The top 10 things to know!
- Established by Secretary Jeh Johnson
In August 2015, Secretary Johnson directed the establishment of integrated product teams (IPTs), calling for a “central mechanism by which the department identifies and coordinates research and development (R&D).” He defined roles for component representatives, the Joint Requirements Council (JRC), the DHS Secretary and the Under Secretary for Science and Technology (USST).
- Focus on Key Mission Areas
IPTs will focus on specific mission areas, including: aviation security, biological threat, counterterrorism, border security, and cyber security. In addition, sub-IPTs will be created to address key issues such as resilience. These areas reflect the missions from across the Department, and are representative of the Department’s goals, as outlined in the Secretary’s Unity of Effort initiative; the Quadrennial Homeland Security Review; and S&T’s visionary goals, investments, and Strategic Plan. S&T will also continue its support for first responders through the First Responder Resource Group (FRRG).
- Led by the Science and Technology Directorate
The Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) is serving as the lead for the IPT effort and facilitates participation with component heads. S&T is accountable for coordinating IPT operations, ensuring that all necessary information and resources are available, and maintaining focus on IPT objectives. S&T applies this structure to R&D efforts, in collaboration with components, to achieve the desired results. S&T is responsible for providing the Secretary with a report of ongoing R&D activities across the Department and a list of high-priority technology solutions.
- Leverage operational components, technical experts, and Headquarters leadership
S&T is forming teams from across the Department to translate the technological capability gaps in the components into a focused R&D plan for leadership approval. These teams will be joined by the JRC for technical expertise. The roles of the key players are as follows:
- IPTs – component leaders who initiate IPT process; prioritize and endorse sub-IPT gaps and corresponding R&D plans;
- Sub-IPTs – component PMs who identify specific technological capability gaps;
- JRC – senior requirements review board that identifies cross-cutting opportunities and common requirements across DHS;
- Science and Technology Requirements Council (SRC) – senior component representatives, led by S&T, who validate and prioritize R&D investments; and
- DHS Leadership – USST reviews and forwards final recommended R&D plan and prioritized technologies to DHS Secretary/Deputy Secretary for approval.
- Centralize R&D and acquisitions
With similar operational challenges across DHS, there are often duplicative R&D efforts, when we really need just one solution. IPTs centralize R&D planning, resulting in focused and prioritized technological capability gaps. This can result in enterprise-wide solutions, saving time and money as well as avoiding lengthy procurement processes for similar technologies.
- Produce a roadmap for Department-wide R&D
Each IPT identifies prioritized technological capability gaps and provides recommendations for corresponding prioritized R&D investments for S&T and other DHS components. These will serve as the R&D roadmap for the Department to find the best solutions for existing technological capability gaps and to ensure justified and coordinated acquisitions in concert with the components.
- Link to established authorities
The activities and mission of the IPTs link to statutes, management directives, and oversight reports that establish or set requirements for S&T. These authorities require that S&T lead R&D efforts as well as coordinate the acquisition framework for the Department. Several reports cite the disjointed nature of DHS R&D and acquisitions, and charge S&T to resolve this situation to bring clarity and focus to the selection of technological solutions needed for DHS operations. IPTs answer this complex but necessary charge to unify R&D and acquisitions across components.
- Include technical reviews of acquisition programs
S&T provides independent technology assessments and evaluation of acquisition programs to help inform the IPTs. These efforts serve to ensure that DHS invests only in technologies that are viable and can be expected to reach the hands of those on the front lines.
- Improve technology transfer to meet front line needs
The IPT process is intended to identify the most critical mission needs, develop R&D programs and projects to address these needs, and transition the resulting technologies to DHS component operators and industry. DHS R&D already focuses on transition as an objective, but the new IPT arrangement will ensure that the existence of a likely transition path is a major criterion for funding across the research enterprise.
- Will help DHS protect the homeland
Technological solutions are vital to our ability to respond to emerging threats, and IPTs give DHS the ability to effectively put the best technologies on the front lines.