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Homeland Security Science and Technology Advisory Committee Charter

Note: The charter is effective July 22, 2019 through July 22, 2021.

Committee's Official Designation

Homeland Security Science and Technology Advisory Committee (HSSTAC).


This charter establishes the Homeland Security Science and Technology Advisory Committee under the authority of Title 6 United States Code, section 451.  This committee is established in accordance with and operates under the provisions of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA), Title 5 United States Code, Appendix.

Objectives and Scope of Activities

The HSSTAC provides independent, consensus scientific and technical advice and recommendations to the Under Secretary for Science and Technology who leads the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T).  Its activities focus on the S&T mission to strengthen America’s security and resiliency by providing knowledge products and innovative technology solutions for the Homeland Security Enterprise.  The committee addresses science and technology needs and trends, management processes and organizational constructs, and other matters of special interest to the Under Secretary for Science and Technology and will ensure the identification of new technologies in those areas that strengthen homeland security.  It will support the priority needs of DHS S&T’s Chief Scientist, Director of Strategy and Policy, as well as the functional offices conducting the Directorate’s Research, Development, Test and Evaluation (RDT&E) mission.  Upon request, the committee will provide scientifically- and technically-based advice to the Homeland Security Advisory Council. 

Description of Duties

The duties of HSSTAC are solely advisory in nature.

Officials to Whom the Committee Reports

The HSSTAC reports to the Under Secretary for S&T.

Agency Responsible for Providing Necessary Support

DHS S&T is responsible for providing financial and administrative support to HSSTAC.

Estimated Annual Operating Costs and Staff Years

Assuming a full committee and full meeting schedule, the estimated annual operating costs of the HSSTAC are not to exceed $800,000 including travel, logistics support, and personnel costs for 2.0 staff years of support.

Designated Federal Officer

The Under Secretary for Science and Technology will appoint full-time or part time employees of S&T as the HSSTAC Designated Federal Officer (DFO) and an Alternate DFO(s).   The DFO or an Alternate DFO approves or calls HSSTAC meetings and any subcommittee meetings, approves meeting agendas, attends all committee and subcommittee meetings, adjourns any meeting when the DFO determines adjournment to be in the public interest, and chairs meetings when directed to do so by the Under Secretary for S&T.

Estimated Number and Frequency of Meetings

The HSSTAC anticipates meeting quarterly or at the request of the chair and the approval of the DFO.  Where possible and applicable, virtual options will be pursued in lieu of in-person meetings.  Members may be reimbursed for travel and per diem, and all HSSTAC business travel must be approved in advance by the DFO or Alternate DFO.  Committee meetings are open to the public unless a determination is made by the appropriate DHS official in accordance with DHS policy and directives that the meeting should be closed in accordance with Title 5, United States Code, section 552b(c).




This charter is in effect for two years from the date it is filed with Congress unless sooner terminated.  The charter may be renewed at the end of this two-year period in accordance with section 14 of FACA.

Member and Designation

The HSSTAC consists of up to 40 members who are appointed by and serve at the pleasure of the Secretary.  To ensure both stimulating and pragmatic opinions, the committee includes public and private sector perspectives from industry, academia, and government (including former members of the Federal Government or former or current members of state or local government who can provide the perspective of government implementation of any recommendations) and the first responder community.  Members will be eminent authorities in the fields of science and technology relevant to the homeland security enterprise, acquisition processes, first responder needs, strategy and management of research development organizations, government-industry partnerships, and operational experience in a homeland security context.  To ensure both broad and deep expertise, membership will represent both technical expertise and management or operational experience.  The technical experts will include research scholars who have published in peer-reviewed journals.  All members shall serve as either Special Government Employees as defined in Title 18, United States Code, Section 202(a); Regular Government Employees (RGE) - a full-time or permanent part-time employee of the Federal Government; or Representative Members - a representative is an individual who serves on an advisory committee to provide it with the point of view of a nongovernmental entity. This person represents a special interest group, an organization, or an affected population. Appointments will be staggered to ensure continuity.

Members shall serve terms of office of two- or three year terms.  A person who has completed two consecutive full terms of service on the HSSTAC is ineligible for re-appointment during the one-year period following the expiration of the second term.

A member appointed to fill an unexpired term shall serve the remainder of that term.  In the event HSSTAC terminates, all appointments to the committee shall terminate.


The Under Secretary for Science and Technology shall appoint one of the members of HSSTAC as chair and one of the members as vice-chair.  The vice-chair will act as chair in the absence or incapacity of chair or in the event of a vacancy in the office of chair.  The term of office of chair and vice-chair will be one year, and members may serve more than one term.


The DFO may approve the establishment of subcommittees for any purpose consistent with this charter.  Such subcommittees may not work independently of the chartered committee and must report their recommendations and advice to the HSSTAC for full deliberation and discussion.  Subcommittees have no authority to make decisions on behalf of the HSSTAC and may not report directly to the Federal Government or any other entity.


The records of HSSTAC, formally and informally established subcommittees or other subgroups of the committee, shall be handled in accordance with General Records Schedule 26, Item 2 or other approved agency records disposition schedule.  These records shall be available for public inspection and copying.

Filing Dates

July, 2019
Department Approval Date

July 22, 2019
CMS Consultation Date

July 22, 2019
Date Filed with Congress

Last Updated: 01/12/2023
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