U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Government Website

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Safely connect using HTTPS

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock () or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Archived Content

In an effort to keep DHS.gov current, the archive contains outdated information that may not reflect current policy or programs.

About Capability Development Support

The Capability Development Support (CDS) Group works closely with the DHS components to ensure programs and systems reduce or mitigate the challenges in the safest, most efficient and most cost-effective manner. The Under Secretary for Science and Technology recently realigned CDS' functions to more accurately reflect needed capabilities and respond to DHS component needs for standards, test and evaluation, operations and requirements analysis and systems engineering.

CDS provides an innovative, systems-based approach to help operators define their needs and develop technologies and solutions that can be quickly deployed to frontline operators. CDS’ analytic and systems engineering approach assess the operational environment and fiscal limitations to ensure the best solutions are chosen. An example of this approach is the Rio Grande Valley Systems Analysis Project. CDS worked closely with U.S. Customs and Border Protection on the south Texas border to help identify system solutions to meet operational challenges. In addition, CDS has worked with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Transportation Security Administration to assist in addressing both process and technological challenges. Currently, CDS is working with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services on ways to streamline immigration and citizenship processes.

CDS’ expertise includes systems engineering, operations analysis, test and evaluations, standards and acquisition. CDS focuses on accuracy and analysis to make smart investment decisions that deliver enhance capabilities to the Homeland Security Enterprise. CDS does this in a variety of ways.

Office of Test and Evaluation

Through delegation by the Secretary of Homeland Security under the Homeland Security Act of 2002, CDS acts as the principal advisor on operational test and evaluation and oversees test and evaluation for DHS major acquisitions, ensuring homeland security technologies are reliable, interoperable and effective. CDS provides test and evaluation (T&E) oversight for 135 major acquisition programs housed by the DHS components (a $150 billion acquisition enterprise). CDS houses the Transportation Security Laboratory (TSL). TSL is a driving force in the T&E area, primarily specializing in evaluating screening and contraband detection technologies.


CDS develops and oversees DHS standards that ensure reliable, interoperable and effective technologies and processes. This includes coordination and representation on a number of standard-setting bodies and organizations.

Operations and Requirements Analysis

Established in 2012, CDS’ Operations and Requirements Analysis uses technical and analytic expertise to identify and prioritize cross-DHS capability gaps and find solutions for DHS component operations. The goal is to save money and time while meeting DHS critical missions and to support S&T with transitioning technologies to operational use. The Operations and Requirements Analysis also supports the DHS Joint Requirements Council (JRC), a DHS component-led body designed to identify and prioritize cross-department capability gaps and recommend investments to address the gaps. CDS supports the JRC by providing capabilities and requirements analysis to enable DHS leadership to address the gaps, overlaps and duplications at the enterprise-level rather than at the individual component level.

Systems Engineering

CDS’s systems engineering promotes a rigorous systems engineering process that transforms customer needs and requirements into operational capabilities.

Component Acquisition Executive Support

As the Component Acquisition Executive, CDS represents S&T on a number of acquisition and policy steering committees and provides advice on acquisition issues.


Dr. Steven J. Hutchison is the director for CDS.



Last Updated: 01/12/2023
Was this page helpful?
This page was not helpful because the content