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  1. Science and Technology
  2. About S&T
  3. Leadership
  4. Under Secretary's Updates

Under Secretary's Updates

Week of Feb 19 - 23, 2024

Under Secretary Kusnezov attended the Extreme Weather Risk and Preparedness Workshop at the University of Oklahoma National Weather Center, last week, where he joined leaders from several federal agencies to discuss challenges facing the nation and potential impacts on agency missions with some of the world’s leading experts in extreme weather.

During the workshop participants reviewed data and trends of several weather events, including flooding, hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires, and heat, which will help inform planning efforts for the Department moving forward.

The event was an important opportunity for S&T to better understand how the Directorate can help ensure first responders and homeland security operations are prepared for weather-related threats.

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Under Secretary Kusnezov delivers remarks at the Extreme Weather Risk and Preparedness Workshop.
Under Secretary Kusnezov delivers remarks at the Extreme Weather Risk and Preparedness Workshop. Photo credit: S&T.

Week of Feb 12 - 16, 2024

Under Secretary Kusnezov joined Eric Hysen, Chief Information Officer and Chief Artificial Intelligence (AI) Officer for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), last week, to discuss AI at the Homeland Security and Defense Forum in Washington, DC.

Their conversation emphasized the need to develop new capabilities that will help protect the nation from malicious use of AI, as well as the importance of embracing the technology as a force-multiplier for homeland security operations. Striking this balance will require close coordination with industry partners and regulators to ensure concerns about privacy and ethical standards are addressed appropriately.

Under Secretary Kusnezov and Mr. Hysen also stressed the importance of governance moving forward, as well as the need to build trust with the public regarding how AI will be used in DHS mission areas. AI has transformative potential for the Department moving forward, and S&T and the DHS AI Task Force are investigating how to best prepare for the future challenges and advantages it will bring. Learn more about the Directorate’s work in this area on the S&T webpage, Artificial Intelligence and Autonomous Systems.

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Eric Hysen (left) and Under Secretary Kusnezov (right) discuss the challenges and opportunities of AI at the Homeland Security Defense Forum.
Eric Hysen (left) and Under Secretary Kusnezov (right) discuss the challenges and opportunities of AI at the Homeland Security Defense Forum. Photo credit: S&T.

 

Week of Feb 5 - 9, 2024

Under Secretary Kusnezov met virtually with S&T’s counterparts at Finland’s Ministry of the Interior (MOI), January 29, to sign a Joint Statement of Intent.

This agreement will allow us to exchange information and collaborate on projects that will support our nations’ efforts in tackling shared emerging science and technology challenges. It’s a critical step forward in our ongoing research, development, testing, and evaluation collaboration with Finland and other international partners.

The agreement signing follows a year of relationship building and negotiation with MOI, including the January 2023 visit of MOI’s Permanent Secretary to Washington, DC and the September 2023 visit of S&T representatives to Helsinki, where organizational and strategic interests were shared, charting a path to future science and technology cooperation.

While the signing ceremony was conducted virtually, Dr. Kusnezov was able to meet Ambassador Hautala in person to discuss the importance of this occasion and our hopes for what lies ahead. To read more about this endeavor, check out the S&T Blog.

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Ambassador Hautala and Under Secretary Kusnezov pictured holding the signed Joint Statement of Intent standing next to the United States and DHS flags.
Ambassador Hautala and Under Secretary Kusnezov pictured holding the signed Joint Statement of Intent. Photo credit: S&T.

 

Week of Jan 29 - Feb 1, 2024

Under Secretary Kusnezov opened the 2024 Homeland Security Week conference on January 23 with a keynote address that urged attendees to “take charge and reimagine the future.”

Hosted annually by the Institute for Defense and Government Advancement (IDGA), the conference brought together more than 350 leaders from government and industry sectors to explore security priorities and key issues for 2024.

The conference offered S&T an opportunity to join other Department leaders in defining challenge areas and encouraging industry to bring their creative ideas forward. S&T hosted an outreach table to promote Dr. Kusnezov’s Preparedness Series of research papers, upcoming Silicon Valley Innovation Program Synthetic Data Generator Industry Day, and the open solicitation for the DHS Small Business Innovation Research Program 24.1.

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IDGA event chairman and moderator Nelson Balido posing audience questions to Under Secretary Kusnezov.
IDGA event chairman and moderator Nelson Balido posing audience questions to Under Secretary Kusnezov. Photo credit: S&T.

 

Week of Jan 22 - 26, 2024

Under Secretary Kusnezov and S&T leadership met with Dame Angela McLean, United Kingdom (UK) Government Chief Scientific Advisor, last week to discuss biosecurity, artificial intelligence, and science advice in emergencies.

The meeting was an important opportunity to share DHS perspectives on the trajectory of biosecurity and bio defense research relative to current governance and regulatory frameworks, including how future policies could impact the Department’s Research, Development, Test, and Evaluation programs and capabilities. It also coincided with their attendance at the US-UK Strategic Dialogue on Biosecurity hosted by the White House.

This engagement between S&T and the UK's senior-most science advisor is another step continuing the close relationship between US and UK government, which is critical in fostering dialogue on our nations’ persistent and emerging challenges to homeland security. DHS S&T and the UK Home Office have been bilateral partners since 2004.

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Under Secretary Kusnezov poses with members from the S&T and UK delegations in front of the US, DHS, and US Coast Guard flags at the St. Elizabeths Campus.
Under Secretary Kusnezov poses with members from the S&T and UK delegations in front of the US, DHS, and US Coast Guard flags at the St. Elizabeths Campus. Photo credit: S&T.

 

Week of Jan 15 - 19, 2024

Under Secretary Kusnezov joined DHS colleagues in Las Vegas, NV, January 8-10, for the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), where the Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) engaged with innovators to discuss the Department’s research and development needs and attract new partners to support our evolving mission requirements.

The Under Secretary participated in several speaking engagements, kicking off with a panel discussion highlighting the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) on a variety of organizations’ missions. Under Secretary Kusnezov emphasized how S&T’s testing and evaluation experience will be a critical asset in determining how AI can improve mission effectiveness for DHS components while also supporting S&T’s assessments on how the technology could be used for adversarial purposes.

This was a great opportunity to demonstrate S&T’s thought leadership in AI and showcase how the Directorate is already preparing for a future shaped by emerging technology.

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Under Secretary Kusnezov being interviewed by Akiko Fujita of Yahoo! Finance in the S&T exhibit booth at CES.
Under Secretary Kusnezov being interviewed by Akiko Fujita of Yahoo! Finance in the S&T exhibit booth at CES. Photo credit: S&T.
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Under Secretary Kusnezov participating on an opening day CES panel on how organizations are using AI to advance their missions.
Under Secretary Kusnezov participating on an opening day CES panel on how organizations are using AI to advance their missions. Photo credit: S&T.

 

Week of Jan 8 - 12, 2024

Under Secretary Kusnezov provided remarks, followed by a moderated fireside Q&A session with General Norton Schwartz (Ret.), President of the Institute for Defense Analyses (IDA) Systems and Analysis Center, last month at the Colloquium for the Rapidly Changing World.

The Under Secretary emphasized the important role S&T plays in identifying new options to prepare the Department for future change, bookended by extreme weather and emerging technology. A key theme focused on understanding the parameters of problem sets and investing in scalable solutions, which enable DHS missions to pivot to address emerging technologies, including how artificial intelligence (AI) is deployed in operational settings.

The event provided an opportunity to engage the DOD’s Federally Funded Research and Development Center (FFRDC) research community, speak to current changes in the innovation and threat environment, and discuss what sets this period apart from problem solving in the past.

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Under Secretary Kusnezov pictured with General Norton Schwartz (Ret.) at the Colloquium for the Rapidly Changing World.
Under Secretary Kusnezov pictured with General Norton Schwartz (Ret.) at the Colloquium for the Rapidly Changing World. Photo credit: S&T.

 

Week of Dec 18 - 22, 2023

Under Secretary Kusnezov visited Chicago, earlier this month, to meet with the Chicago Fire Department (CFD) to understand the full scope of problems firefighters face and to collect data from high-rise building infrastructures, the challenging environments where firefighters commonly operate.

During the trip, the Under Secretary chatted with anchors Steve Cochran and Jane Clauss live on The Steve Cochran Show at WLS 890 AM Radio. He discussed disaster preparedness, common problems across the first responder community, and how AI could help with both. Under Secretary Kusnezov also traveled to Chicago Public Safety Headquarters for a meeting with CFD. Here, he listened to CFD Commissioner Annete Nance-Holt, District Chief Jamar Sullivan, and Chief Walter Schroeder discuss the communications and tracking challenges the fire department encounters when trying to locate fallen firefighters. The Under Secretary also spent time at Willis Tower, a 109-story Chicago skyscraper that mimics the challenging building infrastructure that CFD must maneuver when fighting fires. Here, MITRE—operator of DHS’s systems engineering federally funded research and development center (FFRDC), the Homeland Security Systems Engineering and Development Institute (HSSEDI)—and S&T subject matter experts (SMEs) collected data on radio frequency, electromagnetic wave attenuation, and barometric pressure from floor to floor to be analyzed and inform possible solutions. Under Secretary Kusnezov accompanied the team throughout data collection to ask questions and understand the environment. 

The visit was a great first step towards understanding the CFD’s underlying problems, and S&T looks forward to the forthcoming data analysis and future work in this area.

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USST Live On the Radio
Under Secretary Kusnezov looks at data collected real-time from NextNav Pinnacle, a vertical location technology used to support the public safety community, enabling faster response times and greater situational awareness for first responders. Photo credit: S&T
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inside radio station
Under Secretary Kusnezov chats with Steve Cochran and Jane Clauss live on The Steve Cochran Show (890 AM Radio).  Photo credit: S&T

 

Week of Dec 4 - 8, 2023

Under Secretary Kusnezov spoke at the GovAI Summit in Arlington, Virginia, about our changing threat landscape and the impacts of adversarial AI and extreme weather to an audience of government officials, academia, policy makers and technology integrators. 

The Under Secretary also addressed questions from GovAI's Pete Erickson on facets of AI not being discussed to include the opportunities that AI can provide for the DHS mission for managing risk, decision-making and predicating change across many domains and modalities. 

Under Secretary Kusnezov was join by S&T’s chief scientist, Dr. Sam Howerton, who spoke on Human-Centered Homeland Security: Insights for 2030; S&T’s Dr. Amy Henninger, who spoke on National Defense & Artificial Intelligence: The Power of Public-Private Partnership; and S&T’s Dan Cotter, who spoke on the Emergency Operation Center of the Future: How AI Will Transform Emergency Ops. 

 

Week of Nov 27 - Dec 01, 2023

Under Secretary Kusnezov met his Canadian counterpart, Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC) Assistant Deputy Minister (ADM) Dr. Jaspinder Komal at the Canadian Embassy in Washington, DC, at the end of October, to discuss the U.S.-Canadian partnership in the public safety and security mission area.

The Under Secretary and DRDC ADM Komal signed a Joint Statement of Intent outlining topics for shared cooperation in areas of resilience, emerging technology, and cooperation in domain awareness and accessibility in the Arctic. ADM Komal also joined S&T for a briefing on Counter Unmanned Aircraft Systems.

S&T’s Technology Centers Division (TCD) and International Cooperative Programs Office (ICPO) hosted an S&T-DRDC Arctic Comms workshop focused on low earth orbit-based satellites for Arctic communications and identified “Emerging Risk & Technology” as a Cross-Cutting Enabler, which aligns strategic organizational initiatives that support all Joint Focus Areas.

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DRDC ADM Komal and Under Secretary Kusnezov signing the Joint Statement of Intent
DRDC ADM Komal and Under Secretary Kusnezov signing the Joint Statement of Intent. Photo Credit: Canadian Embassy

 

Week of Nov 20 - 24, 2023

Under Secretary Kusnezov led an S&T delegation in a bilateral meeting with the United Kingdom Home Office (UK HO), November 13-15, where they discussed the composition of the current shared R&D portfolio.

The meeting was a great three-day session highlighting the latest updates in homeland security priorities, identifying challenges and opportunities with artificial intelligence, and exploring an in-depth use case for quantum information science.

Following the U.K. visit, Under Secretary Kusnezov traveled to France to meet with Teratec, an association of more than 80 technological and industrial companies, laboratories and research centers, universities, and engineering schools dedicated to high performance computing and simulation. The Under Secretary toured the Teratec campus, which included the French high performance computing infrastructure (TGCC) and joint research laboratory.

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Under Secretary Kusnezov and UK HO Chief Scientific Advisor Jennifer Rubin sitting in a room full of people awaiting remarks by new UK Home Office Secretary.
Under Secretary Kusnezov and UK HO Chief Scientific Advisor Jennifer Rubin awaiting remarks by new UK Home Office Secretary. Photo credit: S&T.

 

Week of Nov 6 - 10, 2023

Under Secretary Kusnezov delivered keynote remarks, November 2, at the 6th Annual DHS Federally Funded Research and Development Centers (FFRDC) Summit, a forum for nearly 200 DHS senior leaders to discuss the Department’s most critical challenges and solicit help from the FFRDCs.

This past year, the Under Secretary tasked the FFRDCs to think about key issues like AI and its broader, evolving implications and challenges to homeland security. During his keynote, Under Secretary Kusnezov focused on how DHS’s FFRDCs fit into this space and how they can relieve stress on the system.

The DHS FFRDC Summit also showcased the interconnectedness of critical areas, such as health security, safeguarding the nation's economic engine, and defending against malicious cyber actors. Some key themes were data to combat the opioid crisis, improved surveillance and data sharing, increased collaboration between the private and public sectors, enhanced data analysis, and partnerships and information sharing integral to combatting cyber threats. From the Summit, the FFRDCs will create a report of findings and apply these insights into meaningful advancements for homeland security priorities.

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USST Kusnezov at FFRDC Summit speaking at a podium.
Under Secretary Kusnezov discusses the role of science and technology in solving the homeland security’s critical challenges at the 2023 DHS FFRDC Summit. Photo credit: S&T.

 

Week of Oct 30 - Nov 3, 2023

Under Secretary Kusnezov participated in two panels at the DHS Strategic Industry Conversation (SIC) IX: Innovation, Research and Development (IRD) Showcase in Washington, D.C., the week of October 30.

The showcase conveyed the Department’s IRD priorities to over four hundred stakeholders. Deputy Under Secretary for Management, Tex Alles, joined Under Secretary Kusnezov for the day’s first panel, “Introducing DHS’ IRD Strategic Priorities,” which was followed by the “DHS Artificial Intelligence (AI) Task Force” panel discussion with DHS Chief Information Officer and Chief AI Officer, Eric Hysen, where they discussed the risks the nation faces from rapidly evolving AI advancements.

Following the plenary, six breakout sessions dug into more detail on IRD challenges and needs. The panels featured 40 Component representatives discussing operational impact of current and future IRD. Eighteen DHS organizations participated in showcase events. The SIC IX: IRD Showcase was the first event held under the DHS Technology and Innovation Network umbrella developed to focus on consistent, targeted outreach and engagement related to IRD with all relevant stakeholders who support the Homeland Security Enterprise including industry, academia, interagency and international entities.

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Moderator Dewey Murdick (left), of Georgetown University, listens on as Under Secretary Kusnezov and Eric Hysen discuss the DHS AI Taskforce.
Moderator Dewey Murdick (left), of Georgetown University, listens on as Under Secretary Kusnezov and Eric Hysen discuss the DHS AI Taskforce. Photo credit: S&T.

 

Week of Oct 23 - 27, 2023

Under Secretary Kusnezov participated in a panel discussion about the future of aviation security at the 2023 Airports Council International – North America Public Safety and Security Committee / Airport Consultants Council Security Technology Conference in Arlington, Virginia, on October 25.

During the panel, the Under Secretary provided a holistic view of the challenges and opportunities for the future of aviation security, including where we see aviation security headed in the next 10 years, approaches to getting R&D technology into operations, open architectures, and security from the airport administration perspective.

The Under Secretary also opened the Security Industry Association (SIA) Congressional Briefing with remarks outlining today’s remarkable period of rapid innovation. As part of a panel, Under Secretary Kusnezov also provided additional insights to the industry, intergovernmental and Hill audience. He commented on the importance of science and technology contributions to help draw down risk in high consequence operational missions, including areas of border security, fentanyl detection, and child exploitation data collection.

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USST with Dr. Fortune
S&T’s Dr. John Fortune and Under Secretary Kusnezov moderating and speaking at the Airports Council International – North America Public Safety and Security Committee / Airport Consultants Council Security Technology Conference in Arlington, Virginia. Photo credit: Airports Council International
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Under Secretary Kusnezov participates on panel alongside Jake Parker, SIA, Government Affairs (far right); and Jay Meil Chief Data Scientist and Director of Strategy, AI, SAIC, SIA AI Advisory Board
Under Secretary Kusnezov participates on panel alongside Jake Parker, SIA, Government Affairs (far right); and Jay Meil Chief Data Scientist and Director of Strategy, AI, SAIC, SIA AI Advisory Board (far left).  Photo credit: S&T

 

Week of Oct 16 - 20, 2023

Under Secretary Kusnezov met with a diverse set of stakeholders, October 16-20, to discuss the rising threat and force-multiplying use of artificial intelligence (AI).

The Under Secretary took part in an Axios roundtable where he underscored the importance of making the right technology investments and finding the right people to address evolving cyber threats. He also met with international partners from the United Kingdom and spoke to the need for standards and test and evaluation as a means to set a baseline to build and ensure effectiveness of AI systems.

These conversations are important for instilling a culture of preparedness within the Department and the nation as the use of AI (and its potential risks) increases.

 

Week of Oct 9 - 13, 2023

Under Secretary Kusnezov traveled to Texas the week of October 9 to meet with front line operators representing Intelligence and Analysis, U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to include U.S. Border Patrol (USBP).

The Under Secretary’s visit started at the Houston Fusion Center, where federal, state, and local security officials, discussed the importance of collecting and sharing real-time information across multi-agency partners. Next, he visited the Houston Seaport, the busiest port in the country, which crosscuts many DHS responsibilities including maritime safety and security, drone detection, screening technologies, and counterintelligence. Representatives from CBP and USCG showed the Under Secretary the Houston Bayport Radiation Portal Monitor Terminal, where shipping vessels and cargo containers are secured by technologies, which contributed to more than $900 billion dollars to the U.S. economy last year.

Following Houston, the Under Secretary traveled to El Paso, where he met with students and faculty from the University of Texas El Paso to discuss how future solutions for DHS are going to need diverse communities coming together in multi-disciplinary ways. A meeting with faculty focused on the importance of scaling minority representation and preparing students for future opportunities across emerging science and research fields. The trip concluded with a visit to the El Paso Border, which provided a firsthand perspective on the threat environment and where technologies are needed to reduce risks and improve decision-making.

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The Under Secretary Kusnezov standing in front of an USCG overflight helicopter with two other people.
The Under Secretary participated in an USCG overflight of the Houston/Galveston port area. Photo credit: S&T.

 

Week of Oct 2 - 6, 2023

Under Secretary Kusnezov visited S&T’s Chemical Security Analysis Center (CSAC) at their facilities in Aberdeen, Maryland, on October 3.

During the trip, the Under Secretary experienced CSAC’s collaboration with the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Chemical Biological Center through CSAC’s Chemical Security Lab, saw a demonstration of how CSAC’s food defense work helps keep us safe, and how its Jack Rabbit program on chlorine and ammonia releases establishes a new body of knowledge on hazardous chemical releases.

CSAC staff also highlighted their work to strengthen DHS’ workforce through its college lecture outreach and by utilizing the HS-POWER program to help students gain hands-on experience while learning about the Department’s future scientific needs.

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Under Secretary Kusnezov with Chief Scientist Rachel Gooding and Dr. Shannon Fox from CSAC having a discussion; Background: Charlie Strassle and Dr. David Morton with CSAC standing by.
Under Secretary Kusnezov with Chief Scientist Rachel Gooding and Dr. Shannon Fox from CSAC; Background: Charlie Strassle and Dr. David Morton with CSAC. Photo credit: S&T

 

Week of Sept 25 - 29, 2023

While in Japan last Spring, S&T began exploratory dialogue on where our two countries could collaborate on national security research priorities. This dialogue continued on September 25, as Under Secretary Kusnezov hosted representatives from Japan's Science and Technology Agency (JST) for a leadership lunch. 

The discussion gave the Under Secretary an opportunity to discuss topics ranging from working with academic institutions with controlled information to technical discussions focused on the maritime domain. Under Secretary Kusnezov also attended Japan’s Quantum Leap Reception on September 28, an event that helped underscore the many opportunities for international partnership. While we are not formal bilateral partners, Japan’s innovation, research and development ecosystem is often addressing the same problem sets as S&T, which were topics of discussion in engagements with S&T offices. 

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USST has Lunch with Japan Reps
From left: John Han, S&T; Matt Barger, S&T; Julie Brewer, S&T; Prof. Ken Takagi, University of Tokyo; Under Secretary Kusnezov; Takashi Konishi, JST; Kazuyoshi Shimada, JST; Gail Miller, S&T and Emily Saulsgiver, S&T. Photo Credit: S&T

 

Week of Sept 18 - 22, 2023

Under Secretary Kusnezov traveled to Huntsville, AL, to deliver remarks at the Corporate Security Symposium and meet with our FBI partners at the Redstone Arsenal U.S. Army post on September 18.

The symposium drew participants from the private sector and all levels of government including the FBI and DHS. Following the symposium, the Under Secretary met with FBI representatives who work closely with nationwide bomb squad teams, including Counter-IED and Render Safe units. Discussions revolved around how S&T is preparing the Department for future unknowns, including events and indicators of change that S&T is tracking to inform research, development, and innovation investment. 

S&T, the FBI and nationwide bomb squad teams have developed trusted partnerships over the past decade that have enabled S&T to take the lead in testing, assessing, and evaluating solutions to defeat IEDs. 

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Under Secretary Kusnezov Trip to Huntsville, AL
Under Secretary Kusnezov, shown with a Hazardous Devices School instructor, is ready to initiate a charge to neutralize an insert pressure cooker IED. Photo Credit: S&T.
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Under Secretary Kusnezov Trip to Huntsville, AL
Under Secretary Kusnezov, accompanied by Hazardous Devices School Director Jay Henze, visits a memorial dedicated to public safety bomb technicians who were killed in the line of duty. Photo Credit: S&T.

 

Week of Sept 11 - 15, 2023

Under Secretary Kusnezov was in the United Kingdom (UK), September 12-14, to participate in a series of meetings and events with the UK government, academia and industry to explore key issues of interest for the Department in areas of emerging tech.

During the trip, the Under Secretary engaged in discussions focused on quantum and artificial intelligence (AI) with the U.S. Embassy in London Deputy Chief of Mission, physicist and quantum expert Sir Peter Knight, and UK Home Office Chief Scientific Advisor Jennifer Rubin. The Under Secretary also attended a small roundtable with AI industry representatives at Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) 2023, a leading UK defense industry conference.

The trip gave the Under Secretary an opportunity to engage UK experts leading R&D and policy development of quantum applications to security missions, and to share the DHS perspective on quantum efforts of interest to the Department. In addition, the Under Secretary had the opportunity to engage in informative discussions about the use of AI in the public sector and homeland security domains.

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Under Secretary Kusnezov in the UK
Under Secretary Kusnezov with Kevin Craven, CEO of ADS, UK defense industry association at DSEI conference.


Week of Sept 11 - 15, 2023

On September 11, Under Secretary Kusnezov attended the somber commemoration of the horrific attack against the Pentagon at the 9/11 Pentagon Memorial. Family members of the 184 victims of the attack as well as first responders who responded to the crisis were among the special guests in attendance.

The commemoration began at dawn with a group of first responders unfurling the U.S. flag. Prior to the beginning of the official proceedings, First Lady Dr. Jill Biden laid a wreath at the memorial. Later, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Miley delivered remarks memorializing those who lost their lives at the Pentagon.

The Pentagon ceremony was joined by services in New York City and Shanksville, PA, commemorating the attacks that took lives of 2,977 Americans.

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USST Remembering 9/11 at the Pentagon
September 11, 2023, at the 9/11 Pentagon Memorial Service.

 

Week of Aug 28 – Sept 1

Under Secretary Kusnezov delivered opening remarks at the Machine Learning (ML) Industry Day hosted by the Transportation Security Laboratory (TSL) and TSA on August 31.

The event gave Under Secretary Kusnezov an opportunity to encourage TSA officials, security equipment manufacturers, third-party algorithm developers and other subject matter experts from government, industry and academia in attendance to work together to take the next steps for ensuring the proper algorithm training, testing and evaluation (T&E). 

ML algorithms can out-perform human screeners when searching complex images for concealed threats. However, ML algorithms can display unusual and potentially undesirable behavior in certain circumstances. ML algorithms do not have “common sense” and they can fail in ways that seem counter-intuitive unless they are trained and tested. To avoid this fate, TSA and TSL must partner with system developers to ensure that the training and testing of ML-based detection algorithms are efficient, comprehensive and reliable.  

The Day centered around sharing a draft roadmap for testing and evaluation of ML-based automatic target recognition (ATR) algorithms. Presenters encouraged participants to work collaboratively with DHS to design, create and implement a fast, efficient and reliable system for the development, test and evaluation of ML ATR algorithms in support of explosives and contraband detection.  

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USST Remarks at Machine Learning Industry Day
Under Secretary Kusnezov delivers opening remarks at ML Industry Day.

 

Week of Aug 21 - 25, 2023

Under Secretary Kusnezov delivered keynote remarks to the DHS Quantum Community of Interest during the Quantum Impacts Workshop at MITRE Corp. in McLean, VA, on August 22.

The event featured briefings from quantum subject matter experts from MITRE, the White House, including the Office of Science & Technology Policy and the Office of the National Cyber Director; the Department of Energy and Brookhaven National Labs; and the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

The workshop provided a valuable forum to meet face to face with DHS component and interagency partners to discuss the nation’s strategic role in researching and leveraging quantum to prepare the Department and the nation for the opportunities and challenges it poses for the future. The field of Quantum Information Science & Technology, is vast – powerful in its potential, tremendous in its complexity, and continuous and rapid in its evolution. In the future, it will take us places that we can only imagine today.

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USST MITRE workshop Aug 22
Under Secretary Kusnezov delivers remarks to the DHS Quantum Community of Interest at the Quantum Impacts Workshop.

 

Week of Aug 14 - 18, 2023

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NYPD Deputy Commissioner, Intelligence and Counterintelligence Rebecca Weiner and Under Secretary Kusnezov
NYPD Deputy Commissioner, Intelligence and Counterintelligence Rebecca Weiner and Under Secretary Kusnezov during August 4 meeting in New York.

Under Secretary Kusnezov returned to New York City on August 16 to participate in a panel, “Promise & Peril: The Implications of Artificial Intelligence,” at the New York Police Department (NYPD)/ NYC Office of Technology and Innovation (OTI) Cyber Intelligence & Counterrorism Conference.

NYPD Deputy Commissioner, Intelligence and Counterintelligence Rebecca Weiner invited the Under Secretary to participate in the conference when he visited NYPD on August 4 as part of a series of meetings coordinated by S&T’s National Urban Security Technology Laboratory.

The conference enabled the Under Secretary to highlight S&T’s technology projects that are relevant to first responders and demonstrate that S&T understands the challenges and needs of state and local law enforcement in major cities like New York. Following the conference, Under Secretary Kusnezov met with New York City Fire Department Commissioner Laura Kavanagh and First Deputy Commissioner Joseph Pfeifer to discuss strategic updates from S&T since his last meeting with the Commissioner in January 2023.

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Exploring ideas with the “Promise & Peril: The Implications of Artificial Intelligence” panel
Exploring ideas with the “Promise & Peril: The Implications of Artificial Intelligence” panel during the NYPD conference. From left, USST Kusnezov; Alex Jaimes, AI Dataminr; Matt Hutson, science writer; Don Zoufal, CrowZnest Consulting Inc.; and session moderator Rebecca Weiner, NYPD Deputy Commissioner, Intelligence & Counterterrorism.

 

Week of Aug 1 - 4, 2023

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USST with NUSTL Director and Chairman Anthony D’Esposito
Under Secretary Kusnezov’s visit to NUSTL with Alice Hong, NUSTL director, and Chairman Anthony D’Esposito.

Under Secretary Kusnezov traveled to New York City on August 4 for a series of meetings arranged by S&T’s National Urban Security Technology Laboratory (NUSTL).

The Under Secretary met with Anthony D’Esposito, House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Emergency Management and Technology Chairman; Rebecca Weiner, New York Police Department Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence & Counterterrorism Bureau; and Greg Ehrie, Chief Security Officer of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, as well as toured NUSTL with the lab’s public safety customers from law enforcement and fire services. 

The meetings helped solidify S&T’s partnerships with state and local agencies and provided an opportunity for the Under Secretary to engage with key stakeholders that support and inform our work to deliver capabilities for improving the safety, effectiveness and resilience of the first responder community.

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USST presentation by Capt. John Amsterdam NYFD
From left, meeting with Chairman D’Esposito and Alice Hong and Jaren Oren of NUSTL during presentation by Capt. John Amsterdam, New York City Fire Department. 

 

Week of July 24 - 28, 2023

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USST at NHSC Chicago July 24-26
Under Secretary Kusnezov delivers the keynote address on July 27 at the National Homeland Security Conference. 

Under Secretary Kusnezov connected with first responders from every region of the country, July 26-27, at the National Homeland Security Conference in Chicago.

During the event, the Under Secretary participated in a Fireside Chat with FEMA Region 5 Administrator Thomas Sivak, delivered a keynote address that focused on preparing for the future, and hosted a small group roundtable with Chicago first responder leaders to discuss immediate and future challenges facing their responder community.

The conference provided the Under Secretary with an opportunity to engage with emergency managers and first responders across the nation and to hear directly from them about the challenges they are facing in their work to keep their communities safe, secure, and resilient.

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Under Secretary Kusnezov at NHSC v2 panel
Under Secretary Kusnezov discussing key issues for emergency managers with FEMA Region 5 Administrator Tom Sivak, left, and moderator Paul McDonagh, S&T’s First Responder Disaster Resilience Portfolio Manager, on the right.

 

Week of July 10 - 14, 2023

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Under Secretary Kusnezov and U.S. Ambassador to Canada David Cohen.
Under Secretary Kusnezov and U.S. Ambassador to Canada David L. Cohen. 

Under Secretary Kusnezov led a delegation from S&T to Ottawa to meet with Canadian and governmental partners to gain insight into shared security and science and technology priorities, as well as to discuss investments in mutual areas of interest.

The delegation engaged with Defense Research and Development Canada (DRDC), toured the University of Ottawa Advanced Research Complex, and met with the National Research Council Canada. The delegation also visited the U.S. Embassy in Ottawa where Under Secretary Kusnezov met with U.S. Ambassador to Canada David L. Cohen.

The meetings between S&T and our Canadian counterparts underscored the range of possibilities that our international partners can bring to our mission areas as we address current challenges and get ahead of what’s next.

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Under Secretary Kusnezov and delegation from S&T with partners from the Defence Research and Development Canada.
Under Secretary Kusnezov and delegation from S&T with partners from Defence Research and Development Canada.

 

Week of July 3 – 7, 2023

Under Secretary Kusnezov gave the keynote address at the commencement ceremony for the Master of Business Administration in Security Technology Transition (MBA-STT) program on July 6 at the George Washington University in Washington, DC. 

The MBA-STT is a DHS S&T Center of Excellence and the commencement was of particular significance because it was the inaugural class of the program, marking a momentous day for both the graduates and DHS. 

Under Secretary Kusnezov congratulated the graduates and recognized their perseverance to complete the two-and-a-half year program during the height of the COVID pandemic and while continuing to work full time as federal employees.  He also recognized the promise of the graduates’ impact on the DHS mission, by bringing their critical skillsets and expertise in the field of security technology transition to help ensure that game-changing technology reaches those on the front lines.  

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USST at commencement ceremony MBA-STT
Under Secretary Kusnezov delivering keynote address at commencement ceremony for the Master of Business Administration in Security Technology Transition program at the George Washington University in Washington, DC. 

 

Week of June 26 - 30, 2023

Under Secretary for Science and Technology Dimitri Kusnezov met with Japanese Cabinet Minister Tsuyoshi Hoshino at the Japanese Embassy in Washington, DC, on June 27 to further S&T’s commitment to establish a connection on science and technology research for homeland and national security.  Mr. Hoshino is responsible for Science and Technology, Emergency Management and Economic Security within Prime Minister Kishida's administration. 

The meeting was requested by the Science Counselor from the Embassy of Japan following the Under Secretary’s visit to Japan in March. S&T, through ICPO’s East Asia Regional Strategy, is exploring partnerships with the Government of Japan for digitalization objectives around its component mission areas. 

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USST at the Japanese Embassy
Under Secretary for Science and Technology Dimitri Kusnezov meets with Japanese Cabinet Minister Tsuyoshi Hoshino at the Japanese Embassy in Washington, DC.

 

Week of June 18 - 24, 2023

Under Secretary Kusnezov visited Norway on June 18-23 to connect with Norwegian research institutions and government agencies that lead Arctic science research. The engagement helped inform Department understanding of research needed to secure operations in the High North. Participating institutions included the Norwegian Polar Institute, FRAM Centre, University of Tromso, Arctic University of the North, Norwegian Science and Technology University, Arctic Council Secretariat, and representatives from Norwegian Ministries, such as the Ministry of Justice and Public Security, Ministry of Education and Research, and Ministry of Defence. 

Dr. Kusnezov also visited Denmark as a guest aboard the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Eagle while the Eagle was in port in Aalborg, Denmark. During his visit he met with USCG Academy cadets and leadership aboard the Eagle. The events were closed to the press.

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USST Kuznezov in Norway
Under Secretary Kusnezov (left) and a delegation from S&T visited with leaders from Kongsberg Satellite Services headquarters in Tromsø, Norway.

 

Week of June 12 - 16, 2023

Under Secretary for Science and Technology Dimitri Kusnezov spoke on Jun 15-16 at Risks and Mitigation Strategies for Adversarial AI Threats, a two-day workshop organized by S&T, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and the Homeland Security Systems Engineering and Development Institute at MITRE’s offices in McLean, VA. 

The event gathered more than 80 experts across the federal government, research community, and partners from the European Union and Japan to characterize current threats, prepare for emerging ones, and understand how to approach the future of adversarial artificial intelligence (AAI). 

A key theme was that generative AI has the potential to substantially benefit society, but government and industry must continue to work together to mitigate associated risks. As generative AI becomes faster and smarter, authentication and identity management will become increasingly important in building secure AI systems, as will keeping a human in the loop. As adversarial AI is more than just a U.S. problem, we discussed the potential for standards development in collaboration with our international partners.

The insights gained at this event will shape our strategies and R&D investments, and contribute to an upcoming report that will guide DHS’s participation in the AAI space. 

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USST Kusnezov at MITRE
Under Secretary Kusnezov speaking at Risks and Mitigation Strategies for Adversarial AI Threats workshop at MITRE in McLean, VA.
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Participants at the Risks and Mitigation Strategies for Adversarial AI Threats workshop at MITRE in McLean, VA.
Participants at the Risks and Mitigation Strategies for Adversarial AI Threats workshop at MITRE in McLean, VA. 

 

Week of June 5 - 9, 2023

On June 8, Under Secretary Kusnezov and a delegation from S&T met with the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB) for their annual Bilateral Meeting at DHS’ St. Elizabeth’s Campus. The meeting was part of a week of events in which DHS hosted our partners from MSB to discuss shared priorities around civil defense and resilient societies, including emergency management and response, understanding and responding to impacts of climate change, cybersecurity and critical infrastructure protection.

The DHS-MSB Bilateral Meeting focused on research objectives, cooperation in climate resilience, and risk and resilient infrastructure. DHS S&T and MSB maintain multiple lines of effort and close cooperation across the homeland security mission space. This meeting further reinforced the importance of research and development in underpinning our collective response to challenges in national security. DHS S&T looks forward to furthering cooperative research programs with MSB over the next year. 

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USST and Sweden MSB
Under Secretary Kusnezov (center) with delegations from S&T and the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency. 

 

Last Updated: 02/21/2024
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