National Urban Security Technology Laboratory

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

National Urban Security Technology Laboratory (NUSTL)[1] is a United States government-owned, government-operated laboratory, part of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science & Technology Directorate. The NUSTL is located in the Federal Office Building at 201 Varick Street in the Hudson Square neighborhood, Manhattan, New York.


NUSTL’s mission is “to test, evaluate, and analyze homeland security capabilities while serving as a technical authority to first responder, state, and local entities in protecting our cities.”[2] In fulfilling this mission, the laboratory serves as a federal technical authority promoting the successful development and integration of homeland security technologies into operational end-user environments.[3]


The lab traces its roots to the establishment of the Atomic Energy Commission in 1946, first as the Medical Division of the New York Operations Office, renamed in 1949 as the Health and Safety Division and, in 1953, renamed the Health and Safety Laboratory. NUSTL is the Laboratory’s third name during its history, following the Health and Safety Laboratory (1953–1977) and the Environmental Measurements Laboratory (1977–2009).[4] In 2009, the name of the lab was changed from the Environmental Measurements Laboratory (EML) to the National Urban Security Technology Laboratory (NUSTL).[5]

In an interview published in 2011,[6] the Laboratory Director Adam Hutter said the lab is “the last remaining federal facility from the Manhattan Project which is still located in Manhattan.”

A recounting of the lab’s history shows changing missions and sponsors throughout the past 60 years.[4][7] starting from the Atomic Energy Commission[8] followed by The Energy Research and Development Administration and then the US Department of Energy. In 2003, the lab was transferred into the Department of Homeland Security, Science & Technology Directorate by Sec. 303 of the Homeland Security Act of 2002.[9]

According to reports,[10] the transfer and integration into the Department of Homeland Security was not smooth. A Congressional Hearing into the transition of the lab was held by the House Committee on Science & Technology, Subcommittee on Investigations & Oversight on May 3, 2007 entitled “Transitioning the Environmental Measurements Laboratory at the Department of Homeland Security.” [11] The S&T Under Secretary “testified that EML will remain in the S&T Directorate; that it will continue to operate, supporting both DNDO and other DHS organizations; and that it will remain in its current location.” [12][13]

Media coverage focused on the “incredible mismanagement” of the transition and the ultimate decision to keep the lab open.[14][15][16][17]

Current work[edit]

According to Congressional Authorization, “as a DHS S&T federal laboratory, NUSTL conducts research, development, testing and evaluation in order to better understand and mitigate current and future homeland security threats. The NUSTL pilot deployment programs not only transition homeland security technologies from the developing and testing phases to operational field trials, but also provide a critical scientific interface with NYPD, FDNY, New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut state police, and a myriad of other local end-users in the field.”[18]

NUSTL directly supports First Responders by testing, evaluating and assessing technologies and systems for counterterrorism, preparedness, response and recovery.[19] Some of this work includes the System Assessment and Validation for Emergency Responders (SAVER) Program.[20] and a Radiological Emergency Management System.[21]

NUSTL houses the New York Area Science and Technology Forum (NYAST), which is a consortium of federal, state and local government organizations and private sector groups that meet regularly to discuss advances in science and technology applications.[22]

NUSTL runs Operational Experimentation (OpEx) events which are intended to "to create a forum where end-users can evaluate emerging technologies in realistic scenarios in an operational urban setting"[23]. [24]

NUSTL receives first patent issued to DHS[edit]

The National Urban Security Technology Laboratory is the first organization within the Department of Homeland Security to be awarded a U.S. patent for an invention conceived by its employees.[25]

According to the press release and media coverage of the patent # 7781747 entitled “Very thin dosimeter filters and low profile dosimeter incorporating the same,”[26] dubbed the Citizen’s Dosimeter, this high-tech plastic card would be as convenient and affordable as a subway card, with the capability to measure the amount of radiation on a person or in a given area.[27][28][29][30][31][32][33][34]

New facility[edit]

As reported by Government Security News, NUSTL celebrated its re-location on February 27, 2013 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. More than one hundred representatives from NUSTL, DHS, the New York police and fire departments, various technology labs, and longtime friends attended the ceremony. Speakers at the ceremony included Dr. Daniel Gerstein, the Deputy Under Secretary for Science & Technology at DHS, Richard Daddario, the Deputy Commissioner of Counterterrorism at the NYPD, Edward Kilduff, the Chief of Department for the FDNY, and Dr. Adam Hutter, the Laboratory Director of NUSTL.[35]

According to a FoxNews report on the event, in a massive departure from the lab of the past half a century, the modern lab was designed with collaboration in mind to bring together sponsors, developers and first responders who will use the technology. "There is great need to apply tech tools in the field," the NYPD's Richard Daddario told "NUSTL provides an opportunity to bring us together on important tech issues." "We can better protect people by partnering with Feds and others … NUSTL is critical," Kilduff told[36] “The NUSTL is an invaluable resource within the Homeland Security Enterprise,” said Dr. Daniel Gerstein, DHS Deputy Under Secretary for Science and Technology. “This new lab is at the core of producing new and innovative solutions with improved collaboration, increased training, and upgraded scientific capabilities to make our nation more safe, secure and resilient.” [37]

2018 Potential Closure[edit]

The FY18 Presidential Budget Request includes the closure of NUSTL after 70 years of serving the security of the nation through various scientific and technology endeavors. [38] According to the justification, "NUSTL works with end users in the lab and field to promote successful deployment of both commercial and emerging technologies. NUSTL’s activities emphasize testing and evaluation alongside responders in operational scenarios, assisting with fielding of technologies, sponsoring R&D, supporting the development of Concept of Operations documents and providing post-deployment advisory support. NUSTL is the only lab entirely focused on first responders and enabling their mission effectiveness. [39]

In addition to NUSTL, S&T also is planning to close two other DHS-owned laboratories focusing entirely on homeland security issues, the Chemical Security Analysis Center [40] and the National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasures Center. Questions have been raised over the justification for closing unique and valuable laboratories that focus on detecting and mitigating WMD terrorist threats (Chemical, Biological, Radiological/Nuclear) to help protect the American public. [41] [42]


  1. ^
  2. ^ National Urban Security Technology Laboratory Strategic Plan 2009-2013
  3. ^ DHS | National Urban Security Technology Laboratory
  4. ^ a b EML: Environmental Measurements Laboratory
  5. ^ FLC Northeast Region
  6. ^ Manhattan home to DHS urban security lab | Government Security News
  7. ^ FLC Laboratories
  8. ^ Oral Histories: Merril Eisenbud
  9. ^ Homeland Security Act 2002, Public Law 107-296
  10. ^ The DHS Directorate of Science and Technology: Key Issues for Congress
  11. ^ Hearings
  12. ^ AAAS - Center for Science, Technology and Security Policy
  13. ^ Hearing on Neglect of Crucial Radiation Measurements Lab | The Gavel
  14. ^ Official Vows to Save Radiation Lab Threatened with Closure - WNYC
  15. ^ DHS May Close N.Y. Radiation-Detection Lab Despite Objections
  16. ^ Key anti-terror lab stays in city - NY Daily News
  17. ^ Anti-terror lab on Homeland hit list
  18. ^ House Homeland Security Committee Passes Homeland Security Science and Technology Authorization Act of 2010 | Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke
  19. ^
  20. ^ [1]
  21. ^ Microsoft PowerPoint - holder.ppt
  22. ^
  23. ^
  24. ^
  25. ^ DHS | DHS's First Patent: A Citizen's Dosimeter!
  26. ^ US patent 7781747 
  27. ^ A citizen's dosimeter, and it fits in your wallet
  28. ^ PhysOrg Mobile: A citizen's dosimeter, and it fits in your wallet
  29. ^ DHS180711
  30. ^ Portable, Wallet-Sized Dosimeter Measures Ionizing Radiation Exposure
  31. ^ Wallet-sized dosimeter would alert users to dangerous radiation levels
  32. ^ Plastic Card |
  33. ^[dead link]
  34. ^ Manhattan home to DHS urban security lab | Government Security News
  35. ^
  36. ^
  37. ^
  38. ^
  39. ^
  40. ^
  41. ^
  42. ^