The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) must address complex challenges in preventing terrorism, managing U.S. borders, enforcing and administering immigration laws, safeguarding cyberspace, and strengthening national preparedness and resilience. To support the Department in these missions, RAND operates the Homeland Security Operational Analysis Center (HSOAC) federally funded research and development center (FFRDC) for DHS. HSOAC provides the government with independent and objective analyses and advice in core areas important to DHS in support of policy development, decisionmaking, alternative approaches, and new ideas on issues of significance. HSOAC also works with and supports other federal, state, local, tribal, and public- and private-sector organizations that make up the homeland security enterprise.
Unique Purpose and Operation
HSOAC analyses focus on seven functional areas that cut across DHS mission categories:
- Homeland security threat and opportunity studies that use risk assessment and forecasting to track current threats and identify vulnerabilities and potential future risks.
- Organizational studies that use workforce analysis and performance measurement to help DHS improve unity of effort across management and planning.
- Operational analysis that uses evaluation and simulation methods to help DHS assess mission requirements, improve operational processes and procedures, and understand the impact of operations on a range of outcomes.
- Regulatory, doctrine, and policy studies that use regulatory and policy analysis to offer insight into the potential impact of changes in external regulations, policies, and doctrines on DHS missions and activities.
- Acquisition studies that use planning, program management, and test and evaluation expertise to assess DHS's acquisition needs and apply lessons from past experience.
- R&D studies that use portfolio and foresight analysis to help DHS plan for the mix of projects needed to accomplish its missions and transition R&D results into technology and practice.
- Innovation and technology acceleration that uses technical analysis to promote integration and adoption of new technologies and identify barriers to adoption.