US flag signifying that this is a United States Federal Government website   Official website of the Department of Homeland Security

Homeland Security

Systems Engineering and Evaluation Directorate

Radiation detection systems must be thoroughly tested before they are deployed for use by law enforcement officials and state, local, and tribal law enforcement partners.  Testing conducted by the Systems Engineering and Evaluation Directorate ensures that equipment given to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security law enforcement officers detect radiological and nuclear threats, expedite legitimate commerce, and operate effectively in challenging environmental conditions.


The Systems Engineering and Evaluation Directorate supports the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office’s mission in the development of capabilities through critical assessments of technologies as they are developed, deployed, and operated. Development and acquisition programs are supported by a rigorous and objective test and evaluation program to characterize technologies and systems to understand technical performance, operational effectiveness, and system limitations.  Additionally, the directorate executes pilots and activities planned as operational assessments or trials that serve as a tentative model for future development or deployment decisions.  While test campaigns are intended to evaluate the technical performance of detection technologies in controlled environments, pilot programs allow for limited deployments of new concepts of operation or emerging radiological and nuclear detection technologies in operational environments.  


The Systems Engineering and Evaluation Directorate leads the development of national and international radiological and nuclear detection standards and conducts testing and evaluation of radiation detection systems.  The directorate invests in test and evaluation facilities, equipment, processes, engineers and scientists and conducts pilot programs that support technical and operational assessments.  Coordination with other government agencies (i.e., federal, state, local, and tribal) is also conducted for joint testing of systems against established standards.

The directorate primarily focuses on three different aspects of technology and system evaluation to accomplish its mission.  The first is to develop and maintain standards for radiological and nuclear detection systems.  This includes participating on the national and international standards committees developing consensus standards (American National Standards Institute and International Electrotechnical Commission) as well as leading interagency teams developing threat-informed, government-unique technical capability standards in accordance with the Safe Port Act of 2006. 

The operational utility assessment of new technologies or concepts of operations is another focal point.  Pilot programs and experiments allow the evaluation of promising new technologies or operational methods to be developed in simulated or real world settings.  Results provide decision makers with test results prior to large procurements, while often creating the dividend of new operating capability in the pilot venue.  These efforts expedite the process of fielding improved capabilities to enhance the Global Nuclear Detection Architecture

The final focus is a robust test and evaluation capability to rigorously assess commercially available and developmental radiological and nuclear detection systems against national and international standards and operational requirements.  Testing and evaluation is conducted in laboratories, field settings, and in operational scenarios, and support the full acquisition life cycle process:  research, development, and procurement by performing rigorous assessments of mission related technologies.  The testing of detection systems against special nuclear materials  in significant quantities and in realistic configurations is key to ensuring effective systems are selected and deployed to keep the Nation safe and secure. 

Domestic Nuclear Detection Office MS0550
Department Of Homeland Security
245 Murray Lane SW
Washington DC 20528-0550

Learn More

Supporting Radiological and Nuclear Detection

StandardsTechnical Capability Standards

Last Published Date: August 21, 2015

Was this page helpful?

Back to Top