New Limits on Methane Emissions by Oil and Natural Gas

The EPA issued new regulations on May 12, 2016, to reduce methane released by the oil and natural gas industries. The EPA will require these operations to phase in technologies that capture methane. These regulations only apply to newly constructed or modified oil and gas facilities, but new regulations for existing operations are in development. These regulations are the first that seek to limit methane released by the oil and gas industry. These regulations follow an EPA report in 2014 that revealed that oil and natural gas operations are the greatest emitters of methane gas. See: http://cen.acs.org/articles/94/web/2016/05/EPA-moves-cut-methane-emissions.html.

FDA Approves First Commercial Zika Test

The FDA has granted emergency authorization to Quest Diagnostics to sell a Zika virus test. This is the first commercially developed test that diagnoses the Zika virus. Quest Diagnostics planned to make the tests available to doctors, which expands their availability from the Center of Disease Control and Prevention laboratories. Infection with the Zika virus can present no symptoms, so the test will allow people who live in or have traveled to an area with Zika virus transmission to know if they are infected. The Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) allows the use of certain medical products after an emergency has been declared by the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS). Due to Zika’s significant potential for a public health emergency, the Secretary of HHS declared that the emergency use of in-vitro diagnostic tests for Zika is justified. See: http://www.fda.gov/EmergencyPreparedness/Counterterrorism/MedicalCountermeasures/MCMIssues/ucm485199.htm#eua.

Pentagon Contracts Eight Companies for Microelectronics Program

The Pentagon has issued contracts worth $7.2 billion USD over the next twelve years to upgrade legacy and/or unreliable electronics in DoD systems. To support this effort, the Defense Microelectronics Activity (DMEA) awarded contracts through its Advanced Technology Support Program IV (ATSP4) to companies that can give the DoD access to expertise on microelectronic engineering. The companies that were awarded contracts are Northrop Grumman Systems, Lockheed Martin, BAE Systems Information & Electronic Systems Integration, General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems, Aeroflex Colorado Springs, Raytheon, Boeing, and Honeywell International. See: https://defensesystems.com/articles/2016/04/01/dod-atsp4-electronics-support-contract.aspx.

Department of Defense Discusses Cyber Strategy

On April 18, 2016, DoD Chief Information Officer, Terry Halvorsen discussed the need to modernize DoD networks as part of the Department’s cybersecurity strategy. The DoD also aims to consolidate data centers, empowering mobile data access, and facilitating cooperation and short-term personnel trades between government and industry cybersecurity workers. The DoD is focused on their shift to the Joint Regional Security Stacks, a centrally managed, regionally based suite of security appliances, to secure networks and reduce the number of access points that can be attacked. See: http://www.defense.gov/News-Article-View/Article/723174/dod-cio-discusses-modernizing-networks-consolidating-data-centers.

Industrial Control Systems Make Industry Vulnerable

The Deputy Director of the NSA, Richard H. Ledgett Jr., warned of industry’s reliance on industrial control systems (ICS) in his keynote address for the Joint Service Academy Cyber Security Summit at the US Military Academy. In recent years, ICS has become less obscure, but providers have not adequately addressed threats to their security. Cyber attacks can cause significant damage to infrastructure, such as the four-month blackout of the Ukrainian power grid. Ledgett warned, “Any system is only as strong as its weakest link.” See: http://www.defense.gov/News-Article-View/Article/740177/critical-infrastructure-vulnerable-to-attack-nsa-leader-says.

©, 2016, Potomac Institute for Policy Studies, All rights reserved.

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