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A DHS Skunkworks Project: Defining and Addressing Homeland Security Grand Challenges

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Technical Report

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Naval Postgraduate School Monterey United States

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What global grand challenges do we face today that will have an impact on the homeland security landscape twenty-five years from now Today, a grand challenge is intended as a call-to-action for a given field, to find the potential solution for a moonshot problem. This thesis recommends potential methods and organizational capacity requirements for Department of Homeland Security DHS science and technology S and T based on a focused comparison of three cases XPRIZE, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency DARPA, and DHS S and T. This research shows that both XPRIZE and DARPA have a consistent record of innovation and disruption that have transformed contemporary life through, for example, the internet, space travel, cloud computing, GPS, artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and satellite imagery. However, DHS S and T has an uneven history and uninspiring track record of using research and development to deliver results. Through a contemporary application of smart practices used by XPRIZE and DARPA, DHS can better prepare for todays shifting technological threat environment. DHS current approach to grand challenges is local and linear when it should be global and innovative. Better defining moonshot problems will lay the foundation for S and T to adopt pioneering strategies and to harness the massive potential of the crowd. These strategies will further drive innovation, the cornerstone to solving tomorrows grand challenges.

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  • Military Forces and Organizations

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