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Homeland Security News – April 11, 2011

Department of Homeland Security to use social networks in emergencies. NYPD finds 17 “dirty bombs” in terror simulation. FBI investigates Libyans in America. These and other stories in this week’s Homeland Security News.

New Terror Alert System to Use Facebook, Twitter

Facebook and TwitterThe post-9/11 “color-coded” terror alert system has been retired and a new streamlined program is scheduled to launch April 27. The new system will have only two levels, “Elevated” and “Imminent,” and its primary audience will be local law enforcement agencies and other first responders, not the general public. However, should the public need to be notified of an impending threat or ongoing terrorist attack, the plan calls for using popular social media such as Facebook and Twitter to spread the word. National security experts recommend keeping most threat details on a “need to know” basis to avoid revealing intelligence methods or providing terrorists with information they can use to their benefit.

NYPD Conducts 5-Day ‘Dirty Bomb’ Simulation

Dirty Bomb SimultationNew York City police conducted a five-day exercise earlier this month to train local law enforcement in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut on how to deal with a “dirty bomb” threat in their area. The simulation, involving hundreds of personnel from 150 different law enforcement agencies, required participants to locate 17 separate sources of radioactivity moving via land, sea and air. More than 400 checkpoints throughout the region were manned by law enforcement personnel, including subways, airports and other transit hubs. All 17 sources were successfully identified and contained, spokespeople reported.

Camp Pendleton Goes on Alert After 3 Men Try to Enter Base

Camp Pendelton EntranceCamp Pendleton, the U.S. Marine Corp. facility just north of San Diego, Calif., tightened its security last week after three Middle Eastern men in two vehicles tried twice to enter the base without proper authorization. Although no weapons or explosives were found in the vehicles, the men’s erratic behavior triggered the alert, as well as one of the cars having a steering wheel airbag removed and then reattached with duct tape. All three were detained but released upon questioning.

FBI Investigates Libyan Threat in U.S.

FBI AgentsDozens of FBI agents from the New York, Detroit and Denver field offices have fanned out across the United States to interview more than 800 known Libyan nationals and community leaders to identify any possible terrorist threats against domestic targets. This is in response to recent U.S. military actions against the forces of Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi. The FBI says it is particularly interested in speaking with former members of the Gaddafi regime who are stationed in the U.S. but who have flipped their allegiance to the rebels.

New Software Poses Threat to Civilian Aircraft, Experts Warn

airlinerNew computer software could allow terrorists to remotely seize control of airliners, according to representatives of Qantas and Virgin Airlines who warned those attending the recent Asia-Pacific Aviation Security Conference in Hong Kong. Although such cyber attacks would be difficult to execute, the threat of a remote-control hijacking is very real and counter-measures must be a security priority, the experts warned. By taking command of an aircraft’s avionics, a terrorist could do anything from making the plane dump its fuel to making it fly into a building in a repeat of the 9/11 scenario.

Get Your Degree in Homeland Security

Interested in a career in Homeland Security? Everest University Online, a division of Everest University, offers an associate degree in Homeland Security that may allow you to qualify for a variety of entry-level careers in the field, including border patrol agent, Homeland Security officer or private security officer. Designed for working adults or students without convenient access to ground campuses, the Everest University Online associate degree in Homeland Security program can be taken at your own pace and on your own schedule. The degree can be earned in as little as two years. Financial aid is available for those who qualify.

For more information on the associate degree in Homeland Security program or other career education and degree programs available from Everest University Online, contact us today.

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