June 7, 2024
Staff Accomplishment

Workshop Spotlights Aviation Security and Risk Modeling

Researchers share technologies for homeland security

Composition of airport and venue security images

Researchers from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory share technologies addressing security challenges at the 2024 Homeland Protection Technologies Workshop.

(Image composition by Shannon Colson | Pacific Northwest National Laboratory)

From critical infrastructure and event security to borders and soft target protection, technology is transforming both challenges and solutions for protecting people, places, and things. Researchers at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) shared several technologies addressing urgent security challenges at the 2024 Homeland Protection Technologies Workshop at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Lincoln Laboratory, in Boston, Massachusetts.

“This was a great opportunity to connect with first responders and other practitioners to demonstrate some of the exciting technology and capabilities we’ve been working on,” said Nick Betzsold, PNNL data scientist and aviation security and soft target subsector lead.

Keynote speaker at the homeland security technologies workshop
Keynote speaker Dr. David Mussington, executive assistant director for Infrastructure Security at the Department of Homeland Security Cybersecurity Infrastructure Security Agency, addressed the audience at the 2024 Homeland Protection Technologies Workshop, highlighting the need for next-generation technologies for public safety. (Photo courtesy of MIT Lincoln Laboratory)

The invite-only workshop, held at the MIT Lincoln Laboratory, focused on next-generation technologies for site security and law enforcement missions relevant to homeland security. Participants addressed topics like critical infrastructure security, special event security, border security, and the emerging technologies that could be utilized.  

Betzsold presented “Security, Throughput, and Resource Optimization,” highlighting PNNL’s aviation screening technologies, risk modeling, and situational awareness platforms. This included projects like the Aviation Security Screening Optimizer for Risk and Throughput tool and Airport Risk Assessment Model, which apply a risk-based approach to balancing and optimizing potential threats to air travel with the available security countermeasures. Betzsold also presented on the Emergency Management of Tomorrow Program, in which PNNL has partnered with the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate to conduct research on strengthening and reimagining the future emergency response structure. The work is building a better understanding of emergency management technology requirements to inform future technology planning and development for emergency operations centers.

Also on the agenda was Laboratory Fellow David Sheen, who presented on millimeter-wave imaging sensors for people screening. PNNL has a decades-long, award-winning history of applying to security challenges. Most recently, Sheen and his team have been leveraging the technology for a “checkpoint of the future” to enhance airport security screening and border security.

“We’re continuing to find new ways to leverage millimeter-wave technology to enhance security screening while streamlining passenger throughput,” said Sheen.

The event also featured a presentation on the Guardian immersive imaging system, a collaboration between PNNL and Consolidated Resource Imaging LLC. The system provides up to a 360-degree view of high-resolution video for security operators, first responders, and other tactical applications. PNNL is working closely with project and industry partners to develop AI-enabled video analytics that can take advantage of the extremely high resolution of the Guardian immersive imaging system.

“The workshop put on a great display of the complex threats facing our nation’s security and the wide breadth of capabilities and emerging technologies needed to address them,” said Doug MacDonald, system engineer and physical security advisor.

Published: June 7, 2024