These projects advance national security by developing and applying the social, behavioral, and physical sciences to improve identification and analysis of threats, to enhance societal resilience, and to integrate human capabilities into the development of technology.
Community Resilience Project
Project Manager: Ji Sun Lee
Project Overview: The Science and Technology (S&T) Directorate Human Factors/Behavioral Sciences Division (HFD) Community Resilience project conducts research into methodologies for effective hazard and risk communications to enhance the ability of local officials to convey understandable and credible warnings and messages to the public. Phase I of this project reviewed the risk communication literature to identify effective methods for government officials and civic leaders to warn and instruct the public on appropriate actions to take before, during, and after a terrorist attack using an improvised explosive device (see report volume I and II below). Phase II seeks to develop, deliver, and evaluate training modules for local leaders on effective risk communications in preparing for responses to natural disasters or terrorist attacks.
- Effective Risk Communications for the Counter Improvised Explosive Devices Threat Volume I (PDF, 71 pages - 718.80 KB) Communication guidance for local leaders responding to the threat posed by IEDs and terrorism.
- Effective Risk Communications for the Counter Improvised Explosive Devices Threat Volume II (PDF, 195 pages - 1.57 MB) Communication guidance for local leaders responding to the threat posed by IEDs and terrorism.
Human Systems Engineering Project
Project Managers: Darren P. Wilson and Janae Lockett-Reynolds, Ph.D.
Project Overview: The Science and Technology (S&T) Directorate Human Factors/Behavioral Sciences Division (HFD) Human-Systems Engineering project develops and defines human performance requirements for systems and technology; it develops methods and measures to influence and evaluate how the design of new and existing technology and systems impact human-performance. This project is developing a human-systems integration roadmap that will aid the S&T Directorate's divisions and DHS components to identify, develop, and apply a standard process to enhance technology and system design, system safety, and operational efficiency. The project will also develop an outline for a DHS human systems integration standard and being initial development of an ambulance design standard. Factors that impact human performance in the context of system design are further investigated in the Human-Systems Research project.
Human Systems Research Project
Project Manager: Darren P. Wilson and Janae Lockett-Reynolds, Ph.D.
Project Overview: The Science and Technology (S&T) Directorate Human Factors/Behavioral Science Division (HFD) Human-Systems Research project develops ways to maximize human performance, in the context of the human-systems interface, across DHS end-user tasks and activities; it investigates the cognitive, perceptual, and physiological processes that underlie task performance. The project will develop a human performance model addressing end-user tasks and associated performance drivers across all DHS domain areas. The project will also investigate the effects of advanced imaging, team performance, and decision-making and will conduct additional studies on the use of perceptual strategies in the training protocols. In addition, the project will develop an empirically-based Motion X-Ray prototype and a human performance research roadmap for the Transportation Security Administration. It also will identify exceptionally performing screener cues, techniques, and strategies for the purpose of developing a training program and screener selection criteria.
Multi-modal Biometrics Project
Project Manager: Arun Vemury
Project Overview: The Science and Technology (S&T) Directorate Human Factors/Behavior Sciences Division (HFD) Multi-modal Biometrics project develops biometric technologies that accurately and rapidly identify individuals. The operational goal is to provide the capability to non-intrusively collect two or more biometrics (fingerprint, face image, and iris recognition) in less than ten seconds at a ninety-five percent acquisition rate without impeding the movement of individuals. The multi-modal technology will allow the Department to compare and match biometric samples from different sources, collected with different sensor technologies, under varying environmental conditions -- a capability that eludes existing technology.
Predictive Screening Project
Project Manager: Larry Willis
Project Overview: The Science and Technology (S&T) Directorate Human Factors/Behavioral Sciences Division (HFD) Predictive Screening project aims to derive observable behaviors that precede a suicide bombing attack and develop extraction algorithms to identify and alert personnel to indicators of suicide bombing behavior. The potential operational benefit is the increased ability to interdict Improvised Explosives Device (IED) threats further from the checkpoint with fewer resources. This project supports the Quadrennial Homeland Security missions of preventing terrorism and enhancing security, and securing and managing our borders.
Rapid DNA Project
Project Manager: Christopher Miles
Project Overview: The Science and Technology (S&T) Directorate Human Factors/Behavioral Sciences Division (HFD) Rapid DNA project will provide rapid and low-cost DNA-based family relationships (kinship) verification to improve immigration efficiency for legal kinship applicants, reduce kinship fraud, provide for family reunifications, and conduct DNA watch lists checks (where appropriate). Currently, kinship determinations in immigration cases are primarily based on field officer interviews and document review. DNA analysis can verify kinship, but it is expensive and requires forensic laboratory processing. The Rapid DNA project will integrate a whole laboratory into a fieldable device operated by non-expert users by allowing DNA cheek (buccal) swab sample to be inserted in a disposable microfuidic biochip and processed in an automated and integrated desktop unit. Processing time will be less than one hour at a cost of less than $100 per sample and less than $275,000 per system.