Home » 2013 » June

Monthly Archives: June 2013

California’s Zero Tolerance of Illegal Fireworks CAL FIRE Offers Fireworks Safety This Fourth of July

CalFire sends out some great fireworks safety tips, and warns that California has zero tolerance for illegal fireworks.

CAL FIRE – News Releases.

Advertisements

DOD Must Stay Ahead of Cyber Threat, Dempsey Says

English: USCYBERCOM Logo

English: USCYBERCOM Logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By Claudette Roulo
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, June 27, 2013 – In its mission to defend the nation, the Defense Department must stay ahead of the ongoing technological revolution and its attendant rise in “anywhere, any time” cyber threats, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said here today.

“As the defense community begins to focus inward on the implications of changing resources and this thing called sequestration, I think it’s important that we force ourselves to continue to look outward, at the changing world around us,” Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey told attendees at a Brookings Institution forum.

Computers continue to be integrated into in everyone’s daily lives, the chairman said. “By this time next year, I’m quite certain that my toaster will be connected to the Internet and probably tweeting,” he joked. “But the spread of digital technology has not been without consequence. It has also introduced new dangers to our security and our safety.”

Dempsey told the audience that in his two years as chairman, he has focused on what this revolution means for the military. He has spoken with information technology experts, major tech company security teams, and spent time with an Internet service provider. He even met with a venture capitalist, he said.

“One thing is clear: cyber has escalated from an issue of moderate concern to one of the most serious threats to our national security,” Dempsey said. Now, the entire country could be disrupted by the click of mouse, he added.

To address these threats, the military must take on new missions, the chairman said.

“Cyber incidents have steadily escalated over the past year,” Dempsey said. Banks and oil companies have been targeted by sophisticated attacks, he said, and more than 20 nations now have military cyber units.

“This is the new normal in cyberspace,” Dempsey said. “Disruptive and destructive cyberattacks are becoming a part of conflict between states, within states, and among nonstate actors. The borderless nature of cyberspace means anyone, anywhere in the world, can use cyber to affect someone else.”

It isn’t enough to just strengthen cyber defenses on military systems, the chairman said. Intrusion attempts on critical civilian infrastructure systems have increased 17-fold over the last two years, he said. “The gap between cyber defenses deployed across critical infrastructure and offensive tools we now know exist presents a significant vulnerability for our nation,” Dempsey said.

In response to the threat, the Defense Department is growing its capacity to protect its own networks, and it’s adding a new mission: defending the nation, when asked, from attacks of significant consequence — those that threaten life, limb, and the country’s core critical infrastructure, the chairman said.

Over the next four years, 4,000 cyber operators will join the ranks of U.S. Cyber Command, and $23 billion will be invested in cybersecurity, he said.

Three types of teams will operate around the clock at Cyber Command, Dempsey said. National mission teams will counter adversary cyberattacks on the United States. “A second and larger set of teams will support our combatant commanders as they execute military our missions around the globe,” Dempsey said. “The largest set of teams will operate and defend the networks that support our military operations worldwide.”

The most immediate priority is securing the “dot-mil” domain, the chairman said. “But in the event of a domestic cyber crisis,” he added, “our cyber forces will work in support of the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI, who lead our nation’s response in the dot-gov and dot-com domains.”

To ensure this force is able to operate quickly, the Defense Department now has a “playbook” for cyber, Dempsey said, noting that a presidential directive codifies how each part of the government will respond in the event of a serious cyberattack. Under this directive, the department has developed emergency procedures to guide its response to imminent, significant cyber threats, the chairman said.

The Defense Department is updating its cyber rules of engagement for the first time in seven years, he added, and also is improving mission command for cyber forces.

While cyber may be the nation’s greatest vulnerability, Dempsey said, it also presents the military with a tremendous asymmetric advantage. “The military that maintains the most agile and resilient networks will be the most effective in future war,” he told the audience. “This is the kind of force we are building for the future.”

Each branch of the military is doing its part, the chairman said, by investing in equipment and personnel that will ensure the joint force can operate in cyberspace as capably as it can on land, sea, air, and space. The next step is the planned Joint Information Environment, he said — a single, easy to secure, joint network delivering data to the department’s personnel wherever and whenever they need it.

“As part of this new Joint Information Environment, we’re building a secure 4G wireless network that will get iPads, iPhones and Android devices online in 2014,” the chairman said. “With tools like this, the smartphone generation joining our military will help us pioneer a new era of mobile command and control.”

Although the Defense Department has made significant progress in embracing cyber, the nation’s effort to protect critical civilian infrastructure is lagging — a worrisome vulnerability, the chairman said. Sharing information about cyber threats is one of the most important ways to strengthen cybersecurity across the private sector, he added, but threat information primarily is shared in only one direction: from the government to critical infrastructure operators.

“That has to change,” Dempsey said. “We can’t stop an attack unless we can see it.”

The country is debating the proper purpose and limits of intelligence collection for national security, the general said, but these are two entirely different issues, and it is a mistake to combine them.

“One is collecting the intelligence necessary to locate foreign terrorists and their potential domestic co-conspirators,” he explained. “The other is sharing information about malware to protect our critical infrastructure from a different kind of attack.”

Ultimately, he said, “it will take legislation to significantly strengthen our ability to withstand cyberattacks while safeguarding civil liberties.”

Information sharing is just one path to safer network operations, the chairman said. Others include improved cybersecurity standards and the establishment of internationally recognized rules for responsible behavior in cyberspace.

“The rise of cyber is the most striking development in the post-9/11 national security landscape,” Dempsey told the audience. “We are doing everything we can inside the military to be ready to operate in cyberspace. I call on our elected officials and the private sector to match the urgency. Together, we must place this nation on surer footing against the cyber threat.”

God’s Gift of Intuition: Expert Cites 7 Ways Our ‘Sixth Sense’ Can Help Detect and Deter Danger

An interesting blend of scripture, and good personal safety advice.

Faith That Inspires Action

CHARLOTTE, N.C., June 27, 2013 /Christian Newswire/ — With modern society rife with personal security
issues seemingly at every turn, it’s imperative to gain a strategic
advantage at every opportunity. This according to Christian safety and
security authority Phrantceena Halres, founder and CEO of Total
Protection Services, who is available for interviews and editorials on
all security and safety topics, including the following that is
available for reprint (with art):

God’s Gift of Intuition:
7 Ways to Develop Your ‘Sixth Sense’ to Detect and Deter Danger

By Phrantceena Halres

“Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.” — I Thessalonians 5:6

God
has blessed all of us with innate intuition, with the ability to sense
when something is amiss and possibly dangerous. In Mark, 5:27-5:32, is
recounted a story of Jesus when he was walking in a crowd. Although he
was in…

View original post 1,526 more words

Biloxi, Miss. earns Discount on Flood Insurance Premiums

English: Bay St. Louis, MS, December 11, 2007 ...

English: Bay St. Louis, MS, December 11, 2007 — A resident looks through new preliminary flood map information at an open house in Hancock County. The event kicks off the process for community adoption of the Digital Flood Insurance Rate Maps to meet requirements of the National Flood Insurance Program. Jennifer Smits/FEMA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

ATLANTA – Biloxi residents with flood insurance policies will now
receive a decrease on their annual flood premiums thanks to the city’s
active participation in the National Flood Insurance Program’s Community
Rating System
.

FEMA Region IV Floodplain Management and Insurance
Branch Chief Susan Wilson recognized Biloxi officials today with a
plaque for the city’s efforts in becoming the third city in the state to
earn a Class 5 community rating.

“Reaching a Class 5 rating is so
rare nationwide that it really speaks to the local officials and their
hard work and determination,” Wilson said. “They understand the extra
effort isn’t just for a decrease to insurance premiums, but it is
ensuring the entire city is more resistant to flood damage and more
disaster resilient overall.”

The CRS rewards communities that
voluntarily take steps to reduce flood risks beyond the minimum
requirements of the NFIP.  These steps, which include increasing flood
protection and implementing preparedness and mitigation activities, lead
to safer communities and ultimately help saves lives and property. As a
result, property owners and renters in CRS-participating communities
enjoy a reduction in flood insurance premiums. Communities are ranked
from a 10 to 1 scale which determines their flood insurance discounts.

Biloxi
policyholders began receiving flood insurance discounts from the CRS
program in 1996. As a result of additional steps the community has
recently taken, the community moved from a CRS Class 6 to a CRS Class 5
effective May 1, earning an additional five percent savings on flood
insurance.

There are more than 5,900 flood insurance policies in
Biloxi, representing more than $1.5 billion in flood insurance
coverage.  Policyholders located in the high risk areas of flooding, or
Special Flood Hazard Areas, can now receive a 25 percent discount on
their policy premium, which is an average savings of $285 per policy.
Some policyholders in the lower risk areas are eligible for a 10 percent
discount.  In total, policyholders realize an annual savings of more
than $437,000 because of the community’s CRS participation.

CRS
is a voluntary program for NFIP-participating communities. The intended
goals of the program are to reduce flood losses, facilitate accurate
insurance ratings and to promote the awareness of flood insurance.  The
two other Mississippi communities to earn a Class 5 rating are
Pascagoula and Waveland.

For more information on the NFIP’s CRS program visit www.fema.gov/business/nfip/crs.shtm.  For more information about the NFIP, a program administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), visit www.floodsmart.gov.

Community Rating System Facts:

Nationwide Communities: 1,211

Nationwide Class 5:               66

Mississippi Communities:      29

Mississippi Class 5:                 3

FEMA’s
mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that
as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our
capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from,
and mitigate all hazards.

AF lifts stop movement order, resumes moves to Colorado

Emblem of the Air Force Personnel Center of th...

Emblem of the Air Force Personnel Center of the United States Air Force (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

by Debbie Gildea

Air Force Personnel Center Public Affairs

6/18/2013 – JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas (AFNS) — Permanent
change of station
and temporary duty assignments to Peterson Air Force
Base
, Schriever AFB, Cheyenne Mountain Air Station and the U.S. Air
Force Academy
have been restored, Air Force Personnel Center officials
announced.

A stop movement order, requested by the Air Force Space Command and
USAFA commanders, was implemented June 14 in reaction to wildfires
burning in the Black Forest northeast of Colorado Springs.

All Airmen, including civilians, are now authorized to proceed on
orders. Airmen assigned to or living in the area or whose dependent
family members live in the affected area are reminded to log in to the
Air Force Personnel Accountability and Assessment System at https://afpaas.af.mil to account for themselves, if they have not already done so, AFPC officials said.

For more information about stop movement and other personnel programs, visit the myPers website at https://mypers.af.mil.

Navy Deputy Surgeon General Retires After 33 Years

English: U.S. Navy Medicine logo

English: U.S. Navy Medicine logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By Joshua L. Wick, U.S. Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, Public Affairs

WASHINGTON (NNS) — The Navy’s deputy surgeon general and deputy chief, Bureau of Medicine and Surgery (BUMED), retired June 14 after a military career that spans more than 33 years of service.

In Navy tradition, Rear Adm. Michael H. Mittelman’s flag was hulled down during a formal ceremony attended by senior and junior military members, civilian guests, family and friends at the Sail Loft on the Washington Navy Yard, D.C.

“When you look at the breadth of his career, the amazing telescopic view he’s had of the Navy, the military, and the joint world in addition to what he’s been able to bear throughout his career, it really is an amazing accomplishment,” said Vice Adm. Matthew Nathan, U.S. Navy surgeon general and chief, BUMED.

Nathan added that in his last role, Mittelman was a compelling representative and co-leader of Navy Medicine.

“This ceremony is fitting for an officer of his caliber and for contributions he’s made,” said Nathan.

Mittelman, a native of Long Beach, N.Y., has held the position as deputy surgeon general and deputy chief of BUMED since November 2011.

The rear admiral began his Navy career as a staff optometrist in 1980 at Naval Hospital Cherry Point, N.C. In June 1989, he became the first Navy optometrist to earn designation as an Aerospace Optometrist (NAsO).

He took command of Naval Hospital Okinawa, Japan in July 2000, becoming the first optometrist to command a naval hospital. Additionally, Mittelman is the first and only clinician to serve as the 15th director of the Medical Service Corps (MSC). He was the only non-physician to serve as a combatant command surgeon for U.S. Pacific Command and the first at U.S. Joint Forces Command.

In addition to his series of firsts, Mittelman served in a variety of additional assignments and command positions across the Navy Medicine enterprise including Pensacola, Fla.; Great Lakes, Ill.; Washington, D.C.; Yorktown and Norfolk, Va.; Honolulu; Rota, Spain; as well as Okinawa, Japan.

“I got my first hop in a Marine EA-6B while stationed in Pensacola,” said Mittelman. “That cemented my love for aviation.”

At each duty station, Mittleman added, they [his family] met some amazing folks, who made a real impact on their lives and that has helped to make the Navy such a uniquely gratifying and rewarding career.

Though command has taken him out of regular clinical operations, treating great patients and being able to mentor junior Sailors is what has kept him motivated and dedicated.

“Don’t be afraid to get out of your comfort zone and take some calculated risks,” Mittelman said. “Take care of your people, be honest and have fun, it’s the only way you’ll grow professionally.”

According to the rear admiral, one of his most significant accomplishments was his involvement in Operation Tomodachi, the United States’ military medical response to the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear reactor crisis in Japan in 2011.

During his time as command surgeon for Pacific Command, Mittelman and his team were responsible for ensuring the health safety of residents in the region as well as monitoring the air, food, soil and water for contaminates.

In addition, they collaborated with the joint multinational disaster relief effort. Mittelman and his Navy Medicine team provided radiation health support, established a registry to document radiation exposure estimates for more than 70,000 Department of Defense affiliated personnel on or near the mainland of Japan and laid the foundation and established new science protocols for dealing with these type of situations.

Mittelman thanked Nathan and Dr. Jonathan Woodson, assistant Secretary of Defense (Health Affairs) and director of TRICARE Management Activity, for their leadership and friendship. He added, Navy Medicine and the military health system are in great hands because of them, great officers and enlisted who keep Sailors, Marines and all service members healthy and on target for readiness.

Mittelman’s awards and decorations include: Defense Superior Service Medal (two awards), Legion of Merit Medal (five awards), Meritorious Service Medal (three awards), Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (two awards), Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, Meritorious Unit Commendation (two awards), National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Overseas Service Ribbon (five awards), and the Navy Expert Pistol ribbon.

As the U.S. Navy Deputy Surgeon General, Mittelman helped lead a global health care network of 63,000 Navy medical personnel around the world who provide high-quality health care to more than one million eligible beneficiaries. Navy Medicine personnel deploy with Sailors and Marines worldwide, providing critical mission support aboard ship, in the air, under the sea and on the battlefield.

WALGREENS AGREES TO PAY A RECORD SETTLEMENT OF $80 MILLION FOR CIVIL PENALTIES UNDER THE CONTROLLED SUBSTANCES ACT

FED - Drug Enforcement Administration Special ...

FED – Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent Badge Patch (Photo credit: Inventorchris)

JUN 11 – (MIAMI) – Today DEA Miami Field Division Special Agent in Charge Mark R. Trouville and the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida announced that Walgreens Corporation (Walgreens), the nation’s largest drug store chain, has agreed to pay $80 million in civil penalties,  resolving the DEA’s administrative actions and the United States Attorney’s Office’s civil penalty investigation regarding the Walgreens Jupiter Distribution Center and six Walgreens retail pharmacies (collectively “Registrants”) in Florida.  The settlement further resolves similar open civil investigations in the District of Colorado, Eastern District of Michigan, and Eastern District of New York, as well as civil investigations by DEA field offices nationwide, pursuant to the Controlled Substances Act (the Act). 

The settlement, the largest in DEA history, resolves allegations that the Registrants committed an unprecedented number of record-keeping and dispensing violations under the Act.  According to documents filed in the underlying administrative actions, the Registrants negligently allowed controlled substances listed in Schedules II – V of the Act, such as oxycodone and other prescription pain killers, to be diverted for abuse and illegal black market sales. 

According to the most recent report from the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention, prescription drug overdose deaths exceeded motor vehicle deaths and deaths from illegal street drugs, such as cocaine, heroin, and amphetamines, in 2009.  Oxycodone is a powerful addictive narcotic that is one of the most abused prescription medications in Florida and throughout the United States.  Walgreens’ Distribution Center in Jupiter, Florida was the largest supplier of oxycodone to retail pharmacies in the State of Florida.

Special Agent in Charge Mark R. Trouville stated, “National pharmaceutical chains are not exempt from following the law.  This settlement sends out a clear message that all DEA registrants will be held accountable when they violate the law and threaten public health and safety.  The DEA will continue its efforts to work with our registrants and our law enforcement partners to combat pharmaceutical drug abuse and diversion in Florida.”

U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer stated, “Prescription drug abuse is a tremendous problem in Florida and throughout the country.  Every day, individuals die from prescription drug overdoses. The record-keeping requirements of the Controlled Substances Act and DEA regulations are designed to prevent prescription pain killers, like oxycodone, from ending up on our streets.  For this reason, we cannot allow pharmacies to circumvent their regulatory record-keeping and dispensing obligations.”

The settlement agreement covers conduct that was the subject of DEA’s administrative actions and the U.S. Attorney’s Office civil penalty investigation.  More specifically, the settlement covers allegations against Walgreen’s Jupiter Distribution Center and six Walgreens’ retail pharmacies.  First, the Jupiter Distribution Center failed to comply with DEA regulations that required it to report to the DEA suspicious prescription drug orders that it received from Walgreens’ retail pharmacies.  Walgreens’ alleged failure to sufficiently report suspicious orders was a systematic practice that resulted in at least tens of thousands of violations and allowed Walgreens’ retail pharmacies to order and receive at least three times the Florida average for drugs such as oxycodone.

Second, the six retail pharmacies in Florida that received the suspicious drug shipments from the Jupiter Distribution Center, in turn, filled customer prescriptions that they knew or should have known were not for legitimate medical use.  In addition, these retail pharmacies and others elsewhere in the United States failed to properly identify and mark, as required by DEA regulations, hardcopy controlled substance prescriptions that were outsourced to a “central fill” pharmacy for filling.  Without Walgreens’ retail pharmacies identifying these outsourced prescriptions, DEA could not accurately determine which prescriptions were filled from the retail pharmacies’ own drug supplies and which prescriptions were filled by a “central fill.”  Consequently, DEA could not determine the accuracy of the retail pharmacies’ drug records.  The DEA’s administrative actions demonstrated millions of violations of this type.

In addition to the $80 million civil penalty for the above violations, the settlement revokes the Registrants’ ability to distribute or dispense controlled substances listed in Schedules II – V for two years, ending in 2014.  As part of the settlement, Walgreens admitted that it failed to uphold its obligations as a DEA registrant regarding the above-described conduct.  Furthermore, Walgreens has agreed to create a Department of Pharmaceutical Integrity to ensure regulatory compliance and prevent the diversion of controlled substances.  Walgreens has also agreed to enhance its training and compliance programs, and to no longer monetarily or otherwise compensate its pharmacists based on the volume of prescriptions filled.

Since 2009, the DEA, along with its federal, state, and local counterparts, have partnered to combat the prescription drug abuse epidemic that has plagued Florida, culminating in Operation Pill Nation I and II and Operation Oxy Alley.  These investigations have resulted in charges against more than 172 individuals, including 51 doctors and 24 clinic/pharmacy owners, the seizure of approximately 2.5 million dosage units of controlled substances, approximately $16.6 million, real property, and exotic cars.  In addition, approximately 42 doctors and 11 pharmacies have lost their DEA registrations through the issuance of Immediate Suspension Orders.  As well, approximately 192 doctors and 68 pharmacies have voluntarily surrendered their DEA registrations following an official visit from the DEA.  Lastly, the DEA has also taken action against seven other Florida-based distributors.

This investigation was conducted by the DEA’s Miami Field Office and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida, with the assistance of DEA’s Office of Chief Counsel.