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  1. Science and Technology
  2. Expertise
  3. Technology Centers
  4. Hazard Awareness & Characterization Technology Center

Hazard Awareness & Characterization Technology Center

The Hazard Awareness and Characterization Technology Center (HAC-TC) coordinates the Science and Technology Directorate's (S&T) efforts to understand current, emerging, and future chemical, biological, and explosive (CBE) hazards. The HAC-TC provides critical subject matter expertise and maintains enduring scientific capabilities to understand the fundamental characteristics and properties and effects of CBE agents, materials, and related technologies.

Core Research and Activities

The HAC-TC includes a cross-cutting portfolio focused on providing capabilities for (1) hazard awareness, (2) hazard characterization, and (3) CBE knowledge management. To execute these focus areas, the HAC-TC coordinates critical expertise, provides access to knowledge products, and leverages innovative science-based capabilities to conduct fundamental research to understand the basic physical, chemical, and physiological properties of CBE threat agents and their associated hazards.

Combatting the COVID-19 Coronavirus

The HAC-TC is tracking the COVID-19 outbreak, coordinating efforts with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Office and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, and enabling continued research to support our response as the outbreak intensifies alongside the Probabilistic Analysis for National Threats Hazards and Risks program. 


The following Master Question List was developed by the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate to provide government decision makers with up-to-date information that will enable them to appropriately respond to outbreaks caused by ebolaviruses.

Monitoring Monkeypox 

Monkeypox virus is a zoonotic virus (a virus that originates in animals) that causes symptoms similar to but less severe than smallpox, which was eradicated in 1980. Since May 13, 2022, monkeypox cases have been reported in multiple countries, including the United States. The following Master Question List was developed by S&T to present the current state of available information to government decision makers in the operational response to the 2022 monkeypox virus outbreak.

Preventing African Swine Fever (ASF)

The HAC-TC is actively tracking the worldwide spread and impacts of the African Swine Fever (ASF) virus, coordinating efforts with the DHS Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Office, the Plum Island Animal Disease Center, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to conduct research on the ASF virus to best prepare for the possibility of it reaching swine populations in the United States.

Monitoring Marburg

The following Master Question List was developed by S&T to present the current state of available information to government decision makers in the operational response to the 2023 Marburg virus outbreak.


The application of expertise and knowledge coordinated through the HAC-TC drives efficiency within DHS by improving S&T’s ability to address operational needs, implement best practices, and better understand functional requirements for new technologies to detect, mitigate, and counter CBE threats.

  • HAC-TC expertise, data, and decision-making tools provide a solid foundation for solutions to detect, mitigate, and counter CBE threats.
  • HAC-TC ensure DHS S&T and CBE-defense communities have a clear understanding of traditional and emerging threats to improve detection and mitigation technologies—such as diagnostic tests, vaccines, baggage screening equipment—by establishing performance requirements for these capabilities.
  • HAC-TC’s information helps improve operating procedures and protocols, provides indicators and warnings for component and law enforcement agencies, inhibits the unlawful use and manufacture of agents and materials, informs further research and development investment decisions, and enables effective policies on securing the homeland against CBE hazards.


The HAC-TC collaborates with interagency, international, and industry partners across the Homeland Security Enterprise. Key federal mission partners include DHS Components (including the Transportation Security Administration, Customs and Border Protection, etc.), DoD, HHS, EPA, FBI, ATF, and DOE national laboratories. The HAC-TC also leverages DHS resources including S&T’s explosives detection and mitigation programs, as well as S&T’s laboratory capabilities, including the National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasure Center, the Chemical Security and Analysis Center, and the Transportation Security Laboratory.



Last Updated: 12/20/2023
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