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21
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate

John O’Neil, U.S. Department of Homeland Security


On September 11, 2001, terrorists hijacked four civilian airliners in the United States and turned them into weapons. Government reaction at all levels to the specific activities of these three separate terrorist acts was swift. The government then undertook a more deliberate effort to protect the homeland security of the country. President Bush appointed Tom Ridge, former governor of Pennsylvania, to direct the effort.

In January 2003, 22 agencies1 were combined to form the 15th U.S. Cabinet department, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). This development was a monumental undertaking in bureaucratic organization. All 22 agencies had developed their own unique cultures, and it was no easy task to combine them into one department.

In August 2006, Rear Admiral Jay Cohen (U.S. Navy, Retired) became the under secretary of homeland security for science and technology. Capitalizing on his 6 years of experience as the chief of naval research, one of his first acts was to reorganize the Science and Technology Directorate (see Figure 21-1) to meet the demands of the department to develop protective technologies and to meet the following goals:



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21 The U.S. Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate John O’Neil, U.S. Department of Homeland Security On September 11, 2001, terrorists hijacked four civilian airliners in the United States and turned them into weapons. Government reaction at all levels to the specific activities of these three separate terrorist acts was swift. The govern- ment then undertook a more deliberate effort to protect the homeland security of the country. President Bush appointed Tom Ridge, former governor of Pennsyl- vania, to direct the effort. In January 2003, 22 agencies1 were combined to form the 15th U.S. Cabinet department, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). This development was a monumental undertaking in bureaucratic organization. All 22 agencies had developed their own unique cultures, and it was no easy task to combine them into one department. In August 2006, Rear Admiral Jay Cohen (U.S. Navy, Retired) became the under secretary of homeland security for science and technology. Capitalizing on his 6 years of experience as the chief of naval research, one of his first acts was to reorganize the Science and Technology Directorate (see Figure 21-1) to meet the demands of the department to develop protective technologies and to meet the following goals: 20

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DHS U/S S&T Director of Transition Director of Innovation Director of Research (Innovation) Borders/ Human Infrastructure/ Command, Control Explosives Chem/Bio & Interoperability Maritime Factors Geophysical Sec Dir Sec Dir Sec Dir Sec Dir Sec Dir Sec Dir Sec Dir Sec Dir Sec Dir Sec Dir Sec Dir Sec Dir Research Transition Research Transition Research Transition Research Transition Research Transition Research Transition (Applications) (Research) FIGURE 21-1 Science and Technology Directorate at the Department of Homeland Security. 20 21-1 Broadside

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210 COUNTERING TERRORISM • Accelerate delivery of enhanced technological capabilities to meet re- quirements and fill capability gaps to support DHS agencies in accomplishing their mission • Establish a lean and agile world-class science and technology manage- ment team to deliver the technological advantage necessary to ensure DHS mis- sion success and prevent technology surprises • Provide leadership, research and educational opportunities, and re- sources to develop the necessary intellectual basis to enable a national science and technology workforce to secure the homeland These three goals guided the realignment process to provide the nation with a robust capability in science and technology for homeland security applica- tions. These goals facilitate integrated, innovative solutions to homeland security challenges. The Science and Technology Directorate made significant strides in the first nine months of Under Secretary Cohen’s tenure. A major accomplishment was to put in place the following: • A framework for a customer-focused, output-oriented science and tech- nology management organization • A senior leadership team and key organizational components • Six research divisions and a director for each • Three portfolio directors: research, innovation, and transition • Directors of test, evaluation, and standards and special programs • Science and Technology Directorate liaison offices embedded in Europe, the Americas, and the Asia-Pacific area • A communications department • 340 employees relocated into new working groups The core organization of the newly aligned Science and Technology Direc- torate includes six technical divisions that are linked to the three research and development investment portfolio directors in a matrix management structure. The technical divisions are as follows: • Explosives • Borders and Maritime Security • Chemical and Biological • Human Factors • Command, Control, and Interoperability • Infrastructure and Geophysical The three portfolio directors coordinate aspects of the investment strategy with the technical divisions. The portfolio directors are

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211 DHS SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY DIRECTORATE • director of research, • director of transition, and • director of the Innovation/Homeland Security Advanced Research Proj- ects Agency (HSARPA). The two top priorities of the Science and Technology Directorate are in- teroperability and countering improvised explosive devices (IEDs), with a goal of predicting, detecting, destroying, and defeating IEDs at a minimum distance of 100 meters.2 The Science and Technology Directorate develops and manages an integrated program of science and technology, from basic research through technology transition to customers. The customers are the operating components of DHS; state, local, and tribal governments; first responders; and private sector entities. Scientists and engineers in the many disciplines relevant to homeland security manage the program. The investment portfolio of the Science and Technology Directorate is bal- anced around risk, cost, impact, and time to delivery to produce capabilities of high technical quality that are responsive to homeland security requirements. As shown in Figure 21-2, it consists primarily of product transition, innovative capabilities, and basic research. The basic research portfolio addresses the long-term research and develop- ment needs of the DHS mission. Discovery and invention lead to future capa- FIGURE 21-2 DHS Science and Technology Directorate investment portfolio.

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212 COUNTERING TERRORISM bilities and mobilize the capabilities, talents, and resources of the Homeland Security Centers of Excellence, Department of Energy national laboratories, and DHS laboratories to address the long-term research and development needs of DHS in sciences of enduring relevance. This type of focused, protracted research investment has the potential to lead to paradigm shifts in the nation’s homeland security capabilities. The HSARPA component looks for the “high-risk but high-payoff” invest- ments to produce “game-changing or leap-ahead” solutions. It seeks such solu- tions through two programs: 1. The Homeland Innovative Prototypical Solutions (HIPS) are designed to deliver prototype-level demonstrations of game-changing technologies in 2 to 5 years. Projects are moderate to high risk, with high payoff. 2. The High Impact Technology Solutions (HITS) are designed to provide proof-of-concept answers within 1 to 3 years that could result in high-payoff technology breakthroughs. While these projects entail considerable risk of failure, they offer the potential for significant gains in capability. The transition component seeks to identify potential technology solutions that can be delivered within 3 years. It employs a concept called the Integrated Product Team (IPT) to bring together the customer, acquisition partner, science and technology leaders, and the end users to identify customers’ needs by iden- tifying operational capability gaps and requirements. The IPT makes informed decisions about technology investments for near-term capabilities to address the requirements. The Science and Technology Directorate uses the Small Business Innovative Research Program (SBIR) to look for solutions outside government. Through SBIR, it challenges small businesses to bring innovative homeland security solu- tions to reality from the private sector. In summary, the Science and Technology Directorate’s mission is to protect the homeland by providing federal, state, local, and tribal officials with state- of-the-art technology and resources. Under Secretary Cohen has changed the organization to accomplish this mission. His goal is for the directorate to become a full-service organization that is customer focused and output oriented, cost ef- fective, efficient, responsive, agile, and flexible.

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21 DHS SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY DIRECTORATE NOTES 1. The 22 agencies that became part of the Department of Homeland Security in 2003 were the U.S. Customs Service; the Immigration and Naturalization Service; the Federal Protective Service; the Transportation Security Administration; the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center; part of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service; the Office for Domestic Preparedness; the Federal Emergency Management Agency; the Strategic National Stockpile and National Disaster Medical System; the Nuclear Incident Response Team; the Domestic Emergency Support Teams; the National Domestic Preparedness Office; the Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear Countermeasures Programs; the Environmental Measurements Laboratory; the National Biological Weapons Defense Analysis Center; the Plum Island Animal Disease Center; the Federal Computer Incident Response Center; the National Communications System; the National Infrastructure Protection Center; the Energy Security and Assistance Program; the U.S. Coast Guard; and the U.S. Secret Service. See the DHS Web site “History: Who Became Part of the Department?” at www.dhs.gov/xabout/history/edito- rial_01.shtm. Accessed May 23, 2008. 2 . For a comprehensive list of the 12 priority Science and Technology Directorate functional areas identified by DHS, see DHS Science and Technology Directorate. 2008. High-Priority Technol- ogy Needs. Available online at www.dhs.gov/xlibrary/assets/High_Priority_Technology_Needs.pdf. Accessed July 17, 2008.

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