The threat landscape facing our nation and world is complex, varied, and dynamic. We are actively dealing with a global pandemic, mass shootings, foreign and domestic terrorism, climate change, supply chain disruptions, organized criminal activity, and adversarial nation states. From deliberate acts like terrorism, to inadvertent events like large ships drifting sideways in critical shipping lanes, to natural disasters like hurricanes and floods, the possible and actual threats to our safety and security can appear overwhelming. We shouldn’t forget threats that fade from view, we cannot just address the latest or most visible problem, and we can’t spend all of our time looking over the horizon and spending all of our resources addressing risks not yet realized. So how do we tackle this daunting spikey ball of challenges?
The obvious answer is by working together toward common goals, mixing tried and true solutions with innovative approaches that solve problems better, faster, and cheaper, while also invoking our imagination and creativity to anticipate the problems of tomorrow and blunt their effects before they even materialize. Striking this balance requires thoughtful consideration, open minds, leadership, focus, diligence, discipline, persistence, and investment. A microcosm of this approach is the DHS Center of Excellence program. This collection of universities, researchers, students, and practitioners represents a wealth of knowledge, experience, ability, and imagination, all focused on the problems faced by DHS, and more broadly by our nation and world.
There are related and complementary skills and expertise at the different centers, and we have learned when to join forces, when to share, and when to get out of each other’s way. This works because we have more than enough challenges to fill our plates, we have a strong and valuable partnership with DHS at all levels, we trust each other, and we are all working towards the common goals of safety and security for our people, our nation, and the world. The combined COE-DHS network is formidable, but if there is one thing we have all learned, it is that we cannot do this alone or in a vacuum.
I invite you to register for the virtual 2021 COE Summit on May 19-20, 2021 to see what the COEs are doing and how we are doing it. Visit our virtual booths, catch a project demo, or plug in to the various keynotes and panel discussions. If you like, come just to listen and learn. It’s a free conference, and like previous COE Summits, we also welcome your questions, thoughts, input, and feedback to shape our portfolio and create partnerships for our shared mission.