DHS S&T NUSTL Lab Celebrates 70+ Years of Service (Learn More, Video)

Dr. Adam Hutter, NUSTL Director, (at right),Adam Hutter, Director of National Urban Security Technology Lab (NUSTL), DHS S&T
Dr. Adam Hutter, NUSTL Director, (at right), Director of National Urban Security Technology Lab (NUSTL), DHS S&T

The National Urban Security Technology Laboratory (NUSTL) will celebrate its 70th anniversary of service to the nation this month.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security Science (DHS) and Technology Directorate (S&T) laboratory commemorates seven decades of remarkable history – from measuring radioactive fallout during the Cold War, to conducting operational assessments of first responder technologies today.

While much has changed over the years, the heart of NUSTL’s mission is still focused on the safety and security of the American people.

NUSTL's history of service to the nation spans across eight decades. A timeline provides a visual representation of the laboratory's scientific contributions from 1947, and through the 1950's, 1960's, 1970's, 1980's, 1990's, 2000's, 2010's to the current year, 2017.
NUSTL’s History from the Manhattan Project to Homeland Security

Our last 70 years in service acknowledges the significant importance of science and technology in critical areas of national security,” said Dr. Adam Hutter, NUSTL Director.

Today, NUSTL is home to a vast range of capabilities serving the first responder community, including the testing and evaluation of technologies to better understand and mitigate current and future homeland security threats.

Laboratory staff members provide a critical scientific interface with a myriad of first responders and end-users in the field for the accelerated delivery and successful end-user deployment of technologies and systems, not just in New York, but across the country.

A rotary quadcopter s-UAS conducting low altitude flights through an “Urban Canyon” during TACTIC (Courtesy of DHS S&T)
A rotary quadcopter s-UAS conducting low altitude flights through
an “Urban Canyon” during TACTIC (Courtesy of DHS S&T)

Most recently, NUSTL executed the first part of Technical Assessment of Counter UAS (C-UAS) Technologies in Cities (TACTIC) at the Marine Corps Base Urban Training Center in Quantico, Virginia.

TACTIC assesses C-UAS technologies and their abilities to detect, track and identify different small unmanned aerial systems (sUAS) under varying conditions and use cases.

As of this year, NUSTL has tested and deployed more than 20,000 units of radiological detection equipment, including personal radiation detectors, backpack detectors, mobile detection units and radioisotope identifiers worth more than $42 million, through its Performance Test & Evaluation at NUSTL (PTEN) program.

As a result, first responders have increased confidence in their equipment because they know that each unit has been independently tested.

NUSTL has tested over 20,000 radiation detectors for first responders. The units are Radionuclide ID Devices (RIDs) purchased through DNDO’s Securing the Cities
NUSTL has tested over 20,000 radiation detectors for first responders.
The units are Radionuclide ID Devices (RIDs) purchased through DNDO’s
Securing the Cities

The laboratory formed in 1947 under the Medical Division of the Atomic Energy Commission to serve the massive research effort that led to the development of the atomic bomb.

In the 1950’s, the newly named Health and Safety Laboratory shifted its focus to a growing national concern of radioactive fallout from nuclear weapons tests, and used its network of monitoring stations for fallout assessments.

The laboratory soon earned its reputation as a world leader in environmental radiation measurements.

Its network of air monitoring stations expanded to assess soil and water samples; air filter samples at the surface and in the stratosphere; and biological samples and measurements of wet and dry fallout.

NUSTLIn 1977, its name changed to the Environmental Measurements Laboratory (EML) and realigned to the newly created U.S. Department of Energy.

The laboratory’s primary focus was to support environmental monitoring, decommissioning, decontamination and remediation efforts.

Following the Three Mile Island and Chernobyl nuclear accidents, EML took immediate measurements that provided the ability to accurately and comprehensively reconstruct the environmental contamination that resulted from these events.

In the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, President George W. Bush signed legislation to create DHS. EML became part of DHS in 2003 to support homeland security activities under S&T.

The final name change occurred in 2009 when EML became NUSTL.

NUSTL provides research, testing and evaluation capabilities that are essential to the Homeland Security Enterprise and to solving the challenges faced by the nation’s first responders,” Hutter continued.

We are proud of our longstanding history and the impact our services have made— and we expect to be celebrating our successes for many years to come.”

NUSTL produces a variety of consumer reports for first responder technologies.

(Learn More. Operational Experimentation (Op-Ex) has the ability to bring together engineers and operators from the field, so that we can best integrate into the new technologies those things that are useful. In regards to Operational Experimentation across the entire spectrum, S&T tests those technologies in many different ways and NUSTL was very successful. Using controlled-type environments NUSTL performed this operational experimentation where they brought in first responders, engineers, and their tools to test the latest technologies to advance Homeland Security. Courtesy of DHS S&T and YouTube. Posted onMar 16, 2016)

Through NUSTL’s System Assessment and Validation for Emergency Responders (SAVER) program, the laboratory conducts operational field assessments of commercially available and emerging technologies to help inform acquisition decision making.

Results and analyses are made available to the national first responder community through the SAVER Library.

The 2017 ‘ASTORS’ Homeland Security Awards Program

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security Science (DHS) and Technology Directorate (S&T) was recognized last week with four ‘ASTORS’ ‘Excellence in Homeland Security’  Platinum Awards by American Security Today (AST), at the ISC East Conference in New York City to honor organizations that are actively addressing today’s evolving Homeland Security challenges in innovative ways.

This awards program was organized by AST to recognize the most distinguished security vendors, as the nation continues to respond to escalating threats from home and abroad.

The innovative solutions being implemented to meet those threats has led to tremendous growth in the field of Homeland Security, and to this awards program for recognition of the key contributors to our nation’s security.

astor plat 2017 cut for announcement

  • Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T)

    • Enhanced Dynamic Geo-Social Environ (EDGE) Virtual Online Training for First Responders Open at No Cost to All U.S. First Responders Agencies, Across Disciplines for Coordinated Response to Critical Incidents
    • Excellence in Homeland Security

astor plat 2017 cut for announcement

  • Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T)

    • Resilient Tunnel Plug (RTP) to Strengthen Mass Transportation Critical Infrastructure from Disruptive Flood Events
    • Excellence in Homeland Security

astor plat 2017 cut for announcement

  • Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) First Responders Group (FRG)

    • Flood Apex Program, Applying New & Emerging Technologies to Improve Community Resilience from Flood Disasters, Reduce Fatalities and Property Loss
    • Excellence in Homeland Security

astor plat 2017 cut for announcement

  • Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) Homeland Security Advanced Research Projects (HSARPA)

    • Surface Transportation Explosives Threat Detection (STETD) on Developing the Capacity to Detect Potential Threat Items Throughout Rail and Subway Systems Without Alerting the Subject or Negatively Impacting the Speed of Travel
    • Excellence in Homeland Security

Over 100 security professionals gathered from across North America and the Middle East to be honored from disciplines across the Security Industry in their respective fields which included:

  • The Department of Homeland Security
  • The Department of Justice
  • The Security Exchange Commission
  • State and Municipal Law Enforcement Agencies, and
  • Leaders in Private Security

Recognized for their Innovative Training and Education Programs, Outstanding Product Development Achievements and Exciting New Technologies to address the growing Homeland Security Threats our Nation is facing.

The 2017 ‘ASTORS’ Homeland Security Awards Presentation Luncheon
The 2017 ‘ASTORS’ Homeland Security Awards Presentation Luncheon

American Security Today was formed after careful reflection of 9/11 and its aftermath when the Department of Homeland Security was established and there was an immediate explosion of new products and solutions for what was perceived as an imminent second attack on primary targets in the United States.

As time moved forward from 9/11 itself and in recent years, the threats to our nation have evolved from a large scale 9/11 type attack to:

  • Domestic and International Terrorist Attacks carried out by ‘lone wolves’ and coordinated individuals
  • Cybersecurity breach attacks against our government agencies, financial institutions and critical infrastructure facilities
  • Unprecedented urban violence
  • Cultural shifts and societal media bias, which make it increasingly difficult to secure our nation in this constantly evolving threat environment.
The 2017 ‘ASTORS’ Homeland Security Awards Presentation Luncheon
The 2017 ‘ASTORS’ Homeland Security Awards Presentation Luncheon

These current circumstances have put forward another rapid expansion of new ideas, products and solutions to combat these ever changing challenges.

These changes have called for a new generation of security experts in the Homeland Security and Public Safety fields who need real time knowledge of our ever growing threats.

These experts include the Government at the Federal, State and Local levels as well as from Private Firms specializing in Physical Security, Port Security, Law Enforcement, First Responders, Military and Private Security responsible for implementing coordinated security measures to ensure our Nation’s Security and improve Public Safety.

Together, each of these entities work together seamlessly on the front lines of protecting our communities, to ‘Keep our Nation Secure, One City at a Time.’

AST focuses on Homeland Security and Public Safety Breaking News, the Newest Initiatives and Hottest Technologies in Physical & IT Security, essential to meeting today’s growing security challenges.

To highlight the tremendous accomplishments of agencies and firms receiving this prestigious award, be on the the lookout for American Security Today’s Annual December ‘ASTORS’ Champions Edition – ‘Year in Review.’

For more information on NUSTL’s history and capabilities, please contact NUSTL@hq.dhs.gov.