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Hazard Awareness & Characterization Technology Center

HAZARD AWARENESS & CHARACTERIZATION TECHNOLOGY CENTERThe Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate’s (S&T’s) Technology Centers conduct enduring and forward looking basic and applied research in cross-cutting scientific, engineering, and technology areas to:

  • Ensure advancements in science and technology are harnessed for cutting edge solutions to operational challenges, and
  • Ensure technical subject matter expertise capabilities are available to S&T and the Department for decision making.

S&T maintains the Technology Centers as a capability to identify and address current and future homeland security challenges.

Combatting the COVID-19 Coronavirus

The Hazard Awareness & Characterization Technology Center (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. 

For further information regarding any updates, please visit: https://www.dhs.gov/coronavirus   

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 (MQL) was developed by the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate (DHS S&T) to present the current state of available information to government decision makers in the operational response to the 2022 monkeypox virus (MPXV) outbreak.

Preventing African Swine Fever (ASF)

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

Hazard Awareness and Characterization

The DHS S&T Hazard Awareness and Characterization Technology Center (HAC-TC) coordinates S&T’s 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.


The HAC-TC collaborates with interagency, international, and industry partners across the Homeland Security Enterprise. Key federal mission partners include DHS Components (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: the National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasure Center, the Chemical Security and Analysis Center, and the Transportation Security Laboratory.


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 R&D investment decisions, and enables effective policies on securing the homeland against CBE hazards.

For further information please contact HAC-TC at: HACTechnologyCenter@hq.dhs.gov

Last Updated: 01/12/2023
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