But BRAVE's success is more important because it validates SECURE. According to Verrico, certifying BRAVE demonstrates that the SECURE acquisition model will help DHS acquire and deploy cutting-edge homeland security technology with little or no taxpayer money.
Future technologies developed and certified should cost U.S. taxpayers nothing, although some exceptions could arise, Verrico told Security Management. BRAVE was one such circumstance. While the forensic camera system did cost taxpayers around $100,000, there were special circumstances, says Verrico.Typically, companies will have to pay for third-party testing of their technologies under SECURE to receive certification, but because the testing in this case involved blowing up a city bus, DHS picked up the tab.
What makes the SECURE program different from the normal request-for-proposal process companies undergo is the department's attention to detail. According to Verrico, the SECURE program's ORDs posted on its Web site provide companies with precise requirements to follow as well as give companies a conservative estimate on how many units they can expect to sell.
What DHS S&T discovered, according to Verrico, was that many companies spend more money researching what technologies to build than they spend on research and development once they identify a demand they can fill. The SECURE program is a way to eliminate such guesswork. In exchange for this information, companies use their own money to research and develop technologies that fulfill the ORD.
"It's a very cool way of doing business," said Verrico.
Currently 83 companies are interested in partnering with DHS under the SECURE program, with the next technology certified likely to be a mobile water purification system for use after a natural disaster or terrorist attack.
♦ Photos of the BRAVE camera system courtesy of DHS S&T and Visual Defence USA, Inc.