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  1. Science and Technology
  2. News & Events
  3. S&T Impact Series
  4. S&T Impact: Borders & Ports of Entry

S&T Impact: Borders & Ports of Entry

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) supports border and port of entry security with technology and knowledge products that improve the nation's ability to detect, interdict and prosecute illegal activity. These solutions assist DHS components and law enforcement agencies across the United States as they facilitate legitimate trade and travel across air, land and sea. Watch the video and read below to learn more about the technologies and capabilities we deliver to keep our borders and ports safe!



Border agents monitoring the borders and a drone S&T makes sure technology meets operational requirements

A hand holding a smart phone with an application displayed on the screen. S&T streamlines information sharing

  • The Apex Border Situational Awareness program helps U.S. Customs and Border Protection access more data sources, develop decision support tools and share information with partner law enforcement agencies to improve situational awareness.
  • The Integrated Maritime Domain Enterprise is a platform that bridges disparate data systems to make it easier for DHS components to share information and collaborate.




Border agents using hand held devices. S&T supports real-time decision making

  • The Adaptive Sensor Analytics Project (ASAP) provides automated data analytics to process satellite imagery, identify patterns of nefarious activity and alert DHS officials.
  • Ground Based Technologies Program improves the ability to detect illegal activity at the border through stronger situational awareness, automated detection and alerts, target classification and tools to promote agent safety.

A screen shot of the Expert Tracker system on big screens. S&T helps officials access hard-to-reach areas on land and at sea

  • The Air Based Technologies Program identifies, tests and evaluates unmanned and manned aircraft platforms and sensors for law enforcement, search and rescue, and disaster response in both land and maritime environments.
  • The Expert Tracker training program helps U.S. Border Patrol agents improve their ability to track movement in rough terrain along the nation's borders.

A cargo ship in the water caring cargo. S&T helps make legitimate trade more efficient

  • Port of Entry Based Technology Program improves illicit cargo detection and legitimate cargo throughput by upgrading legacy scanning systems and linking them to new analysis and information sharing tools that make the most of personnel resources.
  • The Port of Entry People Screening Program identifies, evaluates and implements combinations of process and technology improvements that facilitate the movement of people through the nation's air, land and sea ports of entry.


Agents on a boat using a hand held technology. S&T improves evidence-gathering efforts

  • Autopsy is an open-source digital forensics platform that helps law enforcement determine how electronic devices were used in a crime and recover evidence.
  • Voice Forensics helps identify individuals who make hoax rescue calls to the U.S. Coast Guard, which makes it easier to find and prosecute suspects.

An agent going through an underground tunnel. S&T strengthens the fight against trafficking

  • Child Exploitation Image Analytics (CHEXIA) reduces the amount of time it takes to identify and rescue children from exploitation, as well as identify perpetrators, through automated face recognition algorithms and forensic tools.
  • The Tunnel Detection and Surveillance Program helps border officials detect and locate clandestine tunnels, as well as gather forensic data to support investigation and prosecution of drug smuggling activities.
  • The Port of Entry Forensics and Investigations Program helps combat transnational crime and investigate child exploitation and human trafficking through open source data and forensic analysis of material collected from suspicious packages and cargo.

Blue line

S&T is the primary research and development arm for DHS’s operational components and the nation’s first responders. S&T helps improve the safety and effectiveness of homeland security professionals by developing innovative solutions with public and private sector partners. Our approach involves:

1. Identifying Needs by discussing operational challenges with DHS Components and first responders; 2. Developing Prototypes or leveraging existing technologies to quickly find solutions; 3. Testing and Evaluating potential solutions to ensure they meet end-user needs; 4. Deploying Solutions to the field within a short timeframe.

S&T relies on partnerships with industry, academia and technology developers to continue providing next-generation solutions that improve responder safety and effectiveness. If you’re interested in helping strengthen the nation’s homeland security, visit ourWork with S&T page to discover the many ways to work with S&T. Then, check out the rest of our website and follow S&T on Facebook, InstagramX, YouTube, and LinkedIn for the latest updates on our work. Download a printable version of this page now.

Last Updated: 02/22/2024
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