Campus: SAN DIEGO -- January 1, 1900

SDSU Teams Up With Eight Other Universities to Tackle Border Issues

Southwest Border Security Consortium will address topics from trade to terrorism

San Diego State University announced today it is joining eight other universities from Arizona, New Mexico and Texas to form the Southwest Border Security Consortium (SBSC). The alliance will develop and promote scientific and policy solutions to issues facing the U.S.-Mexico border region.

"The expertise of these nine research universities will be focused on providing quick-response analysis and solutions to technical and policy challenges," said Bob Welty, director of homeland security projects for the SDSU Research Foundation and SDSU's primary liaison to the SBSC.

SDSU is the only university in California in this collaboration. The other SBSC members are Arizona State University, the University of Arizona, New Mexico State University, New Mexico Tech, the University of New Mexico, Texas A&M, the University of Texas at El Paso and the University of Texas at San Antonio.

Representatives from all nine universities announced the SBSC today in Arizona at ComDef Tucson 2006, an international conference on technologies for border security, defense and commerce.

The SDSU Visualization Center will play a major role in the consortium, utilizing its expertise in sensor networks, data fusion technology, image processing and mapping. The Visualization Center allows for the communication, display and analysis of large data sets on eight different display screens in a U-shaped command and control center setting. It has been instrumental in providing direct support to the local first responder and emergency management community, and is the focal point for the emergent regional technology clearinghouse, Welty said.

The consortium will also draw upon the university's strengths in humanitarian support, first-responder engagement and its master's degree programs in homeland security.

"SDSU was asked to join this consortium because of our efforts to improve homeland security in the San Diego region," Welty said. "We work in concert with emergency responders, government agencies and other important groups, and through this project we hope to do that on a broader scale."

SDSU accelerated its Homeland Security efforts in 2002, created the Center for Information Technology and Infrastructure (CITI) in 2003, and started a master's degree program in homeland security in 2004. In partnership with key community, academic, public and private-sector partners, the University is engaged in several collaborative efforts including projects in bioterrorism defense, port and border security, critical infrastructure, information technologies and communications, and many other relevant issues.

Jim Massaro, associate business director at the University of Texas, San Antonio, said the SBSC expects to play a national leadership role in addressing border issues by offering a comprehensive, multi-institutional set of capabilities to relevant agencies such as the federal departments of Homeland Security, Defense, Energy and Transportation.

"The issues are complex and by no means limited to security concerns," he said.

"Maintaining a free flow of commerce, sustaining our natural resources, addressing the unique health and educational needs or our border region - these are concerns on both sides of the international boundary. By drawing on the resources and expertise of nine research universities located in the border region, we believe we can become the premier center of excellence on these issues."

Capabilities of the SBSC universities span a broad range of areas relevant to border and homeland security issues, including:

  • Agricultural and supply-chain security
  • Behavioral and social aspects of terrorism and counter-terrorism
  • Bioscience, biotechnology and public health
  • Critical infrastructure and natural resources protection
  • Cyber and information security
  • Detection and surveillance
  • Educational outreach, training and technical assistance
  • Emergency management and response
  • Legal infrastructures
  • Multimodal transportation security
  • Regional and cultural issues
  • Transborder economic, legal, political, policy and trade issues
  • Social modeling and analysis

The consortium also hopes to develop and execute education and training programs as well as provide students at SBSC universities the opportunity to conduct research that will result in new ways to protect the border. The SBSC will also serve as a national clearinghouse for information on border security issues and conduct seminars, workshops and conferences.

Contact: Jason Foster, (619) 594-2585 office; (619) 992-0772 cell, foster@mail.sdsu.edu


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