Morning Security Brief: Texas Bolsters Border Security, Cybersecurity Workforce Shortage, Railroad Security, and More

By Holly Gilbert Stowell

► The Texas Department of Public Safety will increase its spending on border security by an additional $1.3 million per week, according to the L.A. Times. The budget increase was authorized by Texas Governor Rick Perry and other state officials, who announced that they will begin “emergency surge” operations along the border with Mexico. The increased border security is an attempt to curb “an influx of immigrants making the illegal crossing, mostly women and children from Central America.” Upon announcing the increase, state officials noted in the statement that “the border patrol caught 160,000 individuals illegally crossing the Rio Grande Valley in the first eight months of this fiscal year, and that they had “caught more than 1,100 immigrants per day in the valley.” The surge, expected to continue through the end of the year, was applauded by Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, who contacted Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson for an additional $30 million in federal funding.

►The RAND Corporation has released a study that takes an in-depth look at the shortage in the cybersecurity workforce in the United States. The report, titled Hackers Wanted: An Examination of the Cybersecurity Labor Market, purports that a shortage of cybersecurity professionals “complicate securing the nation's networks and may leave the United States ill-prepared to carry out conflict in cyberspace.” The study says that with bad actors quickly becoming more sophisticated at targeting enterprises and government, the “rapid demand” for cybersecurity experts creates “scarcity, competition, and crisis.” The report recommends that companies should invest in research and development efforts toward technologies that can supplement the human workforce in combatting the cyber threat. It also suggests cutting down on government regulation to allow for more hiring, and that more funds ought to be invested in cybersecurity education programs for schools.

►Two U.S. senators have introduced a bill to authorize funding for a new Short Line Rail Safety Institute, which would “enhance the safety practices and culture of short line railroads,” Government Security News reports. The legislation, sponsored by Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Susan Collins (R-ME), both members of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee for Transportation, say the bill would provide continuing information for trains carrying passengers as well as hazardous supplies through the country. Sen. Collins pointed to the tragedy in Lac-Megantic, Quebec last year in which an oil train derailed and exploded, killing 42, as a reason for bolstering short rail railroad security. “We must ensure that we are taking the necessary steps to prevent another Lac-Megantic, while not overburdening an industry that has a proven track record of safety,” she said.

► In other news, a second boat in two days has capsized off the coast of Malaysia, according to the CNN. Rescue crews were able to save 18 passengers, leaving nine missing. ⇒ Reuters reports rebels in Ukraine rejected a call to lay down arms proposed by President Petro Poroshenko on Wednesday. ⇒ And Maritime Executive has published an article on the fragility of Africa's maritime borders and how the illegal maritime activities are harming the continent.


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