The Lesser Known Missions of Homeland Security

The mission of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is widely understood, "to safeguard the American people, our homeland, and our values." However, in carrying out this mission, DHS touches a number of areas that may not seem intuitively tied to homeland defense but are nonetheless critical challenges facing the nation as well as agencies across government.

Artificial Intelligence

DHS has a key role in securing the homeland from cyber threats. The department's Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) is the operational lead for federal cybersecurity and the national coordinator for critical infrastructure security and resilience. With this responsibility, CISA and other DHS agencies play a key role in shaping policy and guidance around emerging technology use. Today, they are keenly focused on helping agencies safely and ethically use Artificial Intelligence (AI) to improve mission effectiveness.

DHS is leading by example. AI is currently being used to aid border-patrol efforts, combat drug trafficking, and create age-progression estimations of missing children. While implementing AI itself, DHS is also focused on how adversaries may use AI and creating ways to defend against the technology being used to spread disinformation, create more advanced cyber attacks, or speed the development of weapons. Continue reading

Bridging Low Tech and High Tech for Improved Disaster Preparedness

September is National Preparedness Month. This public service campaign is run out of the Department of Homeland Security and is focused on educating citizens about the importance of preparing for disasters and emergencies that could happen at any time. The 2022 campaign has a theme of "A Lasting Legacy," urging people to "Prepare for disasters to create a lasting legacy for you and your family."

This theme of legacy also applies to how the government responds to disasters to aid communities in prevention and recovery. Increasingly, emergency managers are relying on Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality, and more to model and plan for disaster response. However, when disaster hits and electricity is unavailable, high tech solutions no longer function and first responders must rely on analog methods to communicate and execute response plans. Incorporating legacy low tech solutions into a high tech world is a critical challenge for emergency preparedness organizations. Continue reading