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Innovation, research and development strategic plan prepares DHS for future Homeland Security challenges  

WASHINGTON, USA – The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released the first-ever department-wide Innovation, Research and Development (IRD) Strategic Plan, articulating key investment goals over the next seven fiscal years. Developed at the direction of Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas, the Strategic Plan serves as a blueprint for DHS to keep pace with technology by leveraging research and development to address homeland security challenges.

“This visionary roadmap, informed by scientific efforts, will empower DHS and its components to reduce risks to the homeland through optimized innovation, research and development investments,” said Dr Dimitri Kusnezov, DHS Under Secretary for Science and Technology. “The technologies resulting from our IRD investments play a critical role in equipping the Department’s front-line operators with necessary tools to outpace our adversaries and enhance our preparedness and response capabilities.”

In 2022, Secretary Mayorkas tasked the DHS Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) with examining DHS’s execution of research and development (R&D), including through developing a coordinated strategy focused on areas for long-term Departmental research. The resulting IRD Strategic Plan will help the Department and its partners make coordinated, integrated investments. In addition to capturing current IRD efforts already underway – compiling data from every DHS component and office – it provides an overview of complementary efforts led by federal, state, local, tribal, territorial, nongovernmental and private sector entities.

From this analysis of common research fields, the plan highlights eight Strategic Priority Research Areas (SPRAs) and future capabilities that DHS needs across its missions. The SPRAs will enhance the coordination of R&D across DHS while giving a demand signal for industry, interagency, academic, and international communities about future partnership opportunities. The Strategic Priority Research Areas for Fiscal Years 2024-2030 are:

  • Advanced Sensing – next-generation sensor capabilities to provide enhanced detection performance against a broad spectrum of threats.
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Autonomous Systems – automated technologies to provide predictions, recommendations, or decisions across a wide variety of operating environments, including means to deal with adversarial AI.
  • Biotechnology – augmented capabilities to predict, detect, and defend against current and emerging bioagents and biotechnologies of concern.
  • Climate Change – technologies to strengthen climate adaptation/resilience, improve equity, protect critical infrastructure, and reduce carbon emissions.
  • Communications and Networking – enhanced communications and networking capabilities, while maintaining security and resiliency.
  • Cybersecurity – enhanced resiliency, protection, and operational assurance across data, software, hardware, and communications networks.
  • Data Integration, Analytics, Modeling and Simulation – enhanced, integrated data ecosystems, analytics, and modeling to enable better and more accurate data-driven insights, predictions, and decisions.
  • Digital Identity and Trust – enhanced capabilities to establish and verify both individuals’ identities and the validity, integrity, and privacy of associated data.

In collaboration with stakeholders from across DHS, S&T is advancing implementation of the Strategic Plan by developing IRD investment roadmaps for each SPRA. These roadmaps will inform the Department’s budget process for FY 2027 and beyond.

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