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Homeland Security Components

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Homeland Security Centers of Excellence

The Homeland Security Centers of Excellence (HS-Centers) bring together leading experts and researchers to conduct multidisciplinary research and education for homeland security solutions.

The centers are authorized by Congress and chosen by the Department's Science & Technology Directorate through a competitive selection process. Each center is led by a university in collaboration with partners from other institutions, agencies, laboratories, think tanks, and the private sector.


The Center for Border Security and Immigration, led by the University of Arizona in Tucson and the University of Texas at El Paso, will develop technologies, tools and advanced methods to balance immigration and commerce with effective border security, as well as assess threats and vulnerabilities, improve surveillance and screening, analyze immigration trends, and enhance policy and law enforcement efforts.

The Center for Explosives Detection, Mitigation, and Response, led by Northeastern University in Boston, Mass., and the University of Rhode Island in Kingston will evaluate the risks, costs and consequences of terrorism, and will develop new means and methods to protect the nation, focusing on detecting leave-behind Improvised Explosive Devices, enhancing aviation cargo security, providing next-generation baggage screening, detecting liquid explosives, and enhancing suspicious passenger identification.

The Center for Maritime, Island and Port Security, led by the University of Hawaii in Honolulu for maritime and island security and Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, N.J. for port security, will strengthen maritime domain awareness and safeguard populations and properties unique to U.S. islands, ports, and remote and extreme environments. Examples include protecting the Alaskan Pipeline and other infrastructure and enhancing response and recovery plans for natural disaster threats like earthquakes and tsunamis.

The Center for Natural Disasters, Coastal Infrastructure, and Emergency Management, led by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Jackson State University in Jackson, Miss. will enhance the nation's ability to safeguard populations, properties, and economies as it relates to the consequences of catastrophic natural disasters, including hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, earthquakes, droughts, and wildfires. Examples include protecting at-risk infrastructures and populations, enhancing post-catastrophic recovery, improving information sharing and communication, and enhancing critical supply chain resiliency.

The Center for Transportation Security, led by Texas Southern University in Houston, Tougaloo College in Tougaloo, Miss. and the University of Connecticut in Storrs, will develop new technologies, tools and advanced methods to defend, protect and increase the resilience of the nation's multi-modal transportation infrastructure.

The Center for Risk and Economic Analysis of Terrorism Events (CREATE), led by the University of Southern California, evaluates the risks, costs and consequences of terrorism, and guides economically viable investments in countermeasures that will make our Nation safer and more secure.

The National Center for Food Protection and Defense (NCFPD), led by the University of Minnesota, defends the safety of the food system from pre-farm inputs through consumption by establishing best practices, developing new tools and attracting new researchers to prevent, manage and respond to food contamination events.

The National Center for Foreign Animal and Zoonotic Disease Defense (FAZD), led by Texas A&M University, protects against the introduction of high-consequence foreign animal and zoonotic diseases into the United States, with an emphasis on prevention, surveillance, intervention and recovery.

The National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START), led by the University of Maryland, informs decisions on how to disrupt terrorists and terrorist groups, while strengthening the resilience of U.S. citizens to terrorist attacks.

The National Center for the Study of Preparedness and Catastrophic Event Response (PACER), led by Johns Hopkins University, optimizes our nation's preparedness in the event of a high-consequence natural or man-made disaster, as well as develops guidelines to best alleviate the effects of such an event.

The Center for Advancing Microbial Risk Assessment (CAMRA), led by Michigan State University and established jointly with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, fills critical gaps in risk assessments for decontaminating microbiological threats — such as plague and anthrax — answering the question, "How Clean is Safe?"

The University Affiliate Centers to the Institute for Discrete Sciences (IDS-UACs) are led by Rutgers University, the University of Southern California, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the University of Pittsburgh. They collaborate with IDS, based at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, to conduct research on advanced methods for information analysis and the development of computational technologies to protect the Nation.

The Regional Visualization and Analytics Centers (RVACs) are led by Penn State University, Purdue University, Stanford University, the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and the University of Washington. They collaborate with the National Visualization and Analytics Center, based at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, to conduct research on visually based analytic techniques that help people gain insight from complex, conflicting and changing information. 

This page was last reviewed/modified on March 6, 2008.