the complete users guide, “The pedestrian evacuation analyst—Geographic information systems software for modeling hazard evacuation potential” is also available online.

With the threat of an east coast Tsunami someday real according to many scientists, we should be more prepared and knowledgeable as a populace….

Comment by William R. Cumming

September 19, 2014 @ 6:44 am

Chris! Might be of use to transportation dependent other places.

Thanks for the info!

Comment by William R. Cumming

September 19, 2014 @ 6:45 am

Another BFTP!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Warning, Notification, and Alerting

Long long ago I was treated to watching expert witnesses on direct and cross-examination explain the technical differences between warning, notification and alerting. Each has its own research findings and milieu. Much to my surprise shortly after 9/11/01 an elaborate public-private partnership was created, substantially federally funded to develop a National Warning Strategy which is in fact available and was issued in 2004. That document is available several places including me.
When I found out about the PPWC (Partnership for Public Warning Commission) I wrote a long letter to the head of that organization whose name at the moment is forgotten telling him of the various research materials available. He called to thank me and I ended up forwarding several boxes of materials on the concept of warning. Apparently some of my ideas appeared without attribution in the final National Strategy document. AOK with me.

One of the documents that I forwarded I still have and now provide for the blog readers. I think most will find it interesting and comparing with the National Strategy arguably documents that we (the US) does not really have a warning strategy. Perhaps it is the eye of the beholder.

Here is the document furnished the Partnerhip:



(42 U.S.C.§5132)


(a) The President shall insure that all appropriate Federal agencies are prepared to issue warnings of disasters to State and local officials.

(b) The President shall direct appropriate Federal agencies to provide technical assistance to State and local governments to insure that timely and effective disaster warning is provided.

(c) The President is authorized to utilize or to make available to Federal, State, and local agencies the facilities of the civil defense communications system established and maintained pursuant to §611(d) of the Act [42 U.S.C. §5196(d)], or any other Federal communication system for the purpose of providing warning to governmental authorities and the civilian population in areas endangered by disasters.

(d) The President is authorized to enter into agreements with the officers or agents of any private or commercial communications systems who volunteer the use of their systems on a reimbursable or nonreimbursable basis for the purpose of providing warning to governmental authorities and the civilian population endangered by disasters.


(42 U.S.C. §5170a)

§402. In any major disaster, the President may —
. . . . . .

(3) provide technical and advisory assistance to affected State and local government for –
. . . . . .

(B) issuance of warnings of risks of hazards; . . .

(42 U.S.C. §5170b)

§403 (a) In General. Federal agencies may on the direction of the President, provide assistance to meeting immediate threats to life and property resulting from a major disaster, as follows:
. . . . . .
(3) Work and Services to Save Lives and Protect property. Performing on public or private lands or waters any work or services essential to saving lives and protecting and preserving property or public health and safety, including —
. . . . . .
(F) warning of further risks and hazards;

(G) dissemination of public information and assistance regarding health and safety measures;

(H) provision of technical advice to State and local governments on disaster management and control; and
(I) reduction of immediate threats to life, property, and public health and safety.

(42 U.S.C. §5185)

§418. The President is authorized during, or in anticipation of, an emergency or major disaster to establish temporary communications systems and to make such communications available to State and local government officials and other persons as he deems appropriate.

§611(d) Communications and Warnings.
The Director may make appropriate provision for necessary emergency preparedness communications and for dissemination of warnings to the civilian population of a hazard.
. . . . . . .
§611(g) Public Dissemination of Emergency Preparedness Information.
The Director may publicly disseminate appropriate emergency preparedness information by all appropriate means.

Posted by The Vacation Lane Group at 4:57 PM

Comment by William R. Cumming

September 19, 2014 @ 6:59 am

The Earthquake Hazards Reduction Act of 1977 was largely designed in the context of an expected earthquake prediction capability. THAT DIS NOT AND HAS NOT HAPPENED. Originally house in OSTP [Office of Science and Technology Policy in the Executive Offices of the WH} that program was transferred to the then new FEMA under Reorganization Plan No. 3 of 1978 by Executive Order issued in late March 1979.

The FEMA lead under the EHRA of 1977 was removed from FEthe “Big One” bMA and DHS by statute in 2004 and now resides in NIST!

The focus of the EHRA of 1977, as amended has now changed from prediction to mitigation and resilience IMO.

Who knows? Perhaps President Obama will still have the honor or whatever over presiding over response and recovery to the “Big One” before he leaves office.

I can assure you that no one and no office in the WH,
DHS, or FEMA or the State of California is ready for the BIG ONE!

Comment by William R. Cumming

September 19, 2014 @ 7:24 am

The DoD not ready for the BIG ONE EITHER!

And did I mention that all of the above not ready for a NUDET in any US City?

Comment by William R. Cumming

September 19, 2014 @ 8:43 am

Did I mention that in the legislative history into the run-up of adoption of the HOMELAND SECURITY ACT OF 2002 [November 2002] and in the HOMELAND SECURITY STRATEGY OF 2002 [July 2002} WMD were the primary driver? And check out the original PD-5 of February 2003!

Just ask former VP Richard Cheney!

Comment by Christopher Tingus

September 19, 2014 @ 10:34 am

Close our southern borders now! Our US borders and our immigration policies must be firmly organized and laws enforced and anyone found here illegally, a felony and deportation!

Can you imagine the scums, these beasts of Lucifer who would commit such dastardly deed:

At least eight people believed to be members of an Ebola health education team were killed in an attack in Guinea, their bodies found in a village latrine.

Comment by Christopher Tingus

September 19, 2014 @ 10:37 am

We cannot afford those so willing to take such innocent Life and in witness to the Lord the opportunity to harm our nation and national interests whether it be ISIS or anyone of these outright thugs…we are living in a very dangerous world and despite the lack of leadership and outright – dumb – ideas of this administration especially on the international front, let’s get our act together for after all, we are America and quite proud to be an American!

Comment by Christopher Tingus

September 19, 2014 @ 11:05 am

Breaking news:

It is in fact local folks who have committed such crime and Not an organized terror cell….kindly see:

At least eight Ebola aid workers and journalists were reportedly murdered and dumped in a latrine in a remote village in Guinea in a frightening example of the growing distrust locals have of foreigners coming to help stem the mushrooming health crisis.

These deaths are believed to be the first resulting from resistance to international efforts to curb the Ebola outbreak in the region, Reuters reported. Other aid teams have been forced to turn back by crowds in several locations, and a treatment center in Monrovia, Liberia was attacked and looted.

Villagers in an area near the city of Nzerekore used machetes and clubs to attack eight members of a team trying to raise awareness about the disease, officials told the BBC.

“The eight bodies were found in the village latrine,” Albert Damantang Camara, a spokesman for Guinea’s government, told Reuters on Thursday, adding that they had been “killed in cold blood by the villagers.”

Comment by Christopher Tingus

September 19, 2014 @ 11:15 am

2014 Survey: Americans Support Active Role in World Affairs

Americans show solid support for US international engagement, according to the 2014 Chicago Council Survey of American public opinion on foreign policy.


“American Views of the United Nations,” Commentary by Senior Fellow Dina Smeltz and Senior Program Officer Craig Kafura on the Running Numbers Blog
Friday, September 19, 2014

What Others Are Saying about the 2014 Chicago Council Survey
Wednesday, September 17, 2014

“A Day in the Life of Africa’s Family Farmers,” Senior Fellow Roger Thurow on Outrage and Inspire Blog
Tuesday, September 16, 2014

“Liberal Arts and the Post-Industrial Midwest,” Commentary by Senior Fellow Richard C. Longworth on The Midwesterner Blog
Tuesday, September 16, 2014

“Pay Attention to this Gas Deal,” Commentary by Senior Fellow Rachel Bronson’s in The American Interest
Tuesday, September 16, 2014

“Foreign Policy in the Age of Retrenchment,” 2014 Chicago Council Survey
Monday, September 15, 2014

“Big Ideas and Emerging Innovations,” Global Food for Thought Blog
Monday, September 15, 2014

“Scotland and the Centrifugal Force of Globalization,” Commentary by Senior Fellow Phil Levy on ForeignPolicy.com’s Shadow Government
Monday, September 15, 2014

“Global Food for Thought News Brief,” Latest Edition
Friday, September 12, 2014

“5 Talking Points by Ivo Daalder,” Commentary by Chicago Council President Ivo H. Daalder, in the Chicago Tribune
Friday, September 12, 2014

Chicago Council President Ivo H. Daalder Offers Expert Analysis on NATO
Friday, September 12, 2014

“Kerry Faces Tall Order in Organizing Regional Coalition against ISIS,” Senior Fellow Rachel Bronson on NPR’s All Things Considered
Friday, September 12, 2014

“Yemen, The Forgotten Front,” Commentary by Senior Fellow Nabeel Khoury on Middle East Corner Blog
Monday, September 08, 2014

“Libya Losing Control?,” Commentary by Senior Fellow Nabeel Khoury on Radio Islam
Thursday, September 04, 2014

“Are EU Sanctions Working?” Commentary by Senior Fellow Phil Levy on World of Cents Blog
Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Comment by Quin

September 19, 2014 @ 1:21 pm

And now for something completely different.

This job from the Defense Logistics Agency is advertised as an “Emergency Management Specialist.”

And then goes on to write a job description that is entirely focused on Counter-Terrorism. When all the problems are a nail, just need that hammer. *face palm*


Comment by William R. Cumming

September 19, 2014 @ 2:19 pm

Quin! YUP!

Comment by Christopher Tingus

September 19, 2014 @ 6:50 pm

Bolton: Don’t Forget About Iran’s Nuclear Program
JohnBolton,NEWSMAX | September15

Iran’s nuclear weapons program, now operating largely outside [U.S. President] Barack Obama’s attention span, is still making steady progress. While Ukraine’s crisis and the creation of the menacing “Islamic State” in the ruins of Syria and Iraq have dominated international head- lines, Tehran has been hard at work strengthening both its nuclear infrastructure and its bargaining position as new negotiations with the UN Security Council’s five perma- nent members (plus Germany) reopen. …

Tehran’s diplomats also have taken advantage of the Is- lamic State threat to demonstrate “common interests” with America, thus ingratiating Iran further with the Obama administration and legitimizing the regime as a terrorism opponent.
Obama seems to not understand or care little about Iran’s relentless strategy to advance its nuclear weapons objectives. Perhaps the weight of the Ukraine and Is- lamic State crises have overwhelmed his national security team—or perhaps the impending November elections—but Obama is even more at sea dealing with Iran than ever before. And this is surely bad news. …

Iran is in no hurry. As long as diplomacy continues, Tehran is busy opening further holes in international sanc- tions and continuing its [35-year] nuclear program. The pressure, self-imposed to be sure, is actually on Obama. Either he reaches a final agreement he can trumpet as a
success before our midterm elections, or he announces something soon thereafter, avoiding the political conse- quences if, from America’s perspective, the deal is as bad as many expect.

The prospect of a bad deal is high. All reports of the negotiations stress that vast differences remain between the sides on the central issue of how much uranium enrich- ment Iran will be allowed going forward.

The right amount is zero. Iran should not be permit- ted to conduct any nuclear-related activity as long as the
ayatollahs remain in power, given their record of dissimu- lation and obstructionism and their obvious intention of becoming a nuclear-weapons state.

Unfortunately, the Obama administration long ago con- ceded on that “red line,” as on so many others.

While the United States was still naming companies violating sanctions, Iran’s oil exports continued climbing. Reuters reported that in July, exports were 29.4 percent above 2013 levels, with purchases by China “accounting for most of the increase.” China, of course, is a Security Council permanent member, supposedly upholding and enforcing the council’s sanctions. And given Russia’s recent performance on Ukraine, there is scant hope America and Europe will get any help there either.

Revealing and highly troubling was the International Atomic Energy Agency’s September 5 report. Although Iran has complied with the interim deal’s minimal obligations concerning its nuclear program, these steps are essentially cosmetic, easily and quickly reversible. …

Combined with other findings in its report, the iaea is unable “to conclude that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities.”
Optically, the low point might come in just days when the UN General Assembly opens in New York. Last year, Obama seemed like a supplicant, desperately seeking a telephone call or meeting with Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani. Our leader had to settle for talking to Rouhani as the latter’s limousine headed toward jfk airport to return to Tehran.

This year, Obama might get his photo op and a meeting. We can only hope that he doesn’t declare afterward, as Nev- ille Chamberlain did returning from Munich in 1938, that he has achieved “peace for our time.”

submitted by
Christopher Tingus
Harwich (Cape Cod), MA 02645 USA

Comment by Christopher Tingus

September 20, 2014 @ 3:04 am

(CNN) — Two U.S. jets intercepted six Russian planes that neared U.S. airspace off Alaska on Thursday and Canadian planes intercepted two Russian bombers that approached Canadian airspace, NORAD reported.

A U.S. official told CNN’s Barbara Starr that officials in Washington think the incidents were related to the visit by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, who talked to Canadian officials Wednesday and President Barack Obama on Thursday. The United States promised Ukraine $46 million in nonlethal aid for its battle with pro-Russian militants.

The Russian aircraft flew within about 55 nautical miles of the Alaskan coastline and about 40 nautical miles of the Canadian coastline, said Capt. Jeff Davis of the North American Aerospace Defense Command, or NORAD.

Two Alaskan-based F-22 fighter jets intercepted two Russian IL-78 refueling tankers, two Russian Mig-31 fighter jets and two Russian Bear long-range bombers, a statement from NORAD said. The Russian planes flew in a loop and returned toward Russia.

Two Canadian CF-18 fighter jets intercepted two Russian Bear long-range bombers in the Beaufort Sea, the statement said.
Though the planes did not enter sovereign territory, the statement said, they did enter the U.S. Air Defense Identification Zone west of Alaska and the Canadian ADIZ, according to a statement.

The ADIZ is a zone of airspace which extends approximately 200 miles from the coastline and is mainly within international airspace, according to the statement. The outer limits of the ADIZ go beyond U.S. sovereign air space.
State aircraft of sovereign nations are not required to file flight plans.

NORAD said it has intercepted more than 50 Russian aircraft in the last five years. NORAD jets usually intercept one or two Russian planes, normally bombers.

Comment by William R. Cumming

September 20, 2014 @ 5:41 am

Thanks Chris! I worry more over the strategic missile threat as opposed to bombers! Am I wrong?

Comment by Christopher Tingus

September 20, 2014 @ 9:28 am

No Bill, I, too…just Putin and his bombers in his playful intimidating mood and yes, the strategic missile threat a serious concern as are numerous others and given Obama’s perverse and limited scope w/his decisions and leanings towards his Muslim Brotherhood and Saudis, it is again Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, the former German defense minister who will come onto the scene shortly and take the baton from Merkel as the new German Chancellor with Germany, our enemy who will fill the void of a failed America and a populace who does not understand that a Democracy must have a strong arsenal, decisive and unified leadership and the Will to sacrifice for freedom is so taken for granted and so, so many seek our demise in every way….

On another note, kindly see Claire Rubin (thank you):

Critical Infrastructure Protection: DHS Action Needed to Enhance Integration and Coordination of Vulnerability Assessment Efforts [Reissued on September 17, 2014].

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