The e-newsletter of DHS S&T, S&T Snapshots feature stories about current research projects and opportunities with laboratories, universities, government agencies and the private sector.
- New Canine Training Aid Matches Explosives' Scent but Doesn't Explode: (March 26, 2015) Canines trained to sniff out explosives are a crucial line of defense when it comes to protecting our nation. The Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) Explosive’s Division’s Canine Program is conducting independent assessments and developing products to assist canine explosive teams to better accomplish their missions. One of the biggest challenges in the training and testing of canine teams results from the explosives materials themselves - especially new homemade explosives.Canine Program Manager Don Roberts and his team oversaw the development of a new, S&T funded training aid that matches the scent of explosive materials but poses no danger to the trainers, the canines or the environment.
Wildland Fire Fighter Uniform Redesigned: (February 10, 2015) In 2011, CAL FIRE approached the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate’s First Responders Group (FRG) requesting assistance in developing prototype garments. FRG began coordinating with CAL FIRE, California fire departments, and the U.S. Forest Service, who had previously established a working group of wildland firefighters to investigate improvements to their garments to address the heat exhaustion issue. After years of development and testing, the group collectively improved wildland fire advanced personal protection garments, and have published a report on FirstResponder.gov in the hopes of assisting other wildland firefighting organizations.
- Portable Biodetection: (January 23, 2015) Every day, across the nation, first responders are called to investigate suspicious white powders. While nearly everything they respond to is a hoax, they must treat every incident as if the powder could be anthrax or other dangerous substances. Every sample must be sent to and analyzed at a public health laboratory, which takes a day or more.
- S&T’s Interoperable Solution Makes It Easier and Cheaper For First Responders to Communicate: (January 6, 2015) A new low-cost interoperability solution developed by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) could save the first responder community millions of dollars.
- DHS S&T Partners with Cybersecurity Small Businesses to Increase the Nation’s Security and Resilience: (December 15, 2014) The Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) will showcase an array of promising cybersecurity technologies at its Cyber Security Division R&D Showcase and Technology Demonstration on Dec. 16. These innovative technologies contribute to the overall cybersecurity of our nation, and highlight the critical support that S&T’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program and Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) awards play in the commercialization on these products.
- Pre-solicitation Topics Announced for Nine Homeland Security Challenges: (December 5, 2014) The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) announced the release of the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program FY15.1 Pre-Solicitation. The Pre-Solicitation, HSHQDC-15-R-00017, contains topic descriptions from both S&T and the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO) for which Phase I proposals are sought. These include seven topics from S&T and two topics from DNDO.
- U.S./Canada test cross-border resiliency: (November 20, 2014) Disasters aren’t constrained by borders, so emergency response can’t be constrained either. If a hurricane were to cause major damage in cities in the United States and Canada, responders and government leaders from both countries may need to work together to provide emergency assistance. The Canada-U.S. Enhanced Resiliency Experiment (CAUSE) uses on cross-border information-sharing experiments to increase resilience at the U.S./Canada border.
- Turtle Mike technology bridges communications systems: (November 7, 2014) In the midst of an emergency, communication is critical. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate’s (S&T) is working to keep lines of communication between multiple responding organizations in order to communicate simultaneously and coordinate victim care, prevent further injuries and ensure available resources. Recent two-week field tests in Nebraska of the Hybrid Public Safety Microphone—or Turtle Mike—allowed law enforcement, medical, fire and rescue, and public works personnel to merge land mobile radio (LMR) and broadband systems so they were able to communicate with each other. Funded by S&T’s First Responders Group (FRG) at the request of DHS’s U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Turtle Mike bridges offer a platform that links several different systems together.
- Cybersecurity Innovation: Securing your Future: (November 7, 2014) Cybersecurity technologies based on user requirements to be showcased Dec. 16. Today, cyber adversaries continue to present a full spectrum of threats not only to the U.S. government, but to private organizations and critical infrastructure sectors. At the 2014 Cyber Security Division (CSD) Research and Development (R&D) Showcase, planned for Dec. 16 at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington D.C., the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) will unveil more than 40 technologies, tools and techniques – developed in response to real world requirements – that will protect and secure our nation and drive the future of cybersecurity.
- “Virtual Internet” Tests Software Solutions for Real World Problems: (October 21, 2014) One of the most important requirements for cybersecurity researchers is an environment to test their newest technologies and innovations. For the last ten years, the Defense Experimental Research (DETER) has provided that environment, significantly contributing to the security and resilience of critical cyber infrastructure and the Internet both in the United States and around the globe. Developed by the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate’s (S&T) Cyber Security Division (CSD), the DETER testbed, described as the “Internet in a box” or a “virtual Internet,” provides a safe and secure option to conduct critical cybersecurity experimentation and testing in the context of complex networks and cyber‐physical systems designed to protect the nation’s critical cyber infrastructure.
- First Responders Identify Gaps, See Results, and Begin Process for Solutions: (October 16, 2014) When first responders from around the nation recently gathered in Washington D.C., they saw firsthand the technologies that the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) developed based on issues they had previously identified. This highlighted the importance of their participation in the First Responder Resource Group (FRRG) 2014 Annual Meeting to identify high-priority capability gaps to prepare them for future success.
- Got Power? Resilient Electric Grid Feasibility Study Kicks Off in Chicago: (September 26, 2014) Imagine a massive storm cell hits a major city in the United States, taking out a power substation leaving 20,000 people without electricity. Even with 24-hour support, it takes days before everyone’s power returns. That’s the reality today. But what if there was a way to prevent that power outage? The Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) has partnered with Massachusetts-based Company, AMSC, to develop a new superconductor cable – part of a Resilient Electric Grid (REG) program – that may enable urban utilities to “keep the lights on” during severe events. During a six-month feasibility study, S&T, worked with AMSC and Chicago electric utility company, Commonwealth Edison (ComEd) to determine the commercial-scale application of the superconductor cable.
- S&T Announces First Success of Technology Transition Program: (September 9, 2014) The very first technology foraged under the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate's (S&T) Transition to Practice (TTP) program has transitioned to the commercial market almost two years ahead of schedule.
- S&T Support of Cyber Competitions Embraces Technology and Cybersecurity: (August 20, 2014) From February through April, the cyber equivalent of the NCAA’s March Madness played out – keystroke by keystroke – at 180 colleges around the nation. The regional champions gathered at the National Collegiate Cybersecurity Defense Competition (NCCDC) in San Antonio Texas. While only one team emerged with the winner’s trophy, everyone walked away with an increased appreciation and understanding of current cybersecurity needs and a preview of emerging technologies.
- New DHS facility tests biometric technology, improves air entry/exit operations: (July 30, 2014) Together, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) cut the ribbon on S&T’s new Maryland Test Facility (MdTF), on June 26 in Upper Marlboro, Maryland. The MdTF, designed by S&T along in partnership with CBP operational staff, will test and evaluate operational processes using both biometric and non-biometric technologies as part of the Apex Air Entry/Exit Re-Engineering (AEER) project.
- The SWAMP: A Key Resource in Improving Software Assurance Activities: (July 24, 2014) The Software Assurance Market Place, or SWAMP, is an online, open-source, collaborative research environment that allows software developers and researchers to test their software for security weaknesses, improve tools by testing against a wide range of software packages, and interact and exchange best practices to improve software assurance tools and techniques.
- Virtual Shooter Technology Tests Ammo and Saves Joints: (May 15, 2014) Firing and testing thousands of rounds of ammunition weekly can challenge the human body—even ones in top physical condition—causing debilitating stress injuries and chronic nerve and joint pain. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T), with the help of agents from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of Firearms and Tactical Programs (OFTP) Armory Operations Branch (AOB), has made an important stride forward in reducing or eliminating these injuries by developing of the “Virtual Shooter.”
- Celebrating a Decade of Security Enhancements: (April 24, 2014) On April 24, 2014, the National Center for Risk and Economic Analysis of Terrorism Events (CREATE)—the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) first Center of Excellence (COE)—celebrated its tenth anniversary with a one-day event highlighting its contributions and advancements in homeland security.
- Improved Gloves Enhance Safety of First Responders: (April 24, 2014) Firefighters wear protective gloves called “structure gloves” to keep their hands safe on the job. The protective equipment firefighters wear—including structure gloves—give them the confidence to focus on putting out fires and saving lives; however, the structure gloves currently used by firefighters are not designed for the precision movements our first responders must perform.
- Preventing Disease Outbreaks in Livestock – Now There’s An App for That: (February 11, 2014) Veterinarians are our nation’s first responders for animal health. The Enhanced Passive Surveillance uses mobile applications, or apps, to capture information on both healthy and sick animals in real time. Veterinarians can document the number of animals observed or examined, describe clinical signs or symptoms that match certain endemic and high consequence diseases, and provide specific geographic locations—all while performing examinations and treating animals.
- Training First Responders for Active Shooter Response: (November 20, 2013) The Enhanced Dynamic Geo-Social Environment (EDGE) is a virtual training platform developed from existing technology that allows first responders to participate in complex training scenarios—improving coordination and communication across all jurisdictions, as well as mitigating injuries and loss of lives.
- Detecting Heartbeats in Rubble: DHS and NASA Team up to Save Victims of Disasters: (September 5, 2013) When natural disasters or man-made catastrophes topple buildings, search and rescue teams immediately set out to recover victims trapped beneath the wreckage. During these missions, time is imperative, and quickly detecting living victims greatly increases chances for rescue and survival.
- Smart Scavenging—Tech Foraging at DHS: (July 19, 2013) When the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is looking for a new technology to help fight terrorism, recover from a natural disaster, or support the nation’s first responders, it turns to its Science and Technology Directorate (S&T). S&T then collaborates with its federal partners, as well as industry, and academia, and finds these solutions more efficiently and economically than ever before.
- Interoperable Communications Across Borders: (March 25, 2013) On the morning of December 6, 1917, in the port of Halifax, Nova Scotia, near the U.S. border in Maine, a French ship, the Mont Blanc, filled with military explosives collided with another vessel. Twenty minutes later, a fire set off the Mont Blanc’s volatile cargo and caused a catastrophic explosion—killing thousands and destroying an entire section of the nearby city. Rescue efforts were dispatched immediately from the Canadian mainland as well as the United States, but confusion and lack of immediate information delayed some of the rescue efforts for hours.
- Arresting a Fleeing Vehicle at the Push of a Button: (Feb. 28, 2013) In 2010, the characteristics of a squid’s sticky tendrils were combined with the concept of Spiderman’s super-strong webbing to create a prototype of the first remote device to stop vehicles in their tracks: the Safe, Quick, Undercarriage Immobilization Device (SQUID).