Conducting NEPA Analysis for In Situ Homeland Security Research, Development, Testing and Education
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The founding principle of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is to protect the American people from terrorist threats. To that end, DHS seeks to develop and deploy technological solutions enabling enhanced protection. The confluence of homeland security; research, development, testing and evaluation (RDT&E); and application of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process can pose significant challenges for government, stakeholders and the public, particularly when activities necessarily transition from beyond the confines of the laboratory to the public environs. It is well documented that application of the NEPA process early in project planning can lead to better decisions, through consideration of reasonable alternatives and their potential impacts upon the human environment. NEPA practitioners frequently cite large land-use projects or policies as examples of the process well (or not so well) applied, emphasizing the importance of focusing on the decision to be made and avoiding narrow consideration of the purpose and need. Yet, agencies are required to apply the process to all “major federal actions”, and certain types of actions present inherent challenges to open-minded consideration of the purpose and need. Particularly, RDT&E activities generally seek to examine specific phenomena, often times reducing the scope of potential alternatives. Given this constraint, how do decision-makers employ NEPA to add value in making decisions for in-situ RDT&E? Can NEPA be a vehicle to better engage and inform the public, allowing decision-makers to better understand public and stakeholder concerns, and the public to better understand technologies designed to protect the community? Recognizing the innate challenges in applying the NEPA process to in-situ homeland security RDT&E initiatives, case study examination revealed several lessons learned and recommendations.
SubjectConducting NEPA Analysis for In Situ Homeland Security Research, Development, Testing and Education
CitationKeefer, Christopher (2012). Conducting NEPA Analysis for In Situ Homeland Security Research, Development, Testing and Education. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/5981.
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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
Rights for Collection: National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Education and Certificate Program Capstone Papers