DHS Celebrating 20 Years of Science and Technology
by Under Secretary for Science and Technology Dimitri Kusnezov
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
It is often said that the Department of
Homeland Security (DHS) rose from the ashes of 9/11.
is also quite evident that the new leadership of the fledgling DHS
understood that to truly secure our nation, an interconnected hub
for innovation in research and development must be established. This
new entity would need to coordinate, fund, fuse, and spur
origination and development throughout the newly conceptualized
homeland security enterprise (HSE). To satisfy that need, as DHS
rose, so did the Science and Technology Directorate (S&T).
Last week, I had the honor of joining my DHS colleagues at the
Department’s own 20th Anniversary commemoration. It became very
clear to me that, while I sometimes still feel a bit like the new
guy, I am in the right place at the right time surrounded by the
best people to get the job done. So, looking back on this
significant anniversary, I’d like to take a moment to say thank you
to the men and women who have dedicated themselves to our country
through their service, especially here at S&T.
The achievements we have accomplished in these two
decades are too vast to list here. They span aviation and border
security, chemical and biological threat reduction, climate change
impact, critical infrastructure resilience, cybersecurity, first
responder support, human trafficking, explosives and opioids
detection, public health security—and that only scratches the
surface of what we do. But most importantly, from a 20,000-foot
perspective, we have continued to successfully embody the
never-ending mission. We have and continue to play our enduring role
in preparing for and protecting our nation from manmade and natural
disasters, and we do that through investments in science and
technology. We do it through collaboration with our local, state,
federal, tribal, and global partners. We do it with a workforce that
is diverse, agile, forward-thinking, creative, and mission focused.
No other agency is as uniquely positioned as
we are to positively impact the HSE in these areas.
A 20th anniversary is indeed a time to look
back, see where we started, and acknowledge our successes. But more
importantly, it is a time to assess what we have learned and apply
it to the future.
That future is coming faster and faster, and
it is less and less predictable. So, while we address the known
issues of today, we also must prepare for the unknown future threats
of tomorrow. We do this by focusing on stringent research,
development, testing and evaluation, evidence-based scientific and
technical findings, and of course, the scientific method. If this
sounds like the basics of good science, you’re absolutely right.
That’s what we do.
There has never been a more exhilarating
time to be in science. The growing maturation of artificial
intelligence, blockchain, and quantum computing could barely be
imagined a generation ago, but they are here, and they are changing
how we are able to prepare for and respond to an evolving threat
landscape. Whether we are providing first responders with
next-generation life-saving protective gear, designing and deploying
sensors to arm agencies with critical real-time data, fortifying our
infrastructure and building resilient communities, teaching school
kids to save lives, or leveraging technology to capture human
traffickers and eradicate child exploitation, this is an era of
unparalleled opportunity for innovation.
We live in a golden
age of science and technology, and S&T is at the cutting edge. I
couldn’t be more excited about what’s on the horizon and how S&T
will help shape the future.
As part of our 20th anniversary
celebration, we recently spoke with every one of S&T’s previous
Under Secretaries. In the months to come, we’ll share their
perspectives on their tenures at S&T, and also their thoughts
regarding the future. Additionally, you’ll hear much more from me
about my vision for where we’ll go from here. I hope you find our
insights thought-provoking and informative.
So, if science,
technology, innovation, and protecting our country gets your blood
pumping, you’re right where (and when) you’re supposed to be.
DHS Science and Technology Directorate |
U.S. Department of Homeland Security