Last week the House Homeland Security Committee held a hearing looking at the DHS Science and Technology directorate, at which newly-confirmed DHS Undersecretary Jay Cohen unveiled the long-rumored plans to reorganize the directorate. The reorganization simplifies S&T’s organization, putting all programs into six mission-focused directorates:
â€¢ Energetics â€“ i.e., Aviation Security; Mass Transit Security; Counter MANPADS
â€¢ Chem/Bio â€“ i.e., Chem/Bio Countermeasure R&D; Threat Characterization; Ops; and Agro-Defense; Bio-surveillance , Response & Recovery
â€¢ C4ISR- i.e.,(Information management, information sharing, situational awareness) â€“ i.e., Interoperability and Compatibility; Intel/ Info sharing, Screening, Cyber Security R&D
â€¢ Borders/Maritime â€“ i.e., Land Borders, Maritime/USCG, Cargo
â€¢ Human Factors â€“ i.e., Social-behavioral- Terrorist Intent, Human response to Incidents, Biometrics
â€¢ Infrastructure/Geophysical Science â€“ i.e., Critical Infrastructure Protection, Regional State and Local Preparedness and Response, Geophysics
These changes, which shift the directorate away from its prior ‘functional’ org chart, largely make sense. Together with the related announced initiatives on S&T’s strategies for research prioritization, human resources, and finance, and Adm. Cohen’s track record at the Office of Naval Research, I’m expecting real progress in the coming months and years at S&T. One minor quibble with this new organization: the distinction between the “energetics” and “borders/maritime” areas are somewhat unclear to me, and hopefully research in these two related areas will not be excessively siloed.