DALLAS – Members from eight nationally acclaimed institutions located across the nation came together in Dallas, TX, on Sept. 11 to sign the official charter for the Forensic and Crime Scene Investigation Consortium (FCSIC).
Present at the signing were representatives from the following original FCSIC member institutions:
- National Center for Biomedical Research and Training, Stephenson National Center for Security Research and Training, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, La.
- W. Roger Webb Forensic Science Institute, University of Central Oklahoma, Edmond, Okla.
- Texas Forensic Science Academy, Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service, College Station, Texas
- Southeast Texas Applied Forensic Science Facility, Criminal Justice Center, Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, Texas
- Department of Criminal Justice, Charleston Southern University, Charleston, S.C.
- Criminal Justice Department, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Las Vegas, Nev.
- Center for Criminal Justice and Forensic Sciences, Chaminade University of Honolulu, Honolulu, Hawaii
- The Center for Rural Development, Somerset, Ky.
The idea behind this collaboration was first conceived in August 2009 with the United States Department of Justice report to Congress, in which a committee was tasked to identify the needs of the forensic science community. Among the committee’s findings, highlighted in a document entitled “Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States: A Path Forward,” was a surprisingly consistent message:
In response to this message, the FCSIC was developed to help support a fully integrated national forensic and crime scene investigation system by developing and delivering new courses, enhancing current undergraduate and graduate programs and expanding research projects in their core competencies.
Consortium members were carefully selected for their broad array of competencies, extensive infrastructure and subject matter expertise, making the consortium a valuable national resource for forensic and crime scene investigation training. Current areas of focus among the FCSIC include crime scene investigations in hazardous environments, medical investigation, facial reconstruction, forensic art, digital forensics, property and evidence management, latent print technologies, crime scene documentation, courtroom testimony, underwater forensics, trace evidence, curriculum development and instructor training.
The training, education and research the FCSIC has and is developing and delivering is important and unique in the criminal justice system because state and local agencies perform the majority of all forensic and crime scene investigations conducted in the U.S., yet there is a dire need for 1) Mandatory training requirements 2) A career-spanning, standards-based training curriculum 3) A priority research environment and 4) A fully integrated forensic and crime scene investigations system in the U.S.
With already inadequate funding being cut even further, state and local agencies will now have the opportunity to train their employees at no additional cost through the courses delivered by the FCSIC. FCSIC courses are career-spanning, offering training for all three career levels: basic, intermediate and advanced.
The enhancement of current degree programs will provide a vibrant pool of degreed workforce applicants for the laboratories in addition to enhanced technologies and evaluative processes as a result of the research being conducted. With a well-trained forensic and crime scene investigations workforce, both domestic and internationally, the public will be safer, and society will be served more efficiently.
(Harris County, TX) — The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recognized the Harris County Citizen Corps’ deaf and hard of hearing Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program with an Honorable Mention, in the 2013 Individual and Community Preparedness Awards, for its dedication to making our communities safer, stronger and better prepared for any disaster or emergency.
“This CERT program is empowering the deaf and hard of hearing community that wants to learn about disaster preparedness,” said Harris County Judge Ed Emmett. “Our whole-community approach builds better prepared communities throughout Harris County.”
Harris County Citizen Corps, in partnership with Harris County Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Management and the Houston Center for Independent Living are collaborating to provide training for the deaf and hard of hearing. Deaf CERT training began in 2009; in September 2012, Harris County Citizen Corps introduced the first CERT Basic Training Course lead by a deaf instructor.
“The deaf and hard of hearing community faces unique challenges; learning how to protect themselves and their families during an emergency should not be one of them,” added Emmett. “We will continue to offer training opportunities to all the residents of Harris County.”
The 2013 Individual and Community Preparedness Awards honor the innovative practices and achievement of individuals, Citizen Corps Councils, and non-profit, faith-based and private sector organizations around the country. FEMA received close to 200 entries from 39 states and the District of Columbia.
Harris County Citizen Corps Program membership includes 17,606 trained volunteers involved in 248 Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT), 21,537 volunteers from 24 Volunteer in Police Service (VIPS) agencies, 3,291 volunteers from the Medical Reserve Corps (MRC), 5,515 volunteers from the 336 neighborhoods participating in the USA on Watch program and 24 Fire Corps agencies.
Past Harris County Citizen Corps awards include the 2012 Jack Colley Leadership Award for exemplary leadership and service to communities in the State of Texas, Honorable Mention in the 2010 National Citizen Corps Achievement Awards–Celebrating Resilient Communities, the 2009 National Citizen Corps Council Achievement Award for Volunteer Integration, the 2007 President’s Call to Service Award, the 2006 Governor’s Volunteer Award for Community Capacity Builder and the 2003 Best Practices for Innovation Award from the Texas Association of Counties.
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- ‘Peace Tree’ Honors Boston Marathon Bombing Victims, First Responders (boston.cbslocal.com)
By Cheryl Pellerin
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Sept. 25, 2013 – U.S. Cyber Command has activated the headquarters for its Cyber National Mission Force, the one of its three forces that would react to a cyber attack on the nation, Army Gen. Keith B. Alexander, Cybercom’s commander, said at the National Press Club today.
The other two forces are the Cyber Combat Mission Force that is assigned to the operational control of individual combatant commanders, and the Cyber Protection Force that helps operate and defend the Defense Department’s information environment.
Speaking at the 4th Annual Cybersecurity Summit, the general, who is also director of the National Security Agency, said Cybercom teams are now fully operational and working side by side with NSA to defend the nation.
“We will ensure that we have the best force anywhere in the world,” Alexander said.
Federal, military and industry officials listened as the general detailed five aspects of cybersecurity that NSA and Cyber Command are working to improve.
“Look at what’s happened in the past year,” Alexander said. “Over 300 distributed denial-of-service attacks on Wall Street. We saw destructive attacks in August 2012 against Saudi Aramco and RasGas [Co. Ltd.].”
There’ve also been “destructive” cyberattacks against South Korea, he added.
“What that says to me is that this is going to pick up. It’s going to get worse and we have to get a number of things done to protect this country,” Alexander said.
The top priority, he said, is a trained and ready force.
“The best [force] in the world — that’s what the American people expect of our military and of our intelligence community and that’s what we’re doing. Why? In this area, technical skills really matter,” the general said. “So we’re engaged in a multiyear effort with the services to train our forces.”
The Army, Navy and Marines trained about a third of the force in 2013 and they will train a third in 2014 and another third in 2015, he said.
“That’s a huge step forward and the service chiefs have stood up and pushed those forces forward despite sequestration and despite all the battles that are going on in the Pentagon,” Alexander said. “They’ve stood up and they’ve all agreed that this is a threat that we have to address for the good of the military and our nation.”
Cybercom also is conducting exercises such as Cyber Guard and Cyber Flag, the general said. These include the combatant commands, the National Guard, the reserves and interagency participation to develop the tactics, techniques and procedures and working relationships needed to conduct operations in cyberspace.
“Cyber Command provides cyber support elements to every combatant command today,” Alexander said. “We’re refining our operational concepts and our command and control. And I think … coming up with the operational concepts and the command and control is absolutely vital to the future.’
The second area critical to cybersecurity, especially in the Defense Department, is to move from the legacy information technology architecture in use today to a defensible architecture, the general said.
In fact, the Defense Information Systems Agency, working with Cybercom, NSA and the services, is beginning to implement a Joint Information Environment that will eventually upgrade the DOD legacy system.
“I think the cloud architecture that’s been pushed forward for the Joint Information Environment and the intelligence community’s IT environment is where our nation needs to be,” Alexander said. “A thin [or very minimalized] virtual cloud environment offers some great capabilities for the future.”
In such an environment, he explained, patching for many computers could be done at network speed with 100-percent accuracy, essentially fixing an entire network within minutes.
“You could remove humans from the loop in that [operation] and put them where you need them — protecting the networks,” the general said.
In this environment, he said, “we can break down each system we see being scanned by an adversary and put it in a new place. You can jump networks, you can jump databases, and you can jump your phone system, [making] it very difficult for adversaries to exploit them.”
Shared situational awareness is a third area of critical importance to the nation, Alexander said, describing it as a common way for people to understand events that happen in cyberspace.
“Ask the IT people to draw you a picture of a recent exploit into your network,” the general said. He then drew examples in the air to demonstrate the likely confusion that would ensue with no common framework.
“How does it look? How are we going to fix it?” he asked.
Such a framework will be even more important, the general said, when “forces in cyberspace must ask questions like, ‘Where is the adversary coming from? Where are they getting into the country? What is Cyber Command’s role? What is NSA’s role? How do our allies see that? How do we work together?'”
The answer is, he said, “nobody sees it today. We don’t have the shared situational awareness we need and this is going to be a key capability for the future.”
As a result, Alexander said, Cybercom, NSA and the Defense Department are developing a common operational picture and will share it with the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, the CIA, with all the combatant commands, and with some U.S. allies.
The fourth area that’s critical in cybersecurity is that government must work with industry, the general said.
“Industry owns and operates 85 percent to 90 percent of our networks,” Alexander said. But the government, led by the president, he added, has to be responsible for defending the country from attack and for attacking back.
“We have to share what we know about [cyber] threats and [industry] has to tell us what they see. This is where the Internet service providers are critical. Not just here but with our allies and others,” the general said.
“But we have to work with industry because we can’t see the threat,” he added. “And if we can’t see it we can’t respond to it.”
Government and industry must come together and figure out how that will work, Alexander said, adding that industry is critical to defending the United States in cybersecurity, and U.S. allies are critical partners in this.
“If we can’t share information with industry,” he said, “we won’t be able to stop it.”
The fifth area that’s critical to the United States in cybersecurity involves authorities, Alexander said.
“We need to work with Congress on additional legislation regarding cybersecurity and private industry — specifically, how we will share information and how we will provide liability protection to them,” he said. “Those are the key issues that have to come out of this.”
Rules of engagement also must be clarified, the general said, including what is expected of Cybercom.
“This is a difficult topic,” he said. “We don’t want NSA and Cyber Command doing something irresponsible. On the other hand, we don’t want NSA and Cyber Command waiting for the authorities while Wall Street is taken down in [a] cyber[attack]. So we have a dilemma. How do we work that?”
He said officials at Cyber Command and NSA are working within the Defense Department and the interagency to study the authorities and processes needed.
“It very closely follows what you would expect us to do if this were a missile attack on our country,” Alexander said. “How do we go through those authorities? How do we set up the conference calls? How do we go to the secretary of defense and the president and get the authorities we need and give them the options?”
He added, “We’re working our way through that and I think the government has done a great job moving that forward.”
Army Gen. Keith B. Alexander
Special Report: The Cyber Domain
- US Cyber Commander proposes radical changes to combat cybercrime (zdnet.com)
- U.S. cyberwar offense ‘best in the world’: NSA’s Gen. Keith Alexander (washingtontimes.com)
- INFORMATION WARFARE: The New Russian Cyber War Force (strategypage.com)
By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Sept. 19, 2013 – If confirmed as undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, Jessica L. Wright told Congress today, she will continue to advocate for the Defense Department’s No. 1 asset, its people, as the military deals with budget challenges and new operational requirements.
“It is evident to me that our people and those that support them are the department’s greatest assets and our strength,” she told the Senate Armed Services Committee during her confirmation hearing.
Wright, a retired Pennsylvania Army National Guard major general, has served as acting undersecretary for personnel and readiness since Jan. 1. She previously served as assistant secretary of defense for reserve affairs.
Testifying today, she attributed her 35 years in uniform and her family’s long tradition of military service with giving her unique insights into the challenges military members and their families face every day.
Wright called her late father, John Garfola — a combat medic during World War II who was buried just this week — her hero and role model for her family. In addition, her husband, Chuck, is a retired Army officer, and her son, Mike, is an Army lieutenant deployed to Afghanistan.
“The department has two sacred obligations. One is to care for its people who are willing to sacrifice their lives in order to protect the national interest. And the second is to ensure the national security of the United States,” Wright told the committee. “I bring a special understanding to both obligations.”
This understanding, she said, will guide her as Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s senior policy advisor on recruitment, career development, pay and benefits for 1.4 million active duty military personnel, 1.3 million Guard and Reserve personnel, 680,000 DOD civilians, and in overseeing the overall state of military readiness.
“I fully acknowledge that there are many challenges facing the department,” particularly the constrained fiscal climate, she said. But in confronting them, she promised to remain a staunch advocate for service members and their families, whose sense of duty drives them to “selflessly put the interest of our nation first.”
By doing so, she told the panel, they have made the U.S. military one of the most trusted institutions in society, and ensured the continued success of the all-volunteer force.
Wright said she will support Hagel’s commitments to the force and to ensuring it remains an agile, capable force for the future. That involves addressing what she called one of the most significant challenges facing it: stress resulting from more than a decade of deployments and high-tempo operational requirements.
“Although our service members never hesitate to answer the nation’s call, this call causes the toughest challenges on the battlefield and here at home,” she said. “Our service members and their families are under significant strain. Their minds, their bodies, their spirits require healing.”
Wright said she will ensure, if confirmed, that the department’s efforts to care for its people continue.
The security environment those people will be called upon to face in the future will be characterized by shifting operational requirements abroad, evolving threats to national security and continued budget challenges, Wright said.
“If confirmed, I would be vigilant and ensure the department provides the leadership in vision necessary to rebalance, adapt and evolve the all-volunteer force as it has done so well over the last 40 years,” she said. “I’m also committed to ensuring that we maintain the military’s status as the strongest, most capable, most respected fighting force in the history of the world.”
Also testifying at today’s hearing was Deborah Lee James, nominated to be the next Air Force secretary, and Marcel J. Lettre II, the nominee as principal deputy undersecretary of defense for intelligence, and Kevin A. Ohlson, nominated as a judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces.
Seventh Annual Study Finds Women are More Dangerous than Men and Musicians are Risky
Mad Men’s Jon Hamm is the Only Male to Rank in the Top 10
SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Sept. 17, 2013 – Lily Collins, star of The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones and Mirror, Mirror, has replaced Emma Watson as McAfee’s most dangerous celebrity to search for online. For the seventh year in a row, McAfee researched popular culture’s most famous people to reveal the riskiest Hollywood actors, musicians, comedians, and personalities on the Web. The McAfee Most Dangerous CelebritiesTM study revealed that women are more dangerous than men, with nine of the top ten being female. Following Lily Collins, Avril Lavigne takes the number two spot and Sandra Bullock comes in third. Jon Hamm is the only male to make the top 10 list this year. Musicians also comprise nine of the top twenty most dangerous celebrities.
Cybercriminals consistently take advantage of consumer interest around award shows, new movies and TV shows as well as the latest cultural trends driven by celebrities. These criminals capitalize on the public’s fascination with celebrity to lure them to sites laden with malware that enables them to steal passwords and personal information. This year, searching for a celebrity name coupled with the search terms “free app download” and “nude pictures” resulted in the highest instances of malware-laden sites.
“Today’s consumers often are completely unaware of security risks when searching for celebrity and entertainment news, images and videos online, sacrificing safety for immediacy,” said Paula Greve, director of web security research at McAfee. “Cybercriminals prey on consumers’ addiction to breaking news and leverage this behavior to lead them to unsafe sites that can severely infect their computers and devices and steal personal data.”
Lily Collins Searches Yield a Nearly One-in-Seven Chance of Landing on a Malicious Site
Fans searching for “Lily Collins and free downloads,” “Lily Collins and nude pictures,” “Lily Collins and fakes,” and “Lily Collins and free app downloads” are at risk of running into online threats designed to steal personal information, such as email addresses and passwords. Clicking on these risky sites and downloading files such as pictures and videos expose surfers to a larger risk of downloading viruses and malware.
McAfee research found that searching for the latest Lily Collins pictures and downloads yields more than a 14.5% chance of landing on a website that has tested positive for online threats, such as spyware, adware, spam, phishing, viruses and other malware.
The study uses McAfee® SiteAdvisor® site ratings, which indicate which sites are risky to search when attached to celebrity names on the Web and calculate an overall risk percentage. The top 10 celebrities from this year’s study with the highest percentages of risk are:
Women are More Dangerous than Men
Jon Hamm (No. 8) is the only man to rank in the top 10, followed by Justin Timberlake (No. 12) and Patrick Dempsey (No. 13) in the top 20.
Musicians Sing Their Way to the Top
Searching for musicians, especially young female pop stars, yields malware and risky websites. Seventeen musicians make the top 50 list, with three of them ranking in the top 10: Avril Lavigne (No. 2), Katy Perry (No. 6), and Britney Spears (No. 7). Other musicians at play include: Shakira (No. 11), Justin Timberlake (No. 12), Selena Gomez (No. 14), Demi Lovato (No. 16), Miley Cyrus (No. 20), Rihanna (No. 28), Lady Gaga (No. 30), Beyoncé (No. 34), and Pitbull (No. 50).
Dangerously Funny Men & Women
Sandra Bullock (No. 3), Kathy Griffin (No. 4), Amy Poehler (No. 17), Ellen DeGeneres (No. 23), Jimmy Fallon (No. 24), and Jimmy Kimmel (No. 39) all rank in the top 50.
Battle of the TV Personalities
Let the battle rounds begin between The Voice co-judges Blake Shelton and Adam Levine! Searching for Blake Shelton (No. 21) is more dangerous than doing so for Adam Levine (No. 32). Searching for downloads of Kanye West (No. 22) is more risky than searching for his new Kardashian family: Kourtney Kardashian (No. 27), Kim Kardashian (No. 35), Khloe Kardashian (No. 36), and Kris Jenner (No. 38). Media mogul and TV host Ryan Seacrest (No. 40) rounds out the top 40.
Latinas Heat Up the List
This year, four Latina women are in the top 20: Shakira (No. 11), Selena Gomez (No. 14), Demi Lovato (No. 16), and Eva Mendes (No. 19). Additional Latina women spicing up the top 50 are Sofia Vergara (No. 26), Jessica Alba (No. 31), and Salma Hayek (No. 43).
From One Year to Another
Emma Watson, Jessica Biel, and Megan Fox have all dropped out of this year’s list (in 2012 they ranked No. 1, No. 2, and No. 6, respectively).
Tips to Stay Protected:
- Beware of content that prompts you to download anything before providing you the content. You may want to opt to watch streaming videos or download content from official websites of content providers.
- “Free downloads” are significantly the highest virus-prone search term. Anyone searching for videos or files to download should be careful as not to unleash malware on their computer.
- Always use password protection on your phone and other mobile devices. If your phone is lost or stolen, anyone who picks up the device could publish your information online.
- Established news sites may not entice you with exclusives for one solid reason: there usually aren’t any. Try to stick to official news sites that you trust for breaking news. However, trusted sites can also fall prey to hackers. Make sure to use a safe search tool that will notify you of risky sites or links before you visit them.
- Don’t download videos from suspect sites. This should be common sense, but it bears repeating: don’t download anything from a website you don’t trust — especially video. Most news clips you’d want to see can easily be found on official video sites, and don’t require you to download anything. If a website offers an exclusive video for you to download, don’t.
- Don’t “log in” or provide other information: If you receive a message, text or email or visit a third-party website that asks for your information—credit card, email, home address, Facebook login, or other information—for access to an exclusive story, don’t give it out. Such requests are a common tactic for phishing that could lead to identity theft.
- If you do decide to search for information on a major event or celebrity in the news, make sure your entire household’s devices have protection, such as McAfee LiveSafe™, which protects all devices from your PCs, Macs, and tablets to your smartphone. It also includes malware detection software, McAfee® Mobile Security, to protect your smartphone or tablet from all types of malware.
- A complimentary version of SiteAdvisor software can be downloaded at www.siteadvisor.com.
Find More Information:
- To learn more about the research, you can check out
- Web page: www.mcafee.com/most-dangerous-celebrities
- Blog post: https://blogs.mcafee.com/consumer/riskyceleb
- Press release: http://www.mcafee.com/us/about/news/2013/q3/20130917-01.aspx
- Twitter: Follow @McAfeeConsumer for live online safety updates and tips. Use hashtag #RiskyCeleb to discuss the Most Dangerous Celebrities of 2013.
- Web surfers can also visit the McAfee Facebook page at www.facebook.com/mcafee and McAfee Security Advice Center for information on the latest consumer threats, and tips for living safe online.
About McAfee SiteAdvisor technology
McAfee SiteAdvisor technology protects users from malicious websites and browser exploits. SiteAdvisor technology tests and rates nearly every trafficked site on the Internet and uses red, yellow and green icons to indicate the website’s risk level.
SiteAdvisor site ratings are created by using patented advanced technology to conduct automated website tests SiteAdvisor software works with Internet Explorer and Firefox.
McAfee, a wholly owned subsidiary of Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC), empowers businesses, the public sector, and home users to safely experience the benefits of the Internet. The company delivers proactive and proven security solutions and services for systems, networks, and mobile devices around the world. With its Security Connected strategy, innovative approach to hardware-enhanced security, and unique Global Threat Intelligence network, McAfee is relentlessly focused on keeping its customers safe. http://www.mcafee.com
Note: McAfee, the McAfee logo, SiteAdvisor, McAfee LiveSafe, and Most Dangerous Celebrities are registered trademarks or trademarks of McAfee, Inc., or its subsidiaries in the United States and other countries. Other names and brands may be claimed as the property of others. ©2011 McAfee, Inc. All rights reserved.
- Mortal Instruments’ Lily Collins Is “Most Dangerous Celebrity” Online (contactmusic.com)
- Lily Collins Named Most ‘Dangerous’ Celebrity To Search For Online, McAfee Reports (huffingtonpost.com)
An interesting perspective on National Preparedness Month from our sister blog Faith That Inspires Action.
GRESHAM, Ore., Sept. 10, 2013 /Christian Newswire/ — September is National Preparedness Month, but many believers in God, especially in America, are indifferent to the need to prepare for the unexpected.
An article by Mimi Hall in USA TODAY said it all: “Most Americans haven’t taken steps to prepare for a natural disaster, terrorist attack or other emergency, according to a new study on preparedness, and only about a third have made plans with family members about how they would communicate with each other during a crisis.”
Part of the reason many people of faith neglect preparedness has to do with an odd defeatism that says, “If current events are prophesied to happen, then there’s nothing we can do about it anyway.”
The notion that calamity is unavoidable if it is divinely predicted is even sanctioned by some expositors who miss the pattern for preparedness in the Bible…
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