The Science and Technology Directorate’s (S&T) Technology Centers prepare the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for the future of science and technology. They do this by providing an enduring capability of science and engineering expertise, as well as conducting basic and applied research into emerging and future science and technology to:
- Ensure the top scientific and engineering advisors are available to S&T and the Department.
- Ensure science and technology advancements are harnessed for cutting-edge solutions to operational challenges.
DHS Science & Technology Directorate
Technology Centers Research Agenda
The DHS S&T Tech Centers’ Research Agenda is intended to provide the strategic framework against which we align and focus our research portfolio, and it communicates our priorities and objectives over the next three years. This Research Agenda identifies the most critical and impactful advances and developments in science and technology from the perspective of where the emerging technology and science trends are headed and their potential impact or implications to the Department.
Subject Matter Expert Advisors
Tech Center experts advise S&T, DHS Components, and other key stakeholders in science, engineering, and technology areas critical to the homeland security enterprise. The Tech Center’s cadre of senior technical executive experts serve on technical working groups and committees at all levels, including White House and interagency S&T committees, international bi-multi-lateral groups, and DHS special initiative teams.
The Tech Centers are home to experts in a broad range of scientific and engineering disciplines including biological and chemical sciences; behavioral, social, and economic sciences; computer, data, and mathematical sciences; modeling and simulation; cybersecurity; artificial intelligence; detection sciences; electrical and mechanical engineering; communications and network engineering; and autonomous systems.
Core Research Activities
To maintain and expand S&T’s expertise and fulfill its purpose of preparing DHS for the future, Tech Center research focuses on the relevance of evolving, emerging, and converging science and technology to DHS. They conduct basic and applied research to build knowledge and understanding of emerging technologies, scientific advancements, and evolving threats and hazards.
Tech Centers’ Organization
Subject matter experts are organized into seven teams.
Enduring Sciences Branch Technology Centers
- Hazard Awareness and Characterization—biological, chemical, and explosives experts focus on current, emerging, and future hazards to understand their characteristics and properties. This informs DHS efforts to build next-generation detection equipment and enables our operators to be prepared for future threats, risks, and incidents.
- Social Science—behavioral, economic, and risk experts focus on the individual, social, and economic implications of technological advances and ways to increase adoption and use, as well as methods for countering violent extremism and terrorism prevention.
Innovative Systems Branch Technology Centers
- Interoperability and Compatibility—telecommunications, networks, and space system specialists focus on methods to increase resiliency and protect vulnerabilities within current, emerging, and future communications and network capabilities.
- Sensors and Platforms—sensors and autonomous systems experts focus on advancements in intelligent and next-generation sensors systems for homeland security applications involving surveillance, detection, alerting, and notification.
- Biometrics and Identity—identity technologies experts focus on methods, tools, and technologies to recognize individuals and protect sensitive personal information through advanced identity capabilities.
Advanced Computing Branch Technology Centers
- Cybersecurity—cybersecurity experts focus on data-centric security, software and hardware assurance, and communications and network resiliency to support DHS’s critical missions and enhance the security and resilience of the nation's critical infrastructure.
- Data Analytics—data and advanced analytics experts focus on understanding leading-edge computational data analytics techniques to enable user-focused, data-driven solutions for DHS.
- Modeling and Simulation—modeling and simulation experts focus on next-generation capabilities to model and simulate training, operational, threat, and incident response environments.
Communities of Interest
The Tech Centers serve the broader homeland security and federal communities by leading several Communities of Interest that bring together interested stakeholders to learn, share, and promote collaboration on technical topics. These include:
- Quantum Information Sciences (QIS) Community of Interest—The Tech Centers lead a cross-DHS QIS Community of Interest to promote situational awareness for DHS on issues touching quantum information and quantum sensing, including the threat to encryption and the promise of advanced technologies.
- Modeling & Simulation Community of Interest—The Tech Centers lead an enterprise community to promote awareness, cooperation, reuse, and interoperability of modeling and simulation capabilities. Current themes include digital twins, virtual reality (VR)/augmented reality (AR)/mixed reality (MR) applications, opioid/fentanyl detection, attack and defense tree, and collaborative response graphics.
- Artificial Intelligence (AI) Community of Interest—The Tech Centers bring together AI/Machine Learning (ML) teams from across the Department to collaborate, share information, highlight activities, and understand problem sets across DHS. Current themes include data sharing, data structures, acquisition strategies, and acceptance of new AI technologies.
- Biometric and Identity Research Coordination Community of Interest—The Tech Centers provide a forum where DHS representatives and interagency partners can identify, coordinate, and communicate relevant research, development, test, and evaluation activities to advance the state of DHS biometric and identity capabilities across Components.
- Big Data Workshop Series—The Tech Centers annually host a series of workshops for DHS around “big data” topics to introduced technical data-related concepts, provide a sense of the breadth of applications across DHS operations, and discuss solutions for success.
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