Commerce, Homeland departments ink cooperation pact

The Homeland Security and Commerce departments have signed a memorandum of understanding to improve how some of their offices will work together on technology issues.

The agreement signed yesterday by HSD's undersecretary for science and technology, Charles E. McQueary, and Commerce's undersecretary for science and technology, Phillip J. Bond, establishes a relationship between the homeland department's Science and Technology Directorate and Commerce's Technology Administration, which operates the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

NIST is developing:

  • Methods of detecting chemical and biological weapons and other threats

  • Interoperability standards for first responder communications

  • Technologies for cybersecurity, radiation measurements and biometrics.

  • 'This [memorandum] allows [Commerce] to play a significant and useful research and technology development role in supporting the DHS mission,' Bond said in a statement. McQueary said the agreement would help HSD tap into NIST's technical strengths.

    'NIST has already been engaged in providing technical expertise in several important national security priorities,' McQueary said.

    The agreement, which runs for a renewable period of five years, calls for the two departments to review the scope of their cooperative activities annually. It also calls for separate written agreements on specific projects, which would cover funding allocations.

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