Natural disasters or emergency situations that risk human life and property have no boundaries. When a disaster strikes, those who are first to respond to save lives and property need to be able to communicate and operate seamlessly – whether they are local or international. To that effort, S&T collaborates with the international public safety research and development community, including industry, through various activities that are all closely coordinated with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate’s (S&T) International Cooperative Programs Office (ICPO). By contributing to S&T’s knowledge of common security threats and potential solutions across the globe, these International activities directly benefit American first responders and emergency managers. S&T’s carefully developed international research agreements leverage technical resources and expertise and share costs for technology research, development, and assessment. This contributes to building a global homeland security industrial base, and, most importantly, ensures first responders have the best possible equipment to operate safely and efficiently to protect lives and property.
News and Announcements
- DHS S&T Industry Stakeholder Summit on Global Collaboration for Affordable, Innovative First Responder Technology
WASHINGTON, Aug. 9, 2018 -- Through global collaboration and shared capability gaps, the International Forum to Advance First Responder Innovation (IFAFRI) seeks to make more affordable tools and technology available to the world’s first responders, while broadening the market for American industry. As a founding member of IFAFRI, DHS S&T is hosting a first of its kind industry stakeholder summit aimed at reaching out to the homeland security industrial base to provide critical information on the first responder global market and high priority global capability gaps. The four global common capability gaps will be publicly unveiled in the US for the first time.
The following are S&T's first responder-focused international activities:
Binational Israel-U.S. Research and Development (BIRD) Foundation
The BIRD Foundation promotes collaboration between U.S. and Israeli technology companies for joint product development for first responders. It provides grants of up to $1 million for approved projects and also serves as a networking platform. Projects submitted for consideration are reviewed by representatives of DHS, the Israel Innovation Authority and experts from the Israel Ministry of Public Security.
The following four technologies are currently under development through BIRD Foundation awards:
- Indoor first responder tracking (2016)
- Unmanned search and rescue systems (2017)
- Handheld biodefense diagnostic platform (2017)
- Autonomous drone based search and rescue (2017)
International Forum to Advance First Responder Innovation (IFAFRI)
IFAFRI is an organization of international government leaders focused on enhancing and expanding the development of affordable, innovative technology for first responders worldwide. IFAFRI engages with first responders and industry primarily through its Stakeholder Engagement Committee (SEC) and various government engagement groups.
It has members from 14 nations in North America, Europe, Asia, Australia and New Zealand, who address common public safety capability gaps through collaboration with industry to develop new technologies.
The joint capability gaps being pursued by IFAFRI are:
- The ability to know the location of responders and their proximity to risks and hazards in real time.
- The ability to detect, monitor, and analyze passive and active threats and hazards at incident scenes in real time.
- The ability to rapidly identify hazardous agents and contaminants.
- The ability to incorporate information from multiple and nontraditional sources (e.g., crowdsourcing and social media) into incident command operations.
The “5RD” Group
The 5 Country Research and Development Network (the 5RD) is a group of government agency representatives from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States who cooperate, collaborate, and exchange information to ensure efficiency and coordination of applied research and development (R&D) work relevant to a variety of domestic security topics. S&T leads the group, which first met in 2015 to discuss best practices and lessons learned from international partners in terrorism prevention efforts. These discussions helped identify and address critical research gaps in countering violent extremism, reduce duplication of efforts in R&D, maximize the efficiency of current programs and identify potential collaborative pathways forward. The 5RD participants communicate regularly to share information and coordinate efforts to develop new technologies to prevent crime, ensure security, and protect citizens.
Technologies and Products for International Collaboration
Information sharing and effective international collaboration across all levels of governments and with international partners can be a challenge during national disasters or emergency situations. S&T has technologies and knowledge products that contribute to two significant international activities aimed at closing this public safety gap:
- The Next Generation Incident Command System (NICS)
- Incident Management and Information Sharing - Capability Maturity Model (IMIS-CMM)
- Mutual Aid Resource Planning Tool (MARP)
These technology and knowledge products are currently in use in two significant international projects:
- Canada-U.S. Resiliency Experiment Series (CAUSE)
- NATO Advanced Regional Civil Emergency Coordination Project (ARCECP)
- NATO/Next Generation Incident Command System (NICS) Pilot Project Fact Sheet
- Next Generation Incident Command System (NICS) Fact Sheet
S&T actively supports the International Engagement Strategy to build and execute meaningful bilateral agreements that provide direct benefits to the homeland security mission. S&T efforts have included:
- Co-development of new capabilities for bomb disposal robots with Israel;
- Testing of new first responder personal protective equipment with Sweden and the United Kingdom;
- Cooperation on development and testing of techniques to defeat improvised explosive devices with the United Kingdom; and
- Full time assignment of a Canadian Senior Exchange Officer on site with S&T.