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Tackling Global Security Issues Through International Cooperation

Release Date: February 13, 2017

Recently, I had the pleasure sitting down with my counterpart from the United Kingdom Home Office, Chief Scientific Advisor Professor Bernard Silverman. We previously met last May during our normal bilateral U.S.-U.K. partnership meeting. Our goal last week was to check the status of various research and development projects and ensure we were still synced in our efforts to further security throughout both our nations.  

S&T has had a solid relationship with the U.K. Home Office for the past 13 years, strengthened by our mutual cooperation and dedication to science and technology R&D in critical infrastructure protection and other homeland security matters.  We have similar focuses and projects related to science and technology R&D: counter terrorism, crime, policing, and borders and immigration. As S&T researches and develops the technology and knowledge solutions needed to secure our nation, it is imperative that we work with our partners to share information and solutions.

I’ve had the opportunity to work with the UK for much of Professor Silverman’s tenure.  While this was his last visit with S&T as he moves to retirement, these topics will continue to be important in the coming years. We currently have approximately 50 ongoing collaborative research activities with our U.K. partners. These projects run the gamut of potential threats, from chemical and biological, radiological and nuclear, to explosives and cybersecurity, and first responder issues.

Our relationship has yielded results. For instance, through a jointly funded innovation research call, a bottle screener, developed by Cobalt Light Systems, that would identify liquid threats was certified and is now commercially available in Europe and Asia. The company has been working with the Transportation Security Administration to have it certified by the U.S. so that it can be globally available.  The 2016 Innovation Technology Call just recently closed, and I’m excited to see the technologies that may be produced from this engagement.

Since our previous meeting in May 2016, S&T and the U.K. Home Office have finalized agreements to tackle unmanned aerial systems, canine explosives detection, and radiological and nuclear detection systems.  Program mangers across the Directorate and the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO) share and receive information from their counterparts in the U.K. Through this collaboration, we are making the world a safer place. We share emerging threats, situations, successes, and we develop paths forward in each topic area.

The great Henry Ford said, “Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.” I believe that. S&T’s professional relationship with the U.K. Home Office is already a success, and the work we are tackling together will continue strengthening our efforts to secure our respective homelands.

Last Updated: 10/04/2019
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