About Us

The Homeland Security Act of 2002 granted the Department the authority to create university-based Centers of Excellence. The Centers are authorized by Congress and chosen by the Department’s Science and Technology Directorate through a competitive selection process.

There are currently 12 Centers of Excellence across the country, including the Coastal Hazards Center.

  • The Center for Risk and Economic Analysis of Terrorism Events (CREATE), led by the University of Southern California, develops advanced tools to evaluate the risks, costs and consequences of terrorism.



  • The National Center for Food Protection and Defense (NCFPD), led by the University of Minnesota, defends the safety and security of the food system by conducting research to protect vulnerabilities in the nation’s food supply chain.


  • The National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START), led by the University of Maryland, informs decisions on how to disrupt terrorists and terrorist groups through empirically-grounded findings on the
    human element of the terrorist threat.


  • The National Center for the Study of Preparedness and Catastrophic Event Response (PACER), led by Johns Hopkins University, optimizes our nation’s preparedness in the event of a high-consequence natural or man-made disaster.


  • The Center of Excellence for Awareness & Location of Explosives-Related Threats (ALERT), led by Northeastern University and the University of Rhode Island will develop new means and methods to protect the nation from explosives-related threats.


  • The National Center for Border Security and Immigration (NCBSI), led by the University of Arizona in Tucson (research co-lead) and the University of Texas at El Paso (education co-lead), are developing technologies, tools, and advanced methods to balance immigration and commerce with effective border security.


  • The Center for Maritime, Island and Remotes and Extreme Environment Security (MIREES), led by the University of Hawaii and Stevens Institute of Technology focuses on developing robust research and education programs addressing maritime domain awareness to safeguard populations and properties in geographical areas that present significant security challenges.