Morning Security Brief: Government Shutdown and DHS; Marine Leaders Disciplined, School Security in Nigeria, and More

By Holly Gilbert

► The Washington Post evaluates how the government shutdown affects homeland security. According to the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) 2013 contingency plan, most DHS employees will continue to work because their job functions are “essential,” and “must be maintained under all circumstances to ensure the safety and security of the nation and its citizens.” That contingency plan defines an “essential” job as one which is critical to the “safety of human life or protection of property.” A vast majority, 93 percent, of the Transportation Security Administration’s workers are still on the job; 78 percent of Federal Emergency Management Agency; and 88 percent of employees from both the Coast Guard and the Customs and Border Protection are still at work. Of all the DHS components, “Topping the list with the highest percentage would be U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, at 97 percent, followed by the Secret Service, with 92 percent,” according to the article. Some DHS employees are designated as part of an “emergency relocation group” that can respond to any emergencies during the shutdown.

► The New York Times reports that two U.S. Marine senior generals are being ordered to retire early by the Marine Corps commandant for “errors in judgment and failure to provide security” after an insurgent attack on a base last year in southwestern Afghanistan. The attack left two marines dead and eight wounded, and also resulted in the destruction of six Harrier attack jets. During the attack, members of the Taliban cut through a wire fence on Bastion airfield and, wearing U.S. military uniforms, engaged U.S. forces in an hours-long firefight. The disciplinary action against the two generals is nearly unprecedented in the history of the Marine Corps, states the article.

► In the wake of an incident in which Islamist militants went on a shooting rampage at a university dormitory that left 40 students dead, Nigeria is ramping up school security in the northeast and other places prone to attacks. Those heightened measures include placing armed guards in and around school buildings and buses and adding more patrols. According to a Reuters report, a source tells the news agency that “President Goodluck Jonathan met senior security aides late on Sunday to discuss how to respond to the latest deadly shift in tactics by the insurgents.”

► The National Security Agency (NSA) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) are rolling out new standards for cybersecurity programs at colleges and universities across the country. According to a report in the Chronicle of Higher Education, “The retooling of the joint National Centers of Academic Excellence program includes the elimination of dated, controversial federal training standards. They are being replaced with curricular blocks, dubbed ‘knowledge units,’ that officials say will enable colleges to develop cybersecurity focus areas while also allowing them to respond to employers' needs in a fluid marketplace.” In order to receive the federal designation, the existing 186 cybersecurity programs at two and four-year institutions must reapply under the new standards.


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