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Detection and Prevention of Illicit Materials to Enhance Border Protection

The Novel Technologies and Processes to Support Interdiction of Illicit Materials (IMI) project aims to develop advanced technologies and processes that can be used to detect and prevent illicit materials from entering the United States through various ports of entry. Engaging experts from different academic institutions and national labs, the primary objective of the project is to deliver methodologies, performance metrics, and automated threat recognition and operator-assist algorithms that can enhance the operations of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and reduce the time and cost of developing emerging technologies.

The project provides multiple benefits to CBP, including facilitating the development of novel technologies, improving operations through the application of machine learning, and expanding the number of subject matter experts for the future development of novel technologies.

Advancing CBP Performance

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

Researchers are evaluating the effects of artificial intelligence and machine learning on various technologies related to CBP and exploring potential applications to related fields. Aspects include automated threat detection, operator assist algorithms, reconstruction algorithms, cyber security, creation of training data, and the assessment of CBP processes.

Operator Assist Algorithms

Researchers are developing automated target and anomaly detection algorithms. These algorithms are being trained and tested with simulated data and real data from vendor systems, designed to be deployed on both vendor systems and vendor-independent workstations. Metrics and automated scoring tools for these algorithms are also in development.

Framework for Fused Systems

Researchers are developing a framework for fused systems. They are evaluating which data should be shared among subsystems and how the data can be shared. They are also developing algorithms to combine the data from multiple subsystems and predict the resulting performance of the fused systems.

Ports of Entry

Researchers are visiting various ports of entry to identify technologies and processes that can improve the performance of CBP at these ports. They are also conducting technology demonstrations at these ports of entry, coordinated with the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate (DHS S&T).

Emerging Technologies

Researchers are evaluating the technological requirements and capabilities of emerging technologies. The assessment is based on predictive methods that require minimal experimentation. They are also devising assessment criteria to determine the efficacy of these emerging technologies and predicting the performance of these technologies when deployed at ports of entry.

System Performance Models

Researchers are developing computer simulation techniques to forecast how technologies will perform. These techniques can predict detection accuracy, throughput, labor requirements, and operational costs. The simulation methods are modular, allowing for future technologies and processes to be incorporated.

Customs and Border Protection Advanced Developments Encompassing Processes and Technologies (CBP-ADEPT) Workshops

The Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection Division (DHS-CBP) sponsors a workshop series known as CBP-ADEPT. This workshop is a by-product of the IMI project and inspired by the ADSA workshops that tackle aviation security issues. CBP-ADEPT workshops encourage researchers to create new detection methods to enhance border security. Participants from various sectors attend, including industry professionals, vendors, academia, DHS, TSA, National Labs, and stakeholders from ALERT and the Soft Target Engineering to Neutralize the Threat Reality (SENTRY) Department of Homeland Security Center of Excellence.