Fall/Winter 2016 Newsletter

In this issue: Holiday Safety, Presidential Transitions, HSDL Research Tools: Statistics, Notable Theses of 2016


Safe and Secure for the Holidays

broken christmas ornamentAs many are looking towards the holiday season, so too are the many scammers, hackers and others of criminal intent. According to A Secure Life, 1 in 20 people fall victim to identity theft and over $10 billion dollars have been lost to fraud. The Department of Homeland Security offers several tips and advice on how you can protect yourself while still enjoying the season.

Mobile online shopping makes up a significant portion of the holiday shopping market. For that reason, shoppers are susceptible to a multitude of risks, including credit card fraud and identity theft. It is important for consumers to adopt habits that protect them from potential scammers. For those who continue to shop at the mall, the DHS has a national campaign known as “If You See Something, Say Something,” in order to engage the community in domestic security. DHS has community partnerships all over the country, in which it trains state and local law enforcement to “recognize behaviors and indicators of terrorism and terrorism–related crime.”

Other safety concerns around the holidays include Christmas tree fires and “porch pirates,” or people who steal unattended packages from homes. According to a survey conducted by Princeton Research Associates International (PSRAI), 23 million Americans had their packages stolen from their homes during the 2015 holiday season. Thieves are taking advantage of the surge in delivered packages as online shopping increases in popularity. As for Christmas tree fires, most are caused by electrical problems or by a heat source being too close to a flammable object. By taking a few simple steps, you can work towards making your holiday season disaster-free.

Here are some tips to make your holidays more secure:

  1. Safeguard your mobile phone while shopping: keep off of public wifi, turn off your Bluetooth, make sure the websites you purchase from are credible and encrypted, and be sure to verify
  2. Consider using a credit card rather than a debit card, as credit cards are protected by the Fair Credit Billing Act.
  3. Unattended packages in front of one’s home are susceptible for porch pirates. Consider purchasing a locker, a Package Guard, a security camera, or utilizing the Doorman App.
  4. Avoid Christmas tree fires: turn off your lights before going to bed or leaving the house. Water live trees every day, or if using a fake tree, make sure it is coated with a fire retardant. Keep candles at least 12 inches away from trees or anything flammable.

For more information, please check out these resources:

Crowd Safety

Online Security

Home Safety


Presidential Transitions

The presidential elections are over and the transition process is now underway. There are two main government agencies integral to this process. The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) preserves the official records and documents of the outgoing Presidency. You can read more about NARA’s role in previous presidential transitions here: Escorting a Presidency into History. The Office of Government Ethics (OGE) is tasked with establishing the standards of conduct for the Executive Branch, educating the new executive employees, and promoting overall good governance, as described in OGE Transition Materials.

An empty Oval Office is photographed Aug. 17, 2001. Photo by Tina Hager, Courtesy George W. Bush Presidential Library & MuseumFor more on the White House’s plans to preserve the digital history — including videos, photos, and social media — produced during the Obama administration, see The Digital Transition: How the Presidential Transition Works in the Social Media Age.

Additional resources:

The Partnership for Public Service has designed the Center for Presidential Transition website to help facilitate the transition process for the newly elected President, transition teams and agencies.

The Baker Institute for Public Policy offers the White House Transition Project with several resources from past White House officials experienced with this process.

The Homeland Security Digital Library also contains a number of documents that provide a good understanding of the general transition process as well as recommendations for the next President on current issues of concern.


HSDL Research Tools: Statistics

statistics“Above all else show the data.”
― Edward R. TufteThe Visual Display of Quantitative Information

Coordinated by the US Office of Management and Budget, the Federal Statistical System is a decentralized network of the thirteen major federal agencies responsible for gathering data and producing reports to measure the security as well as the physical and economic health of the country.  The analysis of data from areas such as the economy, labor, infrastructure, crime and more, helps guide lawmakers and forecasters as they seek to determine policies and identify trends.  The homeland security community relies on these numbers to evaluate need and manage resources in the fight against terror, preventing scale of disasters, monitoring border crossings and immigration, and much more.  Researchers using the Homeland Security Digital Library will be happy to discover that we have a selection of the key statistical tools related to homeland security and they can be found under the heading “Research Tools” – Statistics.

The collection features statistics in several areas. Among the resources included are: the FBI’s Unified Crime Report, a compilation of several crime statistics; Global Terrorism Database, a database of terrorist attacks; and the  Office of Immigration Statistics, a yearly compilation of the ebb and flow of immigrants by country, gender and other factors.   Also included are more general resources such as the U.S. Census Bureau, U.S. Natural Hazard Statistics and the CIA: World Factbook. And that’s not all. The website Data.gov, is a rich repository of federal datasets, tools and resources available for research. For more information on Federal statistical programs, check out the  Statistical Programs of the United States Government.


Notable Theses of 2016

The HSDL is proud to support the research and academic needs of students in the Center for Homeland Defense and Security’s Master of Arts (M.A.) degree program.  The CHDS degree program provides leaders with the knowledge and skills to:

  • thesesDevelop policies, strategies, plans and programs to prevent terrorist attacks within the United States, and reduce America’s vulnerability to terrorism and catastrophic events;
  • Build the organizational and interagency arrangements needed to strengthen homeland security;
  • Help mayors, governors, other elected officials and federal leaders improve homeland security preparedness by developing actionable policies and strategies.

Following is a sampling of theses added to HSDL in 2016 which exemplify the variety and quality of research of CHDS students.

Outstanding Thesis Award Winners

 Additional Theses of Note

Search across all 700+ theses from CHDS at the following link:

HSDL Tip: To stay up to date on the latest CHDS Theses in the HSDL, use the above search and set up an email alert. Each Friday, a list of new items matching the search criteria will be delivered right to your inbox!


Homeland Security Commemorations and Anniversaries

The next few months mark commemorations and anniversaries of significant homeland security events. Featured below are select incidents affecting the U.S., accompanied by pertinent HSDL documents. For the full list, visit the Upcoming Homeland Security Events calendar.


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