This weekend, the Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) will mark World Laboratory Day by celebrating our cooperative and beneficial relationship with the 17 Department of Energy (DOE) National Laboratories. These federally funded research and development centers closely align with the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) national security mission and have contributed considerable expertise and partnerships to many of S&T’s public health, safety and security initiatives. In fact, I can attest to this firsthand; before I arrived here as DHS Under Secretary for Science and Technology, I served as chief scientist for DOE’s National Nuclear Security Administration.
Each year on April 23, the scientific research community and the nation observe World Laboratory Day to celebrate the places where great innovations emerge to make the world a better place and to recognize the scientists conducting research and experiments in these unique workspaces.
Since our inception 20 years ago, S&T has served as DHS’ trusted research arm and science advisor. When S&T assumed this crucial role for the department, part of its mandate was to enlist laboratory capabilities and expertise to prepare for and protect our nation from manmade and natural disasters, while making necessary investments in science and technology spanning the broadest possible range of national security concerns. Our Office of National Laboratories is charged with managing the coordinated network of DHS and DOE National Laboratories to deliver enduring capabilities vital to DHS’ ability to fulfill its national homeland security responsibilities.
In addition to establishing our own homeland-security focused labs over the last two decades, S&T also works on scientific research by collaborating with other federal labs. From day one we have enjoyed a trusted partnership with the DOE National Laboratories benefitting DHS with access to capabilities that support the homeland security mission.
The research that the DOE National Laboratories conduct for, and with, S&T spans several critical areas including big data, radiological/nuclear response, future technology, severe weather, counterterrorism and security threats, border protection, cyber and critical infrastructure security, and national preparedness and resilience.
For instance, the development of shoe scanners for airport checkpoints is a great example of a joint S&T-Pacific Northwest National Laboratory effort that is having a major impact on the security of air travel.
S&T has been working with Argonne National Laboratory, Los Alamos National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratory since 2018 to develop modeling software to predict the spread of biological contaminants in urban areas.
Additionally, S&T, the DHS Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, and Idaho National Laboratory established the Control Environment Laboratory Resource, an environment for government and private industry partners to test the possible effects of kinetic cyber-physical attacks.
S&T deeply values its partnership with the DOE National Laboratories, and these are only a few recent examples of how we are jointly making a lasting impact across the homeland security enterprise. Stay tuned for more as we highlight this important relationship throughout our 20th anniversary celebration. Looking forward, we will continually assess our shared capabilities to remain on the cutting-edge as the threat—and technology—landscape evolves.
Cheers to 20 more years of innovation, collaboration, and science!