The Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) is leading research in Artificial Intelligence (AI) to strengthen capabilities that safeguard the Nation and accelerate advancements in science and technology to ensure a more resilient and prosperous future for all.
Our work includes:
- Conducting basic and applied research to better understand the vast potential and risks of AI, especially as it intersects with needs and capabilities of the Department and homeland security enterprise partners;
- Advancing the application of AI across Department missions and priority initiatives;
- Safeguarding our critical infrastructure and other systems against the increasingly sophisticated threat of adversarial artificial intelligence (AAI); and
- Developing AI expertise and competence across our workforce to more effectively achieve mission goals.
Our investments today in AI research and development support our ability to meet immediate mission needs, while preparing the Department for the opportunities and challenges of tomorrow.
On April 20, 2023, Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas established the Department's first task force dedicated to AI.
Under Secretary for Science and Technology Dimitri Kusnezov was asked to co-lead the task force with DHS Chief information Officer Eric Hysen.
The task force was charged with advancing the application of AI to critical homeland security missions in four priority initiatives:
- Enhance the integrity of supply chains and the broader trade environment;
- Leverage AI to counter the flow of fentanyl into the United States through better detection methods and disruption of criminal networks;
- Apply Al to digital forensic tools to help identify, locate, and rescue victims of online child sexual exploitation and abuse, and to identify and apprehend the perpetrators; and
- Work with our partners in government, industry, and academia, to assess the impact of Al on our ability to secure critical infrastructure.
On September 14, 2023, the Department announced two new policies, developed by the AITF, to ensure responsible use of artificial intelligence by the Department:
Policy Statement 139-06 “Acquisition and Use of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning by DHS Components:” The policy statement establishes the foundation for DHS’s use of AI with a clear set of principles. These principles include that DHS systems, programs, and activities using AI will conform to the requirements of Executive Order 13960, Promoting the Use of Trustworthy Artificial Intelligence in the Federal Government. In addition, DHS will only acquire and use AI in a manner that is consistent with the Constitution and all other applicable laws and policies. Also, DHS will not collect, use, or disseminate data used in AI activities, or establish AI-enabled systems that make or support decisions, based on the inappropriate consideration of race, ethnicity, gender, national origin, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, nationality, medical condition, or disability.
Directive 026-11, “Use of Face Recognition and Face Capture Technologies:” This directive dictates that all uses of face recognition and face capture technologies will be thoroughly tested to ensure there is no unintended bias or disparate impact in accordance with national standards. DHS will review all existing uses of this technology and conduct periodic testing and evaluation of all systems to meet performance goals. The Directive also requires that U.S. citizens be afforded the right to opt-out of face recognition for specific, non-law enforcement uses, prohibits face recognition from being used as the sole basis of any law or civil enforcement related action, and establishes a process for Department oversight offices including the Privacy Office, the Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL), and the Office of the Chief Information Officer, to review all new uses of face recognition and face capture technologies.
Check back with us often for updates on the AITF and follow @DHSScitech.
- S&T Digital Forgeries Report: Technology Landscape Threat Assessment
- S&T Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Strategic Plan
- DHS Science & Technology Directorate Technology Centers Research Agenda
- S&T Cybersecurity / Information Analysis R&D Program
- System Assessment and Validation for Emergency Responders (SAVER) Program
- News Release: S&T Awards Funds to a Startup Developing Object Detection & Tracking Algorithms for Securing Soft Targets
- Blog: Research Agenda Prepares for the Future of Science and Technology
- News Release: DHS S&T Awards Funds to Brooklyn Startup Developing Flood Analytics Tech
- Memo on the Establishment of a DHS Artificial Intelligence Task Force
- News Release: S&T Awards Funds for Developing Anomaly Detection Systems for Securing Soft Targets
- News Release: DHS S&T SVIP Awards Funds to Volt Athletics for Physical Well-Being AI Software
- Feature Article: S&T’s Transportation Security Laboratory Evaluates Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Technologies