Centers of Excellence Network

Providing Practical Homeland Security Solutions

The Department of Homeland Security Centers of Excellence develop multidisciplinary, customer-driven, homeland security science and technology solutions and train the next generation of homeland security experts. 

Sponsored by the DHS Science and Technology Directorate’s Office of University Programs, the Centers of Excellence network is a consortium of hundreds of universities conducting ground-breaking research to address homeland security challenges. The COEs work closely with the homeland security community to develop customer-driven, innovative tools, technologies, and knowledge products to solve real-world problems. COE partners include academic institutions, industry, national laboratories, DHS components, other federal agencies, state and local governments, and first responders. These partners work in concert to develop critical technologies and analyses to secure the nation. The COEs also provide essential education and training for current and future homeland security professionals. COE research and education portfolios address both short- and long-term homeland security needs; in addition, the COE extended network is available for rapid response efforts. Each Center of Excellence is focused on a unique homeland security need:

New Centers

The Center of Excellence (COE) for Cross-Border Threat Screening and Supply Chain Defense (CBTS), led by Texas A&M University, will research and develop solutions to counter known and unknown biological threats to the nation’s people, agriculture, and economy.

Current Centers*

The Arctic Domain Awareness Center (ADAC), led by the University of Alaska Anchorage, develops and transitions technology solutions, innovative products, and educational programs to improve situational awareness and crisis response capabilities related to emerging maritime challenges posed by the dynamic Arctic environment.

The Borders, Trade and Immigration (BTI) Institute, led by the University of Houston, develops technology-based tools, techniques, and educational programs for border management, immigration, trade facilitation, and targeting and enforcement of transnational borders.

The Center for Accelerating Operational Efficiency (CAOE), led by Arizona State University, applies advanced analytical tools to optimize efficiency in homeland security operations.

The Center of Excellence for Awareness & Localization of Explosives-Related Threats (ALERT), led by Northeastern University, develops new means and methods to protect the Nation from explosives-related threats.

The Criminal Investigations and Network Analysis Center (CINA), led by George Mason University, develops strategies and solutions to enhance criminal network analysis, forensics, and investigative processes for on-the-ground use by agents and officers to predict, thwart, and prosecute crimes.

The Critical Infrastructure Resilience Institute (CIRI), led by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, conducts research and education to enhance the resilience of the Nation’s critical infrastructure and its owners and operators.

The Coastal Resilience Center of Excellence (CRC), led by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in partnership with Jackson State University in Jackson, MS, conducts research and education to enhance the Nation’s ability to safeguard people, infrastructure, and economies from catastrophic coastal natural disasters such as floods and hurricanes.

The Maritime Security Center (MSC), led by Stevens Institute of Technology, enhances Maritime Domain Awareness and develops strategies to support Marine Transportation System resilience and educational programs for current and aspiring homeland security practitioners.

*Current DHS S&T Centers of Excellence receive base grant funding through DHS S&T Office of University Programs Cooperative Agreements. DHS offices and operational components can also access current centers through DHS Basic Ordering Agreements (BOA). For more information, contact universityprograms@HQ.DHS.GOV


Emeritus Centers**

The Center for Visualization and Data Analytics (CVADA), co-led by Purdue University (visualization sciences-VACCINE) and Rutgers University (data sciences-CCICADA), creates the scientific basis and enduring technologies needed to analyze large quantities of information to detect security threats to the Nation.

The Coastal Hazards Center of Excellence (CHC), co-led by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Jackson State University, performs research and develops education programs to enhance the Nation’s ability to safeguard populations, properties, and economies from catastrophic natural disasters.

The Center of Excellence for Zoonotic and Animal Disease Defense (ZADD), co-led by Texas A&M University and Kansas State University, protects the Nation’s agriculture and public health sectors against high-consequence foreign animal, emerging, and zoonotic disease threats.

The Food Protection and Defense Institute (FPDI), led by the University of Minnesota, defends the safety and security of the food system by conducting research to protect vulnerabilities in the food supply chain. FPDI was formerly named the National Center for Food Protection and Defense (NCFPD).

The National Center for Risk and Economic Analysis of Terrorism Events (CREATE), led by the University of Southern California, develops advanced tools to evaluate the risks, costs, and consequences of terrorism.

The National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START), led by the University of Maryland, provides policy  makers and practitioners with empirically grounded findings on the human elements of the terrorist threat and informs decisions on how to disrupt terrorists and terrorist groups.

**DHS S&T Emeritus Centers of Excellence are active, but no longer receive base grant funding. DHS and its operational components can access Emeritus Centers through
DHS Basic Ordering Agreements (BOAs). For more information, contact universityprograms@HQ.DHS.GOV



Former Centers

The Center for Advancing Microbial Risk Assessment (CAMRA), co-led by Michigan State University and Drexel University and established jointly with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, fills critical gaps in risk assessment for mitigating microbial hazards.

The Center for Maritime, Island and Remote and Extreme Environment Security (MIREES), co-led by the University of Hawaii and the Stevens Institute of Technology, focuses on developing robust research and education programs addressing maritime domain awareness to safeguard populations and properties in geographical areas that present significant security challenges.

The National Center for Border Security and Immigration (NCBSI), co-led by the University of Arizona in Tucson and the University of Texas at El Paso, develops novel technologies, tools, and advanced methods to balance immigration and commerce with effective border security.

The National Transportation Security Center of Excellence (NTSCOE), co-led by the University of Connecticut, Tougaloo College and Texas Southern University, is a seven-institution consortium focused on developing new technologies, tools, and advanced methods to defend, protect, and increase the resilience of the Nation’s multi-modal transportation infrastructure.

The National Center for the Study of Preparedness and Catastrophic Event Response (PACER), led by Johns Hopkins University, optimizes the Nation’s medical and public health preparedness, mitigation, and recovery strategies in the event of a high-consequence natural or man-made disaster.


From the Homeland Security Act of 2002:

“The Secretary, acting through the Under Secretary for Science and Technology, shall designate a university-based center or several university-based centers for homeland security. The purpose of the center or these centers shall be to establish a coordinated, university-based system to enhance the nation’s homeland security.”

Project Search

Contact Us

For program questions or other information, contact via:

Our Newsletter