ADSA24 Focuses on Collaboration in Aviation Security

This October, ALERT hosted the ADSA24 workshop, the 24th installment of the Advanced Development for Security Applications (ADSA) workshop series, which has been assembling aviation security stakeholders from academia, government, and industry since its formation in 2009. The ADSA24 workshop focused on “Advancing Collaboration for Enhanced Security,” and in accordance with this theme, the workshop’s 172 attendees communed virtually on October 5-6 for expert-led presentations, engaging discussions on emerging technologies and industry standards, and networking in breakout rooms.

The ADSA workshop series is intended to address research opportunities that may enable the development of next-generation systems for the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science & Technology (S&T) Directorate and to facilitate collaboration and innovation between researchers from universities, national labs, and the private sector.

“An effective collaboration occurs when there is a melding of complementary skills and points of view,” said Michael Silevitch, director of ALERT. “For example, a university analyst working closely with an industrial practitioner will often result in breakthroughs in the understanding of complex phenomena.”

Distinct topics that were addressed during the ADSA24 workshop included: establishing and maintaining collaborations, addressing obstacles to collaboration (building trust, navigating conflicts of interest and legal issues), stakeholder (TSA, DHS S&T, vendors, third parties, and airlines) perspectives on collaboration, and examples of successful and unsuccessful collaborations. Those who wish to learn more about the topics covered can view and download presentations from ADSA24 and previous ADSA workshops.

The ADSA workshop series places importance on the concept of technology foraging, or the process of identifying emerging technologies, products, and systems applicable to recognized capability gaps. ALERT intentionally seeks out experts in seemingly unrelated fields to present on their innovations and best practices, so that the ALERT community may obtain new perspectives and knowledge that could be applicable to aviation security. In keeping with this commitment to technology foraging, the ADSA24 workshop featured several presentations from experts in the medical imaging field, including talks from Jiang Hsieh, retired chief scientist at GE Healthcare, and Robert Nishikawa, professor and director of the Imaging Research Division in the Department of Radiology at the University of Pittsburgh.

“The frank and open nature of the presentations and ensuing discussions makes the ADSA experience concentrated and of high value,” said Carey Rappaport, deputy director of ALERT. “And with the understanding that the audience includes the widest variety of affiliation and discipline, ADSA stimulates a free flow of ideas, often outside the boundaries of typical workshops and conferences. Security experts learn from medical researchers, and manufacturers openly exchange ideas with policy makers.”

The next installment of the ADSA workshop series, ADSA25, will be held in Spring 2022 and ALERT plans to return to the in-person format at Northeastern University in Boston, MA. The dates, topics, and format of the workshop are forthcoming.

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