This DHS Science and Technology Directorate program develops and transitions technical capabilities that help strengthen U.S. land border security by safeguarding lawful trade and travel and disrupting and dismantling transnational criminal and terrorist organizations.
Apex Border Situational Awareness
The Apex Border Situational Awareness program aims to improve border situational awareness by establishing an enterprise capability to (1) access more data sources, (2) make available decision support tools to translate the available data into actionable information and intelligence, and (3) share that actionable information and intelligence with partner law enforcement agencies.
S&T's Air Based Technologies program aims to identify, test and evaluate sensors mounted on fixed and rotary wing manned and unmanned aircraft and small unmanned aircraft systems (SUAS) -- or drones -- for possible use by DHS components. These sensors are intended to improve detection, classification and tracking of illicit activity. Additionally, this project works to provide DHS components and the first responder community with an unbiased evaluation of available airborne sensors in realistic, operationally relevant scenarios. Airborne sensors will improve situational awareness for responders during emergency events (e.g. floods, forest fires). In addition, the project is developing technologies to enable and enhance drone access to the National Airspace System. The project will improve U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the U.S. Coast Guard, and the first responder community’s awareness and understanding of the utility of mature airborne sensor systems and platforms for border security and public safety missions.
The Ground-based Technologies program is pursuing technologies such as radars, imagers, and unattended ground sensors and related communication and power technologies for DHS components. This S&T program is also identifying methods and technology to effectively counter border spotters. Improved situational awareness of U.S. terrestrial borders between the ports of entry will result in higher interdiction rates of illegal activity through higher detection rates, fewer false alarms and better use of border patrol agents and assets.
Tunnel Detection and Surveillance
The Tunnel Detection and Surveillance program provides CBP and ICE the capability to detect and locate clandestine tunnels and the ability to perform forensic analysis of a detected tunnel to support investigations and prosecution. Such capabilities will increase the number of detected tunnels, resulting in a reduction in the flow of contraband smuggled into the United States via tunnels. This work will help keep hundreds of tons of drugs off U.S. streets while saving thousands of CBP labor hours. Forensic tools and processes developed will increase our ability to arrest and prosecute individuals involved in the creation or use of tunnels for smuggling.