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Borders and Maritime Security

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) borders and maritime security program enhances U.S. air, land and maritime border security while maximizing the flow of legitimate trade and travel. It aims to achieve its mission by transitioning scientific and technical knowledge and solutions to operational use. The strategy involves three distinct activities:

  • Understanding the technical dimensions of homeland security challenges
  • Working collaboratively across the Homeland Security Enterprise
  • Applying rigorous process and methodology

Check out two of the most current technologies below:


  • Provide technical solutions for DHS components to stop dangerous people and things from entering the country.
  • Enable the protection of the public, the environment and U.S. economic and security interests.

Borders consist of all air, land and maritime boundaries, including U.S. ports of entry, vast stretches of remote terrain and inland waterways. S&T works closely with its operational partners to understand what technologies they need to achieve their missions and to find technical solutions to fill gaps in existing capabilities.

Focus Areas

Port of Entry Security

This program develops technologies to enhance security while expediting the flow of legitimate trade and travel. The program helps reduce the risk of terrorists and transnational criminal organizations exploiting cargo and conveyances for illegal smuggling of people and contraband. The program also takes a cost effective approach to implementing technologies to ensure the security and expediency of travelers entering and exiting the U.S.

Land Border Security

This program develops and transitions technical capabilities that strengthen U.S. land border security by safeguarding lawful trade and travel and disrupting and dismantling transnational criminal and terrorist organizations.

Maritime Border Security

This program develops and transitions technical capabilities that enhance U.S. maritime border security by safeguarding lawful trade and travel and helps to prevent illegal use of the maritime environment to transport illicit goods or people.

Apex Air Entry/Exit Re-Engineering (AEER)

The Apex Air Entry/Exit Re-Engineering (AEER) program is a multi-year effort within DHS that informs the transformation of the international arrivals process and the implementation of a biometric capability to verify the departure of foreign nationals leaving from U.S. air ports of entry. Through the Apex AEER program, DHS S&T and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) are collaborating to transform CBP operations by leveraging commercially available technologies, re-engineering current processes, and introducing new operational capabilities.

Apex Border Situational Awareness (BSA)

The Apex Border Situational Awareness (BSA) project helps the Homeland Security Enterprise achieve increased border situational awareness, leading to increased border incursion detection, interdictions, and deterrence. Specifically, the increased situational awareness will result in:

  • Improved measurement of border illegal activity to understand current state and impacts from addition of resources or other actions taken to improve security.
  • Improved assessment of risks by identifying current threats along with emerging patterns and trends.
  • Improved alignment of resources to risk for current and future operations on both a tactical and strategic level.


S&T's primary customers—its end users—are the operational components within DHS, such as U.S. Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the U.S. Coast Guard, as well as the nation’s first responders.


S&T's partners and performers include academia, national laboratories, private industry and other members of the Homeland Security Enterprise.S&T directly supports first responders, public safety, government officials and critical infrastructure owners and operators. We work with the private sector, including airlines and airports, air industry associations, foreign governments, industry solution providers, and other key stake-holders to achieve our mission.


Email questions and comments to sandt.bordersmaritime@hq.dhs.gov.

Last Updated: 01/12/2023
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