Today, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced the launch of the third Hacking for Homeland Security (H4HS), a joint educational partnership between the DHS Science and Technology Directorate (S&T), BMNT Inc., and the Common Mission Project (CMP) in collaboration with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Transportation Security Administration (TSA). Participating students will focus on challenges associated with cybersecurity information sharing within transportation, the latency issue at screening checkpoints, and address greenspace issues after natural disasters.
“Hacking for Homeland Security offers a unique opportunity for the Department of Homeland Security to involve students in real-world problem-solving experiences,” said Kathleen Kenyon, S&T H4HS Program Lead. “We have had great success with the first two courses, and we hope that H4HS will continue to inspire the next generation of students to enter public service.”
H4HS is sponsored and funded by S&T and works with universities to solve pressing challenges by engaging engineering, business, and policy students from prestigious universities in developing solutions to homeland security-sponsored challenges. Over the course of a semester, undergraduate and graduate student teams work closely with DHS to deliver innovative solutions.
“This is a great program and I’m excited to see what solutions the students come up with,” said Paul Huang, FEMA Acting Associate Administrator for Resilience. “They are passionate, innovative, and bring a fresh set of eyes to various problems we are trying to tackle.”
The first H4HS course was held at the Colorado School of Mines in Fall 2020 and focused on FEMA’s emergency management-related challenges. The second course during Spring 2021, leveraged CMU’s expertise in cybersecurity and addressed outreach to smaller businesses and countering COVID-19 disinformation. This also marks the second time that H4HS is being offered at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU).
“H4HS allows TSA to leverage the incredible talent in the academic world to think differently about security challenges and emerging trends,” said TSA Chief Innovation Officer Dan McCoy. “Their passion is infectious, and we hope H4HS participation will inspire them to go on to become entrepreneurs and emerging leaders.”
Over the past five years, “Hacking for” student teams sponsored by the Department of Defense and State Department have solved nearly 500 national security problems. Through these programs, BMNT and CMP worked with 55 universities on a new platform for national service by teaching teams of university students how to use modern entrepreneurial tools and techniques to solve critical problems at start-up speed.
The continuation of H4HS will provide DHS with the unique capability to drive innovative solutions and identify future leaders. H4HS complements existing research programs and provides students with access to a diverse group of homeland-security-minded technical experts and business mentors who work together to develop targeted tools, technologies, and knowledge products for use across the homeland security enterprise.
For more information on DHS’s innovation programs and tools, visit https://www.dhs.gov/science-and-technology/work-with-st.