News in Brief

A committee organizes, an app for snow days and a tool to fight vandals

U.S. Capitol Dome - Photo by the Architect of the Capitol

HSGAC gets organized for new Congress

The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee is under new management, with Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) taking over the gavel, while former chairman Tom Carper (D-Del.) is serving as ranking member.

Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) is taking over the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, with Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) as ranking member. The Subcommittee on Federal Spending Oversight and Emergency Management will be led by Rand Paul (R-Ky.), and Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) will serve as ranking member. Freshman James Lankford (R-Okla.), who won the seat previously held by former ranking member and spending hawk Tom Coburn, will lead the Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs and Federal Management. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) will be that panel's ranking member.

The knotty issues of Department of Homeland Security authorization and cybersecurity legislation will be handled at the level of the full committee.

Snow day? There's an app for that

The Northeast is reeling from a crippling storm that dumped more than two feet of snow in some regions, straining state and local governments that are trying to keep residents safe while also keeping roads clear and services open. GCN reports that some jurisdictions enlisted mobile applications to help alert residents of plow schedules and assist in snow removal awareness.

One such app, Boston's SnowCOP system, maps working snowplows and shows officials which streets have and have not been plowed yet. Built by Esri, the interactive web application lets city managers correlate citizen complaints, snowplow assignments and response activities to maximize resources when responding to the event.

OCSIT unveils anti-vandal guide

Federal agency webmasters have a new bucket of tools to help them clean up after cyber vandals electronically ransack their websites.

The tool kit, provided by the Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies, was developed by agency managers and representatives from social media platforms to help deal with the aggravation of mopping up after an incident. It provides guidance and security practices to federal, state, and local government employees. Suggestions and resources prepare users to respond to cyber-hijacking and will help digital users to make informed choices and enact future policy.

The tool kit is a "living document," according to OCSIT, designed for continued contribution and expansion.

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