Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

January 30, 2015

Friday Free Forum

Filed under: General Homeland Security — by Philip J. Palin on January 30, 2015

William R. Cumming Forum

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23 Comments »

Comment by claire rubin

January 30, 2015 @ 8:05 am

It appears that DHS Sec. Johnson’s recent speech did not generate much news.

Comment by Matt Doyle

January 30, 2015 @ 9:29 am

Super Bowl XLIX is this weekend and I thought it would be appropriate to discuss a homeland security issue related to the game. The Super Bowl is one of the biggest events in America and even the entire world. If terrorists wanted to choose an opportunity to maximize their publicity and create mass fear, the Super Bowl is an ideal target. With the exception of the Super Bowl after 9/11, all recent Super Bowls (including this one), have been given a Special Event Assessment Rating (SEAR) 1, the second highest possible security rating behind a National Special Security Event (NSSE) (Keating, 2015). Events that receive an NSSE rating typically include State of the Union Speeches and Presidential Inaugurations. These security ratings are determined by the attendance of dignitaries, the size of the event, significance of the event, duration of the event, availability of state and local resources, multiplicity of jurisdictions, and threat assessment (Reese, 2009). While there are currently no credible threats (at least known to the public) against the Super Bowl, the event itself is enough of a target that it warrants a high security rating.

In 2013, Super Bowl XLVII was postponed by a lengthy power outage which after some review was found to be a random failure, not a malicious or intentional act to disrupt the game. Still, the blackout served as reminder that the ICS systems present in many stadiums around the nation are vulnerable to cyber threats. A cyber-attack capable of disrupting the stadiums lights or elevators could potentially cause a significant amount of chaos and it would all occur on national television. Any terrorist or terrorist organization hoping to gain publicity could easily do so by targeting the Super Bowl. A disruption to the game could have a significant economic impact and psychological impact. Depending on the severity and credibility of a potential threat, the stadium could be evacuated, and the game could be postponed.

The chaos and confusion caused by such a cyber-attack could be greatly magnified if the hackers or terrorists were able to disrupt the communication systems used by security personnel and first responders in the area. This threat was specifically mentioned in Conner (2015): “If a terrorist gained access to the police department’s communication system – they could shut it down, crippling police response while they carry out an attack…terrorists could shut down emergency communication systems across the Valley during the Super Bowl party or Waste Management Open” (p. 1). If a virus was introduced into the communication systems in the Valley, it could potentially disrupt or even compromise communications between the various agencies in the region.

In order to reduce the possibility of a virus disrupting communication systems in the region, redundant or reserved communication systems must be in place so that officials can maintain some form of communication in the case of emergency. Paganini (2012) writes that “communication environments are all sensible to cyber-attacks and the majority is based on digital technology, this means that every single component of the overall infrastructure must be attack proof and backup units have to be in place in case of problems” (Paganini, 2012, p. 3). Back-up plans and procedures must be in place before the Super Bowl takes place so that in the event of a cyber-attack, officials in the region can still maintain interoperable communications. If the communication systems and ICS systems are disrupted, and an actual terrorist attack was to occur, the ensuing panic and confusion would lead to an unsuccessful response effort. By maintaining interoperable communications throughout the course of a potential incident, officials will be able to clearly and accurately discuss the legitimacy of the potential threats and determine the best courses of action in order to mitigate the potential impact of the threats.

References:

Conner, Katie (2015). Super Bowl 2015: Cyberterrorism poses serious threat to big game. ABC15. http://www.abc15.com/news/region-west-valley/glendale/super-bowl-2015-cyberterrorism-poses-serious-threat-to-big-game-

Keating, Steve (2015). No Specific threat, but Super Bowl Security will be tight. Reuters. http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/01/28/us-nfl-superbowl-security-idUSKBN0L12JR20150128

Paganini, Pierluigi (2012). Cyber Security during Sporting Events. Security Affairs. http://securityaffairs.co/wordpress/6427/cyber-crime/cyber-security-during-sporting-events.html

Reese, Shawn (2009). National Special Security Events. Congressional Research Service.
http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/natsec/RS22754.pdf

U.S. Dept of Homeland Security (2006). Fact Sheet: National Special Security Events. http://web.archive.org/web/20110712031817/http://www.dhs.gov/xnews/releases/pr_1167323822753.shtm

Comment by Philip J. Palin

January 30, 2015 @ 10:19 am

Claire:

Here’s a link to the Secretary’s remarks “as delivered.” There was, perhaps, abundant reasonableness, but nothing much new.

http://www.dhs.gov/news/2015/01/29/remarks-secretary-johnson-dhs-2015-secretarys-progress-report

Comment by William R. Cumming

January 30, 2015 @ 11:24 am

Matt! Great comment and links!

Phil! He JJ still on learning curve.

ALL: Could someone give me links to extant DHS and FEMA cyber security plans. if any?

Comment by William R. Cumming

January 30, 2015 @ 11:43 am

Some discussion on the implantation of the FIRE PREVENTION AND CONTROL ACT OF 1974, AS AMENDED!

This statute was the brainchild of Senator Warren G. Magnuson of the State of Washington, known by many as “Maggie”, and Gordon Vickery, the Fire Chief of the entire city of Seattle, WA.

The statute is codified in Title 15 of the U.S. Code and the organizations, programs, functions, and activities were originally housed in the Department of Commerce. Under REORGANIZATION PLAN NO. 3 OF PRESIDENT JAMES EARL CARTER it became an authority of the FEDERAL EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY when that organization opened its doors on April 1, 1979, with the effective date of an Executive Order issued to begin implantation of the Reorg Plan.

Gordon Vickery became the Acting Director of FEMA after replacing John McConnell, a National Guard General, who then became an Associate Director in FEMA.

Vickery was an energetic activist supplanted as Acting Director when John W. Macy was confirmed by the US Senate in August. Vickery continued on as a PAS
US Fire Administrator.

The US Fire Administration, not the FIRE ACADEMY, had been zero budgeted by the WH largely at the behest of former Reagan campaign manager Ed Rollins, once an employee of the USFA before FEMA. While housed in the Commerce Department it was called THE US FIRE CONTROL AND PREVENTION ADMINISTRATIO!

This discussion will largely be from a personal standpoint and history. First, I was never assigned to lawyer for the USFA or to issue interpretations under the statute, with one exception. That exception was to produce in 3 days a comprehensive version of the statute. I did so and was informed that despite its being of immense use to USFA I accomplished this too slowly. So be it. No current comprehensive version of that statute exists despite the lspse of time since 1996. And that statute is NOT codified into positive law!

To be continued!

Comment by William R. Cumming

January 30, 2015 @ 11:54 am

USFA continued:

Disclosure: I did help with the Congress to get USFA funded after being zero budgeted twice by the WH. WHY?

The statute gets oversight in Congress from the Science Committees and part of my vision [never fulfilled to this day] was a FEMA as a science and engineering driven agency. That was also my vision for the USFA and the FIRE SERVICE.

The FIRE SERVICE IS TREATED LIKE A STEPCHILD BY FEMA. DHS, AND OMB! An OMB official once told me “FIRE IS A LOCAL MATTER AND WHY SHOULD UNCLE SUGAR BUY MORE FIRE TRUCKS FOR LOCAL GOVERNEMENTS?”!

AND BTW THERE ARE OVER 50,000 FEDERAL CIVIL SERVANTS THAT ARE FIRE SERVICE AND MOST CAN GET FULL REITEMENT AFTER 20 YEARS!

It should be of note that the last two FEMA administrators were local fire chiefs and Senate confirmed US Fire Administrators. The position heading USFA, however, is no longer Senate confirmed.

Clout in Washington is directly tied to Senate confirmation IMO.

TB Continued!

Comment by Gianna

January 30, 2015 @ 12:56 pm

With winter storm Juno negatively affecting certain areas around the country, I have decided to focus on Emergency Management. Here are some basic questions I have come across for homeland security practitioners and how I believe they can better prepare communities for natural disasters.

How can we better understand the actual needs of the communities we serve? We must be aware of the community’s diversity and figure out what is most important to them. The community hopefully trusts the local authorities but if they do not, the federal agency should be aware of which organization they do trust. Members of the public should be encouraged to come forward and share their worries, concerns, satisfactions, and contentment with their local, state, or federal homeland security agencies.
How do we effectively engage the whole community in emergency management to include a wide breadth of community members? Demographics of specific communities are extremely important. Meetings and gatherings should be held in order to make members of the community aware of specific threats to their area. Personally, I’ve noticed how successful social media has been in passing along emergency messages and warnings to specific local communities. I know many people who follow the “Patch” Facebook accounts for their areas in order to be updated on certain issues in their region.
How can we tap into what communities are interested in to engage in discussions about increasing resilience? I believe any community that has been affected by a major disaster or is highly likely to be affected by a natural disaster would be interested in increasing their resilience. Coming from a community that was devastated by Hurricane Sandy in 2012, I know that many people would participate in a meeting with federal and state emergency responders.

Comment by Joe Citizen

January 30, 2015 @ 12:59 pm

Given that I am apparently blocked from this public web site when signing in w/my name in what is expressed as an open forum whether YOU or another agree or disagree with my opinions expressed or contrary to your loyalty to some political party or ideology….and the host has obviously received numerous complaints about my commentaries….let us continue under aka Joe Citizen then for I am a very proud American who is aghast that known terrorists are returned to the battlefront to again ploy and kill our American youth in uniform…How dare you?

Enough of embarrassing our great nation! Enough with the apologies for America! This eight year White House resident, so privileged and so ungrateful for a populace who sees no pigment of skin and no divisiveness as he and Michelle Obama and their pal, good ‘ol Al and others do for We voted twice this Barry Obama, a Chicago city street slicker and nothing more and who has done everything to weaken this nation and to divide us, though We stand together in clasp of hand and shout, Vote for Judge Jeanine for President!

Homeland Security encompasses much and so much of today is integrated and dependent on Homeland Security and this White House, tainted and led by Barry Obama and who I refer to as anarchists like the Bill Ayers and others who this same Barry Obama stood on milk carton at Harvard denouncing America and cops, well God Bless our America and our beloved Republic where far too many have had to give Life or limb to protect my Rights as a “natural born citizen” of the Blessed America, these United States of America where we stand forthright and are so obligated to protect our Constitution and our Judeo-Christian values despite the snubbing of Bibi by the White House executive who sends back known terrorists w/the blood of America youth on their hands and he and the Rev Wright think its Ok for Tehran to have WMD in hand as long as the “Zionists” have same as the Rev Wright referred in the media back in ’08 and Barry and Michelle Obama sat for years listening attentively to the Rev Wright….

WE DO NOT LEAVE OUR BRAVE WARRIORS BEHIND at the “Benghazi Massacre” Barry and Ms. Hillary standing forthright in such blatant lie about some video – How dare you? “Entrusted” officials duly elected by a public who once had trust and no longer….Ho dare you?

Just as the Bible survived this attack as stated below, ‘ol Glory will stand without apologies high in the skies for our pledge is Not as Barry’s is to his father, Hussein Obama and his anti-Christian, Colonialists pals in Kenya –

In this Friday Open Forum, recall the words of Frederick Douglass:

“Find out just what People will submit to, and you have found the exact amount of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them; and these will continue until they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress”

_____________

….and the Christians continue to be attacked and while this WH could give a damn, the following account which points to the necessity to hold this WH and its intentional refusal to refer to “terrorism” and this Islamic movement and its own perverse perspectives so willing to apologize for America…How dare you?

The following:
_________________________________
“Neal and Danette Childs knew they were in danger.

From their compound in Niger’s capital city they could see three churches burning. The smoke was filling their home.

“We immediately started packing a trunk, putting in our valuables, our documents, and we loaded up the car,” Neal told me. “There were concerns our family would be targeted.”

The horrors of that weekend did not generate all that much press coverage. There were no solidarity marches for Niger’s tiny Christian community.
The Childs family had every reason to be alarmed. A rampaging mob was attacking Christian houses of worship, and Neal was the prominent leader of a Christian ministry in the mostly Muslim country.

“Our immediate response — there is that little bit of panic,” he said during a telephone conversation from the West African nation of Niger. “We were ready. We were on guard.”

It was Jan. 16 and by the week’s end Muslims had set fire to at least 45 churches and looted the homes of a number of Christian ministers. Ten people were killed. Followers of Christ fled for the lives.

The protests were over the cartoons lampooning the Prophet Muhammad that were published by the French magazine Charlie Hebdo.

The horrors of that weekend did not generate all that much press coverage. There were no solidarity marches for Niger’s tiny Christian community. There was no wall-to-wall cable news coverage. Nor could I find any mention of the burnings on the White House website.

The Associated Press account was a mere four paragraphs.

CLICK HERE TO JOIN TODD ON FACEBOOK FOR CONSERVATIVE CONVERSATION!

The New York Times published a dispatch from Reuters that appeared sympathetic to the mob. The story included quotes from a Muslim explaining why they were angry — but there were no quotes from the Christian victims.

Likewise, USA Today’s coverage lacked any commentary from pastors or priests. But they did find an imam who reminded the newspaper’s readers that the Islamic faith is peaceful.
“Don’t forget that Islam is against violence,” he told USA Today as the ruins of 45 Christian churches smoldered across the nation.

But the story of what really happened during that terrifying weekend deserves to be told. And it needs to be heard.

Neal and Danette Childs have been Christian missionaries in Niger since 1998. Neal oversees Reaching Unreached Nations, a ministry of 36 churches across the country.

Two of those churches were destroyed. The mob also attacked the parsonages — leaving two ministers and their families homeless.

“Both of their houses were burned and completely looted,” Neal told me. “One of our pastors lost everything.”

That pastor has a pregnant wife and three children. They are now living with Neal and his family.

But something rather remarkable happened when the mob attacked the other pastor’s house.

“While the mob was burning the front of the house, his neighbors came in through the back and they hauled out clothes and everything they could get through the back window,” Neal said.

The Christian pastor’s neighbors are Muslim.

“They helped to save the pastor’s property while the crazy mob was burning everything,” Neal said.

The following day Neal and his wife ventured outside to survey the ruins of the church house.

“It was still smoking and warm with ashes,” he told me. “As we were looking through the rubble my wife came across the Bible.”

The Bible was charred but not destroyed, and it caused a stirring in the hearts of the Christian couple.

“It was an emotional moment as you see your church in ashes,” Neal said.

Danette took a photograph of that Bible, and it ended up in the hands of Franklin Graham, the president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.

Graham posted the photograph of the Bible on his Facebook page, along with a sobering thought.

“Can you imagine the international outcry if this were the Koran?” he asked.

“I read that,” Neal told me. “That would be huge if it had been a Koran.”

Could you imagine the international outcry if Christians had burned 45 mosques?

But that’s not what happened in Niger. The Christian community did not retaliate. They did not respond with angry voices.

“That’s because we are people of mercy and grace and faith,” Neal told me. “We don’t react in the flesh and we don’t react out of anger.”

Indeed, Christian leaders in Niger held a press conference and announced they forgave those who burned down their churches.

“The church is recognizing this is something to be joyful over — the church and their faith have been proven,” Neal said. “Jesus said rejoice and be exceedingly glad when men persecute you, for great is your reward in heaven.”

The Muslim mobs may return, but that’s OK with Neal.

“We are preaching the Gospel and living as an example before the people,” he said. “It was demonstrated in our response. It is not our nature to be aggressive or violent. We forgive those that attack.”

Good words spoken by a man with a deep and abiding faith in our Lord.

And yet I still can’t seem to get over the image of that charred Bible found in the ashes of that church house. I’m reminded of a passage of Scripture from the Old Testament.

“The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.”

Todd Starnes is host of Fox News & Commentary, heard on hundreds of radio stations. Sign up for his American Dispatch newsletter, be sure to join his Facebook page, and follow him on Twitter. His latest book is “God Less America.”

Comment by Joe Citizen

January 30, 2015 @ 1:15 pm

“If tyranny and oppression come to this land, it will be under the guise of fighting a foreign enemy. But, in reality it will be an Enemy from within”

James Madison (1785)

“No People will tamely surrender their Liberties, nor can they be easily subdued, when knowledge is wide spread and Virtue is preserved. On the Contrary, when People are unusually ignorant, and debauched in their Manners, they will sink under their own weight without the Aid of foreign invaders”

Samuel Adams (1775)

Comment by William R. Cumming

January 30, 2015 @ 4:22 pm

FIRE SERVICE and USFA continued:

Some have suggested that there under 1M law enforcement personnel in the USA at all levels of government. There are estimates of up to 2.5 million involved with the FIRE SERVICE at all levels of government. Almost 80% of the FIRE SERVICE are part-time volunteers. the FIRE SERVICE IS THE LARGEST CADRE OF AT LEAST PARTIALLY TRAINED FIRST RESPONDERS IN THE USA.

The question to me has always been WHY DOES THE FIRE SEERVICE NOT PULL EVEN MORE WEIGHT IN HS AND EM?

First, the FIRE SERVICE IN WASHINGTON IS REPRESENTED BY AT LEAST 5 DIFFEREENT ORGANIZATIONS. These often disagree on their federal policy recommendations.

Second, the FIRE SERVICE long aqo largely opted out of radiological protection policy and issues. Perhaps because radioactivity cannot be seen or smelled but only detected by dosimeters or other instrumentation.

Third, the development of HAZMATS RESPONSE and EMT services is largely independent of the FIRE SERVICE even though both may be housed in the FIRE SERVICE and certainly had origins in the FIRE SERVICE.

Fourth, the leadership of the FIRE SERVICE HAS failed to adapt to technological change and lacks vision. Only two states mandate uniform coupling standards so that mutual aid can be provided inter community. Florida and New York last I heard.

Fifth, with sprinklers in both residential and commercial structures reducing fire deaths the general public is not well informed on fire hazards nor is the built environment focused upon for its creation of fire hazards.

What might be done? Well the National Fire Academy might be usefully renamed the NATIONAL FIRE UNIVERSITY and empowered for R&D on fire protection and response.

Also the protective gear of fire responders may well be dated or inadequate to save lives. SCBA [self-contained breathing apparatus] is not provided to 100% of the fire service. Nor is it fully adequate for WMD response.

Given the importance of the FIRE SERVICE what if the FIRE SERVICE had been given the lead in efforts such as the NATIONAL RESPONSE PLAN? And should some portion of the FIRE SERVICE BE SUBJECT TO FEDERAL STANDRDS AND TRAINING or as a parallel funded and trained by the federal government like the URBAN SEARCH AND RESCUE TEAMS?

Hoping Mark Chubb still reads this blog?

Comment by William R. Cumming

January 30, 2015 @ 4:24 pm

Responding to Climate Change the President has issued new guidance by amending E.O. 11988 and establishing a new flood risk standard for federal investment.

Comment by William R. Cumming

January 30, 2015 @ 4:25 pm

The President’ new flood risk standard is available for 60 days of public comment.

Comment by Colton Strano

January 30, 2015 @ 7:08 pm

With the upcoming Super Bowl, tensions are running high about terrorist attacks, both cyber and physical, during the game. As we saw only 2 years ago with the power outage, even non malicious technological failures can cause fear and commotion. Last year with the Super Bowl in our own backyard (NY/NJ) security was tight and on point. This year we hope to see the same effort in protecting against any physical or cyber attacks with the right preparations and back up plans in place.

Question: With Emergency Management as top priority, how exactly does the security, both public and private, companies plan on mitigating damage in the light of a cyber attack?

Comment by Dina Russo

January 30, 2015 @ 7:35 pm

While reading Matt’s comment about the upcoming Super Bowl and the blackout that we faced last year it also got me thinking of cyber-attacks that could shut down a SCADA system. Matt touched upon a cyberattack that could disrupt communication systems. I think the future of the cyber-attacks will be attacks upon our critical infrastructure systems. “Power generation facilities, metropolitan traffic control systems, water treatment systems and factories have become targets of attackers, and have been hit recently with an array of network breaches, data thefts and denial-of-service activities” (Remote). Critical infrastructure, such as water, gas, electric, waste ect, relies on machine equipment to make sure everything is running properly. The equipment are basically small computers, which could have potential vulnerabilities just like our laptops. An example of a vulnerability in a system is that it that the soft wear has access limitations, so it is hard to patch the soft wear and keep it up to date. This is something that we do not think of on and everyday basis. However, the critical infrastructure in the US allows us to have lights, cook food, and live our daily lives. Imagine a power outage, and then imagine that being caused by a cyberattack where they can control the outcome. This would cause mass chaos and furthermore leave us open for a physical attack. It is important the future homeland security leaders focus on improving the security of our critical infrastructure systems. A few ways that this could be done is to make the systems multi layered, collecting and analyzing potential threats to infrastructure systems, and by making sure all vulnerabilities are patched.

Protecting Critical Infrastructure Understanding the Threat to SCADA Networks (Remote Magazine)
http://www.remotemagazine.com/main/articles/protecting-critical-infrastructure-understanding-the-threat-to-scada-networks/

Comment by Ally M

January 30, 2015 @ 11:02 pm

Communities that are located on the East Coast are vulnerable to major storms that could shut down an entire community and puts the lives of American Citizens at risk. These storms include hurricanes and blizzards like the one that the East Coast just recently went through. When the storm came and went, comments were made that the predications that were made were nowhere near the actual outcome near New York City. Some areas were greatly affected while others were not. Many communities were preparing for a storm that never actually came. The key is that communities were prepared to handle the pending emergency. It was planned in advance on how to deal with the snow and to get people off the roads as soon as possible. When it comes to homeland security it is better to be over prepared than under. Even though the storm did not turn out as was predicted the communities were able to practice their emergency management through the amount of preparation that did occur. The more practice that communities and individual citizens have in preparing for emergencies will increase this ability. When the next natural disaster does strike, and we all know that it will happen, the communities will be capable in handling whatever is thrown their way. This creates a more resilient community. If the number of resilient communities continues to increase this will allow for federal resources to be used more purposefully and the recovery process will be quicker.
The whole community approach to emergency management helps communities become more resilient and self-sustaining when an emergency occurs. The whole community approach brings together all homeland stakeholders to create a better prepared community in the event of an emergency. It does not matter if the community is a local community or the entire national community. Residents, emergency personnel, community leaders, and government officials come together to assess the communities capabilities and needs to determine the best way to strengthen and organize to better the whole community. To do this the community has to understand its own capabilities. This will allow for the community to enhance both their strengths and their weakness. This approach will engage the entire community to increase individual awareness and community preparedness. Communication will be a key for the whole community to prepare for threats. The partnerships within the community need to be able to communicate and collaborate together to create preparation plans for all hazards that could affect the specific community. It is through communication and information sharing that all vulnerabilities of the community can be covered. The capabilities of the community can be put to the best use when the preparation is organized. With proper communication every stakeholder clearly understands their roles that they have to play. The whole community approach is effective, when adhered to, but as with the entire homeland security community the approach needs to continue to grow. With every new experience there are important lessons to be learned. Analyzing how emergencies and even possible emergencies were handled will allow for the strategic approach to be enhanced. With each new situation the capabilities of the entire homeland security community will improve.

Comment by Bruce Martin

January 30, 2015 @ 11:48 pm

Bill, one perspective fyi:

The fire service in the United States is comprised of agencies at federal, state, tribal and local levels. Local fire agencies include those in counties, cities, special districts and contractually created agencies (e.g. joint powers authorities). The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) estimated there were 30,125 fire departments in the United States in 2010
.
The term “municipal” is used to denote fire departments that have a more “all-risk” challenge
(structure and other fire, emergency medical, hazardous materials, technical rescue, boats, airports, etc.), as opposed to fire departments that exist solely for wildland, aircraft or other specialized fire fighting missions. In general in the U.S., fire protection is “a matter of local interest,” (that is the legislative intent stated in the California Health and Safety Code), therefore the industry can be
characterized as a confederation of like providers, often bound by a local, regional and state emergency response plan, and much more distantly by the national emergency response framework. There are also robust professional associations, which are management, standards, specialty and labor-based and which voluntarily tie the agencies together.

That being said, each agency is an organization (and employer) unto itself, with its own unique approach to organizational dimensions. While the author believes fire departments in the U.S. are more similar than dissimilar, there can be different approaches by agency.

Briefly, the U.S. fire service transitioned from an obligation of all able bodied men in colonial times, through volunteer fire departments in newly formed cities in the 1700’s, to a paid professional service beginning in the 1800’s and into the 20th century. While the volunteer departments could be raucous, parochial and often a seat of local political power, paid professional fire service began as nearly indentured servitude. A main candidate pool until recent decades was tradespeople and those who saw a fire service career as a gateway to the middle class. A number of paid jobs later came to be occupied and influenced by returning military men following the civil war, and every war thereafter. That influence manifested in organizational style, which is hierarchical and rank conscious, dependent on written policies and procedures, and a mission focus of emergency response with slack time occupied by training and maintenance of equipment.

Until recently the entire US fire service was represented in the national framework by the US
Forest Service (Department of Agriculture), a wildland agency. This is allegedly transitioning to the United States Fire Administration, a FEMA agency more aligned with all-risk departments.

Comment by William R. Cumming

January 31, 2015 @ 1:02 am

Thanks Bruce! The so-called fire hazard in the WILDLAND-URBAN interface includes multiple departments and agencies such as the Departments of Interior and Agriculture and FEMA also has been the delegate for fire disasters under the Stafford Act and also for a reimbursement program for State and their local governments that assist in fighting fires on federal lands at 44 CFR Part 150!

Comment by Joe Citizen

January 31, 2015 @ 6:44 am

What further provisions are made with the assets and resources of Homeland Security when major metropolitan areas are substantially compromised and given the scenario unfolding in the Northeast and especially metro Boston as the forecast points to another round of sixteen (16) inches Sunday night through Monday night w/subzero temps and possibly another nor’easter late week which may in fact put some communities with 45-50 cm on the ground and transportation and vital services hampered by such conditions….Does the federal government in anticipation of this type of present and apparent weather conditions advise officials and offer cities and towns add’l heavy duty equipment and funding and what public service announcements will Homeland Security make to the public – many elders in the region – who will be very challenged especially these next ten days….

Let’s hope Massachusetts Emergency Management is ready for these next ten days of snow and cold with only a brief moderation to freezing F mid-week with much colder weather on tap and a late winter storm maybe approaching or just staying south of the region next wknd will prove to be quite a challenge especially for first responders!

For those of us here in Beantown, let’s make sure the fire hydrants are free from snow and all check on elderly neighbors w/hopes that the electric grid will Not fail us —

Spring is not-too-far down the road, however we have some hefty challenges to confront and we depend on emergency management to be prepared in support of our first responders and the public at large –

Let’s get the National Guard ready to assist w/front end loaders now!

Christopher Tingus
Harwich (Cape Cod)

Comment by Joe Citizen

January 31, 2015 @ 9:57 am

“Praise HIm with resounding cymbals, praise Him with triumphant cymbals. Let everything that breathes praise the Lord” –

Comment by Joe Citizen

January 31, 2015 @ 10:15 am

Oh, Barry Obama and his deceitful ways….well, breaking news (no surprise) today very pertinent to (OUR) Homeland Security and our precious youth in uniform serving each of us and again, clearing shouting from the pew that both Barry and Ms. Hillary should be under House arrest for suspicion in breach of faith, treason for leaving our brave warriors behind at the “Benghazi Massacre” and putting their selfies first rather than our nation!

I don’t really concern myself with the numerous complaints which unfortunately the gracious hosts of this public forum have received or that I must now use Joe Citizen as I cannot seem to log on any differently for when it comes to Homeland Security and ‘ol Glory and our obligation to stand forthright for our Judeo-Christian principles and our Constitution, some eight year WH resident, entrusted to serve under oath and to protect our nation and Not release known terrorists back to Islamic terrorists – breaking news and again, little confidence in Homeland Security who releases known convicts to walk among us and a WH which not only openly subs the Hebrew while supporting the Muslim Brotherhood and Taliban now…but a warped and perverse White House which affords little confidence that this eight year WH resident or successor if indeed Ms. Hillary does run and wins endorsement which I doubt she will unlike so many others….well, we have little confidence that the WH or DHS is getting the job done!

It is time to adopt by the electorate — “recall initiatives” — for every public official including the executive WH and no one is above the law! No one…

God Bless America for we are no so weakened that unless this newly formed Congress musters some real challenges, this WH executive will continue until his successor to give America away piece by piece, his intent and loyal oath to his father, Hussein Obama and his anti-Christian, anti-colonialists Kenyan pals!

See:

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2015/01/29/official-gitmo-prisoner-traded-for-bergdahl-reaching-out-to-taliban/

Again, God Bless America!

Christopher Tingus
“Main Street USA”
Harwich (cape Cod), mA 02645 USA

Comment by William R. Cumming

February 1, 2015 @ 7:08 am

The book and movie BLACK SUNDAY involved football and terrorism decades ago.

A new book [nonfiction as Black Sunday was fiction] has been published authored by Benjamin Schwartz entitled RIGHT OF BOOM-The Aftermath of Nuclear Terrorism–that discusses the policy choices in particular of US leadership should this event occur specifically a NUDET!

Comment by Citizen Joe

February 1, 2015 @ 11:33 pm

Olen Steinhauer grew up in Virginia, and has lived throughout the US and Europe. He spent a year in Romania on a Fulbright grant, an experience that helped inspire his first five books. He now splits his time between Hungary and New York with his wife and daughter.

Forthcoming books include All the Old Knives (2015), a novel of terrorism and revenge, split between a restaurant in California and the American embassy in Vienna. He penned the screenplay, which is being produced by Chockstone Pictures and Nick Wechsler Productions.

He is presently working on a novel focused on home-grown American terrorism.

Olen Steinhauer grew up in Virginia, and has lived throughout the US and Europe. He spent a year in Romania on a Fulbright grant, an experience that helped inspire his first five books. He now splits his time between Hungary and New York with his wife and daughter.

His first novel, The Bridge of Sighs (2003), began a five-book sequence chronicling Cold War Eastern Europe, one book per decade. It was nominated for five awards. The rest of the sequence includes: The Confession, 36 Yalta Boulevard (The Vienna Assignment in the UK), Liberation Movements (The Istanbul Variations in the UK)—this one was nominated for an Edgar Award for best novel of the year—and Victory Square, which was a New York Times editor’s choice.

With The Tourist (2009), he began a trilogy of spy tales focused on international deception in the post 9/11 world. The Tourist reached the New York Times bestseller list, and has been translated into 25 languages. The second volume, The Nearest Exit, was published in 2010 and won the Hammett Prize for best literary crime novel of the year. The finale, An American Spy, was published in March 2012 in the US and UK, and it spent 3 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, as well as the LA Times and Publishers Weekly bestseller lists.

The Tourist is being developed for film by Columbia Pictures, with Doug Liman to direct.

The Cairo Affair (2014), which begins in Budapest and moves to post-Mubarak Cairo and Libya in the midst of the Arab Spring, was published to acclaim from The New York Times, The Seattle Times, Amazon.com, The Saturday Evening Post, The Christian Science Monitor, PopSugar, and others. It reached a number of bestseller lists, including the New York Times, the Washington Post, and Publishers Weekly.

His first novel, The Bridge of Sighs (2003), began a five-book sequence chronicling Cold War Eastern Europe, one book per decade. It was nominated for five awards. The rest of the sequence includes: The Confession, 36 Yalta Boulevard (The Vienna Assignment in the UK), Liberation Movements (The Istanbul Variations in the UK)—this one was nominated for an Edgar Award for best novel of the year—and Victory Square, which was a New York Times editor’s choice.

With The Tourist (2009), he began a trilogy of spy tales focused on international deception in the post 9/11 world. The Tourist reached the New York Times bestseller list, and has been translated into 25 languages. The second volume, The Nearest Exit, was published in 2010 and won the Hammett Prize for best literary crime novel of the year. The finale, An American Spy, was published in March 2012 in the US and UK, and it spent 3 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, as well as the LA Times and Publishers Weekly bestseller lists.

The Tourist is being developed for film by Columbia Pictures, with Doug Liman to direct.

The Cairo Affair (2014), which begins in Budapest and moves to post-Mubarak Cairo and Libya in the midst of the Arab Spring, was published to acclaim from The New York Times, The Seattle Times, Amazon.com, The Saturday Evening Post, The Christian Science Monitor, PopSugar, and others. It reached a number of bestseller lists, including the New York Times, the Washington Post, and Publishers Weekly.

Comment by William R. Cumming

February 2, 2015 @ 7:35 am

Perhaps useful to note that many believe that WAR and the NATION-STATE SYTEM are inextricably linked. Thus, perhaps a false syllogism perhaps not the demise of inter NATION-STATE warfare the demise of the NATION-STATE system.

One recent analysis of this correlation is THE WORTH OF WAR by Professor Benjamin Ginsberg.

My theory of course is the so-called DEEP STATE is giving up on conventional militaries that operate at least somewhat openly to instead the complete reliance on INTELLIGENCE [often wrong IMO] and privately contracted armies. And BTW the American IC has been caught totally flatfooted by the current deflation in the world-wide energy sector.

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