The Obama administration has given a green light to the Homeland Security Department to be more competitive and choosey as it hires up to 1,000 new cyber experts over the next three years, the first major personnel move to fulfill its vow to bolster security of the nation's computer networks.
The announcement follows a wave of cyber attacks on federal agencies, including a July assault that knocked government Web sites off the Internet and earlier intrusions into the country's electrical grid.Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, who made the announcement on Thursday, said the hiring plan reflects the Obama administration's commitment to improving cyber security. The move gives DHS officials far greater flexibility to hire whom they want, outside of more stringent federal guidelines. And it will also allow more latitude in pay.
As a result, Napolitano told an audience of cyber industry professionals, the new rules "will allow us to be competitive with you all" in luring quality applicants.
From USA Today, on the H1N1 vaccine:
Vaccine for the H1N1 flu will begin arriving in the nation's hospitals, clinics and schools as early as Tuesday, the start of an effort to protect Americans against a swine flu virus that emerged this past spring and quickly circled the globe.
Thomas Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, says the effort ushers in a "challenging few weeks" for health officials.
That's an understatement.
In a task worthy of a deadly serious video game, state health departments have to organize thousands of workers at 90,000 sites nationwide to administer as many as 250 million doses in three to four months, making sure the people at greatest risk from swine flu - such as pregnant women, young children and health care workers - are first in line.
On top of the logistics, health officials have to convince a somewhat skeptical public that swine flu vaccinations are necessary.
And they've got it do it in the midst of vaccinating the public for seasonal flu, which by itself claims 36,000 lives across the USA each year.
"We're looking at vaccinating as many people as we can in as short a period as we can," Frieden says. "There are enormous logistical challenges."
From AFP, on US aid teams to American Samoa:
US disaster assistance teams helping in the recovery effort on tsunami-devastated American Samoa were providing critically needed aid including emergency power and medical supplies, a top aid official said Thursday.
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) chief Craig Fugate said two disaster recovery teams arrived Wednesday and that initial assistance carried on through the night into Thursday on the small South Pacific island.
"We have over 140 people on the ground... coordinating and supporting the government's emergency response," including members of the US Coast Guard, the Hawaii National Guard and FEMA, Fugate told reporters on a conference call.
He said the US agencies had begun distributing food and water, power generators, medical supplies and other emergency aid.
10:15 AM EDT
NPPD Deputy Under Secretary Philip Reitinger will deliver remarks about cyber security threats at the launch of the "Weapons of Mass Disruption Gallery Exhibit"
International Spy MuseumUltra Room – 2nd Floor of Museum Complex
800 F Street NW