ALERT seeks to conduct transformational research, technology and educational development for effective characterization, detection, mitigation and response to the explosives-related threats facing the country and the world. The ALERT research program is driven by inspiring challenges such as ultra-reliable screening, explosives detection at a distance, or unequivocal pre- and post-blast mitigation. These challenges have defined the four core fundamental science research thrusts: Explosives Characterization (F1), Explosives Sensors (F2), Explosive Sensor Systems (F3), and Blast Mitigation (F4). Examples of cutting-edge projects within these thrusts include: study of new improvised explosives, stand-off terahertz spectroscopy, multi-modality imaging, and blast-resistant composite materials. With the collaboration of its industrial and national laboratory partners, ALERT will also focus on transitioning research into fieldable systems such as a multi-mode suicide bomber detection system. Researchers from the partnership bring strengths in advanced sensor design, standoff weak-target detection, signal processing, and sensor integration, explosives characterization, improvised explosive device (IED) detonator signatures, shock physics, and material science. Combined with national lab affiliates and other strategic academic, industrial, and government partners, they form a team capable of carrying out the daunting ALERT mission. A key ALERT objective is to build an outstanding educational program that includes precollege, undergraduate, graduate and career professional components. Examples include distance-learning courses in Homeland Security Technologies, an Engineering Leadership Program available to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) personnel nationwide, and a "High-Tech Tools and Toys" lab for college freshmen. Workshops and short courses will be developed to review new threat detection and mitigation technologies for first responders such as the Secret Service, Transportation Safety Administration, police, firefighters, and emergency medical technicians.