From IT World, on last week's "Eagle Horizon 2009":
The Department of Homeland Security conducted its Continuity of Operations plans yesterday. In their proclivity to assign all such operations mysterious sounding names, the disaster continuity exercise was called "Eagle Horizon 2009".
The mandatory exercise is held each year for all executive branch departments, and is coordinated by DHS through FEMA and the National Continuity Programs Directorate. The exercise is meant not only to test out the government's continuity of operations procedures, but also to ensure coordination between agencies in the event of an emergency. The coordination testing is an important part of any preparedness exercise, and one that private corporations should also consider. Recovering from a disaster is more than just getting systems back up and running, it also calls for a tremendous amount of coordination between areas of the enterprise that typically don't talk to one another. Recovery is, I venture to say, 50 percent procedural, and 50 percent just getting everybody to work together under unusual and stressful circumstances.
From the Washington Post, on the new "virtual fence":
After years of frustration, controversy and delay -- and some maddening technological glitches -- the first link in the federal government’s new $6.7 billion “virtual fence” is being erected here along the border.
We visited a newly constructed detection tower, out in the middle of Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge. Contractors were still plugging in the off-the-shelf components. The concept is simple. The execution is not. A previous test of the virtual fence concept was so plagued with snafus that the Department of Homeland Security scrapped it and announced a “do over.”
“We created a set of expectations that were unreasonable, and unfortunately it didn’t work as well as we would have liked,” says Mark Borkowski, director of the project in the Customs and Border Protection agency.
'According to Borkowski, this is the basic idea: In a 23-mile-long section of Arizona desert, the agency and its contractor, the Boeing Company, will erect a picket line of 17 towers -- nine towers will hold the detectors, eight will handle communications.
Atop each 80-foot-tall detection tower are a radar and two cameras -- one camera works with daylight and another detects heat signals at night. A nearby communications tower will send data back to a command center in Tucson.
From the Associated Press, on the latest Homeland Security spending bill:
The House passed a $44 billion spending bill Wednesday that awards the Homeland Security Department a 7 percent budget increase, with money for more border patrol agents and for anti-piracy efforts off the coast of Somalia.
As part of a GOP campaign against President Barack Obama's order to close the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, the bill requires the department to conduct threat assessments for the terrorist suspects being held there. It also requires that the department ensure that detainees are placed on its "no-fly" list and denied an array of immigration benefits, including admission into the United States and refugee status. Those moves complement steps to block the release of Guantanamo detainees into the United States contained in a newly-enacted war-funding bill.
12 PM EDT
Secretary Napolitano will participate in a pen & pad session with DHS beat reporters and bloggers
3801 Nebraska Avenue NW
10:30 AM Local
Chief Privacy Officer Mary Ellen Callahan will deliver remarks at the European e-Identity Management Conference
100 Victoria Street
11 AM EDT
ICE Philadelphia Special Agent in Charge John Kelleghan, will join USDA, CBP and USPIS to donate seized exotic beetles to the Smithsonian Institution
200 Chestnut St.
12 PM EDT
National Protection and Programs Directorate Acting Assistant Secretary for Cybersecurity and Communications Rear Admiral Michael Brown will deliver remarks at the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association (AFCEA) Cybersecurity Symposium
1001 16th Street, NW
2 PM EDT
TSA Public Affairs Manager Sari Koshetz will participate in a media event to introduce Orlando’s Proprietary canine teams
Regional Transportation Authority
LYNX Bus Station/Central Station
455 N. Garland Avenue