WASHINGTON – April 28, 2017– The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) announced today a $152,512 award to Planck Aerosystems Inc., to enhance U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS). CBP’s use of sUAS enhances mission capabilities and supports U.S. Border Patrol agents’ activities, including greater overall situational awareness and detection, tracking, apprehension, and search and rescue operations. The technology aims to expand these capabilities, adding mobility and fully autonomous platforms to existing sUAS systems.
“Mobility in this space is essential,” said CBP Acting Commissioner Kevin McAleenan. “This effort will enable integration of sUAS capability into Border Patrol’s operations in a variety of missions.” Continue reading
WASHINGTON —April 28, 2017–The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) today announced the transition of a malware detection technology to the commercial marketplace as a result of its participation in the S&T’s Transition to Practice (TTP) program.
Hyperion, initially developed by the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Oak Ridge National Laboratory, is a malware forensics, detection, and software assurance technology that can quickly detect malicious behavior in software not previously identified as a threat. It has been licensed by Lenvio, a cybersecurity firm based in Manassas, Virginia.
“The commercialization of Hyperion builds on TTP’s previous successes in transitioning technologies to the marketplace and shows that the TTP program is making a direct impact on improving cybersecurity in the public and private sectors,” said DHS Under Secretary (Acting) for Science and Technology Dr. Robert Griffin. Continue reading
April 27, 2017–The White House has provided feedback on a bill that would create an “operational” cyber protection unit at the Department of Homeland Security, clearing the way for the introduction of the legislation, Rep. Michael McCaul (R., Texas) said today. The White House feedback was “very positive,” Rep. McCaul, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, said at a CTIA cybersecurity summit. “The administration, I think, supports this. We’ll be introducing the bill soon,” he said. Rep. McCaul has said that the reorganization of DHS’s National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD) into an operational unit devoted to cybersecurity and the protection of critical infrastructure would be among his top priorities in 2017 (TR Daily, Dec. 7, 2016). The idea has bipartisan support, but he was waiting until he received the White House’s “technical assistance” remarks before introducing legislation, Rep. McCaul said. Continue reading
April 27, 2017–Region Two of the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau has issued a notice of violation to Spectrum Network Group LLC in the wake of a complaint that its station in Miami caused interference to public safety communications in area. Agents in the bureau’s Miami office monitored transmissions in the wake of the complaint and observed drifting transmissions on frequencies not licensed to SNG.
“SNG personnel stated to an agent: (1) that its base station was first installed and powered up on March 20, 2017; (2) that apparently its base station transmitter was improperly set up to transmit on the mobile frequency instead of the base frequency; and (3) that an additional malfunction caused it to transmit the drifting signal on 810.25 MHz. Therefore, SNG apparently failed to operate its station WQYD321 according to the terms of its authorization,” the notice said “When SNG turned off its base station transmitter, the interfering signal ceased.” The agency is seeking additional information from SNG.
April 27, 2017–Gov. Bill Haslam (R.) has signed into law a bill to implement a program that will provide $45 million in tax credits and grants during the next three years to expand broadband in the state. The proposal was part of the governor’s plan to expand broadband access in Tennessee.
“More than 800,000 Tennesseans don’t have access to broadband, and one in three businesses identified it as essential to selecting their location. Spurring deployment in our rural, unserved areas will open them up to economic investment and growth,” Gov. Haslam said. “I want to thank the General Assembly for its overwhelming support, particularly Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris, Sen. Mike Bell, and Rep. David Hawk for carrying this legislation, which provides a reasonable, responsible path to improve broadband access through investment, deregulation, and education.”
The governor has said that his plan will allow the state’s private, nonprofit electric cooperatives to provide retail broadband service and make grant funding available to libraries to help residents improve their digital literacy skills. The governor’s plan includes $30 million in grants to fund broadband deployment in underserved areas and $15 million in tax breaks on broadband equipment. The plan will also authorize rural electric cooperatives to provide broadband service, and allow them to partner with municipal electric service providers. The governor’s plan, however, does not mention broadband service being provided by city-owned utilities. Continue reading
The Feds, States, and Locals Who Wins? This week’s Public Safety Advocate does not deal directly with Public Safety communications however, it does deal with a topic that could and probably will impact AT&T’s construction of the FirstNet broadband network and could also impact LMR systems going forward. The issue is the battle for tower and right of way siting (placement) that is currently taking place between the FCC, the states, and the local jurisdictions.
This battle is heating up. On the one hand you have commercial network operators that are anxious to deploy small cell and other technologies as they move toward providing more bandwidth and capacity for their customers. On the other end of things you have the citizens and network customers who are divided into two groups: those who want and need more broadband capacity and speed and those who believe they need the coverage but not in their backyard where they might be subject to unproven health hazards. Fortunately, this last group is small in number, but during local permit hearings they are usually the only ones who show up and they are very vocal.
It used to be that the FCC and local jurisdictions were in the middle of these two groups. However, the FCC passed laws that limited what local entities could do when reviewing a permit request for a wireless site. Over the years, the FCC precluded locals from turning down applications based on perceived health dangers and put into effect a “shot clock” that gives the local jurisdiction a timeframe for reviewing and issuing or turning down a permit. The locals have also re-written their ordnances to give them the ability to regulate the types and number of towers and other sites that will be approved. This was followed by a new law that was included in the law that created FirstNet that towers can be expanded out or up a certain amount to accommodate additional antenna systems without requiring a completely new set of environmental and permitting work on the part of the tower owner. Continue reading
The First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) today sought expressions of interest to serve on its board. One of the 12 nonpermanent board member seats is currently vacant; the term for the seat expires in August 2019. The appointments of four current nonpermanent board members expire this August. Expressions of interest are due May 22.
April 26, 2017–The Land Mobile Communications Council today elected its 2017-18 board of directors. Farokh Latif of the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials-International is president; John Prendergast of The Monitoring Association is vice president; Mark Crosby of the Enterprise Wireless Alliance is secretary/treasurer; and Doug Aiken of the International Municipal Signal Association, Jim Goldstein of the International Association of Fire Chiefs, and Ralph Haller of the Forestry Conservation Communications Association are at-large members.
April 25, 2017–The National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) today issued a report that aims to help state officials improve their data security. “Better Data Security Through Classification: A Game Plan for Smart Cybersecurity Investments,” written by NASCIO’s Cybersecurity Committee and Data Protection Working Group, urges state officials to pursue a risk based approach to cybersecurity.
“A risk-based approach to cybersecurity is ideal for state governments because it enables incremental and measurable improvement,” said Mark Raymond, NASCIO’s president and CIO for the state of Connecticut. “Data classification is a critical step in the process of understanding the critical data we protect.”
April 25, 2017–AT&T, Inc., is hoping to convince all states, territories, and the District of Columbia that they should allow the company to build radio access network (RANs) for the nationwide public safety broadband network rather than using other parties, AT&T Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer John Stephens said today. “Our target is all 56: Fifty states, five territories, and the District of Columbia. We want to win them all, and that’s our goal,” Mr. Stephens said during a conference call with analysts this afternoon to discuss AT&T’s first-quarter 2017 financial results.
Last month, the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) awarded AT&T a 25-year contract to build the nationwide network (TR Daily, March 30). Mr. Stephens said AT&T plans to work hard to convince states “that opting in is the right answer.” Continue reading