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  1. Science and Technology Directorate
  2. News Room
  3. National Preparedness Month: Class Is in Session

National Preparedness Month: Class Is in Session

Release Date: September 5, 2023

As summer draws to a close and a new school year begins, the Science and Technology Directorate’s (S&T) steadfast mission to pursue science and technology in the name of national security is a poignant reminder that we never really stop learning. Perhaps rather than simply acknowledging that the world is always evolving and we’re all doing our best to keep pace, we can instead embrace the opportunity to be lifelong students. With that in mind, S&T is celebrating National Preparedness Month this year by offering a “back to school” toolkit.

A well-rounded “curriculum”: training courses and guidance

The Advanced Open/Obstructed Test Proctor Course for Evaluating Drone Capabilities and Remote Pilot Proficiency uses a suite of standardized test methods developed in collaboration with the National Institute of Standards and Technology. It consists of 24 hours of classroom and hands-on flight instruction to “train the trainer,” so newly certified proctors can take what they’ve learned back to their home agencies and subsequently certify their drone operators. The course was most recently offered at the U.S. Secret Service training facility in Maryland this past June to certify 12 participants at a basic proficiency level.

The First Aid for Severe Trauma (FAST) education program helps mitigate potential tragedy by empowering high school students with the training needed to treat bleeding emergencies until an ambulance can arrive. The course is offered at no cost thanks to S&T sponsorship and was developed by the American Red Cross in collaboration with the National Center for Disaster Medicine and Public Health.

The Person-Borne Explosives Detection (PBED) Canine Training Guideline is an interactive, HTML-based tool for handlers and trainers of explosive detection canines to upgrade their capabilities. Traditional explosive detection dogs are trained to seek out threats hidden within stationary objects, but PBED canines must also detect and track explosives in motion and concealed on a person. More than 30 canine/handler teams from local, state, federal and university law enforcement agencies contributed to the training tool. 

Assigned listening: podcast “lectures” by subject matter experts

By listening to S&T’s Technologically Speaking podcast, you can take a deep dive into the science of homeland security in a matter of minutes. Our many mission areas are examined by the experts on the front lines of keeping America safe. Benefit from their experience and know-how by catching up on past episodes—and be sure to tune in for season three this fall. Don’t worry, there won’t be a pop quiz.

  • Season 1 Episode 1: "A Very Nasty Insecticide You Don't Want in Your Food" (Intro to Food Defense) – Program Manager for Chemical Threat Characterization at the Chemical Security Analysis Center Jessica Cox explains food safety vs. food defense and the unexpected threats they pose to our nation.
  • Season 1 Episode 4: "The Three-legged Stool" (Biometrics 300) – Biometrics and Identity Technology Center Program Manager Arun Vemury discusses facial recognition performance and fairness. Discover how it works and what S&T is doing to overcome current challenges.
  • Season 1 Episode 5: "Getting Creative About How to Get the Message Through" (Electronic Jamming Seminar) – Office of Science and Engineering Program Manager Sridhar Kowdley recounts JamX 2022, a field exercise in the New Mexico desert where S&T evaluated tactics and technologies to help responders better deal with electronic jamming.
  • Season 2 Episode 2: "It’s Going to Be World Changing" (Principles of Quantum Information Science) – Technical Lead and Expert in Cybersecurity and Quantum Information Science (QIS) Dr. Ann Cox covers the many ways QIS is already affecting our world, and how S&T is preparing for the opportunities and challenges it will bring.
  • Season 2 Episode 4: "Keeping Criminals Up at Night" (Select Topics in Digital Forensics) – Program Manager for Forensics and Criminal Investigations Shane Cullen examines the role digital forensics tools play in catching criminals who commit unthinkable acts, as well as other applications of the technologies in investigations.
  • Minisode 3: "Try it on a Real Bomb" (A Class Trip to Quantico) – Go behind the scenes of a counter-improvised explosive device (IED) tech demonstration with Research and Prototyping for IED Defeat (RAPID) Program Manager Bill Stout and FBI Supervisory Special Agent Dr. Ian Vabnick.

There are infinite possibilities for furthering your knowledge when it comes to research and development. After our enduring mission to protect the nation, it’s what makes the work we do so fulfilling. Discover many more ways you can benefit from S&T expertise on our Preparedness Resources for Communities and First Responders page, as well as these links to our Centers of Excellence, Minority Serving Institutions Program, and Workforce Development Initiatives.

Last Updated: 09/05/2023
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