DHS S&T Announces $36.5M Funding Opportunity for New Center of Excellence

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) announced a $36.5 million funding opportunity for a new DHS Center of Excellence (COE), Engineering Secure Environments from Targeted Attacks (ESE).
“Partnering with universities, S&T delivers practical results by developing multidisciplinary, customer-driven solutions while training the next generation of homeland security experts,” said William Bryan, Acting Under Secretary for Science and Technology. “The challenges we face as a nation are complex. In collaboration with our academic partners, DHS is excited to launch a new COE focused on mitigating long-term threats against our nation’s surface transportation and built environments with novel engineering solutions.”
DHS plans to fund the new COE through a cooperative agreement for 10 years for a total of approximately $36.5 million.
The ESE COE will research and develop solutions to support DHS counterterrorism and violent extremism operations. The COE will help DHS continue fostering a culture of “security by design” by providing intentional and flexible architecture solutions to thwart an adaptive adversary. ESE will also advance a skilled workforce of scientists, technologists, engineers and mathematicians who focus on homeland security-related issues.
Technological advancements and their applications are increasingly complex and integrated into everyday processes. As cities grow larger and density increases across people, buildings, and infrastructure, a potential increase in the frequency or severity of targeted attacks from foreign and domestic terrorism is a legitimate concern. ESE will provide academic-led innovation that supports safer, more resilient transportation systems and communities.
DHS is soliciting proposals from multidisciplinary research and education teams, that will work closely with DHS and other subject-matter experts to develop approaches to strengthen the security of crowded spaces and transportation modalities. The teams will need various combinations of academic disciplines, including engineering, data analytics, and mathematics.
The DHS COEs work closely with DHS operating components to research, develop, and transition mission-relevant science and technology, and educate the next generation of homeland security technical experts. ESE will be required to engage with DHS operational components and fully understand the operational environment to help better identify technical and training gaps. Each DHS COE is led by a U.S. college or university and partners with other federally funded research and development centers, academic institutions, the commercial industry, and other federal, state, and local agencies.

DHS Awards $1.5M to Small Business for First Responder Emergency Alerts Technology Development

As emergency communications technologies adapt to an increasingly interconnected nation, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) today announced it awarded more than $1.5 million to develop an Alerts, Warnings, and Notifications (AWN) Guidance Tool. The program planning app, which will be available through a portal at FEMA's website, is expected to provide customized resources, best practices and program templates to address the most pressing challenges of alert originators, helping public safety agencies at the federal, state, local, tribal and territorial levels disseminate emergency and life-saving information.
“From the devastating wildfires on the West Coast to the very active Atlantic/Caribbean 2020 hurricane season to the ongoing COVID-19 public health emergency, there is a growing need to push actionable information out quickly to the public in order to save lives,” said Antwane Johnson, director of FEMA’s Integrated Public Alert & Warning System (IPAWS) office.
S&T awarded $1,542,113 through its Long-Range Broad Agency Announcement (LRBAA) program to Corner Alliance, Inc., a small business consulting firm based in Washington, D.C. and Boulder, CO. The research and development of this tool is a continuation of S&T’s partnership with FEMA in creating the IPAWS Program Planning Toolkit, aimed at assisting public safety agencies in minimizing alerting delays; planning for future alerts, warnings and notifications enhancements; facilitating interoperability across different technologies; and improving information sharing among emergency management and public safety officials.
“First responders rely on information to make life saving decisions, often with very little time to spare,” noted William Bryan, DHS Senior Official Performing the Duties of the Under Secretary for Science and Technology. “This tool will help public safety agencies respond quickly and decisively during emergencies or catastrophic events, and that allows the greater homeland security enterprise to be more prepared and resilient.”
The documents in the IPAWS Program Planning Toolkit were produced based on recent innovative changes to technology and derived from the collection of successful practices and lessons learned from hundreds of data points from stakeholders, including emergency managers, public information officers, alerting originators and administrators, and alerting experts.
“FEMA and DHS S&T plan to expand the toolkit into an online, user-friendly format that will allow stakeholders to download and print pre-filled planning documents with their information,” said DHS S&T Program Manager Norman Speicher. “Through this development, our team will continue utilizing a stakeholder validation process.”
To learn more about the LRBAA program, please visit https://www.dhs.gov/science-and-technology/st-lrbaa.

US Partnering with Cyprus on a Training Centre for Port and Border Security, known as CYCLOPS

This $5 million training facility donated by the United States will be owned and operated by the Republic of Cyprus and will allow international partners to train in a dedicated facility with cutting edge equipment. Here, experts from the region will receive state of the art instruction in border security, customs and export controls, port and maritime security, and cybersecurity.

A mobile cyber security training laboratory will allow regional partners to learn best practices to secure their critical infrastructure and engage in cross-border cyber investigations. These training platforms will serve as a hub that works in close association with partner countries in the Mediterranean, the Middle East, and elsewhere.

The CYCLOPS center is just one important result of continuing American engagement in the Eastern Mediterranean region and of the strong relationship between the United States and the Republic of Cyprus. We look forward to continuing our security partnership with the Republic of Cyprus and the region in the coming years.