The e-newsletter of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Science & Technology Directorate, S&T Snapshots, features stories about current research projects and opportunities with laboratories, universities, government agencies, and the private sector.
- “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).
- Protecting our Harbors and Ships with the BIOSwimmer: (September 18, 2012) The Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) is funding the development of an unmanned underwater vehicle designed to resemble a tuna, called the BIOSwimmer™.
- Homeland Security’s 'narco sub’ PLUTO mimics the real thing: (September 11, 2012) Surrogate semi-submersible engineered to mimic the design of the “dark vessels” being used to bring narcotics and other illicit cargo into the United States.
- Boston Subway System to be Used to Test New Sensors for Biological Agents: (August 30, 2012) The Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate’s “Detect to Protect” program will assess trigger and confirmer sensors designed to detect biological agents within minutes.
- Dismantling a Pipe Bomb - and Preserving the Evidence: (August 27, 2012) The Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate’s new low-cost device for dismantling dangerous pipe bombs may look like a tinkerer’s project, but that’s no accident. The Semi Autonomous Pipe Bomb End-cap Remover, SAPBER, is unassuming in appearance, but sophisticated enough to preserve the forensic evidence needed to track down the perpetrator.
- A World Free of one of the Most Virulent Animal Diseases?: (July 3, 2012) The Departments of Homeland Security and Agriculture have developed a novel vaccine for one of the seven strains of the dreaded foot-and-mouth disease, paving the way for the development of the others.
- Homeland Security's New Smartphone Application for Bomb Threats: (June 26, 2012) The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Science and Technology Directorate and its public and private sector partners have developed a must-have "app": the First Responder Support Tools (FiRST) for computers and smartphones.
- Testing Vintage U.S. Bridges for Vulnerability: and finding ways to protect them (May 1, 2012) The Department of Homeland Security's Science and Technology Directorate has joined forces with the Federal Highway Administration and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Engineer Research and Development Center to conduct series of experiments that assess potential vulnerability of critical structural components of aging steel bridges.
- Katrina Changed Everything: New Software for Flooding Protection (April 16, 2012) Homeland Security's Science & Technology Directorate and Dams Sector partners team up to develop new software systems for fast simulation of catastrophic flooding
- Resilient Tunnel: 35,000 Gallons of Prevention (March 27, 2012) Containing a Tunnel Flood with an Inflatable Stopper
- Power Hungry: Prototyping Replacement EHV Transformers (March 2, 2012) EHV transformers, and the nation's electric grid, are on the Department of Homeland Security's mind.
- Ship Cargo Containers – Finding Out What's In Them Before There’s Trouble (March 1, 2012) The Container Security Test Bed allows researchers and developers to explore novel ways to detect threats in a cargo container.
- Building and Infrastructure Protection Series: Designing Buildings to Withstand Almost Anything (January 31, 2012) By helping buildings withstand unusually severe hazards, DHS aims to keep critical infrastructure open for business.
- Urban Blast Tool (UBT): From Opening Thunder to Closing Whimper (January 31, 2012) Predicting bomb shockwaves, building vulnerability, and evacuation priority.
- When Clean just isn't Clean Enough (December 23, 2011) Backboard Covers Protect Patients from Cross Infections.
- Making Domain Names Safe and Reliable (November 22, 2011): Domain Name System Security Extensions (DNSSEC) Project.
- For Wildfires, a Doorstop at Nature's Doorstep (October 5, 2011): DHS-funded research helps define fire standards to protect homes.
- Racing Against The Clock (September 15, 2011): New tools now available for rescuing those trapped beneath concrete.
- The Coast Guard's Arctic Agenda Heats Up (July 15, 2011): The Coast Guard charts a course for basic research before Arctic travelers find themselves on thin ice.
- DHS's First Patent: A Citizen's Dosimeter! (June 27, 2011): It fits in your wallet and can save your life.
- Where There's Smoke, There's a Signal (June 16, 2011): For firefighters, wireless self-powered router “breadcrumbs” that won’t become toast when baked or soggy when hosed. (First Responders)
- Sentries in the Garden Shed (February 15, 2011): Plants that can detect environmental contaminants and explosives. (Chemical & Biological)
- Secret Service Site Security Training Gains a High-Tech Edge (January 24, 2011): Secret Service employees receive high-tech modeling and simulation training with S&T funded Site Security Planning Tool. (Chemical & Biological)