The ability to prevent, prepare for, detect, respond to, and recover from a potential incident that affects human, animal or plant health without disrupting the supply chain is of paramount importance. To provide capabilities for securing our Nation against threats and hazards without compromising the pace and operational structures of commercial enterprises, the Texas A&M University System formed the Cross-Border Threat Screening and Supply Chain Defense (CBTS) Center of Excellence (COE) in partnership with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) Office of University Programs (OUP).
The DHS has a broad mission that includes operational components focused on detection, assessment, and response to known and unknown biological threats and hazards that could adversely affect the Nation’s people, agriculture and economy. Critical research and workforce development activities are needed to assist DHS in balancing the tipping point between trade as a potential source of threat introduction and economic vitality that results from safe borders open to commerce.
The CBTS COE has been tasked to maintain a portfolio of agile research, development, test, evaluation, and transition programs consisting of biological threat screening, detection, and characterization targeted at improving the resiliency of supply chains and the homeland security enterprise. The CBTS assists DHS by making significant inroads to solve critical problems through the following objectives:
- Enhance current capabilities to detect biological threats;
- Advance novel analytics for timely decision-making through meaningful data integration and representation from disparate sources;
- Reduce the risk of biological threats by developing new operational methods to assess the national supply chain network as an integral part of a global system by leveraging academic and industry partners;
- Use academic initiatives, industry partnerships, and enhanced workforce development to educate and train current and future personnel throughout the homeland security enterprise to prevent, prepare for, detect, respond to and recover from evolving biological threats; and
- Provide unique capabilities and capacities to support time critical response for the Department of Homeland Security through implementation of next-generation threat identification approaches