The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced its new Hacking for Homeland Security (H4HS) Program today, which aims to leverage university students to take new approaches and create unique solutions for agency-identified issues.

The program will be offered as a course for students, where they focus on a challenge faced by a unit within DHS, hear from subject matter experts, and present potential solutions as a team to agency stakeholders. DHS aims to follow the model of the Hacking for Defense program used by the Department of Defense at 54 universities across the country.

“H4HS will add value across the DHS enterprise, for participating university programs, and for students who enroll in the courses. The courses will complement existing research programs and provide students access to a diverse group of homeland-security-minded technical experts and business mentors who will work together to develop targeted tools, technologies, and knowledge products for use across the homeland security enterprise,” a DHS press release states.

The program will begin with the Colorado School of Mines taking on problems faced by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), but is set to engage the Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA).

“This spring we’re looking forward to CISA’s first entrepreneurship class at Carnegie Mellon University,” said Sabra Horne, the chief of CISA’s Innovation Hub. ”Our class will engage students on a range of mission challenges in cybersecurity and policy, from securing software and network systems to making security and privacy more usable so we can defend against today’s threats while building a more secure and resilient future.”

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MeriTalk Staff