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DHS COE News

2018 DHS COE Summit Facilitates Collaboration and Advances DHS Mission July 31, 2018

ALERT, along with other current and emeritus DHS Centers of Excellence (COEs), hosted the 2018 Centers of Excellence Summit in Arlington, Virginia on May 30-31, 2018. The event focused on the topic of “University Research and Development to Protect the Homeland.” The DHS COE Summit provided the Centers of Excellence an opportunity to showcase their innovative solutions to homeland security challenges and facilitate collaboration across homeland security enterprise leadership and component end-users and industry participants. According to ALERT Center Director, Michael B. Silevitch,

 “One of the most valuable aspects of the Summit was the teamwork needed to pull it together. It required a concerted effort by all of the COEs to organize and orchestrate the event. Going forward, this teamwork will lead to meaningful cross-center collaboration.”

The agenda for the two-day long summit was launched with a keynote address from Christopher C. Krebs, Senior Official Performing the Duties of Under Secretary, National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD) and included talks by various security administrators, panel discussions, student posters, and a technology showcase.

Director Silevitch moderated a panel focused on “Transportation and Critical Infrastructure” on the first day of the summit. Panelists Carl Crawford, Eva Lee, David Nicol, and Detlof VonWinterfeldt addressed four questions related to this topic:

  • What are some of the grand challenges that need to be addressed to enable the next generation of Homeland Security transportation and critical infrastructure solutions?
  • What research needs to be done in order to address these challenges?
  • How can the research outcomes be effectively transitioned to the field?
  • What metrics can be used to enable a cost-benefit analysis of the research/transition impact?

ALERT’s Transition Team made connections with end users at the technology showcase and featured some of ALERT’s latest solutions in multi-view air cargo CT scanners, effective personnel screening, video tracking at the airport security checkpoint, and K9 explosives training aids.

COEs excel in advancing the state of the art thanks in large part to their student researchers. To acknowledge this, the summit provided students with the opportunity to present their work to attendees. Katherine Graham, one of ALERT’s talented undergraduate researchers, took home the Best Poster Award for her work on “Compressive Reflector Antennas for High-Sensing Capacity Imaging Applications.” These antenna designs provide a less complex and lower cost solution for high-sensing capacity millimeter wave imaging systems. Millimeter wave  imaging systems have the potential for use in several near-field imaging applications such as security screening, non-destructive testing, autonomous driving, and biotechnology. The abstracts for the COE Summit student posters are available for download on the COE Summit 2018 website.

The summit provided an all-hands-on-deck approach to addressing homeland security challenges by bringing together some of the nation’s best academic, public, and private sector leaders to discuss strategies for advancing the mission of the Department of Homeland Security. ALERT looks forward to the next DHS COE Summit, and hopes you will join us there!

Time is running out! May 17, 2018

COE Summit Registration Deadline is THIS FRIDAY, May 18th

U.S. Department of Homeland Security Centers of Excellence Summit 2018: University Research & Development to Protect the Homeland

Summit Dates: May 30-31, 2018
Location: George Mason University, 3351 Fairfax Drive, Arlington, VA

The deadline to register for the 2018 Centers of Excellence (COE) Summit is this Friday, May 18th. Don’t miss this interactive event which brings together researchers, DHS components, industry and first responders to discuss next-generation technology and tools developed to solve homeland security challenges.

This year’s summit features keynotes and discussions with top leaders in homeland security, including:

  • Christopher Krebs, Senior Official Performing the Duties of Under Secretary,NPPD
  • Corey Gruber, Deputy Associate Administrator, Office of Response and Recovery, FEMA
  • Darby LaJoye, Assistant Administrator, Office of Security Operations, TSA
  • Kevin McAleenan, Commissioner, CBP
  • Matthew Allen, Assistant Director, Investigative Programs Homeland Security Investigations, ICE
  • William (Bill) Bryan, Senior Official Performing the Duties of the Under Secretary for Science and Technology, DHS S&T
  • Anneli Bergholm Soder, Head of the Operations, Department of the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency 
  • Daniel Kaniewski, Deputy Administrator for Protection and National Preparedness, Federal Emergency Management Agency

The COE Summit’s Full Agenda also includes panel sessions on homeland security topics, an innovation showcase and student posters session.

Register HERE by May 18, 2018.  

 

The COE Summit is sponsored by the United States Department of Homeland Security Centers of Excellence (COEs). The COE network is a consortium of hundreds of universities that conduct research and education to address homeland security challenges. ALERT is one of nine current Centers of Excellence sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security Office of University Programs.

View the Latest DHS COE Summit 2018 Agenda Online May 4, 2018

Are you looking for an event that brings together subject matter experts, homeland security leadership, end-users, and industry to discuss research and development to protect the homeland? The Department of Homeland Security Centers of Excellence have done just that with this year’s DHS COE Summit.

Take a look at the latest agenda and register today for this year’s event

United States Department of Homeland Security Centers of Excellence Summit 2018: University Research & Development to Protect the Homeland

This Centers of Excellence (COE) organized event is a unique opportunity for COE researchers, DHS components, federal, state, and local stakeholders, as well as industry partners to connect, network, and address key issues of mutual interest.

WHEN: May 30-31, 2018
WHERE: George Mason University, 3351 Fairfax Drive, Arlington, VA

This year’s Keynote Speakers include:

  • Kevin McAleenan, Commissioner, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Department of Homeland Security
  • Matthew C. Allen, Assistant Director, Investigative Programs Homeland Security Investigations, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)
  • William N. Bryan, Senior Official Performing the Duties of the Under Secretary for Science and Technology Department of Homeland Security

Visit the Innovation Showcase

  • Products to assist operational decision-makers
  • Technologies to save lives and protect property
  • Tools to safeguard the borders

Attend Panel Sessions

  • Natural and manmade disasters
  • Transportation and critical infrastructure
  • Cross-border movement of people, goods, data and capital

Explore the Latest Student Research

  • Undergraduate, graduate-level and professional development students
  • Discuss research, case studies and technology developments

This event is sponsored by the national network of university-led U.S. Department of Homeland Security Centers of Excellence (COEs), an extended consortium of hundreds of universities conducting research and education to address homeland security challenges.

ALERT invites you to the COE Summit on May 30-31, 2018! April 20, 2018

The Department of Homeland Security Centers of Excellence Summit 2018 will take place on May 30-31, 2018 at George Mason University in Arlington Virginia. ALERT would like to invite industry partners, researchers, homeland security operators, and other center community members to gather to collaborate on this year’s theme:

University Research & Development to Protect the Homeland

The summit will feature experts on relevant subject matter to discuss homeland security challenges, and facilitate collaboration between COE researchers and DHS leadership, as well as component end-users and industry participants. This year’s summit strives to showcase innovative research and development tools and other solutions to homeland security challenges, and to provide avenues to accelerate transition from research and development to operational use for those who protect the homeland.

The program includes panels with experts, a student poster and innovation showcase, demonstrations of tools and technology, opportunities for collaboration, and an address by William N. Bryan, Senior Official Performing the Duties of the Under Secretary for Science and Technology in the Department of Homeland Security.

To register and for more information on the Centers of Excellence Summit 2018, visit the summit’s website – www.cina.gmu.edu/coe-summit-2018

The COE Summit is sponsored by the United States Department of Homeland Security Centers of Excellence (COEs). The COE network is a consortium of hundreds of universities that conduct research and education to address homeland security challenges. ALERT is one of nine current Centers of Excellence sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security Office of University Programs.

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Fundamentals of Explosives Course January 27, 2017

A Fundamentals of Explosives Course is being offered at the University of Rhode Island from May 2-4, 2017. This course examines the chemistry of explosives, the physics of detonation waves and their initiation, and the issues involved in safe handling and characterizing these materials. Explosive output and coupling to surroundings, with specific application to structural response, will be discussed. The course will address terrorist bombings, the gathering, analysis and interpretation of evidence, improvised explosives, and explosive detection. Lecturers are internationally known experts.

There will also be an optional Explosive Analysis & Safety session on Friday May 5, 2017 with an emphasis on techniques in mass spectrometry and thermal analysis as well as best practices in laboratory work with explosives.

Space is limited and early registration is encouraged. For more information about this course, please reach out directly to ALERT researcher, Dr. Jimmie Oxley at joxley@chm.uri.edu.

Job Opportunity at BTI Institute December 9, 2016

The Borders, Trade, and Immigration Institute, a Department of Homeland Security Center of Excellence at University of Houston, is looking to hire a new Communications Coordinator. The position includes coordinating communications activities in support of a university program, including, but not limited to, publications, newsletters, annual reports, web site, and informational and solicitation materials. The job is located in Houston, TX.

For more information, view the job posting here.

RAND 2017 Graduate Student Summer Associate Program November 30, 2016

DHS’s new Federally Funded Research and Development Center (FFRDC), the Homeland Security Operations Analysis Center (operated by Rand) sponsors a Graduate Student Summer Associate Program at RAND. All applications are due January 5, 2016.

This program provides a great opportunity for graduate students across the Centers of Excellence to explore a career serving the Homeland Security Enterprise through FFRDC research and analysis. The program is designed for full-time students who have completed at least two years of graduate work leading to a doctorate or professional degree. Further details about the program and eligibility criteria are described on our Graduate Student Summer Associate Program website.

This year’s application instructions are listed on the program website.

Fundamentals of Explosives and Detonation & DDT Courses June 29, 2016

Fundamentals of Explosives Course

A Fundamentals of Explosives course is being offered in Los Alamos, NM, August 1-3, 2016. This course is intended to help each student understand basic behaviors of explosives, how they detonate, and the effects of detonation. It provides a foundation for study of specific aspects of explosives work, from safety in handling and testing, to logistical, research, development, design and analysis functions.

Detonation & DDT Course

A Detonation & DDT course is being offered in Los Alamos, NM, September 20-22, 2016. This class will be conducted at a graduate level. Class members will learn the capabilities and limitations of each of these models, and how to apply them where they are useful. In addition, ways to design experiments to investigate behaviors for both fundamental and applied design or analysis purposes will be discussed with the class.

For more information about these courses, please reach out directly to ALERT researcher, Dr. Jimmie Oxley or Dr. James Kennedy:

Prof. Jimmie C. Oxley, joxley@chm.uri.edu.

Dr. James Kennedy, jekennedy@suddenlink.net.

ALERT MSI Collaborations Work to Build a Diverse Homeland Security Workforce June 28, 2016

This summer, ALERT Collaborator, Prof. Joaquin Aparcio- Bolanos is continuing his work on a project initiated through the DHS Summer Research Team (SRT) Program, which seeks to engage faculty, undergraduate and graduate students in research that provides opportunities to better understand the mission and research needs of DHS. Prof. Aparicio-Bolanos received $50,000 in follow-on funding from DHS to continue his research with Prof. Samuel Hernandez at the University of Puerto Rico Mayaguez, related to ““Traces and Detection Limit of RDX, PETN, and AN in Synthetic Skin by Quantum Cascade Laser Based Spectroscopy (HEMs-SYNTH-HS).”

ALERT Research Thrust Leader, Prof. Jimmie Oxley of the University of Rhode Island, is also hosting a new DHS SRT group this summer led by Dr. Sayavur Bakhtiyarov from the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology. They are working on a project titled, “A Complex Variable Method to Predict an Aerodynamics Arbitrary Shape Debris.”

The DHS Office of University Programs sponsors initiatives through the Minority Serving Institutions (MSI) program which are designed to build a cadre of university students and faculty who are well-qualified, diverse and ready to enter the homeland security science and engineering workforce. ALERT has collaborated with MSI institutions many times over the past 8 years through both the DHS Summer Research Team Program for MSIs and the DHS Scientific Leadership Award Program, which are closely linked with the DHS Centers of Excellence (COEs).

Another aspect of this initiative is the DHS Scientific Leadership Award Program, which helps develop enduring homeland security science and engineering research and education programs at MSIs by supporting the development of homeland security science and engineering teaching initiatives, curriculum development and scholarships. In 2014, Prof.. Aschalew Kassu of Alabama A&M University received this award to work with ALERT Research Thrust Leader, Prof. Steve Beaudoin of Purdue and ALERT Education Director, Prof. Steve McKnight of Northeastern on Dr. Kassu’s program titled, “Developing HS-STEM Workforce through Education & Research Emphasis on Explosives Detection Techniques.”

[Photo caption: Prof. Joaquin Aparcio-Bolanos, center]

ALERT Demos Tech at Centers of Excellence Technology Showcase June 28, 2016

On May 19th, ALERT brought its advances in explosives detection research to the 2016 Centers of Excellence Technology Showcase in Washington D.C. The day featured “Chat with an Expert” sessions, informational tables for each center, information on training opportunities, and live demonstrations. The Department of Homeland Security, Science and Technology Directorate, Office of University Programs hosted the showcase at the Ronald Regan Building in Washington D.C. for over 250 government agencies and first responders.

Prof. Jimmie Oxley was on hand for the day for the “Chat with an Expert” sessions which allowed participants to have 10 minutes of one-on-one time with each expert to discuss specific technologies, center research or opportunities for partnership. Prof. Oxley also led ALERT’s live demo of the day – Trace Explosives Aids for Scent (TEAS).

Prof. Oxley’s research team developed a method of polymer encapsulation that is used to create safe trace explosives sources. Their research results show that Polycarbonate microspheres containing only a low percentage of Triacetone Triperoxide (TATP) last for years, yet produce pure TATP vapor when heated at the designated program rate. Although they contain small amounts of actual explosives material, these TEAS are called pseudo-explosives because they have no potential to explode, thus providing users with safe access to stored hazardous explosives at trace levels.

Currently, 29 groups have tested prototypes of ALERT’s training aids, including NY MTA Police, MA State Police, Toronto Police, and industry collaborators such as K-9 Search On Site, and FLIR Systems, Inc.

Travis_DetectaChemALERT

“Travis Kisner, Director of Engineering from Detectachem, talks about the microsphere heater Detectachem developed for use with ALERT’s Trace Explosives Aids for Scent(TEAS)”

The Live Demo

Officer William Qualls and his K-9 partner, Nate, demonstrated how they use TEAS in the field by having attendees hide one of the activated TEAS somewhere in the Showcase space and then Nate worked to find it. Travis Kisner, Director of Engineering from Detectachem, presented the microsphere heater Detectachem developed for use with ALERT’s TEAS. One of Prof. Oxley’s graduate students who worked on the development of TEAS was also on hand for the live demonstration to explain the science behind the tool.

ALERT’s Research and Networking with End Users

The ALERT team of Industry Liaison Emel Bulat and Director of Computer Services, Deanna Beirne presented ALERT technologies and center capabilities to the broad showcase audience. Center tools like VAST, PIMS and MVCTC were highlighted by the team and were of great interest to the participants. Videos and Fact Sheets for each tool were also on display.

The event resulted in dozens of connections for the center and a better understanding of what challenges end users like U.S. Customs and Border Patrol and the Transportation Security Administration are facing. ALERT is looking forward to furthering our linkages with end users and providing solutions to those challenges in our areas of expertise.

[Photo caption: Using ALERT’s Trace Explosives Aids for Scent(TEAS), Officer William Qualls interacts with his K-9 partner Nate as he identifies a bag containing TEAS. Nate sits by the location where he detects explosives.]