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Following up on the Secretary’s April announcement in San Francisco, I want to take a moment to share more about new DHS’s Silicon Valley Office (SVO). The SVO will help S&T and the Department better keep pace with the innovation community and tackle the hardest problems faced by the operational components.
Why Silicon Valley? Here at S&T we’re always looking for new paths for innovation. The SVO will cultivate a pipeline for non-traditional partners, folks who have typically never done business with the government, to develop solutions for our toughest homeland security challenges. Silicon Valley is a significant hub of innovation, a launch point to tap into regional expertise and thought leaders around the country to address all of our DHS mission needs. This is not business as usual: We’re giving innovators better insight into our most complex problems and reshaping how government, entrepreneurs and industry work together.
What’s our strategy? In close coordination with the DHS components, state and local partners, critical infrastructure providers and first responders, the SVO will cultivate relationships with technology companies from small startups to larger firms, incubators and accelerators, to help them better understand DHS’s operational mission. We’ll also co-invest in promising technologies to accelerate transition to market, demonstrate and pilot near-term technologies, and fund new research and development using forward-leaning acquisition methods, many not new but rarely employed. We’re trying to invest smarter and harness the commercial R&D ecosystem for government applications. This approach will streamline investments leveraging commercial solutions that benefit the public and private sector. Projects will mirror the Department’s R&D prioritization across S&T’s Integrated Product Teams from Aviation Security, Biological Threat, Counterterrorism, Border Security, and Cyber Security. We will also continue our important work to support first responders through the First Responder Resource Group. One of the first problems we’ll take on is the security of the Internet of Things.
Last month, we held a demonstration day for our EMERGE Accelerator Program in San Francisco. This technology demonstration was the culmination of a pilot program where S&T partnered with industry accelerators to mentor and help guide their research and development solutions to be more in line with government and responder needs. It was very appropriate that we showcased their concepts and prototypes to the investor and user communities there. This was our first accelerator program but we look forward to continuing to engage industry innovators to find ways for adapting commercial technologies for countering natural disasters and emergencies, such as biological, explosive, and terrorist incidents.
So what’s next? Check back here for funding opportunities, and we’ll tell you more about how you can pitch your ideas for IoT Security. We’ll post other topics in future months. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook @dhscitech and our National Conversation on Homeland Security Technology for more updates. Contact our SVO directly at DHS-Silicon-Valley@hq.dhs.gov if you have ideas.
Dr. Reginald Brothers
Under Secretary for Science and Technology