The Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) rare public alert last week about a large-scale Russian cyber campaign targeting U.S. infrastructure raised a piercing alarm about vulnerabilities in the nation’s power grid, and underscored what officials have meant when talking about the need for a whole-of-government and whole-of-nation approach to cyber defense.

North Korea’s persistent efforts on nuclear weapons development and some loose talk about red buttons have raised new fears internationally about the possibilities of nuclear conflict. At home, government agencies also are addressing the questions about what to do in the case of a nuclear detonation. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), for example, will hold one of its Public Health Grand Round teaching sessions Jan. 16 on how medical professionals should respond–and although the event has been planned for months, it’s timing suddenly seems to be on the mark.






The Lower Colorado River Authority has 275 flood sensors deployed throughout its 44,000-square-mile domain. With a $650,000 grant from the Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate, the LCRA hopes to increase that number.






About 10 states have reached out to DHS’s Office of Cybersecurity and Communications to ask questions and provide feedback on its cybersecurity services, according to Neil Jenkins, director of the Enterprise Performance Management Office at DHS. He said there has been an uptick in outreach because of the impending election.






A new tool called the Electronic Recovery and Access to Data Prepaid Card Reader allows police officers to check the balance of cards, including credit and debit cards, gift cards, hotel key cards, library cards, and Metro cards. The device will be useful because criminals rarely travel with stacks of paper money anymore.






The Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate’s First Responders Group is creating software designed to help search-and-rescue groups. In a partnership with dbS Productions, FRG developed FIND to track lost individuals, some of whom may be children or people with disabilities.






The Department of Homeland Security announced a grant program with a ceiling of $10 million to fight violent extremism. The Countering Violent Extremism Grant Program provides an opportunity for local and state governments to apply for funding that will bolster anti-extremism efforts within their communities.






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