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Friday, June 21st, 2024

DARPA’s SIGMA+ program working to detect threats to New York, New Jersey

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Building on past collaboration between DARPA and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey focused on threat detection, DARPA’s SIGMA+ program is actively pursuing an automated, networked, and mobile system for continuous city-scale monitoring.

This monitoring will focus on chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive (CBRNE) threats. Past work has included realistic exercise scenarios, including a three-week capstone program in July, which spanned all 15 Port Authority commands. As a program, SIGMA+ includes the development of advanced chemical, biological and explosive sensors, integrated vehicle designs, real-time monitoring networks, and advanced analytics for threat detection and interdiction.

In July, this suite of sensors was integrated into a small fleet of Port Authority vehicles to allow mobile monitoring throughout New York City and New Jersey. Exercises generated different threat scenarios involving high-value sites, key infrastructure, or local populations as a way to familiarize officers with the systems and develop tactics to utilize their capabilities.

“The partnership with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey over the past seven years on SIGMA and SIGMA+ has been critical to advancing state-of-art capabilities to detect and deter a full range of CBRNE threats,” Mark Wrobel, who managed the program for DARPA’s Defense Sciences Office, said. “This outstanding cooperation enabled DARPA to test cutting-edge technology in the nation’s largest metropolitan region, which significantly sped up the transition from R&D to operational use.”

These SIGMA+ technologies were developed by DARPA performers Physical Sciences, Inc.; Bayspec, Inc.; Battelle; and Two Six Labs. Going forward, the final results of their products will be focused on formally transitioning the integrated sensor platforms to the Port Authority and other stakeholders for long-term threat detection beyond SIGMA+.