As the TSA (Transportation Security Administration) employees continue to work without pay during the United States of America’s government shutdown in recent weeks, concerns arise regarding the safety of travelers.

Reports of passengers waiting for lengthy periods of time, for flights, due to heavy airport delays and the shortage of TSA staff, are a result of President Donald J. Trump and the US Congressional Democrats to fund a wall that borders neighboring country Mexico. Despite the troubled political discord, civilian volunteers have rallied together to create food drives and assistance for the TSA workers. Many TSA workers have had to take on a second job, to make ends meet, until their TSA pay check method resumes, and the U.S. government re-establishes itself in finding mutual solutions.

Approximately 43,000 TSA officers have been affected nationwide by the shutdown, which is in its fourth week. TSA employees are mandated to attend to their job responsibilities and ordered to “show up” to work despite the shutdown; they are considered to be essential government employees. Unfortunately, it has been reported may have “called in sick”, due to the void of income, causing staff shortages.

Impacts of this shutdown relate highly to travel safety. Due to the shortage of TSA federal employees, (in addition to airport screening), fear is escalating regarding security operational impacts such as air traffic control. A suit has been filed by the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, stating it is illegal that employees work without being compensated. Controller staffing, however, continues to be professional and according to reports, radar rooms and towers are operational as usual, There are no signs of absenteeism and the system remains safe in all airports.

Government shutdown may affect Super Bowl 2019 travel, which could disturb thousands of fans; however, it is said approximately 120 extra officers are being placed in Atlanta, for the upcoming event.

A unanimous vote to pass legislation for a Cybersecurity and Infastructure Security Agency (CSIA) within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), has taken place in the U.S. House of Representatives.

DHS Secretary, Kirstjen Nielsen, announced in a press release statement by  Homeland Security, “ the cyber threat landscape is constantly evolving, and we need to ensure we’re properly positioned to defend America’s infrastructure from threats digital and physical”.

Nielsen expressed gratitude to the House of Representatives and recognized the hardworking men and women of the NPPD for carrying out cybersecurity missions. The vote, which occured on November 13, is an important stand toward creating a federal government agency.

“The CISA Act (H.R. 3359), which passed the Senate in October and now heads to the President’s desk to be signed into law, would reorganize DHA’ National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD) into a new agency and prioritize its mission as the Federal leader for cyber and physical infrastructure security”.

Under Secretary Christopher Krebs, NPPD, remarked in the press release,  “Elevating the cybersecurity mission within the Department of Homeland Security, streamlining our operations, and giving NPPD a name that reflects what it actually does will help better secure the nation’s critical infrastructure and cyber platforms.  The changes will also improve the Department’s ability to engage with industry and government stakeholders and recruit top cybersecurity talent.”

On a recent positive 5-day trip to the United States of America, the first woman Defense Minister of India, Nirmala Sitharaman, was warmly welcomed to the Pentagon, by U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis, to discuss continued partnership initiatives that will further strengthen bilateral defense cooperation between the two countries.

India and America, boast themselves on being two strong nations with the same democratic values. Amicably connected, there is “growing mutual trust”, and a desire to support one another in the way of committed ‘Military-to-military cooperation”.

Sitharaman highlighted that a “strong foundation has been laid for the India-US defense relationship”. She also valued the U.S. – India relationship in terms of co-development, and industry collaboration, as well as co-production and scientific collaborations.

Mattis emphasized the United States’ appreciation for India’s leadership as a “stabilizing force”. His focus directed emphatically towards the significance of India promoting peace and security, around the world.

On behalf of their respective countries, the two Defense Ministers signed the Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA). This allows India to receive advanced military hardware from the U.S.

Encouraged by the talks, Sitharaman, expressed confidence in the responsiveness to India’s sensitivities by the Trump Administration. 

After the official talks in Washington DC, Sitharaman signed a condolence book with respect to former U.S. George H W Bush,  at the State Department before laying a wreath beside the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery. 

Sitharaman was scheduled to travel to visit the Defense Innovation Unit of the Department of Defense in California before heading towards the Indo Pacific Command Headquarters in Hawaii.

Dell, the U.S based computer hardware company is investigating an incident that cited a detection of unauthorized intrusion, on November 9th, which has attempted to extract customer information from its systems.

In a press release Dell spokesperson said, “our investigations found no conclusive evidence that any (information) was extracted”. Customer names, email addresses and hashword passwords are the main concern. It is not known how many accounts  were affected by the security breach. Dell has initiated a reset password alert to customers.

Regular services of Dell have not been disrupted, and other sensitive customer details such as payment cards were not targeted by the hackers.

Legal forensic experts alongside law enforcement professionals are probing deeper into the matter and customers are advised to review all financial accounts and statements stored in the system.

Northern California’s Camp Fire in the town of Paradise, was reported to have been the deadliest wildfire in the state’s history. As the death toll rose daily, officials continued to find human remains in the burning rubble, which has claimed the lives of close to 100 people, thus far. Unfortunately, the search  is ongoing.

Fire crews, with approximately 5,600 personnel involved in the fight, were over whelmed at the “shocking speed”, the Camp Fire raged through the town. Reports of 260 commercial buildings and more than 9,800 homes destroyed caused government officials to scratch their heads.The California Department of Forestry and FIre Protection report 149,000 acres have been burned.

As the people from the town of Paradise, Butte County, California come to grips with this devastation that has painstakingly shaken their lives to the core, the greatest thanks go to the rescue teams. All the fire fighting ground troops, who worked laboriously throughout, despite losing their own possessions, are held in high esteem by the grieving nation.

Often overlooked in the mission, are pilots of the firefighting planes, who fly tirelessly overhead with Bae-146 (British Aerospace), retardant bombers, and have to make split-second decisions on where to rain down their fire retardant materials from overhead.

Air tankers carry gallons of water and fire retardant material that is usually red in color. The substance is released from the plane, to hit the spot of the fire for a few reasons: to slow it down and to mark it so the fire ground troops can locate it so they can reach the area. The chemical retardant also contains phosphate fertilizer that cools the fire.

Neptune Aviation is one such company that supplies these types of aircraft to deal with wildfires of this magnitude. Whether on an “Exclusive” contract or a “Call When Needed”, contract, it is reported that Neptune  Aviation employs the “ a dedicated team of world-class pilots, mechanics, and engineers”, who have unmatched dedication and experience, to deal with such ravaging wildfire situations. 

The United States Forest Service partners with Neptune Aviation, to fearlessly pursue any out of control fire hazard, directly from the skies, for over 25 years. Although mostly restricted to day flying, their role in assisting the fire ground troops to harness the California Camp FIre, is vital to the rescue mission.

Just weeks ago leaders from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI), and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), released a press statement confirming continued efforts to protect U.S. elections.

“Our agencies have been working in unprecedented ways to combat influence efforts and to support state and local officials in securing our elections, including efforts to harden election infrastructure against interference. Our goal is clear: ensure every vote is counted and counted correctly. At this time we have no indication of compromise of our nation’s election infrastructure that would prevent voting, change vote counts, or disrupt the ability to tally votes.”

“Americans should be aware that foreign actors – and Russia in particular – continue to try to influence public sentiment and voter perceptions through actions intended to sow discord. They can do this by spreading false information about political processes and candidates, lying about their own interference activities, disseminating propaganda on social media, and through other tactics.”

The departments continue to emphasize, “the United States will not tolerate foreign interference in our elections from Russia, China, Iran, or other nations.”

The executive order that President Donald J . Trump signed on September 12, clarifies that persons attempting to undermine or disrupt the electoral process will be seriously punished.

However, following the Mid Term elections in the U.S.A, which took place this past week, which is voting for seats in the Senate and House, it doesn’t seem as though the interference is coming from outside international sources; the interference is coming from within America’s own wall….and the issue is between two American parties.

In Broward County, Florida, Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz is appealing for the removal of Brenda Snipes, Supervisor of Elections. Reports and accusations of fraud are escalating as lawyers descend on Florida, the epicenter of a national election fight between the Democrat and the Republican party.

The question remains how 78,000 extra votes were found after election night was over and victory was announced to Governor Rick Scott. A recount of the ballot has been ordered and State Judge Carol Lisa Phillips has ruled it “a violation of the Florida Constitution” as well as”the state’s public records act”.

Immediate inspection is to take place, due to suspicion of Brenda Snipes’ “questionable” secretive history and the allegations of not turning over requested records.



100th ANNIVERSARY 1918-2018 (World War 1)

President Trump has renewed his promise to keep the United States secure, in a strong tweet, as the caravan of migrants moving towards the southern border continues to push forward,

“I am bringing out the military for this National Emergency. They will be stopped!”

People in the caravan, mostly from Latin American countries, such as Honduras, Guatemala, and Mexico are claiming to look for a more improved life, in America. Honduras is the country where the migrant caravan originated, and those walking away from their homeland speak of escaping poverty and violence.

Many individuals in the migrant caravan intend to seek asylum when they arrive at the U.S. border, however, security in the U.S.A. is now at its highest. In order to weed out legitimate from non-legitimate foreigners, there are strict rules to follow and all entrants into the U.S. must apply to enter legally.

In a nation where parties are divided on their policies of illegal immigrants accessing the United States’ borders, the prime responsibility of the Department of Homeland Security is to ensure the American nation is safe and secure. The same rule applies to all: everyone must go through the correct immigration process. Hidden amongst the caravan of migrants is known to be dangerous gang members, rapists, kidnappers, and criminals who disguise themselves within the crowd hoping to find loopholes and sneak through the lawful system.

U.S. officials have confirmed that Homeland Security will be supported by U.S. troops to assist with the attempted invasion. It has been reported that 800 soldiers are being ordered to offer “logistical support”. Press details suggest there are 2,100 National Guard troops presently helping Homeland Security in the Southern border area.

Secretary of Defense, James Mattis and Secretary of Homeland Security, Kristjen Nielsen are closely overseeing the situation.

Studies in the UK, have demonstrated the benefits for Police using Body Worn Cameras. Developed as a tool to improve effectiveness and safety, the body-worn cameras have helped increase confidence, not only among law enforcement but with the public at large as well.

According to reports, 93% of officers acknowledge the body-worn cameras are useful to help gather accurate evidence. The majority of law enforcement officials feel strongly that the body-worn cameras ought to be a compulsory feature when policing.

As the use of body-worn cameras is rapidly growing among police departments, UK studies have shown that when such devices are deployed there is a 59% reduction in use-of-force incidents by officers wearing them and a 33% reduction in complaint allegations.

The de-escalation of anti-social behavior in general and fewer assaults on police officers is a key result of the body-worn camera being attached to the police officers uniform. There are lesser allegations made against police officers due to the review of performance at incidents.

Key consideration factors of the body-worn cameras are highlighted under privacy protection for members of the public record, as well as how to provide the public with access to recordings. There is also a discussion on policies related to when the officers turn the body-worn cameras on and off.

Each device is encrypted with no feature that allows deletion or edited and footage can be stored under data protection for a specific period of time before it is permanently removed from the data systems.

Due to the capabilities of these popular digital evidence-management devices, law enforcement and police body-worn cameras are forecast to increase worldwide.

A recent bill has been signed by President Donald Trump, after being passed by the US House and Senate, which allows disabling or shooting down of drones that pose a threat to structures and proximities inside U.S. territories.

The bill, labeled by U.S. Congress, “Preventing Emerging Threats Act of 2018,” is designed “to assist the Department of Homeland Security in preventing emerging threats from unmanned aircraft and vehicles and for other purposes”.

Strong support is demonstrated from The White House Administration, for national security reasons; the bill includes the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Justice (DOJ), the necessary legal authority “to detect, track, and mitigate threats from small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS)”.

The safety of the National Airspace System is one of the highest priorities to the United States of America, and this legislation will also enable continued “development of the commercial drone industry” while additionally, “protecting privacy and civil liberties.”

A recent press statement from White House Press Secretary reveals the urgent necessity of development of “a legal framework that protects the public from nefarious uses of this technology, such as facilitating terrorist attacks, conducting espionage, or facilitating other criminal activities such as illicit surveillance, interfering with the safe operation of aircraft, interfering with law enforcement operations, delivering contraband inside prisons, or smuggling drugs or other harmful materials across our Nation’s borders”.

A released document informs the public, past Federal laws inhibited the Federal Government’s “ability to fully evaluate and use essential detection, tracking, and mitigation technologies to counter these rapidly advancing threats”.

Preventing Emerging Threats Act of 2018 will open up opportunities for committees of jurisdiction to work together with the US Administration and others, to ensure “safe integration of drone technology”.