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USC Named First Homeland Security Center for Excellence

December 05, 2003

The University of Southern California (USC) will serve as the first Homeland Security Center of Excellence, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced last week. DHS anticipates providing USC with $12 million over the course of the next three years for studying risk analysis related to the economic consequences of terrorist threats and events.

The first HS-Center is designed to address both the targets and means of terrorism, with emphasis on protecting critical infrastructure systems such as electrical power, transportation and telecommunications. As part of the agreement, USC will offer its expertise in natural disasters, system safety and nuclear threats. Two centers within USC's School of Engineering, the Integrated Media Systems Center and the Information Sciences Institute, also will contribute research in advanced computer modeling and cybersecurity.

DHS and outside advisors reviewed more than 70 proposals to establish the first HS-Center. Other HS-Centers are planned for research and development areas such as agro-terrorism countermeasures and behavioral research on terrorism. DHS may fund as many as nine more HS-centers during the current fiscal year.

The HS-Centers program, which is operated by the DHS's Science and Technology division, was established for the purpose of creating university-based centers where critical homeland security issues can be addressed. DHS and USC are undergoing grant negotiations to formalize their partnership. More information is available at http://www.dhs.gov/.