Partnering with Homeland Security
When Science Policy staff submitted written testimony supporting funding for the behavioral and social science programs at DHS, we also initiated visits with Congressional staff to recommend report language meant to accompany the DHS Appropriations bill (H.R. 5441) as it wends its way across Capitol Hill. Senator Kohl (D-WI) was good enough to accept our submission and help us raise awareness of the Social and Behavioral Sciences Partnership Program which is housed in the Science and Technology Directorate's Threat Awareness Portfolio. In part the language also touted the importance of using the expertise developed via the Partnership department-wide and we're particularly grateful to the committee for including that concept.
An analog to the Partnership Program has found a home in the Office of the Deputy Director of National Intelligence for Analysis which has inaugurated a 4 week think tank this summer at a secure location outside of Boston, MA from July 9-August 4.
Called SHARP (Summer Hard Problem Program) the group is studying the intelligence implications of the factors that cause individuals and communities of interest to coalesce into pro-social, anti-social, terrorist or extra-legal movements. The goal of the SHARP Program is to experiment with external (non-government) engagement on a problem of critical interest to the intelligence community and enhance the IC's ability to collect, analyze and integrate intelligence relevant to threats to national security.
An invitation to government employees indicated DNI was looking for government participants with a profound interest in the problem being addressed, a desire to interact with a diverse set of external experts and a willingness to share intelligence community challenges at the SECRET level. The notion was for this first group of participants to drive the direction, agenda and format for future years. SHARP was designed to allow government participants to interact with high-level expert participants from the private sector and academia covering the areas of science, religion, history, journalism, marketing and communications technology.
SHARP is including formal presentations by subject matter experts (including a number of eminent psychologists), facilities for sharing and developing models and data useful to understanding the topics of interest, and daily opportunities to engage in conversations with government and private sector scientists and scholars of national and international renown. Some description of the proceedings will likely be available in a future edition of SPIN.