[Federal Register Volume 74, Number 55 (Tuesday, March 24, 2009)]
[Pages 12372-12373]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E9-6450]

[[Page 12372]]



Notice Designating Purdue University as Visualization Sciences 
and Education Lead Institution for the DHS Center of Excellence for 
Command, Control and Interoperability

AGENCY: Department of Homeland Security.

ACTION: Notice.


SUMMARY: The Department of Homeland Security has designated Purdue 
University as Visualization Sciences and Education Lead Institution for 
the DHS Center of Excellence for Command, Control and Interoperability.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Joseph Kielman, Science and Technology 
Directorate, Department of Homeland Security, Washington, DC 20528; 
telephone 202-254-5787; e-mail [email protected].



    Section 308 of the Homeland Security Act of 2002, Public Law 107-
296, (the ``Homeland Security Act''), as amended by the Consolidated 
Appropriations Resolution 2003, Public Law 108-7, and as codified in 
Title 6 of the United States Code Chapter I Subchapter III Section 
188(b)(2) [6 U.S.C. 188(b)(2)], directs the Department of Homeland 
Security (``Department'') to sponsor extramural research, development, 
demonstration, testing and evaluation programs relating to homeland 
security. As part of this program, the Department has established a 
coordinated system of university-based centers for homeland security 
(the ``Centers'').
    The Centers are envisioned to be an integral component of the 
Department's capability to anticipate, prevent, respond to, and recover 
from terrorist attacks and natural disasters. The Centers will leverage 
multidisciplinary capabilities and fill gaps in current knowledge.
    Title 6 U.S.C. 188(b)(2)(B) lists fourteen areas of substantive 
expertise that, if demonstrated, might qualify universities for 
designation as university-based centers. The listed areas of expertise 
include: (1) The training of first responders; (2) responding to 
incidents involving weapons of mass destruction and biological warfare; 
(3) emergency and diagnostic medical services; (4) chemical, 
biological, radiological and nuclear countermeasures or detection; (5) 
animal and plant health and diagnostics; (6) food safety; (7) water and 
wastewater operations; (8) port and waterway security; (9) multi-modal 
transportation; (10) information security and information engineering; 
(11) engineering; (12) educational outreach and technical assistance; 
(13) border and transportation security; and (14) the public policy 
implications and public dissemination of homeland security relevant 
research and development.
    However, this list is not exclusive. Title 6 U.S.C. 188(b)(2)(C) 
gives the Secretary discretion to except certain criteria specified in 
6 U.S.C. 188(b)(2)(B) and consider additional criteria beyond those 
specified in 6 U.S.C. 188(b)(2)(B) in selecting universities for this 
program, as long as the Department issues a Federal Register notice 
explaining the criteria used for the designation. This Center of 
Excellence will address statutory criterion 6 U.S.C. 188(b)(2)(B)(10), 
information security and information engineering.


    The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) chose Purdue University 
and its partner institutions for the new Center of Excellence (COE) 
through a merit-based, competitive, and rigorous review process 
consistent with guidelines set forth in Section 308 of the Homeland 
Security Act of 2002 (Pub. L. 107-296), as amended. The DHS Science and 
Technology Directorate (S&T) issued a research funding opportunity 
announcement (FOA) soliciting applications for the establishment of a 
COE for the Study of Command, Control and Interoperability (CCI) issues 
on May 1, 2008 on http://www.grants.gov.
    DHS received eight proposals in response to this announcement. 
External subject matter experts considered the merits of these 
proposals with respect to the evaluation criteria in the announcement 
and referred four proposals to a DHS internal review panel. DHS subject 
matter experts evaluated the proposals in light of DHS priorities and 
investments and made recommendations. A select team of S&T staff made 
site visits to all four applicants considered by the internal review 
panel. At the end of the competitive review, University Programs 
selected the lead institutions in accordance with Section 308 of the 
Homeland Security Act of 2002.


    As communicated in the funding opportunity announcement and to the 
reviewers, the evaluation criteria for proposals were as follows. The 
first six criteria (a-f) were critical elements of the proposal and 
were of equal significance. Proposals that did not provide satisfactory 
responses to all of these essential criteria were declined. The 
remaining criteria (g-m) also were important to meeting S&T's overall 
objectives. They were listed in approximate descending order of 
importance, and needed to be fully addressed by applicants.
    a. Responsiveness: The degree to which the proposal directly 
responds to the research areas, topics or questions described in the 
funding opportunity announcement, with appropriate scientific theory, 
methods, and data.
    b. Technical Merit and Quality: The degree to which the proposed 
research focus will achieve excellence (to offer results capable of 
commanding the respect of active researchers and of probing a frontier 
area well). The originality and creativity of the proposed research 
questions and the appropriateness and adequacy of the proposed research 
    c. Mission-Related Significance: The degree to which the proposed 
research focus can yield results that overcome existing and difficult 
technical limitations, or that offer the scientific basis to enable 
major technological advances in the foreseeable future. The 
responsiveness of the proposal to the research needs identified in this 
announcement and the willingness and ability of the applicants to 
consult with Federal, State, local and private stakeholders to refine 
research questions and design to make results applicable to homeland 
security issues or policy.
    d. Geographical Distribution of All Centers of Excellence and Major 
Partners: The Centers of Excellence program's authorizing legislation 
states: `` * * * the Under Secretary for Science and Technology, shall 
operate extramural research, development, demonstration, testing and 
evaluation programs so as to ensure that colleges, universities, 
private research institutes and companies from as many regions of the 
United States as practicable participate.'' Geographical location of 
the lead institution and its major partners will be a factor in 
evaluating proposals submitted in response to this COE.
    e. Qualifications of Investigators: The qualifications of the 
principal investigator(s) and other key personnel, including training, 
demonstrated knowledge of pertinent literature, experience, and 
publication records, and the extent to which key personnel will make a 
significant time commitment to the project.
    f. Productive Use of Federal Resources: The ability to extend the 
productivity of Federal funds and other resources through matching 

[[Page 12373]]

leveraging of other new fund sources, in-kind provision of faculty, 
student support, dedicated office or laboratory space.
    g. Facilities and Equipment: The availability and/or adequacy of 
the facilities and equipment proposed for the project.
    h. Management: The ability of the lead institution to manage a 
complex Center of Excellence in terms of achieving research results 
when due, managing large and complex budgets and communicating research 
outcomes, and the adequacy of the proposed management plan to ensure 
quality research and education programs from researchers at both 
primary and partner institutions.
    i. Minority Serving Institution Partnerships: The demonstrated 
ability and commitment to establish meaningful partnerships with MSIs 
to develop a quality MSI research and training program, and the quality 
of the proposed program.
    j. Education: The adequacy of education plans and supporting 
materials demonstrating the proposed COE's ability to establish an 
enduring and comprehensive program of study in disciplines related to 
the specific research areas cited in this announcement.
    k. Knowledge of Current Research: Evidence that the applicant is 
familiar with the research and resources of existing DHS COEs, other 
DHS S&T, Federal agency or National Laboratory research and development 
programs, and other relevant university programs and can demonstrate 
its ability to take advantage of these resources.
    l. Results Transition: The effectiveness and soundness of a 
strategy to transition research results to end users and mechanisms to 
accomplish this transition, and demonstration of a clear and effective 
plan for transitioning research results for each project or research 
area ultimately to homeland security mission agencies.
    m. Budget: Although budget information does not reflect on the 
application's scientific merit, the evaluation will include the 
appropriateness and/or adequacy of the proposed budget and its 
implications for the potential success of the proposed research. Input 
on requested equipment is of particular interest.


    This COE will conduct fundamental research into the technological 
issues, challenges, and policy issues related to (1) dynamic, on-demand 
data processing and visualization; (2) hypothesis-driven data analysis; 
(3) visualization of structured, unstructured, and streaming data; (4) 
mathematics of discrete and visual analytics; (5) scalable information 
filtering and dissemination; (6) visualization and simulation of 
information; (7) mobile and light-weight information analytics and 
sharing. This COE will create the scientific basis and enduring 
technologies needed to analyze massive amounts of information from 
multiple sources to more reliably detect threats to the security of the 
nation and its infrastructures, and to the health and welfare of its 
populace. These new technologies will also improve the dissemination of 
both information and related technologies.
    Based on information collected in the evaluation process, DHS 
designated Purdue University as Visualization Sciences and Education 
Lead Institution for the DHS Center of Excellence for Command, Control 
and Interoperability, in partnership with Rutgers University (the Data 
Sciences Lead Institution) and other affiliates. This team of 
institutions is uniquely well qualified and located to address data 
analysis, visualization, cyber security and other related issues. They 
will become an intrinsic part of the DHS science and technology 
portfolio, working closely with DHS and other Federal, State, and local 
governments to solve complex and critical data and visualization 
science challenges.

Matthew Clark,
Director, University Programs, Science and Technology Directorate, 
Department of Homeland Security.
[FR Doc. E9-6450 Filed 3-23-09; 8:45 am]