DHS looks for research help

BOSTON -- The Homeland Security Department must improve its research and development of new technologies, its science chief said.

To do that, the department must improve the number and quality of public-private partnerships, Charles McQueary, undersecretary for DHS' Science and Technology Directorate, told researchers this week at a DHS conference in Boston.

Increasing information sharing and proactive collaboration among government, academia, and industry will be crucial, McQueary said, who compared the effort to the Apollo program in the 1960s.

The department must help develop further a large enough technical workforce to ensure the country’s ongoing ability to protect itself, McQueary said. The United States needs to expand its own science and technology education programs and continue to welcome international students, he said.

"We need the brain trust of the international community to fully address the challenges of our nation," he said.

Finally, McQueary said that DHS must also guarantee that whatever new technologies are developed have practical real-world applications that do not disrupt trade or invade privacy. "They want to be sure that what was done will conform and work with what they have in their communities," he said.

More than 900 researchers worldwide attended the two-day conference, which ends today.

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