With BBQs and trips to the beach, Memorial Day has become the unofficial kickoff to the summer vacation season. However, we should all take a step back to remember the meaning of Memorial Day.
Memorial Day is a time to recognize and honor those brave men and women of the United States military who gave the ultimate sacrifice in defense of this nation.
Although not officially a federal holiday until 1971, its origins date back to 1868 and the aftermath of the Civil War.
The men and women of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) feel a special bond with those in the military and the lineage of national defense that stretches back over 240 years. Since this country’s inception, the various branches of the U.S. military have evolved to protect and defend the nation— both at home and abroad.
Although a significantly more recent addition to the national defense structure (DHS was created through an Act of Congress after the attacks of 9/11), the department was specifically designed to protect the American homeland.
In this new era, the frontlines are everywhere, the enemy can be faceless and their tactics are always evolving. To counteract this reality, DHS interacts directly with multiple branches in the U.S. military and the intelligence community to defeat threats to the American way of life.
These threats may come in the form of terrorism, transnational criminal organizations, state and non-state sponsored cyber-attacks as well as natural or man-made disasters.
To always stay ahead of the threat-curve, S&T acts as a hub for DHS components. S&T conducts research, development, testing and evaluation of products and procedures that can be used in the field. We collaborate with public institutions and private industry to fuse scientific and technological advancements with current and future security needs, as determined by threat assessments from classified and non-classified partners. The resulting data, analysis, products and suggestions are then made available to stakeholders.
S&T directly supports DHS as well as federal, state, tribal and local first responders. This support includes identifying, addressing and filling current capability gaps that could be exploited and result in tragedy.
S&T efforts are concentrated on six primary focus areas:
- Borders and Maritime Security – Enhancing security at our nation’s borders and waterways without impeding the flow of commerce
- Chemical and Biological Defense- Detecting, protecting against, responding to and recovering from chemical and biological incidents
- Cybersecurity - Contributing to a safe, secure and resilient cyber environment
- Explosives - Protecting citizens and infrastructure from the devastating effects of explosives, including through sophisticated airport and major public event security measures
- First Responders – Expanding first responder capabilities and improving their effectiveness, efficiency, and safety
- Resilience - Improving the nation’s preparedness and recovery posture regarding natural and man-made catastrophes
The dedicated men and women within the multiple departments of S&T work tirelessly, and bound by a common mission, with U.S. military and Intelligence Community partners to protect the American homeland.
On this Memorial Day, we ask that everyone take a moment to reflect on the sacrifices of those who have come before us.
If you wish to participate, every year at 3:00pm (your local time) you can observe and be a part of a national moment of remembrance.
To all of those who paid for our freedom with their lives, Thank You.