• SOFT TARGETSConsortium to Combat Targeted Crowd Attacks

    Ten universities formed a consortium to combat terrorist and criminal attacks on soft targets such as schools, hospitals, shopping malls and sports stadiums. “The challenges of keeping people safe in soft targets and crowded spaces gets more complicated every day,” said one expert.

  • AVIATION SECURITYAviation Self-Screening Concept and Prototype

    DHS S&T has awarded $2.5 million to Vanderlande Industries to develop a passenger self-screening concept design and prototype that streamlines TSA PreCheck operations.

  • Weapons DetectionWeapons-Detection Algorithm Studied at Las Vegas International Airport

    This summer, DHS S&T demonstrated a new advanced algorithm to better detect non-explosive weapons like guns, knives, and other items that are prohibited on commercial aircraft in a real-world setting at Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport.

  • ExplosivesHow Big Was the 2020 Beirut Explosion?

    On 4 August 2020, one of the largest non-nuclear explosions in history pulverized a Beirut port and damaged more than half the city. The explosion resulted from the detonation of tons of ammonium nitrate, a combustible chemical compound. The explosive yield estimates varied widely, and in some cases, were inconsistent with what would be expected based on the amount of ammonium nitrate stored at the Beirut harbor.

  • Explosives detectionImaging Tool under Development Reveals Concealed Detonators — and Their Charge

    A Sandia Lab researcher is working on building a new kind of neutron-based imaging system which will enable people to safely examine sealed metal boxes when opening them could be dangerous, whether this is because inside is an explosive weapon or a malfunctioning, high-voltage fire set at a missile range.

  • Port securityEnsuring Reliability of Air Cargo Screening Systems

    DHS, which is responsible for ensuring the security of air cargo transported to the United States, says the threat from explosives in air cargo remains significant. A new GAO report addresses how DHS secures inbound air cargo, and the extent to which TSA’s field assessment of a CT screening system included key practices for design and evaluation.

  • Airport securityHandheld Screening Wands May Reduce Need for Airport Pat-Downs

    Until recently, creating an effective and reliable handheld screening technology of passengers was too costly. Advancements made in 5G cell phones, automotive radars, embedded computing, and other critical enabling technologies now make screening solutions such as the handheld millimeter wave wand cost effective.

  • ExplosivesThe Civilian Toll of Explosives, 2011-2020

    A new repot finds that, over the last ten years, when explosive weapons were used in populated areas, 91% of those killed and injured were civilians. This compares to 25% in other areas. Incidents of explosives being used were recorded in 123 countries and territories around the world in the ten years.

  • Shoe scanningScanning People with Their Shoes On

    Taking shoes off for scanning at airports is one of the most inconvenient parts of flying and one that can slow the security screening process. But one day soon, even those without a “pre-check” status may be able to keep their shoes on, step on shoe scanner, walk through a next-generation body scanner and speed safely on to their boarding gates.

  • IEDsIdentifying Skin Proteins Left on IEDs

    Following a terrorist bombing, can the bomb maker be identified by skin proteins left on the bomb components they handled? A small team of biology and explosives experts combined their knowledge and experience to successfully carry out a series of 26 confined detonations over a three-day period.

  • DetectionMarine Organisms as Underwater Detectives

    Because marine organisms observe changes in their environment using a combination of senses, they offer unique insights into the underwater world that are difficult to replicate using traditional engineering techniques. DARPA wants to leverage marine organisms for persistent monitoring and detection of underwater vehicles to bolster shores and harbors protection.

  • ExplosivesChemical Fingerprint for Explosives in Forensic Research

    The police frequently encounter explosives in their forensic investigations related to criminal and terrorist activities. Chemical analysis of explosives can yield valuable tactical information for police and counterterrorist units.

  • Explosives detectionNext-Generation Explosives Trace Detection Technology

    Explosive materials pose a threat whether they are used by domestic bad actors or in a theater of war. Staying ahead of our adversaries is a job that DHS DOD share. The two departments’ research and development work is no different.

  • Bomb-sniffing locustOne Step Closer to Bomb-Sniffing Cyborg Locusts

    Researchers found that they could direct locust swarms toward areas where suspected explosives are located, and that the locusts’ brain reaction to the smell of explosives can be read remotely. Moreover, a study found locusts can quickly discriminate between different smells or different explosives. “This is not that different from in the old days, when coal miners used canaries,” says a researcher. “People use pigs for finding truffles. It’s a similar approach — using a biological organism — this is just a bit more sophisticated.”

  • TerrorismProtection against Terrorist Attacks with Homemade Explosives

    Terrorist attacks often feature the use of homemade explosives. For the police and security forces to be able to take appropriate precautions and assess the damage after an attack, they need access to the right kind of tools. Researchers have now developed a sophisticated risk-analysis system to help prevent such attacks. At the same time, the software-based system assists with the forensic investigation of such incidents.