William Bryan, senior official performing the duties of the under secretary for Science & Technology at DHS, discusses the directorate’s new mission areas, and how “tech foraging” will help the agency acquire what it needs.
The Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Tech directorate is reorganizing to improve development speed. By breaking the division into four offices, DHS will hopefully be able to acquire better technologies, faster. William Bryan, senior official performing duties of the under secretary for Science & Technology at DHS, says that one method they are using is called “tech foraging.” “I believe that a lot of the capability gaps that we come up with, there’s probably an [industry] answer out there. Maybe a 60 to 70 percent solution. We don’t have the luxury of traditional R&D to wait one year, two years or three years to get a solution out in the field,” Bryan told Government Matters. “We need to have a very comprehensive, deliberate approach to finding the best technology that’s out there. And if it doesn’t meet the need, that’s fine, we’ll tweak that and get it where it needs to be to get into the customer’s hands as fast as possible. Bryan said that the thrust behind the changes was DHS’s tech workforce, and that they will see the benefits soon. “What’s interesting about this reorg is that it was driven by the employees. It was very important for me that I just didn’t come in there and mandate what needed to be changed,” Bryan said. “I provided the vision and the goal but they developed the way and the process of how we were going to get there. They are going to own this and I think the employees are going to be on top of making sure this thing goes from beginning to end and a success.”