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About the Office of National Laboratories

About the Office of National Laboratories

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) Office of National Laboratories (ONL) overseesScientist Conducts Research a coordinated network of five DHS laboratories and as many as 13 Department of Energy (DOE) national laboratories that are vital to the national homeland security mission. This extensive network enables America’s brightest scientists and engineers to apply their expertise and develop solutions that address our most dangerous threats and homeland security vulnerabilities.

  • Our Mission: To strengthen America’s security by providing expertise and innovative technology solutions for America’s homeland security community.
  • Our Vision: To achieve a safer and more resilient America through an integrated laboratory network that provides the most effective science and technology solutions to enhance our security.
  • Our People: Dedicated public servants and support staff who bring determination and focus to the mission.

What We Do

The S&T Office of National Laboratories is arranged into two branches and maintains management, oversight, and mission support preparedness responsibilities for the five DHS S&T laboratories that help the Directorate provide in-house laboratory RDT&E capabilities for delivery of effective solutions:

  • Our Laboratory Utilization Branch ensures access to a network of laboratories for RDT&E and other related activities in service of homeland security missions. This network includes the five DHS S&T laboratories, DOE National Labs, other government labs, and international labs. The branch establishes, manages, and maintains strategic partnerships with individual laboratories; promotes the visibility of lab capabilities to DHS S&T programs; develops proposals for DHS S&T initiatives that ensure efficient and effective use of labs; and represents ONL on science and technology interagency working groups. In addition the branch enhances DHS S&T’s ability to drive laboratories’ research agendas and ensure continuity of access to necessary capabilities.
  • Our Laboratory Operations Branch provides operational oversight for the five DHS S&T laboratories to ensure mission needs are met. It ensures that each DHS S&T lab operates in a safe and secure manner, compliant with federal, state and local regulations. The branch plans and budgets the resources to provide a range of capabilities: physical facilities and support structures, federal staff, management and operations, contractors, equipment, information technology, safety and security and other lab support needs. The branch is also responsible for ensuring continuity of operations for the laboratories in the event of a disaster or emergency situation. The branch and its projects also maintain and provide space for research and development (R&D) capabilities that support other agencies with interrelated homeland security missions.

Our Capabilities

ONL maintains critical laboratory assets and coordinate activities that provide efficient delivery of effective solutions to secure our homeland, including technological innovations, breakthroughs, rapid response capabilities and deployment of solutions to meet DHS mission needs.

We offer the homeland security community opportunities to leverage, transfer and apply a wealth of expertise that informs policy, improves operations and advances research needed to keep America safe.

DOE National Laboratories and Sites

DHS leverages DOE national laboratories and sites to create a networked laboratory system supporting the nation's homeland security. DOE owns 17 national laboratories, which are operated by Federally Funded Research and Development Centers, and DHS leverages 13 of the DOE national laboratories in support of DHS priorities and missions. ONL facilitates the utilization of DOE national laboratories leveraging their respective capabilities, while minimizing potential duplication of effort and maximizing return on investment. S&T works closely with DOE and its national laboratories to identify opportunities to address the technological needs of the Homeland Security Enterprise.

DHS S&T’s RDT&E Laboratories

DHS S&T's five RDT&E laboratories are supported by more than 700 federal and contract employees who help satisfy core DHS mission needs through their specialized technical expertise, management, and operation of world-class research facilities servicing DHS components and other partners. These facilities include:

  • Chemical Security Analysis Center (CSAC): CSAC identifies and assesses chemical threats and vulnerabilities in the United States and develops the best responses to potential chemical hazards. CSAC supports the homeland security community by providing a crucial knowledge repository of chemical threat information, design and execution of laboratory and field tests, and a science-based threat and risk analysis capability, among other services. CSAC is located on the Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland.
  • National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasures Center (NBACC): NBACC is dedicated to defending the nation against biological threats. Its work supports intelligence assessments, preparedness planning, response activities, emerging threat characterization and bioforensic analyses. NBACC is located on biodefense campus at Fort Detrick in Maryland.
  • National Urban Security Technology Laboratory (NUSTL): NUSTL brings together the interests and initiatives of the Homeland Security Enterprise with the first responder community. The laboratory’s wide range of mission support activities in test and evaluation (T&E) and research and development help first responders prepare, protect and respond to homeland security threats. NUSTL is located in New York City, New York.
  • Plum Island Animal Disease Center (PIADC): PIADC defends against accidental or intentional introduction of transboundary animal diseases (a.k.a. foreign animal diseases) including foot-and-mouth disease (FMD). PIADC is the only laboratory in the nation that can work on live FMD virus. The center’s laboratory facilities provide many preparedness and response capabilities, including vaccine R&D, diagnostics, training, and bioforensics among others. PIADC is located on Plum Island off the coast of Orient Point, New York.
  • Transportation Security Laboratory (TSL): TSL helps protect America’s civilian air transportation systems. TSL offers the homeland security community and transportation security partners the ability to advance detection technology from conception to deployment through applied research, test and evaluation, assessment, certification and qualification testing. TSL is located in Atlantic City, New Jersey. TSL also oversees DHS S&T’s complimentary homemade explosives (HME) RDT&E capabilities housed at Tyndall Reactive Materials Group (TRMG) in Panama City, Florida; and the Detection Technology Center (DTC) located at the FBI’s TEDAC Improvised Explosives Detection and Synthesis (TIEDS) Center in Huntsville, Alabama.




Department of Homeland Security
245 Murray Lane, SW
Washington, DC 20528


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