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HOMELAND SECURITY

16 Aug 07. Concerns over 999 radio systems. Radios being rolled out to emergency services in London remain a cause for concern, the London Assembly 7 July Review Committee has concluded. The report highlighted outstanding issues relating to coverage and timing of the rollout of the Airwave radios. In June 2006 an Assembly report said poor communication had hampered rescuers during operations on 7 July. But the latest review also said major improvements to emergency plans and procedures had been put in place. It noted that of the 54 recommendations made in the initial investigation, 40 have been either accepted, fully or partially implemented, or seen significant progress in addressing the issues raised. “Londoners can be reassured that… no one is being complacent about their ability to respond to such a horrific incident.” Richard Barnes, Review committee chairman. Chairman of the review committee Richard Barnes said more work was needed to build on the significant improvements that had been made in the city’s ability to respond to a major incident. “Londoners can be reassured that… no one is being complacent about their ability to respond to such a horrific incident. “Our report highlights continuing problems with Airwave that need to be tackled to ensure emergency service personnel have access to the robust and effective communications systems they need. (Source: BBC)

09 Aug 07. The U.S. Navy awarded a unit of Raytheon Co. a $72.7m contract boost for a long-range surveillance radar to be used for a homeland security mission. The contract will pay for additional requirements needed for the radar system. The deal includes four one-year options, which if used could bring the total value of the contract to $124.7m. The radar system has been primarily used by the U.S. government to counter drug trafficking. The radar can detect and track aircraft and ship targets from 5,200 nautical miles.

13 Aug 07. In 2003, the FBI used a $25m grant to give bomb squads across the nation state-of-the-art computer kits, enabling them to instantly share information about suspected explosives, including weapons of mass destruction. Four years later, half of the Washington area’s squads can’t communicate via the $12,000 kits, meant to be taken to the scene of potential catastrophes, because they didn’t pick up the monthly wireless bills and maintenance costs initially paid by the FBI. Other squads across the country also have given up using them. (Source: Washington Post)

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