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Homeland Security

Office of Standards

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The DHS S&T Capability Development Support (CDS) Group's Office of Standards oversees the development and use of standards to ensure reliable, interoperable and effective technologies and processes and works closely with homeland security partners and standard-setting organizations.

The Office of Standards works with DHS components, program managers and other end users to identify standards and test methods that verify equipment performance. Wherever those standards and test methods do not exist, S&T facilitates their development. To ensure our communication with this diverse community of users, CDS Office of Standards maintains the DHS Standards Council, with representatives from DHS components—the Federal Emergency Management Agency, U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Domestic Nuclear Detection Office, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The Council, led by the Under Secretary for Science and Technology and the Standards Executive, supports many technical homeland security standards working groups within DHS to gather, analyze and maintain current information about standards and conformity assessment activities.

The S&T CDS Office of Standards improves the technology development and acquisition process to accelerate the delivery of technologies, ensure performance requirements are met and reduce the development risk. The office addresses issues including: biometrics; geospatial information; emergency management; personal protection and operational equipment; and chemical, biological, radiological/nuclear and explosive (CBRNE) countermeasures.

Standards for the Homeland Security Enterprise

CSD Office of Standards also works with first responders and law enforcement communities to answer the basic question, “What equipment will do the job?” The Transportation Security Administration agent at the airport, the CBP agent at the border, and the firefighter or police officer responding to an incident all have requirements and questions. The science is often complex, but DHS’s investment in standards pays off in clear answers—if the technology meets the right standard, it will do the job. CDS Office of Standards is committed to working with these communities, including on recent standards for Urban Search and Rescue and the Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus Facemask.

Necessary Partnerships to Develop S&T Standards

Through the participation in voluntary consensus standards development bodies such as the American Society for Testing and Materials and the National Fire Protection Association, the CDS Office of Standards ensures the availability and appropriateness of standards for homeland security mission needs. 

Standard-Setting Organization Links

The  Office of Standards represents DHS and works with a variety of standard-setting organizations. The following links offer background materials and additional information on the use of standards in government:

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