Welcome to 2020: a new year, a new decade…Year of the Rat! In my last blog, I touched on how for me (and many others), the holidays are a time of reflection, of taking stock, of hindsight. Looking back at the last year, we at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) traveled across the globe, engaged with public and private partners, led large-scale operational exercises, launched prize challenges, embarked on new research and development efforts, and transitioned several technologies now in use protecting our homeland and our first responders. Phew!
Now here we are in January, with 366 days (well, 360 by the time you read this) ahead that are a clean slate. Instead of reflection, the word that now springs to mind is resolution. Instead of taking stock, let’s take action. And let’s leave hindsight in the rearview mirror and focus on a clear 20/20 vision for 2020.
S&T has big goals, some of which I’ve outlined here, that will serve as a roadmap for the year ahead. In 2020, we aim to:
- Deliver even more mission-critical solutions to our colleagues across DHS and our federal, state, local, and tribal first responders. For instance, in coming months we anticipate transitioning technologies like Burn Saver and QuickRoute, as well as wearable sensors for fentanyl detection. We’ll deliver new Eye-Dentify systems to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to enable them to better train officers. These are but a handful of the technologies that will allow those on the front lines to be more effective in their protection of our communities and our homeland, and to remain safer while on the job.
- Work in lockstep with our stakeholders to ensure our research and development efforts remain best aligned to their needs. In 2020, we’ll field test technologies currently in development, like POINTER, Emergency Vehicle Warning Systems, and Wildland Fire Respiratory Protection, with first responder end-users to obtain operational input that will inform technology development and transition. We’ll work with the Transportation Security Agency (TSA) to test and evaluate the Forensic Video Exploitation and Analysis tool suite in a mass-transit testbed in early spring 2020. Our SAVER program will assess and validate products currently on the market—like ballistic body armor for women and less lethal technology for law enforcement—to assist agencies with making procurement decisions. Throughout the year, we will work with DHS components and first responders to identify and support their critical technology needs and requirements.
- Strengthen partnerships to advance homeland security priorities at home and abroad. We have a robust track record of engaging with the best partners across the public and private sectors to provide the resources that our Homeland Security Enterprise needs now and in the future. If you’ll be at the Consumer Electronics Show this week in Las Vegas, come by booth 501 to chat with S&T, FEMA, CBP, TSA, and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency about the next generation of disaster resilience and smart cities technology. Also this week, we’ll meet with university and national lab partners on efforts to demonstrate autonomous systems and platforms for the potential expansion of U.S. Coast Guard maritime surveillance capabilities. A number of opportunities, including our new Small Business Innovation Research solicitation that closes at the end of January will lead to even more innovation and collaboration.
We’re rested and refreshed and already hitting the ground running, and I am really excited about all that is on the horizon. 2020 is also a leap year—I hope you will take a leap with me and follow along with S&T on all of our upcoming adventures.
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Cheers to a great year ahead!