South Florida coasts are being monitored by intelligent monitoring systems developed by the Department of Homeland Security’s Homeland Security Advanced Research Projects Agency (HSARPA).
The $8 million, 24-month Hawkeye program is meant to test Automated Scene Understanding (ASU) technology, which fuses diverse imaging technologies, seismic sensors, audio detection, and radar to monitor large security zones such as port facilities or chemical plants; ASU will not be able to replicate a human’s ability to recognize events, but will help humans deal with huge volumes of data generated by sensors and video feeds.
HSARPA program manager Peter Miller says human monitors have a limited capacity to focus on incoming data, but with ASU, human security personnel would be able to view consolidated reports and receive alerts in sensitive situations. Additionally, ASU technology will be able to correlate events over a long period of time, effectively identifying terrorist planning in its early stages.
ASU is one of more than a dozen fast-track HSARPA projects under development; others include economical detector systems that would sniff out dirty bombs at airports and other points of entry, technology for identifying car bombs, and radiation-detection systems that distinguish between controlled nuclear materials and nuclear weapons.
HSARPA has about $320 million to spend on projects this year out of the roughly $1.2 billion allocated to the Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate, while other money goes toward long-term research and advanced operational programs.
The department has outlined 15 “national planning scenarios” that help define the country’s preparedness. HSARPA projects reflect those scenarios, including attacks on chemical plants, bio-weapons attacks on food supply, and conventional nuclear bomb explosions.
Abstracted by the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center(NLECTC) from Government Security (04/05) Vol. 4, No. 3, P. 22; Fickes, Michael .