Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate: Developing Technology to Protect America

June 2009 - In response to a congressional mandate and in consultation with Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T), the National Academy conducted a review of S&T’s effectiveness and efficiency in addressing homeland security needs.

This review included a particular focus that identified any unnecessary duplication of effort, and opportunity costs arising from an emphasis on homeland security-related research. Under the direction of the National Academy Panel, the study team reviewed a wide variety of documents related to S&T and homeland security-related research in general. The team also conducted interviews with more than 200 individuals, including S&T officials and staff, officials from other DHS component agencies, other federal agencies engaged in homeland security-related research, and experts from outside government in science policy, homeland security-related research and other scientific fields.

Key Findings

The results of this effort indicated that S&T faces a significant challenge in marshaling the resources of multiple federal agencies to work together to develop a homeland security-related strategic plan for all agencies. Yet the importance of this role should not be underestimated. The very process of working across agencies to develop and align the federal homeland security research enterprise around a forward-focused plan is critical to ensuring that future efforts support a common vision and goals, and that the metrics by which to measure national progress, and make changes as needed, are in place.