HSARPA funds advanced sensor systems

Kirk Evans says HSARPA needs automation.

With a $1 billion R&D budget requested for fiscal 2006, the Homeland Security Advanced Research Projects Agency is funding advanced systems to detect biological, chemical, nuclear and cyber threats to U.S. citizens and infrastructures.

Kirk Evans, one of 14 HSARPA program managers, said the agency 'has a profound feeling of urgency about filling in the gaping holes' in homeland defense.

Speaking earlier this month at the Naval-Industry R&D Partnership Conference in Washington, Evans said DHS has significantly different tasks from those of the Defense Department, and HSARPA has significant differences from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

'Our job is to deal with emergencies, using the strengths we develop handling everyday missions,' he said. 'The first-line defenders such as police have no time to train, they have no replacements and ongoing jobs. The systems we develop must be affordable by localities with very limited budgets, and they must match regional needs.'

Among current HSARPA-funded projects are secure routing protocols and radiological, chemical and biological sensors.

'There are 9 million security cameras but not 9 million people to watch them,' he said. 'The same goes for radars. We need automation.'

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