Magazine article National Defense

Technology Directorate to Help DHS Agencies Write Requirements

Magazine article National Defense

Technology Directorate to Help DHS Agencies Write Requirements

Article excerpt

* The Department of Homeland Security during its first eight years has had a poor reputation when it comes to fielding new technologies. Tara Jeanne O'Toole, DHS' science and technology directorate leader, said her organization can help solve some of these acquisition problems.

There needs to be "more strategic thinking across the department about science and technology," she told the House Homeland Security subcommittee on emerging threats, cybersecurity and science and technology.

The department's 22 components are free to go their own way when developing and purchasing new devices or systems. The directorate is meant to foster basic and applied research. But O'Toole suggested that it could have a wider role within the department.

It's too late at the end of a long development process to discover that a technology doesn't work, or that it's too expensive to use, she said. She wants to help DHS agencies write comprehensive and detailed requirement documents.

"DHS does not have a long history of doing this and I think S&T's expertise can help [the department] be more successful," she said.

A separate acquisition management directorate has also been established in the department to help the agencies develop and purchase new technologies. …

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