Tag Archives: DHS

View From the Top

RCMP Border Patrol Maine

Prizing international and local cooperation, the Border Patrol monitors Maine.

By George Jagels and Steve Melito

The border between Canada and the U.S. is one of the world’s longest and most peaceful, yet policing it remains an essential and challenging task for both countries. In Maine, the U.S. Border Patrol’s Houlton Sector consists of (more…)

Ebola Response: Detecting the Disease

Ebola virus particles

How existing and emerging technologies can help stop the spread of a worldwide epidemic.

By Steve Melito, S&BP Editor

In October, Liberian Thomas Eric Duncan became the first person to die of Ebola in the U.S. after medical staff at Texas Health Presbyterian hospital initially misdiagnosed his condition. Later that month, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized the emergency use of the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) Ebola Virus VP40 Real-Time RT-PCR assay on the 7500 Fast Dx Real-Time PCR instrument from Applied Biosystems (ABI), Inc. This polymerase chain reaction (PCR) instrument uses real-time nucleic acid amplification and five-color fluorescence detection for in vitro diagnostic use.

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Germs, Spores, and Borders

Protecting the U.S. Homeland from Biological Threats Requires a Holistic Approach

By Steve Melito

IMG3_Mexico

Last December, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reviewed its leading health challenges of 2013. “Our biggest successes,” said CDC director Tom Frieden, MD, MPH, “may be the bad things that did not happen.” This included stopping the outbreak of a smallpox-like virus in the Eurasian Republic of Georgia, and preventing other infectious diseases from reaching the U.S. “Global health and protecting our country go hand in hand,” Dr. Frieden explained.

The CDC isn’t part of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), but DHS works in concert with the nation’s health protection agency. The DHS Office of Health Affairs (OHA) also coordinates efforts with the U.S. Department of State to share information both across the U.S. federal government and with Canada and Mexico. As part of OHA, the National Biosurveillance Center (NBIC) integrates biomonitoring activities to provide a common operating picture.

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What’s Happening on the 49th Parallel

Last month, Tactical Defense Media went to Detroit to take in a conference on the U.S./Canada border. Battling storms and power outages, the organizers ended up putting on an insightful show. Here’s a quick rundown:

The conference was based around the “Beyond the Border” initiative. Signed in 2011 by Prime Minister Harper and President Obama, “The Declaration estab­lished a new long-term partnership built upon a perimeter approach to security and economic com­petitiveness. This means working together, not just at the border, but ‘beyond the border’ to enhance our security and accelerate the legitimate flow of people, goods, and services. Leaders called for the development of a joint Action Plan to realize this goal…”

One major theme discussed was “pushing the border out.” In other words, knowing what is coming into the two countries before it arrives. This entails pre-inspection in ports of departure and prioritizing containers to be searched before they arrive (thereby streamlining the loading and unloading process). The eventual goal is an “inspected once, cleared twice” outcome in which, for example, a container cleared by Canadian customs could be transported by rail into the U.S. without needing to stop at the border for a second inspection.

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