CBP & DHS S&T Partner with Start-Up to Improve sUAS Security

In addition to recreational use, unmanned aircraft systems (UAS)—also known as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) or drones—are used across our Nation to support firefighting and search and rescue operations, to monitor and assess critical infrastructure, to provide disaster relief by transporting emergency medical supplies to remote locations, and to aid efforts to secure our borders. However, UAS can also be used for malicious schemes by terrorists, criminal organizations (including transnational organizations), and lone actors with specific objectives.
In addition to recreational use, unmanned aircraft systems (UAS)—also known as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) or drones—are used across our Nation to support firefighting and search and rescue operations, to monitor and assess critical infrastructure, to provide disaster relief by transporting emergency medical supplies to remote locations, and to aid efforts to secure our borders. However, UAS can also be used for malicious schemes by terrorists, criminal organizations (including transnational organizations), and lone actors with specific objectives.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) announced today a $199,814.31 award to Asymmetric Technologies, LLC, to enhance U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) security.

CBP’s use of sUAS enhances mission capabilities and supports U.S. Border Patrol agents’ activities, including greater overall situational awareness and detection, tracking, apprehension, and search and rescue operations.

The project is awarded under the Silicon Valley Innovation Program (SVIP) Other Transaction Solicitation (OTS) aimed at non-traditional performers to offer solutions to some of the toughest threats facing DHS and the homeland security mission.

CBP Acting Commissioner Kevin McAleenan
CBP Acting Commissioner Kevin McAleenan

“Through the Silicon Valley Innovation Program, CBP has the opportunity to address our emerging technology needs, one of which is protecting our sUAS systems against a cyber-attack,” said CBP Acting Commissioner Kevin McAleenan.

“Developing technologies and capabilities to secure our hardware and software platforms is critical for deploying sUAS technology.”

Asymmetric Technologies, a service-disabled, veteran-owned small business, proposes to develop a platform-agnostic Secure UAS Flight Controller (SUFC) and improve the cybersecurity of CBP-deployed commercial systems.

Dr. Robert Griffin, Under Secretary (Acting) for Science and Technology
Dr. Robert Griffin, Under Secretary (Acting) for Science and Technology

The effort aims to reduce the risk of cyberattacks on the Department’s sUAS platforms by ensuring secure communication and control mechanisms with operators, utilizing secure surveillance telemetry streams, and leveraging on-board hardware security to prevent unauthorized access of data.

“Simple enhancements to deployed systems can become the differentiator in both technology lifespan and mission success,” said Acting DHS Under Secretary for Science and Technology Dr. Robert Griffin.

“I am pleased S&T can help partner DHS operators with innovative technologies and solutions from the nation’s start-ups.”

(Learn More, courtesy of FOX 10 Phoenix and YouTube)

Companies participating in the SVIP program are eligible for up to $800,000 in non-dilutive funding to adapt commercial technologies for homeland security use cases.

This is the fifth award under the Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) Capabilities Solicitation – HSHQDC-16-R-00114 one of five active calls under the SVIP.

For more information on current and future OTS solicitations visit http://scitech.dhs.gov/hsip or contact dhs-silicon-valley@hq.dhs.gov.