The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) announced today the selection of Texas A&M University to lead a consortium of U.S. academic institutions and other partners for a new Center of Excellence (COE) for Cross-Border Threat Screening and Supply Chain Defense (CBTS).  S&T will provide CBTS with a $3.85 million grant for its first operating year of a 10-year grant period.

“This Center’s work will assist DHS operations that protect the global supply chain and reduce the risk of exposing people and infrastructures to new and evolving biological threats,” said William N. Bryan, the Senior Official Performing the Duties of the Under Secretary for Science and Technology. “We anticipate this new Center will work closely with industry and other partners to develop solutions that minimize risks.”

The CBTS COE will work closely with DHS components such as U.S. Customs and Border Protection to research and develop solutions to counter known and unknown biological threats to the nation’s people, agriculture, and economy.

“This Center will deliver relevant technology and analytics to support CBP in securing the trillions of dollars of trade and millions of travelers that enter the United States each year,” said CBP Commissioner Kevin McAleenan. “We look forward to working with Texas A&M and the Center of Excellence as we explore new technologies to better facilitate safe and secure trade and travel.”

As lead institution, Texas A&M University will spearhead a consortium of academic, industry, government, and laboratory partners throughout the country to help fulfill S&T’s commitment to provide continuous access to high-quality, university-led research and education resources to the Department’s Components and the broader homeland security enterprise.

CBTS’ research portfolio will focus on three major topic areas: technologies detecting biological threats moving through global supply chains, data integration and analytics to support threat detection, and novel methods to minimize risks to DHS operations. CBTS will also train and educate a highly skilled workforce to prepare for and respond to current and emerging biological threats.

The DHS COEs were established by the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to be a “…coordinated, university-based system to enhance the Nation’s homeland security.” S&T’s COEs are a well-integrated network of researchers and educators focused on specific high-priority DHS challenges. The COEs work directly with the Department’s operational agencies to solve complex and difficult problems across the homeland security enterprise.

Each COE is led by a U.S. college or university and involves multiple partners. COE partners include other academic institutions, industry, National Laboratories and other Federally-Funded Research and Development Centers, as well as other federal agencies that have homeland security-relevant missions, state/local/tribal governments, non-profits, and first responder organizations.

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