Today we are recognizing what may be the beginning of a whole new way of developing partnerships between the public and private sectors.
Despite its long name, the Science and Technology Directorate’s (S&T) System Efficacy through Commercialization, Utilization, Relevance and Evaluation (SECURE) concept is simple: The government provides companies with detailed requirements of a needed technology, product, or service, along with a conservative estimate of the potential market. In exchange, companies use their own funds to perform research and development to meet those requirements. This saves money on both ends: the government doesn’t spend money on research and development, while the company doesn’t waste resources trying to figure out on their own what the government ultimately is going to need.
Once the technology, product or service is complete and verified through independent third-party testing and evaluation, the technology can be certified as having met the SECURE requirements. (See this article on SECURE in this week’s Bloomberg Businessweek magazine.)
The first certified product, a blast-resistant video system designed by Visual Defence, Inc. that functions similarly to the “black box” found in airplanes was unveiled today by S&T at the Long Island Forum for Technology, located at the Morrelly Homeland Security Center in Bethpage, N.Y.
S&T issued detailed requirements for several needed technologies, including a video system that could be used in mass transit systems and survive an explosion and fire. Visual Defence Inc. produced a working prototype in just a few short months. The systems was tested against powerful improvised explosive devices, subjected to the intense heat of a diesel fuel fire and rapidly cooled with water, simulating a firefighter’s hose, and then underwent a series of pilot tests in several municipal transit systems across the country.
The SECURE Program doesn’t stop there. We are working to develop the products and services needed to accomplish the broad range of DHS missions, from protecting the nation’s critical infrastructure to supporting first responders to enhancing aviation security to facilitating legitimate cross-border travel and trade, and many things in between.
The driving force behind the creation of the SECURE program was DHS’s Chief Commercialization Officer, Tom Cellucci, who leads DHS S&T’s outreach with both the private and public sectors. Cellucci was recently recognized for his efforts by Security magazine as one of the “Most Influential People in Security” who “positively impact the security industry, their organization, their colleagues and their peers.” We think that description sums up Tom’s excellent work pretty well!