A new technology with potential government applications could make computer mice and touch interfaces obsolete with the wave of a finger. Consisting of a small motion-sensing unit and software, the Leap Motion controller allows users to manipulate graphic images and other data with hand motions.

The Leap controller is the size of a smart phone and sits in front of a computer monitor where it detects hand or stylus motions in an eight cubic foot space in front of the monitor and converts them into motion in the form of manipulated graphics, game control data, robot control or many other types of interface manipulation. Keep reading →

In the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, our government not only needed to improve its counterterrorism intelligence, but also share information better, faster, and smarter. We found that our national security relies on our ability to share the right information, with the right people, at the right time – and we must “enlist all of our intelligence, law enforcement, and homeland security capabilities,” as the National Security Strategy states.
This article was adopted from a blog post written by Kshemendra Paul, program manager for the Information Sharing Environment program.

On December 19, the President signed the National Strategy for Information Sharing and Safeguarding (NSISS). This new National Strategy is part of a policy continuum that includes Section 1016 of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004, the 2007 National Strategy for Information Sharing, Executive Orders 13587 and 13388, the ISE Presidential Guidelines, and the National Security Strategy. Keep reading →

Putting the pieces together for intelligence gathering or crime fighting is often likened to searching for needles in haystacks. And increasingly, those needles are digital traces in a sea of data. Keep reading →

Intelligence about the tragedy in Benghazi continues to dribble out very slowly, almost one document at a time. Some of the electronic cables, messages and reproductions of other physical documents have come into view over the past several weeks. Some of these documents were classified, but still found their way to members of Congress and openly reported in the media.

However, one piece of electronic information about security concerns on that fateful day has not received the attention it deserves. Keep reading →

One of the best presentations at the recent Big Data Innovation Summit in Boston was by LinkedIn Senior Data Scientist Yael Garten. Garten, who leads LinkedIn’s Mobile Data Analytics team, in a presentation entitled Data Infused Product Design & Insights at LinkedIn provided a glimpse of how big data is used by LinkedIn to explore usage patterns, on mobile devices, for instance.

This is a challenge facing the US Government in the new Digital Government Strategy: namely delivering existing web sites and database information — and eventually the types of big data results that the intelligence and scientific communities have — so that mobile devices can access that information from supercomputers.

For those who haven’t kept up with LinkedIn’s progress of late: It’s mission is to “connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful.” Here are a few facts at glance, from Garten’s presentation: Keep reading →

The terrorists who attacked the Benghazi consulate, killing US Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens and four others, apparently maintained web, cell and radio silence before they acted, giving the US no hint an attack was imminent.

“If people do not emit or discuss their behavior, it’s hard to find out what they are going to do,” Director of National Intelligence Jim Clapper said at the huge annual conference of intelligence professionals called Geoint. The U.S., he made clear, did not have tactical warning of the attacks. He noted that there were anti-American protests in 54 countries when the attacks occurred, clearly implying the intelligence community had its hands full that day. Keep reading →

The U.S. Army is expected to open a new mobile applications store as part of a pilot program designed to offer a more flexible way to develop and buy software for the government. The online store will provide a space where users can request specific tools and where participating developers can quickly provide or create a product to fill respective needs without getting bogged down in a complex and time consuming acquisitions process.

The new pilot will be a six-month effort that will support the Army’s intelligence service and the potentially intelligence agencies. Keep reading →

When the Department of Homeland Security hired Chief Information Officer Richard Spires three years ago, he became the seventh CIO in eight years tasked with bringing rationality to DHS‘s unwieldy IT fiefdoms – and delivering on a mandate for sharing information across the department.

Spires, a former IRS deputy commissioner in charge of operations, quickly set his sights beyond technology matters, persuading the department’s top officials that to succeed, it would take a functioning governance board and the commitment of top leadership to support that governance if DHS was to achieve those goals.

That effort, followed by a systematic portfolio review of every major IT program across the DHS, is clearly paying off, according to a Congressional report from the Government Accountability Office. The report, issued Sept. 18, generally praised the Department of Homeland Security for making progress in achieving its information-sharing mission. But it also cautioned DHS that further steps should be taken to continue that progress and improve its efforts.

The GAO auditors reviewed information obtained from customers of DHS’s information sharing efforts, including 10 of 77 fusion centers, where states and major urban areas collaborate with federal agencies to improve information sharing; 1 of 7 DHS operational components who participate in the DHS Intelligence Enterprise, ICE; and 2 of DHS’s 16 intelligence community customers, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

Investigators concluded DHS’s governance board is proving effective in enhancing collaboration among DHS components. The board has also developed and documented a process to prioritize some of the initiatives for additional oversight and support.

However, GAO said DHS needs to do more to sustain its progress: specifically updating its processes for identifying information-sharing gaps and the results; and analyzing root causes of those gaps. It also said DHS lacks an institutional record that would help it replicate and sustain

those information-sharing efforts.

The report also noted that funding constraints appear to be having a significant impact on DHS’s key information-sharing initiatives.

“Progress has slowed for half of the 18 key initiatives, in part because of funding constraints,” the investigation found, noting five of DHS’s top eight priority information-sharing initiatives

currently face funding shortfalls.

The governance board has not been able to secure additional funds for these initiatives because they ultimately compete for funding within the budgets of individual components, although the board’s involvement has kept some initiatives from experiencing funding cuts, according to DHS officials.

DHS’s eight priority information-sharing initiatives, as of September 2012, include:

  • Controlled Homeland Information Sharing Environment
  • Information Sharing Segment Architecture Transition
  • Law Enforcement Information Sharing Initiative
  • Common Operating Picture/User-Defined Operation Picture
  • Traveler Enforcement Compliance System Modernization
  • Private Sector Information Sharing Work Plan
  • Homeland Secure Data Network
  • Homeland Security Information Network
However, GAO also noted that “DHS has not yet determined the specific capabilities each particular program must implement for DHS to conclude that it has improved information sharing enough to achieve its information-sharing vision for 2015.”

Establishing the level of capabilities programs must implement could help DHS prioritize programs, and track and assess progress toward its vision, the report said.

DHS responded to GAO’s report, saying department officials concurred with GAO’s recommendations.

Complexity is the name of the game in today’s high-volume identity environments.

“For larger organizations and in customer-facing environments, the quantity and size of datasets are increasing along with performance expectations and data diversity,” notes Gartner analyst Kevin Kampman in his recent report, “The Role of Virtual Directory and Synchronization Services in Large-Scale Identity Deployments.” Keep reading →

In a move that suggests the incendiary impact of malicious software, Iran has now publicly threatened the United States over the Flame malware incident that has gained worldwide attention in recent days.

Flame has been dubbed the “utlimate spy” and for good reason. Iran was the country hit the hardest by the state-of-the-art piece of malware. Keep reading →

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