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  1. Science and Technology
  2. About S&T
  3. S&T in 2023: A Year in Review

S&T in 2023: A Year in Review

Year in Photos Image Gallery

Our staff worked tremendously hard, and our technology made great strides. Scroll through to see images of S&T in action in 2023.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection Air Marine Operations successfully completed acceptance flight tests of the MQ-9 “Big Wing” Unmanned Aerial System, after working with S&T to enhance sensor capabilities and extend flight range and duration. Photo credit: CBP AMO.

H2Rescue disaster relief truck prototype on display at U.S. Department of Energy headquarters in Washington, DC, in June 2023. H2Rescue was designed to drive ~180 miles to a disaster scene and then provide 25kW of power for 72 hours (enough for 15 homes). Photo credit: S&T.

A law enforcement canine-handler team conducts a basic odor recognition trial at a Regional Explosives Detection Dog Initiative (REDDI) event in June 2023. REDDI reached a milestone in 2023 for 500 teams that have participated in the program. Photo credit: S&T.

A controlled burn near a smart sensor at the June 2023 Wildland Urban Interface Phase 2 Demonstration held at the Stafford County, VA, Training and Logistics Center. Photo credit: S&T.

S&T’s Multi-Energy Portal project, in collaboration with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, completed its initial site acceptance tests in Santa Teresa, NM, in June 2023. Approximately 750 vehicle scans for possible radioactive material were completed. Photo credit: S&T.

Federal Protective Services (FPS) officer aims a counter drone radio-frequency gun at a detected drone inside a temporary flight restricted zone. A combined FPS/S&T Counter-Unmanned Aircraft Systems program team supported NASCAR’s first street race in downtown Chicago in July 2023. Photo credit: S&T.

Firefighters gear up during an August 2023 operational field assessment for the C-THRU real-time indoor visualization system at the San Diego Fire-Rescue Training Facility. Photo credit: S&T.

New York City Fire Department and local police tested drone operator proficiency flying near obstacles during a demo in August 2023. The event, like the one held in 2022, featured S&T-funded, National Institute of Standards & Technology-developed test methods. Photo credit: FDNY.

S&T’s Transportation Security Laboratory’s Commercial Aircraft Vulnerability and Mitigation Program hosted a Live Fire Test event in October 2023 to demonstrate how certain countermeasures affect commercial aircraft. Photo credit: TSL.

The year 2023 marked the 20th anniversary of the Science and Technology Directorate (S&T). It was a year of climate resilience and disaster preparedness for communities large and small. It was a year of strengthening the security of our nation’s borders and exploring new applications for machine learning and artificial intelligence. It was a year of supporting first responders at every level, and a year of ensuring mission success across the entire homeland security enterprise. It was also a year of staggering statistics. Please enjoy the following video highlighting S&T scientific advancement and technological achievement from the past 365 days.

Year in Numbers

Digital mask and fire.

99.97% of carcinogenic particles removed from smoke by the Wildland Fire Respirator, which will significantly decrease the number of firefighters’ lives lost due to respiratory illnesses.

Project Titanic satellite imaging

$9M saved by Project Titanic iceberg detection automation using machine learning and advanced satellite imaging to reduce U.S. Coast Guard’s need for aerial surveillance. It will eventually eliminate the need for 500 flight hours and lower operating costs by ~90%.

Firefighter hat with C-Thru technology

270% faster navigation in low-visibility conditions with C-THRU real-time firefighter helmet-mounted heads-up display for dark, smoky environments.

Digital image of a monitor.

11 victims rescued from child sex trafficking in the Philippines thanks to StreamView rapid forensic analysis of potentially illicit content from online and livestream communication apps or platforms for Homeland Security Investigations. (To date, StreamView has led to 68 individuals rescued, 44 arrests, 8 life sentences, and 8 trafficking networks dismantled.)

Digital Wildland fire sensor

200 prototype wildland fire sensors deployed across the homeland and beyond. The sensors are enhanced with artificial intelligence and are being evaluated for early detection of particles and smoke in the United States, Canada, Germany and Peru.

Digital image of Triggered Mass Spectrometry

36x faster bioaerosol threat detection with Triggered Mass Spectrometry, a project that protects public spaces by rapidly identifying dangerous particles in the air.

Digital image of three people with a light bulb over their head.

$50K awarded to each of 56 teams in the Civic Innovation Challenge, which sought to find sustainable and scalable community-based solutions to challenges associated with climate change and gaps in resource equity.

A digital scorecard with green check marks and black lines.

10 communities using the Plan Integration for Resilience Scorecard, a modeling and evaluation tool developed by the Coastal Resilience Center (a DHS Center of Excellence led by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in partnership with Jackson State University) to help plan for and mitigate natural disasters.

Digital images of medication pills.

50 narcotics added to expanded libraries of 17 enhanced portable opioid detection systems. The system manufacturers provided free upgrades to first responder end-users thanks to this collaboration with Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

A dump truck next to red brick shaped rectangles stacked up three levels with a green $ sign.

$10M under budget for construction and commissioning of National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility in Kansas, the first U.S. laboratory with biosafety level-4 containment capable of housing large livestock animals.

A blue boat with a signal detection marks above it.

10 interdictions with Dark Vessel Detection resulted in $1M and ~2600 lbs of cocaine seized. This capability supports U.S. Customs and Border Protection decision making by integrating existing sensors to consistently detect and track dark (non-emitting) vessels.

A digital luggage scanned image.

100K fewer bags flagged for level 2 screening with advanced checked baggage technology. Interim Transportation Security Administration technologies reduce security risks, facilitate rapid upgrades, improve responsiveness, and lower security costs.

A clock and an airplane.

>50% increase in mission duration for MQ-9 Unmanned Aircraft System Platform. Enhanced software and enlarged wings increased total aircraft fuel volume, enabling U.S. Customs and Border Protection operations previously not possible without costly ground crew support.

A gray calendar grid and a blue chemical beaker with green bubbles rising above it.

4,000 straight days of support by the National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasures Center. Continuous operation of this sort is highly unusual in the biocontainment world, but because it supports the Federal Bureau of Investigation forensic mission, the laboratory never shuts down. All maintenance is performed at biosafety level 2, 3, or 4, depending on the space.

A gray microscope and a stack of blue books.

87% increase in Homeland Security Professional Opportunities for Student Workforce to Experience Research (HS-POWER) Program participants. The HS-POWER program welcomed 97 interns across DHS components.

Science and Technology Directorate 20 year celebration logo.

20 years successfully carrying out our mission since S&T was created in 2003.




Year in Quotes

Don’t just take our word for it, here’s what our staff and partners had to say about all that we accomplished together in 2023.


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Last Updated: 02/12/2024
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