The National Center for Secure and Resilient Maritime Commerce (CSR), a multi-university Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Center of Excellence led by Stevens Institute of Technology, has received the DHS Science and Technology Impact Award. This award recognizes the collective contributions from three of the CSR partner institutions research labs for their rapid response during the DeepWater Horizon oil spill. The research labs are the Center for Southeastern Tropical Advanced Remote Sensing (CSTARS) at the University of Miami, Rutgers University Coastal Ocean Observation Lab (RUCOOL), and Stevens Center for Maritime Systems (CMS).
These critical observation, monitoring, and prediction capabilities provided around-the-clock support for the multi-agency federal response to the oil spill. Stakeholders that used the CSR partner data included the U.S. Coast Guard, NGA, DHS, NOAA, Navy, USGS, and state and local agencies of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, and Texas.
"This award recognizes the relevance of the research being conducted at CSR to the maritime community stakeholders, in particular our First Responders," says Dr. Michael Bruno, Director of CSR and Dean of the School of Engineering and Science at Stevens. "The CSR team is proud to have made a positive contribution during this catastrophic event and will continue to conduct leading-edge research and technology development to support the response to such disasters in the future."
The distinct, yet complementary contributions of the partner institutions demonstrate the success of CSR's collaborative, systemic approach to maritime domain awareness research and education.
"Within days of the DeepWater Horizon platform disaster, CSTARS tasked more than 15 dedicated satellites with weather-independent image collection of the area of the oil spill," says Dr. Hans Graber, CSR Director of Research and Executive Director of CSTARS at the University of Miami. These images were downlinked, processed at CSTARS by Raymond Turner, Michael Caruso, Paul Mallas, and Jim Brown and distributed securely in near real time to responder agencies that used the data for strategic planning and response.
RUCOOL coordinated a fleet of autonomous underwater gliders from regional institutions that provided subsurface data on the oil spill. Scientists at Rutgers, led by Drs. Scott Glenn, Oscar Schofield, and Josh Kohut acquired and processed the fleet's inbound data in real time and assimilated that with data coming from other sea, air, and space based monitoring systems. Results were distributed to federal agencies, through Google Earth, and shared via the DeepWater Blog.
At Stevens, CMS, directed by Dr. Alan Blumberg contributed observation and prediction modeling tools and expertise to forecast the potential impact of the oil spill along the mid-Atlantic coastline. This information was used to anticipate the movement and behavior of oil plumes. Emergency management planners in areas potentially affected by encroaching oil also incorporated this data in the development of response strategies.
The award was presented at the DHS University Summit in Washington, D.C. on March 31 by Dr. Matthew Clark, Director of University Programs at DHS S&T to Dr. Bruno, who accepted it on behalf of CSR.