National Security Supply Chain Risks, Firefighters vs. Drones

Topics in this issue include national security procurement supply chain risks; missing radioactive containers; firefighters vs. drones; and biosecurity trends.

Are We Ready for Biological and Chemical Attacks?

Is the United States dangerously complacent about possible biological and chemical weapon attacks, leaving open the possibility of mass deaths or a huge disruption in the economy or both? Or has the country in fact come a long way in its preparations to protect itself against this type of attack? The answer may be both. Emergency Management >>

JIEDDO Experience Provides Rapid Acquisition Insights

The wars in Southwest Asia have demonstrated new ways of procuring and deploying state-of-the-art capabilities and systems, and some of these methods can be applied to acquisition reform. The breakneck speed of technological change has many agencies throughout the U.S. Defense Department seeking different procedures for procurement that would enable faster acquisition of vitally needed equipment. SIGNAL >>

International Security Strengthens as Caribbean Becomes Free of Highly Enriched Uranium

Jamaica completed the conversion of its research reactor to low enriched uranium (LEU) fuel earlier this month, decreasing proliferation risks while doubling the reactor’s utilization capacity. The removal of the highly enriched uranium (HEU) fuel to the United States means the Caribbean region is now completely free of HEU. IAEA >>

Cobham to Develop C-IED System

The US Army has awarded a contract to Cobham to develop next-generation technologies for the detection of landmines and other explosive hazards hidden in the ground. The contract, which is valued at $4.17 million, will run for three years. It will see the company develop a handheld technology demonstrator with improved detection capabilities for evaluation by the army. Shephard >>

Army Opens a Mobile App Store

The Army has opened a mobile app store that not only makes existing applications available but allows for the development of future apps, whether by request from soldiers or created by soldiers themselves. Defense Systems >>

Reward Offered for Missing Radioactive Container

The owners of a missing radioactive oil well logging container are offering a $2,500 cash reward for its return. Wayne County Well Surveys, Inc., of Fairfield, Illinois, reported the canister missing to the Illinois Emergency Management Agency on Oct. 16. While the canister was reported missing then, documents filed with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission by Wayne County Well Survey revealed the device has actually been missing for almost two months. Emergency Management >>

Today’s Nuclear Dilemma

As part of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists’ 70th anniversary issue, author and investigative journalist Eric Schlosser surveys a nuclear landscape full of dangers, from worldwide nuclear weapons modernization programs and heightened nuclear rhetoric to burgeoning stockpiles of fissile material and shortsighted changes in nuclear doctrine. Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists >>

Give U.S. National Labs Freer Rein, Commission Urges Skeptical Senators

Like a familiar movie, sometimes a predictable congressional hearing can still be enlightening and engaging. That’s one way to view a hearing held Wednesday by a Senate spending panel on how the Department of Energy (DOE) should manage its 17 National Laboratories. Science/AAAS >>

Bolivia Set to Build Nuclear Research Centre

A nuclear technology research and development centre is to be constructed in the Bolivian city of El Alto with Russian assistance, the country’s president Evo Morales recently announced. Morales said the project would comprise three components: a cyclotron radiotherapy facility, a multi-purpose gamma radiation facility and a nuclear research reactor. World Nuclear News >>

The Pink Flamingo on the Subcontinent: Nuclear War Between India and Pakistan

A “pink flamingo” is the term recently coined by Frank Hoffman to describe predictable but ignored events that can yield disastrous results. Hoffman argues that these situations are fully visible, but almost entirely ignored by policymakers. Pink flamingos stand in stark contrast to “black swans” — the unpredictable, even unforeseeable shocks whose outcomes may be entirely unknown. he tense nuclear standoff between India and Pakistan may be the most dangerous pink flamingo in today’s world. War on the Rocks >>

Why the Manhattan Project Should Be Preserved

Why should the physical remains of the Manhattan Project be preserved? Should we be proud of the work of that secret program in the years of World War II? Should we be ashamed? Should we look the other way, or should we remember? Are such questions appropriate in considering the physical preservation of our common past? Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists >>

Can Nukes Get Any Scarier? You Bet, and This Funder Is Paying Attention

When the Carnegie Corporation of New York was established over a century ago, the world was a scary place, with menacing new military technologies coming onto the scene—like machine guns, tanks and battleships. World War I was just around the corner. Today’s a scary time, too, and in the view of some experts, one of the most familiar security threats of modern times—that posed by nuclear weapons—may be rising, thanks to emerging new technologies. Inside Philanthropy >>

S 2156 Introduced – Drones vs Firefighters

The actual offense would be launching “a drone for recreational purposes in a place near a covered fire or covered disaster, and is reckless as to whether that drone will interfere with fighting the fire or responding to the disaster, if the drone does interfere with that fire- fighting or disaster response, shall be fined under this title, imprisoned for not more than 5 years, or both.” Chemical Facility Security News >>

Floods Intensify Landmine Threat in Western Sahara

Floods caused by ten straight days of heavy rain are likely worsening the threat posed by landmines and explosive remnants of war (ERW) in the area of Western Sahara. Since the flood waters have not yet receded, it is impossible yet to quantify the damages or to assess the actual extent of the risk posed to civilians and their livelihoods by the mines and ERW that have likely been displaced outside of already known marked areas. International Campaign to Ban Landmines >>

Six Close Calls During the Cuban Missile Crisis

Today, unfortunately, tensions are growing between the U.S. and Russia. A key takeaway from the 1962 crisis—one that is as relevant today as it was then—is that confusion, misunderstandings, and unexpected events can wreak havoc in a crisis. The sense of control leaders may have in these situations is frequently an illusion, and can be a dangerous one. Union of Concerned Scientists >>

Why Loving Your City Makes You Vulnerable in a Disaster

A new study shows that the more attached residents are to their city, the less likely they are to prepare for emergencies and disasters. Why the disconnect between knowledge and action? Because all of us are prone to optimism bias—in this case the Lake Wobegon–style belief that our city is somehow better than all others, and therefore immune to disasters. The Atlantic >>

Biosecurity: The Opportunities and Threats of Industrialization and Personalization

Two trends will dominate biosecurity over the next decade, shaping both opportunities and threats. The first is industrialization, as biotechnology becomes a globally important manufacturing base and economic force. The second is personalization, as an increasing number of individuals become able to harness the biological sciences to their own ends. Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists >>

Supply Chain Risk in National Security System Procurements

On October 30, 2015, the Department of Defense (“DoD” or the “Department”) issued a Final Rule amending the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (“DFARS”) and clarifying the scope of the DoD’s ability to evaluate and exclude contractors that represent “supply chain risks” in solicitations and contracts involving the development or delivery of IT products and services related to National Security Systems (“NSS”). Inside Government Contracts >>

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