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Partnering for Innovation and Operational Needs through Embedding for Effective Relationships

With a mission to deliver effective and innovative insight, methods and solutions for the critical needs of the Homeland Security Enterprise, S&T must have firsthand knowledge of end-users’ technical needs, requirements and situational awareness of the working environment. This type of knowledge requires strong relationships and institutional knowledge of DHS components.

In the spring of 2015, S&T kicked off the PIONEER – Partnering for Innovation and Operational Needs through Embedding for Effective Relationships – program with the objective of bettering the understanding of the research and development process and gaining insights into components' operational needs, capability gaps and working environment.


PIONEER embeds S&T scientists into the DHS components’ operational environments, enabling access to current-state awareness of the components’ most critical needs, and concurrently embeds DHS component personnel into the S&T research, development, test, and evaluation processes.

Embedding component personnel into S&T will ensure a better understanding of what it takes to bring a potential technology from idea to operational product, as well as the importance of having a clear notion of operational requirements before S&T starts developing a technology.

The PIONEER program is comprised of four elements geared towards fostering a more robust connectivity and relationship between the S&T product and the needs of the operational component.

Special Advisor Program:
     Embeds senior managers, operators, officers and/or agents from the operational components into S&T for extended periods of time.

Exchange Officer Program:
     Rotates junior operators from the operational components through the S&T environment in an accelerated manner.

S&T Embed Program:
Embeds S&T program staff into the operational components to gain first-hand experience and cultivate opportunities for user-produced, co-created solutions.

S&T “Sprint” Program:
Organizes short-duration field trips to educate DHS personnel about S&T’s role within DHS and expose them to the breadth of S&T’s participation in the research and development community.

The hands-on experience will provide a richer understanding of how the components work, the needs of S&T and end users, and how science and technology can be a force multiplier for the challenges of today and tomorrow.

Last Updated: 01/12/2023
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