At an American Security Today ceremony earlier this month, the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS’s) Science & Technology Directorate (S&T) found its efforts lauded, taking away four awards for current projects.
The annual ASTOR Homeland Security Awards recognizes physical, IT, and port security, along with law enforcement and emergency response. William Bryan, senior official performing the duties of Under Secretary for Science and Technology for DHS, recognized the honor of such awards and said it was important for their research and development efforts.
“Whether we are working to protect the traveling public, mitigate the effects of disasters, or better equip our nation’s first responders, S&T is making critical investments in technology that will help secure the homeland,” Bryan said.
Among the awarded programs was the Enhanced Dynamic Geo-Social Environment (EDGE), a simulator for first responder training usable in every U.S. jurisdiction. It creates a series of realistic environments and puts responders toward a series of tasks, demanding tactics, techniques, and procedures in addressing critical incidents. It has been provided no cost to first responder agencies.
The Flood Apex Program, which is developing low-cost sensors that send smartphone alerts and warnings to flooding areas, and anticipatory alerts to FEMA, state, and local governments, was another winner, alongside the Resilient Tunnel Plug. The latter is exactly what it sounds like–a giant inflatable plug. It is meant to seal off subway tunnels from the advance of flooding.
The final winner was the Surface Transportation Explosives Threat Detection (STETD) program. STETD is an effort to increase screening capabilities in regards to the traveling public. Its goal is security without sacrificing speed–a historical issue in the face of long lines of travelers.