The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) worked alongside colleagues in the United Kingdom and Canada in June to test the latest iteration of the Science Advisory Guide for Emergencies (SAGE).
SAGE is a supplemental tool that maintains scientific and technical best practices for matters of homeland security, whether they are threats, emergencies, or disasters. The trilateral efforts in June focused on a hypothetical public health threat, weaving together an exercise that allowed experts to test best practices and capability gaps, find each nation’s particular shortcomings and assess obstacles to information sharing which could prove critical in times of crisis.
“S&T leadership recognizes the importance of science and technology in preparing for, responding to, and recovering from emergencies,” S&T Acting Deputy Under Secretary André Hentz said. “Establishing best practices in partnership with our Canadian and UK allies through a program like SAGE is an important part of ensuring that we are always ready to provide the best advice for protecting the homeland.”
Once the simulated threat was assessed and the proper responders identified, the U.S. response activated SAGE and the DHS Secretary provided with expert-weighed answers to inform response decisions. DHS notes a strong outcome, with quick communication between S&T leadership and experts in a variety of fields, allowing for rapid response.
Both Canadian and British officials praised the opportunities offered by the exercise and the insights it has provided. The hope going forward is to make SAGE recognized department-wide at DHS and to get other departments involved for smoother coordination and security response.