Safety

Hagel orders top-to-bottom changes in nuke force

WASHINGTON (AP) — Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel ordered top-to-bottom changes in the management of the nation's nuclear arsenal Friday, saying a lack of sustained attention and investment in the force caused it to "slowly back downhill."

Speaking to Pentagon reporters, he said the Defense Department will boost spending on the nuclear forces by about 10 percent a year for the next five years -- an increase of nearly $10 billion -- adding there is no problem on this issue the Pentagon can't fix.

Oil

ND mulls rules to make crude safer for shipment

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota's top energy industry regulator unveiled new rules Thursday that would require companies to reduce the volatility of crude before it's shipped by rail.

State Mineral Resources Director Lynn Helms told the state Industrial Commission that all crude from North Dakota's oil patch would have to be treated to remove certain liquids and gases to "ensure it's in a stable state" before being loaded onto rail cars.

Hagel to order nuke force overhaul to fix failures

WASHINGTON (AP) — Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has concluded that problems in the nation's nuclear forces are rooted in a lack of investment, inattention by high-level leaders and sagging morale, and is ordering top-to-bottom changes, vowing to invest billions of dollars to fix the management of the world's most deadly weapons, two senior defense officials told The Associated Press on Thursday.

Hagel ordered two lengthy reviews of the nuclear force after a series of stories by the AP revealed numerous problems in management, morale, security and safety, leading to several firings, demotions and other disciplinary actions against a range of Air Force personnel from generals to airmen.

Report: China hacked NOAA weather systems

Source: 
The Washington Post

Federal officials told The Washington Post that Chinese hackers recently breached the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's systems, requiring a cybersecurity team to lock down crucial disaster planning data and other information.

Former NSA head calls for stronger cybersecurity policies

Source: 
FuelFix

Mike McConnell, National Security Agency director under President Clinton, called on Congress to pass legislation to allow government agencies to better coordinate cybersecurity efforts with energy and finance industries to protect against hacking and espionage, FuelFix reports.

US fights cybercrime from suburban office parks

ARLINGTON, Virginia (AP) — Ground zero in the nation's fight against cybercrime hides in plain sight, in a nondescript suburban office building with no government seals or signs.

Only after passing a low-key receptionist stationed on the seventh floor does one see the metal detectors, personal cellphone lockers and a series of heavy doors marked "classified" — all leading to the auditorium-sized National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center.

Federal government struggles against cyberattacks

A $10 billion-a-year effort to protect sensitive government data, from military secrets to Social Security numbers, is struggling to keep pace with an increasing number of cyberattacks and is unwittingly being undermined by federal employees and contractors.

Workers scattered across more than a dozen agencies, from the Defense and Education departments to the National Weather Service, are responsible for at least half of the federal cyberincidents reported each year since 2010, according to an Associated Press analysis of records.

A look at some key federal cybersecurity breaches

A $10 billion-a-year federal effort to protect critical data is struggling against an onslaught of cyberattacks by thieves, hostile states and hackers.

An Associated Press report this week finds that federal cybersecurity officials also face another challenge: Too often, government employees and contractors are undermining cyberdefenses by clicking malicious links, losing devices and data, or sharing information and passwords.

Showdown looms as California eyes pesticides

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — With organic food growers reporting double-digit growth in U.S. sales each year, producers are challenging a proposed California pest-management program they say enshrines a pesticide-heavy approach for decades to come, including compulsory spraying of organic crops at the state's discretion.

Chief among the complaints of organic growers: The California Department of Food and Agriculture's pest-management plan says compulsory state pesticide spraying of organic crops would do no economic harm to organic producers, on the grounds that the growers could sell sprayed crops as non-organic instead.

Foundation of US nuclear system showing cracks

WASHINGTON (AP) — The foundation of America's nuclear arsenal is fractured, and the government has no clear plan to repair it.

The cracks appear not just in the military forces equipped with nuclear weapons but also in the civilian bureaucracy that controls them, justifies their cost, plans their future and is responsible for explaining a defense policy that says nuclear weapons are at once essential and excessive.

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