Twenty years ago today, we were two years post-9/11. Many had answered the call to serve following that tragic day. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) had been stood up and the Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) was coming into existence. The story of our early days is an important one because facing the immediate aftermath is always a challenge. However, weathering the day after, the month after, the year after, and then determining what to do next (and implementing it) is where the real work began.
On this annual day of remembrance, our hearts once again ache for the souls we lost and swell for the brave first responders who never hesitated. We at S&T feel a tremendous responsibility to carry their legacies with us as we continue to serve the missions borne from that time. At the ripe age of 20 years, we have grown wiser and possess a stronger resolve because of all that we have seen and accomplished over the last two decades.
Earlier this year, we released a video compilation featuring each of S&T’s leaders recalling the Directorate’s origins and the key roadblocks and triumphs during their respective tenures. It is important to remember these chapters in our history and use these reflections from my esteemed colleagues as we continue to meet the challenges we see today, as well as those of tomorrow.
Today, we bring you some bonus content (via our Technologically Speaking podcast) from these interviews with my predecessors and me—where we were when the Twin Towers fell, responding to the Pentagon on 9/11, what called us to serve at S&T, and how we’ve faced unexpected challenges over the past 20 years. Listen closely and you’ll also hear some vision for what’s over the horizon.
I encourage you to take a listen to this special 9/11 commemorative episode, We Accomplished Some Really Amazing Things in A Really Challenging Time. This is a day to remember and honor those who lost their lives and also a day to remember how far we have come to keep our nation safe and secure.
I would also be remiss if I didn’t offer our sincere gratitude to the many who have dedicated their own chapters to S&T’s story: current and former staff, colleagues at DHS component agencies, first responder advisors, as well as partners in industry, academia, national laboratories, and federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government. We want to hear your tales of service and collaboration, too. Message us (@DHSSciTech) on social media using the #TechnologicallySpeaking hashtag to share your S&T reflections.
While it may be our 20th Anniversary, I know I speak for the entire S&T family when I say that it has been, and will continue to be, an honor to serve this country.