Texas A&M University-Kingsville

Objectives

The mission of the DHS may be summarized as the unified national effort to secure America. DHS will prevent and deter terrorist attacks and protect against and respond to threats and hazards to the Nation [1]. The mission is extremely challenging and involves many different aspects of security and variety of operations from helping to defend America against terrorist attacks, to providing timely and effective support in response to natural disasters [2]. There could also be threats at the borders from illegal immigration, gun and drug trafficking. One of the main goals of this mission is to protect our Nation from such dangers and attacks [1]. DHS will reduce the infiltration of terrorists into the United States, will strengthen our border security and gain effective control of our borders (land, sea, air). DHS will defend our homeland with layers of security and will make our border security systems smarter, stronger, and more effective [1]. As seen in Figure , DHS and its sub-agencies deal with extremely large number of security and safety issues that require STEM educated technical workforce for solutions. It is quite obvious that Security Engineering minor program being proposed here will prepare graduates, who will be able to work in all sub-agencies of the DHS.

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Although our focus is not on the border security alone, border security operations can be used as an example of suitability of integrated study of the proposed program. Technical advancements can be utilized to our advantage to counter the border security terrorism. For this purpose, UAVs are recently being used by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Agency. Although, surveillance of quite long northern and southern border lines (land and sea) using UAVs is necessary, the use of WSN

as another layer of security enhances border protection. Obviously, UAVs and WSN generate an abundance of data that requires image processing and data mining techniques to design smarter systems. This allows detection of possible dangers and responding to them in a timely manner. The performance of the operations of the UAV and WSN can be improved by employing optimization techniques, information analysis and modeling as well as applying data fusion techniques to the data obtained from two different sources.

In support of the mission of DHS, the overarching goal of this proposal is to prepare undergraduate students for the emerging field of engineering (Security Engineering) related to DHS operations. In-line with this goal, the objectives of the proposal are:

●     Develop a multidisciplinary undergraduate minor program and certificate program in engineering focusing on Security Engineering.

●     Collaborate with the University of Texas-El Paso (UTEP), one of DHS’s Centers of Excellence, to promote DHS-related research for undergraduate students.

●     Equip students, who will be issued a certificate in Security Engineering, with technical knowledge and experience in the areas of DHS-related operations.

●     Recruit minority undergraduate students into Security Engineering minor.

●     Closely collaborate with DHS Training Centers, Coast Guard, and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), as well as commercial companies who work on DHS related technology and systems such as Boeing, Raytheon, etc. to meet the needs of technical workforce in addition to continuously improving program outcomes and providing internship and student career placement.

●     Developing a multi-domain real-time simulation system for analyzing and optimizing the homeland security related events using information generated from image and data mining.

●     Develop techniques to enhance the images for feature extraction and image data mining.

HS-STEM areas are broad and cover wide range of engineering, science, and math majors. DHS has clearly identified HS-STEM disciplines and research areas and has already established Centers of Excellence at nation’s leading universities. Our studies have shown that most of the existing programs related to security are in non-technical fields and have shown that there is a need of engineering education and training to provide technically capable workforce in the area of integrated study of UAVs, WSN, data mining, and optimization. This proposal aims to remove the gap by developing a multidisciplinary minor, called Security Engineering.

Outcomes:

The project is expected to result in the following significant outcomes:

●     A lasting change on the engineering discipline at TAMUK by establishing a Minor/Certificate program in Security Engineering.

●     Attracting more Hispanics students to the minor in Security Engineering program. Since TAMUK is a Hispanic Serving Institution and the South Texas area is predominantly Hispanic, this project will also have a lasting impact for underrepresented students.

●     Undergraduate students with different backgrounds will graduate from this minor program due to the multidisciplinary nature of the program integrated with research opportunities at UTEP.

●     More engineering students of Hispanic descent will be graduating with technical knowledge and experience on Security Engineering.

●     Through internships, summer research, and visits with CBP Air and Marine Operating Locations, Coast Guard, UTEP, and FEMA, better hands-on skills will be attained by students.

●     Enhanced career placement opportunities in security engineering for minority students through internships/summer research at UTEP, national labs, DHS centers, and related industries.

●     Initiation, fostering and development of young investigators faculty research collaborations DHS COEs as well as DHS operations sites.

●     Improved faculty teaching effectiveness through the preparation of the fundamental security engineering course materials, interacting with students during lectures, and by exchanging educational and scientific ideas and approaches with DHS COE at UTEP.

This page was last updated on: February 21, 2013