Since its inception in 2003, the DHS Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) has been dedicated to protecting the homeland. Program managers throughout S&T employ unique science and tech-based strategies and solutions to accomplish the overall Homeland Security Enterprise (HSE) mission. As it is the start of a new year, we thought it would be a good time to review some of our goals for 2017.
Our First Responders Group supports first responder safety goals and thus improves overall effectiveness. A few of FRG’s high profile projects for 2017 include partnering with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory for a unique 3-D location tracking system, improved protective garments that provide specific resistance to multiple types of exposures encountered by first responders, Internet of Things (IoT) flood warning systems, next-generation baggage screening systems, and counter Improvised Explosive Device (IED) solutions.
Our Homeland Security Advanced Research Projects Agency (HSARPA) uses innovative thinking and practices to develop and deploy cutting-edge front-line products and solutions in support of DHS components. In 2017, HSARPA looks to expand their position as the first-line advisor to other HSE partners with respect to science, technology, and industry matters. A major element of this success will be the continued seeding of new relationships and cultivation of existing partnerships.
HSARPA's Borders and Maritime Division seeks to enhance U.S. air, land, and maritime border security while maximizing the flow of legitimate trade and travel. Key focus areas for the new year include enhancing data and information sharing across DHS, improving processes and technologies (including biometrics) to efficiently inspect and examine travelers entering/leaving the U.S., low cost upgrades for aging cargo scanners as alternative to new high performing but high maintenance machines, and investigating land and air-based sensors for detecting illegal border activity.
HSARPA's Chemical and Biological Defense Division will remain focused on understanding, detecting and defeating existing and emerging chemical and biological threats. Also, in addition to the primary goal, the technology developed in pursuit of this core mission offers great promise in medicine, food production and other fields such as animal health.
HSARPA's Cyber Security Division will continue to enhance the security and resilience of the nation’s critical information infrastructure, the internet itself and tech-enabled devices in both the public and private sectors. Defending against cyberattacks requires a multitude of initiatives, technologies and partnerships. One of the most interesting partnerships is with the Silicon Valley Innovation Program (SVIP) which focuses on securing financial sector infrastructure and facilitating successful relationships between DHS Components and innovators that are traditionally not able to navigate the complicated government procurement process.
HSARPA’S Explosives Division will continue research in areas such as; commercial aircraft explosive threat vulnerability/mitigation, advanced trace explosive detectors, advanced X-ray systems, “curb to gate” explosive detection systems and canine team assessment.
S&T’s newest division, the Program Executive Office (PEO) Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS), supports national security through advances in UAS capabilities and counter-UAS measures. In the coming year, PEO UAS (in partnership with other agencies) will provide protection for multiple national special security events including the upcoming presidential inauguration, Super Bowl, Rose Bowl, and others.
S&T’s Capability Development Support Group develops and implements standards, testing, evaluation, and analysis to increase the success and efficiency of systems across the HSE. For 2017, CDS looks to further improve upon program success rates for DHS acquisitions, R&D programs, and cybersecurity testing, as well as to continue delivery and refinement of impactful technical assessments.
Finally, S&T’s Research and Development Partnerships Group focuses primarily on developing and fostering mutually beneficial partnerships as well as establishing and managing world class Centers of Excellence and federal laboratories. In 2017, Tech Scouting will continue to be a top priority across RDP’s partnership networks spanning industry, academia, national laboratories, government, research centers, and the international community to drive discovery and foster collaboration with innovators outside the HSE.
The talented and hardworking individuals of S&T are highly motivated to continue their mission of providing safety and security for the homeland.
Have a happy and safe 2017!