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Homeland Security

About the Office of National Laboratories

Lab researcher holding up two petri dishes

Who We Are

The Office of National Laboratories (ONL) oversees 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

ONL is arranged into three branches that work collaboratively with the laboratories and key stakeholders to deliver mature vital science and technology capabilities and effective technology solutions to secure our homeland:

  • Our Utilization Branch focuses on effective use of the DOE national laboratories and the five DHS laboratories for research, test, evaluation and technology transition activities in service of homeland security missions. The branch develops policies and proposals for the effective use of laboratories for DHS work. In addition, the branch is a primary driver in setting the laboratories’ research agendas and ensuring continuity of capabilities; establishing, managing and maintaining strategic partnerships; leading strategic alignment initiatives; and representing ONL on technology and science interagency working groups.
  • Our Construction Branch oversees planning, budgeting and management of DHS laboratory infrastructure, construction and upgrade projects. The DHS laboratories’ physical buildings and facilities house dynamic research, as well as important development, test and evaluation work in support of DHS missions. 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. ONL construction investments include future national assets that meet the need for a capability that does not exist, such as the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility. In addition, the branch’s work seeks to extend the life and crucial capabilities within existing DHS laboratory facilities as efficiently as possible.
  • Our Operations Branch provides operational oversight for the five DHS laboratories to ensure mission needs are met. It fills a vital role by ensuring each 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.

Learn more about our work.

Our Capabilities

At ONL, we maintain 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.

DHS Laboratory Complex Facilities

Our five DHS laboratories support core DHS mission needs and provide specialized technical expertise and world-class research facilities to DHS and other partners. These facilities support a diverse portfolio of capabilities to serve all of DHS and the extended homeland security community. More than 700 federal and contract positions support these five laboratories.

DOE National Laboratories Operated as FFRDCs

The DOE national laboratories contribute a rich arsenal of facilities, experts and capabilities that actively support the homeland security community. Out of 17 laboratories that make up the DOE national laboratory network, DHS leverages 13 of the DOE national laboratories as Federally Funded Research and Development Centers (FFRDCs) in support of DHS priorities and missions.

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