The Homeland Security Act of 2002 authorized the Secretary of Homeland Security, acting through the Under Secretary for Science and Technology (USST), to establish one or more Federally Funded Research and Development Centers (FFRDCs) to provide independent analysis of homeland security issues, or to carry out other responsibilities under the Act. In 2009, the MITRE Corporation was selected to operate the Homeland Security Systems Engineering and Development Institute (HSSEDI) FFRDC. DHS established HSSEDI to serve as its primary systems engineering resource and to meet DHS-wide demand for rapid access to deep technical expertise.
Unique Purpose and Operation
HSSEDI provides specialized independent and objective technical and systems engineering expertise to DHS components, program managers and operating elements, while addressing national homeland security system development issues and developing and delivering DHS capabilities.
HSSEDI generally works on only the most complex homeland security issues and systems in order to assist the department in evolving toward an integrated "one DHS" system-of-systems approach through various enterprise modernization efforts and process efficiencies. HSSEDI promotes compatibilities across the various homeland security platforms and equipment to reduce our nation's risk to terrorism and catastrophic incidents.
HSSEDI has seven focus areas under which it operates:
- Acquisition Planning and Development
- Emerging Threats, Concept Exploration, Experimentation and Evaluation
- Information Technology and Communications
- Cyber Solutions/Operations
- Systems Engineering, System Architecture and Integration
- Technical Quality and Performance
- Independent Test and Evaluation
HSSEDI program objectives are generally achieved through the following: recommendation of new technologies; development of prototypes and proof-of-concept demonstrations; review of systems design optimization and trade-space considerations; development of integrated architectures and frameworks; application of enterprise systems engineering principles for improved interoperability and information sharing; establishment of technical standards, measures and best practices; and development of realistic test environments and scenarios.