S&T Insights Outreach: R&D Addressing DHS Missions | Priorities, Partnerships, and Demand Signals

S&T Insights Outreach: R&D Addressing DHS Missions | Priorities, Partnerships, and Demand Signals

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♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ Connie: All right, well, hello, everyone, and thank you for joining us today for the eighth webinar in the Insights Outreach series hosted by the DHS Science & Technology Office of Industry Partnerships. In this series, we want to help you navigate S&T's partnership opportunities, understand DHS mission needs, and identify paths to funding to help get the best Homeland Security solutions to market faster. We invite you to join us the first Tuesday of every month for the webinar series. You can find a list of upcoming webinars and recordings of our previous videos on the DHS S&T Events page. During today's webinar, you will learn how S&T works with the DHS operational components to identify capability gaps and turn those research and development needs into technologies through a variety of funding and commercialization mechanisms. We have invited our partners from the DHS Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Office to speak a little later on in the presentation, so you'll hear from them soon enough.

And just a little housekeeping. If you have any questions or comments, be sure to put them in the Q&A chat box and we will address them later in the webinar during the Q&A session. With that, I think we're ready to get started, so I will introduce Jon McEntee, S&T's operations and requirements analysis director. Jon? Jon McEntee: Thanks, Connie.

Can we go and go to the first slide, please? One thing I want to do is kind of bring us back to the history of DHS. After the 9/11 attacks of 2001, the Homeland Security Act of 2002 sought to unify, integrate, 22 federal agencies and departments to improve Homeland Security Enterprise, thus the creation of DHS. And S&T was formed shortly thereafter in March of 2003, to be the science advisor for the secretary of Homeland Security and to be the R&D arm for the Department. Now, S&T overall, we provide research development test evaluation for the DHS operational components to carry out the missions of preventing terrorism, enhancing security, securing and managing our borders, safeguarding and securing cyberspace, and ensuring resilience to disasters. So overall, we do have a cadre, and we recruit top-notch scientists, engineers, and program managers from across the country, and across the world, to enable RDT&E in a timely fashion to transition capabilities to the Homeland Security Enterprise.

Our partnership with the end user community is critical in the success, and our job is to ensure their high-priority needs are met. In addition to having R&D appropriations that meet high-priority needs from operational components, S&T has core and enduring research labs: chemical, biological, transportation, animal disease control, and urban security. We have university-based Centers of Excellence that align to the Department mission sense, technology centers that house our technical subject matter experts. They look at enduring science--sciences, innovative systems, and advanced computing.

We also maintain 14 international bilateral agreements for the Department. We manage the Department's federally funded research and development centers, one of them being the Systems and Engineering and Development Institute. That one's currently being managed by MITRE, and the Homeland Security Operational Analysis Center, currently being managed by RAND.

And we also leverage the Department of Energy, Department of Defense partners on several activities to strengthen homeland security. Next slide please. So we have what we call a blueprint model, and this is the basis which we establish a process within S&T to ensure that we perform due diligence before we invest in any R&D activities. It's pretty simple.

First, you need to understand the needs from your component customers. You apply that delivered approach and you execute efficiently and effectively. It's pretty simple at that level, but I think everybody knows there's a lot more involved in that. But when we first get a requirement or a need from a component, it has to be prioritized, and that's why component or customer engagement is critical to our operation because we're all limited by resources that are available, so we have to ensure that we're meeting customers' top priority requirements and also ensuring that we align to the Hill, to the White House, and our DHS leadership for overall Homeland Security Enterprise priorities.

So once you get the priorities set, you build your requirements with your components and better understanding, "What is the requirement that we're trying to solve," before we invest any of the resources. And so after you get the requirements and understand it, the who, what, where, why, when, and how, then you have to go and do a market research. This is called technology scouting. So this is something that we do within S&T as part of our core enduring capabilities. We don't want to reinvent the wheel.

What we do is we scan the market, we look to see if there's any commercially available solutions, and we also look at our government partners. We look at government solutions as well, and to see if there's anything that we can leverage to meet our Homeland Security Enterprise customer needs. And then, once you scan the market, it gives you the baseline in understanding the state of technology, and then where we need to invest further research and development to meet those requirements.

And then we perform implementation and program management. And this is the longest piece of the investment. But up to that point, we want to have all those discussions and doing our homework and understanding what is available before we invest R&D dollars. And then, during that program management phase, it is extremely important that we're thinking transitions because our end goal is to deliver capabilities to our customers. And transition planning has to happen early, often, and throughout the R&D lifecycle. And what's also important is that our customers are involved through that whole lifecycle as well.

Next slide please. And so with that, we have integrated product teams where we consult with our customers because S&T, we only have R&D appropriations to perform these investments. We don't have the ability to procure and sustain the capabilities once they're done.

That is up to the DHS operational components. So you see to the right, all the different DHS components that we serve in the Department. These are our customers.

These are the ones that will procure and sustain those capabilities once we prove the capability can work. But what's important is that, again, we work with them throughout the lifecycle because, DHS, we plan many years out, and we have to ensure that there's a home for the technology before we make those long-term investments. And that the components have to wedge the funds or have an existing program of record for the technology to transition to. So we know priorities change, and these IPTs are ongoing.

They don't just happen once or twice a year. They're throughout the year, because as threats emerge, priorities change, and we need to be agile enough to make those adjustments and ensure that our end users get the capabilities that they need. And one other thing that I do want to mention is that when we collect the requirements from the components, we also do additional due diligence. If we see common denominators across components, we want to invest in those as well. Those kind of tend to rise to the top because if we see multiple components that have a similar need, that is the best bang for our R&D dollar, and so those tend to rise to the top. Yes, we want to make sure that we get the components' top priorities, but we also want to look at those things that benefit multiple components.

Those singular R&D investments that have multiple end users. For example, our counter-UAS R&D efforts. We currently serve five different component customers and I think that's fantastic. Instead of having five individual R&D activities with five different components, we have one core R&D effort where the department benefits from the technological state investments for the entire program itself. Next slide please. And so these are some of the areas that we tend to focus investment on.

Again, if you see these, these usually are not singular, specific to components. One of the reasons S&T exists is to perform that analysis and look at those and make those investments that create economies of scale and allow us to invest to benefit the entire Homeland Security Enterprise as a whole. I mentioned counter-UAS. Biometrics is another one.

TSA, CDP, Secret Service. We have a lot of customers, OBIM, have a lot of customers in the biometrics realm. And you can say that across all the major investment areas that S&T is doing.

And again, instead of having singular R&D activities spread across the Department, we have core R&D activities that serve the entire Homeland Security Enterprise. And with that, next slide. I believe that's my last slide. Thank you.

Greg Wigton: Great, thanks, Jon. So, everyone, my name is Greg Wigton. I'm the program liaison for the Office of Industry Partnerships, and I'll be your host for today's Fireside Chat. So, thanks, Jon, for that overview of how S&T works to set priorities for DHS S&T. I'd like to also welcome Dr. Angela Ervin to join us for a larger discussion on our customer engagement and where we get our requirements.

Dr. Ervin is the DHS S&T portfolio manager for Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction, and acting portfolio manager for First Responders. Angela, welcome to today's Fireside Chat. Would you be able to introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about your role within DHS S&T.

Angela Ervin: --thanks, Greg. As Greg said, my name is Angela Ervin and I am the portfolio manager for working with CWMD Office, Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction, one of our components. First, I'd like to discuss what a portfolio means, just to level-set.

A portfolio is a collection of programs, projects, and operations which are grouped together to facilitate effective management, and to meet a customer or component's strategic objectives. Portfolio managers have a critical role. They lead--they have the lead responsibility and accountability for component engagement.

And Jon stressed the importance of that to S&T. Portfolio managers are responsible for leading and coordinating S&T IPT engagements with their assigned DHS component, and to identify capability gaps or requirements which are then prioritized and approved by the IPT. So, Jon was showing different steps we take towards initiation of a project. This is step number one. Once we have a list of those high-priority projects, the top gaps are inserted into what Jon mentioned was the blueprint model. We call it the BPF, the Blueprint Process Flow.

These gaps are decomposed by an S&T team, which means the portfolio manager and the component supporters of that gap and, again, another internal S&T team work together to refine the requirement narratives. Let's get down to what we really are asking for. So, we got description, the shortfalls, current shortfalls, benefit if success is realized, metrics, use cases, et cetera. Then the gap moves into what we call the solution analysis phase and the business case analysis phase, and this is where another group within S&T looks at possible solutions that may exist and, if not, what kind of R&D might be out there at a basic level that we should consider when we're thinking about a project.

The business case analysis looks at costs. So these all work together to set the platform for a potential project. At this point, once these analyses are complete, the PFM, the portfolio manager, hands off the responsibility to a program manager. The program manager will work towards project initiation and possibly execution.

The portfolio manager stays engaged as well as the component throughout this process. So we work as a matrix team. Once we get the appropriate approvals, then a project can be initiated. So it's important that PF--that portfolio managers work as a team so there are about eight or nine portfolio managers which work with the components, the 12 components that Jon had listed on his slide. As he said, we are very keen to make sure that we understand each other's requirements because, quite often, you will have overlap of requirements. Take, for example, the CB area, the chem-bio area, a lot of components have needs in that area.

So cross-fertilization is critical. Finally, the PFMs, or the portfolio managers, get to use their technical expertise and network to work with PMs, bringing emerging technologies to the complimentary R&D activities to ensure we are funding the most scientifically relevant research and to reduce redundancy with other government agencies. Portfolio managers spend a great deal of time networking with their cohorts in other government agencies, DoD, USDA, as an example. Thanks for the opportunity to describe that, Greg. Greg: Great, thanks, Angela, very well said. So to get us started, I want to circle back to this customer engagement aspect that Jon was talking about and how do we get our requirements or the demand signals from our customers.

Angela, could you talk about the different organizations and entities that we engage with. You named a couple of components already, but which ones do you specifically work with and do we also get demand signals from any other groups besides components? Angela: Yes, yes, of course we do. As I mentioned, the chem-bio--CBR threat is huge and applicable to many of the different components that were listed on Jon's previous slide. My particular component that I work with regularly is the CWMD Office, Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction.

That's my assigned component. It shouldn't be any surprise, however, that I also work with Secret Service, TSA, the CBP, US Coastguard, the First Responder community, CISA, so many, many. I probably work--touchpoint almost all of the components, 12 components, that Jon had listed on his slide. So, remember that we are--S&T is the research arm, the R&D arm, for DHS. So our components come to us with their requirements and we, you know, use our S&T dollars to try to come up with solutions to help their operational missions.

We also will get some requests from Congress. I think Jon mentioned this as well, the Hill, the secretary of DHS, and we work closely with DoD, DoJ, DPA, to reduce the redundancies across the federal government. So we often have joint projects so that we can pool our funding together since we're working towards the same end.

The demand signals are plentiful, and we always look for overlap so that we can satisfy more customer needs. Greg: Great, thank you. Now, you both have a role of setting the priorities for DHS S&T because of your engagement with our customers and partners. Could you each take a second to talk about how your groups collaborate to identify and prioritize those requirements, and Jon, I'll start with you. Jon: Yeah, sure, I mean, I mentioned earlier that, you know, the component priorities are absolutely critical, key.

As Angela mentioned, that's why we have individual integrated product teams with those individual components. And we actually have charters set up with them, and it's critical that we have identified individuals and entities within those organizations that can speak on their behalf because, right now, what we don't want to do is tell the customers what their priorities are. That's not our job. So it is their side to tell us what their want end list is. And that's why we establish these IPTs, and so Angela's a portfolio manager and has a counterpart that she works with on a regular basis. And we also have senior executives, counterparts on both sides of the organization, to ensure that we have strategic oversight.

And those priority lists that come from the components. Again, the components establish their own internal priority methods and methodologies. When we collect those needs and those priorities, I mentioned earlier too, that we do--we want to ensure that we're making and investing and meeting the goals and priorities of the components, but we're also looking at it from the Homeland Security Enterprise perspective. For example, if I see a number five, you know, we'll say, you know, five, a number five priority from TSA and a number eight priority from Coastguard on biometrics and a number six priority from Secret Service on biometrics, we're gonna invest in biometrics because it's cross component. And it also enables other components to take advantage of those R&D investments for their own internal uses as well. And it level-sets the state of technology so that we don't have a mismatch of an obsolete capability here versus, you know, something that is more high-end.

And, again, the Hill plays an important role in priorities, so does the administration. Those also impact as well and Angela mentioned the S1. I do wanna throw something out there too, though. Those are the requirements' full aspect of S&T. We also have a tech push aspect of S&T where, I mentioned earlier, our tech centers, our national labs, some of our SBIR programs, those are looking at innovative enduring capabilities.

So, yes, we're collecting some of those long-term needs, but we're also scanning the market to look over the horizon. And those are areas where we engage with industry on their thoughts, their ideas. So that's another aspect and angle that we haven't really discussed, but you know, there is a tech push aspect at S&T as well. Thank you. Greg: Great, thanks. Good information.

Angela, would you like to add anything on the cross collaboration within S&T? Angela: I think, really, Jon hit it on the head with the IPT. These are our groups that allow us to increase transparency with our components or our customers. I think that's critical. We've also--S&T has undergone some changes, and we're working in more of a matrix environment. This increases transparency amongst all the various groups within S&T.

And so these things coming together will allow us to be more confident about the requirements we pull in, and of course, the push that he--that Jon just mentioned is also a critical piece, but will allow us to get solutions to our components and our customers faster and more efficiently. Greg: Great, thanks. So I think this is a good opportunity to bring up how you engage with industry partnerships and the ways that we connect and turn those needs into solicitations and other funding opportunities. For the audience, if you've participated in other industry outreach events, you know that Office of Industry Partnership's mission is to engage with the private sector so we can tap into innovative ideas and address R&D needs. So the processes that Jon and Angela outlined, as gaps come in and go through the decomposition, through solutions approach analysis, business case analysis, and then to execution, during that process, OIP is notified and consulted throughout. So we have an idea of what kind of gaps are coming in, what they may look like, and what the, you know, best target industry audience may be to fulfill those needs.

We really see our input beginning at the project pitch phase and supporting the program managers just prior to execution, but our input and what they're doing is really building on what Jon and Angela have already accomplished throughout this business process flow. So, Jon, another thing you mentioned earlier is emerging threats. I know our customers come and talk to us about their challenges, but how do we go back to them and discuss what we're seeing in terms of emerging threats and helping keep them aware? Jon: Yeah, I mean, so counter-UAS is a perfect example, and I want to go back about six years.

This is an area--again, it was a tech push effort, and we'd never had a requirement for counter-UAS about six years ago. This was something that S&T, you know, did some internal analysis in working with our partners from across federal government entities and said, "Hey, this is coming to a theater near you." And so we initiated a lot of that R&D early on, and so that now we're at a phase in the program where, you know, we're identifying those capabilities for components to make those procurements and those requisitions.

So and--but the critical piece of that is that we engage with the components throughout this, through the development, because right now the components don't want to procure something if it doesn't work. And it's hard for them to wedge money in the out years and, you know, so we have to ensure that the capability will meet their needs before anything's transitioned to them. Another area that I would say is the COVID-19 situation. You know, we invested in our labs, our biological labs, to, you know, assist with these areas, and because we had those enduring capabilities, we were able to respond quickly.

So it's still critical, no matter what you do, if we have a tech push item, we have to communicate that with the customers because, at the end of the day, you know, they will have to be the ones to transition the capability. However, I do--you know, there is one caveat there. S&T, we do have internal capabilities through our labs and our tech centers as well. So some of those items do transition internally. And that's why it's critical for us to engage with industry as well as other partners about some of those future threats that we all need to be prepared for.

And then, I'll pass it over to Angela if she has anything else to add. Angela: The only thing I might add is that we are working hard to also look at long-term strategies. So, asking our components questions like, "What keeps you up at night?" or "Where would you wanna be in ten--see in ten years?" So in addition to addressing needs that we have right now, we're also exploring that the out--the outward year's space. It's important to kind of prep up.

And I wanna make a--I wanna put in a plug for our tech centers. In our tech centers, as part of our matrix partner, we have subject matter experts. These are experts in their given field as well as science advisors, senior science advisors, that we leverage quite heavily, to help us not only, you know, work out the gaps and fill in some of the technology that might be missing, but keep an eye on these emerging areas so that we're not blindsided, right? We wanna try to be best prepared for the unknown, as hard as that is.

So that's just a little plug for the TCD folks who are critical. Greg: Yeah, perfect, great, and I think the message is, you know, we're very engaged with industry. It's not a one-way street where we're just accepting gaps and going doing work, but we're really engaged and having those conversations and trying to understand what the future of threats may look like as well. So, Jon, Angela, thank you for participating today. I think we provided a lot of great information for our audience today. I'll now turn it over to Angela as she's going to discuss some highlights of her customer collaborations.

Angela? Angela: Can I have the slides please? Thank you, Greg. Okay, again, I'm Angela Ervin. I am the S&T CWMD portfolio manager.

I'm happy to have with me today two representatives from the Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Office, who will give a little bit--provide input to the discussion in a little bit. So, next slide please. So I think we've covered this but I'm just going to do this one--use this one graphic to give you a picture of the process from customer needs through project execution. And what I want to point out that really isn't shown on this slide, I wish I'd put it on the slide. I apologize for that, but the matrix partners that make this happen, they're critical. There are a number of groups within S&T and the components which work to take in our customer needs, to decompose those needs into gaps that are well-flushed out, and validate that gap with the customer so we go back and say, "This is what we think the gap is.

These are the performance parameters and the metrics. Do you agree?" Then the solution analysis team looks at possible solutions, and the funding is evaluated and, again, within this process we do engage the customer to say, "These are our solutions that we have found. Which is preferred?" There could be more than one approach that's preferred. That's fine. So we'll talk about that.

Then the program manager starts with the project planning, approvals associated with initiation of the project, resourcing, execution. And again, I'd remind us all that this is done in a matrix. This is done as a team, not in a vacuum. Things aren't pushed over the side and then the portfolio manager, for example, goes off and does something else. They stay engaged in this process.

Our subject matter experts are engaged in this process as well. So this is just a nice graphic to keep the overall model in place--in your mind. Next slide please.

So, some successful collaborations that have come out of interactions with CWMD, with groups--from groups, R&D groups within S&T. We--I think Jon mentioned, are biological labs being a very important part of what we do, they also--the group within Panther was responsible for risk assessments, to BD 21. BD 21 program is a CWMD acquisition program, and if Jon or Marissa, when they talk, if they want to speak to that, I'll let them. But it's a major acquisition. So we supported that by providing assessments of biological threats.

We also did a work, a lot of work, Panther did, and NBACC, in the laboratory, securing laboratory data on decay rates and decomposition with respect to the SARS COVID--the COVID SARS virus. So we had a lot of contribution here, and in fact, I don't know if many folks remember, our acting undersecretary at the time gave a presentation at one of President Trump's weekly briefings or daily briefings on the SARS. So that is--this data came from the group that is within S&T and working with NBACC.

We have established this CWMD R&D coordination IPT. This has been critical to initiate collaboration with this office. I think we've done a lot of work in the last year, year and a half.

And I'm excited to be able to announce Marissa Giles. Marissa is the R&D branch chief from CWMD, and I'd like to get her perspective on what she sees this newly formed IPT executing and her feelings on the collaborations that have been happening over the year and a half and what we're all looking forward to in the near future. So, Marissa, over to you. Marissa Giles: Thanks, Angela.

Yeah, so as Angela said, my name is Marissa Giles. I am the branch chief with the Research and Development Division of CWMD, so yes, I did say research and development, so just to make sure everybody's on the same page: CWMD is this very unique office within DHS where we do conduct research and development. We also gather requirements from operators and we also have procurement funding for acquisitions. So it's incredibly important that when you have two offices in DHS that are conducting research and development, that those two offices coordinate with each other to make sure that we're addressing the requirements from the components in the appropriate way with the limited resources that we have, that we're not duplicating worth--excuse me, duplicating work and that we're also leveraging each other's resources.

So that really is the objective of this IPT is to bring the two offices together to make sure that we're executing our R&D investments wisely. This is really exciting. It's--there's already been a lot of coordination between the two groups even before this IPT was stood up, as you heard Angela mention. You know, I think for the future, this will just continue to grow.

I believe that there will be a lot of areas in the CBRN space where the two groups will continue to invest. You see more about this on the BD 21 but I--this will come up with chemical detection, I'm sure, in the near future as well. You know, it's--this is vital.

It's a key part of what we do to support the DHS operators. You know, it's really important that we have our finger on the button of these emerging technology needs to address these emerging threats in order to support the operators. So, Angela, with that, I will turn it back to you. Thank you.

Angela: Thank you, Marissa. Next slide please. Some other successful collaborations in terms of supporting BD 21. Many--several SMEs, subject matter experts, within S&T contributed to what is known as an operational requirements document. This is part of the acquisition cycle. It's one of the--it's an important document which is required to move forward, and so there was a lot of time spent on assisting in that development of that document.

Critical testing event which is coming up in October: S&T's holding their Urban Transport Dispersion testing event in New York City, and we're partnering with many agencies, one of which is the CWMD and the BD 21 program. If you wanna know more about this, please reach out to me, but this is a significant event where we're gonna release bio simulants and chem simulants and we're gonna track the spread underground in the subway and above. So a major, major event for many organizations, but in particular, S&T has spent a lot of time on the development, getting ready for this event.

Finally, we are ramping up our activities in the FAVD Research, Development, Testing area, and we have an evaluation plan that is joint between CWMD and S&T, and so this is exciting for us. I think these are some of the copies of the reports I'm talking about on the slide. This is exciting for us because this is an important area for animal research, and we're looking forward to being able to execute more in this particular area. Next slide please. In the future, we're looking at several things, and again, this is a matrix activity.

This is multi-government activity. We are looking at developing detectors that can do more than one thing, so they have more than one function, so whenever I talk about this particular program, I like to say the tricorder that we all know from "Star Trek." Of course, that is a pipe dream. That's very difficult, maybe someday, but we have to work towards that end game. So we will be working there.

We will be looking at field deployable biological detectors. We will be looking at wide area surveillance systems, stand-off systems, data analytics, machine learning, artificial intelligence. These are all things that will be seeing some more active research over the next several years.

And finally, near-term, we will be looking at risk assessments for the food and ag sector, food supply chain, this sort of thing. So these are some of our future activities. Next slide please. Okay, that was my last slide, obviously. Now what I would like to do is invite Jon Totte to speak.

Jon is the director of requirements in CWMD, and I'd like to hear from Jon. Give us some perspective on this new coordination in IPT and maybe some thoughts on improvements you have seen between the two organizations over the last year or two. Jon Totte: Sure, thank you, Angela, for the opportunity. So, when we embarked on our revision to the requirements process, we wanted to really keep in mind the operational end user.

And we wanted to create a process that was relatively easy for them to use. We didn't want our requirements generation process to be burdensome. So we threw together a templated form that any one of our operational component partners could use at any time throughout the course of the year to write down a capability gap that they have within their component organization. And we really wanted them to focus those on, "Hey, what's the capability gap," without trying to derive and tell us the preordained solution to fill those capability gaps. So over the course of the last two years, we've had quite a lot of success in getting capability gaps from our component partners through this process, really over the continuous calendar year.

In turn, we take those capability gaps and we have a prioritization working group that we have established, which is made up of all of our component partners, and annually, in the lead-up to the budget build, we prioritize all the capability gaps that we have currently on file, that are not closed out, that are things that need to be addressed. Once we get the prioritization list, we look for one of the solution courses of action that we should be able to take in order to close those gaps. Is this a training solution that could help close the gap? Is there a research and development need for something that we probably know doesn't exist? Can we work with our Rapid Capabilities Division to work for a commercial off-the-shelf solution? So we go through kind of the--options that we have in front of us to try to close those gaps. Now, where S&T and the partnership comes in, since we have our own R&D group that Marissa alluded to, we first work through our research and development team within CWMD to say, "Hey, we have a need here. We can't fill this with rapid capability, something off-the-shelf that either DoD has or industry's already built."

And we work through Angela to S&T and through the IPT to coordinate how we can get this thing in the right place for a solution development, and leverage the expertise, the connections, and the skills that may reside within either the R&D or S&T to best handle and address those capability gaps that we have. And we've been really successful so far in starting to funnel those things to the right place so that they can be worked on by the best people to take on those capability gaps. And I'll pause there and see if there's any follow-up, Angela. Over. Angela: Thank you, Jon.

Actually, I have follow-up in that CWMD is unique in that it is an R&D organization just like we are, S&T, and you did institute a--you do have a requirement whole process. We are planning to take the output from your process into our IPT so that things that CWMD R&D may not wanna tackle could be considered for S&T. So this is unique for CWMD being one of the R&D organizations.

I think there's only six or so DHS components that are-- have R&D funding. So this is even more critical for us, and we have two streams of funding, if you will, to tap into. So, thanks for bringing that up.

I had failed to mention that. Okay, Greg, I--unless there's any questions, I think back to you. Connie: Okay, Angela, I'm gonna-- you get to throw it over to me real fast, but we're gonna move into Q&A in just a minute here, and so I'm gonna invite Jon McEntee back on as well. Before we do that, and we do wanna give people the opportunity to put their--or to, yeah, we'll have the slides up onscreen in just a second, but we do wanna give people the opportunity to put their questions in the Q&A chat box. So I just wanna really quickly go over a few resources that we've discussed today, and I might actually have Jon McEntee talk about the first one, but we'll circle back to that.

The second resource that we have here, and you know, we certainly want for our participants and the attendees today to connect with us, you know, there is somebody that is always on the other side of an email here. That second email, the DHS CWMD Industry Engagement team, I'll put these links in the chat and these emails in the chat in just a second, but the CWMD Industry Engagement team can help coordinate a meeting with vendors to permit--to present technologies to CWMD so, you know, that if you are a member of industry and you want to talk to CWMD, that's one of the, you know, that's the email for you. Scrolling down to that next "Work with S&T website," well, that's how, you know, at DHS S&T, that's how you can find out a lot about how to work with us. Everything from our innovation funding programs and our commercialization opportunities as well. Another thing to note, that "Industry Outreach Form," where you'll see kind of in the bottom right of the screen there, we would love to hear about your technologies, DHS S&T.

This is our form for you. So if you actually fill that out and then send it back to us, we are more than happy to engage with you and, you know, get connected that way. Jon, I do know that we were gonna mention the--actually, Jon McEntee, not Jon Totte. But, yeah, so Jon McEntee, we were gonna mention the S&T technology scouting as well. So I don't know if you just have a quick word to say about that? Jon McEntee: Yeah, I mean, this is one of the mechanisms in which we scan the market for technological states and maturity, and so, you know, part of their positions and roles in not just S&T, but the Department because we get a lot of requests across the components, is that they have, you know, if you remember, there's something that was called a Rolodex.

So, essentially, they have a database that they help--that they help to manage and scan whenever we have a requirement that comes in from a component or another priority, they--we typically send it to them and they do the scanning. So the more they know, the better informed that we are. So I encourage you to reach out to them with not just with anything that you might have that they could store in the database, but if you have any particular technological capabilities or solution sets.

And I encourage you to really take a look at the slide that Connie mentioned. Again, we have a lot of solicitations out there, a lot of great ideas through the long-range BAA, SBIRs, and other solicitations, so really keep an eye on that. They change throughout the year. If you look at it now, it's gonna be different, you know, several months from now. So just, I would recommend you keep that on your radar.

Thank you. Connie: Yeah, thanks so much, Jon. That actually brings me to another point. If you do fill out our industry outreach form, we'll add you to our mailing list so that you can find out about just what Jon had talked about, our SBIR opportunities, you know, new funding opportunities, events, ways to engage with us. So, you know, that's certainly a great resource for people as well.

I'll be putting one of the last links in the chat here in just a second. And I do want to mention, I know that we have received a few questions about, "Hey, how do I start to get connected with DHS S&T?" Well, I am going to put our DHS S&T, S&T Innovation email on--into the chat box here. There is somebody on the other end of that email and we are happy to engage with anybody and direct your questions as well. And with that, I'm actually gonna direct some questions over to our fantastic panelists here. So, now Jon and Angela, I think that this first question is gonna be geared towards you, so, "How do you deal with requirements that come in from different parts of the same component which may appear incongruent or not in alignment?" Jon McEntee: Angela, you want me to take this one? Angela: Yeah, well, I can tell you what I would do, as a portfolio manager.

I'd get to the bottom of why they are, as you said, incongruent. That is not actually uncommon, you know, and the IPTs will help with this, obviously, because if we funnel everything through the IPTs, then there will be votes for-- the voting members in the IPT. But, you know, it's gonna require a little bit of "What's going on here?" by the portfolio manager to get to the source, and pull everything into the IPT, and then fix that seemingly incongruent issue. Oftentimes, it really is not as it appears. They might want something very similar, it's just asked in a different way, and it appears to be incongruent.

So, it takes some sleuthing. Jon, would you like to add? Jon McEntee: That's why we have the IPTs, right? And that's why, you know, when we established IPTs we went to the number-one, you know, individual in that organization and say, "Who can represent your priorities?" So if we get, you know, a requirement from a different part of the organization, again, we have to respectfully honor the IPT charters we have in place. That component selected a specific office that handles their priority. So we typically, you know, push 'em in the direction of their own agency's priorities 'cause everybody, you know, there's new people coming on board all the time.

And so the IPTs, that's why they're there. They establish one voice and one set of priorities. And we have to respectfully--'cause sometimes we can't have five different priority lists from one component. I mean, it's too--we can't prioritize those. The components have to do that. So, everything Angela said, spot on.

Thank you. Connie: Okay, all right. Well, thanks so much for that, and I do want to note we are getting a lot of questions in the Q&A chat box, so just note that in the chat we do have that S&T Innovation mailbox, so if we don't get to your question today, we will follow up with you at another time if you have a question. But with that, I am going to move on to CWMD. This is a question for Jon or Marissa. So, "What mechanisms does DHS use to get a pulse on what industry can offer in niche areas that are unique to Homeland Security?" So kind of an extended one. I'll let you take that.

Marissa: Jon, I can take that. Yeah, so I mean, you heard some of the mechanisms already mentioned by my S&T colleagues, you know, solicitations, RFIs, things like that, but, you know, for small businesses that are just starting out and that are just getting their feet wet, for example, you know, I know it can be really, really hard for them to just get their foot in the door to say, "Hey, look at all the great stuff we've been working on." And DHS S&T and CWMD manage a phenomenal SBIR program so I think we've done a really good job working as two components working under one program, one umbrella, and doing outreach events to small businesses, road tours, things like that. Program managers on the CWMD side, I'm pretty sure on the S&T side as well, we're scientists and engineers, and we're just naturally curious and are gonna wanna know what's going on, so we will attend scientific and technical conferences which will have industry expos. So we'll go rub shoulders with folks who are working on these really great technologies that we just may not be aware of as part of market research.

We will also get word of other government agencies working on great technologies for other mission areas: the Department of Defense and the Warfighter, for example, that we may not have thought of yet for Homeland Security but, you know, it's--it has the potential to be used for that mission space as well. And that will happen through either attending program reviews with the interagency or attending interagency-- events or just a simple word of mouth email from our colleagues over in the other agencies. Jon, do you have anything to add? Jon Totte: No, we don't connect, really, like you do with industry as much. You know, we're focused on the components and making sure that they have the means to funnel their request through us.

Then we kind of turn that over to you for the COA development, so you got it. Thanks. Connie: Okay, all right, and so then, Greg, this next one is for you. This is on unsolicited proposals and technologies, so, "What if I have a white paper on a technology or a proposal for a technology? What does DHS or DHS S&T do with that?" Greg: Yeah, so, the first thing I would do is encourage you to go with that working with DHS S&T website. That's where you'll find listing of all the current open solicitations and areas of R&D that we're looking for. If there's nothing on that site anywhere that is relevant to your technology, then you can consider submitting your capability through the DHS unsolicited proposal process.

This is kind of unique in that it's for innovative products and services that aren't commercially available. And there is some very specific criteria must be met before unsolicited proposals can be submitted. But when they are, and if it meets all that criteria, it'll be filtered down to the correct portfolio manager or program manager to review and identify whether it's something S&T wants to pursue or not. And I believe we can add the website for the unsolicited proposals to the chat so that everyone can have access to that. Connie: Yes, I can do that. Okay, that website is now in the chat.

Okay, all right, so a few more questions then for our panelists. So, Jon and Angela, this goes to you. "How do you help a component with an emerging technology or R&D? Are there instances when you accelerate the process for rapid and emergent needs?" Jon McEntee: Sure, Angela, I'll take the first crack at this and, you know,--tie it up.

So we have to be responsive, and so we do have accelerated processes, especially for those, you know, one-year efforts that are, you know, below a certain threshold. But the--again, it goes back to the component, you know. If it's a priority for a component, we have a long list that's in our process. If this is emerging and takes the cake, then we have to move that one up in priority and pause maybe some other ones.

Again, you know, we have lists that go beyond our resources, and we do that for a reason. We have those longer lists to, one, justify additional funding, but we also use that list to feed out your efforts and projects. But, yes, we have mechanisms that kind of fast-track, you know, those high-priority items, especially if, you know, as I mentioned, if they're a lower dollar threshold and time period. But if there are multi-year, or multi-million dollar efforts, you know, we have to put some due diligence into that.

But again, if the component has a priority for it, we'll put that one as our number one to move through the process, so we can make those adjustments and then, Angela, did I miss anything? Angela: Well, I can provide two specific examples. COVID, where we immediately set up a tiger team within S&T, and then the principles of that tiger team were out, doing outreach to the appropriate other agencies. Secondly, the African swine fever is a big issue right now and spreading in Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

So we have now set up a tiger team with respect to that issue and we do coordinate with the appropriate USDA and other offices. I don't, you know, I know that they meet regularly, and so we don't do this in a vacuum. There's a lot of expertise out there that we need to make part of the team. So, those are two examples where we had to move quickly to address the--was going on and try to provide expertise there, so. Connie: All right, thank you all so much. So I think that we're--we just have one last question in from the audience.

I know--we're one last question for at least today. I know that we're coming up on time, so again, please send us a--if you do have a question, we can certainly route it through the right folks. But this one is potentially for Jon, Angela, and CWMD. "Does S&T or S&T and CWMD ever interface with other government R&D offices, other agencies, to, you know, work and develop out IPTs or requirements for something?" Angela: I'll jump in on that and I think Marissa and Jon as well. Yes, absolutely. We have, in fact, groups that--multiple groups, working groups, one in particular I'm thinking of is called the CWMD Alliance, where we have joint projects between DoD, JPEO, CWMD, and S&T.

And this is just one of several groups. It's really a smaller community than one might think in certain areas. So we pretty much know what's going on across, you know, DoD, be it the Army or Navy, Marine Corps. We have a sense of the R&D and talk often with our colleagues.

Jon, Marissa, I'll kick it over to you. Marissa: Yeah, thanks, Angela. Yeah, it's--and just serving those. It's not just a matter of us just sitting down and, you know, exchanging quad charts or talking with each other. We will jointly fund R&D efforts so, you know, we all have very limited resources and limited budgets and it's good if we can team together to hit off these really high-priority--areas 'cause, you know, what's a what--more often than not, what's a high priority for DHS is gonna be a priority for another government agency. So it's really important that across the government, we all coordinate on R&D as well.

Thank you. Connie: Okay, all right. And that, we are at 2:59 eastern time, so I think that that actually brings us to time, so I do wanna thank everyone for joining us today, especially our panelists. We really appreciate you coming on here and talking about the collaborative work that you do.

So, Jon and Jon, Marissa, Angela, Greg, thank you so much. I think I'm gonna go over one last slide, just letting people know about some other opportunities that DHS S&T has. So, as you will see here, there are two opportunities that we would actually like to draw your attention to. The one on the left is The Cooling Solutions prize challenge. This prize challenge was recently announced, and that challenge is looking for climate-friendly cooling solutions that the public can access in the event of an extreme heat event. So we definitely encourage you to look at that.

We definitely encourage you to go to the prize competitions website, which I'm putting in the chat right now. Plenty of links for everybody. And then the second one, keep your eyes peeled for the next Insights Outreach webinar that's gonna be on Tuesday, November 2. We definitely hope to see you next month. We'll be sending out more information about that shortly, so either you can go to the link that I'm about to put in the chat, again, or we'll try and send you an email. So, thanks, everybody, for joining today and we hope to see you next month.

2021-10-31 22:57

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