Boston, Massachusetts A new Inspectors General (IGs) report was released yesterday on the Boston Marathon bombings that focuses on information handling and sharing by the U.S. intelligence community (IC) prior to the incident. The 168-page review itself is classified, but the IGs have publicly released the Unclassified Summary which can be found in the HSDL collection.

The review was conducted by the IGs for the Intelligence Community, Central Intelligence Agency, Department of Justice, and Department of Homeland Security in order to determine the answers to three main questions following the bombings:

  1. "The extent of the information available to the U.S. government concerning the relevant individuals and events preceding the Boston Marathon bombings;
  2. Whether the sharing of this information was complete, accurate, and…

Emergency Response following Boston Marathon bombingsAnother report on the Boston Marathon bombings was released this week out of Harvard University, this time by the National Preparedness Leadership Initiative (Initiative). The Initiative's report, "Crisis Meta-Leadership Lessons from the Boston Marathon Bombings Response: The Ingenuity of Swarm Intelligence," analyzes the leadership of the myriad agencies that responded to the event. Specifically, it "seeks to understand how they were able to effectively lead an [emergency response] operation with remarkable results" by measuring "lives saved, suspects quickly captured, public confidence maintained and population resilience fostered."

The report attributes the remarkable results of response efforts to a phenomenon called "swarm intelligence." Swarm intelligence is defined as a situation "in which no one is in charge and yet, with all following…

White House Remarks on Recent Fort Hood Shooting

Yesterday, April 2, 2014, SObama Ft. Hoodpecialist Ivan Lopez opened fire on fellow service members at Fort Hood in Texas, killing 3 people and wounding 16 before committing suicide.  Lopez was undergoing psychiatric treatment at the time for depression, anxiety and a variety of other psychological problems as well as going through a diagnosis of potential post-traumatic stress disorder. The motivation behind this incident is still unknown and currently being investigated.

The White House published President Obama's official response to the shootings. In his response he stated:  "Any shooting is troubling.  Obviously this reopens the pain of what happened at Fort Hood five years ago.  We know these families.  We know their incredible service to our country and the sacrifices that

Why Was Boston Strong? Lessons from the Boston Marathon Bombing

EMS Responders Harvard's Kennedy School of Government released today a study on response efforts following the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings, entitled "Why Was Boston Strong? Lessons from the Boston Marathon Bombing." The report "identifies strengths of the response as well as areas for improvement," with a focus on conditions of "command" and "coordination" within and among response organizations. It is intended to help response organizations nationwide improve preparation for emergencies at both "fixed" and "no-notice" events.

Based on a series of "intensive" interviews with senior law enforcement leaders, emergency management, and emergency medical organizations, the report finds that "emergency response following the bombing in Boston and the events in Cambridge and Watertown at the end of the week were shaped to a…

Civil Service Overhaul? New Report Devises Plan Worthy of 21st Century Workforce

Yesterday, TheJobs Partnership for Public Service released the report, "Building the Enterprise: A New Civil Service Framework" in which the Partnership calls for major reforms to the federal government's outdated civil service system. These reforms include modernization in pay and hiring policies, as well as implementing improved methods for maintaining the interest of the talented individuals the government hires.

Max Stier, president and CEO of the Partnership for Public Service, commented on the report's motives, stating "good government starts with good people, and our nation is fortunate to count some of the brightest, most dedicated professionals among its ranks. But too often they succeed in spite of the current system, not because of it."

The report, produced in…

IPCC Releases Working Group II's Report on Climate Change

Climate Change The IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) revealed today the climate change findings of Working Group II (WGII), out of Yokohama, Japan. This report, titled "Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability", constitutes the second part of the IPCC Fifth Assessment report (AR5) on climate change. The findings of WGII detail "the impacts of climate change to date, the future risks from a changing climate, and the opportunities for effective action to reduce risks."

"The report concludes that responding to climate change involves making choices about risks in a changing world. The nature of the risks of climate change is increasingly clear, though climate change will also continue to produce surprises. The report identifies vulnerable people, industries, and ecosystems…

Climate Action Plan Update: White House Releases Strategy to Reduce Methane Emissions

Climate changeAs part of the next phase of the 2013 Climate Action Plan, the White House unveiled today its new strategy to take action on climate change: cutting methane emissions.

"This document lays out that strategy -- summarizing the sources of methane and trends in emissions; setting forth a plan to reduce both domestic and international methane emissions through incentive-based programs and the Administration's existing authorities; and, outlining the Administration's efforts to improve measurement of these emissions. This strategy also highlights examples of technologies and industry-led best practices that are already helping to cut methane emissions."

Specifically, the strategy targets four main sources of methane emissions for reduction efforts: landfills, coal mines, agriculture, and the oil and gas sector. The strategy…

Boston Marathon bombing The House Homeland Security Committee released today its declassified report on the Boston Marathon bombings, entitled "The Road to Boston: Counterterrorism Challenges and Lessons from the Marathon Bombings." The report "examines much of Tamerlan Tsarnaev's personal history and his interaction with Federal agencies, including his radicalization, the 2011 threat assessment carried out by the FBI and his travel to Russia in early 2012." The Committee also "explores missed opportunities that potentially could have prevented this attack."

Following its review, the Committee identified important systemic weaknesses and made recommendations to combat these weaknesses. A few of the weaknesses are as follows:

  • "Insufficient cooperation and information sharing between Federal agencies and local law enforcement;
  • Limited communication between Federal agencies;
  • Inadequate resources for…

New TSA Report Identifying New Measures following the 2013 LAX Shooting

Active ShooterThe Transportation Security Administration released a new report based on the findings of the November 2013 LAX incident. The shooting involved the loss of Transportation Security Officer Gerardo I. Hernandez and injured 3 others. There are now new measures to enhance safety, as stated in the report, "These actions include: (1) mandating active shooter training and exercises for TSA employees and requiring bi-annual evacuation drills; (2) acquiring additional duress alarms to close existing gaps; (3) ensuring that all airports have explicit maximum response times; and (4) continuing to have an increased VIPR team presence at airports." 

For more information, you can view the TSA Press Release, and a Report by the Los Angeles World Airports.

Ending Section 215: Bulk Telephony Metadata Program

Today, President Obama released a statement (and the White House released a Fact Sheet) declaring the Administration's proposal to end Section 215: Bulk Telephony Metadata Program. This transitional step will make the government go through the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) if data needs to be obtained from telephone companies.

This past January, January 17, 2014, the Obama Administration released a Fact Sheet reviewing the intelligence programs. New directives were made making certain that: [1] "Absent an emergency situation, the government can query the telephony metadata collected pursuant to the program only after a judge approves the use of specific numbers for such queries based on national security concerns; and [2] The results of any query are limited…